WARNING: Some supporting links go to pro-life websites, which commonly feature really gross images of alleged aborted fetuses.
[This post was originally published in 2006, but there seems to be an error and the original post can’t be accessed anymore. So I’m reblogging it, with some edits.–Amp.]
[One more update: The original post can now be accessed. But I’m leaving this one up, too, because comments at both places. –Amp]
I really like to assume the best of everyone, even people I disagree with.
And I try hard to take what opponents say, at their word.
But sometimes it’s hard.
A lot of “pro-lifers” say that they believe that an abortion, even early in pregnancy, is identical to child murder. Have an abortion, shoot a four-year-old in the head; morally, it’s the same. Or, anyhow, that’s what they claim to believe.
In contrast, pro-choicers tend to think that the abortion criminalization movement is motivated by a desire – perhaps an unconscious desire – to punish women for having sex.
I used to reject that latter view as a pointless ad hominem attack. Nowadays, I’m not so sure. Although I’ve met some rank-and-file pro-lifers whose policy preferences were consistent with a belief that a fetus is morally indistinguishable from a child, those folks usually have policy preferences which are totally out of step with the abortion criminalization movement as a whole.
In contrast, the leaders of the abortion criminalization movement have consistently put their political weight behind policies which make little or no sense if they genuinely think that abortion is identical to child murder. And those same leaders routinely endorse policies that make a lot of sense if their goal is to punish women who have sex.
To be fair, this is never phrased as “punishing” women by pro-lifers; what I’ve heard again and again from pro-lifers is that women should be made to “take responsibility for their actions” (by “actions,” they mean having sex), or that abortion is wrong because it lets women “avoid the consequences.”
So what motivates pro-lifers: the belief that women should be forced to face consequences for having sex, or the belief that abortion is exactly like child murder? Let’s review:
Almost no pro-life policies make sense if they really see no difference between the abortion of a fetus and the murder of a four-year-old. However, nearly all pro-life policies make sense if they’re seeking to force women who have sex to “face the consequences.”
Transcript of image of table.
ls this policy consistent with the belief that abortion is child murder?
ls this policy consistent with the belief that women should face consequences for having sex?
Abortion bans which expressly protect the mother from all legal consequences.
No one would endorse a law saying that parents who pay contract killers to murder their four-year—old may in no circumstances be punished.
By cutting off women from abortion, these laws will tend (in theory, at least) to force women who have sex to bear unwanted children.
Opposing contraception and comprehensive sex education.
Pushing contraception and sex-ed on teens is how countries like Belgium have achieved the lowest abortion rates in the world. No one who genuinely thinks abortion is murder could rationally oppose policies that would save tens of thousands of children from being murdered.
The less teen girls have access to contraception and sex ed, the more likely it is that they will suffer consequences (STDs, pregnancy) for having sex.
Abortion bans which provide exceptions for rape and incest.
No one would say that it is acceptable to murder a four-year-old because of the circumstances of the child’s conception.
Exceptions for incest and rape are consistent with a belief in punishing women who have sex; since incest and rape victims are not to blame for having sex, they are exempt from punishment.
Banning the intact D&X abortion procedure (sometimes called “partial birth abortion”).
Banning late-term D&X abortions (or any other particular procedure) will not save a single fetal life, since doctors will switch to other procedures.
The other procedures doctors switch to may have a higher risk of injuring the mother, thus making it more likely that she suffers consequences.
Advocating less generous welfare for poor single mothers.
According to conservatives, welfare encourages poor women to have children. If one believes that abortion is exactly the same as murder, it should be worth paying for welfare to lower the child murder rate.
By keeping poor single mothers poor, opposing welfare increases the consequences of having sex.
Opposing a vaccine for the human papilloma virus (HPV).
Opposing this vaccine does not support or contradict the belief that abortion is murder.
If the vaccine is successfully blocked, nearly 4,000 American women a year, all of whom have chosen to have sex, will die of cervical cancer. Allowing the vaccine would spare them this consequence.
Morally condemning extremists who bomb abortion clinics.
If abortion is exactly the same as murder, then abortion in the U.S. is evil on a scale greater than The Holocaust, and people who bomb abortion clinics should be idolized.
If more clinics were blown up, more women might have to face the consequences of having sex.
Opposing U.S. government funding for the U.N. Population Fund.
The UN Population Fund does not provide abortions, but it is probably the world’s leading provider of birth control and reproductive health education to the third world. Defunding the Population Fund leads to tens of thousands of additional abortions every year. (Contrary to anti-choice claims, the Population Fund does not support forced abortion in China.)
Cutting off funding to the Population Fund makes it more likely that third world women who have sex will suffer consequences such as S’I‘Ds, unwanted childbirth, ﬁstula, and maternal death.
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Absolutely brilliant. I linked back to this great post.
There is a third possibility – that pro lifers consider abortion to be wrong, but not as wrong as murder (but is, like killing, generally wrong), or that they feel that, in the majority of cases the circumstances are such that punishment would achieve no real good, and is likely to cause a whole lot of bad. And lots of these are easily arguable with – we believe theft is bad, yet we don’t provide everyone with large amounts of free money, to reduce their propensity to steal.
Really – these types of posts are so completely devoid of logic and any ability to think critically.
the entire column “ls this policy consistent with the belief that women should face consequences for having sex?” is laughable. as if conservatives created sex and are evil for relating it with procreation – the nerve of those damn conservatives!
“Abortion bans which expressly protect the mother from all legal consequences.”
Do you not know that politics is often the art of the possible? You attempt to pass the laws you can. The homosexual rights lobby has been working in the same vein , supporting their faux rights incrementally, yet I see no posts stating their supposed hypocritical views.
“No one who genuinely thinks abortion is murder could rationally oppose policies that would save tens of thousands of children from being murdered.” If we sterilized every woman @ 5 years old that would save ‘tens of thousands of murders’ but, you know what? I oppose that too. Good god your logic is really bad
“Abortion bans which provide exceptions for rape and incest.” And once we ban these (99% + of all abortions BTW) we can work on the remaining fraction. (but they will probably be eliminated by the simple fact that abortions are no longer available
“Banning late-term D&X abortions (or any other particular procedure) will not save a single fetal life, since doctors will switch to other procedures.” What other procedures are you referring to? if they are too risky then they will probably not be preformed, if they are we should look at them too.
“Morally condemning extremists who bomb abortion clinics.” Really – to think abortion is murder = we must be vigilantes? Another logic I don’t follow.
etc – etc. I’d go on but late for a meeting ATM.
if they are too risky then they will probably not be preformed, if they are we should look at them too.
Huh? So you’re trying for an ad hoc ban on all safe procedures? Once again, not consistent with protecting fetal life. More consistent with punishing women by forcing them to have less safe procedures.
I have another one for you. If the “pro-life” movement really believed that a fetus was a person (and therefore abortion murder) then why would they completely ignore the number of deaths that occur due to “natural causes” aka disease. Murder may be more abhorrent morally than death from disease, but death is death. No one would argue, for example, that because Detroit has a high murder rate it is ridiculous to build hospitals there or fund research into the treatment of heart disease and cancer. And we’re not OK with babies dying of SIDS just because some cases of “SIDS” are really infanticide. So why are pro-lifers perfectly ok with miscarriage, which is, after all, a much more likely threat to the embryo than induced abortion.
I choose to with hold judgment on those whose particular situation I have not been in.
I am a woman (of maternal age) that has never been pregnant. Were I to find out that I was pregnant, and the circumstances of that particular pregnancy – financial, environmental, or otherwise – were not conducive to a “good life” of any sort for the baby or myself, (personally,) I still don’t know what my choice would be…because I haven’t been there, and I don’t know what it would be like to go through that. However, I personally know and have known women that were there (I know, I drove them to the clinic), had a choice, chose an abortion, and they are very satisfied with their lives now, yet by no means do they live completely guilt-free. It is a very difficult decision, that should be handled on a very personal level, and definitely on a case-by-case basis, by the woman who is pregnant, and NOT by a politician or an activist (especially a male politician/activist, who has NO idea AT ALL of “what is [really] best” for a woman and her child).
I value animals, as well as other living things, and I can respect the feeling and/or opinion of others who feel that if it has a heartbeat, it deserves a chance…HOWEVER, the sentient beings involved in the particular situation are the ones who should be making the choices that affect their personal liberties.
As for me, I am glad to still have the choice.
“you’re trying for an ad hoc ban on all safe procedures” I said the exact opposite. a ban on unsafe procedures. It was the unnamed unsafe procedures that the article said doctors would ‘may’ switch to. (which was clearly simply scare-mongering by the author)
“So why are pro-lifers perfectly ok with miscarriage [ or SIDS]” Why do you assume we are? I know many, many families who have dealt with a (or several) miscarriage and or still born. let me assure you we are not OK with it. it is heart wrenching and takes a large toll on us. We weep and mourn, and often times have funeral services for our loss as we do a loss of any child. You all need to really stop telling us what we do and do not believe.
To the author:
I suggest that the next time you feel like posting something about what some other group believes, you actually talk to someone with the opposing view to know what they think rather than put up a straw man and put words in our mouths.
This table makes the claim that all opponents of abortion hold the same views on a number of non-abortion issues, and then tie them all together.
I oppose abortion, except to save the life of the mother. Issues of incest and rape we can talk about – as someone said above, politics is about the art of the possible, and saving x number of lives is preferable to saving none of them.
But I don’t oppose sex education. I don’t oppose contraception. I don’t oppose vaccination for HPV. I don’t oppose funding the U.N. Population Fund (at least in principle). I don’t even know what level of funding single mothers get, so I don’t have a position on their benefit levels. My basic philosophy on welfare is not so much the amount of payments, it’s trying to find a way to get work out of people in exchange for those payments.
Other arguments above seem erroneous. If you oppose abortion, you oppose all abortion procedures. Banning D&X makes sense because an abortion ban would mean that the people involved would NOT be able to have access to other procedures.
I’m not sure what you mean by “abortion bans which expressly protect the mother from all legal consequences.” Is this so that they will be able to report on their abortionists without fear of being convicted of a crime themselves? If so, this is known as a “deal”, which are cut by prosecutors all the time, even in murder cases.
Franklin, is seems to me Amp is not talking about what individual pro-lifers believe but rather what policies pro-life groups embrace and promote. She makes that clear with this statement:
In contrast, the leaders of the abortion criminalization movement have consistently put their political weight behind policies which make little or no sense if they genuinely think that abortion is identical to child murder. And those same leaders routinely endorse policies that make a lot of sense if their goal is to punish women who have sex.
I have to agree with the commenters who stated that your logic doesn’t hold and that you’ve created a strawman in order to present your case. By framing the pro-life argument in such a manner as to make it appear that being pro-life somehow means wanting to punish women for having sex you have in effect created a strawman that is easily knocked down. I know many pro-lifers who have little to no interest in punishing anyone. Not that I agree with them. In fact, I am both pro- and anti- abortion. On my own blog I make the argument that an ethical society would allow its citizens to make immoral decisions in certain cases, abortion being one of them.
My position is that women should have the right to control their own bodies regardless of the morality of their decisions. At least up to a point. In the case of abortion, this would be the age of viability. At this point, the fetus becomes a living organism and has a right to life equal to that of its mother, or at least very nearly so. I could accept the argument for a late term abortion if the pregnancy threatens the mother’s life. That said, I believe that abortion is an immoral choice.
As for the issues on your list, I don’t oppose contraception or sex education. I don’t oppose (in a legal sense) abortion in cases of rape or incest or any other case, except for late term abortions where the pregnancy is not life threatening. I do advocate less generous welfare, although I am fine with the government paying for the abortion. I believe that both men and women should be vaccinated (at their choice) for HPV (This virus also carries serious consequences for men). I believe those who bomb abortion clinics are terrorists and should be dealt with accordingly. I don’t care much for funding the UN, period, let alone its population fund.
One of your arguments does intrigue me, however. You state “by cutting off women from abortion, these laws will tend (in theory, at least) to force women who have sex to bear unwanted children.” My question is, does this argument hold for men as well? If men are given no choice as to fatherhood, are you in favor of forcing them to work to support children they didn’t want? If punishing women for having sex is your argument in favor of allowing abortion, is forcing men to pay child support for an unwanted child, not the equivalent of punishing men for having sex?
I can think of at least two more factors that could be included.
First, LGBT adoption and parenting. Even if we grant for the sake of argument that same-sex couples are the worst possible parents, (therefore adopting a position contrary to the evidence), it still makes no sense for an opponent of abortion to be against LGBT parenting and adoption. If abortion is murder there is no way being raised by same-sex parents is worse than that.
Second, pharmacy refusal clauses. This actually caused an abortion once (cite). If abortion is murder, then making pharmacists give out birth control is perfectly justifiable on the grounds that it prevents abortions.
Franklin, “the art of the possible” is a sidestep. What *policies* a group ultimately supports ate different from legislation it supports. So, in the case of those LGBTs who upset you so, the ultimate and admitted goal would be same-sex marriage, but an LGBT activist group might support a law granting civil unions as an incremental step.
So a group that said “we believe women who abort are murderers and should be treated as such, but we don’t expect the public to support that law yet”? That’s incremental change. But a group that does NOT ultimately want women who abort treated as murderers? They’re not politicians, they’re just liars.
I said the exact opposite. a ban on unsafe procedures. It was the unnamed unsafe procedures that the article said doctors would ‘may’ switch to. (which was clearly simply scare-mongering by the author)
What you said was, “if they are too risky then they will probably not be preformed, if they are we should look at them too.” This implies two categories of conditions. In the first category, the procedure is too unsafe to use and so, from the “pro-life” point of view there’s no problem. Either it won’t be used or it won’t be survived. In the other, it is being used because it’s not too dangerous. If so, you said, “We should look into them too.” The statement is a bit ambiguous but in the context of a person who is gloating over trapping dying women and rape victims in intolerable or unsurvivable situations, the most logical assumption is that you mean that if there is another safe procedure that needs looking into – so it can be banned as well.
In fact, there are still multiple procedures which can be used for late second and third trimester abortions. If the fetus is well positioned, inducing labor is possible. This is usually used in the case of a dead or dying fetus, but one without malformations that would block its normal exit through the vagina. Another alternative is the “D and E” procedure, which is a variant in which the fetus is extracted in pieces after fetocide in utero. Yeah, sounds pretty gory doesn’t it? But how else are you going to get a fetus out when its head is dilated 3x normal size with hydrocephalus or it has spasmed and its neck and back are extended and all limbs rigid with the spasm? C-section through a large incision? You’d probably still need to break some bones to get it out and you may be doing it after the baby’s first breath-at which point it has better oxygenation and more neurologic function. In other words, you’ll be breaking bones when the baby is in a situation where we know it can feel pain instead of one where it almost certainly can’t. (Not that anyone would perform a D and E without fetocide first-so no risk of fetal pain there.) And, of course, if there’s a potentially still viable twin, it dies too in delivery or c-section.
A D and X is considered by OBs to be safer in some of the above situations. I’m not an OB so don’t know all the details. One situation that I have heard about is a twin pregnancy with fetal demise of one twin. Obviously, in this situation, delivery, either induced labor or c-section, will result in the deaths of both twins. Leaving the dead fetus there to rot is a good way to kill everyone involved, assuming nature doesn’t take its course and abort both fetuses: dead fetus=lots of rotting tissue and any bacteria sneak in will find it very nutritious. Not to mention what the immune system does when it sees that sort of decay… D and X is the safest way to remove the dead fetus without compromising the living one. Nice pro-life work, banning the procedure most likely to save a wanted, living fetus.
Sorry if the descriptions are overly gory, but childbirth isn’t pretty and when it goes wrong, it’s extremely ugly. And dangerous.
Why do you assume we are? I know many, many families who have dealt with a (or several) miscarriage and or still born. let me assure you we are not OK with it.
I’m sure that they are. But pro-life organizations are not interested in their pain. No pro-life group, as far as I know, has called for research into prevention of miscarriage. Up to 80% of conceptions end in miscarriage. This is huge! Far more important than abortion, if you really believe that every fertilized egg is a person.
Imagine a world more like the Middle Ages than modern society. There are a lot of infanticides for one reason or another, often because of inability to feed a baby. Maybe as many as 7% of babies die due to infanticide. But at the same time, 80% of babies die in their first two weeks of life of “natural causes”. You are disturbed by the situation but have limited resources. How can you help the most babies? 80% versus 7%. Which is more important?
Ok, so maybe you say that medicine is hard, coercing people is easy and go with trying to save the infanticide cases. Now, suddenly you have more resources. In fact, the resources of a ridiculously large and wealthy modern day country. One that spends a lot of money on treating diseases that older people get, ranging from SIDS to dementia. Now do you want to divert at least a few resources to trying to find out what’s causing those 80% of babies to die?
Apparently not. No pro-life group has called for the foundation of a National Institute for the Prevention of Miscarriage. And if they did, from where would the funding come? Would you be willing to see research into heart disease, cancer, and congential malformations defunded to fund the NIPM? Would you be ready for a 50% tax increase to fund the NIPM? In short, are YOU ready to sacrifice to prevent miscarriage? I won’t answer the question for you and doubt that you’ll answer it either.
I will respond to this post at greater length in the morning. But for now, I will reply to this:
A great deal of elderly people die, but we don’t try to cure old age the way we would try to cure a disease that killed a similar number of middle-aged people at a similar rate. Look at the amount of people who die of old age who are between the ages of 80 and 100. Surely if there were a disease killing individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 at the same rate, we would try to cure it. But we do not try to cure old age. It certainly does not follow from this that we believe that elderly people have a lesser moral status than younger people!
But we do not try to cure old age
Wow, what a disingenuous analogy.
1) There is no “cure” for old age.
2) Even so, you’re wrong. There are plenty of researchers and facilities trying to “cure” old age, ranging from groups that simply try to alleviate the disintegration of age to slightly crackpottier groups that want to unlock immortality.
Alright, let me put it like this: it would be a waste of time for us to try to cure old age and achieve immorality, even if we could. We certainly are not obligated to try to do this, in the way that we are obligated to try to cure other diseases.
But we do not try to cure old age
Actually, we do. There’s quite a bit of research going on into how the body ages and how to change the aging process. You may consider that a waste of time. Others don’t.
But be that as it may, it’s irrelevant. We certainly try to cure diseases that affect children. There is quite a lot of research, much of it successful, into how to cure conditions like childhood acute leukemia, Hodgkin’s, inherited immunodeficiency, etc. So we’ve established, as a society, that we put high value on treating diseases that affect children. So, if all fertilized eggs are children, are we not massively funding research into preventing miscarriage? If diseases that affect 30-50 year olds are worthy of study, how much moreso must diseases that kill 80% of “babies” be? It’s quite ridiculous to say otherwise-unless you don’t really believe that embryos are babies either.
ETA: You state in a later post that we are “obligated” to try to cure other disease besides old age. Surely death at conception is the polar opposite of old age. Why, then, are you apparently arguing that we aren’t obligated to try to cure it? I really can’t see any logical reason except that you don’t think of embryos as people.
Miscarriage, on the other hand, is not a “waste of time” to try and prevent, particularly for a group concerned about the loss of unborn life.
Not every cause of death is a disease. Old age kills massive numbers of people every year. If something else doesn’t kill you, old age will. And yet, we don’t try to cure it, because it is not a defect. Unlike children who die of the conditions and diseases you referenced, old age, and failing to implant on the uterine wall (under some circumstances) are not defects; people who die of these conditions do not do so because there was something wrong with them or wrong with the environment into which they were conceived.
I’ll say this one more time: it does not follow from the fact that a certain condition results in the deaths of a tremendous number of people, that the condition is something of which the people who die from it ought to be cured.
…failing to implant on the uterine wall (under some circumstances) are not defects; people who die of these conditions do not do so because there was something wrong with them or wrong with the environment into which they were conceived.
Oh? Then do enlighten us: why do some embryos fail to implant?
Er. Dianne would know better but “X died of old age” is actually not really, literally true, like “X reached a time of expiration and paused like a wound-down toy.” Isn’t it a catch-all for “X disease or failure killed them, but they were old enough that we’re not particularly surprised?”
Mandolin, you’re probably right, but when people die of no obvious cause at age 100+ and people tend to call it “old age” and aging related damage* is probably the major issue.
*Interestingly, aging related damage can refer to both the damage that a lifetime of reactions does to DNA and cells and the things the body does to protect against that damage. For example, a number of genes have been identified that result in changes associated with aging such as slower healing. Their purpose is to prevent cancers. They do this by sitting on any cells which are dividing too rapidly (i.e. cancers-or normal healing.) It’s better to have them than not-knockout animals die early of cancer-but it’s hardly a perfect system.
See all the things you can learn when you don’t just lay down and die in the face of adversity, franklin? If people hadn’t explored the “useless” field of aging research, we’d never know that the body had this sort of deliberate programing contributing to aging.
Oh, how true. If only there were some way to check on this claim. Why, let me google that for you.
There are definitely no organizations dedicated to finding ways to slow or stop the aging process.
If there are any, I’m sure that they’re really obscure and nearly impossible to find.
A more true thing has never been said, Austin. Keep up the good fight, slugger.
Too many links cause moderation? I guess so.
What you said was, “if they are too risky then they will probably not be preformed, if they are we should look at them too.”
You clearly misunderstood me, I therefore tried to point out to you what I did say and how it was meant. You chose to ignore that. Therefore I will try one last time – although I expect you to ignore it yet again:
The ‘they’ in ‘if they are’ is the ‘too risky’ procedures in the first part of the sentence. If procedures are being preformed are ‘too risky’ then we should look into banning them. I would think you would agree, but you would rather ignore my explanations and tell me what i believe and what i say.
pro-life group, as far as I know, has called for research into prevention of miscarriage.
and no Aids group has called for the prevention of Lyme Disease. what is your point here? And No I would not support any taxes going to any charity regardless of what they support. Is there more to be done to help prevent miscarriages? sure, but that can be said for any charitable cause in the world. Miscarriages are not any worse than any disease or accident that kills people, I’m not sure why you would expect pro-lifers would be so focused on it. It makes absolutely no sense.
you know maybe we should all give a little to the March Of Dimes http://www.marchofdimes.com/mission/mission.html
Franklin, “the art of the possible” is a sidestep
I cannot speak for all prolife groups but as a general rule we should have some punishment for the mother as an accessory to the crime of abortion. I would absolutely support this, otherwise it is a law without teeth. I would expect most pro life groups would agree (not sure if you might have evidence to the contrary) if not, I would expect that it is a political move. again it is the art of the possible. if Pro life groups would say this outright in the current culture the would be unfairly blasted as anti-woman and this blog would likely lead the charge. (but instead you blast them for not supporting it – funny no?)
So your argument is that pro-life groups secretly want women who get abortions treated like any other murderer, but lie about this fact for PR purposes? In other words, if Amp argues what pro-life groups say they believe (don’t treat women as murderers), then he’s unfair and misrepresenting their actual, secret position that they’re pretending they don’t hold. Please explain to me how that makes a lick of sense.
But maybe you don’t need to in that you just went ahead and proved Amp’s point: but as a general rule we should have some punishment for the mother as an accessory to the crime of abortion. “Some punishment”? “Accessory”? If an unborn child is a human life just like a born baby, then a woman who gets an abortion is not an “accessory”. She is the killer who hired a hit man. If a woman pays a hit man to kill her husband, we do not call her an accessory to murder; she is a murderer. So tell me, other than “lying to make policy more palatable,” why don’t you see such women as the cold-blooded killers pro-life philosophy says they must be?
I pretty much agree with everything RonF says in 9. This article is an excellent takedown of a strawman/publicity argument, but doesn’t do much to actually reflect the conflicts in the real abortion debate.
For contrast I believe that some abortions in the 24+weeks range could very well be murder and I would support investigating every abortion after the point of viability as a potential homicide. I believe that a fetus gains a right to not have its life extinguished at some point in a pregnancy, and that the point of outside the womb viability seems pretty darn reasonable. This view isn’t exactly unheard of, it almost exactly reflects the state of abortion rights in the entire EU.
Now this view doesn’t impact a large majority of the abortions in the US (those that don’t take place at or around the point of viability), but it still implicates a thousand or so abortions a year and in my view still implicates a fairly large moral problem.
And if other people want to put the proper time at or around somewhat earlier (say 20 weeks or 18 weeks) that is probably something to be worked out through political compromise, and while I don’t personally see those as murder, I can understand why someone might. And even if they don’t see it as murder, I can see why they might think it is something deeply immoral to a lesser degree than murder (say on the scale of child abuse, or maybe dog fighting).
The majority of Americans find those kind of questions troubling. While it might be good for propaganda to reduce that to “Abortion=Murder” and then demolish that argument, you aren’t really reaching the real argument at all.
You know, I linked to a whole bunch of examples of pro-lifers saying that abortion is murder. Not referring specifically to post-viability abortions, or whatever… just abortion is murder.
I didn’t make them up. I didn’t go and fake all those websites. I didn’t inaccurately portray them as saying that abortion is murder when actually they said something else.
I don’t know what you think the term “straw man” means. But it doesn’t mean what you think you mean.
Sebastian H @29: You lost me. What’s the point of “investigating every abortion after 24 weeks” as a potential homicide? Did you mistakenly mean miscarriage? Because if post-viability abortion is extinguishing a human life, then, um, how can that be other than homicide?
It’s really very simple: if abortion is homicide, then a woman who voluntarily aborts should be treated as having committed homicide. If an unborn baby and a born baby have the same right to live, then the law should treat a woman who aborts exactly as it treats a woman who kills her infant.
“Some people don’t think of it as murder”: correct, because, as Amp notes, they see it as bound up with women’s sexual behavior. There is absolutely no reason to support a rape or incest exception for someone who believes a fetus has a right to life; the only logic behind such an exception is “the mother didn’t have sex on purpose”. Gee, that sounds like abortion is about the mother’s sexuality.
Amp, no. On the internet you can find people who will say almost literally ANYTHING. And in highly charged political debates you can find slogans that are stupid and reductionist. Knocking them down doesn’t mean you are dealing with the arguments at the core of the discussion. You can think it does. But you’re wrong. Strawmanning is dealing ONLY with the weakest portions of the weakest parts of your opponents arguments. That is what you are doing.
Mythago, “Because if post-viability abortion is extinguishing a human life, then, um, how can that be other than homicide? ”
It could be self-defense if continuing the pregnancy was a serious threat to your health and only abortion (as opposed to induced delivery) could end that threat. Right?
It could be non-homicide if the fetus was so damaged as to be certain to die anyway and then the balance of normally viable life vs. continued pregnancy would change. Right?
There are all sorts of possibilities. Every time your child ends up with serious burns, it might not be child abuse. But we encourage social services to look into all non-standard injuries. Right?
“If an unborn baby and a born baby have the same right to live, then the law should treat a woman who aborts exactly as it treats a woman who kills her infant. ”
Again you’re taking the most extreme anti-abortion position and pretending that it is the only one. What if an unborn baby and a born baby have similar rights to live but that it scales up as the unborn baby gets closer and closer to full gestation? Lots of people apparently believe something like that. More people believe something like that than believe that the embryo should have exactly the same rights as the already born child.
It would be like me saying that all pro-choicers believe that it is perfectly ok to kill a pre-born baby 45 seconds before the head crowns just because the woman decided she didn’t want to be a mother after all. You’re just being unneccesarily inflammatory either because you want to distract attention from the more serious objections or because you don’t know them. But if you really don’t know them, you don’t have to be so snide when people try to point them out.
Sebastian H @32: In the US, self-defense is just that: a defense to what is admittedly homicide. So, again, we would investigate abortion just as any other homicide, and if the killer shows that they actually acted in what the law recognizes as self-defense, we don’t prosecute. (Or, we do prosecute and require them to prove it at trial.)
And of course there are other positions than “abortion is murder”. That’s the entire point of Amp’s post: that large numbers of people do not oppose abortion because it is homicide, but because it just seems icky. Or because it allows women who were insufficiently careful during sex to “escape the consequences” of their actions. Or because it wasn’t rape or incest.
You’re really trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, you accuse Amp of inventing strawmen for suggesting that perhaps ‘abortion kills babies’ is not the real driving force behind pro-life groups; on the other hand, you castigate me for suggesting ‘abortion kills babies’ is anything but an “extreme” position. Really, which is it? Either most pro-lifers are motivated by the idea that abortion is wrong because it kills a human being, or they’re not. If they are, then it’s fair to question why they do not treat abortion like the killing of a born human being. And if they are not, then it’s fair to question why they oppose abortion. All you’ve offered is that people have really emotional and illogical reactions: All fetuses have a right to life, but some are more right-to-life-ful than others?
Sebastian, I admit that it’s the logically weaker pro-life advocates who come out and say “abortion is murder.” But the argument that a fetus is morally indistinguishable from a post-birth child is frequently made by eloquent, sophisticated leaders of the pro-life movement, as well as by the rank-and-file. (I don’t really need to provide links to establish that, do I?).
Lots of Americans — perhaps the majority — feel as you describe: that the fetus’ moral status increases throughout the pregnancy. But this is not the argument put forward by the leadership of the pro-life movement, which has made it perfectly clear that its goal is to ban abortion at every stage of pregnancy. You’re accusing me of strawmanning because I’m addressing the arguments actually made by the pro-life leadership, rather than addressing a point of view that — while common — is not the view put forward by pro-life leadership.
Now you’re strawmanning — I never once claimed that I was describing what “all” pro-lifers believe. On the contrary, I was very clear and explicit that I was NOT talking about “all” pro-lifers; please read my post more carefully, Sebastian.
That “an unborn baby and a born baby have the same right to live” is not “the most extreme anti-abortion position”‘; it’s an extremely common position held within the mainstream of the pro-life movement. Here, for example, is a quote from the National Right To Life organization:
Surely you’re not going to claim that the NRTL is unrepresentative of the pro-life movement?
The Republican Party’s official platform says “We say the unborn child has a fundamental right to life. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and we endorse legislation that the 14th Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.” Is the GOP position unrepresentative of the pro-life movement?
Can you name a major right-to-life organization which has not said the equivalent of “an unborn baby and a born baby have the same right to live”?
The purpose of my chart is to show that the policies pursued by pro-life leadership and legislators is in fact contrary to the claim that “The baby living in her mother is as… deserving of protection under the law as we are.” That’s not an unreasonable thing to point out, and it’s certainly not a strawman argument.
Its preaching to the choir, not argument. Preaching to the choir is great if that is what you want. No person reading this post on this blog gained anything from it other than “go get em you super cool pro-choice person” or something like that. You structure it as if you were dealing with serious pro-life arguments, but you aren’t actually doing so. Your style is argumentation, but it can’t actually be “pointing out” that *some* people say all abortion is murder but they don’t really believe that *all* abortion is murder. Who are you pointing that out to? The Catholic nuns who frequent this website?
Your audience is already pro-choice, and perhaps much more pro-choice than the general population. You aren’t educating them as to the actual views of the large majority of people who are more pro-life than them on abortion. You’re right, you aren’t actually strawmanning in the sense of inventing from whole cloth. You’re trying to make the views you disagree with ‘other’ enough that they can be dismissed without being wrestled with. You use the most extreme rhetoric to dismiss pro-life people in general as wanting to punish women for having sex. You two-step from the most extreme rhetoric of some pro-lifers to the question of what *unmodified* (suggesting most/all pro-lifers) believe about wanting to punish women for having sex.
So, you go, you cool pro-choice person! I guess….
And Mythago, you go even more! The view that a fetus might have some small tiny little right to live at some point in the pregnancy gets dismissed as opposition based on ickyness. Nice.
You go, you cool pro-choice person! You’re totally dealing with the issue at hand, you’re getting it right, you’re exposing those nasty people who want to push you down, you’re moral, you’re righteous, and you’re showing it to the world.
Ugh, now I’m the one who has gotten too snide. And I’m outside the editing window time frame, so I’ll have to just apologize for it.
I appreciate the apology, but personally I’m less concerned about the snideness than the substitution of shouting and accusations for a meaningful response. I also can’t much say I appreciate your complete bullshit misrepresentation of what I said.
Did you deal with the idea that a fetus might have countervailing rights to living somewhere? One that might not be 100% exactly the same at every point in the pregnancy (embryo vs. early term vs. late term) or that might not be 100% coextensive with murder (i.e. sliding scale of concern as you approach birth)?
So far as I can see you didn’t, and as it the “lifeness” that is at the very most crucial claim of pro-lifers you can’t really be considered to deal with their arguments if you don’t even allude to it except as ickyness or punishing for sex.
You reduce the entire pro-life question to abortion (at any time for any reason) = murder (as if there were no other immoral possibility or lesser immoral possibility) and then assert that if they don’t believe that there is only ickyness and oppression of women.
How do you represent what you said? And what accusations?
You reduce the entire pro-life question to abortion (at any time for any reason) = murder
No. I get the sense that you are so enraged that you are only skimming Amp’s and my comments, because you’ve completely ignored a lot of what we’ve said.
IF a pro-life group says its belief is that an unborn child has the same right to life as a born child (as the GOP platform and NRTL do), THEN that group should, logically, believe that the law should make no distinction between a mother who aborts her unborn child and a mother who kills her born child (that is, homicide). Therefore, if said group does not in fact want women who kill unborn children treated like women who kill born children, it suggests that they don’t really believe unborn life = born life.
You observe that some pro-life people (and I assume you mean people, not organizations) believe in a sort of continuum-of-rights approach. Again, at some point on that continuum (such as viability) we are talking about unborn life = born life, at which point we are back to making no distinction between prebirth and postbirth homicide. And even at ‘lesser’ stages we would expect some lesser criminal treatment of the mother.
But a concern for abortion as terminating fetal life (whether as an absolute or gradually) is not consistent with a rape or incest exception, or a belief that abortion should only be available to women who attempted to prevent the pregnancy in the first place, or personal disgust with the nature of the abortion procedure. The parents’ sexual choices or willing participation in the conception are irrelevant to the quesition of whether, and to what degree, a fetus has a right to life.
Sebastian, I think you’re arguing not so much ‘against this post’ but that you wanted this post to be about other stuff.
1) There are a not-insignificant number of pro-lifers who believe or claim to believe that abortion is morally equivalent to murder. (This is true and backed up by both links and common sense)
2) That’s inconsistent with their actions and publicly stated beliefs on other matters. (This is true and backed up by both links and common sense)
3) Ampersand is noting that their actions and publicly stated beliefs on other matters are not inconsistent with the idea that women ought to be punished for their sexuality.
That’s it. That’s what this post is about. It’s a good topic.
You know what’s it’s not? A general argument for abortion, a general defense of bodily autonomy, or a general critique of the pro-life position. Ampersand has written plenty of other posts that do those things. This one doesn’t.
Coming from someone who wasn’t always pro-choice but has become more pro-choice over the years, this chart makes perfect sense to me now. Even if individual people who are part of the right-to-life movement don’t believe every line item, the main organizations in the movement mostly do. With this in mind, such organizations (even if they’re not aware that they’re doing so) are effectively doing more of shaming and harming pregnant women than actually saving lives.
If anyone is having trouble understanding this (which I probably would have at some times in my life), just take it one example at a time. In particular, I think the strongest aspect in which this is true is the contraception issue: If someone is truly against legalized abortion because they believe it kills non-born children, then why are they opposed to contraception? If they are consistent, they should at the very least favor the concept of people using contraception if they don’t want to get pregnant, and the most it would be good if they actively sought to expand access and promote usage of them for people not yet ready for children. As it happens, though, many of the organizations connected with the movement mix their anti-abortion messages with anti-contraception messages; here’s just one example . Doesn’t that tell you something?
“Ampersand is noting that their actions and publicly stated beliefs on other matters are not inconsistent with the idea that women ought to be punished for their sexuality.”
AND that pro-lifers (unmodified) have their beliefs because they want to oppress women. Both Amp and Mythago two-step from a small subset of pro-lifers to pro-lifers in general. See *especially* Mythago’s “And of course there are other positions than “abortion is murder”. That’s the entire point of Amp’s post: that large numbers of people do not oppose abortion because it is homicide, but because it just seems icky. Or because it allows women who were insufficiently careful during sex to “escape the consequences” of their actions. Or because it wasn’t rape or incest. ”
Do you note something significant missing in mythago’s set of possible reasons? I sure do. The point of the post and of mythago’s comments is most certainly not restricted to the abortion is murder pro-lifers. It is tarring all pro-lifers. That is the cheerleading and other-making.
Do you note something significant missing in mythago’s set of possible reasons? I sure do.
If you can manage it without another outburst, I’d be interested to hear what you think I am missing. Unless, of course, you’re having just too much fun assuming Amp and I are evil and malicious instead of merely in error.
You’re missing the idea that there could be a life interest less than murder, or a life interest of murder that exists for only part of the pregnancy.
And I don’t think you’re evil or malicious. I think cheerleading can be done over mistakes.
For contrast I believe that some abortions in the 24+weeks range could very well be murder and I would support investigating every abortion after the point of viability as a potential homicide.
I’ve been offline for a while and therefore didn’t keep up with the thread very well, but this one caught my eye.
Sebastian, do you have any idea why abortions in the 24+ week category happen? The majority are for fetal anomaly or danger to the mother’s life. A few might be desperate women who couldn’t get the money together or find a provider (legal or otherwise) before then-I entirely support eliminating these abortions by making first trimester abortion cheap and readily available.
As for others, consider a typical reason for 3rd trimester abortion: the late discovery of anencephaly. Do you know what happens to an anencephalic baby at birth? They’re considered to be dead. One reason some women chose to bring these pregnancies to term is so that the baby’s organs can be donated to save other infants. How can it be murder to abort such a fetus but ok to allow a newborn with the same condition to be used for spare parts?
and no Aids group has called for the prevention of Lyme Disease.
So, why do lobbying groups calling for better prevention and treatment of AIDS exist? Why are there more of them than similar groups for lyme disease? Because AIDS is (may be transitioning to “was”) a bigger killer than lyme disease, especially in selected populations! People who don’t, for whatever reasons of their own, believe that HIV causes AIDS or that AIDS is a real disease (i.e. Christine Maggiore before she died of AIDS) are NOT calling for research into how to treat AIDS or prevent the spread of HIV because they believe it is a waste of time. If you ask one of them, they’d certainly say that the money used to prevent AIDS would be better spent on lyme disease. People who live in the real world where HIV causes a complete breakdown of the immune system, are worried about it and call for research into how to eliminate it. Even if it means that every bit of money available doesn’t go to stopping the occasional murder.
And No I would not support any taxes going to any charity regardless of what they support.
Who’s talking about charities? I’m talking about adding a division to the National Institute for Health, which your tax dollars already support. You could, I suppose, argue that the government has no business trying to protect its citizens from death by disease at all, but if you’re not arguing for defunding the thing entirely (and thereby, in a single stroke, completely eliminating the US’s strategic advantage in biomedical research), then surely the majority of the funding should go to the diseases which cause the most years of life lost, right? The NHLBI and NCI get more funding than, say, the division that works on lyme disease because heart disease and cancer are major killers. But miscarriage, especially early miscarriage, kills up to 80% of concepti. If each fertilized egg is a person then that’s a huge pandemic! Don’t tell me you’re really indifferent to the death of 80% of babies, are you?
Re reasons for termination during the third trimester, there’s not much data from the US, possibly because no one wants to publish a paper that’ll make them a target for terrorists. A couple of links to available data from other places in the world.
I’ll stop at the ritual three links to avoid upsetting the spam filter unduly.
Sebastian @44: Oh. You mean like in @39, where I said You observe that some pro-life people (and I assume you mean people, not organizations) believe in a sort of continuum-of-rights approach. Again, at some point on that continuum (such as viability) we are talking about unborn life = born life, at which point we are back to making no distinction between prebirth and postbirth homicide. And even at ‘lesser’ stages we would expect some lesser criminal treatment of the mother.
There’s no point in having a discussion if you’re not going to bother to read anything someone who disagrees with you says, because you’re much more interested in screaming about how they’re mean and cheerleaders and shit. (Do I get a set of pom-poms?)
By the way, your comment makes no sense. Murder is not a “life interest”. As has been said over and over again, the issue is whether pro-life groups who equate unborn life fully with born life also believe one is as legally and morally culpable as the other. “I believe that an unborn baby has the same right to life as a born child, but I don’t think a woman who aborts should be treated like a murderer” is an inconsistent position.
The statement has an assumption that the right to life of the victim is the reason that we treat murderers a certain way. But protecting the victims is only one of many diverse aspects underlying our treatment and punishment of murderers. I’m personally prochoice enough that I can’t easily put on the prolife hat, but from a logical perpsective that seems to be one of the weaker points.
There’s a big inconsistency in a lot of the other stuff above, most notably (for me) that of contraception, prenatal, and postnatal care. And don’t even get me started on the looniness of unimplanted-egg-as-baby-equivalent stuff. But I don’t think the failure to charge aborting mothers with murder is as inconsistent, mostly because criminal statutes are widely arbitrary already. (I’ve got animals on the mind, so: if you dog kills a deer, or if you shoot your dog, or if you throw an utter fit and brain a Canada goose with a golf club, you get in trouble. But you can kill the deer, and drop the dog at a shelter to be put down, and kill the goose, and it’s all perfectly legal.)
I know it’s an effective argument to in some ways because, well, LOOK EVERYONE, MURDER!!! But I don’t think it’s as powerful a foundation as the rest, logically speaking, and it’s not the one I choose when i argue with prolifers.
“There’s no point in having a discussion if you’re not going to bother to read anything someone who disagrees with you says, because you’re much more interested in screaming about how they’re mean and cheerleaders and shit. (Do I get a set of pom-poms?)”
Who is screaming? And if you can’t accept the fairly obvious point that a post cartoonishly bashing pro-lifers on amptoons might have a pretty large cheerleading component , then you don’t have much license to start investigating the deep inner motivations of pro-lifers when you don’t appear to understand your own side very well. (And it isn’t some particularly big slam such that you should think I’m ‘screaming’ about it. Cheerleading your own side by bashing and otherizing the side you don’t like is a perfectly normal and understandable human thing to do. Everyone does it. I certainly do. It is a great way of signaling solidarity.
You wrote: “And of course there are other positions than “abortion is murder”. That’s the entire point of Amp’s post: that large numbers of people do not oppose abortion because it is homicide, but because it just seems icky. Or because it allows women who were insufficiently careful during sex to “escape the consequences” of their actions. Or because it wasn’t rape or incest. ”
That paragraph omits pretty much all of the hard part (for you) of the debate. You keep wanting to step back to the murder debate, but that isn’t the whole debate. It is perfectly possible, and in fact I believe it to be the case that it is a widely held belief, that the fetus could have a legal life interest which would be less than full homicide. Think animal cruelty acts for example.
Furthermore there are still other reasons why we could be not focusing on the penalty for certain types of abortions–we are still in the political phase of wrangling over which ones are ok and which ones aren’t.
The pro-choice/pro-life political situation is full of apparent inconsistencies, but many of them are because the political process was short circuited by Roe v. Wade and then has become a ridiculous crystallization of entrenched counterviews. For example, (and since you insist on focusing on the murder case I’m submitting to your insistence) why shouldn’t we investigate post-viability abortion? They are by definition the killing of a human that could survive outside the womb. They don’t implicate nearly as many of the normal pro-choice discussion points as a second month abortion. Having the right not to be forced to continue pregnancy isn’t the same as having the right to ensuring the fetus ends up dead. If Dianne is right about ALL late term abortions being medically necessary, they will all be self-defense or otherwise justifiable anyway. But even though most apparently accidental deaths of children are in fact accidents, most police departments will do an investigation and we think that is laudable. Shouldn’t we do the same for the intentional ending of a viable human life?
But you’ll never get NARAL to say that. Not because it doesn’t make logical sense considering pro-choice rhetoric, but because we are deeply entrenched in our cluster of views.
Also note that I’m not saying Abortion = Murder. I’m saying *some* abortion *late in the term* *might* be murder. It is a different position than saying that abortion of a 6 week embryo is murder. It is different from saying that all late term abortion is murder. It isn’t a slogan. It is what I actually believe. And coincidentally, I suspect that an enormous majority of pro-life people and probably lots of pro-choice people also believe that. And insinuating that we believe it because we hate women or something isn’t helpful.
If Dianne is right about ALL late term abortions being medically necessary, they will all be self-defense or otherwise justifiable anyway.
Probably not all, but all or virtually all legal abortions are, by definition, cases in which the fetus isn’t viable or is endangering the life or health of the mother. There are a few places in the US without official legal limits on abortion, but I think you’d be hard pressed to come up with an anecdote of a healthy fetus being aborted for “convenience” after 20 weeks.
The vast majority aren’t self-defense, though. They’re more like withdrawal of care: in the same way a person with major brain damage might be taken off life support, the fetuses are being taken off placental support.
And there’s the answer to your question. Why shouldn’t we investigate 3rd trimester legal abortions as potential homicides? Because it’s a waste of time. It’s already strictly regulated and controlled. There’s no reason for adding another level of bureaucracy. Aren’t conservatives supposed to be small government types?
Illegal first, second, and third trimester abortions do need to be investigated-as illegal surgery, probably practice without a medical license and reckless endangerment of the mother. But not murder of a person who never existed.
ETA: If some 3rd trimester abortions might be murder then two questions: Which abortions are murder? What should the penalty be?
gin-and-whiskey: you totally lost me. I genuinely don’t know what you’re trying to say here other than accusing me of hyperbole.
Furthermore there are still other reasons why we could be not focusing on the penalty for certain types of abortions–we are still in the political phase of wrangling over which ones are ok and which ones aren’t.
This seems to me all the more reason for an organization that is honest about its goals and plans to come out and say what it believes the penalties should be for a given situation. MADD didn’t claim that it was against stiffer penalties for drunk driving, even at a time when it was fighting to get drunk driving statutes passed at all. Why should anti-abortion groups, if they believe abortion is murder, shy away from saying loud and clear, “Abortion is murder. We need to have legal statutes passed that penalize abortion (or third trimester abortion or whatever subgroup you want to put in) in the same way as other murders are penalized.” That’s the position I would expect a person who believed that abortion was killing babies to take.
The only reason I can think of that it would be important politically to hide one’s views and plans would be to keep people from understanding what your real goals are. The anti-abortion position is a really easy sell in some ways: saving babies-who could be against that? That’s why it’s important to let people know what “saving babies” means to them, in real life. And to let people know what the hidden agendas are.
“And there’s the answer to your question. Why shouldn’t we investigate 3rd trimester legal abortions as potential homicides? Because it’s a waste of time. It’s already strictly regulated and controlled.”
I think this is belied by what you said earlier: “Re reasons for termination during the third trimester, there’s not much data from the US”. The reporting requirements in almost every state make statistics impossible because the reasons for termination are not tracked by any medical body or group (and in fact groups like NARAL were deeply involved in making this the case and in resisting attempts to create verifiable records trails). Even in the most pro-life states like Indiana, you can’t get a records trail or audit on the reasons why a doctor is performing late term abortions. At best you can get a certification of necessity (self-cert in about 30 states, no cert in 10 (I think) states) and the only large state requiring secondary certification is New York. And in the two doctor states, they can be in the same abortion practice with the exception of New York (though even there I think you can get away with same practice certifications). South Carolina is the only state requiring certification from an outside mental health professional for a post-viability abortion done for mental health reasons.
So compared to the closest analogy (termination of care of a patient who can’t give consent herself), late term abortions are not nearly as regulated and controlled. In most states, termination of care which will result in death requires an independent audit trail, multiple doctors and certification of reasoning (auditable by the medical board). That is especially true if the termination of care is beyond a mere non-application of heroic measures. A surgery resulting in intentional death would be on the stricter side of those documentation needs under non-abortion circumstances.
In most states, termination of care which will result in death requires an independent audit trail, multiple doctors and certification of reasoning (auditable by the medical board).
Where in the world do you get that idea? All withdrawal of care requires is the consent of the next of kin or medical proxy. A person can be made DNR (resuscitation will not be attempted if cardiac or respiratory failure occurs) with a single signature in the chart and documentation of patient/proxy consent, including verbal. Not performing potentially life saving procedures is even easier: if a patient of sound mind decides not to have, for example, chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s disease, s/he will not get it, even if that decision results in the patient’s death.
Termination of care can get complicated in politicians get involved, as in the Teri Schiavo case. In cases like, say, Tom DeLay’s father’s accident and subsequent withdraw of care while he was in a PVS, it’s quite simple and, frankly, routine. It CAN be audited by a medical board, but so can a routine appendectomy. Neither usually is audited.
What, exactly, is it that you want to investigate? If continuing the pregnancy would result in permanent heart or kidney damage, but the risk of actual death is low, would that be justifiable to you? Or not? If the baby would be born with severe problems that guaranteed its death within a few hours, what criteria would you use to asses the effect of continuing that pregnancy – with all the well-meaning strangers asking if you know what you’ll have and commenting on how you must be ready to pop any day now — on the mental health of the mother? Do you just want more signatures on more forms? Do you want local police officers bringing women into the station house for questioning after their procedures? Do you want medical boards reviewing paperwork on an annual basis to check up on doctors? Do you want medical boards needing to sign off on abortions? What exactly are you proposing or seeking? How would you go about “investigating” every third-trimester abortion as a possible homicide?
“A person can be made DNR (resuscitation will not be attempted if cardiac or respiratory failure occurs) with a single signature in the chart and documentation of patient/proxy consent, including verbal. Not performing potentially life saving procedures is even easier: if a patient of sound mind decides not to have, for example, chemotherapy for Hodgkin’s disease, s/he will not get it, even if that decision results in the patient’s death. ”
It isn’t so easy if the person doesn’t consent. Choosing to die and having it chosen without consent are incredibly different issues. You don’t have DNRs signed by unborn children.
Furthermore in pediatric cases where you have DNRs with signed consent you almost always have some sort of long term, well documented problem for which records would be available. In the late term abortion case, the only record required (by a few states, not all) is a certification, no sonogram need be kept showing unlivable deformity, no genetic testing records attached showing that the child could not live. It is a lack oversight and obscuring of recordkeeping that is not seen in other procedures.
mythago, i don’t think you’re being hyperbolic (did I say that?) I just think the “If you believe blobs are like people you should support charging moms with murder” line isn’t a good one.
That’s what a health care proxy is for.
When you’re a mom and ultimately responsible for the life and health of the baby inside you, you basically carry an unlimited health care proxy for it. Which makes sense: (1) it doesn’t have the capability to think or act on its own, and (2) you’re in the best position to make those decisions, practically speaking, and (3) you’ve got a stake in the game.
All withdrawal of care requires is the consent of the next of kin or medical proxy.
Did you miss that part?
No I didn’t miss that part. Work with the analogy a bit. They are good for showing similarities AND differences:
A) in the normal case that takes place with well documented actual near-death situations, so the next of kin’s signature is in addition to the rest of the patient’s record which will show the medical condition in question causing the patient’s death. In the abortion case, the documentation of the severe medical condition of the fetus or woman is NOT additionally available. For the most part if it is anything (and in many states it is nothing whatsoever) it is just the self certification of the abortion doctor–without the supporting medical documents you would have in any more normal DNR situation. So for the purposes of the analogy, it is easier to get the abortion, which is less regulated and controlled.
B) if the woman doesn’t want the baby anymore, her DNR on its behalf doesn’t offer much of protection for the fetus if she wants to abort after viability for non-medical reasons. Which is exactly why we should have documentation of the medical necessity.
And don’t tell me women never want to have late term abortions for non-medical reasons. We have the recent case in Vernal, Utah where the woman in question carried the baby for two trimesters intending to have it, found out her boyfriend didn’t want it so tried to get an abortion, found she couldn’t because there was no medical necessity and she was now seven months pregnant with a viable fetus, so tried to induce a miscarriage by having Aaron Harrison beat her stomach with a bat, but the baby lived. Oh and now she wants the baby.
Sometimes women want late term abortions just because that is what they want. And in California she would have just gotten the abortion. For no medical reason.
By your own example, she was unable to get the abortion because there was no medical necessity.
And given how that turned out, if I was trying to argue against allowing late-term abortions, that is not the example I would use.
And again, who or what authority do you want to be reviewing the medical documentation and saying yay or nay? Do you want this done in real time or after the fact?
gin-and-whiskey: good thing nobody used that line, then. The pro-life argument is not that a fetus is “like” a person; it is that a fetus IS a person. Logically, that means abortion is killing a person, which if done on purpose generally counts as murder.
You can’t show that a position is false by showing that some people who hold the position also hold beliefs that are inconsistent with it. The pro-life claim (at least, the personhood claim) obviously requires that women who pay others to kill their infants before those infants are born be charged and convicted of first degree murder. As I said, you can’t show that this claim is false by showing that many people who make it also hold beliefs that are inconsistent with it, such as “women who commit infanticide should not be charged with first degree murder.” That would be an ad hominem on your part.
AIDS, for example, is a disease that we try to cure people of. We do not merely try to extend the lives of people who have acquired it, we try to make it so that people do not die of this condition at all. This approach towards diseases is true of almost everyone who is not elderly. And yet, we do not try to cure old age. We might try to prolong the lives of elderly people, but we do not try to cure the condition that ultimately brings about their death, in the way that we would try to cure – not just prolong the lives of people who had it, but cure – a condition that brought about the death of middle-aged people at a similar rate and number. Is this inconsistent with the claim that elderly individuals have the same moral status that younger people have?
AIDS, for example, is a disease that we try to cure people of. We do not merely try to extend the lives of people who have acquired it, we try to make it so that people do not die of this condition at all.
This statement truly made me LOL because it is so ironic. So far, we’ve totally failed at curing AIDS (or, more to the point, HIV), but we’ve had enormous success at preventing and treating it. People who contract HIV today live far longer and healthier lives than those who contracted it in the 1980s or 1990s. But we have cured no one. Well, maybe one person-it’s a long story and one not applicable to the average person with HIV. No more have we cured hypertension, diabetes, or CML. But it’s much better-safer, so to speak-to have any of these diseases today rather than 20 years ago. So, in your opinion, are the successes in treating HIV completely irrelevant because none is a true cure?
And be that as it may, even if we accept the idea that aging is different because we probably won’t be able to reverse it completely in the short term, I still haven’t seen so much as a shadow of an excuse of an explanation of why you’re assigning miscarriage to the same category as aging rather than the category of potentially curable or entirely preventable problems like strep infection or cancer. What possible excuse is there for simply assuming that it must be impossible to prevent miscarriage? Especially when it’s clearly untrue. The same evil OBs as the “pro-life” movement likes to shoot have investigated the etiology of miscarriage and found ways to prevent some long enough for healthy babies to be born to women with histories of repeated spontaneous abortion.
Where did you get the idea that pro-life people think miscarriages are peachy?
Dianne has already shown the other half of your claim (we try to cure all diseases that cause death) to be false, so I’ll address the same claim of yours that I did in comment #25.
How is it that you keep trying this argument in the face of multiple links that prove you are wrong? For thingssake, people have been trying to cure aging at least since the beginning of recorded history. Things like the Philosopher’s Stone and the Fountain of Youth in pre- modern scientific times were a search for a cure for aging. And then there are the many links in my last response to your absurd claim addressing the current state of research to prevent or reverse aging.
You are completely wrong in your assertion that nobody tries to cure old age. Research into aging and the prevention and reversal of aging is an established medical field. If you want everybody reading your comments to think that you’re stupid or unreasonable or both, please do continue. You’ve already convinced me.
Interesting way to circumvent the moderation policy, Jake.I mean, it’s not that you called him stupid or something.
“1.Debates are conducted in a manner that shows respect even for folks we disagree with.”
Jake, with all due respect, I think Stefan has a point. Your comment was fine without the last two sentences, and I don’t think those last two sentences added anything other than snark.
All you are basically saying here is that if Amp writes a post that doesn’t deal with every pro-life argument ever made in the history of the world, then he’s engaging in a straw man fallacy.
But that’s silly. He picked an argument, established that it was a commonly-made argument, and examined it. That’s not a straw man fallacy.
Austin @65: An ad hominem is a personal attack, not an illogical one. Beyond that I don’t know what you think I am trying to prove false.
Sebastian H @50: Actually, no, not “everyone does it”. I’m perfectly willing to accept your statement that you do it, and by “it” I mean treating discussion about serious issues as some kind of sports or PvP event, complete with cheerleaders and points. There are plenty of conservative and pro-life commenters here who are not like that, and I would appreciate your not insulting them, or anyone else, by suggesting that they are motivated by nothing more than ingroup favorability bias and are perfectly willing to be intellectually dishonest.
Which is, frankly, what you are doing, as you repeatedly ignore things I or Amp have actually said, pretend we have not said them, and then rely on this pretense to say that we’re just too dishonest or afraid to say those things. I have to tell you that as a persuasion technique, this is pretty ineffective. If it’s making you feel like you’re getting cheers from the imaginary crowd in your head, I guess I can’t stop you. Here, have a pennant.
Mythago, you’re kind of weird about how you approach the question of ingroup favorability bias and intellectual dishonesty. You are fine with implying intellectual dishonesty among pro-life people by suggesting that they *really* want to ban abortion because of ickyness and a desire to oppress women while ignoring their tougher arguments. You are apparently not fine with implying that a post on a pro-choice and feminist blog, simplifying their position, ignoring very large portions of it entirely, painting them with a broad brush, and generally otherizing them might have large elements of preaching to the choir and cheerleading. Psychologist heal thyself.
You aren’t dealing with the concept of having an advancing level of rights as the fetus approaches the end of pregnancy (a moral concept that has existed for at least 2000 years) or that the balance of rights between the mother and child might shift as the pregnancy continues. These ideas go at least as far to explain why someone might not feel the need for murder charges in every abortion case as the idea that pro-life views are really about the oppression of women.
You don’t even try to deal with that. You just assert that ickyness and oppression of women are the real reasons because they don’t respond they way *you* think they ought to on the charging the mother with murder question. Hell you don’t even want to deal with a pro-lifer actually talking about the murder question directly, which I have done above repeatedly in response to your disinterest in dealing with any other question.
I’m sure what you want at this point, but I’ve been pretty forthcoming about what I think and why I think it. Now you can believe that I think it because I just think abortion is ‘icky’ or because I *really* want to oppress women. I can’t argue against that because it suggests that everything I say is a lie or that I’m too deluded to have any idea about what I think. The irony is that you are quick to take offense at a similar analysis suggesting that *just this post* might have a large component of cheerleading while doing a much more cursory and speculative analysis on an entire group of people’s set of beliefs about abortion.
You just assert that ickyness and oppression of women are the real reasons because they don’t respond they way *you* think they ought to on the charging the mother with murder question.
Sebastian, this is a lie. Period. Please either read what I have actually said, or stop pretending that I have said things that I have not. It’s especially tiresome to be accused of ignoring a point that I have actually and repeatedly made. You throw a tantrum in a post and then innocently ask why anyone thinks you’re reacting by screaming, you insist that I must be intellectually dishonest because “everybody”, admittedly yourself, use that as a tactic, and when Amp points out that mainstream (not extremist) groups have an absolutist view of fetal life, you simply change the subject.
When you feel like having an honest discussion that isn’t about your need to treat a serious issue as PvP, please get back to me. I don’t find it particularly fruitful to hold such a discussion with liars.
You aren’t dealing with the concept of having an advancing level of rights as the fetus approaches the end of pregnancy (a moral concept that has existed for at least 2000 years) or that the balance of rights between the mother and child might shift as the pregnancy continues.
But this isn’t what the post was about!
I’m basically repeating Myca @ 40, but the concept you are referencing, while pretty widely held in the general public and even among many people who consider themselves pro-choice, IS NOT the view or official stance of such fringe elements of as the National Right to Life Committee and the Republican Party. The post is addressed to that official stance. You want to talk about something else. Which, okay, but it’s a separate topic.
On the topic you wish we were talking about, I would recommend you read #12 in the linkfarm.
Mythago, I read what you wrote. You wrote “That’s the entire point of Amp’s post: that large numbers of people do not oppose abortion because it is homicide, but because it just seems icky. Or because it allows women who were insufficiently careful during sex to “escape the consequences” of their actions.”
That is what you wrote. That isn’t dealing with the totality of the pro-life argument, not even the whole argument by the out-group you are slamming. That is over-simplifying and then ascribing motives based on the oversimplification. You seem to be objecting to my characterization of a possible purpose behind the simplification. Which I guess is fine, but does nothing to deal with fact that you are definitely over-simplifying and then over ascribing. You then deflect from that by saying that noting it is tantrum-throwing. Which sounds to me like a great PvP move because like getting to ascribe motives on oversimplified arguments it is essentially unanswerable because you can’t be called on it. Maybe you’re the one who treats discussion like PvP. You raised that issue first too, I think.
Sebastian, I’d like to draw your attention to a question I asked you several comments ago. You say that some abortions might be murder. Could you give an instance of an abortion (real or hypothetical) which you would consider a murder and state what punishment the woman who had the abortion should receive (assuming your example involves the abortion occurring with her consent and instigation.)
In answering ‘what motivates pro-lifers?’ the author has presented a false dichotomy – the only options are ‘abortion is murder’ or ‘women should face consequences for having sex’. Consider that the pro-lifers’ policies aren’t supposed to be a comprehensive statement on the single topic of moral equivalence between child murder and abortion but are political/social stances that compete with other moral beliefs and there’s no problem making sense of them (…mostly).
It is possible to hold a moral position without believing it should or can be backed by law. Whether those holding an ‘abortion and child murder are morally identical’ position should also support legislation in order to be consistent depends on the nature of the moral identity – if based on a legal concept like rights legislation should be supported but if based on a non-legal concept such as possession of a soul there’s no need to match the moral belief with a law.
Even when there is a belief that something is both morally and legally justifiable, it is not necessary that it be represented in proposed policies. For example, capital punishment could be opposed on practical or social grounds (risk of executing innocents or causing social unrest) despite independently being considered morally and legally justified.
In order to achieve anything the pro-lifers need social acceptance and political power. The ‘abortion is murder’ positions prevent them acquiring these things because policies like charging raped teenage girls with committing murder-by-abortion are so socially unpopular. As others have said, the choice is between progressing towards goals by gaining power by compromising policies or remaining powerless and achieving nothing with ‘abortion is murder’ policies. Compromising policies obviously causes them to deviate from what is expected given the motivating belief, but does not require this belief to be modified or abandoned. A compromised policy can be viewed as the best outcome possible in a complex and imperfect world, instead of an incremental step towards a policy consistent with the belief.
If a woman carried a fetus to 8 months, and decided she no longer wanted a baby, it was viable, and not a serious threat to her life, she had an abortion at that point, I would consider that tantamount to infanticide and would be behind charging the abortionist and the mother as if it were infanticide (and or making rules to reflect that). Essentially if the woman in the Utah case had successfully gotten an abortion when she was trying to it should be legally considered infanticide. I would also charge Kermit Gosnell with infanticide for some of the late term abortions he performed (even the ones where he killed the infant before fully delivering, instead of just the ones he killed after fully delivering) as the grand jury reports that some of them were fully viable.
Abortion of a viable child without serious risk to health is indeed murder in my view. I would charge women and doctors who abort after viability (barring the self defense cases where the child is a serious threat to the mother).
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Because miscarriage is not intentional like abortion is. its like saying shooting someone in the head and someone dyin of cancer is the same thing. you’re a friggen retard.
im sorry, you pro-choice people make me sick. If you want to have an abortion than by all means do so. According to the law, no one can stp you. But dont sit here and try to justify it with dumb ass remarks and ficticious facts that make absolutely NO SENSE at all. It’s dspicable.
Wow, banned after only one comment. That’s pretty unusual around these parts — congrats!
Something people need to take into account is that there are two issues at stake here.
Yes conservatives are against abortion, but they are also pro abstinence. Some of those stances in the original post don’t seem to make much sense from a pro abortion stance, but they do make sense when you consider pro abstinence and pro abortion together.
What’s a “pr0-abstinence” position? If you don’t want to have sex, by all means don’t have sex. As to stopping the majority of people from having sex by making the consequences so bad that no one would ever risk them, it’s a position that’s both evil and futile. If childbirth with a risk of dying so high that women were advised to prepare their shrouds and confess their sins when they became pregnant (as was common in the Medieval period) wasn’t enough to stop people from having sex, whatever you’re thinking isn’t going to be either. Abstinence education is a proven failure and all the harassment around abortion is more likely to send women to back alleys than to convince them to forgo abortion. Or sex.
Are you pro-abstinence in marriage? Many Republicans I know also enjoy fucking their spouses.
Being pro-abstinence in marriage certainly has some theological backing so that’s a route you could go if you wanted to, I suppose, but you might find some political pushback against the idea that it’s a majority position even among Christian extremists.
Mandolin, a) Republicans are not the only pro-life/anti-abortion people in the world, and b) the point of holding both a pro-life and pro-abstinence position is to assert that people who are not prepared and willing to bear a child, should that be the outcome of sex, ought not to have sex. It’s not that they need to be married before having sex (though there are a lot of people who think that’s a good idea), or that it’s OK to have an abortion if you were married since you at least aren’t a dirty fornicator; it’s that sex has predictable consequences, and even if one is taking reasonable steps to avoid those consequences, the consequences are known and so it is better to forego the activity if the consequence is unbearable, than it is to engage in the activity and then have an abortion rather than have the consequence.
I don’t believe in laws banning abortion, because I think people do have bodily autonomy and – even if others (including me) think their decisions may be immoral – the state has no business interfering in those decisions. But I can respect someone for taking a more coherent position, and abstinence + pro-life makes a good deal more sense as a position than just one or the other.
I agree with Robert’s post in entirety. I was going to respond, but he said everything I was going to better than I could.
Where I disagree with you is the “makes a good deal more sense” part. It does not “make more sense” to say that people who do not to bear and raise a child should not have sex any more than to say people who do not want to bear and raise a child should be allowed to use contraception and have access to abortion.
Abstinence does not “make sense” because 50% of the pregnancies in this country alone are unplanned. Decreases in abortion rates, which would “make sense” to support if one thinks abortion is immoral, are directly attributed to more contraceptive use, not promoting abstinence.
Discussions like these only “make sense” when they are mental masturbation in the comment section in a blog. Speaking as an almost physician (less than three weeks) who lives and treats real people in the real world, and a poor single mother who doesn’t want any more kids and doesn’t plan on spending the rest of her reproductive years abstinent or having no penis in vagina sex, you make very, very little sense.
As for stories of 8 month gestational age abortions, THESE DO NOT EXIST LEGALLY. Kermit Gasnell was charged with crimes because he committed crimes. This is like calling a pedophile a typical teacher, and condemning the education system based on aberrant criminal activity.
Late term abortions are not post viability. They are second trimester, which is previability. even then, they are extremely rare. Third trimester abortions are never done unless the fetus is severely compromised, likely “incompatible with life” – because medically, life happens once they are outside the womb, or the mother’s health is severely compromised.
It’s all well and good to get all frothed up about this on the interwebs. However, go to Guttmacher.org if you want real facts about abortion, not emotional wordplay in blog comments. Or, if you really care about the sick babies, maybe you should work with or even adopt some of the severely impaired institutionalized children. Or do some babysitting for the undocumented immigrant with five kids who I had to tell that the funding was cut for her tubal ligation. Or, continue to type away on the internet and feel like a moral person.
” It does not “make more sense” to say that people who do not to bear and raise a child should not have sex any more than to say people who do not want to bear and raise a child should be allowed to use contraception and have access to abortion.”
Yeah, that’s why I didn’t say that. It’s fine to disagree with me (I’m often wrong!) but please don’t directly misquote me, especially this egregiously. I didn’t say that the no-sex-no-abortion position made more sense than the yes-sex-yes-abortion position; I said that no-sex-no-abortion made more sense than either no-sex or no-abortion standing alone. And I said it with exceptional clarity.
“Abstinence does not “make sense” because 50% of the pregnancies in this country alone are unplanned.”
This is like saying that using your brakes in a traffic crisis doesn’t make sense, because 95% of the automobile accidents in this country involved people who applied the brakes. Abstinence makes perfect sense, as a personal moral (or even simply behavioral) position; where it doesn’t make much pragmatic sense is as an advocated position for other people, particularly young people. I can carry water uphill myself, but trying to convince water to flow that way on its own is a pretty tough row to hoe.
The rest of your post is rather self-righteous but doesn’t directly address any of the points I tried to make, so I’ll stop with the above.
I’m not sure it makes much sense as an advocated position for married people, either. I think most married people would object.
There are married people (mostly though by no means all Catholic) who fuck PIV like crazy for one week, then are vaginally abstinate for three weeks.
But that’s not particularly relevant to your no-sex/no-abortion argument, is it? Cause they’re fucking, and if you’re fucking, no matter how careful you are, there is some risk of pregnancy.
Also, not all people have regular cycles.
I don’t believe in laws banning abortion, because I think people do have bodily autonomy and – even if others (including me) think their decisions may be immoral – the state has no business interfering in those decisions.
Heh, heh, Robert’s come over to the
Perhaps the cookies swayed him.
I’ve had basically the same opinion about abortion for the last 20 years.