Saturday, September 6

Did anyone else hear this?

On All Things Considered?

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Fair use, baby. And transcript by me:

Female College Republican: This is Pearl. I am a pro-life Republican. I hope that she [Sarah Palin] will vote for overturning Roe v. Wade. Although I'm not sure about the details of legalizing abortion in the cases of rape or incest, or things like that, because in those specific cases then I am, um, pro-abortion, um...

NPR host: She has said that she doesn't support abortion, even in those cases, rape or incest.

Student: Okay, well that's news to me. Well hopefully, in that case, she will have had enough advice, because I think if she does, make it completely illegal, there will be, it'll be, it will cause a lot of controversy.

....


HUH? Okay this is a very young woman who is obviously completely indoctrinated and intellectually over her head. If I weren't a democrat-small-d, I'd say it's a pity she can vote. But her equivocation on abortion is proof positive that we Democrats HAVE to take the issue to them, HAVE to say right to Sarah Palin's face, hey, wait a goddamn minute:

Are you in favor or arresting and prosecuting women who have abortions?

Are you in favor of forcing women under the age of 18, 16, 14, to carry a baby to term if they are pregnant due to being raped by their own father?

How long should the prison term be for any woman who breaks that law? Life without parole?

And so on. And point out that hell yeah, abortion is icky, let's make sure everyone has lots of alternatives to that morally unpleasant and emotionally trying experience. But think before you change laws to suit the fundies. You. Will. Be. Sorry.

39 comments:

  1. ...let's make sure everyone has lots of alternatives to that morally unpleasant and emotionally trying experience.

    Here's a thought. I know it's pretty radical, but bear with me. What if we put kids into a class where they could learn about how their reproductive systems work, and maybe even teach teach them about stuff like condoms?

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  2. Here in a blue northeastern state we have that! And it scared my kids half to death, no way were they rushing into sexual activity after taking "Family Living" class. Which is fine by me!!!

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  3. I heard it and I was appalled...

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  4. PJinDaUP11:51 PM

    Blue Gal, you raise good questions that, unfortunately, some pro-lifers haven't thought about. However, I think the answers that honest and compassionate pro-life groups have might surprise you.

    "Are you in favor or arresting and prosecuting women who have abortions?"

    No - These women need our compassion, counseling, and any other help we can give them. Their baby is gone, jailing them accomplishes nothing. Jailing the abortionist on the other hand will save countless lives.

    "Are you in favor of forcing women under the age of 18, 16, 14, to carry a baby to term if they are pregnant due to being raped by their own father?"

    Yes - First of all, we MUST recognize that this woman has gone through what must be one of the most horrible experiences imaginable, and MUST be offered all the help, compassion, and counseling available.

    Secondly, will the abortion help this woman? Will she forget her rape? Will she forget the child she aborts? We need to help her deal with the trauma of rape, and not add ANOTHER trauma.

    Rape is an awful attack on the body of an innocent person, and similarly, so is an abortion. There are women who have been raped, conceived, had an abortion, and are currently in counseling for the abortion and not the rape. We need to love and help BOTH persons involved, the mother and the child.

    After all, the child is innocent, and cannot help how he or she was conceived, and therefore cannot be punished for the rapists crime. And if the mother decides not to give the child up for abortion, the mother will come to know the love of the child. Love heals violence, violence does not heal violence.

    "How long should the prison term be for any woman who breaks that law? Life without parole?"

    Again, the woman who gets an abortion will receive our help, not prosecution.

    I would love to hear your thoughts on what I have had to say. Obviously this is a very heated topic, I hope my desire for an calm and open dialogue has come through in this post.

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  5. geek_guy1:05 AM


    No - These women need our compassion, counseling, and any other help we can give them. Their baby is gone, jailing them accomplishes nothing. Jailing the abortionist on the other hand will save countless lives.


    The women are too dumb to make choices so we deny them of that choice. Since they are too dumb to know their "sins" we provide compassion instead of viable alternatives.

    Yes - First of all, we MUST recognize that this woman has gone through what must be one of the most horrible experiences imaginable, and MUST be offered all the help, compassion, and counseling available.

    She is under 18, but still a dumb woman unable to decide for herself.

    Secondly, will the abortion help this woman? Will she forget her rape? Will she forget the child she aborts? We need to help her deal with the trauma of rape, and not add ANOTHER trauma.

    We denied the dumb woman proper sex ed, banned condoms, (while allowing Viagra for us horny old men) and refuse to fund "social programs" that would help her thru her hard time. We will only give our love as long as it doesn't involve my tax dollars.

    Now as I read my bible (Deuteronomy 22:28) the penalty for rape is pay 50 shekels and I get to marry the slut. That is the proper Christian thing to do.

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  6. PJinDaUP -- a calm and open dialogue would be welcomed by advocates who support women having the right to safe and legal abortion. In the spirit of full disclosure I support abortion on demand.

    I happen to be a woman who will never have to face this decision, and I have always felt that I don't have the right to make this decision for anyone else. I can't possibly know the circumstances that would lead a woman to make this choice, and therefore I trust that she is intelligent and moral enough to decide for herself.

    You might find it odd that I would use the word "moral." I honestly do think that for some women the most moral decision they can make is to have an abortion. I know women who desperately wanted to have a baby, but complications in the pregnancy prevented that from happening. They were advised by their doctors that if they ever wanted to try again, the best choice would be to have an abortion -- give their bodies time to heal -- and try again. I'm pleased to report that both the woman I know who have done this are mothers today.

    Blue Girl talked about forcing women under the age of 18 to carry a baby to term if they are pregnant due to being raped by their own father. I would respectfully suggest that someone 12, 13, 14, or even 16 isn't a "woman" but a girl. If the young girl has been raped by her father she is in a pretty powerless situation to begin with.

    At her age it’s medically safer for her to have an abortion, than to carry the fetus to term. Again, thinking in terms of 'would she ever want to give birth in the future.'

    You ask if an abortion would "help" a woman who is pregnant as a result of rape. I think if you ask a majority of women who have faced this tragedy they would answer "yes." I've met a lot of women who have had abortions -- some because of rape, others because their contraception failed -- and to a woman they have all told me they felt a sense of relief after having the procedure.

    Since it is clear our point of reference is vastly different, I think that again reinforces why ultimately the decision must be left to the individual woman.

    Roe v. Wade was written to protect the interests of both the woman and the state. There have been many changes to the law since it was authored by Justice Blackmun, but his intent was for it to be legal during the first trimester for women to have abortion on demand. During the second trimester it was a little more complicated, but for the most part the woman could obtain an abortion if that was her desire. By the third trimester, however, there had to be a compelling reason for her to have the abortion. It was no longer simply 'abortion on demand' -- as it is presented by much of the leadership of the anti-abortion movement.

    It's never been the case where a woman who is eight or nine months pregnant could simply walk into a doctor’s office and demand to have an abortion. And I simply don't believe that a woman who has gone through eight months of being pregnant would, on a whim, decide to have an abortion because she just didn't want to be pregnant any longer.

    There could be common ground for both sides to work together to make abortion rare:
    1) comprehensive sex education
    2) accessible and affordable contraception
    3) ending violence against women
    4) helping young girls with self-esteem issues
    5) improving the economic standing of women

    Everyone hopes that parents will take responsibility for educating their children about sex, but not all of them do. Comprehensive sex education in schools can catch those kids who are falling through the cracks.

    If we want to end abortion, then we need to end unplanned pregnancy. Making contraception available and affordable could go a long way toward solving that problem.

    For a lot of reasons we should be doing all we can to end violence against women and girls. Putting an end to rape -- by a stranger, a boyfriend or a husband -- could go a long way toward preventing an unwanted pregnancy. Violence against women can also intersect with the whole issue of self esteem. A young girl devalued as a result of violence in the home, not necessarily sexual violence, might look for affirmation from another source. I've known a few girls who thought pregnancy was the answer for escaping a bad home situation.

    Addressing self-esteem issue in young girls (and boys). It has been demonstrated, for example, that young girls who participate in team sports are more likely to delay the onset of sexual activity. They no longer "need" the attention of a boy to feel accepted.

    And improving the economic standing of all women could help reduce abortion. Women who might be barely able to financially provide for themselves, or as a contributor to their family, are likely not to want to compound the problem by bringing another person into the situation.

    Many on the anti-abortion side are unwilling to even talk about some of these possible solutions. President Bush is trying at this moment to make it harder for women and girls to obtain birth control. How will that help end unplanned, unwanted pregnancy?

    A good friend of mine, Dr. Susan Wicklund, is a physician who provides abortion services to women in three states. She has to wear a bullet-proof vest, because her life is constantly being threatened by individuals who identify themselves as "pro-life." She would tell you that more than 40% of women in this country will have an abortion at some point in their lives. Do we relegate these women to back alleys, where they face possible death from a botched abortion? Some leaving the children they already have behind? Do we allow these women to face the risk that an unsafe abortion might make them unable to conceive children in the future?

    What has bothered me most about this debate is the perception that anti-abortion advocates seem to focus more on the fetus than on the woman. Holly Near has a great song about this with lyrics that say: "if you care about life, why don't you care about mine."

    I will take you at your word that your intent is to "help" women who face unplanned pregnancy. I have been at clinics, watching protesters yelling at women as they attempt to enter a clinic, and it certainly doesn't feel like they are just trying to help.
    One of the dearest women I know is June Barrett, who survived a clinic shooting that took the life of her beloved husband James as they were attempting to escort Dr. Bayard Britton into a women's clinic in Pensacola, FL. Dr. Britton was also killed that day. Paul Hill, the man who shot them, claimed to be doing God's work.

    Many on the anti-abortion side couch their arguments in religious language. I’ve been on the front line at clinics defending a woman’s right to choose abortion, and I can assure you that at no time have I ever witnessed an anti-abortion advocate waving a medical journal telling the women entering the clinics, or the doctors inside, that they are practicing bad medicine. They wave Bibles -- and they tell women they are committing a sin against God.

    At the center of the abortion debate are important questions of ethics and beliefs. These questions are sometimes difficult -- and ultimately they will be resolved by individuals in accordance with the dictates of their own conscience. In many cases, the dictates of a woman’s conscience will be influenced by her religious beliefs. Religious liberty is a basic right guaranteed to all Americans by the First Amendment. To take away a woman’s right to make personal decisions about her body is to deny her basic right to religious freedom.

    As I mentioned above, where my view on this differs from the people I have encountered on the anti-abortion side, is that I trust women. I believe that women are intelligent and moral enough to make this personal decision for themselves.


    BAC

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  7. BG, thanks for your very thoughtful posts on the issue of abortion, Palin's extremist far-right deranged views, and Democratic Party framing of the issue. Yours is the best writing I have seen on this topic, one that is key electorally, pragmatically, and morally. Because it is *immoral* to force women to continue a pregnancy they do not wish to continue, and it is *no one's motherfucking business* how she got pregnant and why she wishes not to continue the pregnancy.

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  8. BAC... Your point that we prevent/end abortion by preventing/ending unplanned pregnancies is the key point here.

    PJinDaUP... You make some good points in the most sensible way I've seen from the anti-choice crowd. You actually sound pro-life. However...

    I will never forget the show I saw once where a young man who was the child of a rape victim, put up for adoption, finding and meeting his birth mother. Twenty-some years later, the woman was traumatized by the meeting. The sight of the man and the knowledge of who he was, brought allllll the pain and suffering back to her as if it happened the day before. And the young man who had previously been miserable in his life, feeling unwanted and unloved was now suicidal. You might be able to come up with some theoretical solutions or hypothetical's that would have prevented all this but face it:

    Some people would be better off not born. I know that sounds harsh, but I believe it's true.

    I personally find abortion distasteful, but since it never has been and never will be a decision "I" will have to face, being that it's a biological impossibility, my position is irrelevant. Abortion MUST remain an option protected from crazies like Palin and Dobson.

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  9. for a political party that has been "preaching" for more years than i can remember about less government interference and more personal responsiblity they really don't believe in either of the two unless it suits their purpose.

    they have got to be one of the biggest hypocritical organisations this country has ever seen.

    they want laws that reach into my womb. you can not GET much more powerful than that.

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  10. yeph..... that would prolly cause controversy.... yeph, by golly..... yeph

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  11. PJinDaUP,

    These pro-life groups' responses to BG's questions use words of compassion...but what is compassionate about denying a woman of all her options? Noone can know what will be more or less traumatic for another person, so compassion requires letting that person choose her own path among ALL the available options.

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  12. wow -- a intellectual and thoughtful and unheated debate on abortion --- something not often found these days

    as a man --- for some reason i feel i should stay on the sidelines - who am i to know what a woman must be going through when facing this decision - i will never be there and never have the experience,

    there is no more personal choice than your own body - i am not religious, but if there was a god - he gave us a body for us to decide how to use it. and no one should be telling us what we can or cannot do.

    BAC states the case stronger than i hav seen in along time -

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  13. This shows that as people become more educated about their political figures, they become less likely to vote for them.

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  14. PJinDaUP10:03 PM

    BAC - I think we both agree that heated arguments and name calling gets us nowhere, thank you for engaging me in a respectful tone. I must apologize for the length of this post, but I feel I must quote you so our debate remains clear. Also, I am sorry it has took me so long to reply, I have been typing this up as I have had free time throughout the day, so it took awhile. And in the same spirit of full disclosure, I support a ban on abortion even in the case of rape and incest.

    
"I happen to be a woman who will never have to face this decision, and I have always felt that I don't have the right to make this decision for anyone else. I can't possibly know the circumstances that would lead a woman to make this choice, and therefore I trust that she is intelligent and moral enough to decide for herself."

    I think part of what you are saying here is that, unless you have experienced something, you will never understand it in a way that those who have experienced it will. I would agree with that completely. However, I disagree with the second part of your statement, which implies that unless you can directly experience something you can have no say on whether it is right or wrong.

    

"You might find it odd that I would use the word "moral." I honestly do think that for some women the most moral decision they can make is to have an abortion. I know women who desperately wanted to have a baby, but complications in the pregnancy prevented that from happening. They were advised by their doctors that if they ever wanted to try again, the best choice would be to have an abortion -- give their bodies time to heal -- and try again. I'm pleased to report that both the woman I know who have done this are mothers today."

    I sympathize with the situation these women were in, our second child was miscarried, and it was difficult for me and much more so for my wife. However, it cannot be denied that every human's most basic right is the right to their own life. One person's desire to have a baby does not trump my right to my own life, your right to your own life, or the fetus' right to its own life.

    

"Blue Girl talked about forcing women under the age of 18 to carry a baby to term if they are pregnant due to being raped by their own father. I would respectfully suggest that someone 12, 13, 14, or even 16 isn't a "woman" but a girl. If the young girl has been raped by her father she is in a pretty powerless situation to begin with. "

    An excellent point, at these ages "girl" is certainly more appropriate than "woman" There is also no doubt that is quite powerless, the only person less powerless is the baby she carries.

    

"At her age it’s medically safer for her to have an abortion, than to carry the fetus to term. Again, thinking in terms of 'would she ever want to give birth in the future.'"

    Again I would state that one person's desire to have children does not trump another person's right to live.



    "You ask if an abortion would "help" a woman who is pregnant as a result of rape. I think if you ask a majority of women who have faced this tragedy they would answer "yes." I've met a lot of women who have had abortions -- some because of rape, others because their contraception failed -- and to a woman they have all told me they felt a sense of relief after having the procedure."

    I have also read testimonies of a feeling of relief after abortion, and it is easy to see why. The immediate difficulties and stresses of carrying the pregnancy to term, caring for the baby financially and emotionally, etc are removed. I have also read in these same testimonies that the immediate relief often gives way to long term psychological problems. I have also read that women who come to regret their abortions almost always defended their decision initially, even for many years, before finally acknowledging the pain that they had been suffering privately. Please understand that I do not mean to imply that the women you spoke to were lying or as another less eloquent poster here has put it "too dumb" to understand their own feelings, or that I know their feelings better than they do. Only they know how they feel. Some of them may unearth other feelings as time goes on.

    

"Since it is clear our point of reference is vastly different, I think that again reinforces why ultimately the decision must be left to the individual woman. 

Roe v. Wade was written to protect the interests of both the woman and the state."

    At the expense of the baby's "inalienable right to life"

    "There have been many changes to the law since it was authored by Justice Blackmun, but his intent was for it to be legal during the first trimester for women to have abortion on demand. During the second trimester it was a little more complicated, but for the most part the woman could obtain an abortion if that was her desire. By the third trimester, however, there had to be a compelling reason for her to have the abortion. It was no longer simply 'abortion on demand' -- as it is presented by much of the leadership of the anti-abortion movement.

It's never been the case where a woman who is eight or nine months pregnant could simply walk into a doctor’s office and demand to have an abortion. And I simply don't believe that a woman who has gone through eight months of being pregnant would, on a whim, decide to have an abortion because she just didn't want to be pregnant any longer."

    And yet, the wording of the laws are so vague that almost any reason can be used if used in the right terms. Also, and more importantly, none of this takes into account the fetus' right to life.

    

"There could be common ground for both sides to work together to make abortion rare:

    1) comprehensive sex education
    
2) accessible and affordable contraception 

    3) ending violence against women

    4) helping young girls with self-esteem issues

    5) improving the economic standing of women

Everyone hopes that parents will take responsibility for educating their children about sex, but not all of them do. Comprehensive sex education in schools can catch those kids who are falling through the cracks."

    It depends on what kind of comprehensive sex education we are talking about. Also, it is the parent's fundamental right to choose how their children are educated, not the state's. And that works both ways - if you don't like what your children are learning or not learning, you as a parent should have the right to change schools or teach them yourself.

    

"If we want to end abortion, then we need to end unplanned pregnancy. Making contraception available and affordable could go a long way toward solving that problem."

    Short of sterilizing everyone, we will never END unplanned pregnancy. On rare occasions, even sterilization has failures. No contraceptive method is 100% effective, as you know, so while it is a goal we should be working towards, it will never totally be achieved. Also, an increase in contraception has not shown to decrease unplanned pregnancies. In fact, since the widespread use of contraception began unplanned pregnancies have increased dramatically. Sex will always do two things - create emotional ties (sometimes good, sometimes bad) and create the possibility of pregnancy. Contraception enforces the illusion of sex without consequences, which leads to more sex by those who do not wish to get pregnant, which leads to more unwanted pregnancies.

    

"For a lot of reasons we should be doing all we can to end violence against women and girls. Putting an end to rape -- by a stranger, a boyfriend or a husband -- could go a long way toward preventing an unwanted pregnancy. Violence against women can also intersect with the whole issue of self esteem. A young girl devalued as a result of violence in the home, not necessarily sexual violence, might look for affirmation from another source. I've known a few girls who thought pregnancy was the answer for escaping a bad home situation.

Addressing self-esteem issue in young girls (and boys). It has been demonstrated, for example, that young girls who participate in team sports are more likely to delay the onset of sexual activity. They no longer "need" the attention of a boy to feel accepted."

    I agree whole-heartedly here.

    

"And improving the economic standing of all women could help reduce abortion. Women who might be barely able to financially provide for themselves, or as a contributor to their family, are likely not to want to compound the problem by bringing another person into the situation."

    Certainly I am for improving the economic standing of women, or anyone! I believe that effective social programs to help the less fortunate are necessary in any truly democratic country.



    "Many on the anti-abortion side are unwilling to even talk about some of these possible solutions. President Bush is trying at this moment to make it harder for women and girls to obtain birth control. How will that help end unplanned, unwanted pregnancy?"

    As I have stated before, more contraception has not proven to reduce unwanted pregnancies, indeed just the opposite.



    "A good friend of mine, Dr. Susan Wicklund, is a physician who provides abortion services to women in three states. She has to wear a bullet-proof vest, because her life is constantly being threatened by individuals who identify themselves as "pro-life.""

    Your friend should not have to live in fear of those who call themselves pro-life. To be sure, anyone who violently attack abortion clinics is clearly confused about the obvious meaning of "pro-life". The ends do not justify the means, Dr. Wicklund has a right to her life, just as the fetus she aborts have a right to theirs. For what little it is worth, I am ashamed about the horrors done by those who mistakenly call themselves pro-life, and I would appreciate it if you passed that on to your friend.



    "She would tell you that more than 40% of women in this country will have an abortion at some point in their lives. Do we relegate these women to back alleys, where they face possible death from a botched abortion? Some leaving the children they already have behind? Do we allow these women to face the risk that an unsafe abortion might make them unable to conceive children in the future?"

    We do not relegate these women to potential death from botched abortions, just as we don't relegate their fetus to certain death from successful abortions. We offer all the help and counseling possible, and help that woman place the child for adoption or raise it herself.

    "What has bothered me most about this debate is the perception that anti-abortion advocates seem to focus more on the fetus than on the woman. Holly Near has a great song about this with lyrics that say: "if you care about life, why don't you care about mine.""

    There certainly are "pro-lifers" out there who are don't understand that you can't really be pro-life without being what some have called "pro-life/whole life". I think you will find that those who are really serious about the pro-life cause must understand that if we value the fetus' life, then it stands to reason that mothers life MUST be valued equally. What has bothered me most about this debate is the fact that "anti-life" advocates focus completely on the woman, and never on the fetus. They must be valued equally.

    

"I will take you at your word that your intent is to "help" women who face unplanned pregnancy. I have been at clinics, watching protesters yelling at women as they attempt to enter a clinic, and it certainly doesn't feel like they are just trying to help."

    I haven't done any protests, but if it as you described than I am sure it didn't promote the feeling of empathy that is needed to those considering abortion. However, I have also seen videos of what is often called sidewalk counseling that has been compassionate, as well as effective.

    
"One of the dearest women I know is June Barrett, who survived a clinic shooting that took the life of her beloved husband James as they were attempting to escort Dr. Bayard Britton into a women's clinic in Pensacola, FL. Dr. Britton was also killed that day. Paul Hill, the man who shot them, claimed to be doing God's work."

    Again, let me express my shame at what has been done in the name of God and the pro-life position. My sincere sympathies to your friend and the deceased.

    

"Many on the anti-abortion side couch their arguments in religious language. I’ve been on the front line at clinics defending a woman’s right to choose abortion, and I can assure you that at no time have I ever witnessed an anti-abortion advocate waving a medical journal telling the women entering the clinics, or the doctors inside, that they are practicing bad medicine. They wave Bibles -- and they tell women they are committing a sin against God."

    One need not invoke religion to discuss the pro-life position, as I have not. And I would argue that abortion is indeed bad medicine as it ends a life intentionally. Also, the advancements in embryology and fetology have greatly strengthened the pro-life argument. As far as using religion to convince people not to get an abortion, it could be very useful if a Christian is talking to a Christian, a Jew to a Jew, etc. I certainly think it should always be done with a great sense of empathy. Just telling someone they are sinning isn't helpful in any way. It makes me think of that church that was protesting solders funerals because they were fighting for a country that had gay people in it. Horrendous. Westboro Baptist Church I believe? I can imagine many a good Baptist was outraged by their behavior.

    

"At the center of the abortion debate are important questions of ethics and beliefs. These questions are sometimes difficult -- and ultimately they will be resolved by individuals in accordance with the dictates of their own conscience. In many cases, the dictates of a woman’s conscience will be influenced by her religious beliefs. Religious liberty is a basic right guaranteed to all Americans by the First Amendment. To take away a woman’s right to make personal decisions about her body is to deny her basic right to religious freedom."

    I would agree with most of this except for the fact that the fetus is not the woman's body. It is the fetus' body, a separate human body, with its own DNA, and one need not invoke religion to see this as truth. I would submit that THIS is the central issue of the abortion debate, as well as the central disconnect between those that support abortion and those that oppose it.



    "As I mentioned above, where my view on this differs from the people I have encountered on the anti-abortion side, is that I trust women. I believe that women are intelligent and moral enough to make this personal decision for themselves."

    I would argue that one can trust women and still oppose abortion. I trust other people as drivers every time I get in my car and drive down the street. However, if they crash into someone and kill them because of alcohol, recklessness, etc, we have a responsibility to see that justice is done. It is not just a personal decision, it involves the life of the fetus, and that fetus has a right to his or her life.

    BAC, I look forward to your response, it is refreshing to have an open and honest debate about what I think is the key issue of our times.
    PJ

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  15. PJinDaUP10:52 PM

    "PJinDaUP... You make some good points in the most sensible way I've seen from the anti-choice crowd. You actually sound pro-life"

    Thanks Chris, I can assure you there are many of us out there. Unfortunately when contentious topics like this arise it seems that the loudest on either side aren't necessarily the most thoughtful.

    "You might be able to come up with some theoretical solutions or hypothetical's that would have prevented all this..."

    The solutions wouldn't be hypothetical or theoretical, groups like Rachel's Vineyard have helped people deal with situations like these all across the country.

    "but face it:
    Some people would be better off not born. I know that sounds harsh, but I believe it's true."

    And who are these people that are "better of not born?" In the case you stated, if you have the potential to experience great and terrible suffering in life, maybe you should be aborted. Of course, that would be all of us. And who gets to decide this? A doctor? The State?

    Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, believed in eugenics. She believed that African Americans would be "better of not born". Perhaps anyone who has Down's Syndrome shouldn't be born? Chris, I am in no way implying that you think this, I am only pointing out that your line of thought leads to a truly frightening place.

    "I personally find abortion distasteful, but since it never has been and never will be a decision "I" will have to face, being that it's a biological impossibility, my position is irrelevant. "

    I understand that you believe it doesn't affect you, and therefore you shouldn't have any say in the matter. I submit that in truth it DOES affect you, and that it affects all of us. Who knows what great leaders we are missing, what great artists we will never be able to appreciate, or what great friends we will never have, because they were aborted.

    On a more fundamental (and hopefully very distant) level, if we declare that some humans have rights but others do not, no human being is safe from being declared "a clump of cells" or "expendable".

    Your position is very relevant, Chris, stand up for it.

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  16. PJinDaUP11:00 PM

    "PJinDaUP,

    These pro-life groups' responses to BG's questions use words of compassion...but what is compassionate about denying a woman of all her options? Noone can know what will be more or less traumatic for another person, so compassion requires letting that person choose her own path among ALL the available options."

    Karen, I would state that an option that kills an innocent human being is in no way compassionate. There are two lives being considered here, and both deserve our compassion equally.

    Regarding proper informed consent, or letting a person choose her own path among all the available options, why do many pro-choice advocates oppose showing a woman an ultrasound of their baby before performing an abortion? If you want all the options, you should also have all the information about these options, and an ultrasound gives a pregnant person a lot of information that cannot otherwise be seen.

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  17. PJinDaUP11:05 PM

    Good night all, I hope I have continued to come across as calm, open, and honest! I am tired!

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  18. PJinDaUP -- as you can see it's very late, and I have much to do tomorrow, so I will only pose one question to you tonight. Let me preface by saying that I do think you are being sincere in wanting to offer help and counseling to women who find themselves with unplanned pregnancies. My question is, what would your response be if you did offer counseling and assistance to a woman, and her decision was to go ahead and have an abortion?


    BAC

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  19. Regarding proper informed consent, or letting a person choose her own path among all the available options, why do many pro-choice advocates oppose showing a woman an ultrasound of their baby before performing an abortion? If you want all the options, you should also have all the information about these options, and an ultrasound gives a pregnant person a lot of information that cannot otherwise be seen.

    I don't see how that would be helpful. A woman can be given a great deal of information about how far developed the fetus is, what her options are and the risks that go with them, etc. without being shown pictures. I can't imagine an ultrasound of the fetus accomplishing anything more than making the patient feel guilty about the decision to abort. That's not information; it's an appeal to her feelings.

    Why not go a step or two further and show them a film of their prospective child winning the Nobel Prize?

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  20. geek_guy7:54 AM

    It depends on what kind of comprehensive sex education we are talking about.

    Umm, one that works. Abstinence-only teaching does not work

    In fact, since the widespread use of contraception began unplanned pregnancies have increased dramatically.
    Please cite sources, I'll show you mine, if you show me yours.

    I would agree with most of this except for the fact that the fetus is not the woman's body. It is the fetus' body, a separate human body, with its own DNA, and one need not invoke religion to see this as truth. I would submit that THIS is the central issue of the abortion debate, as well as the central disconnect between those that support abortion and those that oppose it.


    I agree, but who is right? Who is to judge? Can the fetus or zygote survive without the host body? If not, I think it would be the host bodies decision.

    Who knows what great leaders we are missing, what great artists we will never be able to appreciate, or what great friends we will never have, because they were aborted.
    Who know what child molestors, 2-bit despots, mass murderers, and even worse, Republicans(and yes, anti-choicers do get abortions) we will never have, because they were aborted.

    We offer all the help and counseling possible, and help that woman place the child for adoption or raise it herself.
    PJinDaUP I want to ask you some serious question.
    1) Since continuing an unwanted pregnancy is expensive. How many pregnant mothers have you financially supported with medical care, proper diet? How many did you drive to the doctor for check-ups and paid for the time off work? How many did you pay for the birth at the hospital (if the baby is up for adoption, I think the adoption agencies pay for it)?

    2) You claim that adoption is a solution. How many kids you adopted(US born, and not from previous marriage)? If not adopted, how many foster kids you help raised?

    You are willing to "counsel", but are you willing to put your time and money to it? How about your fellow "counselors"?

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  21. geek guy keep it civil this ain't Americablog... :)

    I'm staying out of this on purpose because you're having such an interesting conversation. Don't think I'm being aloof.

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  22. PJinDaUP12:56 AM

    PJinDaUP -- as you can see it's very late, and I have much to do tomorrow, so I will only pose one question to you tonight.

    No problem BAC, with the work week here I won't have as much time either. Also, I will be out of town for the next few days, so I don't know how often I will be able to post. If I am delayed a few days, you know why. I do hope you address the points in my last post, though. It took a long time to write! :)

    My question is, what would your response be if you did offer counseling and assistance to a woman, and her decision was to go ahead and have an abortion?

    I'm assuming you are asking this question in the context of a ban on abortion, correct? Really, I don't think there is a lot that could be done. Certainly further counseling would be offered (maybe with a different person, different methods, etc), and it would seem prudent to give the woman information on post abortion counseling if she decides to get up and walk out.

    Obviously, I can't (and probably shouldn't) follow the woman around everywhere she goes, so whether I like it or not she will have opportunities to procure an abortion. No crime is 100% preventable, the important thing is to make sure that every reasonable effort is made to prevent it. The life she carries deserves that much from us.

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  23. PJinDaUP1:29 AM

    qwerty said...
    I don't see how that would be helpful. A woman can be given a great deal of information about how far developed the fetus is, what her options are and the risks that go with them, etc. without being shown pictures.


    Qwerty, it is quite common when trying to explain something to someone that we do not limit ourselves to words. To do so would be foolish. It is common knowledge that showing someone something is often much more effective than telling them something.

    I can't imagine an ultrasound of the fetus accomplishing anything more than making the patient feel guilty about the decision to abort. That's not information; it's an appeal to her feelings.

    How is an ultrasound NOT information? The whole reason we have ultrasounds in the first place is to gather information about the fetus. An ultrasound demonstrates the truth of the development of the fetus. It moves, it has distinguishable human features, it has a beating heart, etc.

    You suggest that the ultrasound simply changes her feelings, and her feelings may change her decision. I submit that the ultrasound changes her understanding of the truth, and her understanding may change her decision as well as her feelings.

    Respectfully, I would also suggest that my view of this situation shows more trust and respect for the autonomy and intelligence of the woman.

    Why not go a step or two further and show them a film of their prospective child winning the Nobel Prize?

    Now THAT would be an appeal to her feelings, because there is no truth to it.
    PJ

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  24. PJinDaUP2:17 AM

    Geek_guy, I was going to ignore you yet again, because clearly you do not wish to dialoge in a calm and respectful manner.

    HOWEVER, you did happen to point out an error in my argument, so in the interest of having an HONEST debate, I feel I must reply. Bummer. Twice over.

    You asked for a source for my claim that "since the widespread use of contraception, unplanned pregnancies has increased dramatically." I would have pointed you toward several sources, including one from The Guttmacher Institute, that shows that unmarried teen pregnancies has risen drastically since the 1950s.

    However, upon further reading, it is clear that teen marriages were more common in the 50's, and it is possible that many of these were "shotgun weddings" due to unplanned pregnancies. Therefore, the increase could be due to less teens getting married instead of more teens getting pregnant.

    So unless someone else comes along and backs up my statement with some research, I most certainly must retract it.

    That being said, unplanned pregnancies are still a huge problem, and 50 years of contraception hasn't solved it yet.

    Ok, having fulfilled my obligation to honesty, I can continue to ignore Geek_guy, and go to bed.

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  25. PJinDaUP2:18 AM

    I'm staying out of this on purpose because you're having such an interesting conversation. Don't think I'm being aloof.

    No problem, Blue Gal, I can only answer so many people at a time anyway. :)

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  26. "I hope that she will vote for overturning Roe v. Wade..."

    Are we talking about Supreme Court nominee Sarah Palin? It's been a while since I checked, but from what I remember, it takes the Supreme Court to overturn Supreme Court precedent.

    Sounds to me like we could use a healthy dose of civics along with enhanced sex-ed.

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  27. PJinDaUP said ... "I'm assuming you are asking this question in the context of a ban on abortion, correct?

    The context is under the current laws. There are a number of "fake" clinics that women sometimes go to when seeking an abortion, and while I must confess that I have never been inside one, I would assume the people staffing the clinic are trying to talk the woman who has entered into not having an abortion. Or let's say that as a woman is entering a Planned Parenthood clinic she is approached by someone who opposes abortion and she agrees to listen to what they have to say. If, in either case, she listens to all the information that is presented to her and still decides to have an abortion what would you do? Sorry for not making myself more clear on this.

    I'm traveling for the next few days myself, as BG can attest, so feel free to take your time to respond.


    BAC

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  28. May I suggest two books for those who are interested in different views on this debate:

    "The Girls Who Went Away", which is a fascinating and terrifying look at the pressures young women were under to give away their babies in the years between World War Two and Roe v Wade. Fascinating because it shows a world undergoing such rapid changes that 'keeping up' became a way of life; terrifying because of the awesome ignorance of sexuality these girls had. The fifties were an astoundingly repressed time, compared to twenty years in either direction, and the effects of that decade are still being felt.

    The other is "Forty Years of Murder", from England's first criminal pathologist. The reason why he was in favour of legalizing abortion was simple: he was sick of finding young women dead in alleys who had suffered bubble embolisms.

    For my own opinion, the discrepancy is whether or not you believe that an embryo, fetus, zygote, or blastocyst is a human or not. Is a potential human the same as a human? That's what all this boils down to.

    I notice, for instance, that the pro-life crowd simply doesn't use words like 'fetus' any more; they say 'child', 'baby', or (awkwardly enough) 'womb-baby'. This approach is clearly geared toward provoking an emotional response rather than a thoughtful one. If this is indeed the case (three in a bed before you can light the cigarette), my mother had three 'womb-babies' die between my brother's birth and my own through miscarriages. Perhaps she should be lighting candles for them, but excuse me if I don't think so.

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  29. PJinDaUP9:49 PM

    bac said... If, in either case, she listens to all the information that is presented to her and still decides to have an abortion what would you do?

    Really, I think the answer is basically the same: offer more counseling (different people, different approach), make a final appeal for the life of her child, and let her know that if she does abort, we have post abortion services available.

    I should make it known that I am not a trained counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist. I'm just a regular guy trying to offer what I think are sensible solutions.

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  30. "[...]The life of her child[...]" Is a zygote a child? And embryo? At what point is it a child as compared to a collection of cells?

    The OPT clinics I'm most familiar with have THREE counselling sessions with the young woman in question before an abortion takes place; if at any time she decides to complete the pregnancy, then there is no abortion.

    There is a mandatory follow-up session as well as any further counselling she needs afterwards. If she decides not to terminate the pregnancy, there is counselling available then, too, as there is for any new mother.

    Everyone concerned knows this is not a decision taken lightly.

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  31. PJinDaUP3:33 AM

    thursday said...
    I notice, for instance, that the pro-life crowd simply doesn't use words like 'fetus' any more; they say 'child', 'baby', or (awkwardly enough) 'womb-baby'. This approach is clearly geared toward provoking an emotional response rather than a thoughtful one.

    Actually, it is the pro-choice groups who do not use the word 'child' or 'baby' anymore. Throughout history pregnant parents have referred to a fetus as a child or baby, hence the phrases 'with child', or 'carrying our child/baby'. Anna Quindlen (no friend of the pro-life cause) once asked why we refer to an unwanted pregnancy as a fetus and an accepted pregnancy as a baby. Clearly, it is the insistence of the use of the word fetus that is geared toward provoking an emotional response rather than a thoughtful response.

    Also, just as an aside, here is the first definition of the word 'child' from Merriam-Webster: 1 a: an unborn or recently born person.

    For my own opinion, the discrepancy is whether or not you believe that an embryo, fetus, zygote, or blastocyst is a human or not.

    If the Embryo, fetus, zygote, blastocyst, conceptus, etc is not a human, than what is it? It is never referred to as a feline embryo, or a reptilian embryo, or some new kind of 'transitory species' it is referred to as a human embryo.

    It is clearly not the mother's body, it has its own unique DNA.

    It is clearly not just "a collection of cells". The toenails that I just clipped and dumped in the garbage are just a collection of cells, because no matter how much I try and feed, shelter, and nurture them, they will never grow up and ask me for the car keys. They won't even grow into something that could produce a nice tomato for me.

    I agree with you completely that the crux of the matter involves the issue of when human life begins. (I stated that earlier in my first reply to BAC, I understand if you missed it, it is a beast of a post.) It is undisputed that after conception, the zygote has all the 'ingredients' to develop into a fully grown person other than than the three things any human needs to survive whether they live inside OR outside the womb: shelter, oxygen, and nutrients.

    What concerns me, though, is that the pro-choice side doesn't seem to care about the critically important issue that you've identified, Thursday. After all, no would argue that if these are living human beings that we are talking about, then we are killing them when we abort them; we are taking innocent human life, and that is never acceptable. Therefore, this MUST be the center of our debate.

    For the sake of argument, lets say you disagree with me that the zygote is a human life, (we will also ignore the next obvious question what is the zygote, then?'). Surely you would agree that a child moments away from delivery is a human life. After all, the only difference between a child in the womb and one on the delivery table is that they are on opposite sides of the birth canal, and one is breathing air while one is not. They are both royally ticked off. :) Well, we know that location can't determine whether you are human or not, despite a few millennia of bad human behavior that could suggest otherwise. The ability to breathe air on your own certainly isn't the deciding factor, I was born five weeks premature and was on a respirator for many weeks. I wasn't dead. Yet the pro-choice movement pushes for abortion all throughout the third trimester. In fact, a few are so callous as to suggest children born alive after botched abortions should receive no medical care, and therefore starve to death on their own. I wonder what Gianna Jessen would say to that.

    Perhaps you agree with me here (perhaps not, but lets play along for the sake of argument), so lets go back a bit further. Surely you would agree that a fetus with a developing brain and a beating heart is a living human being. Well, that would be about week 10. Yet, even when you think of this, this cannot be the 'human life cutoff point'. Clearly, cognitive ability has never defined who is human and who is not human, although many mentally disabled individuals have been treated inhumanly. Also, a lack of a fully functional heart hasn't stopped many people from living with pacemakers, stents, etc. And yet, 90 percent of abortions are done in the first trimester.

    Clearly, the most obvious & critical point of distinction is between the zygote and the separated sperm and ovum. Everyone agrees that a sperm cell is not a human life and that an ovum is not human life. Yet once conception happens, it's all there.

    I'm getting really tired so I have to wrap this up. 2 things left to say. Even if you disagree with ALL arguments that human life does begin at conception, you still cannot say with certainty that it does not. Therefore, performing an abortion is AT LEAST criminal negligence. It's like pointing a gun at a moving bush and shooting before checking to see if there is a person there. We MUST check for the person first, and it seems very clear to me that both science and reason tell us "don't shoot".

    Finally, I often hear how abortion rights are about the woman's right to choose what to do with her body. If you really believe this is the case, I would refer you to Gianna Jessen. I mentioned her before, google her or even better check her out on youtube. She survived a botched saline abortion, and has cerebral palsy as a result of being burned alive for 18 hours inside her mothers womb. If abortion is about a woman's right to choose what to do with her body, why did the abortion affect Gianna's body and not her mothers? And where was Gianna's right to choose what to do with her body?

    Ok, waaaaaay past my bed time. This is going to hurt in the morning. Sorry for the long post again, brevity is not my thing. Good night all.

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  32. Ah, yes... I remember the song well: "She's Having My Baaaby..."

    Anyway, off to it:

    It is never referred to as a feline embryo, or a reptilian embryo, or some new kind of 'transitory species' it is referred to as a human embryo.

    That's because we know what embryos are. If we're talking about a woman (or cat of lizard) then it's obvious what's meant. If we're just discussing embryos, then definition is needed. If we were to talk about toenails (for instance), and we know the source, then what kind of toenails is obvious. Otherwise we have to define them.

    As for the differing stages, they have different names: a seedling is a seedling as well as a tree, but not much use for lumber. It's simply a matter of accuracy: the more precise terminology is now a part of the common lexicon, so it gets used.

    Anna Quindlen (no friend of the pro-life cause) once asked why we refer to an unwanted pregnancy as a fetus and an accepted pregnancy as a baby.

    Expectation is certainly going to have something to do with it: parents who want the child are going to start thinking of it as a child: you were right to notice this. You may also have noticed people talking about a car they can't afford but really, really want as 'my car', for exactly the same reason.

    But I think you'll agree that whatever terminology you prefer, 'womb-baby' has got to be one of the stupidest handles running around right now, pro- or con-.

    [...]lets say you disagree with me that the zygote is a human life, (we will also ignore the next obvious question what is the zygote, then?')[...]

    I do, and we won't. The difference is potential. This is, to my mind, a potential human being - as you noted, it's not going to turn into a tomato plant. (Bit of a shame, that: but hey, tomato plants are life, too, with their own DNA and genetic code and everything, so we should appreciate what they give us.)

    That potential is measured against the actual human in whom the potential is growing.

    [...]the only difference between a child in the womb and one on the delivery table is that they are on opposite sides of the birth canal[...

    If your definition of 'a child' includes zygotes, then I completely disagree.

    The ability to breathe air on your own certainly isn't the deciding factor[...]

    Well, there's a bit in Talmudic law that declares someone to be alive when they take their first breath, in imitation of God breathing life into His creations, but I think we can safely ignore that. It was mostly concern about stillborns, anyway.

    Yet the pro-choice movement pushes for abortion all throughout the third trimester.

    Not sure where you're from, but in Canada we have pretty much the opposite circumstance: there are no laws regulating abortion, so it's down to the individuals. No 'push' is needed, as it's already legal: the pushing here has been from those who are trying to restrict of deny abortions. The reason for this was because we used to have to go through a Therapeutic Abortion Committee, which moved at the speed of bureaucracy, meaning abortions happening much later than intended. Without the TAC, the number of late abortions plummeted, and there we sit now.

    We've always had around 45-50% support for 'no restrictions', and around 40% of 'some restrictions, and around 10% for 'stop it now'; so the reluctance of politicos to touch this aspect of law is understandable. In fact, one of the members of the currently ruling Conservative Party tried introducing a private members bill to give the child (his word, not mine) rights in the event of attempted murder of the pregnant woman, and had it quashed by his own party. An election is underway just now, so no surprise there.

    Sorry about the detour, there: back to the subject at hand.

    Surely you would agree that a fetus with a developing brain and a beating heart is a living human being.

    Actually, I don't. I do consider one with a developed brain that can communicate with the world outside itself a living human being. I'm a bit of a hard ass that way. Mentally disabled people do communicate and do have an understanding, however limited, of the world immediately around them. They are not embryos.

    Even if you disagree with ALL arguments that human life does begin at conception, you still cannot say with certainty that it does not.

    Sure I can; and so can you. In fact, you are. The old 'you can't judge because you weren't there' argument simply doesn't wash: judgements are restricted to the time and place in which we live, governed by who we are. It's going to come down to the individual, which (if I may) the pro-life side doesn't mention all that often itself: there is more than one decision made, and there is far more to each story than yes/no.

    If abortion is about a woman's right to choose what to do with her body, why did the abortion affect Gianna's body and not her mothers?

    And here lies my issue: don't you think Gianna's mother was affected by this? Do you really think she decided to abort on a whim? Do you really believe that there was no thought, no consideration in the action? The women who died during the times when abortion was illegal still underwent the procedures for reasons. Assaults against pregnant women are overwhelmingly perpetrated by the men who got them pregnant, for instance.

    I mentioned the clinics I know: the amount of counselling young women undergo at them, before and after their choice (whichever it happens to be), is there for a very good reason.

    And where was Gianna's right to choose what to do with her body?

    Simply put: it wasn't hers. Should she get pregnant, I hope she has the right and the means to choose what is best for her.

    In any case, I think it's pretty evident why there isn't going to be an end to the debate any time soon, eh? I don't think either of us is going to budge terribly far from these positions... 8)

    Thanks for the conversation, though!

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  33. PJinDaUP1:17 AM

    Thursday said...
    That's because we know what embryos are. If we're talking about a woman (or cat of lizard) then it's obvious what's meant. If we're just discussing embryos, then definition is needed.

    That wasn't quite my point, but after re-reading my post I could see how it could be read that way. My point was they clearly aren't part of the mother's body, they clearly aren't a clump of inert cells, so if they are not human life, then what are they?

    Expectation is certainly going to have something to do with it: parents who want the child are going to start thinking of it as a child: you were right to notice this. You may also have noticed people talking about a car they can't afford but really, really want as 'my car', for exactly the same reason.

    I certainly agree the expectation plays a part of this, but again, that wasn't really the point I was trying to get across. You had mentioned that pro-lifers often refer to a fetus as child, and suggested that this was started as an attempt to make people feel guilty about abortions. I was simply pointing out that we've been calling fetuses children far longer than we have been calling them fetuses, and that an even an ardent pro-choice woman like Anna Quindlen admits this.

    But I think you'll agree that whatever terminology you prefer, 'womb-baby' has got to be one of the stupidest handles running around right now, pro- or con-.

    Absolutely! Call it a baby or call it "just a clump of cells". Making up funny names does not advance the dialogue.

    If your definition of 'a child' includes zygotes, then I completely disagree.

    Actually, in that instance I excluded everything up to a fetus just moments from birth from the definition of 'child' for the sake of argument, but we'll get to more on that later.

    I do, and we won't. The difference is potential. This is, to my mind, a potential human being... That potential is measured against the actual human in whom the potential is growing.

    Very well then, at what point do you believe the potential has been reached? What is the threshold? Also, what kind of potential are we talking about? The potential for reasoning? The potential for communication? Again, it seems that the pro-choice movement is very reluctant to actually state when they believe life begins. And yet, if you believe in your own right to live, this would seem to be of utmost importance.

    I do consider one with a developed brain that can communicate with the world outside itself a living human being. I'm a bit of a hard ass that way.

    Do I understand you correctly that this is the potential you are referring to? Since you must agree that a newborn infant is a living human being, your definition of 'developed brain' must mean developed to the point of a newborn infant, and your definition of its ability to 'communicate with the world outside itself' must mean it can communicate at the level of a newborn infant.

    Since a fetus becomes viable at roughly 24 weeks, I think there are two on record who were born around 21 weeks (and lived), you must state that fetuses that are past 21 weeks of gestational age posses the brain development and ability to communicate that allows them to be classified as living humans. That would effectively outlaw abortion in the third trimester. The only way around this would be to suggest that premature babies aren't technically alive, which I'm quite sure is not what you think. So having said this, do you support a ban on abortion in the third trimester?

    Not sure where you're from, but in Canada we have pretty much the opposite circumstance: there are no laws regulating abortion, so it's down to the individuals. No 'push' is needed, as it's already legal: the pushing here has been from those who are trying to restrict of deny abortions.

    I'm in the US, sorry I didn't think to clarify that. What I meant by "push for abortion all throughout the third trimester" was that most US politicians and pro-choice advocates support abortion in the third trimester.

    Sure I can; and so can you. In fact, you are. The old 'you can't judge because you weren't there' argument simply doesn't wash: judgements are restricted to the time and place in which we live, governed by who we are.

    You speak of judgements, and what you say is true about them. However, making a judgment on something is not the same as speaking with absolute certainty.

    Think of it this way; from a skeptical point of view, there are only four logical possibilities regarding whether or not the fetus is a human being.
    1. The fetus is a person, and we know it.
    2. The fetus is a person, but we don't know it.
    3. The fetus is not a person, and we know it.
    4. The fetus is not a person, but we don't know it.

    In case #1, abortion is first degree murder. In case #2, abortion is manslaughter. If I see a play car in the road but can't see if there is a child in it, I had better not run it over. If I do and I kill a child that was inside of that vehicle, I cannot plead ignorance. In case #3, abortion is legally and morally acceptable. In case #4 abortion is criminal negligence. If I ran that play car over and there was no child inside but the mother saw me, she could (and should) charge me with criminal negligence.

    It's going to come down to the individual, which (if I may) the pro-life side doesn't mention all that often itself: there is more than one decision made, and there is far more to each story than yes/no.

    The problem is not that the pro-life side doesn't mention or care for the woman. As I said to BAC earlier, in order to be truly pro-life you MUST respect both the mother and the child's life equally. Any pro-life organization "worth its salt" provides resources and help to women in a crisis pregnancy situation. We know that abortion is far more than a one time yes or no. The reality is that the individual who is really lacking the representation is the child.

    And here lies my issue: don't you think Gianna's mother was affected by this? Do you really think she decided to abort on a whim? Do you really believe that there was no thought, no consideration in the action?

    That is not what I am saying at all. I am quite sure Gianna's mother was affected very seriously by this, and that there was much thought, consideration, and probably anguish over this action. The specific affect I am referring to is the cerebral palsy that Gianna suffers from. The pro-choice advocates often state that abortion is a woman's right because it is a woman's body that is affected. Yet, Gianna's case clearly proves this to false; abortion affects the body of the fetus, child, womb-baby, whatever you want to call it, most directly, and that body is not a piece of the woman's body.

    Simply put: it wasn't hers. Should she get pregnant, I hope she has the right and the means to choose what is best for her.

    Do you mean that the right to choose wasn't hers, or her body wasn't hers? Clearly her body was hers, it has her DNA, and not her mothers. It is her body that suffers from cerebral palsy, not her mother's I assume you mean that the right to choose what to do with her body wasn't hers. If Gianna doesn't have the right to choose what to do with her body, how can you argue that women have the right to abortion because it is their body and they have the right to choose what to do with it? That is completely contradictory.

    In any case, I think it's pretty evident why there isn't going to be an end to the debate any time soon, eh? I don't think either of us is going to budge terribly far from these positions... 8)

    I would agree that there will always be those that argue back and forth about it, it's human nature. I do hope that at some point we can move forward from where we are now though, and I think that is the reason we MUST talk about it. Even though it is doubtful that you or I will start hitting for the other team tomorrow, we must continue simply because it is too important not too.

    Thanks for the conversation, though!

    Thank you! It is indeed refreshing and stimulating.

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  34. PJinDaUP1:42 AM

    I do, and we won't. The difference is potential. This is, to my mind, a potential human being ... That potential is measured against the actual human in whom the potential is growing.

    I had a couple more thoughts on this that I had to add.

    First off, there is a very serious logical flaw to the argument that a human being is a human being because of it's potential or when it reaches a certain potential. Beings are not defined by their potential, their potential is defined by their being. To put it another way, a specific object isn't called a specific object because of what it can do, rather, the specificity of the object determines what it can do.

    For example, a coffee mug isn't a coffee mug because it can hold coffee without burning my hand, a thermos could do that just as well. So the potential and even the purpose of these two objects are the same, yet they are not the same object. It is the familiar appearance and materials of the coffee cup that differentiate it from a thermos, not its potential or potential uses. More specifically, its identity is in its makeup, and the potential springs forth from the makeup of the object, not the other way around.

    Man, now I am really going to hate myself when that alarm goes off!! Good night!

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  35. I believe the point was that a fetus has the potential to become a human, even if it isn't considered a human when it's gestating.

    Similarly, a lump of clay may someday become a coffee cup, but you couldn't call it a coffee cup until it's been made into one.

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  36. PJinDaUP10:28 PM

    qwerty said...
    I believe the point was that a fetus has the potential to become a human, even if it isn't considered a human when it's gestating.

    I am quite clear on that. I will point you back to my original response to this: when is the potential reached? The pro-choice side doesn't seem willing to try and figure that out. I have never seen any pro-choice literature spelling out when they believe life begins. If we are going to be performing abortions, we had better know exactly when life begins so that we are not taking innocent human life, and if life begins at conception, than abortion is always an act that takes an innocent human life.

    When you look at the spectrum of events that occur from intercourse to birth, from a separate sperm and egg (which we all agree are not human beings themselves), to a zygote, then a blastocyst, then an embryo, then a fetus, and finally a newborn infant, it becomes clear from both a scientific and logical standpoint that the moment the zygote is formed, everything that is needed to reach full human potential is there. "But the potential has not been reached!", you say. I'll address that next.

    Similarly, a lump of clay may someday become a coffee cup, but you couldn't call it a coffee cup until it's been made into one.

    This is true, but at some point that clump of clay becomes a coffee cup (a human life). And if it were legally & morally wrong to break coffee cups (or to take an innocent human life), you had better figure out exactly when that is before you start breaking unfinished but unwanted cups.

    Furthermore, you are missing my point. I am addressing the argument that zygotes/embryos/fetuses are not human life because they have not reached a certain potential. This means that human life is defined by its potential abilities. This is not logical because we do not define anything else by its abilities or capabilities, we define them by characteristics that give rise to certain capabilities.

    Here is another example: a shark is not a shark because it can swim fast and eat seals (its potential), a killer whale can do the same thing, and the shark and the whale are clearly not the same thing. A shark is a shark because it has certain DNA which produces certain physical & mental characteristics. It is these characteristics that define a shark and differentiate it from other creatures, and these characteristics produce the (varying) potential. Powerful tail fins and rows and rows of sharp teeth allow sharks to swim fast and eat seals. Potential does not create characteristics, and therefore we cannot use potential to determine when life begins.

    I would respectfully submit that many pro-choice advocates do not try to answer the question of when life begins because they are not really interested in when life begins, but rather when life becomes valuable. When we start assigning our own judgement of value to another's life, we are opening up doors to some very ugly places. Just look at Margaret Sanger's views on African Americans. Please note that I am not saying that every pro-choice advocate is also an advocate of eugenics. But if we start to believe that not all human lives should have human rights, and we leave that power up to the STATE... yikes...

    PJ

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  37. I was simply pointing out that we've been calling fetuses children far longer than we have been calling them fetuses, and that an even an ardent pro-choice woman like Anna Quindlen admits this.

    And my point is that we now know better, and can use more accurate terminology. Bats were classed with birds at one point, too.

    Call it a baby or call it "just a clump of cells".

    Or use the proper terms.

    The potential for communication? Again, it seems that the pro-choice movement is very reluctant to actually state when they believe life begins. And yet, if you believe in your own right to live, this would seem to be of utmost importance.

    It is a personal choice, and a personal definition: I believe when communication is possible is when human life begins. Life can certainly exist without communication, but I don't think it's human. For others, obviously, it will be different.

    Since a fetus becomes viable at roughly 24 weeks, I think there are two on record who were born around 21 weeks (and lived), you must state that fetuses that are past 21 weeks of gestational age posses the brain development and ability to communicate that allows them to be classified as living humans.

    The people directly involved with those babies took the responsibility for their existence upon themselves: they made the decision to terminate or not. You didn't, I didn't, and no government agency did either.

    The only way around this would be to suggest that premature babies aren't technically alive, which I'm quite sure is not what you think.

    Outside the womb, they can communicate and modify their behaviour by external stimuli. Plus, they were not responsible for their existence: ALL the responsibility lay with the people involved. 'Alive' is not human, any more than a carrot is, but again once they are born, to me they become human.

    So having said this, do you support a ban on abortion in the third trimester?

    No.

    [...]from a skeptical point of view, there are only four logical possibilities regarding whether or not the fetus is a human being.

    Sorry, I don't play Pascal's Wager.

    The specific affect I am referring to is the cerebral palsy that Gianna suffers from.

    I was going to mention that. A diagnosis of CP caused by a failed abortion is an... interesting diagnosis. We'll certainly have to mention this to other CP sufferers, and have them ask their mothers probing questions!

    [...]abortion affects the body of the fetus, child, womb-baby, whatever you want to call it, most directly, and that body is not a piece of the woman's body.

    It certainly does, but the fetus is a part of the woman's body, as it is attached to her, derives nutrition from her, and is entirely her responsibility.

    If Gianna doesn't have the right to choose what to do with her body, how can you argue that women have the right to abortion because it is their body and they have the right to choose what to do with it?

    It wasn't Gianna's body because it wasn't Gianna at the time: it was, in fact, a piece of her mother, and her mother chose an abortion.

    Since you must agree that[...]
    [...]which I'm quite sure is not what you think[...]


    Funny story: Einstein was arguing with Nils Bohr about chaos theory, and dropped in his (by then) famous line 'God does not play dice with the universe'. Bohr replied 'Albert! Stop telling God what to do!'

    Go with the words, not what you think motivates them.

    I have never seen any pro-choice literature spelling out when they believe life begins.

    For an excellent reason: the choice is for the woman to make.

    [...]we had better know exactly when life begins so that we are not taking innocent human life[...]

    You mentioned something about speaking with certainty...?

    and if life begins at conception, than abortion is always an act that takes an innocent human life.

    And there are a whole lot of fertility clinics that are committing mass murder. Many of the abortions committed are by people who suddenly find themselves with seven or eight viable fetuses after a successful 'planting' at just such a clinic, and they decide to terminate most to give the others a better chance at survival.

    Murder, then? Or something different?

    Never mind the sheer volume of so-called 'snowflake babies' that get tossed out every day because they are no longer viable.

    Also murder? Manslaughter? Or something else?

    I mentioned miscarriages earlier: are each of those losses to be mourned as if they were child? Or is mom simply a callous bitch for not naming them and giving them a proper burial?

    [Your argument is that] human life is defined by its potential abilities. This is not logical because we do not define anything else by its abilities or capabilities, we define them by characteristics that give rise to certain capabilities.

    And yet this is exactly the argument you have been making. It's not 'life' that you are defending, but 'human life': that cluster of cells that have the potential to turn into a human being. If it were 'life' that was sacred, you wouldn't be able to eat.

    When we start assigning our own judgement of value to another's life, we are opening up doors to some very ugly places.

    We use our judgement on others every day: it's something to be aware of, not hidden from. In this case, the judgement is left to the pregnant woman what to do. It really is up to her.

    [...]I am not saying that every pro-choice advocate is also an advocate of eugenics.

    Of course not! Well, not all of them, any way... 8)

    But if we start to believe that not all human lives should have human rights, and we leave that power up to the STATE... yikes...

    Which is exactly who you want to interfere with the woman's choice. You're terrified of the STATE that you want to assume control...?

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  38. PJinDaUP3:17 AM

    Thursday said...
    And my point is that we now know better, and can use more accurate terminology. Bats were classed with birds at one point, too.

    If part of the universally accepted definition of child includes the unborn, and if the human race has been using the word this way for millennia, than it is not inaccurate. We can debate whether a child in the womb is human life, but claiming that pro-lifers use words like child simply to provoke emotions is simply not true. 'Child' is not a scientific term, and its definition of the word includes the unborn, and always has.

    After all, if you say that when this is all a personal decision anyway, how can you say it is wrong to call a fetus a child? By your own standards, it's my call to make.

    Or use the proper terms.

    Certainly, the proper terms make it easiest to discuss this.

    It is a personal choice, and a personal definition: I believe when communication is possible is when human life begins. Life can certainly exist without communication, but I don't think it's human. For others, obviously, it will be different.

    There are three problems I see with this position.

    First, what do you mean by communication? There are many different levels of communication, and many more shades of gray between those levels. Unless you can state what level of communication you are talking about, then your definition is meaningless. What do you think about people in comas? They don't communicate (the potential is there much like an embryo), is their existence non-human? What about the fact that a fetus clearly reacts and responds to stimulus that is outside the womb? This is communication on a low level, and not much less than a newborn baby can deliver.

    The second problem is this; you state the beginning of human life is determined by a personal choice of the individual. It has to be accepted that at one point you and I did not exist, and now we do. Our life had a beginning somewhere. According to your position, one person can say our life began at conception, another can say they began as soon as our bodies exited the birth canal, and another could state that they began at three years old. Clearly, all three cannot be right at the same time. Therefore, someone must have been wrong. And if someone was wrong, than even though it was a personal decision that led him or her to a certain belief, that decision was still wrong. Therefore, just because you or I have made a personal decision about when life begins, reason shows us that that alone does not make it true.

    Which brings me to my third problem with the position that determining when life begins is a personal decision; there are no standards. The third person in the previous paragraph could just as easily have said that our lives only began when we were three if and only if we could eat spaghetti-o's from a spoon in either hand, if they wanted too. Sure, we'd all laugh at him and call him an idiot, but if all it takes is a personal decision to state when life begins for you, who are we to say he is wrong?

    The people directly involved with those babies took the responsibility for their existence upon themselves: they made the decision to terminate or not. You didn't, I didn't, and no government agency did either.

    What you say is true, but you are not speaking to my point. These babies born during week 21 of pregnancy prove that a fetus at this stage is capable of living outside the womb. You said that a human with "..a developed brain that can communicate with the world outside itself..." fulfills your definition of human life. So either you believe that brain and communication development at at least week 21 is sufficient to meet your requirements, or you believe that these babies who are outside the womb are not alive. If it is the first, you could only support abortion in the third trimester if you are agreeable to ending what you believe to be a human life.

    Outside the womb, they can communicate and modify their behaviour by external stimuli.

    Inside the womb, babies communicate and modify their behavior by external stimuli as well. Ever tap on a pregnant woman's belly? Ever sing to it? Lets say that you argue that this kind of communication isn't enough. Ok, so let's compare a baby born during the 21st week of pregnancy and one that is still in the womb. The baby and the fetus are for all practical purposes the same, yet you would argue that we can 'abort' one but we cannot kill the other. However, the only critical difference between the two when considering communication is that one is located in the womb and the other is located outside the womb. It is the LOCATION that is the difference, the baby can communicate more fully with the outside world because of it's location, NOT it's potential as you previously argued. Therefore, it is location and not potential that is determining when human life begins in this instance.

    Plus, they were not responsible for their existence: ALL the responsibility lay with the people involved.

    No one is responsible for their own existence. You didn't will yourself into being, and you certainly weren't responsible for keeping yourself alive after you were born, either. Yet you were still alive.

    'Alive' is not human, any more than a carrot is, but again once they are born, to me they become human.

    Certainly I agree that simply because something is alive that does not mean it is human. Yet, if a body has human DNA, than it is a human body. If this same body is alive, than it is a living human. You can argue whether or not it is a "person" yet, but then you are not arguing about when life begins, you are arguing about when human life becomes valuable, as I stated before.

    Sorry, I don't play Pascal's Wager.

    This isn't Pascal's Wager. We do not know scientifically that God exists, but we do know scientifically that life exists. The four possible circumstances are quite logical and reasonable.

    I was going to mention that. A diagnosis of CP caused by a failed abortion is an... interesting diagnosis. We'll certainly have to mention this to other CP sufferers, and have them ask their mothers probing questions!

    Before you suggest that her story is a fake, consider that her medical records clearly state "Born during Saline abortion", and they are signed by Edward C. Allred, a prominent abortionist. Cerebral palsy is often caused by brain damage caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. The severe burns caused by a saline abortion can easily produce this lack of oxygen. Medically, it is quite straightforward.

    It certainly does, but the fetus is a part of the woman's body, as it is attached to her,...

    This statement does not hold up to scientific principles or principles of reason. The mother and the fetus have different DNA, therefore half of the child's make up did not come from the mother, and therefore it cannot be the mothers body. Two things can be attached and not part of the same whole.

    ...derives nutrition from her,...

    As does any breast-feeding infant, and they are not part of the mother, which makes this condition irrelevant.

    ...and is entirely her responsibility.

    Since when did responsibility over something make it physically part of you? Also, any single mother or father is entirely responsible for their child. Again, this condition is irrelevant.

    It wasn't Gianna's body because it wasn't Gianna at the time: it was, in fact, a piece of her mother, and her mother chose an abortion.

    Again, this does not hold up scientifically. If the fetus was only a piece of the mother, than all of that piece must have come from the mother. But, it did not. Half of Gianna's DNA is from her father.

    Funny story: Einstein was arguing with Nils Bohr about chaos theory, and dropped in his (by then) famous line 'God does not play dice with the universe'. Bohr replied 'Albert! Stop telling God what to do!'

    Go with the words, not what you think motivates them.


    I'll admit, I'm not sure what you are getting at here.

    For an excellent reason: the choice is for the woman to make.

    Yet reason shows us that since not everyone can have different answers and everyone be right at the same time, there are some choices that are wrong. Therefore, innocent life is being taken, and that is not acceptable.

    You mentioned something about speaking with certainty...?

    I did. By your standards of personal choice, you will never know with certainty about when life begins, nor can their be any scientific standards that can be set on the issue. But if we look to science and reason to help us determine exactly when life begins, we can truly live in a just society.

    And there are a whole lot of fertility clinics that are committing mass murder. Many of the abortions committed are by people who suddenly find themselves with seven or eight viable fetuses after a successful 'planting' at just such a clinic, and they decide to terminate most to give the others a better chance at survival.

    Murder, then? Or something different?

    Never mind the sheer volume of so-called 'snowflake babies' that get tossed out every day because they are no longer viable.

    Also murder? Manslaughter? Or something else?


    Yup. I refer you back to the four logical possibilities of whether a fetus is a human being and whether or not we know it.

    I mentioned miscarriages earlier: are each of those losses to be mourned as if they were child? Or is mom simply a callous bitch for not naming them and giving them a proper burial?

    Yes, sorry I forgot to address that, thank you for reminding me. Miscarriages are certainly a lost life, an honest look at embryology or fetology will show this. How one grieves or doesn't grieve IS a personal choice, I certainly wouldn't call this woman what you suggest.

    And yet this is exactly the argument you have been making. It's not 'life' that you are defending, but 'human life': that cluster of cells that have the potential to turn into a human being. If it were 'life' that was sacred, you wouldn't be able to eat.

    You are correct that it is 'human life' I am defending, but you are not correct that I am making the same argument you are. It is the characteristics of human life that determines its abilities or capabilities. I say that human life gives rise to capabilities or potential. You are saying that potential gives rise to human life.

    We use our judgement on others every day: it's something to be aware of, not hidden from. In this case, the judgement is left to the pregnant woman what to do. It really is up to her.

    Sure, we judge peoples actions, motives, etc. But we cannot judge the value of another's life, because it is not our own. Typically when humans have done this in the past it ends in holocaust or genocide or slavery.

    Of course not! Well, not all of them, any way... 8)

    Haha :)

    Which is exactly who you want to interfere with the woman's choice. You're terrified of the STATE that you want to assume control...?

    You cannot chose to take an innocent human beings life, each human being has a right to his or her own life. When we agree to be governed by a State, the most fundamental reason is to protect this right. A woman's desire to not be pregnant, however important and understandable, does not super-cede another person's right to their own life. I am terrified of the State that cannot see this, or refuses to really explore it.

    MAN! You guys keep me up later and later!!

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