Pharyngula

I have to join with my colleague Revere in saying that I am pro-abortion. Furthermore, I find the willingness of the devout anti-choice mob to distort the evidence so appalling that I would not join with them in anything.

When I gave a talk at UW Stevens Point last week, there were a few protesters outside the building — friendly, non-violent people who I invited in to listen. It’s a shame, though, that I was giving a neuroscience talk, since I also have a talk that rips into the bogus developmental biology that ‘pro-lifers’ use — and the group picketing me were Catholic right-to-life weirdos. They also were handing out flyers complaining about my desecration of crackers.

Myers hammered his rusty nail while gleefully boasting that “nothing is sacred.” One has to wonder if he would likewise gleefully drive nails through the hands and feet of Christians he so publicly despises?! Obviously Christians themselves are not sacred to him.

There they go again, making my point for me. I do not think Christians or crackers are sacred, not because I devalue human life, but because “sacred” is an invalid rationale for doing so; the value comes from the individuals themselves, not from some imaginary decree from a nonexistent ghostly entity. It is also a great shame that Catholics so obliviously and so willingly equate themselves with crackers; they assume that because I would abuse a piece of bread, I would treat human beings in exactly the same way…apparently because they think that cracker is just as precious as a person.

That’s a rather gross and dangerous error. A cracker is a flat piece of ground up vegetable matter, baked and processed, mostly inert, sold with the intent of being further broken down in someone’s digestive system. Throwing it in the trash in no way implies that a complex and dynamic being can be similarly disposed of, or be casually destroyed and consumed. Sane people have an appropriate perspective on the relative importance of foodstuffs and human beings. Crazy people can’t tell the difference.

And speaking of crazy people…one kind of insanity destroys the ability of normal people to distinguish between embryos and people, and encourages them to lie to others about the status of the embryo, treating it as the moral equivalent of a child. It’s almost the same problem as revering a cracker over a person. A better question to ask is whether they would kill someone to defend a Jesus wafer? (And some, at least, have told me that they would.) Would they be willing to throw away their purported reverence for the sanctity of life to kill someone to defend a fetus? (We definitely know that some will.)

There are groups that are actively blurring the line between embryos and human beings, and I consider them just as wicked as the howling haters lined up outside women’s health clinics — they use mistruths to foment attacks on people to defend non-people. One of the biggest, noisiest, and most dishonest is Pro Life Across America, which puts up billboards all across the US; we have a similar outfit here in my state, Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life.

Their work is easily recognizable. They have one theme: fetuses and babies are exactly the same. All of their signs feature cute baby pictures coupled to factoids about development, and they thoroughly enrage me — I see them all along the roadsides on my drive in to Minneapolis. They are basically generating false associations about development.

Here’s a standard example:

i-fa590bea846c1bf51a8d52ae43bb9614-face1.jpeg

Awww, cute plump smiling baby with eyes and ears and a tongue…and did you know he formed those in the first month of pregnancy? How can you support aborting adorable little children!

It’s even sort of weakly, tenuously true. The embryo does have non-functional primordia of those organs at 28 days, but it’s not exactly cute — it looks more like a worm — and it’s only about 4mm (or about 2/10 of an inch) long. It’s ‘face’ is a couple of branchial arches. If they wanted to be honest in their advertising, they ought to revise the billboard to look like this:

i-2c543f53fbded3d95f689d0a87598b44-face2.jpeg

I suggest they add another line of copy, too: I also had a tail!

You get the idea. All of their billboards are like this, listing a known developmental landmark, the earlier the better, and showing a picture of a post-natal infant as if that has any relevance. It’s an attempt to make an emotional tie to developmental events. It works with a lot of people, too, the people who are ignorant of reality — and of course, these ads do nothing to educate them.

Here’s another of their ads that plays games with the concept of conception:

i-77bc4879080dd4b68231f320e8026ce2-genes1.jpeg

Yes, that baby did get his genes at conception. So? A collection of genes does not make a human being. There was no teeny-tiny infant spontaneously bursting into existence at the instant a sperm cell punched into an oocyte — it was something that looked like this:

i-0271eb53ebe7f9ec029f32a598661d5f-genes2.jpeg

This is a point absolutely and solidly established in biology. The embryo is not the adult. It does not contain the full information present in the newborn — that will be generated progressively, by interactions with the environment and by complex internal negotiations within an increasingly complex embryo. Pretending that 46 chromosomes in a cell is sufficient to define a person is the most absurd kind of extreme biological reductionism.

The fertilized oocyte is a human cell, but it is not a human being.

Way too many people think that is a sacrilegious idea — we have to cherish every single scrap of human tissue, especially the bits that have the potential to go on and develop into a child.

No, we don’t. We don’t have to revere every block of rough marble because another Michaelangelo could come along and sculpt it into something as wonderful as his David; we don’t have to treasure every scrap of canvas because the next Picasso is going to use it for a masterpiece. The value isn’t in the raw materials, but in the pattern, the skill, the art put into it. Similarly, those cells are simply the raw clay that the process and time will sculpt into something that is worth love and care.

Which is more important, the pigments or the painting? Even worse, do you think the pigments are the painting?


A couple of additional points: notice how clever I was in not saying precisely when the fetus becomes a human being? That’s because there is no sharp magical border, it’s grey and fuzzy all the way. That’s a social and personal decision. Don’t even ask me when — I’m a guy. I don’t have the same responsibilities as a pregnant woman, so I don’t get the same privileges.

Also, some people are ‘uneasy’ about the whole abortion thing. Fine; don’t get one. Your personal feelings of yuckiness shouldn’t be a factor in deciding what other people do. Churches make me queasy, but I’m not planning to criminalize attendance.

Comments

  1. #1 Givesgoodemail
    April 18, 2010

    THANK YOU! (Love the “baby” picture redos.)

    Something else that is starting to be worrisome is the Personhood movement. They’re trying to do an endrun around the abortion question by declaring that everything with human genes be declared “a person”.

    Why can’t wingnut anti-choice types just go off and shoot each other, or something?

  2. #2 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    PZ:

    Which is more important, the pigments or the painting? Even worse, do you think the pigments are the painting?

    *Applause* Very well written, thank you. I imagine we’ll get some interesting chew toys trolls on this one. I hope they’re interesting, the latest batch have been duds.

  3. #3 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 18, 2010

    As a chemist I’m probably more interested in pigments than paintings, actually.

    Interesting ‘argument’ about the genes. Did they just pop into existence at conception? Weren’t there just as many genes before conception? What’s so special about the fusion?

    I used to be a blood donor – I guess it’s a good thing that red blood cells don’t have nuclei. It’d be horrible if I went around distributing little humans willy-nilly like that.

    Pity we have better things to spend out money on; I think it’d be amusing to put up billboards with foetuses of humans, cats, chickens, apes, fish &c at the same stage of development. And ask the prolifers to pick out the ‘person’.

  4. #4 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Givesgoodemail:

    Something else that is starting to be worrisome is the Personhood movement.

    That’s been going on for years. There’s an evangelical group in Colorado who has been all hyped up about that for ages now.

  5. #5 Jordan
    April 18, 2010

    I say mandatory abortions for all women everywhere!

    But I can sort of sympathize with the anti abortion side, regardless of whether it’s cute and cuddly or not, the idea of terminating something that has the potential to be a full fledged human some day makes me kind of uneasy.

  6. #6 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    I really like this argument, and how you tied it in to the concept of a soul in the talk I heard you give in Syracuse. When you give up the idea that there’s a “soul”, then that unformed embryo is even less of a special snowflake. And the thing is, even every pro-life activist knows it. If you give them the burning IVF clinic scenario, not one single person would opt to save a dish full of 100 embryos over a single living child. They know there’s a difference, but choose to ignore it in favor of punishing the sluts who dared to have sex.

    Because, of course, it all goes back to control of women. This post was one of the first to really turn my thinking around on the abortion issue when I was a baby atheist. It’s since had a rather long addendum put on it, but the first part is simple and direct, and really puts the whole thing in perspective. Money quote: “When pro-choice feminists like Wolf, or liberal men, or a lot of women, even, say things like, “I’m pro-choice, but I am uncomfortable with… [third-trimester abortion / sex-selection / women who have multiple abortions / women who have abortions for "convenience" / etc.]” then what you are saying is that your discomfort matters more than an individual woman’s ability to assess her own circumstances. That you don’t think that women who have abortions think through the very questions that you, sitting there in your easy chair, can come up with. That a woman who is contemplating an invasive, expensive, and uncomfortable medical procedure doesn’t think it through first. In short, that your judgment is better than hers. Think about the hubris of that. Your judgment of some hypothetical scenario is more reliable than some woman’s judgment about her own, very real, life situation?”

  7. #7 Stephen Wells
    April 18, 2010

    Dandruff.

  8. #8 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    But I can sort of sympathize with the anti abortion side, regardless of whether it’s cute and cuddly or not, the idea of terminating something that has the potential to be a full fledged human some day makes me kind of uneasy

    Then I suppose masturbation and menstruation also make you uneasy? Same thing.

  9. #9 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Jordan:

    But I can sort of sympathize with the anti abortion side

    Well, you shouldn’t. These people do not hold life sacred. They don’t care one iota for “potential persons” or “the pre-born”. They don’t care at all that the child resulting from a forced birth may be born into poverty or an abusive situation. They don’t care if a woman has serious and frightening medical issues. They don’t care if a woman has been raped. They don’t care if a girl has been subject to incestuous rape. They don’t care how many women died from back alley abortions; they don’t care if women die now due to the difficulties in obtaining abortions. They have worked hard and long to make obtaining an abortion difficult, they’re happy with what they have done.

    They do not want women to be able to abort, nor do they want women to be able to obtain birth control. Pro-lifers are not about “saving babies” – what they are about is controlling women. Full stop.

    I used to escort at clinics, and I saw more than one “stand-up, pillar of the christian community, pro-lifer” bring in their daughter for an abortion. Like all hypocrites, it’s one rule for them, and one rule for everyone else. They deserve nothing more than complete contempt.

  10. #10 immichaelyoung
    April 18, 2010

    “the idea of terminating something that has the potential to be a full fledged human some day makes me kind of uneasy.”

    With the right technology (and it’s not so far off), the DNA in the skin cells you discard when scratching your nose could be extracted and used to generate a clone. So then, scratching your nose = destroying a potential person.

    In general, potential x’s don’t have the value of x’s. And good thing, too, or else it would be deeply immoral to scratch your nose.

  11. #11 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    pfft… my breakfast used to have eyes, ears, and a tongue, too.

    I love the picture re-do’s… we have those posters all over town, too, and in my more vicious and ambitious moments I have the urge to start a counter-campaign with lineups of embryos or fertilized eggs and captions along the lines of: “future cowboy, or future steak?” or “a precious baby, or a dangerous disease?”

    I’m guaranteeing most people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

  12. #12 conelrad
    April 18, 2010

    Every so often there is a case where a family sues a medical examiner because a gall bladder wasn’t replaced into the body cavity before interment. Sometimes they even disinter the body in order to replace the missing piece. I always wondered: what about all the fingernail clippings?

  13. #13 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 18, 2010

    For anyone thinking there is anything to the “pro-life” side, ask where are they from birth to the eighteenth birthday, when it takes a quarter of a million dollars these days to raise a baby to 18. Not one cent from them for that. Just getting the fetus born. Says all you need to know about their hypocrisy…

  14. #14 MoonShark
    April 18, 2010

    Well that’s the least controversial Sunday Sacrilege I’ve read yet. Of course religious folks are going to disagree, and keep conflating the forest and the trees, the bricks and the house, etc.

    One thing that might help though is to really push the idea that most genetic traits we care about are probabilistic rather than deterministic. I just saw GATTACA again in my Behavioral Genetics course, and I love the film (yeah we criticized it), but I think many otherwise intelligent people buy in too literally to the idea that “we are our genes”. That’s just not the whole story.

    But environment, gene expression, epigenetics, proteomics… those take time to explain.

  15. #15 Leah
    April 18, 2010

    These redone ads are genius. I want to see these sitting next to highways.

  16. #16 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    the idea of terminating something that has the potential to be a full fledged human some day makes me kind of uneasy

    and the thought that my breakfast was once an intelligent being, and was murdered for my pleasure sometimes makes me queasy. That’s not a reason to outlaw all meat though, or to sympathize with those who would try to outlaw it.

  17. #17 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Nerd, that’s a valid point, but what bothers me more is what I mentioned in #9 – that in many cases, these pro-lifers know a woman has an unstable situation and there is a high probability a child she births will face a very bad life and oftentimes a very short life.

    The fact that they don’t give a damn that a baby/child ends up killed, that it’s all okay because the now dead child wasn’t aborted is what infuriates me.

  18. #18 Jordan
    April 18, 2010

    Jesus fucking Christ let me clarify:

    I don’t want to outlaw abortion and I don’t want to support people who want to outlaw abortion.

    I just fucking said it makes me uneasy.

  19. #19 RowanVT
    April 18, 2010

    Carlie, I’m pro-choice but do have some reservations. One of them was created when I overheard a 19 year-old suite mate in my dorm complaining that she missed a party because she was getting her third abortion. Some people are too stupid to have children, so in that sense I was glad she wasn’t spreading her genetics around… but if she’s also too vapid and whiny to care about the correlation between not using a condom and getting pregnant, I feel that in a proper sense of justice (and malice) that she should be forced to carry the fetus to term and go through labor without an epidural. Maybe then she’d use birth control. And before someone says something, she didn’t use the pill because it decreased her sex drive, and condoms felt funny so that’s why she didn’t use any. No health problems.

    But that desire to make stupid young twits deal with pregnancy in order to prevent them breeding is counterproductive, because then they’ve bred. So I would never try to have something like that enacted as law, because I don’t want other people enacting other laws that tell me what I may and may not do with my own uterus. People can still have reservations, can still think certain choices others make are not wise, without imposing their own will.

  20. #20 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    I just fucking said it makes me uneasy.

    you said you sympathise with the anti-abortionists because it makes you queasy. that’s different.

  21. #21 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 18, 2010

    “I also had a tail!”

    Can’t. Stop. Laughing.

  22. #22 negentropyeater
    April 18, 2010

    Great post. Why can’t everybody read and understand this?

  23. #23 Jordan
    April 18, 2010

    “you said you sympathise with the anti-abortionists because it makes you queasy. that’s different.”

    I said I sort of sympathize. Just trying to put myself in the shoes of people with different viewpoints.

  24. #24 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 18, 2010

    Then I suppose masturbation and menstruation also make you uneasy? Same thing.

    Yes, each used Kleenex and tampon is a cemetery.

  25. #25 rturpin
    April 18, 2010

    PZ nails a key point. Much of the religious rhetoric about abortion and other start of life issues is designed precisely to avoid looking at the biological realities, substituting instead a kind of fairy tail story of development. That in turn meshes with the myth of the sole, and the religious idea that their god is somehow intervening directly to give instantaneous creation to that soul. Look at the biology too closely, and the latter myth seems as remote as the Greek gods residing on Olympus.

    Increased biological knowledge and technology also tear down the notion that there is something special in the potential to become a person. With current cloning techniques, many of the cells in one’s body possess that same potential.

  26. #26 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    Way too many people think that is a sacrilegious idea ? we have to cherish every single scrap of human tissue, especially the bits that have the potential to go on and develop into a child.

    I really don’t like the “potential” argument. I tend to ask people whether that means we should never let an ovum go unfertilized, or let an ejaculation go to waste, because they all have potential to become babies. They usually try to tell me that somehow that’s different, but they can never explain to me why.

    Also, with the advent of cloning technology, doesn’t that mean we should not let the skin cells we lose every day go to waste either? Won’t they have the potential to become babies too?

  27. #27 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Jordan:

    I said I sort of sympathize. Just trying to put myself in the shoes of people with different viewpoints.

    Which is why I responded in length about ‘pro-life’ viewpoints. If you’re going to express such things, then be prepared for people to respond.

  28. #28 Anneanimouse
    April 18, 2010

    I love the idea of equating 46 chromosomes with a human being. This of course implies that any human being with a genetic disorder resulting in a chromosome count of more or less than magic number 46 is actually not human and therefore should be allowed to be terminated before or after birth. Sorry, Klinefelter’s syndrome baby, you’ve got one chromosome too many! Not human!

  29. #29 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    but if she’s also too vapid and whiny to care about the correlation between not using a condom and getting pregnant, I feel that in a proper sense of justice (and malice) that she should be forced to carry the fetus to term and go through labor without an epidural.

    This statement scares the crap out of me.

    Yes, yes, I know that you said you were pro-choice, but damn. Pregnancy and children as punishment because you feel like slut-shaming this poor girl?

    Consider my mind blown.

  30. #30 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 18, 2010

    I feel that in a proper sense of justice (and malice) that she should be forced to carry the fetus to term and go through labor without an epidural. Maybe then she’d use birth control.

    Shudder. . . that was unusually ugly. If abortion itself is acceptable, why does it matter why the abortion was chosen? If you find some reasons for choosing abortion to be unacceptable, that means you find something about abortion per se to be wrong. What is that, and why?

  31. #31 Leah
    April 18, 2010

    “We don’t have to revere every block of rough marble because another Michaelangelo could come along and sculpt it into something as wonderful as his David; we don’t have to treasure every scrap of canvas because the next Picasso is going to use it for a masterpiece. The value isn’t in the raw materials, but in the pattern, the skill, the art put into it.”

    A wonderfully humane and rational way of looking at it, but of course the pro-embryo (a more apt appellation) kooks are just going to see “babies = scrap material” and start screaming.

  32. #32 negentropyeater
    April 18, 2010

    Jordan,

    Just trying to put myself in the shoes of people with different viewpoints.

    But the different viewpoints are not equivallent in their relevance. One is based on reason and evidence, the other on myths.

  33. #33 Sir Eccles
    April 18, 2010

    “They’re trying to do an endrun around the abortion question by declaring that everything with human genes be declared “a person”.”

    So does that make bananas people? Or is the whole bananas share 50% of our genes thing a myth?

  34. #34 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    I’m generally pro-choice, but I think birth is a lousy cut-off point for where the real ethical concerns arise. Embryos, zygotes, etc are more the territory for people who believe in ensoulment though I think atheists can reasonably argue about the ethical concerns with them and come to the conclusion that the mother’s liberty has to take primacy.

    Drawing the line later is the difficult part for me, especially with premature siblings. I don’t think any of us believe that a fetus magically becomes a human being once exposed to air. An 8 month fetus or 1.5 month premature baby is generally at the same stage of development. I think there are reasonable arguments on which side to err on the side of caution, whether it be the mother’s liberty or ethical concerns about a more developed fetus.

    I think the pro-choice side and the pro-life side obfuscate some of the more pressing ethical dilemmas of abortion by their tendencies to stick to the extremes though. The pro-choice side likes to stay in the safe territory where the offspring resembles a booger. The pro-life side stays safely towards the cute developed baby end when depicting the question.

    Skipping past the absurdity of ensoulment and the depiction of abortion only being about the removal of embryos nearly indistinguishable from snot-wads… I’d like to see some better arguments from the rational middle on where and why the draw the line on fetuses. Is viability too early? Too late? Do we need to err more on the side of caution for the mother or the fetus do to potential abuse of the rules?

    Just to clarify though: I’m not begrudging atheists who take on the religious yahoos who keep abortion arguments in the durrrr stage of discussion. It’s just frustrating that the discussion rarely seems to get out of it.

  35. #35 MoonShark
    April 18, 2010

    RowanVT said:

    if she’s also too vapid and whiny to care about the correlation between not using a condom and getting pregnant, I feel that in a proper sense of justice (and malice) that she should be forced to carry the fetus to term and go through labor without an epidural

    Well the other problem with that (besides an idiot breeding) is that it’s unfair to the newborn child to be brought into a world where it’s not wanted… or at least somehow barely (and wrongly) tolerated over the “funny” feeling of condoms. *sigh*

    Sounds to me like what the dumb bitch needs is an education, not physical pain or a financial burden that the rest of us could potential have to shoulder.

  36. #36 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @Jordan and Caine: how about the following distinction:
    I can understand people who don’t want to have an abortion. I can not understand people who want to deny abortions to others.

  37. #37 Leah
    April 18, 2010

    but if she’s also too vapid and whiny to care about the correlation between not using a condom and getting pregnant, I feel that in a proper sense of justice (and malice) that she should be forced to carry the fetus to term and go through labor without an epidural.

    You are not pro-choice. I am revoking your membership card. Dues are non-refundable. Thanks for playing.

  38. #38 Jillian Swift
    April 18, 2010

    Nothing makes me more uneasy than the idea of a child being produced when that child is not wanted, when that child can’t or won’t be properly supported, when that child will be born with fetal alcohol syndrome or some other drug related problem.

    Abortion is not a tragedy, abortion prevents tragedy.

  39. #39 Randy Owens
    April 18, 2010

    I’m surprised you missed the point that, if they think you’ll willingly do to humans what you did to that cracker, it follows that they’ll willingly eat humans like they do their crackers. They made the comparison themselves, and when applied to themselves, it doesn’t have the extra layer of error from being used against a strawman.

    On the other hand, maybe it’s just too obvious, and the Christians = cannibals point has certainly been made, just not usually by themselves, and usually with the cracker as the point of emphasis, rather than the humans to which they’re supposedly equivalent.

  40. #40 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Rowan @ 19:

    but if she’s also too vapid and whiny to care about the correlation between not using a condom and getting pregnant, I feel that in a proper sense of justice (and malice) that she should be forced to carry the fetus to term and go through labor without an epidural. Maybe then she’d use birth control.

    That’s an amazingly ugly, vindictive statement. It also happens to be just how pro-lifers think. Congratulations, you just may be an ugly pro-lifer!

    *Yes*, I read the part where you wouldn’t want to make this law; that doesn’t much matter when you think this way. The primary problem with the above ugliness is that it’s all about punishing that slut, who gives a shit about the kid that results from a forced birth, eh?

    Women who depend on abortion as a form of BC are rare. I knew a woman who did that, and she’s the only woman I’ve ever known to do that. I’d take a long, cold, hard look at your thoughts on this matter. You’re closer to being a pro-lifer than you know.

  41. #41 sharky
    April 18, 2010

    There is no such thing as “justice (and malice.)”

  42. #42 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 18, 2010

    It happens that post-partum depression or other unfortunate circumstances (fear, uncertainty, doubt) causes a mother to kill her child after birth – either immediately or some time afterwards.

    I think that in most cases – when the ‘culprit’ is found – she’s more likely to receive help and therapy rather than imprisonment.

    I think I tend to think that babies are not in fact fully persons and while it does squick me out, I have to say that in some cases infanticide isn’t ‘as bad’ a crime as murder.

    The main reason I tend to feel different about infanticide than abortion is, I think, that once the baby is out, there are other ways of getting rid of it – put it up for adoption, leave it in the dropbox that, thankfully, are getting more common. So there’s no reason to kill a baby once it’s born, just as there’s no reason to kill a pig, you don’t intend to eat.

  43. #43 Jordan
    April 18, 2010

    I can understand people who don’t want to have an abortion. I can not understand people who want to deny abortions to others.

    My thoughts exactly. However, I do have to say that I find it unfair that some people make out all anti abortionists to be these religious morons who have no concern of the welfare of the child after it’s born.

  44. #44 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    but if she’s also too vapid and whiny to care about the correlation between not using a condom and getting pregnant, I feel that in a proper sense of justice (and malice) that she should be forced to carry the fetus to term and go through labor without an epidural.

    Wow.

    Wow.

    Really?

    Wow.

    Um, no. If abortion is ok, then three are ok. Twelve would be ok. Twenty would be ok. The only reason it’s not ok is if you think there is a soooper special soul in that little blastocyst. Otherwise, get the hell out of her business.

    I don’t think any of us believe that a fetus magically becomes a human being once exposed to air.

    But some of us understand that it does magically become no longer dependent on the woman who housed it at that point. I can word your issue another way: at what point in pregnancy should a woman cease to become an autonomous free citizen and instead become a slave of the state? Because forcing a woman to remain pregnant against her will is doing exactly that. Late-term abortions are dangerous. They are painful. They are expensive. They are already not undertaken except in the most dire circumstances. All outlawing them would do is to condemn an awful lot of women in that situation to a painful death because their doctor is too scared of losing their license to do what’s necessary to save them. Again, go back to the quote I provided earlier. Do you really think that women are so stupid and immoral that making late-term abortions legal means that women would flock to getting pregnant and carrying it around for several months just for the heck of it, so that they could then undergo a dangerous and painful procedure? Do you really think that little of women?

  45. #45 Thomas Winwood
    April 18, 2010

    You are not pro-choice. I am revoking your membership card. Dues are non-refundable. Thanks for playing.
    No, he’s pro-choice – he supports her right to have abortions. He just thinks her reason for having them is stupid.

    (That said, I disagree with him vehemently, and agree that his sentiment is quite viscerally grotesque. Attack him for his misogyny in that particular instance, not for his fictional anti-choice stance.)

  46. #46 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Jordan:

    However, I do have to say that I find it unfair that some people make out all anti abortionists to be these religious morons who have no concern of the welfare of the child after it’s born.

    Anti-abortionists do not want any woman to be able to obtain an abortion, whether they are religious or not. They certainly aren’t going to follow all the women prevented from aborting around to see the resultant child is taken care of properly.

  47. #47 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    Hah, I don’t feel uncomfortable about abortion at all, not that a male’s opinion on the subject deserves any consideration.

    Abortion fits in well with my generally misanthropic attitude toward doomed swollen monkey-brain evo-FAIL.

    In fact if there wasn’t an abortion, I’d have to invent one.

    They should have a Downs kid on the Billbaord “I got my genes on extra value day”

    Or one of the severe Iraqi birth defect babies: “I got my genes at conception, and depleted uranium in utero. Thanks, America”

  48. #48 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    I have yet to find an anti-choice activist whose final argument was not a variation on one of these:

    1) Women deserve to be punished for having sex or generally not following ?The Rules?.

    2) I am catholic or an ex-catholic and it?s really hard to shake the childhood programming.

    3) Thinking about not existing gives me existential anxiety and as such I respond emotionally to any issue like abortion that makes me think about that by trying to make it go away.

    4) Sperm Magic, baby. The sperm is the only important part of a pregnancy because it?s the only part that involves a man. Once the sperm hits the egg, it?s all on automatic with little input from the woman because otherwise the man?s role in a pregnancy isn?t as impressive as the woman?s and makes it more about the man and isn?t that what?s really important?

    5) Surgery is gross when visualized and I haven?t bothered to think about the issue in any personal manner yet.

    6) A combination of some or all of these. All share a general disregard for the woman and she is largely left out. 1 and 4 are the most popular by far and are definitely the big sellers, though 2 and 3 often pop up among the ?earnestly struggling with it? types. And 5?s pretty much end up pro-choicers naturally when they start dealing with their lives as adults.

    In general, all forced birthers share a general disregard for the woman who is the sole human in the debate. She is viewed rhetorically as a void that stuff happens in rather than her genuine biological role as an active agent, literally leeching the nutrients from her body to literally build piece by piece, the developing embryo.

    They?re also almost always male, almost always either religious or libertarian, and often don?t support anything that genuinely reduces the number of abortions, because those methods often involve improving the lives of sluts (I mean women) rather than punishing them for not slutting up with the men arguing against abortion.

    They will also argue like abortions aren?t the most commonly performed surgery in this country nor that the ?sluts? would be 1/3 of all women, most likely including your mother or another close relation.

  49. #49 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @Jordan:

    However, I do have to say that I find it unfair that some people make out all anti abortionists to be these religious morons who have no concern of the welfare of the child after it’s born.

    Maybe not all of them, but the correlation is good enough for a rule of thumb.

  50. #50 aratina cage
    April 18, 2010

    I really had a good laugh at the realistic photo replacements.

    The way I see it, our side really is pro-life despite their claim to the name because we value the people carrying the embryo over the embryo and we value the lives of the doctors and other medical staff who provide women with the means to a safe abortion. We are pro-person.

    The so-called pro-life side is really the pro-force side. They are only interested in forcing every woman to live by the ideals that the pro-lifers hold; they are fascist in that regard. Their reasoning for their position is entirely irrational. I can’t think of a better way to point that out than how you just did.

  51. #51 negentropyeater
    April 18, 2010

    I’d like to see some better arguments from the rational middle on where and why the draw the line on fetuses.

    I don’t think it’s that difficult:

    nobody has the right to use someone else’s body.

    Nobody means no human being or no fetus. A sick person in urgent need of a heart transplant doesn’t have the right to take someone else’s heart. If a woman doesn’t want a fetus using her body, she should be allowed to get rid of that parasite. If society deems that the fetus is too precious to be killed and can be saved, it should take care of it if it’s viable.
    If medical and technological progress means that the age limit for viability changes, it doesn’t change the principle.

  52. #52 Jordan
    April 18, 2010

    Anti-abortionists do not want any woman to be able to obtain an abortion, whether they are religious or not. They certainly aren’t going to follow all the women prevented from aborting around to see the resultant child is taken care of properly.

    I was trying to be nice about, but yeah, you were the “some people” I was referring to. I think you’re just as ignorant and unreasonable as your anti abortionist counterparts.

  53. #53 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Sili, The Unknown Virgin:

    leave it in the dropbox that, thankfully, are getting more common.

    Except for the fact those ‘safe harbor baby drops’ didn’t work out. When possible, the mother is still traced and usually prosecuted.

  54. #54 RowanVT
    April 18, 2010

    So… I’m not allowed to have nasty thoughts about people? Woot! Call me evil and send to me Hell. That’s where all the fun people are anyways.

    I’m not always a nice, sweet, wonderful, loving person. I desire, for example, Glen Beck to be smited by an asteroid. I think G. W. should have his colon explode from constipation.

    I will fight tooth and nail for that child in a woman’s body to have her abortions that make her miss parties. I even said I was glad she made that choice as spreading around her genes (and yes, punishing a child with a life that includes her as a mother) would be detrimental to everyone involved.

  55. #55 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    #42… I think that’s an interesting end of the argument that lends weight to the idea of keeping abortion legal all the way through the pregnancy. Unfortunately it would be political suicide to suggest that babies themselves may have less value (in spite of various other age restrictions on liberty and inherently their value) since it directly conflicts with instinctual psychology to adore/protect babies. Though infanticide does happen it’s mostly an aberration. I also think we tread on dangerous territory when our ethical concerns try to put instinctual traits such as empathy, or in this case defense of our young, on the back burner. We may need to rationally temper them, but I hope you’re not suggesting we ignore them entirely.

  56. #56 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Cerberus:

    They?re also almost always male

    I’ll argue that one, Cerberus. I’ve known way too many female pro-lifers.

  57. #57 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 18, 2010

    When possible, the mother is still traced and usually prosecuted.

    Fuck

    What country are we talking about here? I only really know of the, because there was talk about them working in Germany, and therefore we might should* get them here in Denmark as well.

    *Damn you LanguageLog, when did I start thinking in double modals?

  58. #58 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    There is a nice summary of anti-abortion policies and whether they are consistent with the hypothesis that a fetus is a baby or whether they are designed primarily to punish women here. No surprise how it turns out.

  59. #59 Leah
    April 18, 2010

    No, he’s pro-choice – he supports her right to have abortions. He just thinks her reason for having them is stupid.

    The reasons for having an abortion are irrelevant. Citing them at all is evidence of judgment and a desire to punish.

    He is not pro-choice. You cannot simultaneously be pro-choice but also cherry-pick who should be entitled to abortions based on their personal reasons, sexual behavior, or any other factor.

    Doing so imposes morality on abortion, which is the entire point that pro-choicers refute.

  60. #60 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkZ6bud_2OWnH4ya1KYZ-QpvDKkqP4LTac
    April 18, 2010

    I especially like the “soul at conception” hoo-ha. Oh, really!? What about twins who separate up to 14 days after conception? Try again, fetus lovers.

  61. #61 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Jordan:

    I was trying to be nice about, but yeah, you were the “some people” I was referring to. I think you’re just as ignorant and unreasonable as your anti abortionist counterparts.

    Yes, Jordan. Because believing that women have the right to autonomy and advocating for wider and easier access to birth control as well as better education makes me an unreasonable, irrational, evil person who wishes to mandate other people’s morals.

    Sili, The Unknown Virgin:

    Fuck

    What country are we talking about here?

    The U.S.

  62. #62 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    I’m not always a nice, sweet, wonderful, loving person.

    Oh, trust me, I noticed.

    Do you really think it’s a good idea to slut shame a girl who has had “too many abortions” on a thread like this, on a blog like this? No one is going to let you live down your incredibly horrific opinion.

    Sure, you say that you’re pro-choice, but you echo the same exact sentiments of many anti-choicers that I have known. The suite-mate is a slut! Abortion as birth control is wrong! Forced birth! It’s a disgusting view point and you will continue to be called out on it.

  63. #63 Jordan
    April 18, 2010

    Yes, Jordan. Because believing that women have the right to autonomy and advocating for wider and easier access to birth control as well as better education makes me an unreasonable, irrational, evil person who wishes to mandate other people’s morals.

    Bad choice of words. Let me clarify:
    I think that your attitude that all anti abortionists are evil stupid people makes you a bitch.

  64. #64 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    How about the octoMom kids, “We got our genes at Bob’s discount fertility clinic”

    Or a Bill Donahue angerBear billboard, “I got my genes at conception, too bad my mom drank Thunderbird the whole nine months”

  65. #65 KOPD
    April 18, 2010

    Thank you, Glock21. The last time I noticed a thread about abortion here I saw a lot of talk about blastulas and “fucking clumps of cells,” completely ignoring the fact that by the time a lot of women know they are pregnant it is no longer a blastula, and a lot of abortions (though I do not know the percentage) do not involve anything I would consider to be a “clump of cells.” I guess any organism could be considered a clump of cells, but that term implies to me a lack of differentiation in the cells (i.e. no tissues or organs). I am pro-choice, but I don’t like seeing my side distort the issue so badly.

  66. #66 negentropyeater
    April 18, 2010

    #63

    Oh Noes…

  67. #67 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    Also, for every abortion thread, it is worth noting, primarily because many people apparently believe embryos grow completely without input in a hyperspace womb that has no real connection to the woman involved, that even if fetuses and embryos were in fact completely 100% equal to fully grown human beings, abortion would still be moral and anti-choice activism would still be women-hating garbage.

    How can I say this?

    Because by ordering a woman to bring a fetus to term, we grant fetuses a right we do not grant any living person, the right to someone else’s body without their consent (i.e. the right to rape or the right to enslave).

    If I’m a combination of Douglas Adams and Albert Einstein and you are the the combination of Skeletor and Hitler and I need one of your non-vital organs to survive? I do not have the right to it. If I need your blood to survive? I do not have the right to it. If I need to rape your body and inhabit you for 9 months leeching the nutrients from your blood, bones, tissue, and other organs? I most certainly do not have that right.

    But, suddenly if its a woman and a meaningless bundle of semi-tumorous cells and suddenly we’re all supposed to pretend like a massive new unheard of right is just “common sense” to “protect the babies”.

    No, not even to live do FULL HUMAN BEINGS have this right.

    And I think we’re only so susceptible on abortion because the notion that a woman is a full human being who has a right to her own body (i.e. the right to consent and the right to not be raped) is relatively new. Women are still treated as house-slaves in many religions, rape is woefully under-prosecuted and practically something every woman has experienced once in her life, and we’re still accustoming ourselves to the idea of women in the workplace, the educational systems, and the sporting tournaments.

    No wonder when someone says, hey a clump of cells has the right to enslave and use the bodies of women who dare sleep with men who aren’t you, the response of too many idiots is “That sounds fair.”

  68. #68 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 18, 2010

    @Rowan:

    So… I’m not allowed to have nasty thoughts about people? Woot! Call me evil and send to me Hell. That’s where all the fun people are anyways.

    I’m not always a nice, sweet, wonderful, loving person. I desire, for example, Glen Beck to be smited by an asteroid. I think G. W. should have his colon explode from constipation.

    You’re in good company here. Lots of us have nasty feelings, and we disgorge them here regularly. Yep, you’re certainly allowed to have them. :)

    The question, to me, is why you have those particular feelings about the woman whose story you told. I asked you above what was it about abortion itself that you found suspicious, or in need of careful justification if it weren’t to be seen as an immoral act. I’m asking that out of genuine curiousity – if you didn’t find something inherently suspect about abortion, you wouldn’t find some reasons for it so distasteful that they bring up revenge fantasies.

    I’m not trying to insult you or be provocative, and I think this is a reasonable question.

  69. #69 Yunomi
    April 18, 2010

    Venture Brothers had an answer for the soul thing:

    Henchman 24: Here’s something. You know how people cry about aborting babies because of their soul? Turns out you don’t get a soul until you’re like one.
    Henchman 21: So, weird, one. Really?
    Henchman 24: Or maybe six months. I forget. Either way, you’re just this little crying, pooing monster blob until you get your soul.

  70. #70 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkZ6bud_2OWnH4ya1KYZ-QpvDKkqP4LTac
    April 18, 2010

    For those of you wringing your hands at “when does the fetus become equal to a pre-term baby” meme, the answer is “when it is no longer housed in my property.” Abortion is property rights. No one may live in my property w/o my permission. Ever. My property, my decision.

  71. #71 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    What Cerberus said, a hundred times over. Oh, how I want to engrave that on the arm of every fauxgressive who says “but abortion is icky so it’s ok to limit it and Hyde amendment and waiting period and mandatory ultrasounds and late-term and and” and force them to read it 20 times a day.

    What about twins who separate up to 14 days after conception?

    Even more squicky, what about chimeras who twin and then fuse? What happens to the poor other soul?

  72. #72 KOPD
    April 18, 2010

    You cannot simultaneously be pro-choice but also cherry-pick who should be entitled to abortions based on their personal reasons, sexual behavior, or any other factor.

    We do that for guns and plastic surgery. Not great analogies, I know. Just saying.

  73. #73 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    I think that your attitude that all anti abortionists are evil stupid people makes you a bitch.

    switching from implicit to explicit misogyny improves your point… how?

  74. #74 negentropyeater
    April 18, 2010

    KOPD,

    why would it matter whether it is a clump of cells or a mature person?

    I’ll repeat the simple and only relevant ethical principle:

    Nobody has the right to use someone else’s body

    Not a mature adult, not a fetus. Whatever age.

    That throws away the whole discussion about when someone should be considered a person. It’s an irrelevant discussion.

  75. #75 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    How about a Fat Blob Teabagger on a hover-round at a tax protest billboard: “I got my soul at conception but I still can’t fucking dance”

  76. #76 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    So… I’m not allowed to have nasty thoughts about people? Woot! Call me evil and send to me Hell. That’s where all the fun people are anyways.

    Wishing actual pain on someone else? Yeah, that’s pretty misanthropic. And when it’s just because she doesn’t act sexually the way you think she should? Misanthropic, misogynistic, and creepy as hell.

  77. #77 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Jordan:

    Bad choice of words. Let me clarify:
    I think that your attitude that all anti abortionists are evil stupid people makes you a bitch.

    I see. Well, your choice of words has certainly clarified your position.

  78. #78 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 18, 2010

    whoops. . blockquote fail, sorry.

  79. #79 Cathaholics Anonymous
    April 18, 2010

    A couple of points I like to raise about this issue:

    A) The need for abortions is a symptom of a problem in society: what to do with unwanted pregnancies. [There are many reasons a pregnancy is unwanted, but let's not get sidetracked.] Abortion is just one of several options to deal with this problem. The need for abortions would then evaporate if there were no unwanted preganancies. So, preach birth control! -(duh!) Unfortunately, there is a jingle going through my mind about “every sperm is sacred” which means these knuckleheads will never come around to a reasonable solution for minimizing if not eliminating abortions….

    B)The part about chromosomes equals a human makes me think that the catholic opposition to stem cell research and cloning is truly based on the fact that if successful, all catholics can never take a shower without committing murder of potential life from the skin cells that are sloughed-off via the cleansing process!

  80. #80 claudia.sawyer
    April 18, 2010

    I would also suggest that PZ’s first altered image show the 12 week fetus to scale.

  81. #81 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    I was trying to be nice about, but yeah, you were the “some people” I was referring to. I think you’re just as ignorant and unreasonable as your anti abortionist counterparts.

    Oh, you wanted us to be more reasonable about this? OK. Reason with me, if you will:

    Which political party in the US is most loudly opposed to abortion and is trying everything in its power to restrict access to them? And which party has been trying to block any improvements of social security which would benefit children and single parents, such as universal health care that also covers children with pre-existing conditions? And which party is most vocally religious?

    Is it a coincidence that all of these questions have the same answer?

    And besides, if the anti-abortion crowd really cared about preventing abortions so much, why do they also generally want to restrict access to contraceptives and safe-sex education, arguably the most effective ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies? It suggests that anti-abortion is not primarily about the babies, but it’s part of a wider agenda. It’s about sex. It’s about not letting women get away with having free access to it.

  82. #82 ButchKitties
    April 18, 2010

    The anti-choice movement continues to ignore the plain fact that the legality of abortion has next to nothing to do with the incidence of abortion. Western Europe has relatively unrestricted abortion and the lowest abortion rates in the world. Around 3 in 250 women between ages 15-44 will get an abortion. In Brazil, where abortion is illegal except for rape or medical necessity, the lifetime average is between 1-2 abortions per woman. Clearly, making abortion illegal does not prevent abortions, though it is pretty good at making them unsafe.

    What would reduce the incidence of abortion would be to eliminate unwanted pregnancies (no demand for abortions = no abortions), but I’ve yet to find a “pro-life” group that focuses on ending abortion by improving access to doctors, contraception, or mandating comprehensive sex education. Because they aren’t actually interested in preventing abortion. They are interested in punishing women for having sex.

  83. #83 KOPD
    April 18, 2010

    @70

    So you’re saying you’re okay with abortion up to and including when labor has begun.

  84. #84 ex-Texan Barb
    April 18, 2010

    Judie Brown of the “American Life League” is my favorite pro-life crazy. I check her out regularly for info on what’s new with wingnuts. One of my favorite chestnuts, re pregnant 10 year olds: A raped child shouldn’t be subjected to the further trauma of abortion!

    Today Judie responds to a troubled supporter (or maybe a troll!) who’s read a (truly) horrifying story in Newsweek about women who are coerced by abusive boyfriends into becoming/remaining pregnant. This potentially lost soul is starting to wonder if abortion is always so bad after all!

    But Judie sets her straight!! Read on if you can even follow it, but do be sure to check out the end of the first paragraph. I think someone’s finally seen the light:

    Dear Marie

    We live in a culture of violence brought about by the ongoing slaughter of the most innocent in our midst, the preborn. To address the wrong being perpetrated against women like those discussed in the Newseek article we have to begin at the root cause of such discrimiation and abuse, the Lord.

    A culture of violence is a culture that hates God.

    This is not a popular topic for mainstream media, they dislike the discussion of faith and the power of God, but believe me in a world attempting at every turn to deny God’s creation and His power, this sort of abuse will only increase.

    Judie Brown

  85. #85 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    Caine @56

    Right, the catholics. Majority, then? Pretty much if they aren’t male, they strongly identify with the patriarchy and sustaining it. I would argue that over 75% of anti-choicers also either fought against the ERA or would have if they had been around back then.

    Certainly almost every single female pro-life leader is literally recycled from that old battle or other battles against “encroaching feminism”.

    The fact that it’s about controlling women and punishing them for the victories they’ve made towards equality is not subtle.

    It’s especially worth noting that this is because free reproductive health is critical for women’s rights. The ability to plan when you will give birth is critical to being able to plan your career, take priority of your education and be a full individual including the right to experience a sex life if you so choose.

    Having to sacrifice an element of personhood to “have the freedom” of a career or knowing that a tryst could end up knocking you out of a job or an opportunity before you are ready are huge stumbling blocks.

    And this is before we get into the fact I hinted at in my last post which is that the abortion war is a cleaned up version of the rape-culture war. I.e. men have lost a large amount of ground on the war to dictate that some women by virtue of angering the patriarchy deserve to be raped and that men have inherent rights to use their spouses and partners for sex on their terms rather than their partner’s consent.

    Abortion tries and dilute the idea of female autonomy and the right to your own body while female, by saying that a “cute, lil’ baby” gets to trump a woman’s right to autonomy…by the virtue of the man impregnating her and putting her in her place.

    A lot of it is also sperm magic.

    A fetus does not automagically “grow” into a baby. It is constructed BY THE WOMAN. Enzymes in her surrounding tissues recruit nutrients, blood, bones, tissue, etc… from the food the woman eats and mostly from her own body. Piece by piece she cannibalizes herself to construct the “miracle baby”. So much so that women who have many problems or can’t take care of nutrition for two is having her body heavily compromised by the strain.

    Let me repeat that. Women build fetuses into birthable children by cannibalizing their own body.

    Again, without consent, this is a horror show. Something akin to the way a tumor leeches the nutrients and important tissues of the body in order to grow itself.

    Without the mother’s input of differentiation signals and the like, there would be no difference between growing fetus and tumor cluster.

    But men aren’t used to thinking of women as wholly human so thinking about all of that is distant, unreal, disconnected. But not existing. The existential dread of that is terrifying and to think a woman with her vagina denata has that power and that she almost entirely alone is responsible for most of the creation of “the miracle of life”.

    That just will not stand for so many.

    And to all of them, I’d like to say, Le Fuck You.

  86. #86 KOPD
    April 18, 2010

    why would it matter whether it is a clump of cells or a mature person?

    Whether it makes a difference is not the same as whether it’s honest. Is a bit of honesty too much to ask?

  87. #87 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    Yes, that baby did get his genes at conception. So?

    Those pro-lifers really think we’re stupid, don’t they?

    Is it supposed to be some revelation that the genes come together at conception? Do they think we’re okay with legal abortion because we don’t realize a fetus has the full set of human genes?

    Yeah, you got your genes at conception. And you had to parasitize another person’s bloodstream, hormones and organ functions for the next 40 weeks! I did the same thing. I’m here and typing because that person and her husband actively decided to have children. I exist not because my mom was pro-life (she wasn’t) but because I was a wanted baby. The real tragedy is that an awful lot of people can’t say that.

  88. #88 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    Carle @ 71

    what about chimeras who twin and then fuse? What happens to the poor other soul?

    It becomes a plot device in a hollywood B-movie horror flick.

  89. #89 Kel, OM
    April 18, 2010

    An advertising campaign being misleading? Never. Next you’re going to tell me that if I buy a Lexus beautiful scantily-clad women aren’t going to drape themselves over it… you’re just talking nonsense PZ.

  90. #90 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    I’ve yet to find a “pro-life” group that focuses on ending abortion by improving access to doctors, contraception, or mandating comprehensive sex education. Because they aren’t actually interested in preventing abortion. They are interested in punishing women for having sex.

    Just repeating that for emphasis.

    So you’re saying you’re okay with abortion up to and including when labor has begun.

    So you’re saying that your ridiculous hypothetical is so much more important than actual cases of late-term abortion that yours should be the primary rationale for formulating law?

  91. #91 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    KOPD @83

    Yes.

    And you should too.

    Now read my posts and grow the fuck up.

    Love,
    A bitch

  92. #92 aratina cage
    April 18, 2010

    So you’re saying you’re okay with abortion up to and including when labor has begun.
    -KOPD

    When and where has that happened when it wasn’t medically necessary?

  93. #93 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 18, 2010

    *checks to make sure alisonmiers#87 is on a list*

    PZ, Molly time is overdue…

  94. #94 negentropyeater
    April 18, 2010

    KOPD,

    what’s dishonest about saying that nobody has the right to use someone else’s body? Nobody means no person or no clump of cells. it doesn’t matter.

  95. #95 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Cerberus @ 85:

    Caine @56

    Right, the catholics. Majority, then? Pretty much if they aren’t male, they strongly identify with the patriarchy and sustaining it. I would argue that over 75% of anti-choicers also either fought against the ERA or would have if they had been around back then.

    Certainly almost every single female pro-life leader is literally recycled from that old battle or other battles against “encroaching feminism”.

    A fair amount of catholics, yes. I’ve known too many female pro-lifers who aren’t catholic though. They run the spectrum of “christian” from fundies to moderate. Abortion is a polarizing issue, however, what I cannot stand is the pro-lifers refusing the idea of a woman having autonomy. In that regard, yes, there is the standard “a man is head of the household” garbage, but it’s not limited to one particular flavor of christianity.

    Women have been finding ways to abort since they’ve been getting pregnant. It’s foolish to think it will stop. A lot of my anger towards the lifers not just the attempt to stop abortions; it’s the constant fight to make BC unavailable and deny better education. Apparently, though, my thinking on these issues makes me a bitch. Ah well.

  96. #96 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    So you’re saying you’re okay with abortion up to and including when labor has begun.

    If you’re not, how many women are you comfortable with killing to prevent this hypothetical situation from happening? One? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? If abortion is limited, it will happen. Some of them will die. How many are you comfortable with? That’s not a rhetorical question. How many?

  97. #97 Kel, OM
    April 18, 2010

    I’ve yet to find a “pro-life” group that focuses on ending abortion by improving access to doctors, contraception, or mandating comprehensive sex education. Because they aren’t actually interested in preventing abortion. They are interested in punishing women for having sex.

    Well said Carlie. It’s amazing that pro-lifers aren’t looking at which countries have the lowest abortion rates in the world and seeing what reasons there are for it. You’d think that if they really cared about lowering abortion rates they would be all over that.

    This is merely the thin edge of the wedge they can use to push their greater agenda. If it were actually about stopping abortion then they are failing spectacularly.

  98. #98 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 18, 2010

    A thought just occurred to me.* Many if not most anti-abortion folks are in favor of punishing women for having sex. The ones who allow exemptions in anti-abortion laws for rape and incest give those women a pass because sex was forced on them and they probably didn’t enjoy it.

    *Yes, it does happen occasionally.

  99. #99 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    So you’re saying you’re okay with abortion up to and including when labor has begun.

    Why does this scenario need to be an issue in the debate?

    If a woman is pregnant and doesn’t want to be, she’s not going to wait until labor has begun and then decide to get rid of it. She’s not going to wait until the third trimester, if she has a choice in the matter.

    If a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant, she will terminate the pregnancy as soon as she is able. She’s not going to subject her body to all that strain for a child she doesn’t want. If she ends up waiting too long, it’s probably because she couldn’t afford the procedure or she walked into one of those “crisis pregnancy centers” that gave her the run-around until she was past the cut-off stage.

  100. #100 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    alysonmiers @ 87:

    I exist not because my mom was pro-life (she wasn’t) but because I was a wanted baby. The real tragedy is that an awful lot of people can’t say that.

    Damn straight. And QTF.

  101. #101 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @Kel, OM:

    It’s amazing that pro-lifers aren’t looking at which countries have the lowest abortion rates in the world and seeing what reasons there are for it.

    Not that amazing, as they are all evil socialist countries. You don’t want to become like them.

  102. #102 Walton
    April 18, 2010

    The reasons for having an abortion are irrelevant. Citing them at all is evidence of judgment and a desire to punish.

    He is not pro-choice. You cannot simultaneously be pro-choice but also cherry-pick who should be entitled to abortions based on their personal reasons, sexual behavior, or any other factor.

    Doing so imposes morality on abortion, which is the entire point that pro-choicers refute.

    That’s utter bullshit. A pro-choicer is someone who accepts and supports the principle that women should be free to have an abortion, without fear of coercion or punishment. That doesn’t mean all pro-choicers have to believe it’s always morally right to have an abortion. There is a difference between believing that people should be free to do X, and believing that X is morally acceptable.

    It’s exactly like freedom of speech. I support everyone’s right to freedom of speech, without exception, from Sunsara Taylor to Fred Phelps and everyone in between. That doesn’t mean I agree with or approve of the things that Taylor or Phelps say. It just means that I accept their right to say it without state coercion, because the state should not be trusted to determine what is and isn’t acceptable speech.

    Equally, I have always found late-term abortion morally repugnant. I do not, however, think it should be illegal – because I don’t want to trust the state with the power to make decisions about what individual women can and can’t do with their bodies, or to enforce such decisions by coercive force. Because once we entrust the state with control over individuals’ bodies, we make ourselves, in a sense, slaves to government.

    Believing that women should be free to have abortions, and that this freedom is a fundamental right, is not the same as saying that abortion is a morally neutral act. In my personal opinion, it isn’t. I don’t think an entity transitions magically from “nonperson” to “person” the second it emerges from the mother’s womb; rather, the process is obviously more gradual. But I nonetheless believe that a woman should have a legal right to an abortion – because a woman’s body is her property, not the state’s.

  103. #103 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    Just wanted to give props to good statements by Deen @81 and alysonmiers @87.

    It’s really very (what’s a word that means to make me want to hug every feminist on the planet and thank them for their work just from hearing the excuses of the rape culture) having to listen to the endless runaround.

    It’s just the case that we don’t yet have a solid grounding in especially American culture on the idea of a woman as a full human being and for her right to her own body.

    We’re always looking for exceptions in the male dominant culture. Well, is it still rape if we are both drunk? What if I just didn’t hear her say no? What if she withdraws consent at the very moment I’m climaxing? Is there a way a fetus can trump her rights to her own body? It’s a cute child isn’t it? Well then, when does it become a cute child? Can we push that back a little ways? How about a little more? I hear conception is a nice point, that way when I forget to pull out she’ll have to carry my proof of virility.

    It’s (again, I search for the word). The worst in us as a culture, maybe?

  104. #104 Kel, OM
    April 18, 2010

    Oh, that should be ButchKitties who should be congratulated.

  105. #105 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010
    I exist not because my mom was pro-life (she wasn’t) but because I was a wanted baby. The real tragedy is that an awful lot of people can’t say that.

    Damn straight. And QTF.

    yup. even though I was an accident, and to an unmarried college student no less, I can say with 100% certainty that I was wanted, because my mom had the choice, and choose to have me.

  106. #106 Finch
    April 18, 2010

    As always, an insightful bit of commentary.

    I do however, have one bone to pick with our squidly overlord. I think it’s important to say one is pro-choice, and not “pro-abortion,” just as a matter of not playing into the paranoid delusional fantasies of the “pro-life” (read: anti-woman) movement. They love mentioning things like China’s population control and conjuring up police-state imagery. I’m sure that nobody here would actively force a woman to have an abortion against her will.

    Just as we need to educate the public about biology to prevent them from being able to manipulate them using biological ignorance, we need to prevent them from being ignorant of what pro-choice actually means. That way pro-lifers can’t manipulate that ignorance.

  107. #107 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    Sorry Kel, I should have cited. When I was composing it I *thought* I would be the very next comment below, but should have known a few others would pop up in the meantime.

  108. #108 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @Walton:

    Equally, I have always found late-term abortion morally repugnant.

    What, always? As in, under all circumstances? What about cases where the continuation of the pregnancy is likely going to kill the mother and probably the child too? It happens, you know.

  109. #109 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    alysonmiers:

    If a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant, she will terminate the pregnancy as soon as she is able. She’s not going to subject her body to all that strain for a child she doesn’t want.

    That’s a fact, one I can vouch for personally.

    If she ends up waiting too long, it’s probably because she couldn’t afford the procedure or she walked into one of those “crisis pregnancy centers” that gave her the run-around until she was past the cut-off stage.

    Unfortunately, that happens all too often. The thing is, most late term abortions are due to medical issues, very serious issues. Women who find themselves in the position of having to abort late-term are in an agonizing position; generally speaking, these women want the child.

    There are already limits on when you can abort, no more laws are needed in that regard. I’d also like to point out that there is a difference between an unwanted pregnancy and an unwanted child. For example, adoption is not a solution to an unwanted pregnancy, where it can be a solution to an unwanted child.

  110. #110 serpdesu
    April 18, 2010

    The replacing of cute baby faces with more accurate pictures is pretty funny and fair enough, and I especially like the tail comment, but your “raw materials” analogy dances vaguely and distantly around the not-at-all easy question about what defines life and when we should dignify that life. What about infants? what about prematurely born infants? Viable fetuses of a comparable age? Surely I agree that a 28 day old fetus ought not be morally equivalent to a todler, but the “line” isn’t and has never been “easy” and abortion is not a simple matter of women’s rights vs. sexist oppression, but listening to some of the cat-herd here meow about it, you’d think it was the new women’s suffrage.

  111. #111 Morgan
    April 18, 2010

    #85 –

    You have to know that your “killing a fetus/baby is ethically acceptable up until the moment the umbilical cord is severed” viewpoint is not held by very many people. I see your point about gene combination not equaling a human being, but you’re taking it to kind of a ridiculous degree.

    I think it’s an important thing to emphasize here, amongst the rampant ad hominem attacks and constant vitriolic rants:

    There exist people who are as intelligent, educated, and thoughtful as you are, who nevertheless do not agree with your opinions.

    Shocking, I know, but it’s true. By standing in a black or white square screaming about how everyone else are idiots, you lump yourself in with all of the jackasses you’re trying to lambast.

    By the way, I’m not necessarily counting myself amongst the people who don’t agree with you – I am very much counting myself among the people who don’t agree with your violent, divisive and infantile manner of “debate”.

    Scientific knowledge does not by itself suffice when discussing matters of ethics and morality.

  112. #112 AnthonyK
    April 18, 2010

    the preborn

    Hah! Because they might become preborn again Christians?
    I only worry about the postborn.

  113. #113 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    So you’re saying you’re okay with abortion up to and including when labor has begun.

    That’s a non-argument, an abortion during labor is called a Cesarian, and if done correctly all survive.

  114. #114 Walton
    April 18, 2010

    Jordan,

    Bad choice of words. Let me clarify:
    I think that your attitude that all anti abortionists are evil stupid people makes you a bitch.

    Seriously, fuck off.

    Using misogynistic language does not help your case. It just makes you look like a sexist moron.

  115. #115 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    Walton @102

    It’s worth noting that philosophy aside, the only late-term abortions that occur (including in super-ultra-commie countries where they allow more unfetered access to abortion) are those necessary for the life or health of the mother.

    Most of the stories are horrifyingly gut-wrenching. Fetuses that have died inside the womb and need to be expunged, fetuses born with giant holes in the back of their heads, fetuses born without skin or organs, fetuses that can’t be birthed without endangering or killing the mother.

    Late-term abortions, by their very temporal nature tend to be wanted pregnancies where something has gone horribly horribly wrong and it is medically necessary to remove the damaged fetus with a safe medical procedure.

    It is not “sluts who ‘forgot’ to get an abortion deciding to whack an angel baby which totally has a brain and everything because the act of pushing the baby through labor would totally ruin the fuckability of their twat”.

    So even though I would argue the only “moral” position is one that doesn’t allow any person, organization, or object to enslave full human beings without their consent, even without that, there is no reason to be troubled by the “moral question” of late-term abortions.

    They are a medically necessary procedure for the life of the mother. So her surviving children or future children can still have a mother and so her loved ones can still have a lover, a family member, a friend, and she can have the right to LIVE.

    So you don’t need to be bothered at all by the procedure.

  116. #116 nixscripter
    April 18, 2010

    With the right technology (and it’s not so far off), the DNA in the skin cells you discard when scratching your nose could be extracted and used to generate a clone.

    [Abortionist of the future:] Oh my god!! You CLONED yourself!? An abomination! Terminate that thing! Praise be to the cracker Lord!

  117. #117 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    #103… you seem to be imply (forgive me if I’m misinterpreting) that even acknowledging that there may be ethical concerns with a viable fetus and whether any of those may conflict with the liberty of the mother is on par with being pro-rape. This comes off as totally unhinged (and again forgive me if I’m just misinterpreting) and little different than with pro-lifers accuse me of being pro-genocide for being unconcerned with zygotes and embryos after weighing the arguments.

    You make a good argument on why abortion should remain legal in almost any situation, but I think the ethical issues get far more complicated when the difference between protected baby with rights and unprotected fetus with none is exposure to air. I think you would surely argue the mother’s liberty outweighs all of those concerns, but your implication, intended or not, that even acknowledging those concerns is on par with being pro-rape is indefensible. If it was something where someone was defending policies that would force raped women to carry babies to term, either directly or through imperfect legislation, the accusation would seem to make more sense.

  118. #118 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Morgan @ 111:

    I am very much counting myself among the people who don’t agree with your violent, divisive and infantile manner of “debate”.

    Your concern is noted. Don’t clutch your pearls too tightly, you might choke yourself.

  119. #119 Walton
    April 18, 2010

    It’s worth noting that philosophy aside, the only late-term abortions that occur (including in super-ultra-commie countries where they allow more unfetered access to abortion) are those necessary for the life or health of the mother.

    Yes, I know that the great majority of late-term abortions are medically necessary to save the mother’s life. And no, I don’t have any moral qualm about it in that circumstance.

    Anyway, as I said – and as I will say again – a woman absolutely should have a legal right to an abortion. Regardless of my or anyone else’s moral views, it should be clear that individuals’ bodies are their own property, not the state’s property, and that it should be up to the woman to make her own choice about abortion. As I said, for me, it’s exactly the same as freedom of speech; whatever I think of someone’s political opinion, I believe in their right to express it without fear of coercion.

  120. #120 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    ^5 Jordan. I’m on your side.

  121. #121 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    What about infants? what about prematurely born infants?

    Already-born, breathing infants, whether born at full term or prematurely, are no longer parasitizing their mothers’ bodies, and so the debate over abortion rights does not apply to them.

    Viable fetuses of a comparable age?

    If the pregnant woman had a choice in the matter, and she has carried the fetus to viability, then she probably doesn’t want to get rid of it, so again: not relevant.

    and abortion is not a simple matter of women’s rights vs. sexist oppression, but listening to some of the cat-herd here meow about it, you’d think it was the new women’s suffrage.

    By all means, keep calling us the cat-herd. Great way to get us to listen to you.

  122. #122 Stardrake
    April 18, 2010

    When I let my full feelings out about the forced birthers, I find there’s only one word that properly describes them:

    SLAVERS.

    They basically believe that women are property–property of men, property of the fetus, property of God. They’re just popping babies instead of picking cotton.

    I also note that the old-school slavers also thought they were doing God’s will–which just happened to be convenient for them, as well.

    It’s time we called them what they are.

  123. #123 evergreenotter
    April 18, 2010

    In contrast to last week’s blasphemy, where I felt denying the existence of a soul was extreme and indefensible, this was a simply amazing post end-to-end. Your point about extreme biological reductionism and the disturbing philosophy it represents was particularly enlightening.

    As a bisexual, I occasionally come across issues involving transgendered people since the fate of all sexual minorities are rather intertwined. There is almost always someone using that exact same genetic reductionism argument to deride the notion that a person’s psychology and external phenotype could ever diverge. The pigment-painting analogy is particularly powerful rebuttal. I think it would be particularly accessible to people lacking a sophisticated understanding of science.

  124. #124 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    Morgan @111

    James Watson doesn’t believe that black people could be as smart as white people. Physically. He believes this against all evidence of reality and the facts on the matter.

    It’s very easy to be intelligent, educated, thoughtful and wrong.

    I’m a warrior for a large number of minority groups. Mainly because I belong to many of them. I am trans, I am woman, I am asexual, I am part of the LGBTQ community, I am poor, I am a strong ally of those fighting for racial equality, etc…

    I have met large numbers of very intelligent, very educated, very thoughtful people carrying on the social prejudices, carrying out the actions of casual bigotry without a thought, because it’s natural, because that’s how they were raised, because that’s the culture, because it’s hard to empathize and really imagine when your brain is inserting all sorts of emotions and biases.

    You may think you are making a point here.

    You are trying a dismissive form of aggressive privilege known as the “tone argument”.

    Also, I’ve yet to meet an anti-choice person who did not fit one of the six types I noted way back in comment 48.

  125. #125 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 18, 2010

    Phew, the Trophy Daughter? is on the side of reason (big surprise). Lots of potential Molly material (HINT PZ) here.

  126. #126 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    The colloquial use of the term parasite seems a bit off for a biology based blog. It’d be difficult to use the biological term parasite to describe something as fundamentally necessary to life as reproduction. Arguments for the mother’s liberty make more sense than something as easily picked off as a misuse of biological jargon.

  127. #127 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Glock21 @ 117:

    If it was something where someone was defending policies that would force raped women to carry babies to term, either directly or through imperfect legislation, the accusation would seem to make more sense.

    That does happen, you know. At least here in the U.S. South Dakota, a while back, legislated that abortion was completely illegal, with no exception in the cases of rape or the health/life of the mother. This was after successfully hounding the only clinic in the area which had provided abortions into closing and went hand in hand with a measure which stated, by law, that pharmacists had the right of “religious conscience”. That means any pharmacist in the state can decide to not carry birth control or refuse to dispense it on ‘moral grounds’.

    Now, imagine discovering you’re pregnant while living in that particular state, and you don’t want to be pregnant. Good luck, you’ll need it! The nearest places a woman in SD can obtain an abortion: Fargo (ND), Grand Forks (ND) or Minnesota. Those clinics have all been made to use ultrasound and impose a mandatory 3 day wait before termination. Just think about the difficulties involved.

  128. #128 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @Walton:

    Regardless of my or anyone else’s moral views, it should be clear that individuals’ bodies are their own property, not the state’s property, and that it should be up to the woman to make her own choice about abortion.

    I don’t think you come off that easily. Moral condemnation of abortion is still an extra barrier for women to actually go out and get an abortion. It’s not a limitation by the state, but pressure from the state is not all that matters. Social pressure matters too.

    Sure, you have the right to express your moral views, but you may still be wrong, and it may still have harmful effects.

  129. #129 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    Glock @117

    I was talking about incrementalist arguments regarding the autonomy of women.

    Buhhutt.

    I would urge you to read my comment @67 for why the viability of a fetus is a red herring.

    However, I am fully willing to let people remove their fetal tissue at any point and allow it to attempt to build itself to full personhood without the intervention of a womb. At that point it is not violating a person’s right to the consent of their body.

    Seriously, my comment @67, read it.

  130. #130 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    #127… I realize it does happen and it should be called out. The post I was responding to seemed to be implying even discussing the ethical concerns was on par with being pro-rape. Reminded me a bit of the other side’s unhinged accusations.

  131. #131 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    The colloquial use of the term parasite seems a bit off for a biology based blog.

    What else would you call it? It’s one organism completely dependent for its survival on siphoning off resources from another, with no reciprocal nutrition going the other direction. Parasitic correctly defines the relationship.

  132. #132 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 18, 2010

    It’d be difficult to use the biological term parasite to describe something as fundamentally necessary to life as reproduction.

    I see. So we should stop calling cancer a decease, since it’s merely good, lifefurthering celldivision?

  133. #133 staceyjwsolar
    April 18, 2010

    One thing everyone is missing is that anti-choicers DON’T WANT to lower the # of unwanted pregnancies- they want to push women into having them and giving them up for adoption through their CPC centers.

    http://www.exiledmothers.com/adoption_facts/robbing_the_cradle.html

    http://www.abortionaccess.info/chooselie.htm

    Ever since Roe v Wade, the rate of adoptions has plummeted (from 25% to 1%,last I read). Xtians created CPC centers to “educate” women away from abortion. Basically, CPC’s tell desperate women that they would be sinning to “kill their baby”, and that they will pay for everything if they don’t abort! Later on, the woman finds out that they are only supported IF they give the baby up- there is NO PLACE for women who want to KEEP their unplanned pregnancies! Some are told if they don’t give the baby up, they will have to pay back any assistance given to them!!!
    This is a little known facet of the abortion wars, and shows where all their anti-life policies (anti-WIC, welfare, sex ed) lead.

    Yes, the anti-choicers have “biblical” reasons for their abstinence only nonsense, and their hatred of contraception, but these aren’t the only things that push them. Behind it all is a desire to control women- reverse all the gains we have made and return us to submissive breeders without rights.

    And for all of those (not here) who say “adoption is the answer- please remember that it causes lots of lifelong hurt. Of course, its the WOMAN that hurts, and anti-choicers don’t care about her at all. Adoption is a great option for those who CHOOSE IT, not those who are coerced into it, as so many scared and desperate women are.

    “Adoption is a violent act, a political act of aggression towards a woman who has supposedly offended the sexual mores by committing the unforgivable act of not suppressing her sexuality, and therefore not keeping it for trading purposes through traditional marriage. The crime is a grave one, for she threatens the very fabric of our society. The penalty is severe. She is stripped of her child by a variety of subtle and not so subtle manoeuvres and then brutally abandoned.” – Joss Shawyer, Death by Adoption, Cicada Press (1979)

    (I was adopted, and realized how much heartache went into it when I met my first-mom)

    And Jordan- guess I’m a BITCH then, since I do think all anti-choice activists that try to limit my rights are EVIL STUPID SCUM!!!

  134. #134 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    #131… it’s not about nutrients, as I pointed out.

    #132… um… no. How is pointing out that parasitism wouldn’t apply given the function of reproduction at all related to cancer somehow being good because cells divide? That doesn’t make a lick of sense.

  135. #135 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Glock21:

    The colloquial use of the term parasite seems a bit off for a biology based blog. It’d be difficult to use the biological term parasite to describe something as fundamentally necessary to life as reproduction.

    Of course it’s a parasite. The exact nature of the ‘relationship’ is parasitical. People shy away from parasite because they don’t care to think realistically about the process.

  136. #136 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    For Glock, the summation of my 67 comment is this:

    Forced birthers seek to extend a right given to no other FULL HUMAN BEING (the right to another’s body without their consent). If I am Secular Jesus and I need an organ to survive, a small amount of blood to survive, leech the nutrients, bone mass, and vital energy and enzymes of another person for 9 months and the only person who can give it is a combination of Pat Robertson and Hitler?

    I do not have that right. I will never have that right. I can never have that right.

    Ever.

    So why are we giving it to growing cell matter being constructed by the mother’s body into something that may at one point at birth be a full human being?

    There is no other reason but the complete lack of respect we naturally give to female personhood and autonomy and how little respect we give to exactly what is occurring in the “creation of a baby”.

  137. #137 serpdesu
    April 18, 2010

    @alysonmiers

    whether or not a baby is “parasitizing” the mother shouldn’t affect whether it is considered a living being or not, hence i see no justifcation for calling a baby which is soon to be born distinct from a prematurely born baby as far as it’s status as living is concerned.

    even if we justify this in cases of danger to hte mother’s life as one life for another, do we place no restrictions on the conditions under which this is allowable? should we consider it morally and legally neutral even if there is not danger?

    i don’t claim to have an iron definition on where i say life begins, i only wish to call attention to the fact that the issue IS debatable, not obvious, and not a simple matter of oppressing or not oppressing women.

    and yes, i generally try not to resort to barbs an name calling, but i’ve been in this debate before and tried to be sensible and fair to no avail. this is an issue many atheists really seem to get their A t-shirts in a bundle about and I don’t really care about winning most of them over becaue i don’t think it’s possible.

    i do, however, expect the more sensislbe people here to be as annoyed as i am by the various overreactions and exclude themselves from my insults.

  138. #138 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    when the difference between protected baby with rights and unprotected fetus with none is exposure to air.

    I think the concept of “rights” is inapplicable to the fetus.

    “Rights” implies that the entity makes a decision. Since a fetus cannot communicate a preference, make a decision, or accept responsibility, it has no rights, actually.

    So then you might ask me: then how does a newborn baby have rights? It can’t make decisions or accept responsibility, either.

    My answer to that is: no, the breathing infant doesn’t have rights, either.

    We make protections for the safety and dignity of infants. Perhaps that’s merely a semantic distinction rather than a real argument, but I think it’s an important distinction. A late-term fetus or newborn infant does not have rights in the same sense that you and I do.

    The difference between protections for a breathing infant and protections for a gestating fetus is that the breathing infant does not need to be protected from a non-negotiable caretaker. Whereas protecting a fetus necessarily affects the liberty of a pregnant woman. If she wants to protect her gestating fetus, then all is fine and dandy. But if she doesn’t want to be pregnant, then protecting that fetus is a lot more complicated than looking after the welfare of an already-born child.

    A breathing infant can be placed in foster care. A fetus can only be protected in ways that affect the bodily autonomy of its mother.

  139. #139 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    @ Cerberus… thanks for the clarification. I believe I just misunderstood who you were directing the comment at. Sorry about that. I do think you make a good case for a woman’s rights taking primacy. No misunderstandings there.

  140. #140 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    Cerebrus at 124

    What is the Q at the end of LBGTQ? I haven’t seen that before. I assume it means queer but not sure what ‘queer’ adds.

    just curious

  141. #141 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    It’d be difficult to use the biological term parasite to describe something as fundamentally necessary to life as reproduction.

    not really. some things procreate by parasitizing other species; some things procreate by parasitizing their own. the method is the same though.

  142. #142 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @serpdesu: did you just define “sensible people” with “people who agree with me”? Seems like a sensible way to get those that don’t agree to listen to you…

  143. #143 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 18, 2010

    #132… um… no. How is pointing out that parasitism wouldn’t apply given the function of reproduction at all related to cancer somehow being good because cells divide? That doesn’t make a lick of sense.

    So cell division is not an integral part of reproduction – and life, itself?

  144. #144 SquidBrandon
    April 18, 2010

    I think it’s an important thing to emphasize here, amongst the rampant ad hominem attacks and constant vitriolic rants:

    There exist people who are as intelligent, educated, and thoughtful as you are, who nevertheless do not agree with your opinions.

    Shocking, I know, but it’s true. By standing in a black or white square screaming about how everyone else are idiots, you lump yourself in with all of the jackasses you’re trying to lambast.

    By the way, I’m not necessarily counting myself amongst the people who don’t agree with you – I am very much counting myself among the people who don’t agree with your violent, divisive and infantile manner of “debate”.

    Scientific knowledge does not by itself suffice when discussing matters of ethics and morality.

    Indeed. These individuals have carefully weighed the scientific literature, have cross-referenced this with the copious scripture passages that specifically address this matter, and have circumspectly considered the ethical issues a woman faces when choosing this procedure. We should not slight them by failing to acknowledge the judicious opinion they have formulated: an opinion certainly more holistic in approach than our own.

    How dare we even consider challenging these opinions (even in the most milquetoast of approaches) without offering these courageous and ever-decorous individuals the utmost respect and deference? We should agree to disagree and keep our opinions to ourselves.

    I feel that I may be in need of a fainting couch if this discussion continues the way it has been developing…

  145. #145 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    whether or not a baby is “parasitizing” the mother shouldn’t affect whether it is considered a living being or not, hence i see no justifcation for calling a baby which is soon to be born distinct from a prematurely born baby as far as it’s status as living is concerned.

    way tho miss the point. fully and inarguably alive human beings don’t have the right to use other human being’s organs against their will, even if it would save their lives; why would fetuses?

  146. #146 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    #141… but when an organism uses another to allow it’s offspring to be a parasite of it, that other organism does not actually get any gain. It just loses. The original organism does get a benefit: reproduction. You can see how the comparison falls flat.

  147. #147 Josh, Official SpokesGay
    April 18, 2010

    Several people here have talked about moral qualms about abortion, even if they support a woman’s right to have one.

    All right then, lay them out on the table. Specifics. No vague words like “uneasy,” “ethically unclear,” or any of that. Tell us why and specifically what the actual foundation is to your moral qualms. Until I hear these, I’m going to assume they’re based on a vague “ick factor.” That’s understandable as far as emotions go.

    But it’s not good enough for this conversation. This is a vitally serious issue, and until we can get past the infantile stage of going about about “moral” qualms without identifying their roots, we’re getting nowhere.

    I’ve asked Rowan about this, he hasn’t answered. Walton’s used the same phrase, and he hasn’t done any better.

    We need to do better. Let’s please start. The entire anti-choice movement is founded on “moral” concerns that no one ever demands be explained in foudational, specific terms. We have to interrogate ourselves – and the rest of society – about this if we’re ever going to get past this.

  148. #148 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    Finch @ 106

    one bone to pick with our squidly overlord. I think it’s important to say one is pro-choice, and not “pro-abortion,”

    He did that on purpose. Once you have taken the squidly overlord into your heart, you begin to know these things.

    You need more faith, take my word for it.

  149. #149 wisnij
    April 18, 2010

    #132… um… no. How is pointing out that parasitism wouldn’t apply given the function of reproduction at all related to cancer somehow being good because cells divide? That doesn’t make a lick of sense.

    So cell division is not an integral part of reproduction – and life, itself?

    Not uncontrolled, malignant cell division, no.

  150. #150 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    You can see how the comparison falls flat.

    no it doesn’t; your claim is actually begging the question, assuming all reproduction is good, harmless, and wanted.

  151. #151 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 18, 2010

    Not uncontrolled, malignant cell division, no.

    Neoplasm.

  152. #152 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    serpdesu @ 137:

    i do, however, expect the more sensislbe people here to be as annoyed as i am by the various overreactions and exclude themselves from my insults.

    At this moment, I’m annoyed with idjits who can’t figure out where the shift key is and manage to use it coupled with an inability to spell or use a spellchecker.

  153. #153 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    #131… it’s not about nutrients, as I pointed out.

    From the embryo’s point of view, it’s entirely about the nutrients. You can claim that it’s a bad PR idea to call an embryo a parasite, but you led off by saying that description was “off” for a “biology based blog”. It’s an entirely appropriate descriptor for a biology based blog. Did you know that there are hundreds of animals that die as soon as they give birth because their energy has been so spent by feeding the embryos? That straw itch mites not only devour the energy of their mother during development, but then turn around and eat their mother to death within minutes of birth? Is that not parasitic? Reproduction is a parasitic experience in any organism that has internal gestation. If you like, you can argue that it’s not a politically expedient term to use, but you can’t say that it’s biologically incorrect.

  154. #154 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @Glock21 in #146:
    I think I get what you’re trying to get at. Parasites live off their hosts without giving the host any benefit, and you think the “no benefit” part doesn’t apply to human babies, because it’s how humans procreate. Am I right?

    Well then. Explain to us what the benefit is of a baby to a mother who doesn’t want it.

    Nothing? “Parasite” it is then.

  155. #155 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    #143… assuming you aren’t being willfully obtuse to argue for the sake of argument, the cell division of a tumor isn’t typically beneficial to the “host.”

  156. #156 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    Also glock, I just noticed the straw man you erected so I might as well knock it down.

    I and no one else is trying to “take away your right” to be all confused about the humanity of a fetus or trying to talk about viability. Nor do I equate having that discussion as equivalent to an actual crime.

    You fully have that right and the right to seek that discussion.

    And we, we have the right to note the problematic history of that discussion, how it ignores greater issues and that some people with greater understanding of the biology of the matter will answer it in ways you didn’t expect with the leading nature of your questions.

    Some people even have the right to call you a woman-hating asshole who’s JAQing off.

    Some people even have the right to think less of you or too react angrily and make sweeping assumptions about your moral character.

    We all have rights.

    But the right to not be called an asshole is never a right.

    Now, I know the emotional response you will have to all that. I’m not one of the some people and I’m not entirely sure you’re on the “not being called an asshole is a right” bandwagon.

    But being of a lot of minority groups, I’ve run into people who’ve been of that school. They think that the right to disagree goes only one way and that a crowd of people enraged by the dishonest nature or dismissive of humanity nature of a conversation somehow do not have the right to disagree or even bring in their own knowledge bases.

    So yeah.

    That all said, the abortion debate is triply infuriating for me. As a woman it’s dismissive of my humanity and right to personhood and bodily autonomy (which yes, affects the rape culture). As a feminist, it’s dismissive of women’s rights in general and again, female bodily and sexual autonomy, which are critical for most all women’s rights. And most of all as a biologist, all the hand-wrining is based in an ignorant understanding of micro and cellular biology, which are my goddamned fields of expertise.

    Constantly those “struggling with it” are completely ignorant about what a fetus is, how its formed into a “person”, and the toll that process takes on the mother’s body. There is an easy glide into thinking it a type of magic that’s all smiles, rather than a disgusting inch by inch snapshot of evolution where the mother’s enzymes and hormone levels “direct” the sculpting of the cell division into the formation of more and more complex human-like objects.

    And that infuriates me. Just like the evolution debate or the climate change debate. Ignorant people trying to make their delusions and desires trump reality, especially when even if they could rewrite reality, what they are asking for is for this special class of “human” to have rights granted to NO OTHER HUMAN BEING.

    Infuriating.

  157. #157 wisnij
    April 18, 2010

    Forced birthers seek to extend a right given to no other FULL HUMAN BEING (the right to another’s body without their consent).

    Not true. Suppose Al and Bob are adult conjoined twins. Al can’t say “This half of the body is mine, cut him off” if he knows it will kill Bob or Bob doesn’t consent to the surgery.

  158. #158 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    The original organism does get a benefit: reproduction. You can see how the comparison falls flat.

    And if the original organism is not interested in reproducing at the present time, then there is no benefit. Only exploitation.

    whether or not a baby is “parasitizing” the mother shouldn’t affect whether it is considered a living being or not, hence i see no justifcation for calling a baby which is soon to be born distinct from a prematurely born baby as far as it’s status as living is concerned.

    Whether it is considered a “living being” is not the point. The question is what that living being is entitled to demand from another living being.

  159. #159 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    what they are asking for is for this special class of “human” to have rights granted to NO OTHER HUMAN BEING.

    And to state it another way, they are asking for women to have rights taken away from them that are taken away from no man.

  160. #160 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    glock @146

    Ah, balls. Ignore my straw man related opening in my comment 157. It was way of target and will do more harm than good now.

    The comment can continue on from “That all said”

    Sorry for its inclusion.

  161. #161 serpdesu
    April 18, 2010

    @jadehawk

    so if i were born a siamese twin, and i could be given the liberty of independent movement by lopping off my living twin, you would support this as my right? now imagine further that i had a choice in my twin coming into this state of affairs, but my twin had no choice. harsh, eh?

    ignore the implausibility of the exact situation, i make the analogy only for the purpose of comparison.

  162. #162 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 18, 2010

    #143… assuming you aren’t being willfully obtuse to argue for the sake of argument, the cell division of a tumor isn’t typically beneficial to the “host.”

    Nor is an unwanted baby. Unless of course you reduce procreation to selfish genes in which case the mother just becomes a hindrance to her own genetic material.

    An unwanted pregnancy is in no way, shape or form different from a cancerous growth.

    And cancer can be quite beneficial for the procreation of selfish genes. Somehow I don’t think Henrietta Lacks woulda been particularly grateful for the immortality her womb (ironically) granted her.

  163. #163 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    ignore the implausibility of the exact situation

    why would I do such a thing? in a discussion of real issues concerning real humans, idiotic and unrealistic hypotheticals are nothing but red herrings.

  164. #164 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    now imagine further that i had a choice in my twin coming into this state of affairs, but my twin had no choice. harsh, eh?

    Oh, I see what you did there.

    If you don’t want a baby, then don’t have sex, right?

    Yeah, no. Try again.

  165. #165 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    I’m generally pro-choice, but I think birth is a lousy cut-off point for where the real ethical concerns arise.

    Abortions are only performed near birth when the mother’s health is at risk. There are substantially fewer ethical dilemmas than you might think.

  166. #166 serpdesu
    April 18, 2010

    @jadehawk

    what-if’s are good tests to see where an individual’s moral rules lie, even when they are implausible or difficult.

  167. #167 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    glock @156

    Got to correct you, a fetus most definitely has a parasitical relationship to the host pregnant woman.

    The reason is not because it’s “using her nutrients”, but because by using her nutrients, it is leeching (or technically, the woman’s enzymes are cannibalizing her for the sake of growing the fetus) out of critical structural parts of her body. A woman who gives birth a large number of times will have a great risk of having her teeth fall out because of the drained calcium. Her bones will be weaker because calcium was drained out of them. Her organs during pregnancy are running under extra stress because it is running the homeostasis for an additional life-form. There is a drain in ATP production which puts the mother under additional risk of mitochondrial-related diseases, greater risks of infections, etc…

    It may be less deadly of a parasitical relationship than say a cancerous tumor cell, but it is definitely not commensalism (one party benefits, the other party, nothing happened because the womb is a magical portal to another land and it doesn’t at all cause any damage to the mother in growing).

    Making that choice is a fine one to make. If my sexual organs could work, I’d love to birth a life into this world, but it needs to be on the consent of the mother that this parasitical process is occurring.

  168. #168 Morgan
    April 18, 2010

    @124 Cerberus

    No, I was making a point, just not the one you assume. I wasn’t attempting in any way to say that you are wrong, nor that all people who meet the criteria of educated, intelligent, and thoughtful are necessarily right. In order to be accused of using an appeal to moral superiority (i.e., the tone argument), I would have to follow up with “therefore, you are incorrect”.

    The point I was making is that your method of debate by insult and hyperbole is ineffective, inflammatory, and actually reduces the impact of your views.

    If it would make it more clear, add as many adjectives to the list of “thoughtful, intelligent, and educated” as is necessary to describe someone on par with your self-image. That wouldn’t make them correct, but it would make them just as worthy of being listened to with an open mind as you are.

    Glock21, you are by far the most respectful, insightful person in this discussion, and I salute you for that.

  169. #169 chgo_liz
    April 18, 2010

    Thank you for this thread.

    This issue is so deeply painful to me, and thus normally reading any comment thread on the subject is gut-wrenching. It’s good to be around people who know how to think deeply and with compassion. As opposed to, you know, anti-choicers who don’t give a shit about people like me once we’re born.

    My mother got 5 (illegal) abortions after waiting too long the first time and getting stuck having me, but is vehemently against anyone else having the right to choose, since they’re all just sluts who deserve to be saddled with a baby as penance for their sins. She swallowed the misogynistic hatred transmitted by her religion and believes it to this day, to her own detriment.

    Somehow I lived through my childhood, no thanks to the anti-choicers. Slavers, indeed. And torturers. They had no right to do that to me or my mother.

    Besides: the fact I didn’t die in utero doesn’t mean I won’t die as an end result of their actions.

    They have no moral leg to stand on.

  170. #170 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    Cerberus… no worries. I share pretty much all of your frustrations.

    Others on parasitism… I’m treating the human as just another animal here. The macroscopic considerations seem to fit better with the colloquial use of the term than the biological. I think, especially given our population problems, that those macroscopic considerations are important and cannot be dismissed in this debate. I just don’t think it’s relevant to whether parasitism is the proper descriptor. I don’t think it is critical to the argument on why abortion should be legal, the use just bugged me.

  171. #171 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 18, 2010

    @jadehawk

    so if i were born a siamese twin, and i could be given the liberty of independent movement by lopping off my living twin, you would support this as my right? now imagine further that i had a choice in my twin coming into this state of affairs, but my twin had no choice. harsh, eh?

    ignore the implausibility of the exact situation, i make the analogy only for the purpose of comparison.

    You do realise, of course, that sometimes parents have to make that decision on behalf of their conjoined children in order to ensure the survival of at least one.

    If parents can do it, why shouldn’t the individuals involved be able too, once they’re of sound mind?

    That said, I have no idea what should be done in that case. I suspect that Bob would smother Al in his sleep, though.

  172. #172 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 18, 2010

    Captain Catholic #155

    What is the thinking behind your doctored pictures, what point are you trying to make by them? That humanity can only be something that looks human>?

    The original pictures showed infants and pretended that’s what a fetus looked like at early development. Which is more honest, to show a baby and pretend it’s a fetus or to show an actual fetus?

    There is a difference between human and potentially human. Something that’s potentially human doesn’t have human attributes or a human appearance.

  173. #173 otrame
    April 18, 2010

    I think Walton is right. There can be a wide range of ideas about when/if it is morally wrong to have an abortion, but that is for the WOMAN who is pregnant to decide. The LAW has to be that the woman’s body is her body and that is that.

    I personally would probably only have an abortion for medical reasons. The idea of aborting a fetus for any other reason bothers me.

    But so what? So what if it bothers me? That’s me. In such circumstances it would be my body. That’s my choice and I would not under any circumstances try to enforce my own personal squick-factor on the rest of women. (In the interest of full disclosure, I have only had one unwanted pregnancy and it turned out to be ectopic, so I did not have to make that decision).

    And I agree whole-heartedly with those who believe the leaders of the anti-choice movement have no interest in babies. Remember, these are the same creeps who have tried mightily to prevent the vaccination of all our young women to end cervical cancer. That is all the proof you need that what they want is to control who women have sex with.

    So until I see these self-righteous fuckers working hard to reduce abortion by making education and birth control technologies available to everyone so that unwanted pregnancies are reduced, they get nothing from me but my contempt.

  174. #174 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    what-if’s are good tests to see where an individual’s moral rules lie, even when they are implausible or difficult.

    really? splendid.

    would you abort Rosemary’s baby?
    would you let Hattie Durham have an abortion?

    these are important hypotheticals. really.

  175. #175 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    I’m having a problem with the use of the word ‘parasite.’

    All of the biological definitions I can find are similar to this one:

    par·a·site? noun
    1. an organism that lives on or in an organism of another species, known as the host, from the body of which it obtains nutriment.

    Further definitions are mostly sociological. I’m fine with poetic liscense in metaphors, as long as it’s clearly metaphorical.

    If the use of the word ‘parasite’ here is not meant to be metaphorical, then I have to assert that the statement is wrong.

    Words have meanings, meaning builds knowledge, knowledge informs actions, and actions have consequences.

  176. #176 serpdesu
    April 18, 2010

    @Sili, The Unknown Virgin

    you do realise that adding mortal danger to both twins ruins and invalidates my analogy thus making it pointless to answer at all.

  177. #177 ambook
    April 18, 2010

    And before someone says something, she didn’t use the pill because it decreased her sex drive, and condoms felt funny so that’s why she didn’t use any. No health problems.

    I’ve got to ask – @Rowan – have you actually experienced labor? It’s something I would not wish on my very worst enemy and using childbirth as torture for slutty college students is a pretty brutal way to enforce those great values of yours. I hope someone like you doesn’t make sexual health decisions for actual real world people.

    This girl’s vapid attitude towards abortion is an example of really bad sex ed and health care more than anyone else. She deserves some serious education about available methods of birth control (progesterone IUD, maybe – easy, foolproof, and lasts up to 7 years?). And who taught her that condoms “feel funny” and that this outweighs all concerns about STDs? Probably some boyfriend who’s never heard of lube. Her punishment for having had this bad education, which is almost certainly not her fault, is that she undergoes significant hormonal disruption (early pregnancy is not particularly fun) and a painful and expensive medical procedure three times! Shouldn’t that be punishment enough for you? Or do you need actual torture to satisfy your judgments about her sexual ethics?

    Many pro-life Catholics whom I know are explicit about caring about fetuses more than actual born children because the fetuses have never committed any sins of their own and only have the imaginary taint associated with having a “soul.” One woman actually told me that she was far more concerned with sin than with suffering, which I though said a lot about her values. Having worked with children who’ve been raped and known women struggling with violence, severe poverty, and health issues, I’d rather live in the real world, which is often difficult and requires one to compromise and choose the least-bad option.

    When anti-abortion activists ignore the contribution of the maternal environment, it’s just another facet of the sexism inherent in their desire to restrict reproductive freedom. It’s as if the contribution of the mother’s body and the dangers associated with pregnancy are irrelevant to the “personhood” of the embryo instead of factors which contribute to the “person” it may one day become. It’s also another problem with the magical idea that people have a soul in the first place, or that we get our souls all in one chunk. There are saner religious traditions, including Judaism, which view decisions about abortion as more of a balancing act (i.e. choosing the least bad option) and which teach that whatever magical soul we acquire comes in bits and pieces over time. Even as a metaphor, I think this is a better approach to the process of becoming a person, whatever that means.

    Funny how the religions that don’t have that Christian idea of “soul” (UUs, Buddhists, pagans, a lot of strands of Judaism) don’t get to have much of a voice in the debate…

  178. #178 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    IOW: the slaughter of imaginary people concerns me not in the slightest.

  179. #179 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    I just don’t think it’s relevant to whether parasitism is the proper descriptor. I don’t think it is critical to the argument on why abortion should be legal, the use just bugged me.

    No, but it often gets people off-guard (like it did with you) and can sometimes make them think about the issue from a different angle.

  180. #180 Morgan
    April 18, 2010

    @scooterKPFT #176

    Is that last line a quote, or original? I just want to be sure of whom I’m going to be plagiarizing :)

  181. #181 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    The most troublesome thing I find in this discussion is the belief that you must be crazy, sexist, and/or religious to not be okay with abortion. I’d like to disprove this.

    Hello, I’m Skatje. I was raised without religion, by the author of this blog. Personally, I would not have an abortion, unless my life was at stake. I do not find this stance to be inconsistant with my other moral values; in fact, I would say that not holding this stance would prove to be inconsistant. And of course, according to my own values, I believe that other people shouldn’t have abortions either.

    Am I going to go protest outside Planned Parenthood? No. Let me attempt a convuluted explanation of why I’m not an activist: The matter of what value to place on embryos/fetuses is not as simple as the soundbites and faulty analogies portray. The line is blurry. I don’t pretend that an embryo is the same as a child. I don’t even pretend that a 6 month fetus is the same as a 1 month fetus. There’s a gradiant of some sort here, and the lack of a solid sense is why I don’t jump down other people’s throats, but I at least know which side of the line I want to be on.

    Anyway, I think it’s apparent that I’m not one of the lunatics so commonly lanced in these comments. And I promise it’s not out of some kind of woman-hating self-loathing.

  182. #182 Dr Paul
    April 18, 2010

    I blogged here on this topic four years ago. As the title suggests, the post coincided with a debate in the Australian Federal Parliament which culminated in the easing of restrictions on the availability of RU486.

  183. #183 Sili, The Unknown Virgin
    April 18, 2010

    you do realise that adding mortal danger to both twins ruins and invalidates my analogy thus making it pointless to answer at all.

    Point taken.

    I’m still inclined to side with Al, but as I said, Bob’ll likely take matters into his own hands if it comes to that.

  184. #184 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    There is an easy glide into thinking it a type of magic that’s all smiles, rather than a disgusting inch by inch snapshot of evolution where the mother’s enzymes and hormone levels “direct” the sculpting of the cell division into the formation of more and more complex human-like objects.

    This, holy shit, this.

    I think it is immensely helpful to take the “mystery” and “miracle” out of pregnancy and childbirth, which is why I like PZ’s doctored billboards so damn much.

  185. #185 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    And before someone says something, she didn’t use the pill because it decreased her sex drive, and condoms felt funny so that’s why she didn’t use any. No health problems.

    And torturing her and then forcing an child into her care that was unwanted, to live with a selfish mother with little to no impulse control makes sense … how?

  186. #186 WowbaggerOM
    April 18, 2010

    Morgan, #169 wrote:

    The point I was making is that your method of debate by insult and hyperbole is ineffective, inflammatory, and actually reduces the impact of your views.

    That is the tone argument – at least around here. If you wish to keep using it you have to demonstrate that [the truth + harsh language] is in some way less effective than [the truth plus fawning deference].

    We get a lot of assertions that it is – but (funnily enoguh) very few examples.

  187. #187 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    Morgan @169

    Uh, that’s not the tone argument. The tone argument is where someone argues that the method by which someone is arguing their case is too angry/emotional/caustic/confrontational/etc… and thus the words and meaning of their argument are less than and can be safely ignored. Furthermore it is argued that that someone needs to be “less X” in order to be worthy of debate and that the other party is perfectly justified ignoring the argument until it is placed more civilly.

    The reason that the tone argument is so famous in anti-oppression circles is because a) it happens all the time and b) there is no way to be “nice” enough to be listened to.

    There have been several informal studies that showed that even when the author of a point about an oppression was exceedingly polite and open-minded in their tone, they would still get accused of being angry or insulting or close-minded. We can see this all the time in creationist arguments regarding Richard Dawkins who is about as unflappable and approachable as you can be.

    Here’s a link.

    Also, quelle surprise, the person arguing for your case just so happens to be the only “respectful person” here? Shocking.

    Maybe, maybe, some of us are responding naturally to the arguments being made. We’re having conversations where the anti-woman side are making arguments they are wholly detached to and where the pro-choice side are arguing for the basic recognition of their personhood, their right to bodily autonomy naturally assumed and protected for men, and their basic human rights to not lose rights and have said unprecedented rights granted to something, rights that no full human being have.

    It’s a familiar tactic is what I am saying. But feel free to continue to tut tut us angry nasty feminists.

  188. #188 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    Skatje, be specific. What is going on under Roe that is not okay?

  189. #189 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    This:

    Personally, I would not have an abortion, unless my life was at stake.

    is not the same as this:

    And of course, according to my own values, I believe that other people shouldn’t have abortions either.

    These are two very different positions.

    I don’t think a 1-month fetus is the same thing as a 6-month fetus, either. I see the gradient. I also see a significant difference in the stage of decision-making between a pregnant woman gestating a 1-month fetus, and one gestating a 6-month fetus.

  190. #190 negentropyeater
    April 18, 2010

    No vague words like “uneasy,” “ethically unclear,” or any of that. Tell us why and specifically what the actual foundation is to your moral qualms.

    I used to be “uneasy” with the whole abortion topic because I was always getting mixed up with the definition of personhood. Why at birth? Or why from the moment of viability? Or why from the moment of sufficient neurological developement? It all seemed rather arbitrary, ethically unclear.

    But it’s really when I came accross Judith Jarvis Thomson’s A defense of Abortion and the straightforward and very clear ethical principle that nobody, whether a mature person or not, has the right to use someone else’s body against her/his will, that I became convinced that women must have the right to abort an unwanted pregnancy at any moment during its course.

    We’re still far from there in most countries in the world. But we must fight to get there, we must stop the enslavement of women, and especially as men we have an additional moral responsibility to fight for this: it’s not our body that’s enslaved, we must stop being such inconsiderate assholes.

  191. #191 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 18, 2010

    skatje.myers #182

    It’s one thing to decide you don’t want to have an abortion. It’s something altogether different to decide no woman should have an abortion. You’ve made a choice that you won’t have an abortion except for medical necessity. Nobody here has a problem with that because we’re pro-choice.

  192. #192 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @Skatje: but do you think that your preference that women shouldn’t have abortions should result in a ban on abortion? If not, wouldn’t that make you still pro-choice?

  193. #193 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    would you let Hattie Durham have an abortion?

    +10 for that reference. :)

    The most troublesome thing I find in this discussion is the belief that you must be crazy, sexist, and/or religious to not be okay with abortion. I’d like to disprove this.

    I think you’re confusing outcomes and correlations with intent. Of course we know that not everyone who is anti-abortion is literally crazy, or definitively religious, or consciously sexist.

    HOWEVER.

    Almost all people who are activists for anti-abortion are religious. Almost all of the groups that bankroll lobbying to the government against abortion rights are religious groups. There is a very, very strong correlation there, and as the original post was meant to convey, it is important for people who claim to not be religious to understand that the feelings they have regarding pregnancy have been very much colored by the religion-soaked milieu. As Josh requested, step past the “morally uneasy” feeling and define it. If you get that feeling from religious teachings you’ve absorbed through culture, you ought to at least recognize that.

    As for being sexist, the results of anti-abortion legislation are most definitely sexist. That may not be the intent of some of the people who advocate for it, but the effects are the same. The effect of anti-abortion legislation is that more women die. Abortion rates don’t change; women’s death rates skyrocket. Study after study after study, in every country that it’s been done in show this. Advocating for something that kills women but not men IS sexist. Advocating for something that denies women agency over their own bodies IS sexist. It doesn’t matter if the intent to be sexist was there or not, the effects are still sexist.

  194. #194 ambook
    April 18, 2010

    On the “parasite” idea – I got scolded mightily by a psychoanalyst friend for referring to my 5 month in-utero twins as “naked strangers living in my belly,” while another psychoanalyst friend asked me late in pregnancy why I hadn’t had a reduction. Apparently, for friend #1, I was supposed to feel some magical connection with the fetuses, but I was just awed that these two totally separate people were living inside of me and using my body to build their own. Now the twins are 14, love the idea that they were once “naked strangers,” and are vehemently and loudly pro-choice, although they still debate who should have been “reduced.”

    And friend #1 has decided that if she were ever to reproduce she’d hire an surrogate in India so that she didn’t have to deal with the ickiness of having a parasite in one’s body.

    People are really very strange. And I now number significantly fewer psychoanalysts among my friends, which has led to a lot fewer bizarre comments being directed my way.

  195. #195 BigMKnows
    April 18, 2010

    Walton #102:

    There is a difference between believing that people should be free to do X, and believing that X is morally acceptable.

    In practice there is, but there shouldn’t be. Morality isn’t just personal preference. Morality is a set of prescriptions or proscriptions on behavior, and it is illogical to be believe that people should not do X (immoral), but should be free to do X.

    I believe murder is immoral, which is precisely why I think people shouldn’t be free to do it (it should be banned, and offenders prosecuted). I don’t have a preference for gay sex, but I don’t think it is immoral, which is why I think people should be free to do it.

    When people say they think something is immoral but people should be free to do it, they’re really not taking their morality seriously. They are relegating it to personal preference.

  196. #196 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    Morgan @ 180

    I’m paraphrasing Matt Dillahunty from Atheist Experience, he expresses that a lot. I imagine that line of reasoning has been around awhile, but I heard it in distilled fashion from Matt.

    http://atheist-experience.org
    great stuff

  197. #197 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 18, 2010

    Having failed to develop a very compelling sense of morality (and being somewhat of a misanthrope), I am pro-choice for very utilitarian reasons. I am unwilling to contribute to the upbringing of all the children that would be born were abortion illegal. The point at which a person becomes human is not empirically identifiable. “At birth” seems to be a convenient milestone, precisely because the direct dependency on a single other person has been removed.

    I mean I do care about women’s rights, but even if I didn’t I would still likely be pro-choice.

  198. #198 Dr Paul
    April 18, 2010

    Briefly in response to Skatje’s point, here in Australia we have a bumper sticker that reads “If you are against abortion, don’t have one”.

  199. #199 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    If you get that feeling from religious teachings you’ve absorbed through culture, you ought to at least recognize that.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say it probably has more to do with her veganism than religion…

  200. #200 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Carlie:

    The effect of anti-abortion legislation is that more women die. Abortion rates don’t change; women’s death rates skyrocket. Study after study after study, in every country that it’s been done in show this. Advocating for something that kills women but not men IS sexist. Advocating for something that denies women agency over their own bodies IS sexist. It doesn’t matter if the intent to be sexist was there or not, the effects are still sexist.

    QFT.

  201. #201 Ibis3
    April 18, 2010

    Hear, hear!

    I’ll be interested to read the comments, but for now, I just gotta say I heartily agree. What’s more these ignoramuses put a human cell above a real, living, full human being.

  202. #202 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    To clarify, if legislature was proposed to ban abortion, I wouldn’t be opposed it. I’m just not going to start a fight for it.

    And no, there’s no way I could hold the position that it’s not okay for me to have abortions, but it’s okay for other people to. The babies in other people aren’t less privileged than the babies in me. If I believe the one in me should not have anyone intervene in its existence, I believe the ones in other people should not have anyone intervene in their existence. Am I making sense here?

  203. #203 dmorrison
    April 18, 2010

    I would love to see a campaign based around something like your “revised” billboards.

    Embryos are embryos. For a fairly healthy chunk of their development it is impossible to distinguish between a potential human and a potential-vertebrate-of-your-choice, and driving that point home might open a few eyes.

  204. #204 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    Personally, I would not have an abortion, unless my life was at stake.

    I don’t *think* I would either. Never having had to face that decision I don’t actually know.

    I do know, for instance, that in my previous life I would likely have had an abortion. I was seriously psychologically wounded and might have even been dangerous to a dependent child. Poor and homeless, I can’t imagine childbirth in complete poverty would have done any thing good for either of us. Would it have allowed my abuser a permanent place in my life and access to my child?

    Not to mention how it might have impacted me psychologically. Might I have survived? Sure. Like I said, I never had to face it. I didn’t get pregnant. Always took birth control (thank you Planned Parenthood for your cheap exams and low price pills!!!), didn’t sleep around anyway.

    But I have seen a lot of people in my short life who are not ideal, and I do think some who had an elective abortion made the right decision. Especially one I know whose first child was already taken away by the state. That she, a single woman with serious mental and drug problems, chose to abort her second pregnancy… avoided pain and suffering for all involved. Can you make such people disappear? I don’t know, but I suspect not. What would you do with them anyway? Lock them all up, put them down like dogs? What’s the difference then?

    Really though I think that the law and the state should not have any rule over what is inside of a human body anyway.

    More people suffer where abortion is illegal from what I have seen, so making it illegal makes society worse IMO.

    For the record because of the degree to which access to birth control helped my via planned parenthood now that I have a much more fortunate life I try very hard to make significant annual donations to them. They do good work!

  205. #205 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    When people say they think something is immoral but people should be free to do it, they’re really not taking their morality seriously. They are relegating it to personal preference.

    Or they are thinking deeply enough to see that the effects of enforcement may be more immoral still.

    Or careful enough about the authoritarian impulse and its effects on a society. (Voting Republican is immoral, but should not be illegal.)

  206. #206 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    ambook @171

    Yes, very much.

    I think it’s related to sperm magic. Somehow, it’s not “right” if the woman’s body is doing way more work in the creation of a child. Nine months of sculpting cell division by enzymes and hormone levels and the only contribution by the man was adding some DNA material that may or may not implant. That seems “wrong” by our society, so its better if the magic addition of sperm takes this inert lifeless egg and makes it start duplicating and directing itself and growing all on its own without any input from the mother. A full human unto itself that just happens to need the womb as a protective environment that doesn’t really effect anything too important.

    And that illusion of parity or male-directed growth is so critical that it must be defended against the horrible truth that men really don’t do much in the making of a child. It’s the woman cannibalizing herself, going through the rigors of labor and pregnancy, and that it’s her egg that contains the mitochondria that drive the energy for the cell division in this purposeless set of growing cells.

    But admitting that, seems scary, because then men aren’t dominant in that conversation, so they need to insert themselves by forcing women to suffer the consequences of their delusion by being forced to give birth.

  207. #207 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    Briefly in response to Skatje’s point, here in Australia we have a bumper sticker that reads “If you are against abortion, don’t have one”.

    Hardy har. I’ve heard that. I used to think that was clever when I was 14.

    If you are against murder, don’t kill people.

    This is basically what that statement is equivalent to, in the eyes of people who place a right to life on fetuses. So that’s a pretty stupid thing to say to me, IMO.

  208. #208 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    #194… some may confuse the various hormonal responses for magic or the divine. That’s a bit sad. There’s an insane mom posse out there that is convinced biological responses are godliness. Sometimes it’s just a response to depression of their otherwise failed lives and latching onto anything to live for. The religious analogy is pretty obvious. Still sad though.

  209. #209 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    To clarify, if legislature was proposed to ban abortion, I wouldn’t be opposed it.

    and this is where the “effect is more important than intent” thing comes into play.

    just as libertarian policies are often racist because they affect racial minorities more than whites rather than because the libertarians in question hold racist views, so would an abortion ban be sexist; not opposing sexist laws is sexist, intents and beliefs notwithstanding.

  210. #210 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    skatje.myers @ 202:

    Am I making sense here?

    Not to me. What you’re saying is that you are fine with women’s autonomy being legislated by others; that one group’s morals be allowed to override all women.

    As Carlie noted, illegalizing abortion will not change anything, except for the death rate of women. I know a lot of people are too young to know about Jane, I’m old enough to remember. I was a kid, but my mother and grandmothers were a part of Jane, and I helped where I could. When women are put in a position where they have no choices, it’s a terrible thing.

    Those who fight abortion are not on the forefront when it comes to birth control and education; they fight those just as strongly. This reduces women, it demeans them, it turns them back into chattel and locks too many of them into unthinkable situations.

  211. #211 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    Am I the only person who’s thinking fake Skatje?

  212. #212 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    And no, there’s no way I could hold the position that it’s not okay for me to have abortions, but it’s okay for other people to. The babies in other people aren’t less privileged than the babies in me.

    But there is an important difference between the fetus that grows in you and the fetus that grows in another woman. YOU can decide whether you want to be a parent to the fetus growing in you. YOU can decide that you agree to use your body for the next 40 weeks to grow another person.

    You can’t make that decision for other women. You can offer to foster their children IF those women agree to maintain their pregnancies to term, but you can’t do the baby-growing for them.

    If I believe the one in me should not have anyone intervene in its existence, I believe the ones in other people should not have anyone intervene in their existence.

    The process of bringing a pregnancy to term is quite a bit more complicated than simply not intervening in a gestating fetus’s existence. It requires more work and sacrifice on the pregnant woman’s part than asking her simply not to terminate. She must spend the rest of the pregnancy eating, drinking, breathing, sleeping and exercising both for herself and for the benefit of the fetus. She must subject herself not merely to inconvenience but also to non-trivial risk in order to maintain the pregnancy and give birth. Even a perfectly healthy pregnancy requires a great deal of physiological recovery. It’s not a matter of non-intervention.

  213. #213 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 18, 2010

    There’s a very easy way to reduce the number of abortions in dah USA. Simply have the anti-abortion groups supply half the cost of the quarter million dollars to raise a child to 18. Something about actually putting their money where their mouths are. I’m sure their offer will be taken up by a large number of women…

  214. #214 Randomfactor
    April 18, 2010

    Forgive this non-biology-major’s question, but are there human cancers which have 46 chromosomes? What differentiates them from blastulas, or are both to be “persons” under the personhood movement’s thinking?

  215. #215 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    If it were a fake Skatje, the shock waves from the epic bannation would be felt all the way to the Yucatan peninsula.

  216. #216 Becca
    April 18, 2010

    Wow. I have so many thoughts about this swirling in my head, I hope I can be coherent…

    As I’ve said before (to the point of boredom, I’m sure), my kids are adopted. Neither kid was wanted by their birth mother – she’d had 2 or 3 abortions before in her life. Both kids were conceived through multiple forms of birth control (she says, and knowing her, I believe it). In both cases, she didn’t realize she was pregnant until it was too late to have a first-trimester abortion. Thea chose adoption, because she recognized (rightly) that she would have been a horrible mother. We have an open adoption, and my kids have grown up knowing Thea and knowing she is their birth mother.

    that said, I totally support a woman’s right to choice. I believe that abortions should be cheap and easy to get, because if a woman doesn’t want to give birth to a child, she shouldn’t have to. Making it difficult for her just makes a difficult situation even worse.

    Had Thea decided to abort Tori during the first trimester, I would have gone with her and held her hand.

    *That* said, I’m terribly glad that Thea lived in enough of a state of denial when she got pregnant with Tori that I have Tori as my daughter – because even though Thea didn’t want her, I did and do.

    But I have NO RIGHT (I’d say that in blinky colors worthy of a TimeCube if I could) to force another woman to continue a pregnancy and give birth just so *I* could have a muchly desired child.

    I don’t totally agree that adoption is a violent act, per se – but *forced* adoption certainly is. Someone above used the word “slavery” and that surely is an accurate word.

    I could say much, much more on this, but I’m afraid I’ve already gone into tl;dr range. Sorry. I’ll get off my soap box now.

  217. #217 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    Either way, I direct the person using the skatje name, whether the real Skatje or not to read my comments at 48 and 67, especially 67, which is on why it would be granting “pre-born babies” rights extended to no other fully formed human being on the planet.

    And if it is someone using her name to post anti-choice garbage. For shame, troll. For shame.

  218. #218 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @skatje.myers:

    The babies in other people aren’t less privileged than the babies in me. If I believe the one in me should not have anyone intervene in its existence, I believe the ones in other people should not have anyone intervene in their existence. Am I making sense here?

    Well, you’re trying to be consistent and apply the same rules for everyone, which is sensible. But the problem is that you appear to assume what is actually under discussion here: you assume that a fetus is the same as a baby.

    Besides, do you support other types of interventions that prevent the existence of babies, such as condoms, contraceptives and morning-after pills? If not, why not? If so, why support those, but not early-term abortions? Clearly you don’t believe some special magic happened at conception, so that can’t be it.

  219. #219 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    To clarify, if legislature was proposed to ban abortion, I wouldn’t be opposed it. I’m just not going to start a fight for it.

    And no, there’s no way I could hold the position that it’s not okay for me to have abortions, but it’s okay for other people to. The babies in other people aren’t less privileged than the babies in me. If I believe the one in me should not have anyone intervene in its existence, I believe the ones in other people should not have anyone intervene in their existence. Am I making sense here?

    That you are willing to give up your own choice does not grant you the right to make the choice for others.

    Would it be acceptable if women who are known to be seeking abortions are imprisoned? If not, how could a law be enforced? What would be an acceptable penalty for breaking it?

    Increased police enforcement brings its own inherent problems, as the drug war shows. Who wants to live in the kind of society where anti-abortion laws could again be implemented? Is there a great and pressing need for the intrusion of SWAT teams into medical clinics?

  220. #220 ambook
    April 18, 2010

    There’s an insane mom posse out there that is convinced biological responses are godliness.

    @Glock21 – not sure how this relates to my anecdote – all I meant to say is that prescriptions for how one “should” experience pregnancy are just like prescriptions for how one “should” experience anything else. Friend#1 thought that I wouldn’t have the right “maternal” attitude towards my kids if I didn’t feel all blissed out and merged, which I agree would be a hormonal thing, whether from the pregnancy itself or from the neurochemical imprints left by previous life experience. Of course, my lack of blissed-out-edness was ALSO a hormonal/neurochemical thing, but doesn’t seem to have left some horrid scar on the twinks.

    It’s pretty problematic to view ANY parental behavior as serving a particular religious or nationalistic cause. I remember reading once that women of Japan felt tremendously betrayed because their work caring for their families had been portrayed as supporting the war effort and supporting the war was viewed as shameful after WWII. (Probably a gross oversimplification of the argument, but I hope it makes sense.)

  221. #221 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    As Carlie noted, illegalizing abortion will not change anything, except for the death rate of women

    This and exponentially. It isn’t just the women who will kill themselves trying to self abort or getting illegal abortions and dying of sepsis and blood loss. (One of my mom’s good friends, Tina, in high school died this way, cutting into her vagina with a long knife and bleeding to death alone where she had hidden to do it. It was labeled a suicide.)

    It’s also the women who will be allowed to die because the surgeons and doctors will have to save the baby at any cost.

    Death death death. If you like death, then ban abortion.

  222. #222 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Carlie:

    If it were a fake Skatje, the shock waves from the epic bannation would be felt all the way to the Yucatan peninsula.

    Indeed. I’m trying to remember from when Skatje last posted…didn’t she usually have a link to her blog in her name?

  223. #223 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    Not to me. What you’re saying is that you are fine with women’s autonomy being legislated by others; that one group’s morals be allowed to override all women.

    This isn’t a women’s right issue at the core. The issue isn’t whether women can do whatever they want with their own bodies, it’s whether fetuses are a protected entity. Asking whether women can do what they want to “their body” is begging the question; that fetuses are merely part of their body.

    Those who fight abortion are not on the forefront when it comes to birth control and education; they fight those just as strongly.

    You’re conflating “pro-life” with other, SEPARATE views that are sometimes commonly held. These are different things. Don’t forget that.

  224. #224 skeetar
    April 18, 2010

    Skatje plz don’t abort your ferrets =*(

  225. #225 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    That you are willing to give up your own choice does not grant you the right to make the choice for others.

    That is, you’ve only worked out part of Kant’s imperative. You haven’t established that you ought to possess authority to enforce your point of view with the police.

  226. #226 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    that fetuses are merely part of their body.

    nope.

    they are however using those bodies. which is fine if permission to do so is given. but no one gets to use other people’s bodies without that consent. why would fetuses get a special right in that regard?

  227. #227 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    Asking whether women can do what they want to “their body” is begging the question; that fetuses are merely part of their body.

    Since the fetus cannot survive without using its mother’s body for shelter, warmth, nutrients and hormones, and in fact cannot survive without significantly affecting the way its mother’s body functions, the fetus cannot be considered a protected entity without interfering with women’s bodily autonomy.

    The two ideas cannot be separated any more than a fetus can be separated from its mother’s body and still survive.

  228. #228 PZ Myers
    April 18, 2010

    No, that’s Skatje. She’s asserting her independence and intellectual autonomy so that I have no excuse to abort her any more.

    Dang. Why didn’t I raise a family of obedient slaves?

  229. #229 skeetar
    April 18, 2010

    It is not fake Skatje. We are all in IRC cybering and worshipping ferrets.

  230. #230 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    Also, for those arguing, remember that many of us are also arguing from a pragmatic perspective. We aren’t dwelling in gauzy hypothetical conjoined twin delivery minus a day situations; we’re concerned about women who are pregnant now. Women who will be pregnant next year. Women who are bleeding out from prolapsed uteri, and women who are frantic and losing their grip because they can’t take their antipsychotics while pregnant, and women whose husbands will beat them when they find out they have another mouth to feed, and women who are crushed with grief because they’ve found out their baby has no brain, and women who are holding their acceptance letter to college in one hand and a positive pregnancy test in the other. These are women who don’t have the luxury of thought experiments.

    Do you want abortion to be entirely illegal? Then there will be many, many back alley abortions, and many, many women will die from them, and an awful lot of those women will leave behind families who need them. Lots of women with children have abortions to try and maintain a decent standard of life for those they already have.

    Do you want abortion to be available only if the life of the mother is at stake? Then either doctors will circumvent that completely by making up excuses, in which case you’re advocating a whitewash solution, or (more likely) they’ll hesitate in emergencies, not quite sure whether they’ll be able to properly prove it or if their license will get pulled, and women will die as their doctors try and decide.

    Do you want abortion to be available in cases of rape and incest? Then you can’t say you care about the embryo; that is a position that is only consistent with punishing the woman in question if she’s not pure and innocent enough.

  231. #231 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    The babies in other people aren’t less privileged than the babies in me.

    So, you’re willing to make reproductive choices for other women because of your magical thinking about your womb-boogers?

    Does it mean nothing to you that we can never be fully equal members of society if we have no choices about where, when, and how we start our families? You’re implying that the potential life is more important than my life and I find that incredibly -fucking- offensive.

  232. #232 Numad
    April 18, 2010

    “You’re conflating “pro-life” with other, SEPARATE views that are sometimes commonly held. ”

    They weren’t conflating anything. They were considering the overlap between these views as being significant.

    I think there’s more call for it than for the reverse: dissociating views from the people holding them, from other views and from their consequences if they are applied; until being “against abortion” is something very abstract indeed.

  233. #233 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    Internet arguing while at work on a slow connection is frustrating. I’ll do my best.

    Am I the only person who’s thinking fake Skatje?

    Sorry to disappoint. We can’t all be clones with the same opinions. And also, I’ve been posting from this username since the comment registration thing was implemented. I used the gmail sign-in thing, where there was no way to have a link to my blog (which is not really there anymore, anyway).

    That you are willing to give up your own choice does not grant you the right to make the choice for others.

    It’s not my choice that causes me to think that others shouldn’t abort either. It’s the placing a certain value on fetuses that I do.

    And yes, this does allow me to tell other people what I believe is the right thing for them to do. We all have our own ideas about right and wrong, and we all wish to see the world operate according to our own beliefs.

  234. #234 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    skatje.myers:

    This isn’t a women’s right issue at the core. The issue isn’t whether women can do whatever they want with their own bodies, it’s whether fetuses are a protected entity.

    No. It most definitely is a women’s rights issue. If you put fetal protection above the woman who happens to be hosting it, you have condemned that woman to incubator status, not human adult status. When an embryo or fetus can maintain life outside of a host, you can get busy protecting them.

    You’re conflating “pro-life” with other, SEPARATE views that are sometimes commonly held. These are different things. Don’t forget that.

    No, I’m not. I have spent so much time involved with women’s rights, escorting at clinics, etc., that I’m well aware of the agendas going on. For sure, not every single person who is anti-abortion is also anti-birth control and anti-sex education, however, the majority of them are. Just look at all the schools teaching abstinence only, look at all the initiatives for ‘religious conscience’.

    If you are honestly against abortion, you should be seriously involved in campaigning for widespread, ease of access, affordable birth control. You should be involved in campaigning for good sex education. Those things will reduce the abortion rate. Attempting to stop a/o illegalize abortion will result in only one thing: dead women. As your priority seems to be fetuses, that would make you pro-dead women along with pro-forced birth. These are not good things.

  235. #235 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    You’re implying that the potential life is more important than my life and I find that incredibly -fucking- offensive.

    Yes. This is one thing I have never understood about this position. If the potential baby trumps the woman’s life then why would a potential baby that is female also do so? It seems hypocritical. After all the potential female baby will only become a female, and thus lose value to society as anything but a womb.

  236. #236 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 18, 2010

    I’ve never had any problem with a woman who say “abortion is not for me”. My problem comes when that is expended to other women. That is where the first woman’s personal decision ends, and the second woman’s begins. Just like with smokers. Their right to smoke ends halfway to my nose.

  237. #237 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    Do you want abortion to be available in cases of rape and incest? Then you can’t say you care about the embryo; that is a position that is only consistent with punishing the woman in question if she’s not pure and innocent enough.

    The problem I have with making exceptions for rape and incest is that the distinction is unenforceable.

    Make that law, and suddenly every girl who doesn’t want to be pregnant is a rape victim. A heckuva lot of them, anyway. How do you sort out the liars from the real victims? Either you assume they’re all telling the truth, in which case most abortions that would have otherwise happened will still happened. Or you set up a well-intended but inevitably imperfect system for deciding which unhappily pregnant women were actually raped and which of them just failed to prevent pregnancy, and there will inevitably be some actual rape victims who are denied legal abortion procedures. Either way, what looks defensible on paper doesn’t work out in reality.

  238. #238 ambook
    April 18, 2010

    No, that’s Skatje. She’s asserting her independence and intellectual autonomy so that I have no excuse to abort her any more.

    No, PZ, you’d REDUCE her. Gotta use the right euphamism when they begin asserting independence and intellectual autonomy.

  239. #239 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    This isn’t a women’s right issue at the core. The issue isn’t whether women can do whatever they want with their own bodies, it’s whether fetuses are a protected entity. Asking whether women can do what they want to “their body” is begging the question; that fetuses are merely part of their body.

    Actually you are begging the question: you assume that even if a fetus is a “protected entity” it should be afforded the right to occupy a person’s body against that person’s will.

    Our system of laws regularly holds that a person may have a right to live, but not the right to be given all those things which sustain life.

  240. #240 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    You’re conflating “pro-life” with other, SEPARATE views that are sometimes commonly held. These are different things. Don’t forget that.

    But they are quite related: contraception is an intervention to prevent babies being born that happens before conception, abortion an intervention that happens after conception. The effect is quite the same: no baby is being born, and especially if abortion is done early enough, nobody has suffered any harm. What’s so special about conception that it should change our opinion about intervention? It’s one of the main issues of the original post, and you haven’t addressed it.

  241. #241 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 18, 2010

    And no, there’s no way I could hold the position that it’s not okay for me to have abortions, but it’s okay for other people to.

    In other words, you are anti-abortion. You would deny other people the right to make their own decision about their own bodies

    The babies in other people aren’t less privileged than the babies in me.

    So every fetus holds its mother hostage because you don’t like abortion.

    I don’t like rap music. Most of what I’ve heard is crude, misogynistic, and promotes violence. Should my personal dislike be the basis for outlawing rap? No, I don’t think so. If I don’t like rap then I won’t listen to it. But I will not make that decision for anyone else.

    Similarly, your dislike of abortion should not be made mandatory for other women who might not hold your views.

  242. #242 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    Ah ok, PZ. Thanks.

    I was worried that it was a sick joke.

    Sadly, knowing Skatje is the real Skatje both comforts me and makes me feel really depressed.

    The battle for the cultural recognition of female sexual and bodily autonomy is a long ass one and we’re winning it, but it’s always sad to see young women parroting the same old.

    Ah well, why we fight, right? To try and argue the case, etc…

    I still might need to bow out. It’s way too late here and arguing with someone who had all the education and privileges of a non-abusive non-coercive raising environment and deliberately chose ignorance is just going to bum me out royally.

  243. #243 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    Skatje, you’re not being clear. We understand you would not have an abortion, and you think other people ‘shouldn’t’ have abortions.
    Those are personal beliefs and personal beliefs are to be respected otherwise, uh-oh, here come the thought crime police.

    I respect your right to be wrong.

    However, if you want to impose your beliefs on others through legalistic coersion, then your personal rights are overlapping others’ personal rights and that’s why we have politics.

    Your right to your beliefs end where others’ rights begin. The overlap is the public arena.

    If you think we should overturn abortion on demand, then I disagree with you, I think you are wrong because you want to impose your beliefs on others.

    Morality is a strategy, and people in societies have rights because the society grants those rights. Progressivism is the expansion of rights to others. If we grant marriage rights to gays, that is the expansion established legal rights to include more people. If we continue to deny gay marriage, we are practicing discrimination.

    A woman’s right to control her reproduction is currently a right granted by our society, I fully support that, and I think you’re entitled to your opinion.

    I respect your right to be wrong.

    Hey, I used to be a libertarian

  244. #244 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    skatje.myers:

    And yes, this does allow me to tell other people what I believe is the right thing for them to do.

    You absolutely have the right to tell other people you think abortion is wrong, and they are all kinds of fucked up if they think differently.

    What you have said though, is that you wouldn’t mind at all if your personal opinion was turned into law. That is not the same at all. I’ll support your right to an opinion, however, that opinion of yours does not get any say in regard to my body.

  245. #245 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    It’s not my choice that causes me to think that others shouldn’t abort either. It’s the placing a certain value on fetuses that I do.

    And yes, this does allow me to tell other people what I believe is the right thing for them to do. We all have our own ideas about right and wrong, and we all wish to see the world operate according to our own beliefs.

    No one disputes your right to tell whoever whatever.

    But mere desire does not grant rightful authority. What gives you the right to use police violence to get your way?

  246. #246 jemand
    April 18, 2010

    Skatje, you say you would be ok aborting if your life was at medical risk in the continuation of pregnancy. What risk do you think should be lawfully *imposed* forcefully on you? Under your system, we are just quibbling where the line should be drawn, and that women should not be the ones permitted to draw it.

    ALL pregnancies carry an increased risk of death to the mother, an increased risk of permanent disability.

    It is hypothetically theoretically possible that even ectopic pregnancies in the fallopian tubes, may possibly somewhere in some woman not be fatal. *Most* people would say that is a stupid amount of risk to legislate women to take on. Many pregnancies carry no more risk than live kidney transplants, should that be the level of risk mandated?

    You say you would only abort in the case of medical necessity. But I am quite certain that *YOU* still want to be the one deciding quite exactly how much risk results in medical necessity. It is YOUR life, and your future we are talking about. And if you are allowed to decide which line of medical risk justifies your abortion, than you should allow other women that same right.

  247. #247 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    Let’s use the organ donor experiment, but change it a little. Let’s make it a wee baby. A very, very cute baby who needs a new liver very, very badly.

    Skatje, you have a liver that baby could use. It’s ok, they just cut off part and adults can usually regrow it just fine. You probably shouldn’t ever drink alcohol after that just in case, and it will be a few months of recovery time that will put off your studies in college (and if you have a scholarship, you might lose it due to the down time), and you’ll have a pretty big scar, and that part of your body will always twinge a little, but the baby needs it, and you’re compatible. Can the state of Minnesota force you to undergo the surgery and donate your liver? Should they? It’s the only thing that will save the life of this cute innocent baby. It’s in the best interest of society for you to donate it. Can we force you to?

    If you think so, why don’t we do that already? That scenario plays out dozens of times in this country every day, in every state. So, so many babies could be saved. If not, why not? And what exactly makes this different than forcing a woman to continue a pregnancy? That is a serious question, and gets right back to what Josh asked. Why is a pregnancy any different? Do you have any reason other than “she had sex so she asked for it”?

  248. #248 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Cerberus:

    I still might need to bow out. It’s way too late here and arguing with someone who had all the education and privileges of a non-abusive non-coercive raising environment and deliberately chose ignorance is just going to bum me out royally.

    I’m feeling the same way, if it helps any. I’ve been thinking, while replying to Skatje, that she’s had a privileged life. She was wanted, loved, cared for, has parents who actively wanted her to get a good education, etc.

    So many women are not in that boat.

  249. #249 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    they are however using those bodies. which is fine if permission to do so is given. but no one gets to use other people’s bodies without that consent. why would fetuses get a special right in that regard?

    The fetus isn’t some parasite that just popped up there. YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.

    I recognise that pregnancy is a serious thing, full of discomfort and health risk. But I’m going to have to say I would place the right of a fetus to live over your right to ignore the consequences of your actions because they’re too hard.

    If you are honestly against abortion, you should be seriously involved in campaigning for widespread, ease of access, affordable birth control. You should be involved in campaigning for good sex education.

    Obviously I am. It’s the reason I donate to Planned Parenthood, even though they spam me with email about abortions.

  250. #250 ambook
    April 18, 2010

    And no, there’s no way I could hold the position that it’s not okay for me to have abortions, but it’s okay for other people to.

    Thinking that something is wrong and that it should be illegal are different. I can think that it’s wrong for people to teach their kids that the world is 6000 years old without thinking that making this illegal would cause way more harm than good. This is where I differ from religionists – I believe in harm reduction and choosing the least-bad alternative and think that the totalitarian state in which I could forbid other people from having abortions would be WAY worse in terms of human suffering.

    Plus I am not so arrogant as to assume that my beliefs about right and wrong are definitely the correct ones, or even that there are definitive right and wrong categories. (See my earlier comment about how religious traditions that believe that abortion can be the correct decision get ignored in the abortion debate.)

    If I don’t think abortion is right for me and don’t view abortion as a trivial decision for other women, I can seek to support the women in whom fetuses abide so that they can make decisions other than abortion. And I can do this without a lot of inflammatory and abusive rhetoric about ensoulment and murder. Universal health care, a decent social safety net, and quality child care and public education are the best ways to make abortion less frequent, but those are way less dramatic than flouncing around holding signs with pictures of aborted fetuses.

  251. #251 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    It’s the placing a certain value on fetuses that I do.

    pffft. in that sense, I place exactly the same value on fetuses as on born people: neither gets to use my body against my will, and in both cases I’m willing to do whatever is necessary to stop them if they try, and I will plead self-defense for doing so.

  252. #252 otrame
    April 18, 2010

    Skatje, leaving all the “morals” out of whether abortion should be legal, you have to accept that making it illegal will once more will increase the incidence of this. ( Warning:There is a photo in this article that is NSFW and is extremely unpleasant to look at. But that photograph is the truth about making abortion illegal.) Making abortion illegal won’t stop abortion. It will just stop safe abortions.

    And Skatje, I believe that if you are a moral person who feels as you do about abortion, then you must become an activist for birth control technology and education being available for all young women. That is the way to stop unwanted pregnancy and thus abortion.

    I do admire your courage to come here and express an opinion that you know very well is not shared by most here and is not shared by your dad. That took real courage. In all the anger I feel towards the anti-choice crowd, I sometimes lose track of the fact that some people simply can’t get away from the potential that is inherent in an embryo. That doesn’t make them (and you) crazy or evil. But though I also have feeling for that inherent potential and, as I said above, would probably not have an abortion myself unless it was medically necessary or I knew the embryo was badly damaged (for instance by rubella), I truly believe a woman has a right to control her body and even leaving that aside, I truly believe that it is far more harmful to society in general for abortion to be illegal.

  253. #253 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    As a final note to Skatje, before the despair sinks me to sleep, read my comment @67

    No human has a right to someone else’s body without their consent.

    If I am a combination of Richard Dawkins and Superman and I will die tomorrow if I don’t get a non-vital organ or a blood transfusion from someone who is a combination of George Bush and Hitler? If Bush von Hitler doesn’t grant his consent, I get to die.

    I certainly don’t have the right to occupy his body and drain his nutrients for 9 months without his consent.

    This is as a fully grown, full human being. Why in Bob’s name would this right be granted to dividing cells that need the mother’s enzymes, nutrients, and hormone concentrations to sculpt them into anything even resembling human and build from scratch the organism we call a human being?

    A right not given to LIVING HUMAN BEINGS?

    Because a fetus is a babee and babees are cute? Because a woman deserves it for spreading her legs?

    These are not reasons. If I am SuperDawkins and I need something of the body of Bush von Hitler to survive, I don’t have the right to take it or demand it. No matter how awesome or innocent or necessary to my life it is. No matter how bad of a person he is, no matter if he is planning to kill himself the day after I die anyways.

    I don’t have the right. No one has the right.

    But you want to give that unprecedented extra right to a fetus and deny the human right of bodily autonomy to all women.

    That’s insanity.

    Also, how much jail time should a woman serve for murdering a fetus in your mind? 10 years, life, the death sentence? How many years should women serve in prison for having an abortion?

  254. #254 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    It is YOUR fault.

    So you agree that pregnancy and birth, no matter how damaging to both parties, is an acceptable punishment for women who have sex.

  255. #255 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    The fetus isn’t some parasite that just popped up there. YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.

    No. I’m not capable of conscious self-fertilization.

  256. #256 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    It’s the placing a certain value on fetuses that I do.

    Placing a certain value on a fetus by definition means also placing a corresponding value and purpose on its mother. If you tell a pregnant woman that her fetus is a protected entity and must be allowed to develop to live birth, then you are also telling that woman that her purpose is to grow a baby. The effect is that her body no longer belongs to her. If she does not get to decide whether to maintain the pregnancy or not, then she is no longer in control of her life. It means that whatever ill effects she suffers from the pregnancy and childbirth are her responsibility to bear because she happened to become pregnant.

    There are no protections on a fetus that do not affect the rights of a pregnant woman. The two cannot be separated.

  257. #257 'Tis Himself, OM
    April 18, 2010

    The fetus isn’t some parasite that just popped up there. YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.

    What if the fetus is the result of rape? Then it wasn’t put in the body, it was forced into the body.

    This is the rhetoric we see all too often from the people who want to punish women for having sex. There are better arguments against abortion. I suggest you use them instead of this misogynistic ranting.

  258. #258 Sven DiMilo
    April 18, 2010

    Jeez I started typing responses offline an hour ago and comments keep on coming. Guess I’ll post what I’ve got and quit.

    I’m in total agreement with PZ’s OP and I support abortion rights 100%.

    That said, I find many of the arguments and rhetoric used by people on “my side” unfortunate. Also as per usual I get picky about some of the details.

    Then I suppose masturbation and menstruation also make you uneasy? Same thing.

    Seriously? The same? Fighting one false equivalence with another–not wise.

    These people do not hold life sacred. They don’t care… Pro-lifers are not about “saving babies” – what they are about is controlling women.

    This sort of broad-brushing is largely inaccurate and (puts on accomodationist hat) unhelpful. Any one of those “they don’t care” statements is going to be untrue of many, many individuals among “them”. I think they are mistaken and confused and misinformed and irrational and arrogant and probably hypocritical, but I doubt that the vast majority of them are insincere.
    By and large they truly think it’s evil to murder babies, and they truly think of fetuses as “not-yet-born” babies. That’s it. That’s all. That’s as far as they can or are willing to think about it. It doesn’t even necessarily have to be about “souls”. The whole controlling-women’s-bodies thing is a largely unexamined consequence of that priority, not a motivation (except perhaps unconsciously in those who are also misogynistic). Hey, I think murdering babies is evil, too.

    I am pro-choice, but I don’t like seeing my side distort the issue so badly.

    agreed

    Nobody has the right to use someone else’s body

    And if they try, they should be killed? Because of “property rights”?

    when it’s just because she doesn’t act sexually the way you think she should?

    Unfair. It was not her sexual activity that was criticized (“slut-shaming”), it was the irresponsibility and selfishness of her choice to avoid contraception.

    It suggests that anti-abortion is not primarily about the babies, but it’s part of a wider agenda. It’s about sex. It’s about not letting women get away with having free access to it.

    Those anti-abortionists who are also anti-contraception (I have no idea what proportion that is and I doubt you do either) are hypocritical fools, of course. Those are your Papists. But their opposition to contraception is motivated purely by religious fealty, whereas their opposition to abortion really is about baby-killing (to them). Of course, these folks also think that sex outside of MW marriage is wrong, etc.

    Because they aren’t actually interested in preventing abortion. They are interested in punishing women for having sex.

    Nope. They–the individual people we are referring to as “They”–really are interested in stopping abortion. Women being punished is a (perhaps, to them) unfortunate consequence but not the motivator.

    It is constructed BY THE WOMAN. Enzymes in her surrounding tissues recruit nutrients, blood, bones, tissue, etc… from the food the woman eats and mostly from her own body. Piece by piece she cannibalizes herself

    *eyeroll* Pretty melodramatic. If we laid eggs then women would “cannibalize themselves” to put all the raw materials into the egg and the embryo/fetus would still build itself. Mammals just provide the raw materials mostly from income rather than capital.

    Something akin to the way a tumor leeches the nutrients and important tissues of the body in order to grow itself.

    Really? Reproduction is like cancer to you?

    The colloquial use of the term parasite seems a bit off for a biology based blog. It’d be difficult to use the biological term parasite to describe something as fundamentally necessary to life as reproduction.

    Correct. Technically, a parasite must reduce its host’s fitness. Since fitness is measured (first pass) in population-relative offspring, an offspring cannot in general be a parasite.

    It’s one organism completely dependent for its survival on siphoning off resources from another, with no reciprocal nutrition going the other direction.

    That is true of ALL reproduction and it’s simply not what parasitism means in a technical sense.

    So we should stop calling cancer a decease, since it’s merely good, lifefurthering celldivision?

    This makes no fucking sense at all.

    The exact nature of the ‘relationship’ is parasitical.

    Wrong. Just because eutherian reproductive physiology is real-time rather than front-loaded does not change the difference between reproduction and parasitism.
    A nursing baby is also a parasite by this definition. Hell, my 14-year-old gets all her nutrition from me (indirectly) and gives me no nutrition back. She’s no parasite.

    some things procreate by parasitizing their own. the method is the same though.

    ridiculous.

    Reproduction is a parasitic experience in any organism that has internal gestation. If you like, you can argue that it’s not a politically expedient term to use, but you can’t say that it’s biologically incorrect.

    You’re wrong about this, Carlie.

    Parasites live off their hosts without giving the host any benefit

    Wrong. That’s called “commensalism”. Parasitism by definition harms the host, and in biology that means specifically “decreases reproductive success.”
    You can use words casually however you want, but the point here is that a eutherian fetus is not, biologically, a parasite.

    the mother’s enzymes and hormone levels “direct” the sculpting of the cell division into the formation of more and more complex human-like objects.

    Wow. You’re a biologist and that’s your take on what’s going on in mammalian development?

    An unwanted pregnancy is in no way, shape or form different from a cancerous growth.

    Because it’s “unwanted”? That’s a very, very weird argument.

    It may be less deadly of a parasitical relationship than say a cancerous tumor cell, but it is definitely not commensalism

    Gah! You may be a microbiologist but you don;t know shit about ecology! It’s REPRODUCTION. Reproduction is mutually exclusive to parasitism BY DEFINITION.

    but whatever. Keep on arguin’.

  259. #259 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    No. I’m not capable of conscious self-fertilization.

    No shit!

  260. #260 WowbaggerOM
    April 18, 2010

    skatje.myers wrote:

    The fetus isn’t some parasite that just popped up there. YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.

    Methinks you’re going to regret turning to that line of argument, since it’s tantamount to saying ‘sluts get what they deserve and shouldn’t be allowed to avoid punishment’.

  261. #261 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @skatje.myers:

    The fetus isn’t some parasite that just popped up there. YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.

    So if it’s not your fault, abortion would be OK? If you took all the precautions, but despite condoms and birth control you get pregnant anyway? Or if you got raped? Then where is the line? Do you still qualify for abortion if you used some of the precautions, like condoms only?

    Or would abortion still not be OK? If so, then why use this argument?

    And even if it is your fault, for instance because you didn’t think through the consequences of unprotected sex, do you really think that a forced pregnancy is an appropriate punishment for this crime?

  262. #262 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    The fetus isn’t some parasite that just popped up there. YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.

    Ah, so there it is. The “bitch asked for it” rationale.

    What do you think about the fact that all contraceptives fail? Is a woman less liable for a pregnancy if she’s on a birth control that fails than if she’s not on any? What if she’s on two? What if she’s lied to about whether her partner had a vasectomy?

    Do you think that no one should have sex, ever, unless they are fully capable and willing to have a child?

    Do you think that 9-10 months of pregnancy, subsequent childbirth, and 18-20 years of fully supporting another person is appropriate punishment for a half-hour of what may or may not have been a rash decision?

    What about women who have medical reasons that they can’t have a baby? Should they be celibate for life?

  263. #263 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    But I’m going to have to say I would place the right of a fetus to live over your right to ignore the consequences of your actions because they’re too hard.

    so you’d be ok with refusing medical treatment to all smokers, obese people, athletes, couch potatoes, people who knew they’re allergic to peanuts but had a reaction anyway, etc. ad nauseam?

    interesting.

  264. #264 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    skatje.myers:

    The fetus isn’t some parasite that just popped up there. YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.

    FFS. Do you even understand how “damn sluts, that what you get for having sex” that statement is?

    I got pregnant one time. I’ve had an abortion one time. I was using two types of birth control when I got pregnant. It happens. Any child I would have been forced to birth would have had an excruciatingly miserable life.* I know this, because I know myself. So, as far as you’re concerned, all that would have been worth a so what, you’re the one who had sex, it’s your fault, you should have thought first or been celibate forever, now take your punishment, and screw what the kid’s life will be like!

    Nice. Real nice.

    *Don’t bother to bring up adoption. Not an answer for me, never was an answer.

  265. #265 Cerberus
    April 18, 2010

    Skatje just used argument #1 of my post @48.

    Caine @248 Yes, exactly. 100%

    But right now, I need to cry myself to sleep.

    Someone that loved, raised without so much garbage women have in this society, using a version of the “sluts bring it on themselves” argument…

    I understand it. I understand why, but damnitt if this isn’t hitting hard.

    Night all.

  266. #266 jemand
    April 18, 2010

    skatje, number. What is the percentage chance of death which the state shall mandate upon all straight women for the privilege of having sex?

    What is that number? You are ok for abortion in the case of medical “necessity” but what percentage chance of death must a woman be compelled to experience against her will?

  267. #267 Peter H
    April 18, 2010

    Yep, dandruff. (This may have already been touched upon.) And every time I trim my finger- & toenails. And when the Goodwife trims my hair. The countless intestinal cells sloughed off every time I take a dump. Innumerable bazillions of doomed “persons.” This would all be hilarious (and not always in good taste) if this sham philosophy & bozo biology were not taken so seriously by folks several sandwiches shy of a picnic.

  268. #268 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    Skeetar @ 224

    Skatje plz don’t abort your ferrets =*(

    Three of my family members find your comments offensive and insensitive:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNpHtJW4GCA

    The primate is my son, the other two are distant relatives. Comparing a tame weasel to a potential primate is an insult to muscalites everywhere, which include those adorable otters everybody is so crazy about.

  269. #269 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    I recognise that pregnancy is a serious thing, full of discomfort and health risk. But I’m going to have to say I would place the right of a fetus to live over your right to ignore the consequences of your actions because they’re too hard.

    Again, why do you presuppose that a fetus has the right to be provided with an incubator, by an individual who does not consent to this, all with the force of the state?

    You have not established that such a right exists, nor why it should override a woman’s right not to serve as a forced incubator for the government.

    I would ask again, what is wrong with the legal system we have now under Roe?

  270. #270 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    It is YOUR fault.

    But the male half of that equation, he gets off* with no consequences?

    There is nothing wrong with consequence-free sex, even if birth control fails or is not used.

    Once again, the potential for life should never ever ever trump an actual life, even if one (or both) partners screwed up.

    *Pun totally intended. Heh.

  271. #271 staceyjwsolar
    April 18, 2010

    Sorry, Skatjie, but you are NOT disproving the opinion that you don’t have to be crazy, sexist, and/or religious to be against abortion- you certainly ARE SEXIST, even if it’s only towards this one (VERY CRITICAL) issue.

    As soon as you place the rights of a fetus ahead of the rights of the LIVING WOMAN, you become both sexist and anti-choice. That you wouldn’t actively fight to ban abortion means nothing.

    The most troubling thing I see in any discussion about abortion is the way that WOMANS AUTONOMY gets ignored straight away! Not that women have negative opinions about their oppressors (and YES, anti-choice is oppression).

    I sure hope you never have to make a personal decision about abortion, but even more, I hope you never try to make it for ME! Here’s a link to some stories of women that said they would NEVER have an abortion, and fought against it, but ended up doing it anyway (its always different once its your problem!):

    http://mypage.direct.ca/w/writer/anti-tales.html

    The whole “If you don’t like murder don’t commit it” is ignorant nonsense that I would expect to hear yelled at a fundie wing nut rally, not here.

  272. #272 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    There is nothing wrong with consequence-free sex

    It’s to be preferred.

  273. #273 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    Tryyying to keep up. Mostly skimming at this point.

    The battle for the cultural recognition of female sexual and bodily autonomy is a long ass one and we’re winning it, but it’s always sad to see young women parroting the same old.

    Condescending ass. Parroting the same old? No. I did not form my opinions from hearing pro-lifers argue. Because most of them are retards who think that billboards like the ones above are rational arguments. I resent the idea that I can’t come to my own conclusions in my own way, that I must somehow be the same as the rest of the people under this hideous label.

    “No one disputes your right to tell whoever whatever. But mere desire does not grant rightful authority. What gives you the right to use police violence to get your way?”

    Allow me to explain how the world works.

    If I was morally okay with beating people up who didn’t give me their money, I guess that’s what I would do. But the next person, who has the view that people who beat up other people should go to jail, gets the right to try to put me in jail. etc. Sounds chaotic. Usually something prevails, ends up in law, and we’re all forced to follow it, not because we believe it, but because of punishment. I’m fine with the world working that way. I find this to be the best way. So I’ll participate.

    Skatje, you have a liver that baby could use. It’s ok, they just cut off part and adults can usually regrow it just fine.[...]Can the state of Minnesota force you to undergo the surgery and donate your liver?

    First of all, I’m going to point out that you’re talking to someone who has looked into donating her liver to someone who needs it.

    And… I do not find this analogy relevant whatsoever. That is a very different situation.

  274. #274 monado
    April 18, 2010

    If a woman is that irresponsible, surely you don’t want her raising a child? It would be unfair to the child.

  275. #275 TimKO,,.,,
    April 18, 2010

    “I am pro-abortion”

    I’ll one-up you, PZ. Abortion should be mandatory in many cases.

    You need a license to drive (and you need other licenses of sorts to do many society interactions); the law can force you to take a pill if you drink and interact in public (in Colorado, they can force you to do this if you have 2 beers and then ride a bicycle); yet the biggest responsibility, that of creating a human, is unregulated. How many children are the result of planned, wanted pregnancy? Unwanted children are the result of eventual problems in too many cases. The churches have convinced people that this is okay.

    Case in point, me babysitting my neighbors kid, born after a few-night-stand to a 19 yr-old-mother. She’s since quit college & ended up homeless and government-supported (thank FSM for this because she otherwise would have changed the crime statistics). She’ll never be educated and the kid has so little opportunity. Because she wasn’t ready, she’s a shitty mother (it all led to a drinking problem). All because she felt threatened and frightened by the Catholic church. Yeah, it was real fun to watch. Just one story I have out of a dozen on this topic. Conversely, how many unprepared mothers/couples have had this happen BECAUSE of legal, easy abortion? We use medication/medical procedures to improve our lives/lifestyles routinely. Termination of pregnancy should be likewise routine.

  276. #276 jemand
    April 18, 2010

    also, I did NOT consent to be born a straight female. It is none of my damned fault, I didn’t do it to myself. So if I get pregnant, it’s *not* something I “did to myself” and it’s NOT “my fault.”

    The ability to pursue sexual fulfillment is a strong part of what it is to be fully human, a real person with a real healthy, psychological state. Birth control may sometimes fail. My status as a straight woman is not going to fail. And it is no more my “fault” or something I “did to myself” than the sexual orientation or gender of anyone else on the planet.

  277. #277 ambook
    April 18, 2010

    It is YOUR fault.

    Let me echo those who say that you are really brave to express unpopular opinions on your dad’s blog. Personally, I’m sort of afraid to do that, and I don’t ever have to deal with him at breakfast… (The homeschooling debate got sort of hairy for me, but I did stick around.)

    On the “fault” issue, however, no, that’s not true. Even IUDs, Norplant, and sterilization can fail. There are plenty of teen girls who get pregnant and don’t know how it happened (think chastity ball attendees). There are women who are raped in relationships, women whose partners sabotage birth control, women who are raped by strangers or family members (think of that 9 year old Brazilian girl pregnant with twins by her rapist stepfather). I am not willing to treat pregnancy and motherhood as a punishment for sexual activity or victimization. Pregnancy often feels like re-victimization for women who have experienced sexual violence, even when it’s a planned and highly desired event – how dare I tell a rape victim that she has to devote a year of life (9 months plus at least 3 months hormonal and physical recovery) to the pregnancy her rapist produced?

  278. #278 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    I’m cynically amused that skatje’s original post was about using herself as an example of someone who’s anti-abortion but not sexist, only to result in a thoroughly sexist “sluts must be punished” argument.

    total fail.

  279. #279 ravenkatie
    April 18, 2010

    PZ, although I am in agreement with the main points you made today- how do you counter the church’s biggest argument, that the fetus counts as a living human being once it gets a heart. No it’s not the same thing as a fully formed baby, but once it has a heart- stopping that is difficult to swallow. Doesn’t that argument make your blog post somewhat irrelevant?

    That said, I do consider myself pro-choice (although not pro-abortion). But my reasons are that as distatesful as I find abortion, I find harassing women making the most difficult choice of their lives, the legal complications of outlawing it(who decides what is rape or what is medically necessary for any exceptions to an abortion law?), and risks from backwoods abortions all far more distateful.

  280. #280 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    But I’m going to have to say I would place the right of a fetus to live over your right to ignore the consequences of your actions because they’re too hard.

    Whores who fuck deserve what’s coming to them? So what kind of women get pregnant? Do you have a mental image? What are their lives like? I’d love to hear it described. Because clearly there’s no diversity here.

    What happens to them after they’re forced to have a baby. Will anyone help them? How about the unwanted and possibly unhealthy children, or the orphans? Their welfare is tied to the welfare of the unwilling slave that was forced to bear and now care for them.

  281. #281 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    Allow me to explain how the world works.

    If I was morally okay with beating people up who didn’t give me their money, I guess that’s what I would do. But the next person, who has the view that people who beat up other people should go to jail, gets the right to try to put me in jail. etc.

    Again, it’s not that simple. There has to be a victim, which is apparent in the case of beating up adults, but which is less obvious in the case of abortion. When do you even propose that a fetus acquires rights, anyway? You haven’t offered important details. Like what is an acceptable enforcement mechanism, who should be punished and how.

  282. #282 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @ravenkatie: I thought the idea that the heart was the seat of the soul was falsified a long time ago? Wouldn’t it be more important to look at the development of the brain?

  283. #283 WowbaggerOM
    April 18, 2010

    OurDeadSelves wrote:

    But the male half of that equation, he gets off* with no consequences?

    To be fair, there is at least a reasonable proportion of males who experience ‘consequences’ as the result of their contribution – but (obviously) it’s nowhere near as impactful as the consequences for the woman.

    For me (a male, for those who weren’t aware) the thought of an accident leading to pregnancy is something that’s affected relationships I’ve had because I most certainly do not consider myself fit to be a father – not just financially and emotionally but genetically; the thought of passing on what I consider unsuitable characteristics is, for me, a serious consequence that I would have to live with should it happen.

  284. #284 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 18, 2010

    Technically, a parasite must reduce its host’s fitness. Since fitness is measured (first pass) in population-relative offspring, an offspring cannot in general be a parasite.

    Fuck me. I work on parasites. All the times that my parents called me a parasite, and I never thought of this response.

    *self-loathing*

    *regret*

  285. #285 Peter H
    April 18, 2010

    “…as a living human being once it gets a heart…”

    The presence of a functioning circulatory system is no more assurance of “a living human being” than having a given number of chromosomes. Or a tail. Or undeveloped gills.

  286. #286 staceyjwsolar
    April 18, 2010

    “We have anti-choice women in for abortions all the time. Many of them are just naive and ignorant until they find themselves with an unwanted pregnancy. Many of them are not malicious. They just haven’t given it the proper amount of thought until it completely affects them. They can be judgmental about their friends, family, and other women. Then suddenly they become pregnant. Suddenly they see the truth. That it should only be their own choice. Unfortunately, many also think that somehow they are different than everyone else and they deserve to have an abortion, while no one else does.” (Physician, Washington State)

    Not sure if its on topic, but wanted to add it anyway.

    There IS a difference between being morally against something, and using the power of the government to make others do what you think it right. I don’t care if people think abortion is wrong, as long as they don’t stand in the way of others that don’t agree with them.

  287. #287 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    I did NOT consent to be born a straight female

    Neither did I, and I resent it to the point that I have sometimes thought I should not be one, but becoming transgender is too much for me.

    Truthfully I see myself as neither sex.

  288. #288 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    Reproduction is mutually exclusive to parasitism BY DEFINITION.

    Only because we’ve separated them. Seriously, how are you arguing this? Because it doesn’t reduce the fitness level of the individual, is that right? So a parasite is only a parasite if it reduces overall fitness? I can have lice and still have just as many babies as I would without them; does that make the lice nonparasitic? There are all kinds of parasites that routinely operate at a sub-fitness level of injury, and we don’t avoid calling them parasites. And even if you want to argue that, I could say that any individual pregnancy has a huge possibility of reducing the overall fitness of the mother, due to lasting health effects like calcium depletion, internal scarring if it was a traumatic birth, and you know, death during pregnancy and childbirth. You mentioned nursing; that’s the whole underlying hypothesis behind weaning conflict. The infant wants to keep parasitizing, which reduces the ability of the mother to reproduce again, so they fight it out over a few weeks or months. That’s the hypothesis behind infanticide as a form of male competition; the male has to remove the current batch from the mother or she won’t come into heat again so she can reproduce. In an animal that has a lot of gestational and infant care like mammals, each pregnancy can most definitely reduce overall fitness.

    What would you call the relationship between fetus and host, then, if not parasitism? You can’t just call it “reproduction”; that’s sloppy, and covers everything from eutherian mammals to sponges’ broadcast spawning. What do you define it as?

  289. #289 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    To be fair, there is at least a reasonable proportion of males who experience ‘consequences’ as the result of their contribution – but (obviously) it’s nowhere near as impactful as the consequences for the woman.

    Oh no, I didn’t mean to imply that I felt that men were by and large scumbags!

    I was reacting to the “it’s YOUR fault*” argument– with the implication that unwanted pregnancy is completely the woman’s fault. If we’re going to be punishing people for being sexually active, then the men have to fit into that equation somewhere.

    *AKA that filthy slut deserves it.

  290. #290 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Jadehawk, OM:

    I’m cynically amused that skatje’s original post was about using herself as an example of someone who’s anti-abortion but not sexist, only to result in a thoroughly sexist “sluts must be punished” argument.

    total fail.

    +10 and QFT.

  291. #291 molto legato e sostenuto
    April 18, 2010

    @Carlie #44:

    You expressed that very well. I think you may have changed my point of view from being more like Glock21’s to being more like yours. This kind of thing is one of the reasons I’m glad to be on Pharyngula.

  292. #292 Ryan F Stello
    April 18, 2010

    I heard this on my commute last week, but didn’t have a topic that it fit in:

    Newly Passed ‘Fetal Pain’ Bill in Nebraska Is a Big Deal

    Expect more of this in the next year or so.

  293. #293 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    So, here come the strawmen.

    No, this isn’t punishing women for having sex. This is telling them (men and women alike) that “not 100% effective” means something, and you should understand that. You engaged in something, knowing that a pregnancy could result. There is only so much sympathy I can feel. I don’t get off on people suffering for it, I wish no one did, but I’m not going to pat you on the back and act like you and the man who impregnated you had no part in the result. (and FYI, I emphasise the bit about the man in this. He’s just as responsible, and should never get to abandon (at minimum) financial responsibility)

    If I end up pregnant, I won’t be sitting there going “oh man, how did THIS happen? I better get this taken care of”. I’m aware of how effective my birth control is. I’m aware of what will happen if it fails. I know that if it does, I will have to own up to the result.

    It’s called admitting responsibility. Not punishment.

  294. #294 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @molto in #291:
    We always hear people who claim that these discussions are pointless, because nobody ever changes their minds. Good to hear that is not true.

  295. #295 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    The World Health Organization in recent years conducted a comprehensive study of abortion rates in nations around the world.

    Their findings were extremely consistent, allowing me to simplify greatly here without sacrificing accuracy:

    In nations where abortion is illegal, the rate of abortions performed was equal to the rate in nations where abortion is legal. In other words, no matter whether abortion is legal or illegal, the same number of fetuses get killed. Procuring abortions is so important to women who need them, that the possibility of jail time is no impediment. And that makes sense, because the rational person weighing her options can see that the possibility of imprisonment (or death; see next paragraph) is preferable to the certainty of unwanted childbirth and childrearing.

    That was the first finding. Illegality does not reduce the number of fetuses being killed.

    However, in nations where abortion is illegal, more women die during and after the procedure. That also makes sense. Of course back-alley abortions are going to be more dangerous than abortions in a hospital or clinic with well-trained staff under minimal pressure.

    Summary: outlawing abortion does not reduce the number of fetuses being killed, but it does increase the number of women being killed.

    Still wouldn’t oppose a ban, Skatje?

  296. #296 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    ravenkatie:

    the fetus counts as a living human being once it gets a heart.

    So, brainless is okay, as long as there’s a heart?

  297. #297 jemand
    April 18, 2010

    @ Ol’Greg,

    yeah… I wasn’t trying to make any statement on transgender or androgynous persons. I actually am not unhappy or resentful of *being* a straight woman. I am *quite* resentful of the double standards and sexist treatment this ensures me in the modern world.

    I was just trying to tie the autonomy of female bodies to all other freedoms we are currently fighting for, that of gays and lesbians to be able to pursue sexually fulfilling and full lives, that of transgender persons to pursue their own sexually fulfilling and full lives in the bodies and genders (not necessarily binary) they identify with.

    I actually *do* happen to identify fairly well with being a straight woman. I see absolutely NO reason why this should be the only class of person who should not be permitted to pursue sexually fulfilling and full lives, with full bodily autonomy and self-direction.

    I am happy for the advance of gay and lesbian rights, but it sometimes appears that even long after we grant the ability of everyone else to have fulfilling and self determined lives, straight women will still be having to fight the same battles, over, and over, and over again.

    Which depresses me :(

  298. #298 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    He’s just as responsible

    Not hardly. Unless men gain the ability to get pregnant, there’s absolutely no way he can responsible (at this stage at least) at all.

    It’s called admitting responsibility.

    And if that choice works for you, all the more power to you. However, because that works for you, do you honestly think that it would work for me? Should I have to put my entire life on hold because of a mistake?

    And if you sit back and think about it, yeah you are using a slut-shaming argument, no matter how you phrase it. I will say it again: There is absolutely nothing wrong with consequence-free sex.

  299. #299 monado
    April 18, 2010

    Leah, you’re being too harsh. It’s quite typical for people who haven’t thought deeply about abortion to be vaguely pro-choice but to have some reservations. If they do think about it, they tend to move to a firmer pro-choice position. E.g. suppose it is a person. Suppose it’s conscious. Does the person next to me in a crowd get to use my body against my will, even to keep himself alive? No. Does anyone force me to use my body to keep him alive? No. Is anyone contemplating laws to force everyone to keep others alive by using yet more others’ bodies for life support? No. Then it’s not about personhood, it’s about punishment.

    Adult women who have abortions in their lifetime is more about 40% now, not 33%.

    I don’t know the exact legal situation now, but up til 3 months killing a baby used to be infanticide, which was a less serious crime than murder.

  300. #300 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    I find it a shame that women bear the most of the responsibility of reproduction. If the world was perfect, it would be equal. Because both parties’ actions are equal. I don’t hate my gender specifically, I hate them both equally. <3

  301. #301 monado
    April 18, 2010

    Anyone arguing “personhood” has let the other side set the terms of the debate. Personhood is irrelevant in the face of the precedent for life support, e.g. organ donation or blood donation, which is key.

  302. #302 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    No, this isn’t punishing women for having sex. This is telling them (men and women alike) that “not 100% effective” means something, and you should understand that.

    Automobiles are not 100% safe. Should people who ride in cars not be medically treated in the case of accident? Why not just let them suffer and die so they can admit responsibility?

    Subjecting women to unnecessary pain and forfeiture of medical choice sure sounds exactly like “punishment.”

  303. #303 AJKamper
    April 18, 2010

    We live in Minnesota, and my wife and I enjoy mocking those billboards (which are ALL over along the interstates).

    Someday I would like to produce a billboard that says, “I could slam dunk a basketball six months after I was conceived!” and has a silhouette of a fetus with a basketball springing toward the hoop, Nike-Air Jordan style.

    If anyone can help me with this, it would bring my joy.

  304. #304 WowbaggerOM
    April 18, 2010

    OurDeadSelves wrote:

    I was reacting to the “it’s YOUR fault*” argument– with the implication that unwanted pregnancy is completely the woman’s fault. If we’re going to be punishing people for being sexually active, then the men have to fit into that equation somewhere.

    Agreed. I see slut-shaming as one of the worst justifications for holding anti-choice views, if for no other reason than it’s so ridiculously one-sided. If I’ve impregnated her then it’s grossly unfair for me to get off so easy if the woman is to be punished with forced pregnancy.

  305. #305 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    It’s called admitting responsibility.

    And going for an abortion is a method of taking responsibility for what happened. Abortions aren’t a visit to the ice-cream shop; they take time, and effort, and pain, and often ridicule from the protesters outside, and money. Why shouldn’t this option be open? Why is this not a form of taking responsibility?

    I’m getting frustrated, so I should stop for the night. But glancing over the thread again, I see that what I’ve written are views that have honestly taken me several years to develop. I don’t expect that you, or anyone, will suddenly say “Oh yes, it’s all true as you said it!” It’s the kind of thing that, for a person who is really wedded to the idea that embryos are precious snowflake people, takes an awful lot of time to unpack. Yes, the idea of women = people is a simple one. But there are so many entanglements here, and people do fall at various places in their comfort level, and there are so many angles to approach it from. It takes a long, long time to formulate a solid viewpoint on the subject that isn’t just a knee-jerk response, whatever that viewpiont is. I think the biggest thing anyone can ask is for you (and anyone else with that view) to take the time to really evaluate what you think about it and why. Look past the stereotype straw woman of a slut who doesn’t bother to use birth control and see all of the reasons women have abortions, and all of the situations they’re stuck in. Think about what it really means to privilege a fetus over the woman outside it. If you want to hold that position, be sure that you understand all its underlying assumptions and all of its ramifications.

  306. #306 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    @ 293

    Interesting, because as much as I disagree with you in principle, it was sloppy birth control and bureacratic firewalls that turned me into a family man, with no regrets.

    However, that was a joint decision with my partner (now wife) which ignores this:

    High school girl with a bourgeois dream
    Just like the pictures in the magazine
    That she found on the floor of the laundromat

    A woman with kids can forget all that
    If she comes up pregnant what’ll she do
    Forget the career, forget about school
    Can she live on faith? live on hope?
    High on Jesus or hooked on dope
    When it’s way too late to just say no
    You can’t make it here anymore

  307. #307 jemand
    April 18, 2010

    sometimes, being responsible looks like using contraception.

    sometimes, being responsible looks like getting an abortion.

    sometimes, being responsible looks like pursuing adoption.

    sometimes, being responsible looks like properly caring for a child.

    Often, children aren’t cared for. THAT is irresponsible. Anything in the above list is responsible.

  308. #308 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    No, this isn’t punishing women for having sex. This is telling them (men and women alike) that “not 100% effective” means something, and you should understand that. You engaged in something, knowing that a pregnancy could result.

    So what do you suggest women who don’t want children do? No sex at all? How is this not a women’s rights issue if you are willing to frame it like this?

    It’s called admitting responsibility.

    You don’t need to be forced through a pregnancy to admit responsibility. You can also admit responsibility for the unintended pregnancy and then very responsibly go to an abortion clinic to end it.

    You still haven’t explained why it’s OK to intervene before conception, but not after.

  309. #309 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    You engaged in something, knowing that a pregnancy could result.

    You’re still insisting that only one type of woman or one type of sexual activity results in pregnancy.

    You’re expectations here are unrealistic. Should a family with four children be forced into poverty because of failed birth control?

    These aren’t strawmen, they are the real stories of human beings whose lives are ruined by the delusions for which you argue so prettily.

    Delusions that pretend away the realities of life.

  310. #310 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    And if that choice works for you, all the more power to you. However, because that works for you, do you honestly think that it would work for me? Should I have to put my entire life on hold because of a mistake?

    I wish the consequences weren’t so dire, but that’s unfortunately how life is.

    And if you sit back and think about it, yeah you are using a slut-shaming argument, no matter how you phrase it. I will say it again: There is absolutely nothing wrong with consequence-free sex.

    There is something wrong with it if it results in the death of something that ought to be allowed to live. Which brings us back to the main argument.

  311. #311 Dianne
    April 18, 2010

    the fetus counts as a living human being once it gets a heart

    So would you say that someone who took a person, opened their chest (without anesthesia) and ripped their heart out had committed murder? In many circumstances I would too, but not in one special circumstance: if the person in question were brain dead and the heart were being removed for organ donation. No brain, no living person. One can debate at what point “brain birth” happens or if the concept even makes sense but it is absolutely certain that an embryo (it’s not a fetus yet) at the time of first heart beat does not a working brain.

  312. #312 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    It’s called admitting responsibility. Not punishment.

    getting an abortion is being responsible. it’s just not the flavor of responsibility you like, because you’d like to confer on fetuses the special right of slaveholders.

    but just like a slave doesn’t actually have any automatic moral responsibility to their slavemaster, even if their capture was the unintended consequence of their actions, so a woman doesn’t have an automatic moral responsibility to a fetus, just because her enslavement was the unintended consequence of her actions.

    If the world was perfect, it would be equal.

    and if unicorns shat sandwiches, we could end world hunger.

    wishful thinking and hypotheticals are a shitty basis for arguing the fate of real human beings.

  313. #313 Dornier Pfeil
    April 18, 2010

    As a further commentary on the sanities and insanities of our culture; zygotes are not people, but corporations are, atleast as far as our Supreme Court is concerned.

  314. #314 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    And… I do not find this analogy relevant whatsoever. That is a very different situation.

    It appears to be the same situation. At issue is one’s need of another’s body to survive, and the role of the state in deciding how much one should be forced to give to another.

    Why shouldn’t the government be allowed to decide that you should give me part of your liver, or a kidney?

    If this is “just different,” exactly why is it too different?

  315. #315 Peter H
    April 18, 2010

    “Reproduction is mutually exclusive to parasitism BY DEFINITION.

    Try telling that to your mitochondria.

  316. #316 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    I don’t hate my gender specifically, I hate them both equally.

    A fellow misanthrope, I salute you.

    Freinds of George Carlin and Mark Twain

  317. #317 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    No, this isn’t punishing women for having sex. This is telling them (men and women alike) that “not 100% effective” means something, and you should understand that.

    Oh yes it is punishment. It’s blatant slut shaming. Anyone who thinks a woman must be forced to birth is all about the punishment. You denying that isn’t going to make it so.

  318. #318 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    Why do I eternally use the wrong form of your/you’re

  319. #319 WowbaggerOM
    April 18, 2010

    skatje.myers wrote:

    (and FYI, I emphasise the bit about the man in this. He’s just as responsible, and should never get to abandon (at minimum) financial responsibility)

    But if the child is adopted out, the man need only pay for his share up until the birth and then he’s ‘done his time’ – while the woman being punished has to bear any physical consequences of having had the child* for the rest of her life. How is that comparable?

    *Which – as has been noted – include death, infertility and other very serious physical ailments, not to mention any psychological/emotional problems they might suffer.

  320. #320 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    I wish the consequences weren’t so dire, but that’s unfortunately how life is.

    But it doesn’t have to be, that is my point.

    Any what’s with the magical thinking about fetuses? Potential for human life =/= human life.

  321. #321 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    There is something wrong with it if it results in the death of something that ought to be allowed to live.

    ought? yeah, I don’t think so. just like I’m not going to legislate cannibalism because the death of one might save a bunch of others, I’m not gonna legislate forced pregnancies.

  322. #322 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    getting an abortion is being responsible.

    Objectively correct.

    I wish the consequences weren’t so dire, but that’s unfortunately how life is.

    How life is: we have Roe as settled law, and we’re lucky as a society for it.

    How life is: nations with more restrictions do not have fewer abortions, but they do have more deaths of women.

  323. #323 Sven DiMilo
    April 18, 2010

    So a parasite is only a parasite if it reduces overall fitness?

    Corect. This is not my personal definition, but the conventional term of art in community ecology.

    I can have lice and still have just as many babies as I would without them; does that make the lice nonparasitic?

    Yes. It makes them commensal (unless they are disease vectors).

    any individual pregnancy has a huge possibility of reducing the overall fitness of the mother,

    This is crazy talk. Without pregnancy fitness is zero.

    The infant wants to keep parasitizing, which reduces the ability of the mother to reproduce again

    No, the “infant” “wants” to keep receiving direct parental care. It’s not parasitizing, again, by definition. Parental care increases the mother’s fitness. Fitness is not how many kids are popped out, it’s how many kids go on themselves to successfully reproduce. But you know this.

    In an animal that has a lot of gestational and infant care like mammals, each pregnancy can most definitely reduce overall fitness.

    Read what you just wrote there. Sorry, parental care most emphatically does not decrease overall fitness; if it did it wouldn’t evolve.

    What would you call the relationship between fetus and host, then, if not parasitism? You can’t just call it “reproduction”; that’s sloppy, and covers everything from eutherian mammals to sponges’ broadcast spawning.

    I wouldn’t refer to a pregnant eutherian as a “host”. “Reproduction” is exactly what it is. Extended gestation is much more similar to laying eggs or broadcast spawning or even asexual budding than it is to parasitism. That’s not “sloppy,” it’s basic biology.

    What do you define it as?

    You mean what do I call the relationship? “Gestation.”

  324. #324 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    Automobiles are not 100% safe. Should people who ride in cars not be medically treated in the case of accident? Why not just let them suffer and die so they can admit responsibility?

    Irrelevant. Ignoring the fact that women must deal with this pregnancy because suddenly there is another entity within her.

    You’re expectations here are unrealistic. Should a family with four children be forced into poverty because of failed birth control?

    Man, does adoption NOT exist?

  325. #325 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    317

    forced to birth and abortion rights are not the same thing, that’s a logical fallacy. Or maybe phallusey, whatever, my spelling suckles.

  326. #326 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    No, this isn’t punishing women for having sex. This is telling them (men and women alike) that “not 100% effective” means something, and you should understand that. You engaged in something, knowing that a pregnancy could result. There is only so much sympathy I can feel.

    Again, there is a divide between intent and effect.

    No contraceptive method is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, abortion is 100% effective at ending it. If there is nothing wrong with having sex, then there should be no consequences of unwanted pregnancy and childbirth. A fertile woman should not have to “admit responsibility” for her actions if she has done nothing wrong.

    This here:

    YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.

    ultimately means that, by having sex with a man, a woman of childbearing age has done something wrong and must accept the consequences. It means that having sex is somehow wrong, and it must be justified with the possibility of childbearing.

    It ultimately means that the baby is her punishment.

    I don’t know about y’all, but I think children deserve better than to be their parents’ punishment.

    You can say that’s not what you mean, but if your opinions are made into public policy, that is the effect. There is no equivalent punishment for a man or a non-fertile woman. If abortion is illegal except in severely restricted circumstances, then the concrete effect is that fertile women are punished for having sex.

  327. #327 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    Man, does adoption NOT exist?

    You have no idea what it is like to carry or have a child.

    It is not a magic box from which a baby pops out.

    It costs many thousands of dollars, has permanent affects on your body, can kill you.

    No, adoption is not ideal or even possible for some.

    Why should a woman be FORCED to undergo a pregnancy as a punishment?

  328. #328 SquidBrandon
    April 18, 2010

    skatje.myers spake:

    Hello, I’m Skatje. I was raised without religion, by the author of this blog. Personally, I would not have an abortion, unless my life was at stake.

    Since hypotheticals are popular today, how about this: What if legislation was adopted banning all abortion without exception? Even if an abortion was medically necessary to protect the life of the mother, because fetuses are determined to be “protected entities.” The state would enforce this law so that any woman determined to be a high risk pregnancy was immediately institutionalized and subsequently physically/chemically restrained to ensure the pregnancy would be carried to term, such that the mother (let’s say it’s you) could in no way even choose to endanger this protected entity. In fact the protected entity will benefit from proper medical care. If the mother dies, the resulting baby would be then adopted by some eager parents-to-be.

    You said:

    This isn’t a women’s right issue at the core. The issue isn’t whether women can do whatever they want with their own bodies, it’s whether fetuses are a protected entity.

    This hypothetical legislation is really about the protected entity and has nothing to do with a what decisions a woman can make about her own bodies, right?

    At what exact milestone should the fetus become protected? Would you feel comfortable if that milestone was used for the legislation in this scenario?

    The vibe I’m getting from some commenters here is: “Oh I support a woman’s right to choose, but we need to have a serious discussion of a theoretical dividing line that we could employ to determine which abortions are less icky. I mean it’s not a black-and-white decision and coming to a consensus on a agreed upon milestone in this forum will make it easier for the women who might have to have to make a decision about her body. And easier for me to sleep at night without feeling anxiety for all the potential persons forever lost to mankind”

  329. #329 echidna
    April 18, 2010

    skatje,

    Other people are in a multitude different situations – and the law is a very ineffective tool to use when the decisions are so complex.

    In a quiet moment, you might want to try out listing the potential situations that any such law will apply to – everything from the 9 yo incest victim, people with miserable/fatal genetic flaws, drug user, pedophile, person in abusive relationship, college applicant, person who really doesn’t know how they became pregnant (date-rape drug?), malformed fetus, financial constraints, mother has health issues, girl who has not had sex education of any sort, and so on.
    Try to write a law that will give you the desired outcome, knowing that if you exclude people who feel they need an abortion from obtaining one, that you are increasing their risk of misery and death, and possibly rendering them infertile due to a botched abortion.

    You will find that such a law is difficult to get right, because it is so dependent on circumstances. The question is not so much if abortion is right or wrong, but who is in the best position to make that decision: the individual or the state.

  330. #330 Dianne
    April 18, 2010

    Something else that is starting to be worrisome is the Personhood movement. They’re trying to do an endrun around the abortion question by declaring that everything with human genes be declared “a person”.

    Ah, crap. If they win what am I going to do about all those people sitting in petri dishes in my lab? They’ve got human genes, they’re alive, they must be people. Ok, they’re single celled and do nothing but reproduce, but so what? They’re people. I guess it doesn’t really matter since I’ve also been committing mass murder against a bunch of cancer cells with human genes anyway. So what if they were going to kill their hosts, they’re alive and have human genes, they must be people, right?

    In short, are the people involved in the “Personhood movement” prepared to take the consequences of their actions: No cancer treatment of any sort whatsoever, a drastic reduction in the amount of biology and medical research that occurs in the US, and the need to support, eternally, a bunch of cell cultures? Anti-abortion advocates often talk about “taking responsibility”. Are they prepared to take the consequences of their philosophy and actions?

  331. #331 Yubal
    April 18, 2010

    I think you should not have an abortion whenever possible. Although you should not deny a woman the right to have an abortion who made this tough decision. It is a personal matter not a legal one.

    As a man, I can speak only about my putative offspring here, and I would actually not respect but rather accept a woman’s decision to abort my genetic information. Instead I would try to convince her to deliver this child and give it to me. Most people reject a moral like mine, but it is a product my own selfish thinking. If the fetus is mine, I want it to develop to a child and get a fighting chance to make a difference in this world. I would even pay her three times her regular salary for the nine month and 6 month after to, at least financially, compensate her for the effort. I know that there is more to it than just a couple of month of pregnancy and money, but again, if it is my genetic information I would do everything allowed by the law to preserve it.

    Something I learned in the age of 15 which had a big influence on my personal ethics is this:
    When my mom was pregnant with me, several doctors told her that she and her baby would die if she doesn’t have an abortion right. So to say, I was a medically justified abortion. She took the chance and lived to become old, healthy and happy.

    Mommy is my hero!
    Y.

  332. #332 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    Irrelevant. Ignoring the fact that women must deal with this pregnancy because suddenly there is another entity within her.

    abortion is a way of dealing with it.

    what you’re suggesting is that she must face the full consequences rather than choosing the best option available. that’s punishment. and since it only affects women, it’s sexist punishment.

  333. #333 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    Just caught this:

    and if unicorns shat sandwiches, we could end world hunger.

    I love you Jadehawk. :D

  334. #334 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    skatje

    does adoption NOT exist?

    Oh no, you really haven’t done too much research on this.
    Yes adoption does exist, there is a great demand for white babies in the US.

  335. #335 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    I wish the consequences weren’t so dire, but that’s unfortunately how life is.

    But we have changed how life is. We now have RU-486 and other methods to safely end pregnancies. The consequences don’t have to be dire at all. Why do insist that the consequences continue to be dire?

    There is something wrong with it if it results in the death of something that ought to be allowed to live.

    So what about all the babies that you didn’t allow to live because you never allowed any sperm to reach the eggs? Why don’t you consider that wrong as well?

  336. #336 Sven DiMilo
    April 18, 2010

    Try telling that to your mitochondria.

    what?

  337. #337 Yubal
    April 18, 2010

    sorry, missed one word which is necessary for context

    “she and her baby would die if she doesn’t have an abortion right away.”

  338. #338 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    One last comment for the night –

    There’s a very interesting book called “The Unit” by Ninni Holmqvist that was translated into English last year. It’s about a society in which people over the age of 50 have to check into government-run facilities where they live in the lap of luxury – except that they have to donate any part of their bodies needed until they finally collapse from the losses. The concept definitely has some parallels with the current discussion.

  339. #339 BigMKnows
    April 18, 2010

    I love how people keep saying Skatje is so brave for posting her opinions on her own father’s blog, knowing full well that everyone else knows she’s the overlord’s daughter, and they will (and in fact are) granting her a lot of respect, mostly for that very reason.

    If she used a pseudonym, or even deigned to offer a religious argument against abortion, you would be on her like hounds in the most visceral way, and making oneself vulnerable to the kinds of abuses regularly thrown at religious commenters is a much better show of bravery.

  340. #340 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    The state would enforce this law so that any woman determined to be a high risk pregnancy was immediately institutionalized and subsequently physically/chemically restrained to ensure the pregnancy would be carried to term, such that the mother (let’s say it’s you) could in no way even choose to endanger this protected entity.

    Let’s carry this to it’s logical extreme.

    All women found pregnant are held in state control and forced to undergo a regime of health activities geared toward preserving the infant’s health.

    Mentally ill women are sedated and kept in restraint.

    After the infants are harvested from these women, the state will then determine which of them are fit mothers and which should have their children remain in state care.

    The wages of sin are to remain as permanent reminders in the woman’s bodies of what they brought on themselves by allowing a penis inside of them under any circumstances.

  341. #341 WowbaggerOM
    April 18, 2010

    skatje.myers wrote:

    Irrelevant. Ignoring the fact that women must deal with this pregnancy because suddenly there is another entity within her.

    It’s not irrelevant because you linked pregnancy with responsibility. The comparison is apt, and you can’t just handwave it away as you have done.

  342. #342 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    Irrelevant. Ignoring the fact that women must deal with this pregnancy because suddenly there is another entity within her.

    You said that because people know condoms are not 100% effective, they should not be allowed to have a medical procedure that addresses the problem.

    This is an extremist claim, one that does not make sense alongside the other ways we deal with medical risk in this country. We do not normally withhold medical treatment just because the patient could have avoided the need for treatment.

    You have not yet established that there is a right to use another person’s body for one’s own subsistence. Neither have you explained when during the pregnancy this right is supposed to arise, or why.

  343. #343 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    and just because I think this really needs to be said:

    I really wouldn’t have minded if my mom had aborted me.

  344. #344 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    @ 335

    interesting point, I think we might be able to turn Skatje a bit with the RU-486 (morning after pill)

    Hopefully PZ will have some grandkids though.

  345. #345 Dianne
    April 18, 2010

    Man, does adoption NOT exist?

    Adoption has its own consequences, including severe and often life long depression in the relinquishing mother. The issue hasn’t been studied extensively but all available evidence suggests that placing a baby for adoption is extremely dangerous to a woman’s mental health. Even assuming that her physical health is only minimally affected by the pregnancy.

  346. #346 echidna
    April 18, 2010

    Yubal,
    That was a piece of luck – your mum took a big risk, and it panned out.

    Not everyone is so fortunate, so you are quite right to recognise that evaluating the risk is a personal decision.

  347. #347 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    I think we might be able to turn Skatje a bit with the RU-486 (morning after pill)

    IIRC, RU-486 is an abortion pill. Plan B (the “morning after pill”) is a wicked high dose of birth control that does not allow the embryo to implant in the uterine wall.

  348. #348 PZ Myers
    April 18, 2010

    I think this is Skatje’s point: if you have reached the conclusion that a fetus at age X is an individual, some reasonable approximation of a human being, then the argument about the woman’s autonomy doesn’t matter — you don’t get to kill a person simply because they are dependent on another individual, their mother. It’s a fairly principled position that says no one should kill another person…and makes the assumption that the fetus has some status as a person.

    It’s a fair argument, but it’s also one that ignores the central point of this post: whether the fetus is a person is ambiguous. Sure, there’s some point where it is; it’s definitely later than conception, but precisely when that personhood is instantiated is undefined, and probably can’t defined.

    I’d push it to a date much later than most people (I’m not even certain that a newborn counts as a human being). Others set it much earlier. Reasonable people can argue about where the dividing line lies. Except that only crazy people can argue that it is at conception, which ignores all the biology that must intervene to turn a one-celled or multi-celled mass into something functional.

  349. #349 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    I see that Skatje is answering comments after #295. It’s an appropriate time to ask, then:

    Skatje, why would you allow the banning of abortion when you know that such laws do not reduce the number of abortions, but do cause the deaths of more women?

    Why are you OK with more women dying?

  350. #350 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    Yes adoption does exist, there is a great demand for white babies in the US

    And babies whose mothers aren’t addicted to narcotics, on crack, have AIDS.

    Yes skatje… AIDS. I’ve volunteered at a hospice for babies born HIV positive. Does adoption exist for these women, who have been infected by their last partner, who may very well have been their husband?

    No, really it doesn’t. The amount of people willing to care for these children vs the number of them does not balance.

    In the case of an AIDS infected pregnant woman, abortion may be the most humane thing she can do.

  351. #351 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    no, Plan B prevents ovulation. RU-486 is the high-dose birth control that induces an abortion.

  352. #352 Dianne
    April 18, 2010

    Not everyone is so fortunate, so you are quite right to recognise that evaluating the risk is a personal decision.

    Yeah. A patient of mine decided to take that risk. She’s dead now. Despite aggressive prenatal care. Pregnancy can kill and it does. More often than we like to pretend.

  353. #353 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Man, does adoption NOT exist?

    Yes, it exists, in a highly broken state in the U.S. There are a wealth of children who don’t get adopted. Adding more isn’t the best thing. A lot of people don’t want to adopt anything other than a very young baby. A lot of other people simply want to do their own breeding. IVF wouldn’t have the clients it does if adoption were such a solution.

    However, adoption is not an answer to an unwanted pregnancy. I’ve said this before. I have never had the least desire to have children; if I had been in a situation where, through lack of choice, I had to birth, adoption would still mean I had a child “out there” somewhere. I didn’t want that.

    I’m not an irresponsible adult. I used birth control until I was able to get sterilized (something which is incredibly difficult for a young woman to do. A doctor won’t think twice about a pregnant 15 year old; however, if an 18 year old wants to be sterilized, you get patted on the head and told to come back when you’re 35, after you’ve had kids).

    I got pregnant while using two forms of birth control. I made the responsible choice of aborting. I know that was the right choice. You don’t get to make the decision for me, citing your self-righteousness as knowing what’s best. You don’t understand what responsibility entails. If you did, you wouldn’t be so focused on reducing women to incubator status or punishing them for having sex.

  354. #354 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    Let’s carry this to it’s logical extreme.

    All women found pregnant are held in state control and forced to undergo a regime of health activities geared toward preserving the infant’s health.

    Already

    being

    done.

  355. #355 badgersdaughter
    April 18, 2010

    In #147, Josh asked for moral qualms about abortion (right?). A bit about me: I have been on both sides of this issue. I have been a birth mother twice rather than have an abortion. That was years ago, and if I knew then what I know now, I would have chosen to have an abortion in the second case (it would have been illegally late in the first case; for medical reasons that pregnancy was undiagnosed until well into my second trimester). At that time I shared Skatje’s views, almost identically.

    I am now pro-woman on the issue of abortion. However, if I was to express why I might think abortions are not morally neutral now, I would say these things (and I do not necessarily defend them, I am just offering something like a lingering state of doubt):

    1. To be forced to admit that I am bearing an unwanted and/or coerced pregnancy would be shameful to me, and having an abortion would be the same as making such an admission, and I would feel ashamed. I would feel like an incompetent slacker if the reason for getting an abortion was economic or due to something like depression, and like there was something wrong with me fundamentally as a reproducing woman if there turned out to be something wrong with the fetus. Because this causes me such deep personal pain, I would not want to put any other woman in the position of having to make that admission. I can’t think of a reason for getting an abortion that would be one hundred percent praiseworthy and desirable. (This is not altogether rational, I admit. My failure to think of such a reason does not mean that such a reason could never exist.)

    2. The fetus, whatever else it is, is mine. It is approximately half my own genetic material, and it is being built out of my own body. It is either part of me or it is not. Many abortion rights proponents, in order to build the claim that I have the right to evict it, say that it is. If I agree, and if I have normal self-esteem, I should naturally feel protective of and take ownership of that part of my self, and see that it develops naturally and normally and under the best possible circumstances, as I would any other part of my body. I would protect it against harm because I protect myself from harm. The fact that it will be autonomous later is irrelevant until the moment it actually gains autonomy.

    Again, I am absolutely one hundred percent on the side of reproductive freedom. Remember, I was once pretty vocal about Libertarianism on this blog (under a different name, though). Though I am a Libertarian no longer, I still uphold personal freedom of choice.

  356. #356 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    There is something wrong with it if it results in the death of something that ought to be allowed to live.

    A pregnant woman does not simply “allow” her fetus to live. She goes through the work of maintaining the pregnancy. Again, this is not a matter of simple non-intervention.

    Furthermore: have you ever donated blood, Skatje? If so, whose decision was it for you to get in that chair and let that nice white-coated phlebotomist take your blood?

    If the hospital and blood bank suddenly ran out of blood in your type, and surgery patients and accident victims desperately needed transfusions in order to survive, could you be forced to get in that donation chair at a moment’s notice and give up another pint? I’m not asking you if you would be willing to donate, I’m asking what the authorities could do to you, regardless of your consent.

    If those patients died because no one could be persuaded to donate blood, are those deaths murders? Can the people who didn’t feel like donating blood recently be charged with a crime?

    And if a car crash victim cannot be entitled to a blood transfusion, then why does a fetus have an absolute entitlement to live off its mother’s body without her consent?

    Man, does adoption NOT exist?

    That is a…TREMENDOUS empathy fail.

  357. #357 echidna
    April 18, 2010

    BigMKnows,
    Skatje gets respect in part because she uses the phrase “beg the question” correctly :-)

    I think that she is getting treatment similar to Walton – we know he is intelligent, young, and sometimes quite wrong, and so people are generally patient and write respectfully and at length, hoping to persuade, knowing that he will be able to understand the arguments (eventually), even if he rejects them.

    Maybe patience is extended a little more for Skatje, and there is less cursing, but notice the way her arguments are ripped to shreds with no mercy.

  358. #358 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    no, Plan B prevents ovulation. RU-486 is the high-dose birth control that induces an abortion.

    Well, shit. I should have looked that up before I opened my mouth.

    Side note: I don’t understand why a thoughtful, educated, godless woman would feel that sex ought to have consequences. It just doesn’t jive.

  359. #359 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    This slut-shaming business is ridiculous. I didn’t set the damn rules. To accuse me of targeting women is nonsensical. If it was men who had to be pregnant, I would STILL say that a fetus has some degree of a right to life. Go figure.

    Anyway. I’m glad a few people have decided to remember what this discussion was originally about.

    The point I was trying to make somewhere was that I give fetuses some level of value, which is higher than the right to consequence-free sex. This value is not the same as a child. Or an adult. The mother’s life takes precedence over the fetus’ life. But the mother’s comfort (plus degrees of health effects, etc.) after knowingly bringing about a life does not take precedence over the fetus’ life, IMO.

    If you think it’s more important for you to be able to have sex without worries than to allow a fetus to live, then I’m not going to change your mind. You place your values there, I place my values here. Why I do is a bit longer than I can post in a comment thread on Pharyngula, while I’m at work and procrastinating writing my senior seminar paper. I might get around to it on my own site someday, but not right this second.

    I think I started this by just wanting to point out that we’re not all religious conservatards. But then I ended up in a debate. :S

  360. #360 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    I really wouldn’t have minded if my mom had aborted me.

    This would hurt my mom a lot, but I some times wish she might have.

    I have had a hard life and don’t feel I’ve done much worthwhile.

    But my mother was very bright and talented. Her main fault was staying faithful to an abusive man. She wanted children and chose to have one although it was not a good situation.

    I love my dad, but he is unstable in the extreme and an addict.

    My mother put us both through hell, and she lost most of her options in life in order to have me.

    If she had not had me, or had aborted me, I can’t help but think maybe she would have left 30 years ago and done some of the things she wanted to with her life.

    Instead my childhood can be summed up by Eliot Smith pretty eloquently:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nO37ro-IfVQ

  361. #361 badgersdaughter
    April 18, 2010

    One thing that is wrong with Skatje’s “responsibility for having sex” argument is that it is perfectly possible to get pregnant without having penetrative sex. All it takes is for the sperm to meet up with the egg somehow, someway, whether carried by fingers, mouth, or (in one notable case in the medical literature) speeding bullet.

    Skatje, I’m telling you, it may save your life someday to know that it is possible to get pregnant while deliberately avoiding pregnancy.

  362. #362 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @Yubal:

    As a man, I can speak only about my putative offspring here, and I would actually not respect but rather accept a woman’s decision to abort my genetic information.

    A woman has just as much right to reject your genetic information when it is embedded in a fetus as when it is in your sperm.

    You also speak as if you can own a fetus, and pay a woman for the use of her body. At least you are already aware that you are selfish and your morals are off.

  363. #363 ambook
    April 18, 2010

    If she used a pseudonym, or even deigned to offer a religious argument against abortion, you would be on her like hounds in the most visceral way, and making oneself vulnerable to the kinds of abuses regularly thrown at religious commenters is a much better show of bravery.

    I’m only impressed because she’s disagreeing vigorously with someone she presumably has to have a continuing relationship with, and in a very public and archived manner. Same as I was impressed with my 10 year old daughter took on an anti-abortion acquaintance in a face-to-face argument and held her own beautifully. And while I’m not particular concerned about “tone,” I personally don’t like to behave like a hound, even when I agree with those who do. Preferences vary…

  364. #364 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    This slut-shaming business is ridiculous. I didn’t set the damn rules. To accuse me of targeting women is nonsensical. If it was men who had to be pregnant, I would STILL say that a fetus has some degree of a right to life. Go figure.

    but they don’t. the real results of your positions have disproportionate consequences on women. that alone already makes them sexist. make your peace with that, if you’re going to insist on holding these opinions.

  365. #365 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    And here’s a point that has been brought up, but as far as I can see, not addressed:

    I am a smoker. I know the risks to my health that cigarettes pose. I have tried to quit several times (my personal triumph was remaining smoke-free for a year). Should I be denied live-saving medical care if I develop cancer, even though I know the risk of tobacco use?

    Should my life end because I made a stupid mistake in my teens?

  366. #366 KOPD
    April 18, 2010

    Cerberus:

    grow the fuck up.

    What the fuck are you on about? Save your histrionics for somebody who gives a fuck.

    Aratina:

    When and where has that happened when it wasn’t medically necessary?

    Don’t know. Don’t care. Not the point. In fact, there wasn’t a point other than I was just trying to clarify Cerberus’ position so I knew for sure what he/she meant.

    Negetropyeater:

    what’s dishonest about saying that nobody has the right to use someone else’s body? Nobody means no person or no clump of cells. it doesn’t matter.

    Nice red herring. That has nothing to do with what I said. Try addressing what I actually said. It is dishonest to call any fetus a child, and it is dishonest to imply that all fetuses are a “fucking clump of cells” or a blastocyst. One of those changes the moral implications, the other doesn’t. But they are both dishonest. Dishonesty is something I feel should be avoided. Do you think I’m wrong about that?

    Carlie:

    If you’re not, how many women are you comfortable with killing to prevent this hypothetical situation from happening? One? Ten? A hundred? A thousand? If abortion is limited, it will happen. Some of them will die. How many are you comfortable with? That’s not a rhetorical question. How many?

    Extremely distorting me here. Read what I wrote and you’ll see that there were no value judgements in there at all. I was merely clarifying Cerberus’ position for the sake of honest dialog. That appears to be a crime here.I am pro-choice and said so already. The answer, by the way, is ZERO!

    Skooter

    That’s a non-argument, an abortion during labor is called a Cesarian, and if done correctly all survive.

    What I told everybody else. There was no fucking argument. The point of that post was not to make a fucking argument. Just translating idiomatic language into honest direct language for the sake of clarity. Jesus Hussein Christ!

    Meta: It is interesting that just trying to keep people honest is interepretted as attacking some sacred cow. There is a lot of emotion invested in both sides of this issue and I think it is clouding people’s judgement and reading comprehension. Hopefully I’ve cleared it up adequately. This is precisely why I usually don’t comment on these threads and will not on future ones. Even agreeing with you people is not enough to avoid being attacked.

  367. #367 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    @339

    knowing full well that everyone else knows she’s the overlord’s daughter, and they will (and in fact are) granting her a lot of respect, mostly for that very reason.

    Well DUHHHH we are a tribe, so we do hold back on the polemics when dealing with our young.

    However I think if Skatje had introduced herself as a circa 19 year old young woman she would have gotten the same restrained responces. It’s the adults with power we seek to destroy and hopefully exterminate in Obama FEMA camps, so we can wipe them out and take all their stuff.

    Young minds like Skatje’s are to be indoctrinated into the way of the squid, we all understand that, or maybe you didn’t get the memo

  368. #368 monado
    April 18, 2010

    When you give the state the right to deny you an abortion, you give it the right to force you to have an abortion, because you have already conceded that the state knows better than you what to do with your life.

    Mark Twain, I believe, said that it’s always easy for people to decide what other people should suffer for. Some of the anti-choice people who come in for abortions literally say, “But this is me. This is different. I really need an abortion.” Some of them even look down their noses at all the “sluts” in the waiting room. And they go right back to picketing.

    Frankly, I’d make them sign an agreement that they were authorizing me to release the videotape of them asking for an abortion at my discretion and tell them it would be on local TV if they continued their anti-abortion activities. Nothing like exposing the hypocrisy of “one rule for me, another for you.” That’s my own little revenge fantasy. Norma Scarborough once said that if a little light went on over the head of every Member of Parliament whose wife, mother, girlfriend, or sister had had an abortion, they would never be able to pass anti-abortion laws.

  369. #369 WowbaggerOM
    April 18, 2010

    Jadehawk wrote:

    I really wouldn’t have minded if my mom had aborted me.

    Interesting you should mention that.

    Would it be fair to say that that’s a counterintuitive way to think because humans have evolved to value their own lives?

    By that I mean we’re programmed to think that way because if our ancestors didn’t they would have died more easily when faced with hardships. We’ve been selected to want to live, because wanting to live (funnily enough) increases your chances of actually living.

    And I think that’s maybe why a lot of anti-choicers are the way they are, because it’s a kind of a cognitive no-no to be okay with your own non-existence, and they’re projecting that perception onto the fetus?

    This comes from no scholarly sources, mind you; it’s just something that occurred to me – so I’m happy to have the flaws pointed out.

  370. #370 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    “I don’t understand why a thoughtful, educated, godless woman would feel that sex ought to have consequences. It just doesn’t jive.”

    It’s not a damn handshake. It’s how we reproduce. Human beings are the result of this action. Immediately or in 9 months or somewhere in between. If you think it’s an easy call, you’re being stupid.

  371. #371 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Jadehawk, OM:

    and just because I think this really needs to be said:

    I really wouldn’t have minded if my mom had aborted me.

    It’s more to the point that you wouldn’t have known. I get what you’re saying though. My mother would have aborted me, she wanted to, except her fear of dying via a back alley abortion prevented her from taking that action.

    Given the dynamics of my family, and the utter nightmare which was my childhood, it would have been the best and most responsible decision she could have made. I appreciate her not wanting to die, that’s something I can definitely understand.

  372. #372 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    If you think it’s more important for you to be able to have sex without worries than to allow a fetus to live

    You are still assuming all women who get pregnant are as smart as you, as privileged as you, as rich as you, and as healthy as you.

    THEY ARE NOT!

  373. #373 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    The point I was trying to make somewhere was that I give fetuses some level of value, which is higher than the right to consequence-free sex.

    Again, you have not explained why you believe you should have the authority to use police violence to get your way, or how more police violence would be an improvement on the situation.

    How you choose to assign value is your business, but you’ve made no argument for why your choice should be the more compelling.

    I think I started this by just wanting to point out that we’re not all religious conservatards.

    You have not even made that case. It appears that you are assigning rights to organisms without any interests, or brains to prefer one thing over another. If that’s the case, then it’s not apparent how your belief is any different from believing in souls.

  374. #374 jemand
    April 18, 2010

    “I didn’t set the damn rules.”

    You ARE setting the rules. Pretending not to be is just being dishonest. If abortion were technologically impossible, than your argument would have merit, that it isn’t a socially imposed discrimination that pregnancy falls on women only.

    But no! Abortion exists, either occurs before any sentience or in the event of a medical necessity later, and YOU are the one making the ‘rule’ that it is may not be used.

    Don’t pretend you aren’t the one making the rules, and you are being discriminatory. Your argument that sex is inextricably linked to reproduction is one and the SAME argument against gay rights. If it is not possible to separate sex and any reproductive risk, no matter how hypothetical or small, than gay sex isn’t *really* the same kind of sex now, is it?

    So yeah, your views are regularly used to promote all kinds of harm and cruelty in the world. Don’t pretend they aren’t.

  375. #375 Dianne
    April 18, 2010

    Skatje: A thought experiment, but one that might well happen in real life. Suppose a person has aplastic anemia. They fail immunosuppressive therapy and their only option is a hematopoietic stem cell transplant. Unfortunately, they have no matched related donor. So, their doctor scans the donor registry for a volunteer unrelated donor. Remember, you are not in this registry unless you freely, voluntarily signed up to be in it. No one is forced to be in the registry. One match is found.

    The person who is the match is contacted and agrees to donate. He or she passes all the physical and mental requirements for being a donor. As is usual now, a peripheral blood stem cell collection is planned. The volunteer takes neupogen to mobilize stem cells. He or she comes-voluntarily-to the blood bank for stem cell harvest. The procedure is started. Shortly thereafter-long before enough cells are collected to contemplate transplant-s/he suddenly changes his/her mind and demands that the procedure be stopped.

    What should the phlebotomist do? Remember, the volunteer agreed to everything up to this point, is at very little risk (the death rate for volunteer HSC donors is 10-100X less than that of the average pregnancy), and there is a life at stake. The patient WILL die, soon, without the stem cells. Should the volunteer be legally forced to continue the donation? Should the phlebotomist simply refuse to stop the pheresis? What do you recommend as the ethical and legal solution?

  376. #376 Carlie
    April 18, 2010

    If you think it’s more important for you to be able to have sex without worries than to allow a fetus to live, then I’m not going to change your mind.

    Sigh. That’s really a severe mischaracterization of the last 360 comments. Please at least acknowledge that you’ve been given rationales from the points of bodily autonomy, the absence of forced body donation in any other circumstances for any other group of people, the actual abortion/death rates of pregnant women in countries with and without abortion restrictions, the many reasons that women might medically need abortions, the ways in which anti-abortion laws can backfire, and the questionable status of rights granted to embryos at varying developmental points. There’s a reason so many of us spent so much time today tied to our computers on this thread, and it wasn’t just to say “I want teh sexx but no babeez”.

  377. #377 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    skatje @ 359

    But the mother’s comfort (plus degrees of health effects, etc.) after knowingly bringing about a life

    The word ‘knowingly’ makes that sentence ridiculous in context. I’m trying to hang with you, but there’s some old saying about stop digging that has to do with holes

  378. #378 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    This slut-shaming business is ridiculous. I didn’t set the damn rules.

    Oh? Who set them then? Your views are right in line with patriarchal based religious people’s views. By insisting that women have no right whatsoever to abort because they had sex, so it’s their fault, you certainly are slut shaming.

    It was you who yelled “It’s YOUR fault!” You don’t get to walk away from that now.

  379. #379 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    To accuse me of targeting women is nonsensical. If it was men who had to be pregnant, I would STILL say that a fetus has some degree of a right to life. Go figure.

    So you’re not targeting women, you’re targeting those that are able to become pregnant. Which just so happens to be women. Right, much more sensical.

    I think I started this by just wanting to point out that we’re not all religious conservatards.

    Well, you’ve at least established that. Then again, that was never really in dispute in the first place.

  380. #380 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    It’s not a damn handshake. It’s how we reproduce. Human beings are the result of this action. Immediately or in 9 months or somewhere in between. If you think it’s an easy call, you’re being stupid.

    Are you, the person who’s been insisting that abortion should be more restricted than the compromise of Roe, seriously accusing other people of thinking reproductive choice is an easy call?

  381. #381 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    Would it be fair to say that that’s a counterintuitive way to think because humans have evolved to value their own lives?

    of course. but I have significantly less existential angst about the idea of never having been born than about dying sometime in the future.

    It’s more to the point that you wouldn’t have known.

    that’s actually precisely my point. None of us really would have minded, because we didn’t precisely have the capacity for minding. just like vegetables on life support can’t mind. and we kill them all the time, too.

    Anyway, I just wanted to make a counterstatement to all this “I’m glad I wasn’t aborted/the abortion failed/whatever, because now I’m alive” statements. Because I really don’t care. If my mom had aborted me, I wouldn’t be worse off than now, because I simply wouldn’t ever have been to make that comparison.

  382. #382 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    If you think it’s an easy call, you’re being stupid.

    isn’t all about reproduction, sorry. Many people have sex (hetero-, homo-, solo or otherwise) simply for pleasure. Modern birth control and modern abortion techniques allow those who engage in hetero sex to behave sexually without having to worry about the consequences of bringing another child into this world.

    Two questions: Why is it so wrong to enjoy sex without producing a child? Why is it wrong to abort a fetus if a mistake was made or birth control failed?

  383. #383 ambook
    April 18, 2010

    It’s not a damn handshake. It’s how we reproduce.

    Actually it serves a bunch of other purposes for humans, which makes us different from many other animals. Recreation leading to group and/or pair bonding come to mind. Irrelevant to the fetal rights argument.

    Now I have to go to sleep and the overlord’s daughter should go write her paper and stop engaging random people on the internet.

  384. #384 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 18, 2010

    The point I was trying to make somewhere was that I give fetuses some level of value, which is higher than the right to consequence-free sex. This value is not the same as a child. Or an adult. The mother’s life takes precedence over the fetus’ life. But the mother’s comfort (plus degrees of health effects, etc.) after knowingly bringing about a life does not take precedence over the fetus’ life, IMO.

    What about abortion in the case of rape? Knowingly requires some measure of consent, of intent.

    What of those who specifically go out of their way to avoid bringing about a life?

    I don’t care if people do or don’t have them. I just think that that removing agency is pointless.

  385. #385 phoenixwoman
    April 18, 2010

    This discussion reminds me forcibly of the irony of the very success of vaccines having made possible a world where children, particularly in developed lands, have very good goods of surviving to adulthood — to the point where several generations have come along who have never known, firsthand, the terrors of polio, rubella, or even HIB, and who have never heard of herd immunity.

    The existence of Roe v. Wade as well as the legalization of effective birth control (both of which were and are fought tooth and nail by the same religious authorities that PZ combats every waking day) are what make it possible for middle-class white girls and young women like Skatje Myers to live lives where they don’t have to worry about pregnancies putting an end to any dreams they may have had of supporting themselves, much less getting through college and into a career that uses their talents to the fullest.

    Especially if they live in big cities or places where the pharmacist isn’t a nosy prick, girls and women of Skatje’s generation and social class never have had to worry about not having access to birth control or not being able to find a doctor willing and able to do a therapeutic abortion to save them from runaway pre-eclampsia, which less than a century ago in America was an extremely common, and extremely horrible, way for women to die, usually while pregnant with their first child after having sex for the very first time. (By the way, the risk of pre-eclampsia decreases with each time that a woman is exposed to the sperm of a single partner before getting pregnant.)

    Skatje, look at all the women and girls you have known in your time on earth. Every third one of them has had an abortion.

    Let me repeat that:

    Every third one of them has had an abortion.

    And it won’t be the ones that you think had them, either. At least one of the Nice and Sensible Girls (or Women) you know will have had at least one.

  386. #386 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    Fucking blockquotes. Let’s try this again:

    If you think it’s an easy call, you’re being stupid.

    Sex isn’t all about reproduction, sorry. Many people have sex (hetero-, homo-, solo or otherwise) simply for pleasure. Modern birth control and modern abortion techniques allow those who engage in hetero sex to behave sexually without having to worry about the consequences of bringing another child into this world.

    Two questions: Why is it so wrong to enjoy sex without producing a child? Why is it wrong to abort a fetus if a mistake was made or birth control failed?

    (Re-posted for clarification.)

  387. #387 strange gods before me ?
    April 18, 2010

    I just want to know why more women dying is the preferable thing.

  388. #388 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    This slut-shaming business is ridiculous. I didn’t set the damn rules.

    But you ARE trying to set the damn rules. You are trying to trying to set the rule that the rightful consequence of heterosexual sex on a fertile woman’s part is 40 weeks of pregnancy.

    To accuse me of targeting women is nonsensical. If it was men who had to be pregnant, I would STILL say that a fetus has some degree of a right to life. Go figure.

    The reality remains that women are the ones who suffer the physiological and emotional effects of pregnancy and childbirth. We do not live in a world where the responsibility of childbearing is equally distributed. There is no equivalent consequence of sex for a man or a non-fertile woman. We also do not live in a world where there is always a ready family waiting to adopt any unwanted child, or where society gives single mothers and poor families a fair deal, or where children are never neglected or abused by overwhelmed, unprepared parents. We do not live in a world in which maintaining a pregnancy to term and then handing the newborn over to a stranger never to see it again is a non-damaging alternative to an early pregnancy termination. We do not live in a world where unwilling fathers can be relied upon to care for their accidental offspring.

    But the mother’s comfort (plus degrees of health effects, etc.) after knowingly bringing about a life does not take precedence over the fetus’ life, IMO.

    I take issue with your use of the word “knowingly” here. Any woman who is trying to procure an abortion was, by definition, NOT trying to get pregnant, therefore did not “knowingly” put an embryo in her womb. She has not given consent for her blood and organ functions to be used for the survival of that life. If she has the same rights as any other member of society who could choose to donate blood, or bone marrow, or a kidney, but not coerced into doing so, then she cannot be forced to give birth.

  389. #389 badgersdaughter
    April 18, 2010

    Folks, I have fought anti-born-person activists alongside Skatje before. She knows the arguments. We’re not telling her anything she hasn’t already heard.

    Of course, that brings up the question of why she no longer accepts some of the arguments she was once in favor of, but I think I see… it is just absolutely repugnant to think and act like no fetus has any intrinsic value. I agree with that.

    However, I believe that when set against the value of the interests and the reproductive freedom of a living, old-enough-to-reproduce woman, that value is anywhere from significant to negligible. The question is, who assigns the value?

    Skatje can’t assign value to the fetus of another woman. Only the woman carrying the fetus gets to determine its value. And that value can never, never exceed the value of any born, living person.

  390. #390 Becca
    April 18, 2010

    Adoption has its own consequences, including severe and often life long depression in the relinquishing mother. The issue hasn’t been studied extensively but all available evidence suggests that placing a baby for adoption is extremely dangerous to a woman’s mental health.

    Hold on there. I’d really like to see some evidence for that statement. The only people I’ve heard make claim are people who have bought into CUB’s (Concerned United Birthmothers) propaganda… and CUB is entirely made up of people who have either placed children for adoption and regretted it or who are opposed to adoption for other reasons.

    All I have is anecdotal evidence of my kids’ birth mother, who was forced to go through pregnancy and birth and forced adoption when she was 17 (long years before she got pregnant with what turned into my son David). She was bitter about the way she had been treated, but not bitter about the adoption, nor did that doom her to a lifetime of depression.

  391. #391 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    and… um… not to sound creepy, but both O’ Greg and Caine have even stronger arguments for my point than I do.

    Like I said earlier, my mom did have the option, but she chose otherwise, and it worked out. And it’s nice to know I was wanted, and I’d like that for everybody, because it’s a better fate than being unwanted but born anyway. But I really really can’t say that I’m happy she didn’t get an abortion, because I can’t say I’d be unhappy if she had.

  392. #392 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    P.S. I do not need a lecture about casual sex from a teenager. I have had random encounter sex and you know what? It really wasn’t much different from a handshake, only slightly more pleasurable.

    Does that make me a bad person because I didn’t place enough importance on the act of intercourse? I sure as shit hope not.

  393. #393 Dr Paul
    April 18, 2010

    Skatje at #207:

    Briefly in response to Skatje’s point, here in Australia we have a bumper sticker that reads “If you are against abortion, don’t have one”.

    Hardy har. I’ve heard that. I used to think that was clever when I was 14.

    If you are against murder, don’t kill people.

    This is basically what that statement is equivalent to, in the eyes of people who place a right to life on fetuses. So that’s a pretty stupid thing to say to me, IMO.

    Except that the crucial difference is that you and I would agree that (for example) the 3000 people murdered on 9/11 were all conscious human persons with the characteristics which make human persons morally considerable as human persons, whereas people such as you and I genuinely differ in good faith about whether a newly fertilised ovum, an embryo or a foetus at various stages of development is a human person, indeed is capable even in principle of being a human person until relatively late in pregnancy. Skatje, it is only your opinion, and far from either a settled fact or a generally accepted philosophical conclusion, that such entities are human persons.

    For my part, arguing that a human person comes into being at the moment of conception has the superficial merit of providing a clear-cut answer to the question of when does a human person come into being, but is completely unconvincing to those of us for whom mind and consciousness are central to the concept of human personhood and the moral considerability of human (and other) persons.

  394. #394 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    strange gods before me:

    I just want to know why more women dying is the preferable thing.

    You’re not going to get an answer. I said the same thing at least a hundred posts ago (probably more), so did Carlie and quite a few others. Apparently being pro-women’s deaths is better than abortions.

  395. #395 WowbaggerOM
    April 18, 2010

    Jadehawk wrote:

    of course. but I have significantly less existential angst about the idea of never having been born than about dying sometime in the future.

    I wasn’t saying counterintuitive = wrong – just that it’s a cognitive stumbling block. Because I realised that not feeling bad about not being born is quite a sensible state of mind – but only after I thought about it. When I first considered it, I found the concept very unsettling.

    I think you have to be able to think your way into being okay with your non-existence – and not everyone can do that, because it goes against how we’ve evolved. That that also plays a part in the delusion of religion – since, according to most of them, you can never not exist – is more than a little significant.

  396. #396 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    There’s a lot of things that won’t get an answer… because she’s operating under the delusions of unexamined privilege. She thinks all women are her equals.

    It’s kind of sweet, but it’s very sad.

  397. #397 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Jadehawk, OM:

    And it’s nice to know I was wanted, and I’d like that for everybody, because it’s a better fate than being unwanted but born anyway.

    First, you aren’t being creepy. What you say here is the absolute truth. Being unwanted, having been birthed solely because your mother feared death does not equate to a happy time for the child. That, by the way, is one fuck of an understatement.

    I’m getting pretty sick and tired of a young, white, spoiled, privileged girl woman insist she knows what’s best, and what’s best is you pay the fucking consequences for sex. Fuck that noise.

  398. #398 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    I wasn’t saying counterintuitive = wrong – just that it’s a cognitive stumbling block.

    oh, I know. And I can’t say that non-existence isn’t unsettling for me. I’m actually sometimes quite scared of death (or more precisely, of dying) and prefer to pretend it’s never gonna happen.

    But I’m just not bothered by the idea of never having existed. because they I would have never had to consciously experience dying.

  399. #399 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    @badgersdaughter: thanks, that’s a great summary.

    Now I really need to go to sleep. I’ve been sucked into this discussion for way too long again.

  400. #400 badgersdaughter
    April 18, 2010

    Becca, I was happy about the outcome of my second pregnancy. I had an open adoption, in which I chose the parents of my daughter (a teacher and a psychologist both specializing in gifted and special education, important to me because I am gifted and ADHD and Aspergers run in my family). They were caring, decent, intelligent people who I was glad to give my daughter up to. If I had never found out the name they gave her, I would think a little better of them… honestly, what a bloody tin ear for names they had… but if that’s the worst, you know what they say.

  401. #401 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Ol’Greg @ 396, agreed. It’s getting on every last nerve, though.

  402. #402 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    I’m officially too drunk to continue this argument.

    Goodnight.

    Skatje, you seem bright, let’s try to make a world where abortion is almost unheard of because no one ever depends on it!

  403. #403 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    PZ Myers said:

    I think this is Skatje’s point: if you have reached the conclusion that a fetus at age X is an individual, some reasonable approximation of a human being, then the argument about the woman’s autonomy doesn’t matter — you don’t get to kill a person simply because they are dependent on another individual, their mother. It’s a fairly principled position that says no one should kill another person…and makes the assumption that the fetus has some status as a person.

    It’s a fair argument, but it’s also one that ignores the central point of this post: whether the fetus is a person is ambiguous. Sure, there’s some point where it is; it’s definitely later than conception, but precisely when that personhood is instantiated is undefined, and probably can’t defined.

    I’d push it to a date much later than most people (I’m not even certain that a newborn counts as a human being). Others set it much earlier. Reasonable people can argue about where the dividing line lies. Except that only crazy people can argue that it is at conception, which ignores all the biology that must intervene to turn a one-celled or multi-celled mass into something functional.

    Wholeheartedly agree here. The serious ethical concerns are far later and could cross past actual birth. Rational people can argue on these ethical issues and debate both the historical ramifications for women as equals, as many have passionately argued thus far, or argue tirelessly that at some point the fetus becomes indistinguishable from other protected humans and argue passionately for empathy and taking responsibility for ones actions.

    There is a great debate to be had here that I wish was the true focus of the abortion debate than the dumbed down ensoulment nonsense that the religious tend to drag it down into. I think it’s great that Skatje jumped into the fray (even if it seemed more like hitting a bees nest with a stick) to drag the conversation towards a debate between the two rationalist sides of the debate.

    That said I still have grave concerns that any abortion policy that attempted to limit abortion would be either unenforceable to ensure that the liberty of the mother is fully protected against non-chosen pregnancies (ie rape, incest) or would force them to prove something that is notoriously difficult to prove. Current policy may be the most ideal to err on the side of caution as far as the law is concerned yet have defenders of ethics arguing to the people in rational ways (as opposed to ensoulment, sin, and other mystical nonsense) to ensure that women have the highest degree of freedom given the circumstances of this world and leave it to the people themselves to instill matters of conscience, something a modern Madison might even support.

    Anyhoo, that’s my 2 cents. Hopefully less controversial than taking a definition of parasitism out of a biology text.

  404. #404 alysonmiers
    April 18, 2010

    It’s not a damn handshake. It’s how we reproduce. Human beings are the result of this action. Immediately or in 9 months or somewhere in between. If you think it’s an easy call, you’re being stupid.

    Personally, I exist as a result of my parents deciding to have a baby. When my mom found out she was pregnant, bringing me to term was an easy call because they were invested in reproduction. When I came into the world it wasn’t as a consequence to my parents’ actions, it was as a welcome addition to the family.

  405. #405 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    First, you aren’t being creepy. What you say here is the absolute truth. Being unwanted, having been birthed solely because your mother feared death does not equate to a happy time for the child. That, by the way, is one fuck of an understatement.

    I’m getting pretty sick and tired of a young, white, spoiled, privileged girl woman insist she knows what’s best, and what’s best is you pay the fucking consequences for sex. Fuck that noise.

    thanks, I was hoping that didn’t sound weirdly creepy.

    Anyway, to sum this up from the “bottom up” perspective: a world in which every born child is a wanted and cared-for child is a better world than one in which there are no abortions.

  406. #406 kb
    April 18, 2010

    Ugh. I hate the arguments that a blastocyst/zygote is a full human being (like billboard 2). In a lab, it has the potential to grow into a bunch of nerve cells, or a liver, or a pancreas, and will probably be considered an important medical treatment one day. Without IVF, a procedure that results in multiple killed blastocysts, many innocent, wonderful children wouldn’t be here today. In the series of tubes that is the female reproductive system, it could split into two, resulting in multiple babies, and the majority (I think) of its cells are really only potential placenta. It was never a me–it was a potential me that could also be a potential twin but was mostly a potential placenta.

    I reject the idea that if there’s a fetus in my uterus, then I necessarily put it there. I’ve had sex whose existence was consensual but whose unprotectedness was not: men are heavy, and I do not have impressive upper body strength. It was not a 50/50 decision, it was a 100/0 decision, and I was the 0. (I did not get pregnant though, which was lucky–for me.)

    Even if I did decide to have consensual sex, and the protection failed, and I ended up pregnant, I would still like the choice to keep the baby or not. I’m nearing a time in my life when I’d decide abortion is not for me, but I have trouble not thinking of fetuses as parasites. In the first week or so, it eats the wall of your uterus. Like, literally. It digests your uterus. It’s not sharing nutrition with your circulatory system, it’s taking the contents of your uterus cells, and absorbing them for energy. I mean, score one for procreation, but I guess that explains my slight chronic anemia (cause, you know, girls shed the sacrificial uterine offering to potential procreates every month or so, if it doesn’t get eaten first).

  407. #407 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    “It’s a fair argument, but it’s also one that ignores the central point of this post: whether the fetus is a person is ambiguous. Sure, there’s some point where it is; it’s definitely later than conception, but precisely when that personhood is instantiated is undefined, and probably can’t defined.”

    Which isn’t really any different than what I believe. I’ve said from the beginning that the line is blurry.

    “Skatje, why would you allow the banning of abortion when you know that such laws do not reduce the number of abortions, but do cause the deaths of more women?”

    Because I simulataneously advocate better sex ed, readily available contraceptives, and other things that reduce abortion rates. I also advocate a cultural shift that places more value on life and less on instant gratification, but I’m just an idealist hippy.

    “You don’t get to make the decision for me, citing your self-righteousness as knowing what’s best”

    Every cites their own self-righteousness as knowing what’s best. I’m no different than anyone else for this.

    And I think I just realised that I was reading comments made a long time ago. Huh.

    “Are you, the person who’s been insisting that abortion should be more restricted than the compromise of Roe, seriously accusing other people of thinking reproductive choice is an easy call?”

    Try reading the rest of the discussion that has been going on. I already said I wasn’t pushing for a law. I would just not stand in the way of it, should it come about. Because I have more important things to be passionate about than something I don’t feel certain on.

    “What about abortion in the case of rape? Knowingly requires some measure of consent, of intent.”

    Blah blah, I’m okay with abortion in cases of rape.

    “Of course, that brings up the question of why she no longer accepts some of the arguments she was once in favor of, but I think I see… it is just absolutely repugnant to think and act like no fetus has any intrinsic value. I agree with that.”

    Some of the arguments I was in favour of I realised were fallacious and poor. Which causes me no end in shame.

  408. #408 badgersdaughter
    April 18, 2010

    Oh, and KOPD, Cerberus is a woman, as you would know from reading her posts (you did actually read them, not just react to them, right?). Using the pronoun he/she to refer to Cerberus constitutes abuse once she posted her gender, even more so since she identified as trans. Be more careful than that, unless you want to be identified as an ignorant bigot.

  409. #409 Peter H
    April 18, 2010

    skatje wrote:

    “…a fetus has some degree of a right to life…”

    This projects a legalistic referent upon a biologic instance. How does a fetus have any more “right to life” than a developing tumor? Both may occur within the same “nurturing” body? We generally treasure and protect the one while abjuring and (hopefully) excising the latter. That the fetus “may” develop into a viable, living person is not always assured; many nightmares and tragedies may possibly result – physiological, social, economic . . . Consult any gynecologist for a reality call that Mother Nature does not always give us what we desire – or are even capable of adequately dealing with. She can present nightmares beyond SFX imaginings – and some of them “viable.”

    And, then “…to some degree…” waffles you out of the picture entirely.

  410. #410 badgersdaughter
    April 18, 2010

    Skatje said, Some of the arguments I was in favour of I realised were fallacious and poor. Which causes me no end in shame.

    I’m sorry, Skatje, I did not mean to shame you and I don’t think you need feel ashamed. But I do not recognize your right to impinge upon the choices of others on matters affecting their own reproductive health. And for my part I would consider any effort to limit my own reproductive choices (to the extent I still have any, since I’m almost twice your age and my cycles are slowly tapering off) a personal attack on my mind and body.

  411. #411 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    Dr. Paul @ 309

    Except that the crucial difference is that you and I would agree that (for example) the 3000 people murdered on 9/11 were all conscious human persons with the characteristics which make human persons morally considerable as human persons,

    Doctor Dickhead, the death toll of 9-11 was 2200 not 3000, please ask a seven year old child for a math book and learn about how numbers are rounded.

    Everybody who died in those towers had a vote, so the majority of them were responsible for the government that pissed off the agressors, and are fair game as all American citizens are fair game to be killed by outside forces who feel they are under attack by us, because we bear direct responsibility for the actions of our government, there is no such thing as innocents in a democracy..

    What is not fair is to kill civilians of dictatorial nations who have no input into the insanity of their governments, they are fellow victims. Read the slaughter of Iraqis under stalinistic rule.

    any other red herrings you’d like to stink the place up with, I can forward to Karl Rove.

  412. #412 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    … Can I ask how many people currently participating in this discussion are under the false impression that I’m storming the capital to get Roe v. Wade overturned?

    I would like to say, yet again:

    I personally will not have an abortion. I think it is wrong to do so, for myself and anyone. But the definition of where life begins is fuzzy, and therefore, I don’t push my views on other people. I recognise that I do not have The Answer on this question, and therefore do not advocate actively preventing people from getting abortions, and can really only alter my own behaviour and try to engage people in discussing it further.

    This is the same thing I was saying in the beginning, but it sounds like some people missed that.

  413. #413 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Jadehawk, OM:

    a world in which every born child is a wanted and cared-for child is a better world than one in which there are no abortions.

    Absolutely. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. I can (and do) respect someone who finds abortions distressing, and as a result, works hard to make abortions legal, accessible and rare. Ease of access and affordability of birth control, sterilizations and education help to make abortion rare.

    Insistence on making abortion a moral issue and degrading a woman’s status do not make abortion rare. Views which involve increasing womens death rates and consider pregnancy a consequential punishment for having had sex are contemptible and don’t do a damn thing to decrease abortion. It’s an ugly attitude, and like many others, I’ve had enough of it for one night. I’m headed for the endless thread.

  414. #414 Deen
    April 18, 2010

    Blah blah, I’m okay with abortion in cases of rape.

    Wait, what? If it’s all about the fetus’ rights, then why would a fetus resulting from rape have less rights than one resulting from failed birth control?

    I also advocate a cultural shift that places more value on life and less on instant gratification, but I’m just an idealist hippy.

    Oh yeah, that’s right, it’s all about the sex after all.

    By the way, didn’t hippies believe in free love?

  415. #415 Joe
    April 18, 2010

    For anyone who doesn’t think they live privileged lives as white (Or white looking, in my case) people, spend a bit of time on a rez. It’ll help to see what the real bottom rung and results of cultural genocide are.

    Anyways.

    It’s been mentioned a few times: The countries with the lowest abortions rates are not the ones that make abortion illegal… all that does is kill women. WHO studies support that.

    What does reduce abortions is easy access to contraceptives, and comprehensive sex education.
    Neither of which is available across the US.

    The human cost of making abortion illegal is /extreme/.

    Again, using the WHO as a source.

    Skatje’s arguments, unfortunately, are coming from a flawed, and privileged, position.

    Because, at it’s core: This IS a woman’s rights issue. Saying it isn’t doesn’t make that so.
    The issue isn’t even legal abortions.
    It’s /safe/ legal abortions, done by trained medical staff.

    Because it’s worth restating: Legalization of abortion, and making sure that it’s safe procedure available as a woman’s choice is about saving lives. Period.

    Source:
    http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/unsafe_abortion/ua_paper/en/index.html

  416. #416 Dornier Pfeil
    April 18, 2010
    but if she’s also too vapid and whiny to care about the correlation between not using a condom and getting pregnant, I feel that in a proper sense of justice (and malice) that she should be forced to carry the fetus to term and go through labor without an epidural.

    You are not pro-choice. I am revoking your membership card. Dues are non-refundable. Thanks for playing.

    The original poster does just fine conveying the sense that she understands the baby does not deserve the injustice of being born to such a mindless slut as she describes. I am revoking your reading comprehension card, back to kindergarten with you.

    I agree with the sentiment, if only it WERE possible to force that person to carry a fetus to term and go thru labor WITHOUT the result being a baby that didn’t deserve to be born to such an irresponsible person.

  417. #417 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    and in my ideal world, people could only have children if they consciously decided on them; they would be carefully crafted to avoid genetic diseases, and pre-gestated (or not, for those freaks who like being pregnant for 9 months :-p) to the desirable level, and then sent home with the happy new parents.

    And maybe someday this will even happen.

    But I live in the here and now, and my flights of fancy have fuck all to do with reality. and therefore, abortion must stay legal, safe, and easily accessible, because forced births and forced abstinence suck for everyone involved.

  418. #418 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    I agree with the sentiment, if only it WERE possible to force that person to carry a fetus to term and go thru labor WITHOUT the result being a baby that didn’t deserve to be born to such an irresponsible person

    What types of torture and corporal punishment do you support for other crimes?

    Maybe nails beneath the fingernails, small wounds poured with lye, acid up the butthole?

    What other pain and suffering do people deserve?

  419. #419 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    This is the same thing I was saying in the beginning, but it sounds like some people missed that.

    no one is missing that, but you’ve already admitted you’d let others ban abortion. from where I’m standing, it’s all the same.

  420. #420 jemand
    April 18, 2010

    ” I don’t push my views on other people. ”

    OH???

  421. #421 Becca
    April 18, 2010

    badgersdaughter @400 – We, too, have an open adoption. I know it’s not for everyone, but we’ve made it work.

    In our case, it was the birth mom pushing for odd names for the children.

    but, Skatje, adoption as an option still has to put a woman through pregnancy and delivery with an unwanted child. In my day, girls “went to live with a relative” for a year, or “went to Europe” for a year… enough time for them to be pregnant, give birth, and recover from it. But that option isn’t open to everyone, and there is a terrible amount of prejudice against birth mothers in our culture. Should a woman have to put up with not only the shame of being pregnant when she didn’t want to be, but also the “shame” of being an “unnatural” woman for not wanting to parent the child herself?

    I’ll say it again: no woman should be forced to be a baby factory against her will for my benefit.

  422. #422 OurDeadSelves
    April 18, 2010

    I also advocate a cultural shift that places more value on life and less on instant gratification, but I’m just an idealist hippy.

    What is wrong with instant gratification?

  423. #423 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 18, 2010

    Everybody who died in those towers had a vote, so the majority of them were responsible for the government that pissed off the agressors, and are fair game as all American citizens are fair game to be killed by outside forces who feel they are under attack by us, because we bear direct responsibility for the actions of our government, there is no such thing as innocents in a democracy.

    You can’t be serious.

  424. #424 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 18, 2010

    Deen:

    By the way, didn’t hippies believe in free love?

    Yes. And I am actually old enough to be one. With that, I really am out of this thread.

  425. #425 Ol'Greg
    April 18, 2010

    In my ideal world people worry about their own damned lives and recognize how little their experience has to do with anyone else.

  426. #426 badgersdaughter
    April 18, 2010

    Thanks for clarifying, Skatje, I actually wasn’t clear that you didn’t mean that you were for limiting the reproductive choices of other women. It is simply hard to see how someone who has at least the normal helpings of brains, decency, and self-esteem would deliberately fail to take action to protect that which she sees as both intrinsically valuable, and tragically undervalued by other people.

  427. #427 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    Absolutely. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. I can (and do) respect someone who finds abortions distressing, and as a result, works hard to make abortions legal, accessible and rare. Ease of access and affordability of birth control, sterilizations and education help to make abortion rare.

    Insistence on making abortion a moral issue and degrading a woman’s status do not make abortion rare. Views which involve increasing womens death rates and consider pregnancy a consequential punishment for having had sex are contemptible and don’t do a damn thing to decrease abortion. It’s an ugly attitude, and like many others, I’ve had enough of it for one night.

    I totally agree.

  428. #428 Dornier Pfeil
    April 18, 2010

    There is no such thing as “justice (and malice.)”

    Sure there is. That is simply the definition of vengeance.

  429. #429 KOPD
    April 18, 2010

    Oh, and KOPD, Cerberus is a woman, as you would know from reading her posts (you did actually read them, not just react to them, right?). Using the pronoun he/she to refer to Cerberus constitutes abuse once she posted her gender, even more so since she identified as trans. Be more careful than that, unless you want to be identified as an ignorant bigot.

    I thought she had identified as female, but didn’t take the time to go back and check. I was attempting to clarify the meaning of one fucking sentence and didn’t think it was relevant. I see now that I was mistaken. Apparently the rule here is that if you aren’t sure you understand exactly what a person means by something, you should close you browser and move on to another thread. Got it.

  430. #430 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    Wait, what? If it’s all about the fetus’ rights, then why would a fetus resulting from rape have less rights than one resulting from failed birth control?

    Longer answer summed up: With the burden of pregnancy on a woman who will now probably suffer emotional distress from a pregnancy she did not consent to being worse than the usual case, the amount that we must ask a woman to bear for the sake of a fetus’s life is now greater, and, I would tentatively say outweighs. See how these values are placed arbitrarily and uncertainly? That’s why I’m not going out and trying to stop abortion.

    OH???

    Yeah, because debating in comments on Pharyngula is REALLY forcing my views into your life.

    By the way, didn’t hippies believe in free love?

    I’m using the modern “someone who rejects the established culture” definition of hippy.

  431. #431 monado
    April 18, 2010

    Any time you want to get depressed, look at the maternal mortality statistics for Nicaragua, a country that banned all abortions not so long ago. I think about 80 women died in the first 11 months of that ban. That were counted officially, I mean. In Ontario, deaths by illegal abortion were usually recorded by the Coroner as something else to save the family from embarrassment. Morton Shulman, who was the Chief Coroner in the 1950s-60s, wrote in his biography that he had been a force in getting abortion legalized, simply by honestly declaring illegal abortion as a cause of death instead of concealing it.

    Interesting that the anti-abortion people can’t see the cause and effect:

    The court did… encourage the government to introduce a new and improved abortion law, which it attempted to do in 1989. This new bill, which threatened doctors with a two-year jail term if they approved an abortion when the woman’s health was not in danger, was widely and loudly condemned by the country’s doctors. While the bill was approved by the Canadian House of Commons in a largely free vote (only members of the Cabinet were required to vote in favour), it was defeated in the Senate by a tie vote. The defeat was controversial and somewhat unexpected since was the first time since 1941 that the unelected Senate had outright vetoed legislation passed by the House. Nonetheless, in the wake of the controversy surrounding passage of the GST the Progressive Conservative government did not wish to provoke a contest of wills with the Senate and announced it would not re-introduce the legislation. The fact that no subsequent government has re-visited this decision has been what has led to the unique situation of Canada having no abortion law whatsoever. Between the time the law was passed in the House of Commons and the time it was defeated in the senate, a 20-year-old student at the University of Waterloo bled to death after trying to perform an abortion on herself, the first such case in years.

  432. #432 Joe
    April 18, 2010

    Oh… Unrelated: You have Protesters PZ!
    Congratulations!
    There really should be a special card for this… or a cake?

    Some sort of special dinner?
    Roast lamb in a red wine reduction crusted with host crumbs?

  433. #433 badgersdaughter
    April 18, 2010

    KOPD: Funny, if someone pointed out that I had made such a hideous mistake, I would be embarrassed, and apologize to both the person I inadvertently insulted, and the person who pointed it out. But maybe I was brought up differently from you. Because it’s not a blog rule (around here rudeness is the expected thing and courtesy is a lagniappe), it’s just an indicator of whether or not you care about the thoughts and feelings of other people.

  434. #434 KOPD
    April 18, 2010

    not just react to them,

    And what’s with this “them?” I was not “reacting” to her posts, just making sure I was parsing one of them correctly. Fuck me for giving a shit if I’m reading correctly. But I would like to apologize to Cerberus for one thing. Sometimes when I read a lot of posts I do forget who said what. The post I was attempting to clarify did give an indication of gender that had slipped my mind by the time I was composing #366. I was focused on the posts I was responding to in #366. I am sorry. I will not forget who you are again.

  435. #435 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    “no one is missing that, but you’ve already admitted you’d let others ban abortion. from where I’m standing, it’s all the same.”

    How the fuck is that the same? I prefer to withhold my vote when I feel that I do not have enough information and reason to MAKE a vote.

  436. #436 badgersdaughter
    April 18, 2010

    OK, I admit I am “pushing my views on you”; in fact, I’m doing worse, I’m taking personal offense at something you did to a third party. Tell me to go to Hell, and I will do so, cheerfully, and probably enjoy the company. :)

  437. #437 Joe
    April 18, 2010

    Any time you want to get depressed, look at the maternal mortality statistics for Nicaragua, a country that banned all abortions not so long ago. I think about 80 women died in the first 11 months of that ban.

    http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/un-urged-condemn-nicaragua-abortion-ban-20100204

    It’s horrible.

    And it’s the poor who suffer the most. Brown, poor, and desperate.

    The rich just go to other countries where it’s legal.

  438. #438 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    How the fuck is that the same? I prefer to withhold my vote when I feel that I do not have enough information and reason to MAKE a vote.

    because the result is the same.

    I live in a world where results matter more than intent.

  439. #439 phoenixwoman
    April 18, 2010

    There’s a lot of things that won’t get an answer… because she’s operating under the delusions of unexamined privilege. She thinks all women are her equals.

    It’s kind of sweet, but it’s very sad.

    Yup.

    I’m sorry, Skatje, I did not mean to shame you and I don’t think you need feel ashamed. But I do not recognize your right to impinge upon the choices of others on matters affecting their own reproductive health. And for my part I would consider any effort to limit my own reproductive choices (to the extent I still have any, since I’m almost twice your age and my cycles are slowly tapering off) a personal attack on my mind and body.

    Same here.

    How old is Skatje again?

    Does she realize just who she’s making common cause with? The leaders of the anti-choice movement don’t like effective birth control, either.

    It’s kinda like when ivory-tower lesbian feminist Kate Millett, overjoyed to hear that the Shah of Iran was overthrown, went to Teheran to commune with the revolutionaries — and barely escaped with her life. Why she thought that a bunch of Shiite Muslims who toppled the Shah in part because they felt he gave too many freedoms to women would ever greet her with open arms is something I’ll never understand.

  440. #440 badgersdaughter
    April 18, 2010

    But in actuality, I am merely going to bed, where I have, unfortunately, no company at all, except for three lead-footed cats who like to walk on me at two in the morning. Ciao meow.

  441. #441 windy
    April 18, 2010

    If you think it’s more important for you to be able to have sex without worries than to allow a fetus to live

    Of course sex is more important to me than a fetus, otherwise I wouldn’t be using birth control.

  442. #442 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    Skatje, you haven’t adressed the real challenges to your argument.

    1. where abortions are illegal there are just as many abortions and more women die.

    2. upon what version of morality do you base your opposition to abortion, other than your icky feeling. Your arguments are all vague, you are not nailing it.

    3. how do you reconcile the class difference in your convenient opinion, knowing that if you get pregnant you can fall back on established family resources compared to someone who is all alone? Y

    4. where do your personal opinions and political ideals infringe on the rights of others, and what grants you the right to coerse others to your will, if indeed you support the right for women to choose, which you have not clearly stated? You seem to be just jerking us around.

    5. If you found out that PZ and I were having a torrid sexual affair for the last five years how would that effect you?

    Oh

    Wait a minute.

    strike number 5.

  443. #443 KOPD
    April 18, 2010

    I just realized I fucked up more than I realized. Because of the way Cerberus responded to me in #91, my faulty memory had me thinking that it was Cerberus who had posted #70 that I was responding to earlier. And so in #366 I said that it was Cerberus’ position I was trying to make sure I understood. It was not. It was a googlemess account.

    Cerberus, I really do owe you an apology. I am sorry for getting you confused with somebody else. I still don’t know why you told me to grow the fuck up, but I guess I may never. I will, though, go back and re-read your posts and see if they shed some light on why you reacted to me the way you did.

  444. #444 monado
    April 18, 2010

    To continue about the student who bled to death, I wrote to a Conservative MP and asked if she realized that this was probably a result of the Conservatives’ anti-abortion law. She wrote back that she didn’t think they were related. So they do deny, stop up their ears and run away.

  445. #445 Joe
    April 18, 2010

    How the fuck is that the same? I prefer to withhold my vote when I feel that I do not have enough information and reason to MAKE a vote.

    The consequences of making abortion illegal have been pointed out. Credible research has been done, and sources are easy to find.

    Yes, you donate to planned parenthood. Good. :) So do I.

    World isn’t black and white… sometimes you have to take a stance for something you find distasteful to prevent something far worse.

    Like defending someone’s right to free speech even if you dislike what they do with it.

  446. #446 scooterKPFT
    April 18, 2010

    gotta go.

    Don’t let’em tear you down , Skatje, but all chinks in the armor are worth investigating.

  447. #447 jemand
    April 18, 2010

    “Longer answer summed up: With the burden of pregnancy on a woman who will now probably suffer emotional distress from a pregnancy she did not consent to being worse than the usual case, the amount that we must ask a woman to bear for the sake of a fetus’s life is now greater, and, I would tentatively say outweighs.”

    So, you see that emotional distress can outweigh the value of keeping a fetus around. But still you presume to say that you, and only you, can properly measure the amount of emotional distress another woman is going through in relation to her pregnancy.

    That is NOT something you can presume to know.

    If a woman is asking for an abortion, the emotional distress of that pregnancy is already by definition more than the “usual case” because she’s not comfortable in carrying it to term.

  448. #448 Joe
    April 18, 2010

    To continue about the student who bled to death, I wrote to a Conservative MP and asked if she realized that this was probably a result of the Conservatives’ anti-abortion law. She wrote back that she didn’t think they were related. So they do deny, stop up their ears and run away.

    Something to think about for those that think it could never happen here.
    It did. And it could still.

    Even if you don’t like abortion, or disagree with people who have them: This is the cost of doing nothing to protect reproductive freedom for women.

  449. #449 Jadehawk, OM
    April 18, 2010

    anyway, to conclude my part in this discussion, I’ll say that I can understand wanting a world in which abortions don’t happen. But to stop there is simplistic and deadly to women, and to refuse to protect women from those who actively want to cause this suffering by outlawing abortion is privileged bullshit, and not sufficiently different from those who actively promote this shit. And I’m fucking sick of privileged Americans who boil all the worlds problems down to “personal responsibility”.

  450. #450 KOPD
    April 18, 2010

    Okay, I have reread your posts and I still don’t see why you attacked me for trying to make sure that in googlemess’s mind
    “For those of you wringing your hands at “when does the fetus become equal to a pre-term baby” meme, the answer is “when it is no longer housed in my property.” Abortion is property rights. No one may live in my property w/o my permission. Ever. My property, my decision.”
    is absolutely equal in no uncertain terms to
    “I am okay with abortion up to and including when labor has begun.”

    I never said I disagreed, I was just trying to get past the metaphors and make sure I understood clearly what was meant.

  451. #451 Alex
    April 18, 2010

    I am not sure that some of the commenter’s here have thought about their ideas long enough. The only way that I have seen the morality of abortion presented is through the righteousness of the action, but I think that the intent of an action is also important to take into account. It seems like a lot of people are universalizing abortion to be equal in all circumstances, while it may be legal in all circumstance and I would never suggest denying that, it may not be moral in all circumstances. For example it is legal for two different women to receive abortions, however if one of the women is having one performed because she was a rape victim or it will cause health complications and the other is the girl with three abortions mentioned near the top, then there is a difference in the moral intent of the act of denying the pregnancy. And I think that you can all intuitively feel that out. I think that this is the source of Jordan’s uneasiness.
    If you disagree with me that is fine most people have different views of morality anyway, so if you have a logical argument against me please share I love having my viewpoints changed.

  452. #452 badgersdaughter
    April 18, 2010

    I’m going to be bad and admit I am staying up past my bedtime simply for the sheer pleasure of replying to Jadehawk’s comment, And I’m fucking sick of privileged Americans who boil all the worlds problems down to “personal responsibility”.

    I wish I had said that. It’s why I refuse to call myself a Libertarian anymore, in case anyone wanted to know.

  453. #453 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    Does she realize just who she’s making common cause with? The leaders of the anti-choice movement don’t like effective birth control, either.

    I know that just about every pro-lifer is an idiot. That’s not going to make me okay with abortion, though. It just means I have to kick pro-lifers as often as I kick pro-choicers.

    where abortions are illegal there are just as many abortions and more women die.

    I find statistics such as these very dubious. If you posted them before, I apologise, I haven’t read every comment. But are there statistics regarding nations similar to the US in terms of both development and culture? These are pretty important variables, I think.

    upon what version of morality do you base your opposition to abortion, other than your icky feeling. Your arguments are all vague, you are not nailing it.

    I know, I’m guilty of being vague. I haven’t found a way to condense many long philosophical/ethical discussions into a single comment for explanation. I may write something longer about it someday. For now… lesee… If we value life after birth, but not before, there must be a very significant difference between the two. The differences that people claim do not sway me, and it seems the distinction is more out of convenience than anything else.

    where do your personal opinions and political ideals infringe on the rights of others, and what grants you the right to coerse others to your will, if indeed you support the right for women to choose, which you have not clearly stated? You seem to be just jerking us around.

    I’m not positive what you’re getting at here, but I’ll say some words. The idea of coercing others to our will because of what we see as “just” isn’t alien, and I don’t find myself out of line here. Would you not advocate intervening in a case of child abuse? Or is that too far outside your moral jurisdiction?

    If I’m missing your point, please let me know. :S

  454. #454 Joe
    April 18, 2010

    Alex –
    I don’t think the moral issue should come into it at all.
    Not my place to dictate what a women does with her body. That’s hers and hers alone.

    But, back to my point: Laws based on the morality of abortion will be flawed, because morality isn’t fixed. It changes as society changes.
    Best to leave that out of it completely, and concentrate on what we do know. Making abortion illegal has a direct and dramatic effect on mortality rates of young women.

  455. #455 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    Abortion rights are founded upon the right to privacy, not the right to property. To be clear we’re not talking about privacy as in what is done in secret without anyone else seeing. The right to privacy is the right to private decisions, they belong to you as an individual and the government fundamentally lacks the power to deprive you of such a fundamental liberty without due process of law. People are not property. Neither your womb nor your person constitute “property” under the law.

    I fully support a substantive due process right to property, not for abortion, but for almost anything within the realm of liberty. I’d like to see it more broadly applied. Property rights arguments for abortion are clever, but they inherently rely on ideas that have been thrown out years ago in other civil rights litigation. It’s a non-starter per Constitutional law. Griswold is the case to read on the substantive due process arguments (especially the concurrences that led to Casey): Griswold v Connecticut.

    The legal end is far more complex than the slogans of either side and it is worth knowing for an activist or interested party leaning or strongly supportive of either.

  456. #456 skatje.myers
    April 18, 2010

    That is NOT something you can presume to know.

    Wow. No shit. Are you understanding now why I’m too hesitant to ever make a vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?

  457. #457 badgersdaughter
    April 18, 2010

    Alex, there is clearly a moral difference between the two cases. In the first case, the rape victim lost her volition and we feel sorry for her, and in the second, the party girl took a risk and we feel contempt for her. In other words, we feel that the first woman was moral because her virtue was violated, and the second was immoral because, you might say, she had no virtue left.

    However the moral difference does not extend to the right of each woman to have an abortion. The moral choice is different. It is moral to uphold each woman’s right to bodily integrity and reproductive choice for reasons known and chosen only be herself, and it is immoral to restrict her rights because a third party decides to do so without the woman’s consent.

  458. #458 Glock21
    April 18, 2010

    Quick typo correction I noticed during the lag: “I fully support a substantive due process right to property, not for abortion, but for almost anything within the realm of liberty.” should have been “I fully support a substantive due process right to liberty, not just for abortion, but for almost anything within the realm of liberty.”

  459. #459 kb
    April 18, 2010

    skatje.myers:
    I’ve known people who carried and raised babies conceived in rape. It’s not an unbearable burden. There’s a TED talk where Eve Ensler asked a woman what she felt about her baby that was a result of rape, and the woman says, “How could I not love my baby? It’s my baby and it’s full of love.”

    My feelings towards my uterus and its inhabitants are not judged as important, merely because I consented to sex. A pregnancy is an emotional event for a rape victim, but not for someone going through a divorce, or who knows their partner will not be supportive, or who can’t financially support a child, or who just wants a stable life, one where they can bring up a child with a partner they have a strong bond with, a bond that will be ruined by a baby now instead of later. It’s emotional to create a baby when the sex was forced, but if not, you can “just give it up for adoption.” If it’s consensual, it’s not *as bad.* I don’t think I’m being frivolous when I choose the rest of my life over a fetus, I think it’s more than life-altering, more than important, more than just convenient. I can understand women who would risk their lives to end a pregnancy, who want their uterus empty so badly they would risk infection and death. No, I’m not treating it as a full human being, but to do that, I think you have to accept that it is worth the suffering of rape victims.

  460. #460 badgersdaughter
    April 19, 2010

    Alex, I should add that what you characterize as “morality” is rarely so cut-and-dried. What if, as is sadly not all that uncommon, the woman in the case was raped at a party while drunk and high, after flirting drunkenly with the man who turned out to be her rapist? Rape, risk, volition, intoxication, not so easy, is it?

  461. #461 TimKO,,.,,
    April 19, 2010

    @#50
    Right, and the funny thing is, so-called pro-lifers are (almost always) pro-death penalty, and war advocates. They’re wayyy more pro-death than pro-life. It’s a misnomer.

    @#133
    “the anti-choicers have “biblical” reasons”
    No. They have extra-biblical reasons. They make it all up. Abortion is revered in the bible and there are several verses which say that life begins with first breath.

    My billboard:
    Hi! I’m Zyggy the Zygote. Give me special rights or I’ll make God hate you. Cheers.

  462. #462 monado
    April 19, 2010

    The World Health Organization had concluded that access to contraception, safe abortion, and safe childbirth is one of the biggest health issues for women. They estimate that 875,000 women die every year as a result of unwanted fertility.

  463. #463 Ing
    April 19, 2010

    “A parasites by definition has to reduce fitness?

    Correct. This is not my personal definition, but the conventional term of art in community ecology.”

    I’m surprised at a science blog no one caught this bullshit. No a parasite does not have to reduce it’s host fitness. all it has to do is take and not give. In fact, a parasite does not WANT to reduce its host’s fitness. Killing your host is a bad way to live as a parasite. The vast majority of parasites are asymptomatic. Even many ones that are notorious disease causes only do so unintentionally. Take Shistosomes (the blood fluke). The adults are mostly benign (they do cause fever and some other ill symptoms but not particularly deadly…many folks brush off the symptoms), it is only when their offspring accidentally burrow into the host tissue (humans are not their intermediate host and thus they can’t mature in it) do they get stuck in the body and cause an immune response.

    Another example is T. Vagilaris (take a WILD guess where they live). As many as 25% of the world may have it. YOU might have it right now. It can cause vagina or urethra rash and itching and inflamed prostate, many are unaware they have it. It is successful because the vast majority of its hosts are so unaffected by it to continue spreading it unawares.

    Hell, some absolute parasites may even work reduce their impact on their host. Leishmaniasins secretes chemicals that down regulate host immunity. This allows it to survive, but it also hast he added bonus of sometimes preventing host complications due to inflammation. Since some of them can actually wind up in the brain or visceral tissue, letting them do this can be preferable to allowing an inflammation response.

    The parasites that wind up causing diseases and reducing fitness are the minority. You are coated with many many many parasites. They eat your by-products, they get their nutrients from you and they don’t give a damn back. Even many of the disease causers want you to live a long happy healthy life and only cause you trouble when something does horribly wrong for them.

    I don’t give a crap what ECOLOGY might consider a parasite, but PARASITOLOGY most definitely has buggers that don’t reduce fitness.

  464. #464 kb
    April 19, 2010

    “That is NOT something you can presume to know.
    Wow. No shit. Are you understanding now why I’m too hesitant to ever make a vote to overturn Roe v. Wade?”

    Well, that answers my comment, which was written in the meantime.

  465. #465 Haley
    April 19, 2010

    I have little to add to the debate that has commenced, but I do have a story.

    My great-grandmother got married on her 16th birthday, from what I can understand because she was pregnant. She had three children in 3 years and named them all after movie stars because what she really wanted was to leave her tiny town and move to New York. She died when my grandma was less than a year old from an illegal abortion- with knitting needles. My great grandfather died when my grandma was 10 from miner’s lung, but that of course is another cause.

    I would have supported my great-grandmother’s right to a safe, legal, affordable abortion. Even when she was pregnant at 15- even when she was pregnant at 18 with my grandma. Even though I’m a philosophy major, and it’s practically my job to be overwhelmed with the existential complexities of what would happen if I had never existed.

  466. #466 Ing
    April 19, 2010

    “I would have supported my great-grandmother’s right to a safe, legal, affordable abortion. Even when she was pregnant at 15- even when she was pregnant at 18 with my grandma. Even though I’m a philosophy major, and it’s practically my job to be overwhelmed with the existential complexities of what would happen if I had never existed.”

    ..But if you did that and succeded then your grandmother wouldn’t be born and thus you wouldn’t be born and thus no one would go back to support her right so your grandmother would be born so *headasplodes*

  467. #467 DLC
    April 19, 2010

    but it’s such a cute little pharyngula . . .

  468. #468 octopod
    April 19, 2010

    One more question that I’d like Skatje to answer that might have slipped by: Sex only for reproduction is the way that it works for most mammals, but humans (and bonobos, which bolsters the argument) do not visibly mark when they ovulate, and therefore have sex all the time throughout their menstrual cycle including when they can’t get pregnant. Doesn’t this imply that non-reproductive sex is a natural human social function, such that it’s rather otiose to say that sex is “not a handshake” — by implication, “only for reproduction”?

    That is: I look at birth control and abortion and see humans having got better at non-reproductive sex, not having invented it.

    Also, you keep rejecting the “mandatory organ donation to strangers” thing, so I’m going to propose a hopefully more-relevant hypothetical. Say I knock someone up accidentally. She decides to carry the unwanted pregnancy to term, dumps me, and raises the kid with someone else who will probably be a better father. Then this child, who I have never met but would not have existed without my decision to have sex with my girlfriend, needs a kidney transplant; her mom calls me and tells me this. Regardless of my personal choice at this point, is it reasonable for the law to compel me to donate one of my kidneys to her? And if this hypothetical is not a reasonable analogy to the process of pregnancy, can someone tell me why?

  469. #469 Ing
    April 19, 2010

    Also on the “slut shamming” ie the sex has consequences arguement.

    If we have Joe Whitetrash who due to his own amazing stupidity poor judgment winds up hacking off his leg with a chainsaw on a drunken bet…would you thus deny Joe the emergency treatment to reattach the leg? Or even give him a prosthetic?

  470. #470 badgersdaughter
    April 19, 2010

    *picks up the pieces of Ing’s head*

    Except that since all possible outcomes exist in some branching universe somewhere, Haley would still exist in a form for all intents and purposes identical to her existing form, yet have a different (though obviously not a very different) grandmother. In fact there would be an infinity of possible Haleys with and without grandmothers, including the Haley momentarily created ex nihilo in the middle of an exploding star by sheer force of chaos, only to be ripped apart again a nanosecond or so later by the same forces.

  471. #471 Ing
    April 19, 2010

    *hugs Badgersdaughter for actually knowing the branching universe time travel*

    I can’t tell you how long i’ve spent trying to explain this to friends. I have graphs and charts on napkins that rival Glen Beck.

  472. #472 makyui
    April 19, 2010

    Okay, I wasn’t going to comment, but this pissed me off something fierce:

    Man, does adoption NOT exist?

    Do you realize how overtaxed adoption services are with the children that are already here? Do you realize how many of them are never adopted? Do you realize what happens to them when they come of age? Do you realize what an effect this has on their lives, and on the society they live in?

    Forcing a woman to carry to term just to punish her for being “irresponsible” affects more than just the woman, or the man who sired the kid.

    If we value life after birth, but not before, there must be a very significant difference between the two.

    Oh, there is.

    The former has been put into the system, and the latter hasn’t.

  473. #473 skatje.myers
    April 19, 2010

    such that it’s rather otiose to say that sex is “not a handshake” — by implication, “only for reproduction”?

    Um, why are you accusing me of saying “only for reproduction”? That is not what I said at all.

  474. #474 Ol'Greg
    April 19, 2010

    Sigh….

    TL;DR and TMI warning.

    My grandmother was forced to marry my grandfather. She beat both children mercilessly. My dad is an addict and completely insane although not really a mean or bad person. His sister has BPD. My grandad was a sadist. My grandmother went insane and began prying her teeth out. She then caught encephalitis from mosquitoes and became brain damaged. Now she is living in a spare room where my dad lives off of her social security. She’s a bedridden invalid who stares out of a window all day.

    I support any of them having an abortion along the way. Really. I’m trash, from trash and always trash. The stigma I carried with me through modeling and into a relationship with a guy who would have killed me. It’s an accident I ended up alive past the age of 19 really. I owe a lot of it to a very nice man who let me live with him and didn’t hurt me. Pure dumb luck, that.

    People like me are real.

    My life is not very enjoyable and seriously not important. The damage done to people all along the way is sad. I try to do things that I think are worthwhile or important.

    When I was 7 or so I resolved never carry on the family, realizing I was the last one.

    Now by some fluke I’ve found myself earning a middle class salary. I found my way through college, and for the past 10 years I’ve worked on dealing with my PTSD and various problems from a lifetime of chronic abuse.

    I repeat, people like me are real. There is no easy solution, and it is only good luck that I did not end up with my birth control failing at some point.

    There is a very strong possibility, given how close I have come to suicide in the past, that under the emotional pressure of pregnancy I might have killed myself anyway.

    I can not safely say that my giving birth is a good thing anyway. I’d like not to be hated for what I am, but I am also not capable of being anything but what I am.

    I don’t feel different from whores on Robinson, or people in prisons. That’s where I come from. And yet I was never cruel in my disposition.

    Hell, I had to have it explained to me that giving other kids eggs I found was not the purpose of an Easter egg hunt.

    Please don’t pretend away these things. It’s painful to people like me who wonder some times if they will ever be real people. I’m not some outlier you can smooth out. If you add up the abnormalities I’m very certain they will outnumber the norm and you’ll see that your perfect curve is basically artistically selected to find only the points that manage some semblance of a curve.

  475. #475 badgersdaughter
    April 19, 2010

    LOL, Ing *hugsback* You owe Neil Stephenson a hug, too, then, given that I basically ripped the whole example out of Anathem, substituting Haley for the ice cube created in the middle of the star. ;)

  476. #476 Alex
    April 19, 2010

    badgersdaughter you are right, there are many instances if not most in which the moral ambiguity of an action makes it impossible to come to a verdict of what is and isn’t the right action. This is the reason that I am a pro choicer. However, there are instances when it is quite clear on what did and didn’t happen, and i think that in these instances a person is liable for the consequences of their actions.
    As this is impossible to tell on a case to case basis we cannot take the liberty of making the judgment on the chance that we do infringe on an individuals rights. But that doesn’t stop the act from being not moral, I am for abortion, but I think that we should stop trying to justify it as being right in order to make us feel better about it.

  477. #477 badgersdaughter
    April 19, 2010

    Alex, if I didn’t know better, I would say you meant “if the woman commits a sexual sin, it’s perfectly justifiable to force her to live with the results as a deserved punishment.” The reason I do know better is that you identify as being pro-choice.

    I think that instead of calling abortion “immoral” (I know you said “not moral” and you may see those two words differently, but others may not), it might fit better with how you feel if you chose words like “tragic,” or “regrettable,” or “unfortunate,” or “sad.”

    It’s worth repeating, however, that many abortions represent something positive indeed: an actual freeing of a woman from an intolerable burden or a medical emergency.

  478. #478 Ing
    April 19, 2010

    I have to wonder what people would think if it wasn’t a human life, but a sentient alien that reproduces via implanted spores. Would humans implanted against their will be allowed to have the embryos surgically removed? Is it the cute cuddly factor at work? If it looked like a space lizard with a bad weave would it make a difference?

  479. #479 Ol'Greg
    April 19, 2010

    I actually hate the entire concept of “morality” anyway.

    What the fuck is a “moral” or a moral value?

    What does it really mean but an emotionally held judgement.

    I think it should all be about net destruction vs net gain.

  480. #480 llewelly
    April 19, 2010

    Jadehawk, OM | April 18, 2010 5:14 PM:

    and the thought that my breakfast was once an intelligent being, and was murdered for my pleasure sometimes makes me queasy.

    For this very reason, today’s atheist youth are opting for a scrumptious, serving-size fetus rather than a full-term baby stewed overnight with vegetables.

  481. #481 Ing
    April 19, 2010

    “I think that instead of calling abortion “immoral” (I know you said “not moral” and you may see those two words differently, but others may not), it might fit better with how you feel if you chose words like “tragic,” or “regrettable,” or “unfortunate,” or “sad.”

    I’m fine with people stating their criticism as seeing it as a bad choice as long as they don’t meddle…just like how many would say smoking is a bad choice but not deserving out outlawing

    *smokes a zygote*

  482. #482 badgersdaughter
    April 19, 2010

    Ing, if a person found they were impregnated and that the embryo was going to grow up to be a (squee!) cute fuzzy helpless little kitten, I’m sure the ick factor would still be firmly at work.

  483. #483 dustycrickets
    April 19, 2010

    “….. an actual freeing of a woman from an intolerable burden or a medical emergency.
    #478

    As in….

    “Anencephaly is a cephalic disorder that results from a neural tube defect that occurs when the cephalic (head) end of the neural tube fails to close, usually between the 23rd and 26th day of pregnancy, resulting in the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp[1]. Children with this disorder are born without a forebrain, the largest part of the brain consisting mainly of the cerebral hemispheres (which include the neocortex, which is responsible for higher-level cognition, i.e., thinking). The remaining brain tissue is often exposed?not covered by bone or skin.[2]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anencephaly

  484. #484 aratina cage
    April 19, 2010

    The fetus isn’t some parasite that just popped up there. YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.

    Pulling this quote out for scrutiny, I would like to say that so many times have I heard this exact argument used to blame AIDS on gays, and it is utter bullshit. It is not our fault that biology works the way it does, which is why we have developed ways to assess, reduce, and eliminate the risk of biological interactions and to control or avoid their side effects. Sex, for humans, is not usually primarily about reproduction even though a specific variant of it is a direct cause of pregnancy.

    If one were to take the stance quoted above to its moral conclusion, then no female should ever allow a male to copulate with her through vaginal-penile sexual intercourse unless the female was knowingly attempting to reproduce and well prepared for the consequences, which is a favorite political theme of those under the most stringently vile of god delusions. It is necessarily anti-choice because it favors the non-person organisms featured above on the accurate billboards over the lives of women, and it certainly paints a picture of a society I would want no part in, for where would the moralizing end?

  485. #485 Ing
    April 19, 2010

    “I actually hate the entire concept of “morality” anyway.

    What the fuck is a “moral” or a moral value?

    What does it really mean but an emotionally held judgement.

    I think it should all be about net destruction vs net gain.”

    Ok you’ve given the emotionally held judgment a new label. Feel better? Some of us actually base our morality by making a few goals and using reason and logic to build up from there. I personally start with the principle of autonomy and everything has kind of built up from that.

  486. #486 windy
    April 19, 2010

    “A parasites by definition has to reduce fitness?
    Correct. This is not my personal definition, but the conventional term of art in community ecology.”
    I’m surprised at a science blog no one caught this bullshit. No a parasite does not have to reduce it’s host fitness. all it has to do is take and not give.

    It’s not “bullshit”. It refers to the overall effect, it doesn’t mean that the parasite will produce a measurable decrease in offspring in each and every case. Even if serious complications are rare, they will result in a statistical reduction of fitness, however small.

  487. #487 Ol'Greg
    April 19, 2010

    Ok you’ve given the emotionally held judgment a new label.

    No, it’s not a new label. What is a moral? It can mean fucking anything. It’s a useless word.

  488. #488 badgersdaughter
    April 19, 2010

    If one were to take the stance quoted above to its moral conclusion, then no female should ever allow a male to copulate with her through vaginal-penile sexual intercourse unless the female was knowingly attempting to reproduce and well prepared for the consequences…

    You mean, no male should allow his females to expose themselves to a fertile male in any way unless he is prepared to support the consequences of them possibly coming into contact with sperm, right. (snerk)

    Remember, because it bears repeating, that sperm up the vagina can be accomplished in lots of ways besides the default vaginal/penile penetrative intercourse. I remember my mother explaining how a virgin high school friend of hers got pregnant because she had masturbated after having given her boyfriend a hand job. (Yeah, Mom was not exactly a shrinking violet with the birds-and-bees thing.)

  489. #489 Alex
    April 19, 2010

    badgersdaughter once again you are correct, on most accounts. I did specifically mean not moral, I did not mean immoral. I think that abortion in some instances but definitely not all, is not the right choice, and there is really no immoral choice out of the two.
    I do feel though that abortion is not the moral choice in some instances, the grey areas I will not judge, but the others should not be attempted to be justified because the times where it does become a benefit to health or psychology. We cannot say that an action as a whole is alright because of the good it does in some instances when in others it is does not.
    And I think that the jump from what I said to crazy religious nut is something you need to be more careful of. I am an atheist, most who read this blog are, and i think that you should not relate the ideas of a person in one topic to theirs in another. I know that there are pro lifers who do not use religion as an argument at all

  490. #490 Ing
    April 19, 2010

    “It’s not “bullshit”. It refers to the overall effect, it doesn’t mean that the parasite will produce a measurable decrease in offspring in each and every case. Even if serious complications are rare, they will result in a statistical reduction of fitness, however small.”

    And again there are parasites that don’t effect reproductive fitness at all. Like…none. The Guinea Worm is selected for irradiation programs specifically because of this. It lacks the Parasitologist dilemma, ie infection has no result on birth rate.

    I’m reading right from the text now “Parasitism is the symbiotic relationship where the organism benefits at expense of the host.” period. Nothing about ‘reduced fitness’ One looses, another gains. that’s it. E. Dispar is a completely benign parasite. It causes NO disease, no infection, no complication. it is only of note because it’s confused with it’s pathogenic cousin E. hystolitica.

    Saying reduced fitness is redefining it just to make your argument.

  491. #491 badgersdaughter
    April 19, 2010

    And I think that the jump from what I said to crazy religious nut is something you need to be more careful of.

    No, you need to be more careful of it. You are ascribing culpable sexual carelessness, if not wrongdoing to the “immoral” woman, and allowing extra lenience to the “moral” woman. I really can’t see how that differs in anything but jargon from calling the first woman a sinful slut who deserves her wretched fate, and the second a criminally victimized innocent who deserves rescue.

  492. #492 badgersdaughter
    April 19, 2010

    I guess it really doesn’t matter. Health, including reproductive health, is as important to all women as is food, water, and shelter. What’s immoral is depriving them of it, or looking down on certain women because they avail themselves of the doctor more often than others.

  493. #493 Ing
    April 19, 2010

    No, it’s not a new label. What is a moral? It can mean fucking anything. It’s a useless word.”

    Define “net destruction vs net gain” then.

    by your definition I can kill 1 man to harvest organs for 5 right?

  494. #494 Ceryle
    April 19, 2010

    Maybe I’m just hormonal, but Skatje’s comments re potential mothers not *deserving* a choice have made me cry. (Hormones, cos my baby is 11 weeks old, and apt to cry cos my sister-in-law had her baby less than 3 hours ago. Note: both of these babies were wanted – mine planned and theirs unplanned.)

    That being said, I want to be able to choose any continuing family that we (are not planning to) have. If I do have another child, then that pregnancy will NEED to end in a ‘planned c-section’ (not elective – I will need to have it), done by a senior registrar with experience in the matter. Not only that, but I am regarded as ‘geriatric pregnancy’ (I am currently 37), and with that comes all other kinds of health issues – not just for me, but for the (eventual) child. When you say that you are ok for abortions for health reasons – is that just for the mother or the fetus as well?

    Here in South Australia, if you are high risk of fetal problems, you can have a scan at 13 weeks, and everyone gets a scan at 20 weeks – at this time is when they find the (health) problems for the majority of pregnancies, and then look at medical abortions. These can be performed up to 22-23 weeks here. Are these fetuses too old to be aborted by you?

    PS – with regards to the billboards – the kids are older than my 11 week old – they are about 6 months old (at least) by the look of them

  495. #495 Ol'Greg
    April 19, 2010

    Define “net destruction vs net gain” then.
    by your definition I can kill 1 man to harvest organs for 5 right?

    Whatever. I’m not up to it right now. You win. I don’t give a fuck.

  496. #496 Ing
    April 19, 2010

    Oh hey, by pure Net destruction vs Net Gain, we HAVE to force the mother to give birth if she has twins, even at expense of her own life. 2 for the price of 1 right?

  497. #497 badgersdaughter
    April 19, 2010

    Gah, midnight. Sorry, my coach is turning back into a pumpkin and I need to get my glass slippers out of here. :)

  498. #498 Ol'Greg
    April 19, 2010

    Oh hey, by pure Net destruction vs Net Gain, we HAVE to force the mother to give birth if she has twins, even at expense of her own life. 2 for the price of 1 right?

    Oh ffs are you really that stupid?

  499. #499 DominEditrix
    April 19, 2010

    Skatje –

    Despite your denials, you are indeed slut-shaming. Your comments are rife with blame, and with judgement. As to your views re: women who’ve been raped perhaps being entitled to an abortion: Either all fetuses “deserve” the right to potential life or you’re simply giving a pass to women who are “innocent” of being sluts-who-should-know-better. Either abortion is killing a baby or it is not; how a woman got pregnant cannot come in to that equation.

    Is the emotional distress of a woman who gets pregnant when using birth control, who is the sole support of her family and who cannot afford the loss of hourly work time/pay from, say, prolonged morning sickness, any less mentally distressed than a woman who has been raped? Is a woman whose doctors tell her that her fetus suffers from a condition that will kill it shortly after birth, should she not choose to terminate, more or less distressed?

    A lot of the commenters here are quite correct: You’re a privileged, young, white girl whose family would not literally kick her out onto the streets for getting knocked up. I’ve given living space to girls who were kicked out – you have no idea of the “distress”, mental and otherwise, faced by some women, or the non-medical dangers they face.

    Re: What Every Woman Should Know: Several of my son’s friends, in high school, had heard or read various myths: A girl can’t get pregnant the first time, or if she doesn’t have an orgasm, or if she douches immediately after intercourse. They thought they knew what they needed to know. Several of them got pregnant. My kid took to passing out condoms and explaining just how that sperm and that egg got together.

    As for adoption – and I am an adoptive mother – the “market” is for blonde, blue-eyed, healthy babies. Babies born with birth defects, babies of colour, babies with fetal alcohol syndrome, babies with genetic diseases, babies with AIDS – very few people want to adopt them. Most of these children end up in foster care, where they are shunted from family to family and often neglected and/or abused, sometimes killed and sometimes ending up a suicide. Adoption as an option is far more fraught with complications than you seem to understand.

  500. #500 chgo_liz
    April 19, 2010

    Skatje:

    The babies in other people aren’t less privileged than the babies in me.

    But that’s just it: the baby in my mother’s uterus (me) WAS less privileged than the one in your mother’s uterus (you). You do people like me no favors by conflating your reality with what we go through. An abortion would have caused much less pain and suffering — to TWO people, my mother and me — than what we’ve both endured for 50 years.

    It’s amazing I actually was born alive, thanks to the alcohol, etc. that she used to self-medicate in her anger and fear. No prenatal medical care. Labor and delivery was spent alone in a dark hallway with virtually no medical assistance….the hospital staff’s decision to punish her for getting pregnant out of wedlock, with no concern over how that might affect the bastard coming out.

    Oh, and then there was the physical, sexual and emotional abuse that nearly killed me many times. Yeah, not much similarity in our childhoods there, I’ll bet.

    Ah, the luxury of being so privileged.

    The fetus isn’t some parasite that just popped up there. YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.

    Why did I have to suffer for a lifetime just so people like you could punish my mother for being a slut?

    Sidestepping the issue of the pregnant woman’s bodily autonomy by playing the “fetuses have rights too” card isn’t going to work with me around. I’m one of the anti-choice movement’s victims too. Your naive arguments are insulting when used against actual victims.

    More death and more victims: the anti-choice position isn’t about valuing human life at all.

    By the time I was a teenager — younger than you — I already knew the truth that has thus far eluded you. As I used to joke: I had human rights once, for about 9 months…and then a funny thing happened on the way to the delivery room.

    The fact that you have no empathy for unwanted fetuses as actual people but instead value us merely as political pawns cannot be explained solely by your young age.

  501. #501 Citizen of the Cosmos
    April 19, 2010

    In my own experience, most people who call themselves pro-life are the ones more likely to support death penalty and war, while opposing universal healthcare. The only reason they are “pro-life” regarding abortion is because that is the only option where women lose the most control over their own lives.

    And why don’t they say that the egg has the potential to be a human being? Or the sperm? Why is it only after fusion that those “unique” genes matter?

  502. #502 Alex
    April 19, 2010

    Firstly I am not judging anyones sexual choices, I cannot make those prescriptions, I am saying my opinions on what I see the moral challenges in a reproductive sense.
    Next I am not saying that people shouldn’t get an abortion, if I was in the circumstance right now, I might have wanted one. What I am saying is that just because it is not the wrong action does not mean that it is the right action, and therefore it is not praiseworthy.
    Lastly, none of what you said has anything to do with my complaint about regressing into a religious ad hominem.

  503. #503 makyui
    April 19, 2010

    Oh hey, by pure Net destruction vs Net Gain, we HAVE to force the mother to give birth if she has twins, even at expense of her own life. 2 for the price of 1 right?

    I don’t know about that.

    What’s the cost of raising the two to the same level of skills/usefulness/whatnot as the mother, compared to keeping the mother and losing the two? What’s the cost of having an 18+ year gap in that time? What if they never reach her level of skills/usefulness/whatnot, even together?

    Or am I misunderstanding the “net” in this?

  504. #504 aratina cage
    April 19, 2010

    You mean, no male should allow his females to expose themselves to a fertile male in any way unless he is prepared to support the consequences of them possibly coming into contact with sperm, right. (snerk)

    I actually thought about stating it as a shared responsibility, but that really isn’t how the stance was put. It was all about how it was TeH Weemenz fault. Either way, female’s responsibility, male’s responsibility, or shared responsibility, it would make society look fairly militaristic or extremely hierarchical.

    Remember, because it bears repeating, that sperm up the vagina can be accomplished in lots of ways besides the default vaginal/penile penetrative intercourse.

    Too true, I used to rage about that when saddlebacking first came up. I also remember that sperm poster the other day that said sperm can survive for hours in certain places. Which is why all kinds of interactions that involve the possibility of sperm being ejaculated in the proximity of a female would be strictly controlled in this brave new society where abortion is illegal.

  505. #505 skatje.myers
    April 19, 2010

    It is not our fault that biology works the way it does, which is why we have developed ways to assess, reduce, and eliminate the risk of biological interactions and to control or avoid their side effects. Sex, for humans, is not usually primarily about reproduction even though a specific variant of it is a direct cause of pregnancy.

    I find the idea that we can’t overcome our own biology because of our consciences rather… dehumanising.

  506. #506 https://me.yahoo.com/a/O.jullMj0I2VvJaxMMVeNKSfOPf73voLSxJAe9PdlOWwi8Y-#258ec
    April 19, 2010

    The whole subject is uncomfortable to me> I see no reason that it should be comfortable or easy.

    I am a male and I do not get pregnant so I do not see how I should be expected make that kind of decision for anyone. It is often a very difficult and serious one for the woman but lets be honest not always. Is that OK? I do not know nor do I think it is even possible to know.
    Until such time as we require testing and certification of suitability and a proper license for parenthood I do not see that say anyone but the woman involved has any business getting involved uneasy or not.
    The argument is not so simple as to be about babies alone it is tied up with the identities of the protesters and deep emotional conflicts of the anti-abortion protesters. reason will not help.
    It is reproduction after all we are talking about, if there is any other thing that would be entangled in our emotions and hence our DNA isn’t it what life wants to do, what it is all about?

    Th issue of abortion is part of the larger issue of reproduction and there will be no simple solutions or resolutions either.

    uncle frogy

  507. #507 Morgan
    April 19, 2010

    #187

    Uh, that’s not the tone argument. The tone argument is where someone argues that the method by which someone is arguing their case is too angry/emotional/caustic/confrontational/etc… and thus the words and meaning of their argument are less than and can be safely ignored.

    That is exactly what I said: the argument is that those who argue in a caustic, insulting manner must therefore be less correct. That can’t be the case if the last bit – the “therefore they are wrong” part – is left out. I specifically pointed out that I wasn’t saying that you were “therefore wrong”, nor had I in the previous post.

    there is no way to be “nice” enough to be listened to.

    That isn’t the same as saying that therefore respect in debate is worthless. If you want people to listen to you, being an ass is not a good way to go about it.

    There have been several informal studies that showed that even when the author of a point about an oppression was exceedingly polite and open-minded in their tone, they would still get accused of being angry or insulting or close-minded.

    I’m not trying to say that if you’re respectful everyone will listen to you and like you. I’m just saying that it’s hard to debate with someone who is admitting through their vitriol that they aren’t going to listen to anyone else’s opinion.

    Also, quelle surprise, the person arguing for your case just so happens to be the only “respectful person” here? Shocking.

    This quote is the main reason I felt compelled to reply. I literally laughed out loud when I read it, because in my original post I had included the following:
    “PS – Cerberus: Keep in mind that just because I’m admiring Glock21’s demeanor does not mean that I think they are more or less right than you are”
    I took it out because I thought it was redundant and baiting. :D

    We’re having conversations where the anti-woman side are making arguments they are wholly detached to and where the pro-choice side are arguing for the basic recognition of their personhood, their right to bodily autonomy naturally assumed and protected for men, and their basic human rights to not lose rights and have said unprecedented rights granted to something, rights that no full human being have.
    It’s a familiar tactic is what I am saying. But feel free to continue to tut tut us angry nasty feminists.

    That certainly offends me as a feminist.

    Regardless, I never argued against your positions, some of which I agree with, some of which I don’t. I was just angered by your self-righteous, hate-filled posts.

  508. #508 James F
    April 19, 2010

    I just can’t look away from the arguments….

    PZ @ #348:

    It’s a fair argument, but it’s also one that ignores the central point of this post: whether the fetus is a person is ambiguous. Sure, there’s some point where it is; it’s definitely later than conception, but precisely when that personhood is instantiated is undefined, and probably can’t defined.

    This makes sense. May I suggest a corollary? Given that personhood happens at some point after conception, isn’t it a reasonable moral imperative to terminate a pregnancy as quickly as humanly possible after the decision to terminate has been reached? If I’m reading some of the posts above correctly, any time up to the moment of delivery is fair game to terminate the pregnancy – I suppose that’s a philosophically consistent position, but…just…damn.

  509. #509 chgo_liz
    April 19, 2010

    Ol’ Greg: try EMDR for the PTSD.

    Believe me, I know.

  510. #510 Citizen of the Cosmos
    April 19, 2010

    I would think it starts to get interesting when the brain starts to develop, so I think 12 weeks, as is the law where I live, reasonable.

  511. #511 Jadehawk, OM
    April 19, 2010

    I find the idea that we can’t overcome our own biology because of our consciences rather… dehumanising.

    so does the RCC, and the celibacy thing is working just splendidly for them, don’t you think?

    it’s a naive thing to say we can “overcome” our biology; we’re not gods, we’re animals. we can adjust and tweak and tame it, but we cannot overcome it. if we could, there could be no fat people either.

    like I said: really fucking sick of this American and libertarian obsession with reducing everything to personal responsibility

  512. #512 makyui
    April 19, 2010

    I find the idea that we can’t overcome our own biology because of our consciences rather… dehumanising.

    Why should we have to “overcome our own biology” in this case? Why are we less of a human if we choose not to?

    What’s wrong with having sex for the fun of it?

  513. #513 Jadehawk, OM
    April 19, 2010

    also, I love how claiming that we should stop fucking to satisfy other people’s consciences is suddenly a valid argument, just because it’s not framed in terms of god, sin and purity. it’s still the same argument.

    did you even read the posts by those who said they’d rather their ancestors had aborted? did you consider the fear and love- and joylessness in which women would live their lives if abortion weren’t an option? that’s the reality of what you’re advocating: misery for the living, because death makes you squeamish.

  514. #514 Al B. Quirky
    April 19, 2010

    If its got a beating heart and a mother, its a life. If its human and you kill it, that’s murder (IMHO). Religion’s got nothing to do with it, its just common sense.

  515. #515 makyui
    April 19, 2010

    “…its just common sense.”

    Too bad common sense was never a good barometer for moral codes.

  516. #516 aratina cage
    April 19, 2010

    I find the idea that we can’t overcome our own biology because of our consciences rather… dehumanising.
    -skatje.myers

    Could you elaborate? I don’t follow exactly what you are getting at by that, especially with how it would apply to reproduction. Do you mean something like asceticism? Like something Gandhi would have done?

  517. #517 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    Ol’Greg:

    It’s painful to people like me who wonder some times if they will ever be real people. I’m not some outlier you can smooth out. If you add up the abnormalities I’m very certain they will outnumber the norm and you’ll see that your perfect curve is basically artistically selected to find only the points that manage some semblance of a curve.

    ^This brought me back to the discussion. For what it’s worth, I know exactly what you mean and how you feel. I have never considered myself a ‘person’. I will never know who I might have been if I have been born to someone who wanted me. I will never know who I might have been had I not felt completely shattered at a young age by verbal, mental, physical and sexual abuse.

    The things I went through, I wouldn’t wish on anyone. If my mother had not feared dying from a back alley abortion, a whole lot of lives would have been better. My mother’s life would have been better, so would all the relatives lives who I was dumped on (and bounced back and forth between, when my mother wasn’t busy ripping me away). I certainly wouldn’t have suffered; nor would I end up having to spend the bulk of my 52 years in an attempt to be a somewhat normal person.

    It’s exhausting enough to live such a life; it’s worse when you have judgmental idiots jump on you because you understand it isn’t right, or moral, if you wish, to value an embryo’s life over that of an adult woman, nor is it right to question why an adult woman might want an abortion.

  518. #518 JustALurker
    April 19, 2010

    Hello all. As the name says, I am a lurker, have been for about a year now. On this issue I feel I have to throw my two cents in. I’m glad PZ’s daughter had the advantages that she did but feel very sorry that she doesn’t see the illogical and sexist argument she is making.
    First of all, I am the demographic at the heart of the issue. I became pregnant at 16, my father was an abusive alcoholic and had left 2 years earlier, my mother was a pot head turner crackhead and I was in an abusive relationship. I was on birth control and we did use condoms. After the cycle of abuse had been gone through several times and he thoroughly had his clutches in me (which admittedly wasn’t hard, I was a fucked up kid) he pulled the whole ?you’re on birth control, you’re cheating on me and using BC to cover it up?. Well, like I said I was young, stupid and ?in love?. I fell for it and we started having unprotected sex. Not a big surprise that I got pregnant soon after, but I was admittedly shocked. I didn’t think it would happen to me. I wasn’t thinking coherently or logically at the time. I looked into all of my options including abortion, but my abuser at the time made it clear I was having the baby or else.
    Abortion was too expensive and the people I met with made it hassle with guilt trips, God talk and other such nonsense. Personally, adoption wasn’t an option either since I didn’t think I could willingly give up my child after pregnancy and birth. (Did I mention said abuser told it me that wasn’t a choice either?). Well, I got kicked out on the streets once the pregnancy became known to my mother and then went bouncing from shelter to shelter. I soon got my senses, left my abuser (had him arrested and everything but in this state nothing happened, again no surprise), got an education, and got my life together. I am now in my own apartment, two associates degrees and am taking classes while I wait for a seat in a Nursing BA program. I do plan to get my master’s degree to become a Physician’s Assistant. This productive member of society is here, proud and loud because of welfare programs and shelters. It pisses me off to hear people spout off about things they have no clue about.
    I know how much shelters suck (some are hardly better than the streets), I know how much welfare helps, I know how difficult the DECISION is whether or not to keep a fetus. Let me tell you, I may not think I could ever get an abortion, but it is completely different problem in reality than if you think about it is abstractly. There are a million factors and there are plenty of women who say they wouldn’t get one, until a situation arose to where they DECIDED too. Thankfully, I got my act together because I didn’t want my child to grow up in my situation. I became a logical, determined and educated individual. However, I have known lots of women in my situation who did not and their children are suffering because of it. It becomes a cycle.
    While no one has the right to force them to have an abortion, since it is their bodies, we can only offer help to those accept it and rescue the kids and arrest the parents when it turns criminal. I am vehemently pro-choice and am appalled at those who would dictate how others make such life changing decisions about their bodies, their minds, and their lives. All the logical arguments have been made on this thread for pro-choice and I wholeheartedly agree with them, like the fact that the embryo or fetuses isn’t a person and doesn’t have rights. I’m just not going to try to say it better, since all of you guys here, PZ especially, have said it so well. ( I also have to add how sad it is that I had to go to college to actually be educated and make an informed decision on this and other important issues )
    Skatje, I respect your right to your own opinions and to make the decisions about your body. However, it has been pointed out to you how illogical your argument is. While you may feel that you can make a better decision whether or not I should or should not have had an abortion, I can assure you that you cannot. I may have been an educated, poor, homeless kid, who was shaped and molded by coercion and abuse, but I am still the only one who could have made the decision because I am the one who has to live with it and through it.
    While I do credit my pregnancy with waking me up, since that I didn’t want my child to go through the same crap I did, not everyone will have the same positive outcome as I. I do not regret keeping my child because I made the decision (despite my circumstances if I really wanted an abortion I would have done it illegally and probably died) and I take care of my child damn well, thank you very much. While you may think you know whats best for me and my child you certainly do not. You don’t know whats best for anybody else on this issue.
    On a related note, my mother didn’t want me at all. She was looking into an abortion but because of her circumstances she kept me so she could have a place to live, food to eat, etc. It sucks knowing that she had to keep me for her own self preservation. Though it does helped explain a lot of why she was such a horrible parent. I feel much better knowing that I can tell my child, while you were not planned to be conceived, when you were I decided to keep you. I fought for you and provided the best I could for you. Now when you grow up you can make the same decision about your life and your body and you and any children of yours will be better off because of it. As another commenter said, I wouldn’t have minded if my mother aborted me but with the current circumstances I am glad I am here.
    I’m sorry if this post is long and too much information but I wanted to share since I am a demographic often quoted and a prime example of why abortion should be legal, why BC, morning after pill, and sex education is important, and why it is important for us to have welfare, shelters and other aides.

    P.S It is also late here and I am tired ( I have a full schedule with 40 hour work weeks, part time school, a soon to be three year old running around and everything else to boot) so if there are grammar mistakes please forgive and If I don’t make sense feel free to ask questions, I will try again to clarify. I apologize if I muddled my attempt at adding to the discussion. Admittedly, I sit back and learn a lot from this site, googling where needed and have always been to afraid to post because I didn’t want to make an ass out of myself in front of people I respect and on a blog I love. I also usually don’t have anything useful to add to the mix.

  519. #519 badgersdaughter
    April 19, 2010

    …isn’t it a reasonable moral imperative to terminate a pregnancy as quickly as humanly possible after the decision to terminate has been reached?

    You know, that initially appealed to me purely as an alternate way of thinking about abortion law. What if “as soon as possible” was written into law instead of a certain defined date before which abortion was legally permissible and after which abortion was legally impermissible? We currently do have laws on the books with “as soon as possible” language in them.

    After I thought about it some more, though, I realized how dangerous this was when applied to abortion. “As soon as possible” is a very difficult call, legally. It requires careful law writing to make at all plausible (what constitutes possibility? when do you determine due diligence has been performed? what about mitigating circumstances?). It requires a painstakingly built body of case law and precedent that can be relied upon as the basis for an argument as to whether the mother actually did act as soon as possible, or not. And there is no hope that such a law could be applied equally to all groups of pregnant women. The groups that would suffer the most from such a law would be the least privileged, least able to obtain an abortion in the first place, most likely to be thought of as lazy and indolent by prejudiced juries, least able to deal with medical complications from a botched job, and least able to live with the consequences of being denied an abortion or of being punished by fines or imprisonment for having one deemed illegal. Plus, when is “as soon as possible” actually in practice? If an abortion is consistently made impossible to obtain, for whatever reason, for nine months or more, it is de facto eliminated altogether.

    As far as the morality gradient between moment-of-conception and moment-of-birth, it’s an appealing idea, but as we explained in the comments above, the morality lies not in whether the developing fetus gains an increasing foothold in humanity and human rights, but in whether the woman carrying it is to be granted her full entitlement of human rights, or not.

  520. #520 windy
    April 19, 2010

    Ing:

    And again there are parasites that don’t effect reproductive fitness at all. Like…none. The Guinea Worm is selected for irradiation programs specifically because of this.

    This is getting rather far off topic, but… the guinea worm?? Idiotic. You don’t think this has any negative effects on fitness?

    Jadehawk back in @141

    not really. some things procreate by parasitizing other species; some things procreate by parasitizing their own. the method is the same though.

    True, but it’s not really about the method, it’s about the outcome.

    For instance, we say that “the common cuckoo is a brood parasite of songbirds”, even if the cuckoo and the songbird offsping depend on the same method to feed themselves. It would get confusing if we had to say that “songbirds are parasitized by their own young which are sometimes replaced by a different parasite, the cuckoo”

    I can think of a counterexample, that we speak of “parasitic males” although they are necessary for the female’s reproduction. But IMO, that’s more a figurative use of the term parasite, than a rigorous biological definition.

  521. #521 serpdesu
    April 19, 2010

    attacking her age and her upbringing instead of arguments is real compelling

    instant argument, just ad hominem!

  522. #522 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkZ6bud_2OWnH4ya1KYZ-QpvDKkqP4LTac
    April 19, 2010

    Glock @451, my uterus is more my property than any piece of real estate could ever be. If it is not, then we should all go home because that means none of us own our own bodies.

  523. #523 skatje.myers
    April 19, 2010

    Is the emotional distress of a woman who gets pregnant when using birth control, who is the sole support of her family and who cannot afford the loss of hourly work time/pay from, say, prolonged morning sickness, any less mentally distressed than a woman who has been raped?

    This has been addressed, already. And I already acknowledged that the line is blurry, and I’ve never been certain about these things. There may be cases which I find equivalently stressful as rape. I’ve never said this is my only free pass to give, and I’ve never said I knew all the answers.

    I am continually amazed at just how ready people are to jump down my throat on my tentative moral ideas. You would think I had just murdered a few women for enjoying sex too much or something. :/

  524. #524 Jadehawk, OM
    April 19, 2010

    fuck off serpdesu. pointing out privilege is an essential part of these conversations. you can’t have a conversation about realities without pointing out blind-spots, and how they affect the way people form opinions about things.

  525. #525 JustALurker
    April 19, 2010

    @517

    Completely, agree and that is the point I was trying to make with my post. I just added my personal experience in since it was relevant and thought it would help having a living person example of all the statistics and arguments. Again, a regular poster does it better than I ever could. Should’ve figured that =)

  526. #526 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    serpdesu:

    attacking her age and her upbringing instead of arguments is real compelling

    instant argument, just ad hominem!

    No, it is not an ad hominem. Learn the actual definition. Her age and upbringing are factors in her current thinking on the subject, and they are relevant. No one has said “oh well, you’re young therefore you’re stupid and wrong.” That would be ad hominem.

  527. #527 Gingerbaker
    April 19, 2010

    The original organism does get a benefit: reproduction. You can see how the comparison falls flat.

    And if the original organism is not interested in reproducing at the present time, then there is no benefit. Only exploitation.

    As you point out – it depends merely on the state of mind of the female. Her perspective. I can pretty much guarantee that if the female decides her next implanted embryo is a desirable state of affairs, she won’t be going around complaining about the “exploitive” “parasite” in her womb, will she? So we have heard your version of pregnancy, which is completely subjective to the whim of the female at any given moment.

    Here is a perspective for you, as equally overblown as your own: from the embryo’s perspective, he/she/it has been kidnapped and is being held hostage against its will. By a landlord who feels it is her right to kill anyone on her property, even if she is responsible for bringing it into her home.

    Whether it is considered a “living being” is not the point. The question is what that living being is entitled to demand from another living being.

    Well, that cuts both ways, doesn’t it? Generally, in a free society we want to maximize our individual liberty up to the point where we bring injury to others. Killing someone over a property rights issue would be extreme, to say the least, and would land you in prison for a very long time if that someone was only ten seconds old.

    Of course, an embryo is not a person yet. It is, however, a potential person and given some time will, in all likelihood, emerge from its hostage situation as a bouncing baby. An implanted embryo is on an ineluctable arc to personhood, powered by every natural instinct and provision of human evolution. Every day it becomes more like a newborn human than it was the day before. A matter of time.

    How much time are talking about? Nine months is an endless stretch of purgatory to the female who believes she has a (temporary) parasite growing in her, a brief special period of overwhelming actualization to the proudly expectant mother, a vanishingly small slice of geological time. It’s all in the perspective.

    I think it is important to recognize that people of goodwill can have varying perspectives on this issue. Roe v Wade seems a pretty good compromise after all.

  528. #528 makyui
    April 19, 2010

    I am continually amazed at just how ready people are to jump down my throat on my tentative moral ideas.

    Possibly because you implied that other women should be forced to comply to them?

    Having tentative morals are fine (to an extent, I suppose), until we expect other people to follow them.

  529. #529 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    JustALurker:

    @517

    Completely, agree and that is the point I was trying to make with my post. I just added my personal experience in since it was relevant and thought it would help having a living person example of all the statistics and arguments. Again, a regular poster does it better than I ever could. Should’ve figured that =)

    Nonsense. Your post about your particular experience and life is important and it was compelling. Thank you for taking the time. It certainly does help to have an upfront point of view from someone who is considered a vital statistic.

  530. #530 Jadehawk, OM
    April 19, 2010

    You would think I had just murdered a few women for enjoying sex too much or something. :/

    the core and application of your “tentative moral ideas” has done precisely that, and ruined the lives of many others.

    so yeah, you’re going to get people a mite upset when you’re making such claims, especially since you’re not bloody likely to find yourself in any of these shitty situations.

  531. #531 scooterKPFT
    April 19, 2010

    @ 423

    You can’t be serious.

    I could not be more serious, I have posted on this blog almost three years and have yet to get a single rational response to my claim that american nationalist idiocracy is far more stupid, illiterate, drueling knuckle-dragging horseshit than a cave man worshipping cow dung, I am still pondering whether Islamic terrorist fundamentalism is more r54etrograde anti-intellectual.

    But as far as the kill record, there is no competition.

    I’ll be up for another hour if you’d like to give me a try, but if you think that as an American, I consider you one of my tribe, I wear a maple leaf jersey when I leave the country so as not to be confused with the pondscum I have to suffer daily in this thrid rate cesspool of stupidity you idjhits call a democracy.

  532. #532 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkZ6bud_2OWnH4ya1KYZ-QpvDKkqP4LTac
    April 19, 2010

    Gingerbaker @527 “Killing someone over a property rights issue would be extreme” So, if you own property and a person you invite over to dinner brings a friend and the friend plugs in their life support machine, are you compelled to let them live there for 9 mos using your resources against your consent?

  533. #533 badgersdaughter
    April 19, 2010

    Wow, when I travel abroad, I do so quite openly as an employee of an oilfield engineering megacorporation from Texas, and I get no hassle from anyone. Maybe I improve people’s impressions of the breed. ;)

  534. #534 monado
    April 19, 2010

    {{{{{{{Ol’Greg}}}}}}} hugs.

    Bp, there are cases where pregnancy starts but it’s all (or mostly) placental cells. That’s called a molar pregnancy. The mole must be removed by a D&C and then the woman is monitored for a year for recurrences of the mole, which is essentially cancerous–uncontrolled growth in unwanted spots.

  535. #535 mcbender
    April 19, 2010

    I’m a bit of a latecomer to this discussion here, but I’d like to weigh in nonetheless.

    When thinking about abortion issues, there’s a thought experiment I like to bring up. It’s known as the “violinist” case conventionally, but I usually divest it from that qualification because I think it’s needlessly confusing. Here it is (slightly modified by me):

    Mr Smith was at a party, had a bit too much to drink and passed out. When he woke up, he found himself attached to a machine, and a doctor in a white coat explained to him what was going on. The machine was providing life support to a man he did not know, Mr Jones, who had suffered a terrible accident and would not recover for a year. During this year, Smith would need to remain attached to the machine in order to power it (hey, this is science fiction, give me a break here); if at any point he chooses to remove himself, Jones will die. Jones is unconscious and cannot be consulted on the matter; Smith knows nothing whatsoever about who he is or what he will do with his life after (if) he recovers. Is Smith permitted to opt out even though it will kill Jones?

    For what it’s worth, I think he can. I tend to take a Kantian perspective on this, which I think is what most people are unconsciously doing: the problem with forbidding abortion is that it then forces the woman (or Mr Smith in my imaginary case) to be used as an unconsenting means to the end of preserving another’s life (whether a fetus or the imaginary Mr Jones). This is not treating the woman, nor Mr Smith, as a rational being, but merely using them.

    In the case of Smith and Jones I actually find it slightly harder to justify my stance than in the abortion case: Jones has already lived for a while (hence has accumulated experiences and presumably influenced others’ lives) and is a being capable of suffering, while an embryo fails both criteria. A utilitarian approach which concerns itself with minimising suffering ends up coming to a similar conclusion: to forbid abortion is to place the minimal (if any) suffering of an aborted embryo above the (very real and significant) suffering of the woman throughout the pregnancy; the calculation is obvious.

    Whichever approach to morality (“ethics” if you don’t like the word morality) you prefer, it ends up being immoral not to be pro-choice.

    I’ll add one further consideration: the last thing we need in this overpopulated world is more people to consume resources. Encouraging people to be more conscientious about their breeding practices would clearly be beneficial in the long term, and in order to do that it seems to me that the termination of pregnancy must remain an option.

    -M. C. Bender

  536. #536 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    You would think I had just murdered a few women for enjoying sex too much or something. :/

    Are we supposed to feel sorry for you now? Do you remember when you wrote “I’ll teach you how the world works“? The arrogance you have displayed on this thread has been nothing short of stunning.

  537. #537 scooterKPFT
    April 19, 2010

    Ing @ 463

    I’m surprised at a science blog no one caught this bullshit.

    It was brought up multiple times by myself and others at least 100 posts before you mentioned it.

  538. #538 Ibis3
    April 19, 2010

    @skatje I recommend you watch this documentary: When Abortion Was Illegal. This is what happens in real life when access to abortion is cut off. This isn’t a vague, airy ethical question that doesn’t actually matter.

    Fertile women shouldn’t be coerced to give birth just because they’ve chosen to have sex. There is only one contraception that is 100% effective for fertile women, and that is complete abstinence from sex with virile men.

    Moreover, we do not require more human beings on the planet. Our species is not in danger of extinction. We have enough to deal with providing resources to the children who are wanted. Forcing the birth of the unwanted is not good for the planet.

    You are the only one who has the right to decide whether to carry your pregnancy to term. Period. Not the state, not your doctor, not the sperm donor, not a judge, not the police. Not another woman.

    Abortion, both pharmaceutical and medical (depending on what’s possible of course), should be safe, accessible, and affordable/cost-covered, from the beginning of gestation till the end.

    Anything else is giving precedence of something not even an individual over a live, real human being. That is morally unjust.

  539. #539 octopod
    April 19, 2010

    Alright, maybe I misunderstood your “handshake” comment — sorry.

    I’m pretty sure the reason people are jumping down your throat for these “tentative moral ideas” of yours is strictly because you suggested they should be applied to other people, though. It’s sort of like wandering in somewhere saying “I’m vegetarian on ethical grounds — we should legislate it such that everyone else is too!”, except with even more unfortunate implications of sexist enforcement (even if not sexist intent).

  540. #540 mrcreosote
    April 19, 2010

    On a related note

    http://www.abc.net.au/catalyst/stories/2867545.htm

    Stem Cell Ethics

    Couple of quotes – first from the arsehole Catholic ‘ethicist’

    Assoc. Professor Nicholas Tonti-Filippini
    ‘The Church’s view is that the embryos be taken out of storage and allowed to succumb.’[i.e. not be used for stem cell research]

    but then, the winner for me is

    Carrie Beetham
    ‘When I die or when I get to heaven or wherever, I?ll be asking why didn?t you send us a cure? And maybe the reply would be well “we did…”‘

  541. #541 mr.obelus
    April 19, 2010

    I’m pretty much down the line in agreement with just about everything that is posted here.

    But I just can’t go here with P.Z. on abortion:

    “Don’t even ask me when ? I’m a guy.”

    Well, now, that doesn’t make the line so gray and fuzzy, does it? Just gotta be a woman, right?

  542. #542 Gingerbaker
    April 19, 2010

    “Gingerbaker @527 “Killing someone over a property rights issue would be extreme” So, if you own property and a person you invite over to dinner brings a friend and the friend plugs in their life support machine, are you compelled to let them live there for 9 mos using your resources against your consent?”

    No. Do you think you should be allowed to shoot him in the head?

    What I meant to convey is that this parasite analogy sucks. One woman’s “parasite” (and I believe that Sven DeMilo did a damn good job of dismantling that “parasite” analogy) is another woman’s reason for being. Even the same woman on a different day.

    At some point along that “ineluctable arc” a blob of cells turns into a human being. Many people think it is morally reprehensible to kill innocent human beings. So, at some point ethics compels most of us to recognize the interest of the fetus. And Roe v Wade, it seems to me, does a pretty good job of balancing the interests of the woman as well as the fetus.

  543. #543 scooterKPFT
    April 19, 2010

    badgersdaughter @ 533

    Wow, when I travel abroad, I do so quite openly as an employee of an oilfield engineering megacorporation from Texas, and I get no hassle from anyone.

    Depends on where you are traveling, I’m sure they love you in the fascist dictatorships and kingdoms, but I wouldn’t wear a Chevron T-shirt in Nigeria, outside of air conditioned towers.

    South and Central Americans tend to get a bit dodgy if you brag about your pathetic little pit of North American greed since we ran out of Indians to murder here, and have moved into their neighborhoods and are scraping them off the surface so as to access the minerals beneath.

    I used to be a tool of evil Texas oil fucks, which I considered a step down the moral chain from biker drug gangster, but I managed to find a real job. The pay sucks but at least I can look my children in the eye. Good luck with your mega oil texas money fuck. May your houses be large, your school districts white, and your Pharyngula posts cheerful, positive and properly toned.

  544. #544 skatje.myers
    April 19, 2010

    Soooo many anecdotal sob stories.

    As an aside to people who keep referring to me as a spoiled little privileged white girl, fuck off. To the people who keep saying “How did godless, educated parenting go so wrong?”, fuck off as well.

    I’ve had good luck in some ways, shitty luck in others. Overall, I’m much better off than most people, but that doesn’t mean I lack empathy and live in a fantasy world where everything is just peachy. Get off your my-life-was-harder-than-yours high horse.

    I still find this slut-shaming thing to be absurd. If we were seahorses, I guess I would be a player-shamer. And man, all those libertarians are racists. Their policies hit minorities pretty hard. I mean, intent irrelevant, it’s only effect that matters, right?

    There are cases of abuse, rape, extenuating circumstances, etc., where I feel like, when weighing things against each other, I would side with the mother. I don’t pretend this is as clear-cut as the pro-lifers you’re used to arguing with say it is. So if you would kindly stop acting like I’ve made some definitive proclamation, I would appreciate it.

    You’re crying and condemning me for actions I have not committed. If I knew that discussing with Pharyngulites recently developed moral ideas that I wish to become more certain on would result in accusations of hating women and people actually crying, I wouldn’t have bothered. :/

    Do you remember when you wrote “I’ll teach you how the world works”? The arrogance you have displayed on this thread has been nothing short of stunning.

    No, actually. What are you talking about?

    P.S. I think I lost my patience and coherence somewhere after midnight. And congealed confusing, broken thought processes into a single comment. Meh. Whatever.

  545. #545 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    mr.obelus:

    But I just can’t go here with P.Z. on abortion:

    “Don’t even ask me when ? I’m a guy.”

    Well, now, that doesn’t make the line so gray and fuzzy, does it? Just gotta be a woman, right?

    What’s your point? As it’s a woman who becomes pregnant and must make the decision to carry to term and birth, and if she decides to birth, to then support that child, so, yes, it’s “gotta” be a woman.

  546. #546 somewhereingreece
    April 19, 2010

    I think I should have a reward for going through about 470 comments in one go.

    To Skatje Myers

    What I am about to tell you is what I would say even if you weren’t a kid who can’t even drink legally and PZ Myers’ daughter.

    Just by thinking about typing “YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.” you instantly became the most smackable person in the blog and, considering the nature of this blog, that says something.

    You have had the luck to have a very sheltered life with doting and loving parents in a social milieu that gives you unlimited access to health information and services. You don’t know of the statistics that demonstrate the massacre that is caused by unwanted fertility in places where abortion is illegal. And you have the unmitigated gall to make sweeping statements such as THAT? Nothing you say or do after typing this will ever help you live this down.

    Be very very glad you are not *my* daughter. I would have kicked you out of the house and send you off to work with Caine, Fleur du Mal/women’s shelters/NICUs and paediatric wards that deal with abused children/orphanages and not let you back in the house until you were in the same time-space continuum as the rest of the planet.

  547. #547 Jadehawk, OM
    April 19, 2010

    And man, all those libertarians are racists. Their policies hit minorities pretty hard. I mean, intent irrelevant, it’s only effect that matters, right?

    yes. I actually already said that. Do you really think this is some absurd over the top statement?

    or, let me put it this way: if someone grew up in a racist culture, and was therefore unconsciously often racist, but he supported policies which didn’t affect minorities more than the majority, would his policies be more racist than that of a man who didn’t have any racial prejudice, but whose policies disadvantaged minorities?

  548. #548 skeptifem
    April 19, 2010

    skatje-
    ” I also advocate a cultural shift that places more value on life and less on instant gratification, but I’m just an idealist hippy.”

    Do you mean values the quantity of life, or quality of life? Unwanted children do not generally experience the same quality of life as those of us who were wanted. Being born as a punishment for your mom is damaging to children. Those kids who have been hurt psychologically by this situation, and are likely to be less economically privileged as well, live in the same society as you and I. We all affect each other, and I suspect that unwanted kids being born would ruin society for the wanted kids, too. I just could not expect any other result, the work of mothers and parents and other caring adults is the glue that holds society together and is taken for granted. What happens to children who do not get cared for isn’t mysterious and it makes for an extremely unpleasant reality for the rest of us. Poverty, violence, mental illness, etc all affect us collectively. Kids do not ask to be born and suffer real consequences when they are born unwanted. I cannot stress this enough; worrying about who is ‘at fault’ for a thinking feeling human being is a terrible thing to concern yourself with. Imagine being born a punishment- imagine your very being here as a punishment for someone else. The guilt involved for existing would be crushing to an adult, but we are talking about children feeling this. Imagine how human and unsaintly parents are, and how they would treat the punishment-human compared to someone they want around. It is cruel to want people to be born into the world for your personal satisfaction when they will just be hurt for being born. The alternative- not existing, and improving the circumstances for the rest of us, seems completely fine as an alternative. I cannot figure out why the pain involved with unwanted kids being born is preferable at all. If you are wishing for people to always want their kids then yes, that is idealism in the extreme, and should be abandoned because of how unlikely/immoral that aspiration would be.

    My life experiences are influencing my opinion, and I want to talk about why. For one thing, my mom was born unwanted, and actually I suspect none of the kids in her family were wanted. Their mom did not have birth control or abortion as options as the time, and was socially expected to marry. Her oldest kid raised all the other kids (poorly, she beat them quite often with things like high heeled shoes), and when the catholic nuns would beat my mother there wasn’t anyone around to notice. My mom went into dangerous parts of town and hung out with other kids who had parents who didn’t care about them. She was told that she was stupid for her entire childhood, and believed it until she got up the courage to try college (in her 30’s). There are a million other things I could mention, but how awful it was isn’t exactly the point.
    She normalized all of this and did not figure out how abusive it was until she had us. This made her severely depressed (understandably), which I in turn had to deal with as a kid. The problems that come from stuff like this do not just end abruptly or follow any defined course, it can proceed on for generations.

    So I know, *yawn* she didn’t have the option for birth control, but it is still very relevant. Choosing to have unwanted kids isn’t any less horrible than being forced to, if you are looking at it from the child’s point of view.

  549. #549 skatje.myers
    April 19, 2010

    Just by thinking about typing “YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.” you instantly became the most smackable person in the blog and, considering the nature of this blog, that says something.

    Poor phrasing on my part, admittedly, but I feel I adequately explained my position afterwards. “Fault” has more negative connotations than I intended for it.

    “You have had the luck to have a very sheltered life with doting and loving parents in a social milieu that gives you unlimited access to health information and services.”

    Yeah, like I said earlier, fuck off. What the fuck do you know about my parents? I swear… goddamn, I’m out of patience for this bullshit. Stop presuming you know everything about my life.

  550. #550 mcbender
    April 19, 2010

    Skatje:

    Please consider the thought-experiment I outlined above; divest the scenario from any feelings about sex or “going into things with knowledge of the possible consequences”. Make it a completely capricious occurrence and a man connected to a life-support machine and then tell me where you stand.

    That ought to put this slut-shaming business to rest (which, incidentally, you did do but it’s easy to do accidentally), along with all of the other confounding factors that are confusing things here. Let’s ignore who your parents are, where any of us grew up, who we are, our personal histories, all of these irrelevancies… let’s even ignore the fact that it’s fetuses.

    Let’s get the core issue out in the open: do you think a person can be used merely as a means to another’s life? Can I force you to give me a kidney if I’ll going to die otherwise? Can Mr Smith be connected to a life-support machine without his knowledge or consent, then forced to remain connected for a year (at significant inconvenience to himself) without any say in the matter?

    It’s all the same issue. It’s exactly the same. Casting the debate as only being about abortion specifically seems to me to confuse things unnecessarily; it’s about using people for others’ benefit without their consent. It doesn’t really matter whether the party benefitting is a blastocyst, a fetus, or even a full-fledged human being.

  551. #551 BdN
    April 19, 2010

    It’s all the same issue. It’s exactly the same. Casting the debate as only being about abortion specifically seems to me to confuse things unnecessarily

    Not that it is my opinion (I think the opposite), but someone could point that the difference lies in the fact that you did do something that caused, at least in part, what happens next in one case and not in the other. The hooked up man should’ve done something prior to the abduction for the analogy to really work.

  552. #552 Jadehawk, OM
    April 19, 2010

    If I knew that discussing with Pharyngulites recently developed moral ideas that I wish to become more certain on would result in accusations of hating women and people actually crying, I wouldn’t have bothered. :/

    um. yeah. people tend to dislike others theorizing about them possibly losing their ability to control their own bodies. And since you’ve admitted you wouldn’t stand in the way of those wanting to take this control away from them, and agree that fucking means consenting to pregnancy, people take this theorizing seriously.

  553. #553 skatje.myers
    April 19, 2010

    mcbender:

    He should be able to opt-out.

    This isn’t relevant to abortion, though. Jones is completely irrelevant to Mr Smith. In the case of pregnancy, the “other” life, the fetus, was not just some random happenstance that wants to use the mother. It is a direct result of the mother’s action.

    Maybe… more equivalently… let’s try a different analogy. It’s completely absurd, because I’m tired and can’t be bothered to think of realistic things, but it’s useful anyway. Let’s say Mr Smith played a game of chance. Push a button, and you could either win a million dollars or Jones here is going to lose a liver. If Smith chooses to take this gamble, and it ends up with Jones losing his liver, I honestly feel that *morally* (we’ll keep legality aside here for the time being, for simplicity), Smith should give Jones his liver. As his predicament is a direct consequence of his actions, he should bear responsibility.

    I’m really tired. I hope I’m making a sense. ;__;

  554. #554 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    mcbender:

    Please consider the thought-experiment I outlined above; divest the scenario from any feelings about sex or “going into things with knowledge of the possible consequences”.

    How about you read the whole frigging thread? Your scenario has been brought up countless times, hundreds of posts ago.

    Let’s ignore who your parents are, where any of us grew up, who we are, our personal histories, all of these irrelevancies…

    Let’s not, because those things are not irrelevancies. You are missing the point by miles on end.

  555. #555 Jadehawk, OM
    April 19, 2010

    except that Jones didn’t agree to lose his liver, just like a person walking down the street doesn’t agree to being run over by a drunk driver.

  556. #556 BdN
    April 19, 2010

    just like a person walking down the street doesn’t agree to being run over by a drunk driver.

    That’s exactly what comes to mind when people say that a girl dressing sexy has it coming if she gets harassed or raped.

  557. #557 skatje.myers
    April 19, 2010

    Does how I was raised, my age, etc., effect my thinking?

    Yes.

    Am I so stupid as to be unable to think outside that, to put myself in other people’s shoes?

    No.

    Now shut up. :|

  558. #558 Walton
    April 19, 2010

    There is a difference between believing that people should be free to do X, and believing that X is morally acceptable.

    In practice there is, but there shouldn’t be. Morality isn’t just personal preference. Morality is a set of prescriptions or proscriptions on behavior, and it is illogical to be believe that people should not do X (immoral), but should be free to do X.

    So you think it isn’t immoral for Fred Phelps to protest at funerals and rant about the evils of homosexuality? Or do you think he should be banned from doing so?

    The reason that there are circumstances in which people should not do X, but should be free to do X, is because we recognise the need for limitations on state power. There are a whole range of decisions which government cannot be trusted to make, because it leads to authoritarianism and the corruption of power, and makes individuals slaves of the state. One of these is the political, religious and other opiions which a person holds. Another of these is what decisions a woman makes about her body. In both cases, government should not be permitted to make those decisions, because this gives government far too much power over our lives. That’s the whole point of individual liberties.

    By saying that there is no difference between “people should not do X” and “people should not be free to do X”, you’re saying that you trust government absolutely to make moral decisions about our lives, and that the whole concept of individual liberty is meaningless to you.

  559. #559 scooterKPFT
    April 19, 2010

    Skatje:

    to people who keep referring to me as a spoiled little privileged white girl, fuck off.

    Being priveleged, as far as not being poor, or white, over which you have no control, are extremely relevant. Spoiled and little and girl (you are a woman) are the derogatory terms.

    I’m not even a Marxist but your class is more important than your ethnicity, your color, your gender, or which state you were born in as far as your options, which dictate the baseline from which you launch your morality.

    That is the essence of the moral strategy.

    I would never murder you, a woman and daughter of a friend, unless it was an apocalypse, and you were the only meat left to feed my children.

    I’m sure PZ would do the same for you.

    Your options and situation will hopefully always influence your morality, and at this point in your life, the morality that defines your expressed points of view is an affordable strategy.

    There is nothing spoiled or brattish about it, it just is.

  560. #560 skatje.myers
    April 19, 2010

    except that Jones didn’t agree to lose his liver

    Let’s substitutes the intended entities in the analogies now.

    “except that the fetus didn’t agree to be dependent”

    Wait, how is this supposed to be in your favour?

  561. #561 Gingerbaker
    April 19, 2010

    “That ought to put this slut-shaming business to rest (which, incidentally, you did do but it’s easy to do accidentally), along with all of the other confounding factors that are confusing things here.”

    I didn’t see it that way at all. Skatje made that statement in response to one (of the many) defective premises of the parasite analogy, which presented the impregnated female as being invaded out of the blue. She rightfully pointed out that the female was not invaded but was herself responsible for the placement of the “parasite”.

    Some people responded with a knee jerk accusation of slut-shaming, which, IMO, totally missed the mark. I don’t recall that Skatje ever made an argument that a female’s lack of morals deserved punishment.

  562. #562 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    If I knew that discussing with Pharyngulites recently developed moral ideas that I wish to become more certain on would result in accusations of hating women and people actually crying, I wouldn’t have bothered. :/

    So, are you more upset about the accusations or people crying? For what it’s worth, I didn’t cry, you’ve simply pissed me off no end. You’re coming across as being put upon unnecessarily, and people should have been supportive and nurturing of your recently developed moral ideas.

    What happened is people took issue with your ideas, and you got a lot of real world experience right back atcha. You came across as an arrogant know-it-all, who was capable of deciding what was right for all women in all situations. This happens when you decide to test out new ideas to a large group of diverse people. That’s part of life experience. Happens to us all. In the end, it’s generally a positive thing, because it presents different points of view and gives a lot of food for thought. Do with it what you will, ignore it, think about it, whatever. All I ask is that you don’t presume to know me (or anyone else) with such certainty of moral certitude that you can claim what is right for all women.

  563. #563 J. Goard
    April 19, 2010

    That’s because there is no sharp magical border, it’s grey and fuzzy all the way.

    This is clearly true, and a very important point to make.

    That’s a social and personal decision. Don’t even ask me when ? I’m a guy. I don’t have the same responsibilities as a pregnant woman, so I don’t get the same privileges.

    This is a bullshit cop-out. As a participant in civil society, you have a say in deciding what people can do to an 8-month-old fetus or a 1-day-old neonate. If you decide that the choice to kill the former is a fundamentally protected right, while a choice to kill the latter is first-degree murder, then you ought to give reasons.

    I don’t say for a moment that decent reasons don’t exist, or that PZ doesn’t have them. The bulk of the post is excellent. We absolutely have to consider developmental details and counter deceptive propaganda from people who believe in ensoulment. But if we conclude that late-term fetuses are a lot more like neonates than they are like embryos, then dumping off the ethical reasoning on “the woman’s decision” is a default on our social responsibility.

    Now, in today’s political climate, this kind of argument should not be made without pointing out how very few abortions are late-term, probably less than 1,000 per year in the US after viability, and most of these because of medical risk. Still, I think there is a good moral case for legally discouraging late-term abortions while strongly protecting early abortions, especially if public information underscores early abortion as a responsible act for women who are likely to become unsure later.

  564. #564 Jadehawk, OM
    April 19, 2010

    Am I so stupid as to be unable to think outside that, to put myself in other people’s shoes?

    oh yeah. you’re extra-special-super-woman who, unlike virtually everybody else in the world, can overcome her privilege bias just by the awesome power of her smarts[/sarcasm]

  565. #565 windy
    April 19, 2010

    I find the idea that we can’t overcome our own biology because of our consciences rather… dehumanising.

    Couldn’t this be turned around and applied to your own argument? We can overcome our own biology by interrupting a pregnancy, but you are arguing that we should follow the “rules” imposed by… biology.

    If I knew that discussing with Pharyngulites recently developed moral ideas that I wish to become more certain on would result in accusations of hating women and people actually crying, I wouldn’t have bothered. :/

    Don’t take it personally, some of your moral ideas have gotten a much better reception here :)

  566. #566 JustALurker
    April 19, 2010

    @544

    First off, I wasn’t on a my life was harder than yours high horse. It wasn’t meant to be a sob story for you to snide at. I was trying to add to a living discussion about something I have personally gone though. If you cannot see the value that is your own loss. A discussion about x is happening, I offered my personal anecdotal knowledge of x. period. I am not saying my life is harder than anybody’s. I do not know you personally or your childhood or anything you have gone though. I am not passing judgment and wouldn’t even if I knew you personally. Everybody goes though different things. There are plenty of people that have gone though painful but different things than me and people that I know have gone though worse. I was not trying for pity or sympathy. I’m a demographic and statistic because of my sad life but do not imply or stuff words in my mouth about it. My tone was not oh woes is me, or you’re so sheltered in your fantasy world. Nor did I say or mean it. I said ?if I was in situation x I would do y? but due to my personal experience I sincerely do not believe you can REALLY know what you are going to do until you are in situation x, which in this case was unplanned pregnancy.

    Yes, I said glad I am you had a better, stable environment (meaning no drug abusing parents, poverty, lack of health care, etc.) from what I know. I didn’t say you were sheltered or happy or shit didn’t happen, that is two different things. Yes, I said it was sad you didn’t see your illogical sexist argument for what it is, but I say that for every person who holds your same views. Its especially sad because you were indoctrinated in your childhood or anything else. You were left to make up your own mind, with every advantage available as you pointed out and still reached the same fucked up conclusion. Let me clarify, I mean your views are fucked up in my opinion ( no, that’s not ad hominem) since you want to control my body and my life.

    You have said several times that you don’t have all the answers and that’s why you are not willing to vote either way on the issue. You can’t claim the right to make the decision for others (has you have in previous posts) then claim you don’t know what to do. If you don’t have the answers, don’t get all pissy when people ask you questions can all you on your statements. If this is tentative for you and you are still making up your mind, I suggest looking at ALL the evidence and then making your claims. Instead of doing it half cocked. I also suggest not making such decisions on a gut feeling either. Just because you feel* its not right for you doesn’t mean it isn’t okay for someone else., just because you feel* the fetus has more value. Try hitting us with a logical and reasonable reason why fetuses have more rights then women, why women should be shackled with the burden of childbearing when there isn’t a necessity to, why should others decide my reproductive life? Oh, wait there isn’t.

    * to have a general or thorough conviction of; think; believe; but in this instance provide no logical argument, evidence or otherwise thought provoking reason to believe said feeling.

  567. #567 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    Gingerbaker:

    I don’t recall that Skatje ever made an argument that a female’s lack of morals deserved punishment.

    skatje.myers: The fetus isn’t some parasite that just popped up there. YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.

    Oh? What exactly do you call that? Try reading the whole fucking thread.

  568. #568 danielm
    April 19, 2010

    Dear Skatje, I’m glad you are proving that atheists are quite capable of bringing up children who don’t simply tow the party line when it comes to moral and ethical decisions, but I have to say I am saddened that you choose the side which thinks slavery is okay.

    Understand this, that when you put the “rights” of a bundle of cells above the rights of a fully-formed, independant, thinking and feeling human being, you are advocating slavery.

    You state that you wouldn’t have an abortion, but that you wouldn’t fight laws that would remove the possibility for others (and yourself) – and at the same time state you wouldn’t “interfere” with the existence of another fetus. Sorry to say, but your amicable inaction is interference, leading to consequences of the worst kind.

    Gedanken experiment here – you did nothing, the anti-abortion laws came into effect, you get raped. Would you bring up that child? Seriously? Many people would say yes.

    Would you protest the choice, the ability to choose, the law that allows choice, or the decision? Would you take away that choice? Because that is the question here – not your choice, but the availability of that choice.

    Now, imagine you’re pregnant, but there’s something wrong. The anti-abortion law is in effect, and you’re going to die if you don’t break it.

    You may think this is a game (and it is, of a sort), but it’s a very real problem.

  569. #569 Jadehawk, OM
    April 19, 2010

    “except that the fetus didn’t agree to be dependent”

    then the fetus can move out and get a job.

  570. #570 Gingerbaker
    April 19, 2010

    “You came across as an arrogant know-it-all, who was capable of deciding what was right for all women in all situations.”

    How exactly did she do that? By saying she might not vote if anti-abortion legislation was introduced?

  571. #571 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    JustALurker @ 566:

    My tone was not oh woes is me

    It sure as hell wasn’t. Excellent post, by the way. There’s a distinct lack of empathy happening, when your explanation of your circumstances is taken so wrongly.

  572. #572 Gingerbaker
    April 19, 2010

    Gingerbaker:

    I don’t recall that Skatje ever made an argument that a female’s lack of morals deserved punishment.

    skatje.myers: The fetus isn’t some parasite that just popped up there. YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.

    Oh? What exactly do you call that? Try reading the whole fucking thread.

    Try reading my post that you just cut and pasted.

  573. #573 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    Gingerbaker:

    How exactly did she do that? By saying she might not vote if anti-abortion legislation was introduced?

    First, see post #567. Didn’t bother to answer that, I see. Then, read the whole fucking thread.

  574. #574 Morgan
    April 19, 2010

    I’d just like to weigh in that scooterKPFT is *hilarious*. Generalizations for all, and to all a good night!

    Thank you.

  575. #575 WowbaggerOM
    April 19, 2010

    skatje.myers wrote:

    What the fuck do you know about my parents?

    What an odd thing to say; I’m going to put it down to your tiredness.

    Because I believe that, since the blog we’re on belongs to your father, and he talks about himself quite a lot and your mother from time to time, it’s entirely accurate to say that we – the regulars at least – know about a metric fuck-ton more about your parents compared to what you know about any of us.

    I’ve also met the man, and spent a few hours in his company; from that I can tell he’s a genuinely nice guy – or a very, very good actor.

    So, with that in mind, we know he’s not going to disown you, kick you out on the street to fend for yourself, beat the shit out of you or some combination of the above if you come home knocked up – can you honestly say you know the same is true of every other woman who gets pregnant?

  576. #576 skatje.myers
    April 19, 2010

    Couldn’t this be turned around and applied to your own argument? We can overcome our own biology by interrupting a pregnancy, but you are arguing that we should follow the “rules” imposed by… biology.

    If you could get around the rule of a female having to carry it in her for nine months, please do.

    But I don’t find giving value to a fetus really a “rule” imposed by biology, that we may overcome. I am not sure you’re making sense here.

    You can’t claim the right to make the decision for others (has you have in previous posts) then claim you don’t know what to do.

    This is by no means inconsistent. If I wish to tell others what to do, I feel it is completely reasonable and appropriate to do so. It’s that I have chosen not to.

    It may have looked confusing for me to argue with people who are saying things akin to “What gives you the right to decide for other people?”, but it was a question asked of me, and I would give the same response (approx.) if someone asked me “What gives you the right to tell other people they can’t murder people?”

    If you don’t have the answers, don’t get all pissy when people ask you questions can all you on your statements.

    I find it not far out of comprehension that I get pissy when people accuse me of being a whiny spoiled brat, who wants to punish people’s mothers. This clearly isn’t me being pissy at questions. This is being pissy at other people’s pissiness. In summary: This is all a great big pissfest.

    If this is tentative for you and you are still making up your mind, I suggest looking at ALL the evidence and then making your claims.

    Probably more applicable to someone who spent all their time as a pro-lifer, as opposed to someone who spent years arguing AGAINST pro-life, then later decided to lean away from their original position.

    What “evidence”, as you call it, I lack is more likely to be found in discussing this with pro-choice people. Or so I had thought.

    Oh? What exactly do you call that?

    I call that “taking some poor phrasing that was later clarified, assuming a few extra propositions, and running with it”.

  577. #577 mcbender
    April 19, 2010

    @Caine (554):

    I have read the entire thread, thank you very much, and similar scenarios have been brought up, yes. My intention was to make the analogue as close as possible but in such a way as to tilt intuitive moral judgments in the opposite direction; if I failed to do that, then yes, I was probably being redundant.

    And I still maintain that personal idiosyncrasies should be irrelevant to what is at least in theory a discussion of objective principles.

    @Skatje (553):

    I don’t think your new analogy works. There is no way to justify Smith’s taking a gamble where the stakes affect somebody else (some other agent who has interests of his own).

    A fetus is not an agent. It simply does not have the capacity that a fully-fledged human does (let’s not get into potential here, the grown human has already realised his/her potential while a fetus has not; there’s no comparison). Nor does the fetus have the capacity for suffering.

    Let’s assume I ignore that and grant you the analogy of sex : gambling with Jones’ liver. It still doesn’t work. Jones exists as an agent prior to any of the gambling occurring, and its affecting an entity which has interests makes that gamble a very different scenario from sex (which has a probability of creating something which might under the proper conditions become an agent).

    -For the time being I’m going to bow out of this discussion, as it seems as though (1) I’m not contributing anything productive and (2) it’s getting late.

  578. #578 Walton
    April 19, 2010

    Absolutely. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. I can (and do) respect someone who finds abortions distressing, and as a result, works hard to make abortions legal, accessible and rare. Ease of access and affordability of birth control, sterilizations and education help to make abortion rare.

    Yes, this is true.

    Making abortion illegal is not an effective way to reduce the number of abortions. It just makes them less safe, and causes more women’s unnecessary deaths. The criminal justice system is a very bad tool for social change: just as bans on alcohol and drugs have always been disastrous failures, and have caused more human suffering while achieving nothing, so too with bans on abortion.

    Rather, the best way to reduce the number of abortions would be to ensure the availability of birth control to everyone, teach more sex education in schools, and provide enough welfare, childcare, health support and so on that no woman would have to worry about being plunged into poverty by giving birth. With this in mind, it’s sad that much of the “pro-life” movement also opposes birth control and sex education, and wants to reduce welfare for single mothers. Indeed, the ideas of religious “pro-lifers” seem carefully formulated to produce the maximum possible human suffering.

  579. #579 JustALurker
    April 19, 2010

    @570

    She did that on several comments –
    @181

    Hello, I’m Skatje. I was raised without religion, by the author of this blog. Personally, I would not have an abortion, unless my life was at stake. I do not find this stance to be inconsistant with my other moral values; in fact, I would say that not holding this stance would prove to be inconsistant. And of course, according to my own values, I believe that other people shouldn’t have abortions either.

    @202

    To clarify, if legislature was proposed to ban abortion, I wouldn’t be opposed it. I’m just not going to start a fight for it.
    And no, there’s no way I could hold the position that it’s not okay for me to have abortions, but it’s okay for other people to. The babies in other people aren’t less privileged than the babies in me. If I believe the one in me should not have anyone intervene in its existence, I believe the ones in other people should not have anyone intervene in their existence. Am I making sense here?

    @232

    It’s not my choice that causes me to think that others shouldn’t abort either. It’s the placing a certain value on fetuses that I do.
    And yes, this does allow me to tell other people what I believe is the right thing for them to do. We all have our own ideas about right and wrong, and we all wish to see the world operate according to our own beliefs.
    @249
    The fetus isn’t some parasite that just popped up there. YOU put it in your body. It is YOUR fault.
    I recognise that pregnancy is a serious thing, full of discomfort and health risk. But I’m going to have to say I would place the right of a fetus to live over your right to ignore the consequences of your actions because they’re too hard.

    @359

    The point I was trying to make somewhere was that I give fetuses some level of value, which is higher than the right to consequence-free sex. This value is not the same as a child. Or an adult. The mother’s life takes precedence over the fetus’ life. But the mother’s comfort (plus degrees of health effects, etc.) after knowingly bringing about a life does not take precedence over the fetus’ life, IMO.
    If you think it’s more important for you to be able to have sex without worries than to allow a fetus to live, then I’m not going to change your mind. You place your values there, I place my values here. Why I do is a bit longer than I can post in a comment thread on Pharyngula, while I’m at work and procrastinating writing my senior seminar paper. I might get around to it on my own site someday, but not right this second.

    @553

    Maybe… more equivalently… let’s try a different analogy. It’s completely absurd, because I’m tired and can’t be bothered to think of realistic things, but it’s useful anyway. Let’s say Mr Smith played a game of chance. Push a button, and you could either win a million dollars or Jones here is going to lose a liver. If Smith chooses to take this gamble, and it ends up with Jones losing his liver, I honestly feel that *morally* (we’ll keep legality aside here for the time being, for simplicity), Smith should give Jones his liver. As his predicament is a direct consequence of his actions, he should bear responsibility.

    There’s more but read the whole thread if you want more evidence.

  580. #580 WowbaggerOM
    April 19, 2010

    Walton wrote:

    With this in mind, it’s sad that much of the “pro-life” movement also opposes birth control and sex education, and wants to reduce welfare for single mothers.

    ‘Sad’ isn’t strong enough to truly reflect ‘pro-life’ attitude; I’d substitute ‘pathetic’, ‘hateful’ or ‘monstrously shit-headed’ instead.

  581. #581 scooterKPFT
    April 19, 2010

    I call that “taking some poor phrasing that was later clarified, assuming a few extra propositions, and running with it”.

    Note to PZ,
    she’s definitely yours

  582. #582 Jadehawk, OM
    April 19, 2010

    in theory a discussion of objective principles.

    well, it really isn’t. it’s a question of real-life policies regarding real-life situations that happen to real-life people.

    Because in principle, we all want pregnancy only to happen when it’s wanted, and no such a pregnancy ending in abortion. Until the invention of the 100% safe contraception that doesn’t require the sexual version of anorexia nervosa and a shitload of luck, this principle is another meaningless red herring.

  583. #583 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    Gingerbaker:

    Try reading my post that you just cut and pasted.

    I did. And that’s called quoting, you know, like you just did with my post?

    Gingerbaker:

    She rightfully pointed out that the female was not invaded but was herself responsible for the placement of the “parasite”.

    Rightfully, eh? As it has been said, women do not have a “consciously impregnate” button. Pregnancy is sometimes a consequence of having sex, however, unless one is actively trying to get pregnant, it’s an unintended consequence. It can, and often does, happen even when multiple forms of birth control are being used. In such a case, a woman most definitely did not want to get pregnant.

    Skatje’s argument was not one of biological accuracy. It was one of blame, which she elaborated on. She made the point that if a woman does not wish to get pregnant, she shouldn’t have sex, as she is aware that no birth control is 100% effective. This is blaming the woman for having sex in the first place.

    This has all been argued, in depth. Read the whole thread. If you have nothing more than Skatje’s lame arguments, go away. If you feel you can present her same arguments so they will actually make sense in the real world, go for it.

  584. #584 Gingerbaker
    April 19, 2010

    “There’s more but read the whole thread if you want more evidence. “

    I have read the whole thread. And the quotes you have provided ( thanks for the effort that took, btw) don’t look to me like Skatje was:

    “…an arrogant know-it-all, who was capable of deciding what was right for all women in all situations.”

    That seems to imply that Skatje would vote for legislation to severely restrict, if not outlaw abortion. As far as I can see, she has not gone that far. She has said she might not “stand in its way” which is not the same thing.

    Her other statements basically say that she feels she has the right to her opinion, and to voice that opinion. This does not, it seems to me, to deserve the hyperbole being thrown at her, although I must say that people seem to be talking past each other in this thread – not picking up on each other’s points, and then misreading intent.

    I’m on the East coast – it’s 4:15 am here – I’ve got insomnia – do we all? :D

  585. #585 windy
    April 19, 2010

    If you could get around the rule of a female having to carry it in her for nine months, please do.

    Easy: abortion. We can now get around that “rule” by choosing not to carry a fetus to term.

  586. #586 skatje.myers
    April 19, 2010

    Pregnancy is sometimes a consequence of having sex, however, unless one is actively trying to get pregnant, it’s an unintended consequence.

    but not an unsurprising or really unexpected one. this is a matter of people PLAYING THE ODDS, intentionally. i do it, everyone else does it. but i’m willing to fess up to my mistake if that .3% failure rate comes around.

    Either take the gamble, knowing that it might end with unintended consequences, or learn to appreciate oral sex more.

    i have no sympathy for “BUT I DIDNT MEAN TO” when you know your method could very well end up this way. it’s not an excuse.

    This is blaming the woman for having sex in the first place.

    I “blame” both equally. As I said before. And “blame” is a word I’ve possibly used but offers more negative connotation than is accurate.

    idonteven imtootiredtokeepgoing

  587. #587 Jadehawk, OM
    April 19, 2010

    I’m on the East coast – it’s 4:15 am here – I’ve got insomnia – do we all?

    not insomnia; nightowls and non-Americans abound.

  588. #588 Jadehawk, OM
    April 19, 2010

    but not an unsurprising or really unexpected one.

    neither is getting hit by a car, but I wouldn’t suggest people stop leaving their homes.

    It’s nice for you that you have the resources to “fess up to [your] mistake(!)” by means other than abortion. but to say that every woman should play by your rules is bull. Sex is not a reward for the luck of having a stable life. that’s just punishing people for being poor, in unstable life-situations, etc.

  589. #589 skatje.myers
    April 19, 2010

    What an odd thing to say; I’m going to put it down to your tiredness.
    Because I believe that, since the blog we’re on belongs to your father, and he talks about himself quite a lot and your mother from time to time, it’s entirely accurate to say that we – the regulars at least – know about a metric fuck-ton more about your parents compared to what you know about any of us.
    I’ve also met the man, and spent a few hours in his company; from that I can tell he’s a genuinely nice guy – or a very, very good actor.

    That is unbelievable. You think you understand my childhood because you read the things my father writes on his blog? You think you understand my father because you spent a few hours around him?

    That’s… ridiculous. A level of presumption and fake analysis that Freud couldn’t even pull off.

  590. #590 WowbaggerOM
    April 19, 2010

    skatje.myers wrote:

    …but i’m willing to fess up to my mistake if that .3% failure rate comes around.

    But many of the consequences of that ‘mistake’ aren’t as serious for you as they are for all women – and that’s the point people have been trying to make all day/night/morning and which you seem to keep missing.

  591. #591 JustALurker
    April 19, 2010

    @576

    How is that not inconsistent? You said you were against all abortions except if it was necessary to save the woman’s life. You were asked simple examples, like what if the mother was raped, or lied to about birth control, or if birth control failed. If you want to dictate how other people live you better damn well have all the answers instead of making shit up all the way so that people actually do know what they are dealing with. And just because you want dictate other’s life does not give you the right or ability to. This not murder we are talking about. Murder is the killing of another person. The debate lies whether or not a fetus is a person, what constitutes a person, and when does another person have the right to use another person’s body. As for evidence, provide some of what makes a fetus a person for starters and why you get to make a personal decision for somebody else. Ok, maybe evidence was a bad word for this example , how about logical reason? Something other than,? this is what I feel and others should have to follow it? would be nice.
    As for an analogy try this on for size*, say a drunk driver hits a person who is fatally wounded. The person needs a heart transplant, should said drunk driver be responsible to give up their heart since it was their reckless actions that cause the person’s injuries? How about a liver? The person hit was just walking by, didn’t want to get hit, has no say and no other way to live but the drunk driver’s heart/liver. The answer is no, obviously the drunk driver has to pay damages and go to prison but we don’t make them give up their life, their body. The difference is a woman shouldn’t be punished for having a abortion since fetuses do not meet the requirements of a person. Hell, even if you give the fetus rights no person on this planet has the right to use my body to live no matter what I did to said person to make it so. It may be a nice thing to do but still its not morally or legally my responsibility to do so. Would you have the fireman save 1,000 embryos or living child? All embryos have the potential to become human, obviously same man and woman donated to create them and go through the same development but there is a difference. Fetuses are not children or a person. Honestly, if you rather save the embryos please never become a firewoman! LOL =)

    Also, I was not pissy with you on my original post. I made a simple statement. I never called you a spoiled little brat. And you are most certainly punishing said mothers to carry a fetus if they don’t want it due to economic, physical, social problems, which is only to name a few of the issues when a woman becomes pregnant. You said it yourself consequences are dire but seriously should I carry a fetus that would economically screw me over, send me back to the shelters, disrupt and maybe end my education goals and screw my 3 year old and ruin all the progress I’ve made in the last 4 years because my IUD and condoms broke? Are you kidding me? A fetus is nothing but a bunch of parasite cells with 46 chromosomes. So what if it has half my genes? I don’t punish my daughter for having half her genes come from her bastard father, why would I care more if it has my genes. Plenty of people love their adopted children just as much as I love my daughter, genes don’t matter. If it gets to the 3rd trimester and would be able to survive if it was born prematurely, at that point I could birth it and openly adopt it to a loving couple who could help all parties in this situation and be involved. But that’s just me and it would be mainly because I would feel it moving, and I would get all attached to it. And it wouldn’t be that much longer anyways. No way in hell I’m going to make that decision for anybody else, just like I wouldn’t decide their careers, lovers, opinions or college.

    *yes, its a lame one but the best I can do so late and so tired as it is. All analogies can be defeated simply by saying there are not similar enough but the goal is to look at the moral principals involved. And I’m sure someone mentioned the firemen already but I just had to reiterate.

  592. #592 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    Gingerbaker @ 584:

    I have read the whole thread. And the quotes you have provided ( thanks for the effort that took, btw)

    I didn’t provide the quotes. JustALurker provide them @ #579. You obviously aren’t reading very carefully.

    She has said she might not “stand in its way” which is not the same thing.

    What that means is she would either not vote at all, or vote for it. It means she would not choose to uphold a woman’s right to autonomy.

    Her other statements basically say that she feels she has the right to her opinion, and to voice that opinion.

    To which I responded, vociferously, that she does indeed have the right to spout her opinion to all and sundry, but that is not at all the same as passing something into law. I’m beginning to doubt you read the thread. If you had, you would have noticed my response.

    This does not, it seems to me, to deserve the hyperbole being thrown at her

    It’s not hyperbole. She has been incredibly arrogant, and I’m far from the only person to think so. When many people point out the same thing, it’s generally a good idea to take stock of what you’re saying. Skatje has not done that.

    I’m on the East coast – it’s 4:15 am here – I’ve got insomnia – do we all?

    I’m nocturnal.

  593. #593 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    WowbaggerOM:

    But many of the consequences of that ‘mistake’ aren’t as serious for you as they are for all women – and that’s the point people have been trying to make all day/night/morning and which you seem to keep missing.

    Emphasized and Quoted for truth.

  594. #594 JustALurker
    April 19, 2010

    @571 and 529

    Thank you for your kind words and support. I didn’t mean to ignore you or take so long I was just trying to respond to skatje quickly.

  595. #595 windy
    April 19, 2010

    Either take the gamble, knowing that it might end with unintended consequences

    Sure, like having to get an abortion. That’s not an intended consequence.

  596. #596 JustALurker
    April 19, 2010

    @584

    I didn’t mean to sound condescending when I said read the whole thread for more, simply a statement and I hate scrolling and searching for quotes. Its a pain but necessary to quote someone correctly. And the first quote I gave specifically states since she doesn’t want an abortion no one else should have an abortion and she has the right to dictate that on all women. In reality she has to vote to get her opinion across and its not her opinion alone that makes it possible (she’s not queen of the world) but I’m not talking about whether or not she’s going to vote agianist woman’s rights.

  597. #597 negentropyeater
    April 19, 2010

    PZ #348,

    I think this is Skatje’s point: if you have reached the conclusion that a fetus at age X is an individual, some reasonable approximation of a human being, then the argument about the woman’s autonomy doesn’t matter — you don’t get to kill a person simply because they are dependent on another individual, their mother. It’s a fairly principled position that says no one should kill another person…and makes the assumption that the fetus has some status as a person.

    No, that no one should kill another person isn’t an ethically sound position. First, you have to demonstrate that not allowing someone to use your body against your will in order to survive means that you are the one responsible for killing that person. But why you and not everybody else who isn’t accepting to let that person use his body? Second, what about self defense? If someone is about to tie you up to a chair and torture you for months, aren’t you allowed to use that gun that you’ve got hidden in your pocket?
    It’s quite clear that the only sound ethical principle is that noone should kill another person unjustly. That’s the basis for our system of laws.

    So you have to demonstrate that if someone, say a famous violinist, is about to tie you up to a bed for nine months and connect a machine to your body to use it to extract poisons from his blood that his own body is incapable of and will die if not done, you are the one responsible for unjustly killing that person if you don’t let him do it.

    Whether that someone is a famous violinist or a fetus doesn’t change the answer to that question. It doesn’t matter if that someone is a fully mature person or a clump of cells where you have some difficulties deciding if it has the status of a person or not. It is impossible to show that separating you from it and possibly causing its death represents unjust killing.

    “The right to life consists not in the right not to be killed, but rather in the right not to be killed unjustly. Therefore, to show that abortion isn’t morally permissible, it is by no means enough to show that the fetus is a person and to remind us that all persons have a right to life?we need to be shown also that killing the fetus violates its right to life, i.e., that abortion is unjust killing. And is it?
    J.J.Thomson

  598. #598 JustALurker
    April 19, 2010

    @584

    I didn’t mean to sound condescending when I said read the whole thread for more, simply a statement and I hate scrolling and searching for quotes. Its a pain but necessary to quote someone correctly. And the first quote I gave specifically states since she doesn’t want an abortion no one else should have an abortion and she has the right to dictate that on all women. In reality she has to vote to get her opinion across and its not her opinion alone that makes it possible (she’s not queen of the world) but I’m not talking about whether or not she’s going to vote against woman’s rights. I’m talking about why she believes the fetus is a person, what makes it person and why should society force women to give birth if they don’t want to. I never said she was a brat or spoiled, but she certainly came off as a know it all and said she had the right to make that decision for all women. But maybe thats just me.

    Sorry, this is what I meant to post, I accidentally clicked to soon. My bad. =(

  599. #599 WowbaggerOM
    April 19, 2010

    skatje.myers wrote:

    That is unbelievable. You think you understand my childhood because you read the things my father writes on his blog? You think you understand my father because you spent a few hours around him?

    Did you read the rest of the post where I wrote that? Here it is again:

    So, with that in mind, we know he’s not going to disown you, kick you out on the street to fend for yourself, beat the shit out of you or some combination of the above if you come home knocked up…

    Are you saying I’m wrong about that? Are you implying that the PZ Myers whose words we read every day isn’t the person we think he is and he’s going to suddenly abandon his daughter if she gets pregnant?

  600. #600 JustALurker
    April 19, 2010

    @590 and 588 and 597

    I wholeheartedly agree and second that!!! Of course there are so many awesome posts by commenters here I really can’t list them all. =(

  601. #601 Gingerbaker
    April 19, 2010

    “Gingerbaker @ 584:

    I have read the whole thread. And the quotes you have provided ( thanks for the effort that took, btw)

    I didn’t provide the quotes. JustALurker provide them @ #579. You obviously aren’t reading very carefully. “

    I wasn’t thanking you, I was thanking justalurker for his/her post. My post was to justalurker, not you, it just contained your quote cut and pasted, he-he from his post.

    ” She has said she might not “stand in its way” which is not the same thing.

    What that means is she would either not vote at all, or vote for it. It means she would not choose to uphold a woman’s right to autonomy. “

    If she would vote for it, I would have a (big) problem with that. But she gave no indication of that, and therefore your charge of her being “…an arrogant know-it-all, who was capable of deciding what was right for all women in all situations” is unfounded.

    You and she seem to be talking at cross purposes here. You are talking about legislation, and she is talking about voicing her opinion to people. I get the impression that she has not picked up on your intent.

  602. #602 Pinkydead
    April 19, 2010

    @Josh #147 via negentropyeater #190

    I’m sure like me you would have moral qualms about killing a newly born infant is wrong – and I’m also sure that like me you would see nothing wrong with the morning after pill.

    So where did you transition from the latter to the former? Was it a discrete transformation, say at 27.56 days? Or is it like me, and I imagine everyone with “qualms” that the closer you get to birth the less acceptable termination is?

    It is a continuous curve. And after two weeks, you might be 0.001% “uneasy”; after 2 months 1%; after 8 months 90%.

    You could of course, be fine with termination as long as the [insert stage] is dependent on the mother, up to and including 5 minutes before it is born. If you’re that cold, well then fine – but I would have to question your overall ethical model.

    I think that the black and white viewpoint is very much the domain of the absolute moralist, and should be avoided at all costs. We should have our qualms, but we should also be aware that qualms have to be weighed against the rights of the individual.

    @negentropyeater et al

    (And getting myself into bother)

    You talk of rights as if they were some kind of “written in stone” nonsense. And that there is an unquestionable right for the mother to her own body (which I pretty much agree with).

    But we only have rights because we all agreed that we should – the right to life or the right to free speech are not carved in stone. And the same applies to the right being in charge of your own body.

    Anyone who suggests that the Magna Carta, or the Bill of Rights or the UN Convention on Human Rights are some kind of fundamental principles of the universe, is as daft as someone who says that the 10 Commandments are.

    The reason foetuses don’t have rights is because they can’t contribute to the debate.

  603. #603 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    WowbaggerOM:

    Are you saying I’m wrong about that? Are you implying that the PZ Myers whose words we read every day isn’t the person we think he is and he’s going to suddenly abandon his daughter if she gets pregnant?

    I think Skatje is trying to imply that her situation, really, isn’t any different from any other woman’s. This isn’t so, obviously, but many arguments have been forthcoming in regard to her very fortunate position in life, and that fortune would continue if she were to find herself pregnant.

    Now, this is just my opinion, mind, I think Skatje doesn’t want to face the fact that she is, indeed, privileged, unlike many women. She has a firm support system in place, and I imagine that’s making her uncomfortable. Again, just my opinion.

  604. #604 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    Gingerbaker:

    My post was to justalurker, not you, it just contained your quote

    In that case, don’t be an asshole and use names for the specific bits you quote. Other people have done that throughout this thread, including myself. If you’re going to act the assclown, expect to be treated like one.

  605. #605 Kel, OM
    April 19, 2010

    Being pro-choice is easy. You don’t even have to be for abortion., just a recognition that there should be a choice. Heck, even if you are against abortion there are good grounds to legalise the practice so as to get rid of some of the shit that goes along with it.

    Being pro-infanticide, now there’s a hard position to sell. Because if you’re not going to categorically rule out that in some circumstances that termination of a infant is best for all concerned, then that’s the equivalent of saying you eat babies.

  606. #606 WowbaggerOM
    April 19, 2010

    Caine, Fleur du mal wrote:

    Now, this is just my opinion, mind, I think Skatje doesn’t want to face the fact that she is, indeed, privileged, unlike many women. She has a firm support system in place, and I imagine that’s making her uncomfortable. Again, just my opinion.

    I think it’s understandable to be blind to one’s own privilege in a broader sociocultural sense – I suspect many of us here have spent at least some of our lives in exactly that position – but I’m less inclined to be forgiving about being blind to the fact that not everyone in the world, regardless of any other factor, has two parents who love them and would look after them if they needed help.

    I don’t need a degree in psychology (although, incidentally, I have one) to know PZ loves his daughter a fuckload more than a lot of fathers do.

  607. #607 Sven DiMilo
    April 19, 2010

    Caine, get some sleep. Gingerbaker is being neither an “asshole” nor an “assclown.” You misinterpreted a perfectly clear response comment.

  608. #608 negentropyeater
    April 19, 2010

    Pinkydead,

    You could of course, be fine with termination as long as the [insert stage] is dependent on the mother, up to and including 5 minutes before it is born. If you’re that cold, well then fine – but I would have to question your overall ethical model.

    You seem to confuse termination of the pregnancy and killing the fetus. One doesn’t necessarily mean the other. Nobody with a sane mind would suggest that terminating the pregnancy 5 minutes before term (what does that even mean?) and needlessly killing the baby is the right thing to do.

    You talk of rights as if they were some kind of “written in stone” nonsense. And that there is an unquestionable right for the mother to her own body (which I pretty much agree with).

    But we only have rights because we all agreed that we should – the right to life or the right to free speech are not carved in stone. And the same applies to the right being in charge of your own body.

    Please point me to where I suggested that rights were carved in stone?

    Either you agree that nobody has the right to use someone’s else’s body against one’s will, or you don’t. If you don’t, please explain in which cases you think it’s wrong.

  609. #609 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    WowbaggerOM:

    I don’t need a degree in psychology (although, incidentally, I have one) to know PZ loves his daughter a fuckload more than a lot of fathers do.

    Agreed. And PZ is very proud of his children. I imagine it’s a grand thing, to have two parents who love you. I had a mother who didn’t love me, and she made sure my father was not in my life past the age of four. Although, to be fair, I’m sure my grandfather trying to shoot him didn’t help matters much.

    And before you start, Skatje, no, that’s not whining, it’s a simple statement of fact. It’s yet one more data point that you have much more than a great many people have. No, we don’t know the details of your childhood. On that score, you don’t know about ours, either. I said a very small bit about mine in #517. Do you think, if it were possible, you’d trade your parents and childhood for mine? I’ll tell you what, no one in their right mind would.

  610. #610 Gingerbaker
    April 19, 2010

    “Gingerbaker:

    My post was to justalurker, not you, it just contained your quote

    In that case, don’t be an asshole and use names for the specific bits you quote. Other people have done that throughout this thread, including myself. If you’re going to act the assclown, expect to be treated like one. “

    You are calling me an asshole? Fuck you if you think every other post is about you. You gratuitously rude shithead.

  611. #611 theflyingtrilobite
    April 19, 2010

    Which is more important, the pigments or the painting? Even worse, do you think the pigments are the painting?

    Exactly.

    Exactly!

  612. #612 jack.rawlinson
    April 19, 2010

    It really is quote depressing to see someone who is clearly intelligent and well-educated using an argument which is, at root, “Biology is unfair and the victims of biological unfairness should simply suffer the consequences of it – as if we haven’t developed, as a species, to the stage where we can address biological unfairness”.

    And it doesn’t do to try to sneakily ass-cover by saying one would neither support nor oppose a legal enforcement of this attitude when one has also said:

    I would place the right of a fetus to live over your right to ignore the consequences of your actions because they’re too hard.

    – which is a pretty disgracefully loaded way of describing most women’s decision to abort. “Ignore the consequences”? Really? Is that what you think they do when they abort?

    Every[one] cites their own self-righteousness as knowing what’s best. I’m no different than anyone else for this.

    – which is simply untrue, and delivered with quite stunning arrogance.

    But the definition of where life begins is fuzzy, and therefore, I don’t push my views on other people.

    – no, you’re just willing to stand aside and not resist should others decide to do that. Nice.

  613. #613 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    Sven @ 607, I disagree. Oh, and thanks ever so much, but I’ll go to sleep when I’m ready to do so.

  614. #614 Gingerbaker
    April 19, 2010

    “You are calling me an asshole? Fuck you if you think every other post is about you. You gratuitously rude shithead.

    Okay, so NOW, OK, I’m an asshole. But I only aspire to be an assclown.

  615. #615 scooterKPFT
    April 19, 2010

    Skatje ended this thread at post 412.

    It was over. Read it.

    But there is no concept of over at Pharyngula.

    Everything is up in the air, they run from our shadows, and we fake withering before whatever is fashionably cringeworthy, laughing all the way.

    Somehow Skatje was sucked back into the never ending conversation about what the fuck is up with whatever.

    And it went on from there, and beyond ond ond omnd.

  616. #616 Carlie
    April 19, 2010

    You think you understand my childhood because you read the things my father writes on his blog? You think you understand my father because you spent a few hours around him? That’s… ridiculous. A level of presumption and fake analysis that Freud couldn’t even pull off.

    It doesn’t need to have anything to do with your particular father.

    Unpacking white privilege.

    Unpacking middle class privilege.

    You have an exceptionally good background, whether there’s teen angst involved or not. That’s one of the major things people are trying to explain. And as for this:

    I find statistics such as these very dubious. If you posted them before, I apologise, I haven’t read every comment. But are there statistics regarding nations similar to the US in terms of both development and culture? These are pretty important variables, I think.

    No kidding, those are important variables. Do you think that no one else realizes that? Did you notice that the information comes from the World Health Organization, which is normally considered to run pretty good studies? Is your personal thought that those statistics are dubious more important and real than the fact that those statistics exist? It’s really disheartening to think that you’re ignoring data, especially when you then summarily dismiss it. I understand that it was late at night and you had other things to do, but then you should have said “I don’t have time to check everything out right now, I will and get back to this thread later” rather than continuing to argue your point without even pretending to address anything that was being said to you.

    Also, reading assignment:
    The Girls Who Went Away: The Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades Before Roe v. Wade by Ann Fessler

    When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973 by Leslie Reagan

  617. #617 JustALurker
    April 19, 2010

    @601

    Well, if your comment 584 was for me, I have responded and clarified about the voting and the spoiled brat part at comment 598. I respect her right to her opinion and told her that in my first post. I was disputing whether or not her opinion was right with anecdotal evidence to help back up the arguments for women’s rights already stated up thread. I would be against her voting choice to abolish abortion but I would never be against her right to cast such a vote. I would simply do what every other citizen can by vocalizing, organizing and voting pro-choice myself. I was simply trying to get her to understand my situation to enlighten her views on women’s rights since she will never be in a position like me. She may sympathize but she could never fully understand or empathize with a situation like mine. Again this is my own opinion of her from her postings here. I could be wrong but I honestly don’t think anyone who could understand my situation would be “pro-life”. I refer you to South Park’s “With Apologies to Jesse Jackson” for more enlightenment about understanding not understanding LOL ;)

  618. #618 Sven DiMilo
    April 19, 2010

    *shrug* Caine, it was a friendly suggestion. You’re coming off as uncharacteristically irrational. You did misinterpret Gingerbaker’s comment, and Gb is not an asshole for pointing that out.

  619. #619 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2WTs7ZsrpIHTKihob3v2es8wEMG7Mmo-#60d8b
    April 19, 2010

    I’m going to link to Julie Jarvis Thompson’s paper which is the one that contains the origonal violinist example modified by Mcbender because the origonal paper is so wonderful and thourough and debunks pretty much every single one of Skatje’s arguments http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm

    And here’s the majoriy opinion on Roe v Wade, which discusses ‘essential liberties’ and declares for health only exceptions to be violating the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment. Roe is far more complicated than ‘privacy rights’ and the opinion discusses state interest vs personal liberties, which is covered far more thouroughly than privacy. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0410_0113_ZO.html

    I also wanted to mention something on the ‘better off aborted’ discussion. First of all, I dislike this because it once again makes it about fetal value, which is a line of argument I despise because it generally sets certain groups of born people as being less desering of existence rather than actually discussing bodily automony and rights of pregnant people. Secondly, just because an event is part of a causal chain that creates a person does not make it good. I know a wonderful woman whose grandparents met in a Nazi concentration camp. Her parents were from different nations and social classes, so it is almost certain she would not have existed but for the Holocaust. This, however, does not make the Holocaust good or mean that people who wish the Holocaust never happened hate this woman and don’t want her to exist. The fact that a terrible situation such as lack of birth control, lack of abortion access, or rape caused a child does not make it good, nor does it make the resulting child bad. I love my little sister who was born as the result of reproductive coercion (my father sabotaged my mother’s birth control), but that does not mean that I think it is ever acceptable to poke holes in condoms to coerce your spouse into a pregnancy to prevent them from divorcing your abusive, drunken ass. Innocent people are not less valuable because their existence happened due to an immoral occurance. My sister is not less valuable because of how she was concieved, but that does not mean that we should not understand that how it happened was immoral and bad. Ol’Greg rightly notes that his family situation meant that the way he entered existence involved a painful situation for others. However, this does not mean that Ol’Greg is of less worth because of this. I want to stress that because it seems like he has a large amount of ongoing emotional trauma over this. Ol’Greg, your family and social situation was not your fault or responsibility and you are no more to blame than the woman I know is to blame for the Holocaust because it resulted in her birth.

  620. #620 JustALurker
    April 19, 2010

    @619

    While it seems this thread is dead or everyone just left (yea right this is pharyngula there are always people here LOL) I appreciate your links and comment, I have read them before in class and will now bookmark for future reference =)

  621. #621 Carlie
    April 19, 2010

    Skatje ended this thread at post 412.
    It was over. Read it.
    But there is no concept of over at Pharyngula.

    Who says she gets to determine when it’s over? There are multiple reasons to post, only one of which is engaging one specific person. We’re all cognizant of the fact that these threads are on the internet and can be read by anyone. There may be a whole number of people with similar views to her who are reading along and might want to read a little more about it than she does. I look at a lot of these threads as repositories of information – just because she might decide she doesn’t want to deal with it any more doesn’t mean that no one does, and it doesn’t mean those who like the practice of thinking through and writing out their justifications ought to stop.

  622. #622 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    Sven, I’ll give you a *shrug* back. Even JustALurker couldn’t tell his [GB's] missive was addressed to her.

    You’re perfectly within your rights to consider me wrong. This, considering the topic, is an asinine thing to argue about, so no more about it from me.

  623. #623 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    Yahoomess @ 619:

    However, this does not mean that Ol’Greg is of less worth because of this. I want to stress that because it seems like he has a large amount of ongoing emotional trauma over this.

    Ol’Greg is female.

  624. #624 emilyjharders
    April 19, 2010

    I am an IVF mother and have been attacked by these “pro-lifers” before. According to them, I have killed babies. Apparently my 3 day old embryo in a petri dish was a baby. It sickens me that people feel the need to make an incredibly difficult situation, like IVF, harder.

    For the record, I believe that every woman should have choice.

  625. #625 Snorre
    April 19, 2010

    Of course people makes queasy. Its a big fucking decision. But that doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be free for those unfortunate enough to need it.
    What you should do (I, myself, am from Denmark, where it IS leagal, AND free) is to help women to avoid getting pregnant before they want to. For example overfly most bigger cities, dropping pamphles with the text “this i how you avoid pregnancy/abortion” an one side, and a condom taped to the other.

  626. #626 John Morales
    April 19, 2010

    Clearly, a very emotive issue.

    I’ll just quote the post’s headline again,
    an embryo is not a person,
    so that I can emphatically say: I unequivocally agree.

  627. #627 badgersdaughter
    April 19, 2010

    OK, folks, I just have to say one thing: “Privilege” is not privilege if you don’t actually have the privilege.

    I was a normal middle-class college student, going through normal shit like my parents getting divorced, when my boyfriend and future abusive husband coerced me into getting pregnant. I was too ashamed to tell my parents because I was taught that (I’m trying to put into words something I no longer believe) only “bad,” low-class, ignorant girls had unplanned pregnancies. My mother, when she found out, refused to have anything to do with me because she considered me my boyfriend’s responsibility at that point, and my father literally called me “stupid” when I called him from the hospital to tell him he was a grandfather. I had no help from my family to survive as a new mother, and no help in any meaningful sense from my boyfriend, who still depended on me to work and pay his bills.

    Nobody would have thought my parents would act like that. Certainly I had every reason to believe my parents wouldn’t be less supportive than the parents of my friends who got pregnant in high school. I’m not saying Skatje’s parents would act the same way mine did, but one never knows, does one?

    I don’t particularly like Skatje that much, and frankly I never have; we would never make good friends because we would both be much too critical and intolerant of each other, I’m guessing. She reminds me very much of my spitfire red-headed grandmother… who, come to think of it, is currently the only member of my family to be on my side about what happened during that time in my life, so, who knows, really.

    If Skatje ever found herself in some such predicament as I did when I was her age, though, she would be welcome to my spare room and my help while she worked things out, because the little I know of her puts her closer to me than perfect strangers, of whom I am wary. And because I believe her to be equal to living up to her convictions, as I was when I shared her beliefs about abortion, and I support her right to live out her own life and maintain her own body as she chooses, even though she does not necessarily fully support mine. But mostly because she’s proud and gifted and I know how specially hard it is for such a person ever to ask for assistance for something they believe is their fault and their responsibility.

  628. #628 JustALurker
    April 19, 2010

    @627

    because I believe her to be equal to living up to her convictions

    I never said she wouldn’t, I just said I don’t think anyone including her could ever really know what they would do in that situation until they are since there are so many variables and life changing consequences. I also never addressed the privileged thing either but I don’t know her, her family or situation personally. I may think great things of our tentacled overlord but I don’t actually know so I refrain from judgement. He did however make a brief statement on the Endless thread about it. I do have know how well people can act, lie and hide abuse, etc. from personal experience.

  629. #629 Deen
    April 19, 2010

    @Carlie in #616 (quoting skatje.myers in #453):

    But are there statistics regarding nations similar to the US in terms of both development and culture?

    To be frank, I’m not sure there are any nations comparable to the US at the moment. Economically, it’s one of the richest nations in the world, but socially it’s by far the most backward first world nation.

    Of course, it’s also trivially easy to find information on the health effects of legalizing abortion in the US itself.

  630. #630 echidna
    April 19, 2010

    Skatje said:

    Am I so stupid as to be unable to think outside that, to put myself in other people’s shoes?
    No.

    I think there is one particular privilege which is almost taboo to examine: intelligence, of which Skatje has plenty. She assumes, as most of us do, that everyone is as intelligent as she is because anything different is, well, conceited.

    To put yourself in the shoes of someone less intelligent than yourself is extremely difficult, because to do this you have to assume that you are smarter than other people – which is something that we are conditioned to consider arrogant.

  631. #631 aratina cage
    April 19, 2010

    let’s try a different analogy. It’s completely absurd, because I’m tired and can’t be bothered to think of realistic things, but it’s useful anyway. Let’s say Mr Smith played a game of chance. Push a button, and you could either win a million dollars or Jones here is going to lose a liver.
    -skatje.myers #553

    This is no different from the “It’s YOUR fault” line, still blaming the woman because she played the game and got knocked up (lost her liver). Under your system, there isn’t anything she can do about it; under ours, there is.

    I still have to go over many of the comments, but getting back to what is “dehumanizing”, I think, if you were talking about total abstinence from sex in that comment, that asceticism is what is dehumanizing so you would have it backwards. Ascetics continually pretend that they are not human, much in the same way Roman Catholic nuns and priests do. They live in a perpetual state of denial of self and sometimes denial of reality to attain their mystical goal. It takes all the fun out of life as a human.

  632. #632 echidna
    April 19, 2010

    Just wanted to emphasise that I am not implying anything about any group of people, just wanting to point out that examining privilege is not trivial, even when you put great effort into it.

  633. #633 Jason A.
    April 19, 2010

    skatje:

    I didn’t set the damn rules.

    It is not our fault that biology works the way it does

    You seem to be hung up on this idea that sex carrying the possibility of childbirth is just the way it is, ‘the rules’. It doesn’t have to be. We make the rules. Your argument seems to hinge on the idea that there are some eternal, sacred ‘rules’ of nature that cannot be changed.

    we have developed ways to assess, reduce, and eliminate the risk of biological interactions and to control or avoid their side effects

    Exactly. Like, y’know, abortion.

    I find the idea that we can’t overcome our own biology because of our consciences rather… dehumanising.

    I find this statement completely at odds with what I’ve quoted from you above, at least in a pragmatic sense. We obviously can overcome our own biology – that is what the whole discussion is about. But you think that particular solution is unacceptable? What I’m getting from this is you think it’s wonderful to overcome our biology through asceticism, but dehumanising to overcome it through technology. Where is the difference? Why?

    I still find this slut-shaming thing to be absurd.

    Having read all of the things you’ve posted in this thread, I don’t think it’s an entirely unfounded accusation. Of course you would think it’s crazy, just as you would think it’s crazy to accuse you of being blind to the effects of privilege on your views. That’s the the really insidious thing about privilege, or sexism, or any other preconception: the people who are affected by them don’t realize they’re affected. They always think the accusations are crazy. That’s what it means to be prejudiced: you views are skewed in a way you don’t realize.
    I don’t actually know anything about you besides what I’ve read in this thread, so I’m not going to say you’re definitely a slut-shamer or blind to your privilege. But I can certainly see how someone could come to that conclusion by reading this thread.

  634. #634 badgersdaughter
    April 19, 2010

    Echidna, it is more difficult, not less difficult, for intelligent people to feel entitled to assistance that less intelligent people take for granted, if only because more intelligent people are aware of their privilege in that respect and often ashamed to admit they are in the same predicament as less intelligent people. It is more, not less, difficult for intelligent people to receive help, because those who offer it believe that they’re most charitable to give to the least deserving–they have the belief that those who have the capacity to dig themselves out of a hole must do so. It is more, not less, difficult for intelligent people to be at the mercy of their bodies in a situation that has nothing to do with how intelligent you are, only with how fertile you are. And it is more, not less, difficult for intelligent people to avoid be manipulated emotionally, because they are used to living on their wits and often lack heart-wisdom, especially when they are young people who have been correctly trained to consider their fine brains one of their finest assets.

  635. #635 echidna
    April 19, 2010

    No argument with any of that, badgersdaughter.

  636. #636 negentropyeater
    April 19, 2010

    Clearly, a very emotive issue

    an embryo is not a person,
    so that I can emphatically say: I unequivocally agree

    I also agree. But I do think it’s a sidetrack.

    What I’d like to understand is from people who believe an embryo or a fetus is a person, why do they think we should force a woman let that “person” use her body ungainst her will?

    Do they also agree that if they were in a situation where a person was in dire need to use their body in order to survive, society should force them to allow that person to use their body?

    If not, why is it different if that “person” is an embryo or a fetus? Why do we need to protect them and not other people in urgent survival needs?

    I think a lot of the emotionality around the discussion about abortion comes from the fact that most people have a lot of difficulty telling what’s a person from what’s not, and not only because of religious myths. Of course it’s a very difficult question, because there is no evident and consensual basis for a clear dividing line.

    All I’m trying to understand why it matters.

  637. #637 black-wolf72
    April 19, 2010

    (semi-OT) This is nice:
    (article in German) German court orders bishop to shut up

    http://archiv.c6-magazin.de/06/news/?neuigkeit=3503

    The Berlin state court has ordered the bishop of Regensburg, Mr. Müller, to cease repeating, reiterating and spreading his allegations against the Humanist Union (HU). When the German secretary of justice, Mrs. Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, herself a member of the HU, had criticized the Catholic Church for their inadequate cooperation with the law a few weeks ago, Müller had lashed out verbally. His claims that the court order was issued against were that the HU regarded paedophilia as a “normal reality”, and that they promoted an agenda of legalizing sexual conduct with minors.
    Müller had also criticized atheism, saying that it offered no positions of orientation and ordering force, and that atheism had only been thought up to train people in irresponsibility and to thereby make them more ideologically manipulable.
    When the court declared its decision, representatives of the HU clarified that they in no way advocated decriminalization of paedosexuality, but called for a rational and non-demonizing treatment of the offenders.

  638. #638 JeffreyD
    April 19, 2010

    Post #544, First line: ?Soooo many anecdotal sob stories.?

    That may be the single most condescending, insensitive thing I have ever seen written on this blog by someone who was not obviously trying to be a troll of assholeroic proportions. What the fuck do you think human existence is except a series of stories? Sob stories are suspect, is that it? Someone who has had a bad life has no right to express an opinion, especially if it was their own fault? OK, yes, engaging in some hyperbole here, but I do find that phrase nasty, hateful, and rude. If you wanted to prove you were missing the points of people arguing with you, you could not have done a better job. If you wanted to prove you were more interested in your views of morality than the real world of those who make difficult choices, you nailed it with that line.

    Spit! Nope, still have an unclean taste in the mouth.

    JustALurker, please be less of a lurker and more of a regular. (smile)

  639. #639 Pinkydead
    April 19, 2010

    @negentropyeater

    Nobody with a sane mind would suggest that terminating the pregnancy 5 minutes before term (what does that even mean?)

    Exactly, so there is point where we have qualms and a point where we don’t.

    And I don’t believe there is a discreet transition from one to the other – it has to be gradual. (Unless, of course, you believe that it all happens in the last 5 minutes – which is clearly an absurd case.)

    So to a certain extent we must all have “moral qualms” about this issue, that we weigh up against our sense of practicality. And though we might all have a different standard, it is merely obtuse to suggest that this is just vague “ickiness”.

  640. #640 Ing
    April 19, 2010

    I don’t know about that.

    What’s the cost of raising the two to the same level of skills/usefulness/whatnot as the mother, compared to keeping the mother and losing the two? What’s the cost of having an 18+ year gap in that time? What if they never reach her level of skills/usefulness/whatnot, even together?

    Or am I misunderstanding the “net” in this?”

    Besides the point. The point was that “Net destruction vs Gain” is just as ‘meaningless’ as “morals”

  641. #641 JeffreyD
    April 19, 2010

    To be clear, I neither expect nor want a reply to my last post. Your opinions and reasoning are clear to me from your posts. I have posted my opinion in reply. Time for me to close this canker sore of a thread and not bother to come back.

    Spit! Nope, mouth still tastes bad.

  642. #642 Carlie
    April 19, 2010

    If not, why is it different if that “person” is an embryo or a fetus? Why do we need to protect them and not other people in urgent survival needs?

    I think the answer often given (and given here by Skatje) is that the embryo is there just because the woman dared to have sex. Which again is slut shaming, and doesn’t really hold up. If sex is the problem and embryos are the forced consequence, what about all the times that sex doesn’t lead to pregnancy? Are those ok? It leads to the conclusion that man-man sex is ok, and woman-woman sex is ok, and man-woman sex is ok for the man, but man-woman sex for the woman is sometimes HA SUCKER YOU ASKED FOR IT! but sometimes not, and for some reason although we have defied our natural biology in every freaking way possible through modern medicine, somehow that one is off-limits.

    JeffreyD – it’s even more obnoxious given that she said that she would moderate her opinion in the case of rape and other situations in which the angst was strong enough to pass her own internal mental barrier. And then, given situations describing such angst, dismissed them as anecdotal sob stories. That doesn’t give me much confidence that her barrier is low enough for anyone to pass by it.

  643. #643 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    JeffreyD:

    Post #544, First line: ?Soooo many anecdotal sob stories.?

    That may be the single most condescending, insensitive thing I have ever seen written on this blog by someone who was not obviously trying to be a troll of assholeroic proportions.

    Yes, it just oozes empathy and compassion, doesn’t it.

  644. #644 Jason A.
    April 19, 2010

    If we’re going to talk about how an embryo has the ‘potential’ to create a sentient person, we might as well talk about how the sex act itself has the ‘potential’ to create a sentient person.
    I understand, Skatje, that you have placed a dividing line somewhere in there, so that it is okay to ‘abort’ the potentiality of the sex act by using contraceptives, but not okay to abort the potentiality of the embryo. What I don’t understand is how you came to make that distinction, or, more importantly, how you came to decide that it would be okay if everyone else were forced to abide by that distinction.

    (Yes, I know you said you’re not actively promoting making abortion illegal, but not minding if it becomes illegal is the same as not minding everyone being forced to comply.)

  645. #645 negentropyeater
    April 19, 2010

    Pinkydead,

    So to a certain extent we must all have “moral qualms” about this issue, that we weigh up against our sense of practicality.

    Moral qualms about what issue? About what’s a person or about whether we should force someone let another person use one’s body against one’s will? I understand “moral qualms” about the former, I understand why women who are confronted with the decision to let the fetus use their body or any other person in a situation of making a decision about whether to let someone in an urgent survival situation use their body have “moral qualms”.

    But I don’t understand why anybody would have “moral qualms” about whether or not to force someone else do this against their will.

    Please answer my questions in #636.

  646. #646 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 19, 2010

    Oh good, going to sleep didn’t stop people from nailing Skatje for the trap I set for her. Thanks for catching the turn around (“It’s about the fetus’ rights! No wait, that person didn’t knowingly put it there so it’s about the person’s rights!”), folks.

    Get an Ackbar, girl, they help.

    So can you ethically defend slut shaming, or are you willing to change your mind on what other women /should/ be allowed to do? I don’t care whether or not you’re willing to, merely whether or not you’re okay with other women exercising autonomy over their bodies?

    And man, all those libertarians are racists. Their policies hit minorities pretty hard. I mean, intent irrelevant, it’s only effect that matters, right?

    There was a discussion on slacktivist’s blog on this a few months ago, actually. The conclusion was that English lacks sufficient levels of meaning for bigot. We use the same word for everything, which generally means that when someone is being ignorant, we assign the same moral culpability as when someone is being a jackass. However, until that new word is made:
    Yeah, they’re being racist. They’re less blameworthy actors in it then the guy who shouts about niggers, but they’re not blameless either.

  647. #647 KingUber
    April 19, 2010

    So hypothetically, if I could go back in time and kill you as an embryo, there would be nothing wrong with me doing that?

  648. #648 Cerberus
    April 19, 2010

    I cried myself to sleep last night.

    Going back and reading through the discussion I see there have been some excellent posts overall.

    It’s disheartening in a lot of ways to see skatje parroting so much anti-women crap without her realizing it. Especially as I really don’t think she fully grasps exactly what she is saying.

    Many wonderful people have dog-piled on the slut-shaming, the idea of the denial of the sexual for women and feeling like sex for women should come with a price. And yeah, it’s really critical. I’m asexual, but 99% of humanity is sexual and the sexual urge for sexuals is something really important. Arguing that someone can just “forego” any hope of meeting it is a denial of full humanhood in no uncertain terms.

    Plus, it reinfores traditional narratives that hinder full-and-informed consent and prevent women from fully understanding their sexuality and the right to free expression on par with men.

    This is another way in which one cannot be anti-choice and pro-woman. The anti-choice position in every way blocks the free expression of a woman on the same par as a man and claims a sinfulness of sexuality with disproportionate punishment on the woman.

    It’s sad that someone presumably raised in a very feminist household seems to have stumbled into a raw sexism which would seek to deny women the full comfort of sexuality and that one raised with a full biology education would buy into unscientific sperm magic “baby at conception” ideas about reproduction.

    And that’s why I cried myself to sleep.

    But, I also don’t think Skatje has a clue exactly what she is arguing and I think this is where the arrogance and privilege comes in that many people had excellent posts knocking down.

    Skatje may be a Kinsey 6 homosexual or a Kinsey X asexual, she may even be a he and a transman. But more likely than not, she’ll be somewhere in the Kinsey 0-5 side of things and as such, presumably finds men sexually attractive and either has sex with them or would like to have sexual encounters with them in the future.

    And Skatje doesn’t seem to realize that her slut-shaming “sex has consequences, if you didn’t want it, don’t do it” would make every single sexual encounter she has with any boyfriends or one-night-stands potentially a life-sentence.

    I don’t fully think she appreciates the depth of what she is arguing women like she presumably is would have to do with their lives for 5, 10, 20, 80 years.

    Say she’d be happy if she got knocked up at a critical point in her University or right before a critical job, even if there was absolutely no hope of paternal support. Is she happy never having sex again if she doesn’t want to have a second child? Ever? Is she happy remaining sexually frustrated and trying to clear out the mental stresses that can build? And if she isn’t ok with the first, is she really thinking she can avoid ever fulfilling her sexual desires with a partner she lusts for until allowing herself one and only one sexual encounter when she’s planning to have a kid?

    I don’t know much about the sexual world, but I hear that kind of shit is really not easy on you, nor is it necessary. We have procedures now that if we didn’t have such a women-hating sex-phobic culture would allow women to enjoy the similar freedoms a man does to enjoy sex on their own terms and plan when they want to have children. We have contraceptives, day-after pills, abortions.

    But women have always been trained culturally to feel ashamed of their sexuality, to view their desires as “less important” compared to men, and that it is natural that all the “punishment” for “giving into sin” should fall onto them.

    Secularizing those messages does not mean the same as not internalizing them. That’s why we call it internalized sexism.

    I hope that Skatje’s views change with experience. If she is like most sexually-active heterosexual women, the simplistic ideology will quickly fall apart at the first inconveniently timed pregnancy scare.

    Because she apparently has no idea exactly what she is arguing for herself and all sexually active women who are attracted to men.

    Penetrative sex shouldn’t be a one-way life-sentence for women.

    And if antis want to continue arguing with that slut-shaming, then I’m more than willing to pass a law banning the dangerous act of penetrative sex, arguing that men must instead use strap-ons or face 10-20 years in prison for potential endangerment unless both parties are deliberately trying to procreate.

    But yeah, depressing thread, but great comments. Kudos to everyone who fought. There have been some fantastic Molly-worthy comments on this thread.

  649. #649 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    KingUber @ 647:

    So hypothetically, if I could go back in time and kill you as an embryo, there would be nothing wrong with me doing that?

    Who are you addressing?

  650. #650 Kel, OM
    April 19, 2010

    So to a certain extent we must all have “moral qualms” about this issue, that we weigh up against our sense of practicality.

    Only if the issue is discussed in a vacuum. Take an abstract form of the argument and all you’re ever doing is conforming to an ideal not present in reality. Put the question in a greater context and all moral qualms go away – at least for me.

  651. #651 John Morales
    April 19, 2010

    KingUber:

    So hypothetically, if I could go back in time and kill you as an embryo, there would be nothing wrong with me doing that?

    First, that’s not a hypothetical, since it could not possibly occur; it’s a fantasy.

    Second, do you think any embryos are reading your comment? If so, you’re just being silly; if not, killing an embryo is not killing any “you”s reading your post.

  652. #652 Carlie
    April 19, 2010

    So hypothetically, if I could go back in time and kill you as an embryo, there would be nothing wrong with me doing that?

    There sure as hell would be if the woman surrounding the embryo doesn’t want you to. What is it with making the woman disappear? :(

    And if antis want to continue arguing with that slut-shaming, then I’m more than willing to pass a law banning the dangerous act of penetrative sex, arguing that men must instead use strap-ons or face 10-20 years in prison for potential endangerment unless both parties are deliberately trying to procreate.

    Would you mind if I used that argument from here to eternity? Because that’s a fantastic way of putting it.

  653. #653 negentropyeater
    April 19, 2010

    I think the answer often given (and given here by Skatje) is that the embryo is there just because the woman dared to have sex.

    But any person in urgent survial need is there because the mother (and the father) dared to have sex. Does that mean we should force parents donate their Kidney to their offspring if that’s required for their survival.

    If people like Skatje make that argument against abortion, they should also argue that parental organ donation should be required by law. Actually, maybe we should force the father first as the mother was already forced to donate her body in the past.

  654. #654 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 19, 2010

    So hypothetically, if I could go back in time and kill you as an embryo, there would be nothing wrong with me doing that?

    Does my mother approve of you doing so? If so, then fine. If not, then no.

    She’s pretty hard catholic, so she’d mind, a lot. But that’s besides the point, because it’s her decision, not yours.

    Honestly, it’d save me a lot of trouble right now.

  655. #655 aratina cage
    April 19, 2010

    Do they also agree that if they were in a situation where a person was in dire need to use their body in order to survive, society should force them to allow that person to use their body?
    -negentropyeater #636

    Injecting some Star Trek into this, Worf (the Klingon) actually chose to let a person die rather than save that person with some sort of transfusion. Nobody tried to force Worf to save the life though they implored him to do so and could have taken that option, and nobody held him responsible for the death. Of course, from the point of view of the people making the story, that was supposed to be an alien moral action, but even so, the humans remained pro-choice.

  656. #656 Cerberus
    April 19, 2010

    Kingtroll @647

    If you “killed me” as an embryo, I wouldn’t have been around then so it wouldn’t really matter.

    And this would be all the way back to my comment @48, argument #3.

    Yeah, thinking about never existing gives us all existential anxiety on a philosophical level. If I was aborted then I would have never been. But I like existing.

    The thing is there would never be a you to not like existing if you never existed, you’d just never existed.

    However, the time-traveling thought experiment is designed to trigger all the existential anxiety we have about dying. Being killed. We are emotionally trained then to dump that baggage on a theoretically potential you.

    This seems especially potent for people who strongly suspect that their mothers may not have chosen them or fully wanted them. It’s sort of a fuck you, mom, I’m glad I existed at your expense.

    I think that’s kind of sick. I wouldn’t want to exist by causing my mother that level of pain. Hell, my partner probably would have had her very real life come to an ignoble end if her mother hadn’t had an abortion. She was being raised on starvation rations already and her mother was heavily emotionally compromised already, so trying to have that second child probably would have killed her mother and potentially her as well, possibly in “mommy’s taking her babies to the angels now” fashion.

    Death is scary and as most science-fiction fans know, thinking about not-existing is scary as well. But the thing to realize is that generalized anxiety about theoreticals does not trump real people, real lives, and the very real biology behind abortion. Even if we were to ignore the substantial fact that no one has a right to another’s body without consent, even to live. It is the case that a fetus is in no way comparable to an existing child and until VERY late on (in fact most of it grows and develops after birth) there is no brain and no even potentiality of a consciousness of any form.

    If you were aborted, you wouldn’t have cared, because you would never have had a consciousness that could be sad about not existing. But the trick of it is that emotional existential anxiety is a bitch to shake off so the reality of that is difficult to penetrate.

  657. #657 Caine, Fleur du mal
    April 19, 2010

    Cerberus:

    We have contraceptives, day-after pills, abortions.

    We also have sterilization. Or should have, anyway. I started seeking sterilization when I was 17. (This was before I discovered women sexually.) I cannot begin to tell you the amount of condescending asses I had to deal with, all the pats on the head, all the “oh, you don’t know your own mind, of course you want kids, come back when you’re 35, after you’ve had children” lines, all the “*chuckles* you aren’t even married yet, dear” crap, etc. These same doctors didn’t blink twice if a pregnant 15 year old landed in their office.

    *Yes, I know a certain percentage of women change their mind about sterilization. This does not excuse treating all women like idiots who couldn’t possibly know their own mind.

  658. #658 Cerberus
    April 19, 2010

    Carlie @652

    Please please do.

    Also, yes, yes, a thousand times yes to your first response to the troll. I didn’t go into that in my response to them, but yeah, the whole thing about abortion is basically, minimize the women involved and pretend they don’t exist or aren’t affected or that the womb is a sort of extradimensional object with little connection to the mother. It seems the only time the pregnant woman is acknowledged is as part of a “women suck because they are so stupid” or “sluts need to keep their legs shut” sort of argument.

  659. #659 windy
    April 19, 2010
    I find the idea that we can’t overcome our own biology because of our consciences rather… dehumanising.

    I find this statement completely at odds with what I’ve quoted from you above, at least in a pragmatic sense. We obviously can overcome our own biology – that is what the whole discussion is about. But you think that particular solution is unacceptable? What I’m getting from this is you think it’s wonderful to overcome our biology through asceticism, but dehumanising to overcome it through technology. Where is the difference? Why?

    This is what I was getting at in #565, but you said it much better.

    I wonder how different attitudes towards the termination of pregnancy would be in a world where reabsorption of fetuses was more common in humans (and perhaps could be intentionally triggered from the outside). The moral issues should theoretically be the same, but I suspect people’s intuitions about the “rules” would be very different.

  660. #660 negentropyeater
    April 19, 2010

    So hypothetically, if I could go back in time and kill you as an embryo, there would be nothing wrong with me doing that?

    I don’t think arguing for the legality of abortion means arguing for the legality of anybody (that includes yourself) forcing an abortion on a woman against her will.

    So obviously the answer to your perfectly stupid question is NO.

  661. #661 Cerberus
    April 19, 2010

    Caine @657

    True. I didn’t really mention that, because I don’t think a fertile hetero or bisexual woman should only have two choices if she wants to have sex that of never having children ever or having no real control over when they have children and risking it every time they have penetrative sex.

    And the thing is even with sterilization, we end up needing the emergency options. Someone’s tubes untie and suddenly that “we’re in a closed relationship and we don’t need to use contraception” turns into a “what the fuck” sort of deal.

    But back to your point, yes, sterilization is definitely on the list of things we have as humans to better control reproduction and gives great freedom of thought to those who either do not want children ever or those who do not want any more children than those they already have.

  662. #662 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 19, 2010

    We also have sterilization. Or should have, anyway. I started seeking sterilization when I was 17. (This was before I discovered women sexually.) I cannot begin to tell you the amount of condescending asses I had to deal with, all the pats on the head, all the “oh, you don’t know your own mind, of course you want kids, come back when you’re 35, after you’ve had children” lines, all the “*chuckles* you aren’t even married yet, dear” crap, etc. These same doctors didn’t blink twice if a pregnant 15 year old landed in their office.

    FFFFFFFFFfffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuccccckkkkk that makes me angrier then I was from learning other things. Those people are SO ANNOYING. Doubly so when they’re family -.-

  663. #663 negentropyeater
    April 19, 2010

    #660, I meant, the answer is NO, there would be something clearly wrong with that

  664. #664 Pinkydead
    April 19, 2010

    @negentropyeater

    The former, as per the original challenge in #147.

    As for #636. I agree with everything you say. But I think you are creating a strawman there.

    I haven’t seen anyone (long thread though) suggesting that you don’t have the right to control your body. See #102 for example.

  665. #665 John Morales
    April 19, 2010

    Cerberus,

    And if antis want to continue arguing with that slut-shaming, then I’m more than willing to pass a law banning the dangerous act of penetrative sex, arguing that men must instead use strap-ons or face 10-20 years in prison for potential endangerment unless both parties are deliberately trying to procreate.

    Winner.

  666. #666 Dianne
    April 19, 2010

    Skatje (and anyone else who’s interested), may I direct your attention to post #375? I’d like to see your response to this situation.

    At its heart, your argument seems to be that withdrawl of consent is not valid (please correct me if I’m misinterpreting what you wrote). A person can consent to taking the risk of pregnancy or not, but once the pregnancy is established-whether intentional or not-they can not withdraw their consent and discontinue the pregnancy. Currently, the usual ethical statement in medicine is that the patient has the right to withdraw their consent at any time. Also in law-if a person changes his or her mind about having sex, even after sexual contact has been initiated, the other partner does not have the right to force him or her to continue. Why do you believe that the rules should be different in pregnancy? Or do you think that the rules should be different all around: that withdrawl of consent is an invalid concept?

  667. #667 Cerberus
    April 19, 2010

    Also that by negentropyeater @660

    Pro-choice means that a woman is allowed to carry a wanted fetus to term and childhood without someone trying to force an abortion on her and an unwanted fetus can be aborted from leeching her body without her being forced to bring it to term and have that 9 months of hell ruining her life.

    And I think this again highlights the undercutting rage that is part of this. A lot of men in particular seem angered that they have so little control over reproduction. That it really is all the woman doing it and that it’s really hers and only her decision whether or not she wants to carry it to term or not.

    They want some way to reach in and impose their mark, either by demanding the right to get rid of it (I could go back in time and stab the fetus like you stabbed me in the cock by saying I’m mostly ancillary to reproduction) or by demanding she bring it to term against her will (yeah, see how haughty you are about being the bringer of life now bitch now that I dictate when and how my precious seed will erupt and how it’s dealt with).

    A lot of it is residual cultural anger from the patriarchy about women no longer being property. It is a very recent development and culturally there are many pockets even here in America where women and children are very much considered property of the “man of the house”. Some men seem unable to handle the fact that women are full people and that they aren’t toys to play around with.

    And some women by internalized sexism are willing to go along with this patriarchy for the illusion of being “better than those women” in some way.

  668. #668 Dianne
    April 19, 2010

    So hypothetically, if I could go back in time and kill you as an embryo, there would be nothing wrong with me doing that?

    Yes, there is, but not what you think: If you went back in time and killed the embryo that would eventuallly form me because I annoyed you then you would have violated causality. Very bad behavior. The same as if you prevented my parents from having sex at just the right moment to conceive the blastulocyte that became me. Both are equivalent acts and I’d really prefer you did neither, but not wanting you to prevent my conception does not mean that I’m pro-continuous orgies to produce as many offspring as possible.

  669. #669 Cerberus
    April 19, 2010

    Also to negentropyeater @660

    The “you’re not even married types” or “why aren’t you married types” are really annoying.

    The asexual community almost has as many horror stories of that crap as the more general feminist community, because for aromantic asexuals, they aren’t really wanting to fall in love and have no other desires to punt them towards marriage, but they almost get attacked by strangers about it. “Why aren’t you marrying? What’s wrong with you? God wants you to marry and reproduce. You’ll think differently when you have children.” Like it’s an affront that a group of people somewhere may not want to have kids.

    Personally, it’s kind of apparent we have a population crisis. Thus, I’m cheered by people who naturally decide to abstain from having kids, because allowing people with this natural inclination is a very natural, women’s choice-centric way to lower the amount of unwanted children and the amount of population growth.

  670. #670 negentropyeater
    April 19, 2010

    Pinkydead,

    As for #636. I agree with everything you say.

    Well I still don’t get what you were trying to say in your comment #602 then…

  671. #671 negentropyeater
    April 19, 2010

    Cerberus,

    Also to negentropyeater @660

    I don’t understand what you mean…

  672. #672 Deen
    April 19, 2010

    I haven’t seen anyone (long thread though) suggesting that you don’t have the right to control your body.

    Except of course for the right to stop your body from being pregnant.

  673. #673 KOPD
    April 19, 2010

    I’ll say that I can understand wanting a world in which abortions don’t happen. But to stop there is simplistic and deadly to women…

    This.

  674. #674 Dianne
    April 19, 2010

    But the definition of where life begins is fuzzy

    No, it’s not. Life began in the precambrian and has come from non-life since then. What is uncertain is when consciousness begins. The available evidence suggests that the answer is probably long after birth. Babies don’t pass the mirror test until about 12-18 months of age. Which is not to say that infanticide is ok: of course, it’s not, if only because the newborn is an independent life and not living parasititcally off another person.

    Nor is a fetus just a newborn in another place. The fetus lives in a low oxygen environment which might prevent consciousness from existing, even assuming that the neurons and axonal/dendritic connections for forming consciousness are present. Which they may not be. So saying that life (ie independent life with rights) begins at birth is actually a fairly conservative position. And the position most consistent with current ethical thinking. Why should pregnancy be different?

  675. #675 Cerberus
    April 19, 2010

    negrentropyeater @671

    Sorry, I put it poorly. I was basically adding on to what you said regarding the annoying “but you’re not married and you may want kids someday” pushers.

    More critically, the thing you’re personal experience is the most like?

    The bs surrounding getting a transition. All of these steps, unnecessary psychological appointments and having your gender deemed “real” by the official say-so of a doctor working off bad Harry Benjamin protocols about what a woman and a man are, because “Oh noes, you might change your mind, we need to make extra, double-plus sure because it’s so likely that you’re making a huge mistake”.

    Nope, women gotta remain fertile and trans people need to stay locked in bodies they hate because there might maybe could possibly be a chance you’d change your mind if we just delay it out.

    Moving that to the abortion debate, the current assaults on abortion access are all about that, delaying when a woman can access an abortion clinic in the hopes that the delays will somehow change her mind or otherwise make it “too late”.

    This would be medical paternalism, of course.

  676. #676 Deen
    April 19, 2010

    Moving that to the abortion debate, the current assaults on abortion access are all about that, delaying when a woman can access an abortion clinic in the hopes that the delays will somehow change her mind or otherwise make it “too late”.

    As well as requiring the woman to make multiple trips and take multiple days off from work. For many women, that means they effectively have no access to abortion anymore.

  677. #677 Stibbons
    April 19, 2010

    Oh, this is a tricky one. I am pro-choice. But someone already stated that it was a sliding scale of uneasiness with it and, well, yeah. Pro-choice, but that choice always has to be informed and I recognise that for some individuals, due to medical, mental, societal or financial reasons (bad or good) the only choice they feel they have is to abort. I value life, but a cell is not a human being, an early term embryo is not a human being, a wasp I swat is a more complex and viable organism but I have no qualms about killing that. However I would not like the job of deciding when, during a pregnancy, abortion ceases to be an option, and when it can still be carried out.

    Not every culture has been so squeamish…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infanticide

  678. #678 https://me.yahoo.com/a/2WTs7ZsrpIHTKihob3v2es8wEMG7Mmo-#60d8b
    April 19, 2010

    Oops, sorry I misgendered you Ol’Greg, it was not intentional, just a sloppy result of assuming from your name.

    On the ‘five minutes before birth’ issue, like Thompson said in the article I linked to, it is the right to terminate a pregnancy that is absolute, if it can be done without fetal fatality, that’s perfectly acceptable. Thompson’s position would be that the woman always retains the right to remove the fetus from her body, but after there is a chance for viability, barring health and other factions, induction or c-section should be the preferred removal method. If the fetus can survive outside the womb, by all means it may do so without further imposition on the woman’s body. (Also, as a practical matter, five minutes before delivery is too late to prepare for anything but delivery in terms of removal and too late for induction meds to really get the fetus out any quicker).

  679. #679 Cerberus
    April 19, 2010

    Stibbons @677

    Which is why the best method is to leave each woman to decide that for herself, educate the public about what a fetus is and is not with real scientific data, and fully fight for feminism and greater cultural equality for women so she is more and more treated as a full human being.

    Your link to infanticide has no relevance to any of that or even the abortion debate at all. If a person wants to give up the rights of parenthood of a specific child they can do so and if they fail to prove competence that endangers the child, the government can take them away.

    This again, has nothing to do with a fetus being developed with toll on the woman’s body by the woman’s body, especially when consent has been withdrawn.

    I think birth is a fabulous compromise of when to mark the independent humanity. But even if we tried to push back humanity, there is no way we should be granting “potential life” greater rights than those given to actual living people.

    And the reason we do so gets at the heart of the ideas of “innocent” and “fallen world” that permeate even our secular culture as well as the more generalized misogyny and dismissal of the humanity and bodily autonomy of women only.

  680. #680 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkZ6bud_2OWnH4ya1KYZ-QpvDKkqP4LTac
    April 19, 2010

    Gingerbaker @561 – rape is invasion. So the Smith/Jones analogy holds in the case of a pregnancy by rape. So abortion is ok in the case of rape? And by the way, sex is not an invitation to pregnancy if one takes precautions that fail.

  681. #681 Cerberus
    April 19, 2010

    googlename @680

    Pregnancy isn’t consented to if one didn’t consent to being impregnated and just like someone can withdraw consent during sex if it isn’t working for them, they should be able to withdraw consent during pregnancy.

    It isn’t just, did they use precautions. The very act of seeking an abortion is pretty much a clear sign the pregnancy is not being consented to, nor the impregnation.

    We make precautions as available as they are to limit the amount of unwanted pregnancies by giving more options to prevent unwanted fertilization and implantation so that an unwanted pregnancy does not occur, but when it does occur it should be freely available cause, yeah, consent has been withdrawn. All those in the womb must vacate with all post haste.

  682. #682 chgo_liz
    April 19, 2010

    The reason foetuses don’t have rights is because they can’t contribute to the debate.

    And yet, when some of us who were unwanted fetuses unwillingly brought to term come into this discussion to talk about what we’ve experienced as a direct result of anti-choice laws, our life experience is discounted/ignored/insulted by Skatje.

    Toying with theoretical ideas that end in denying human rights to women *and* the unwanted babies they are forced to carry is doubly wrong, ignorant, immoral, unethical…pick an adjective.

  683. #683 Cath the Canberra Cook
    April 19, 2010

    Oh dear. My great grandmother and a great-aunt died because abortion was illegal. But that’s just a meaningless sob story, right? As is the story of my grandmother, who got pulled out of school, aged 13, to be the carer for her five siblings, because her mother was dead. Anecdotes are such dull things compared to abstract ethical speculation, aren’t they?

    I’d like to think that sort of thing was all in the past, at least in the first world… and yes, I am very much reminded of the anti-vacc people who have never seen polio or pertussis.

  684. #684 BigMKnows
    April 19, 2010

    PZ wrote:

    if you have reached the conclusion that a fetus at age X is an individual, some reasonable approximation of a human being, then the argument about the woman’s autonomy doesn’t matter — you don’t get to kill a person simply because they are dependent on another individual, their mother.

    Yet that misses the point that so many others were making, that the personhood status of the fetus is irrelevant, because you don’t have the right to use another person’s body, even if you will die as a result. Imagine that you are the only compatible organ donor for someone on the verge of death. They do not have the right to force you to undergo an operation and make the organ donation.

    Imagine a more hypothetical situation, where someone could only live if they physically attached themselves to your body. Without getting your permission, you wake up one morning to find that they HAVE physically attached themselves to your body. You would have every right to remove them, even if it meant that they would die. That is the case with fetuses.

  685. #685 somewhereingreece
    April 19, 2010

    JeffreyD:

    Post #544, First line: ?Soooo many anecdotal sob stories.?

    That may be the single most condescending, insensitive thing I have ever seen written on this blog by someone who was not obviously trying to be a troll of assholeroic proportions.

    Quoted For Truth.

    I mean seriously. The stories recounted are not (sadly) rare occurrences, but they are heart-wrenching nonetheless.

    You are a vegetarian due to some empathy with animals. Yet when some of your own species bare their wounds, instead of showing, if not compassion, then at least common courtesy, you wave off the painful life experiences of people who have suffered in the past and perhaps still do. And, according to your first post, this is not how you were raised.

    The thought that someone as callous and uncompassionate as you has a right to vote fills me with dread, as you are demonstrably unfit to be part of any societal decision-making process. For if you had the slightest bit of any decent attribute, you would have humbly apologised to Ol’Greg and czgo_liz and everyone else who had to suffer for hurting their feelings and thank profusely Caine, Fleur du mal, and everyone like her for their efforts to stand by women during what is always a trying time.

    Congratulations Skatje Myers. You managed to elevate yourself from most smackable person in the blog to Most Smackable Person In The Internet. I hope you enjoy your title in whatever fantasy land you live in and that unicorns don’t eat your rose bushes.

    PS: Oh, and something else, MSPITI. I see your “fuck off” and I raise you double. I had more empathy and compassion for unwanted children and suffering pregnant women at less than *half* your age, when I was still a pious and sanctimonious little shit who believed that only “bad” girls have sex outside of marriage (of which belief I eventually recovered before 19, mind you). So far the only thing you have achieved is how proud you are of being irrelevant to the human condition.

  686. #686 Yubal
    April 19, 2010

    @ Deen #362

    At least you are already aware that you are selfish and your morals are off.

    That is exactly what moral is supposed to be. Selfishness. Morales are self-righteous, any attempt to expand then to the entire society will eventually fail on our individual diversity.

    A woman has just as much right to reject your genetic information when it is embedded in a fetus as when it is in your sperm.

    That is correct, but also, women are supposed to choose the partner based on their judgment of the genetic information before they receive it. That is the major obligation of the female in breeding and also a major drive in evolution.

    Female -> Only pick the worthy male for pregnancy is resource expensive.

    Male -> Pick every mate possible.

    You also speak as if you can own a fetus, and pay a woman for the use of her body.

    I did not say that. You can not own a fetus or a child. A fetus IS part of the female body with the inherent property to develop in a child. I would always give it a chance, that is what I said. What other options do I have in this society than offering a bribe? I can not force her to go through this process.

    I am enlisted for bone-marrow donation. Which means I might need go through a short but very unpleasant procedure without rewards in order to ‘maybe’ save someones life I do not know. I can refuse the procedure if I do change my mind when the situation comes up. I guess if the particular patient would know my name, he/she or the patient’s family would try to bribe me into that procedure, too. Don’t you think?

  687. #687 frog, Inc.
    April 19, 2010

    JillianSwift: Abortion is not a tragedy, abortion prevents tragedy.

    Ahh, this assumption that abortions are 99% of the time by young girls, drunks, and child abusers.

    It’s assumed on both sides, when the reality is that families often have abortions under more difficult conditions. They often want the child, but realize that they simply don’t have the resources, that the timing would be detrimental to currently existing children, that you are too old, and so on.

    So often it is a tragedy, but also prevents a tragedy. Life is complicated like that. We are often stuck on the horns of a dilemma.

    So, you end up sad that you couldn’t raise another child — that you had to be practical and minimize harm, rather than maximize the good.

    Being finite is a tragedy — the tragedy of existence. It is also what makes our choices so valuable, our lives heroic in a sense.

  688. #688 Cerberus
    April 19, 2010

    Ah balls, I just figured out why negentropyeater was so confused at 671, the original comment and my follow-up was actually going off Caine at 657 and I got a brain-fart on the names and the numbers.

    Does studying Alzheimer’s actually cause Alzheimer’s?

    Anyways, apologies to both negentropyeater and Caine for the confusion.

  689. #689 Azkyroth
    April 19, 2010

    Dunno if this point was addressed (and ain’t gonna read through to find out) but…

    even assuming the embryo WAS a person, why would this legitimize essentially enslaving another person for a minimum of nine months in order for it to use the second person’s body to keep itself alive? Would anti-choicers also argue that people who refuse to donate organs be compelled by law to do so?

  690. #690 Carlie
    April 19, 2010

    Would anti-choicers also argue that people who refuse to donate organs be compelled by law to do so?

    Apparently, only if they had sex with the person who needed the organ first.

  691. #691 Ibis3
    April 19, 2010

    @678

    On the ‘five minutes before birth’ issue, like Thompson said in the article I linked to, it is the right to terminate a pregnancy that is absolute, if it can be done without fetal fatality, that’s perfectly acceptable. Thompson’s position would be that the woman always retains the right to remove the fetus from her body, but after there is a chance for viability, barring health and other factions, induction or c-section should be the preferred removal method. If the fetus can survive outside the womb, by all means it may do so without further imposition on the woman’s body.

    With the medical technology we have this is not a theoretical “5 minutes before birth” nonsensical scenario. Very much undeveloped foetuses/neonates can be kept alive through extensive medical intervention. Are you suggesting that if a woman is 23 or 24 weeks pregnant when she decides to terminate, that she should be forced to give birth and have the preterm neonate hooked up to machines to keep it alive? Despite the suffering of the infant, the possible brain damage, incomplete development, cerebral palsy etc.? Not to mention the fact that you’d be forcing her to become a parent with all the responsibilities of supporting and raising this child for the rest of its life? or putting her in the position to have to adopt it out (& what are the chances of that happening successfully given the aforementioned medical complications)?

    This is a nightmare scenario if I’ve ever heard one.

    Sorry, even if the foetus is viable, it’s still all right for the woman to have an abortion and terminate the foetus. In the real world (especially one where there are no bars to abortion), it would be a rare thing indeed for a healthy woman to say “let me carry this healthy foetus until it’s nearly fully developed (i.e. 36-40 weeks) and then I’ll terminate the pregnancy with an unpleasant medical procedure”.

  692. #692 craig.mcgillivary
    April 19, 2010

    PZ should read Peter Singer’s Practical Ethics and Animal Liberation. The thing is that a newborn baby has less cognitive abilities than an adult pig. The problem with the pro-life position isn’t that they claim that a fetus is a human being. Its that they claim it is a person and then don’t make similar moral claims about animals. Moreover there are many cases where infanticide is justified such as when a baby is born without a brain stem or with other severe disabilities. Its definitely true that we ultimately have to draw the line somewhere arbitrary, but we have to base it on the morally relevant characteristics of the being and not insist on a superior status for beings of our species. I also don’t think men can extract ourselves from discussions about where these lines should be drawn.

  693. #693 Deen
    April 19, 2010

    @Azkyroth in #689: don’t worry, it was only brought up a dozen or so times ;)

  694. #694 Dianne
    April 19, 2010

    Moreover there are many cases where infanticide is justified such as when a baby is born without a brain stem

    If you mean anencephaly, that’s not infanticide, that’s organ donation. No brain activity=dead.

  695. #695 Ibis3
    April 19, 2010

    @myself #691
    I feel compelled to add that, as far as I’m concerned, the woman has the right to abortion even at the unlikely 36-40 week mark. Her legal responsibility as a parent begins at the same time as the father’s: after she gives birth. Until then, the foetus is, for all intents and purposes part of her own body to do with as she wills (or a parasite if you prefer).

  696. #696 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    April 19, 2010

    Wow, I just realized the “Anecdotal sob stories comment” was from Skatje.

    Listen, you stupid twit, your argument is entirely theoretical and emotional. You have not submitted one iota of evidence. You have not provided even one shred of empirical fact that supports your position (For instance, that the children that go into adoption are generally happy, not miserable, or are well cared for, etc). You do not get the right to go “OMG ANECDOTES” at the side that has had the courtesy to provide empirical evidence in support of their points.

  697. #697 Dianne
    April 19, 2010

    don’t worry, it was only brought up a dozen or so times ;)

    Brought up, yes. Responded to, no. Keep bringing it up until you get an answer or the thread dies of bloat.

  698. #698 Deen
    April 19, 2010

    @craig.mcgillivary:

    Its definitely true that we ultimately have to draw the line somewhere arbitrary

    Actually, no we don’t. There is no reason to impose some arbitrary line and expect it to apply to everyone. We can and should evaluate abortions on a case by case basis, with the ultimate decision resting with the mother, as she is the one taking all the risks. Incidentally, that’s also how most abortion laws appear to be structured in practice.

  699. #699 Aquaria
    April 19, 2010

    Man, does adoption NOT exist?

    This is how we know you are young and thus completely unaware of certain realities that your privileged middle-class life post-Roe v Wade has protected you from.

    Before Roe v. Wade, orphanages were both more abundant and more populated than they are now, probably millions of children in them at any given time, and not even 1% of the orphans were adopted. Roe v Wade made orphanages less of a blight on the landscape. But they will return with a vengeance if abortion ever becomes illegal again. There simply aren’t enough adoptive parents to meet the supply of babies that would flood the market, dooming children to a very mean existence.

    And for what? Abortion will never go away. Not entirely. Like it or not, women will get raped, forget birth control, have birth control fail, get abandoned by a man, fall for the wrong kind of man, lose their heads over a man, and have complications with pregnancies that will make many of them turn to abortion by any means necessary to rid themselves of an unwanted pregnancy. These realities will never change, and expecting that any of it will is both deluded and dangerous.

    As for what happens when abortion is illegal, nothing needs to be said but this.

    Look at that image long and hard, skatje.

    That is what happens when abortion is illegal. That is what your ideal would result in. That’s why it’s an ideal–it’s usually not possible in reality, and would cause horrific suffering if it were. Wanting abortion illegal definitely results in the latter.

    Out here in reality, ideals about wielding pregnancy as a weapon against women who get ideas about being sexual will literally kill women who are mothers, daughters, sisters, cousins and friends. And when they die, they usually take with them the unborn you deem somehow superior to living breathing women. And superior the unborn are to you, because you care more about their rights than you do about the rights of the living, breathing women pregnant with them. That’s why you are sexist, and all your obfuscating and denial won’t change that.

  700. #700 Antiochus Epiphanes
    April 19, 2010

    So hypothetically, if I could go back in time and kill you as an embryo, there would be nothing wrong with me doing that?

    Of course there is. It would be a violation of the Temporal Prime Directive. In other words, Star Fleet would have your ass on a silver platter.

  701. #701 Dianne
    April 19, 2010

    Star Fleet would have your ass on a silver platter.

    Unless, of course, preventing the birth of the hypothetical person prevented Star Fleet from ever forming…

  702. #702 smsprite
    April 19, 2010

    Being in my mid-30s I am realizing that I don’t understand the generation that is younger than I. I’ve had students declare to me that they are pro-abortion when they tell me about debating abortion at school. I will smile and say, “don’t you mean pro-choice” and they almost always look at me like I’ve sprouted a second head and say, “No… I’m 100% pro-abortion!” I’m positive they really don’t know what that means.

    Then there are those that are apathetic to the debate. The whole, “*I’d* never do it, but I’m not going to stand in the way of it becoming illegal.” Like anyone really knows what they would or would not do when actually IN the situation of being pregnant unexpectedly. This group bothers me more than the pro-lifers. At least the pro-lifer brand of bat-shit craziness is identifiable.

    I think that this next generation is very far removed from Roe vs. Wade and what things were like prior to that time. This detachment to the issue is changing the dynamics of the debate. That’s their grandparent’s time. I, myself, only have knowledge of that time from my mother’s generation – those women that fought very hard for equal rights.

    To them I would ask what would they hope for their daughters or grand-daughters in the future? Should they be not granted the privledge of control over their own bodies because YOU were too lazy to care whether or not abortion was legal or not? And let’s not forget, those that would ban abortion also want to ban ANY form of birth control and stood firmly against the shot for cervical cancer prevention. Would you wish that on any future daughters of yours too? Because when the one falls, it will start a very slippery slope for the others also. We can’t let the nutty pro-life movement have that momentum.

    As an aside, while participating in the Planned Parenthood Solidarity Event on Good Friday this year (my first year participating in this counter protest) I was so proud when I overheard a woman in her SUV that was passing us telling her young children (looked like 2 girls and a boy between the ages of 5 – 10), “those women are out there standing up for your rights.” Damn straight! I’ll be out there next year too!

  703. #703 MaxH
    April 19, 2010

    “Also, some people are ‘uneasy’ about the whole abortion thing. Fine; don’t get one. Your personal feelings of yuckiness shouldn’t be a factor in deciding what other people do. ”

    It’s obviously not as simple as that. Like you said, the line is fuzzy as to when life begins.

    So would you rather err on the side of protecting human life or destroying it?

    And that decision isn’t just for me. If our current law was more heavily influenced by religion, and the law said that a newborn didn’t have a soul (and therefore life worth protecting) until the eighth day, would you nod and smile if they said, “Make your decision for yourself – we’ll continue to retroactively abort on the third day after birth.”

    No, you’d call it wrong and work to stop the murder.

  704. #704 Katharine
    April 19, 2010

    Shit, folks, just… shit.

    Skatje, I’m frankly ashamed I ever had any respect for you now that you come out with something like what you’ve come out with.

  705. #705 skatje.myers
    April 19, 2010

    I’m probably not going to comment too much more here, since it’s gotten so far away from what I was originally saying.

    Do I feel sympathy for your great-grandmother, or grandmother? Yes. What has happened is tragic. Would I have supported preventing them from obtaining an abortion? Likely not.

    Do I feel sympathy for you, who’s simultaneously using your confession of personal information as a right to make condescending jabs at my personal life? Not so much.

    I respect the people in your stories, but I see no reason to respect you. You’re right that I wouldn’t be disowned for getting pregnant. But you don’t know me. You don’t know what I can empathise with, you don’t know who I know personally who may have similar stories. You are being awfully presumptuous.

    (This is applying to the condescending jackasses, not to everyone. I was being pissy at aforementioned people, and apologise that some kinder people got caught in my fantastic blanket statementing.)

    Also, the idea that I need to provide “evidence”, because my argument is all theory, is rather silly. Sorry, no, this is going to come down to a philosophical debate. I can’t give you a statistic on why I find it important to value fetuses, or value adult humans, for that matter.

    To make my point clearer, let’s say there was an election. One candidate was saying he would outlaw abortion. The other candidate was saying he would fix the adoption system, and/or put better sex education in schools, and/or, give out free contraceptives. This would be an easy choice. I care far more about those things and lowering abortion rates that way than to straight outlaw it. If that still offends you, by all means, keep crying.

  706. #706 Nerd of Redhead, OM
    April 19, 2010

    So would you rather err on the side of protecting human life or destroying it?

    Sorry, your question is inane. It is between the fetus and the human being. Her humanity you cannot be denied in any fashion. Stand across the street and take a photo of the alleged human being you are trying to save. I bet you will only see the woman. Saving her may require an abortion…

  707. #707 JustALurker
    April 19, 2010

    @703

    The example doesn’t stand because once the child is born it can be cared for by any other human being. That would be considered infanticide and no way that would stand up especially based on something as nonexistent as a “soul”. This point as been made before but let me reiterate, the fetus is not a person and even if it was no fucking person on the plant has the right to use my body to survive without my permission. My body, my right, my permission. period. I don’t have to save another life by donated organs if it makes me “uneasy” but that doesn’t mean I have the right to restrict others from doing so. Thats their body, their organs, their choice. Read the thread others have said it better and there’s so much there to help educate you.

    And no by having sex I did not give the embryo the right to form and implant. If you are so worried about life of an embryo, how about all the unknown miscarriages that happen simply because they didn’t implant?

    I apologize if I am overly sensitive, defensi