Open Thread and Link Farm, A Record 102 Edition

  1. 2020 election: this child tax credit expansion could slash poverty – Vox
    A $3000-per-child child allowance is being proposed by some Democrats.
  2. Trump’s reign of corruption will now face real opposition. Here are three things to watch. – The Washington Post
  3. US enters new phase as women change the face of Congress | US news | The Guardian
  4. I’m fine with women in power, just not this one specific woman currently in power – The Washington Post
  5. Cops Force Doctors to Anally Probe Drug Suspect, Bill Him $4500
    Sickening. The word “rape” is never used in the story, but I don’t see why not. Thanks to Grace for the link.
  6. Deported to Honduras, an asylum seeker who feared MS-13 was murdered. His children are fighting to stay in the United States. – Washington Post
  7. Scott Wiener’s SB-50 could fix California’s housing crisis – Vox
    The bill is designed to encourage development in rich areas, and to avoid gentrification (by not allowing new construction to replace current rental properties). Interesting.
  8. The 10 most wonderfully weird SNL sketches from 2018, ranked – The Washington Post
    It’s hard to beat the lobster sketch, but I also really liked the Barbie interns and the fallen down teacher.
  9. Alice Walker’s Conspiracy Theories Aren’t Just Anti-Semitic – They’re Anti-Black – The Forward
  10. And if you need context for the above link: Alice Walker’s controversial endorsement of David Icke, explained – Vox
  11. Dan Savage has a good rant here about Tumblr’s adult content ban.
    Thanks to Mandolin for this link.
  12. Meet the Woman Who Invented Cosplay – Racked
  13. Seth Rudetsky takes 23 minutes to go over all the things he thinks are cool in Hamilton’s ‘The Schuyler Sisters’ song.
    The song itself is three minutes and seven seconds long.
  14. The best argument against kidney sales fails | Journal of Medical Ethics
    The author argues that kidney markets can be set up in a way that will avoid creditors and others pressuring poor people to sell their kidneys.
  15. Sanatan Dinda – An Indian Visual Artist
    This artist does the best body painting I can recall seeing.
  16. A Veteran Supreme Court Justice Cited a Debunked Planned Parenthood Smear in an Opinion
    Specifically, Judge Thomas apparently believes the debunked accusation that Planned Parenthood “engaged in ‘the illegal sale of fetal organs’” enough to cite it in his official Supreme Court dissent (although, to be clear, he did say “alleged”). Or, alternatively, Thomas knows that it’s complete bullshit, but is cynical and partisan enough to cite the “alleged” organ sales anyway. In either case, it indicates the major problem with the Republicans today – that completely batshit and evil conspiracy theories are bought into, sincerely or cynically, at the very highest levels. (See, also: climate change. See, also: Millions of illegal immigrants voting.)
  17. Doomrocket’s choices for the 30 best comic book covers of 2018.
    I don’t agree with every choice, but I still love looking through these sorts of features (and many of the covers are stunners). Bill Sienkiewicz has three (!) covers on the list.
  18. The $400 Rape – Jessica Valenti – Medium
    An alleged rapist pleads to a lesser charge and is let off with a $400 fine. Content warning for sexual assault, obviously.
  19. One Woman Who Knew Her Rights Forced Border Patrol Off a Greyhound Bus | American Civil Liberties Union
  20. On Weight Loss Surgery And The Unbearable Thinness Of Being – The Establishment
    Content warning for, well, discussion of anti-fat bigotry.
  21. Germany: The first basic income experiment in Germany will start in 2019 | Basic Income News
    It’s an experiment, not a country-wide policy, comparing their usual system (which has sanctions if people fail to do things such as look for work) to a basic income scheme.
  22. Florida Sheriff Worked With ICE to Illegally Jail and Nearly Deport US Citizen | American Civil Liberties Union
  23. Why is Everyone Blaming Vice Admiral Holdo? – Purple Serpents In Her Hair
    Holdo was right not to tell Poe the plan!
  24. Thundercats reboot, Steven Universe & CalArts style insult explained – Polygon
    This article was written before the new “She-Ra,” which is approximately 1463x better than the original, premiered, but I’ve seen the same meaningless “CalArts style” criticism of that show, too.
  25. CBS Paid the Actress Eliza Dushku $9.5 Million to Settle Harassment Claims – The New York Times
    The network introduced tapes of Dushku (Faith on “Buffy”) swearing on-set to suggest she was fired for being unprofessional, rather than because she asked the lead actor to stop making sexually suggestive jokes about her. The network didn’t recognize that the tapes also contained the lead actor acting exactly as Dushku described – a ten million dollar mistake. Good for Dushku.
  26. J’Accuse…! Why Jeanne Calment’s 122-year old longevity record may be fake
    Essentially, if this theory is right (and although we’ll never know for sure, I find the arguments persuasive), the real Jeanne Calment died at around age 60. In order to avoid paying inheritance taxes, the wealthy family claimed that Jeanne’s daughter had died, and the daughter took on Jeanne’s identity. The rich really are different!
    ETA:I’ve looked into this more, and although I stupidly didn’t save the links, I’ve also seen arguments for Calment NOT being a hoax, which I also found persuasive. Controversies I honestly don’t care about either way can be so much fun to read. I’m going to continue to think it’s a hoax, but only because I think that’s a better story.
  27. Steve Stewart-Williams on Twitter: My Top 12 Favourite Perceptual Illusions
  28. Mankato professor taking heat for tweet that God is guilty of #MeToo violation –
    The tweet said “The virgin birth story is about an all-knowing, all-powerful deity impregnating a human teen. There is no definition of consent that would include that scenario. Happy Holidays.”
  29. Are Scandals About Illegal Abuse of “Rescued” Sex Workers In India, Distracting From Legal, Systematic Abuses? | openDemocracy
    “Those who are held against their will in ‘protection homes’ – lawfully under the ITPA –resort to escaping, rioting, and self-harm in an attempt to regain or at least assert their own agency.”
  30. DeVos’ Proposed Changes to Title IX, Explained | National Women’s Law Center
    Some of the changes – such as the requirement that accused students have access to the evidence against them – strike me as fair and positive changes. But many of the changes are terrible and will leave stuydent rape victims with less recourse.
  31. How one man repopulated a rare butterfly species in his backyard – Vox
  32. I should be in bed right now but instead I’m reading this twitter thread of funny things from Tumblr, and it’s super cracking me up, and I have to quit reading these and go to bed but I can’t.
  33. What is TikTok? The app that used to be, explained. – Vox
    I’ve never heard of TikTok before, but it’s apparently bigger than Twitter or Instagram, and hoooo boooy is it goofy. Fuck the youtubers making fun of people for having fun.
  34. Massachusetts federal court rules you have the right to secretly record cops.

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128 Responses to Open Thread and Link Farm, A Record 102 Edition

  1. 101
    Tatterdemalion1983 says:

    Are you saying that, in this circumstance, Bette is obligated to keep not borrowing from the bank, even though I’m not honoring that rule and presumably will never honor it, and even though this is putting her at an enormous disadvantage in the game?

    If you have a shared bank account and several children then yes, unfortunately, the more irresponsible the other person is with money, the more important it is that you’re responsible with it. That’s not fair, obviously, but it matters more that the kids get to eat than that the parents are treated fairly.

    Obviously, what you actually do in that situation what you really do is get a divorce, and at this point the seams of the metaphor really start to stretch past breaking point, because the closest real-world equivalent is “persuade people to stop voting for the other party”, and obviously encouraging the kids to break off contact with their other parent is a shitty way to handle a breakup, but the basis of all electoral politics…

  2. 102
    Ampersand says:

    Well, here’s a question. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that responsible governing includes balancing the budget. (Certainly, I think that’s what virtually any Republican would say if asked, despite how the party acts when in power). Is it the case that the GOP is incapable of understanding the idea that their policies should be paid for, and so can never learn? Or is it the case that the Dems, by being more responsible, are enabling the GOP to be more irresponsible? If it’s the latter, then Democrats certainly should try and shake up this status quo.

    Also, what if the things Bette wants to pay for include things like feeding her children? Or repairing the roof? Or getting little Kimmy, whose leg is broken, to the doctor’s?

    Finally, what we’re discussing isn’t that things should never be paid for. Rather, that things should be paid for when the congress does the budget, rather than as a condition of passing each individual bill. Going back to the increasingly strained household metaphor, I don’t work out my entire monthly budget every time I go to the grocery store; I pay for the groceries, and later on I look at my total budget. (That wouldn’t work, of course, if there was a danger that my check could bounce and I couldn’t buy groceries at all; but since the US is in no danger of that occurring, unless the GOP decides to deliberately tank the US’s credit rating, I think it’s reasonable to say that our example household is likewise in no danger of bouncing the check).

  3. 103
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    J. Squid,

    Actually, women/girls bully as well. Men/boys are more prone to bully overtly and physically, while women/girls more often bully covertly and emotionally.

    Internalizing expressions of emotion that make one appear weak. Although this one is really a consequence of misogyny.

    How is this due to misogyny? Is the claim that expecting men to act masculine comes from misogyny, because female behavior is considered bad? This logic fails to convince me as women are also judged negatively for being too masculine (although less than men due to feminism, but it seems a bit unreasonable to take feminist successes as evidence that misogyny exists).

    I also want to point out that that the evidence actually suggests that internalizing emotions can be more healthy in the face of trauma than not doing so.

    In general, it seems to me that like most traits, stoicism has upsides and downsides. The extent to which those are beneficial depend heavily on the circumstances. Note that the opposite of stoicism is neuroticism: high sensitivity to emotions. It has upsides and downsides just like stoicism, where higher neuroticism is harmful in certain circumstances and beneficial in others.

    Currently, we are at a rather immature place as a society when it comes to dealing with this IMO, as we see in the APA guidelines, which declares stoicism as merely being bad. It fails to recognize that everyone needs some amount of stoicism, more so in certain circumstances. An EMT on an ambulance who is overcome by emotions is not able to do his/her job.

    Some people (men and women) should be more stoic, some should be more neurotic. Some people’s stoicism is necessary to be able to do their job, fulfill their gender role or otherwise cope. The job, gender role or other reasons don’t suddenly go away if people are taught to be less stoic.

    The equivocation of stoicism with failure itself blinds people to how higher stoicism/low neuroticism can lead to success in certain ways. For example, neuroticism is negatively correlated with job performance and career success & tends to be low in leaders.

    It seems likely that all kinds of expectations on men implicitly push men towards stoicism, as meeting those expectations is easier for the stoic.

    It seems dangerous to me to focus a lot on telling men to be less stoic, without sufficiently addressing the expectations of men and how society is not very eager to help men who fail. Otherwise, there is a big risk that these ‘cured’ men will be less successful at measuring up to the demands/expectations of society, causing them to end up in a sad place, which is then not ameliorated by them expressing that sadness more affluently.

  4. 104
    J. Squid says:

    Actually, women/girls bully as well.

    They do! But I have never witnessed it being actively supported by the authorities.

    … women are also judged negatively for being too masculine…

    They are! But I don’t see the relevance to a discussion about toxic masculinity.

    I also want to point out that that the evidence actually suggests that internalizing emotions can be more healthy in the face of trauma than not doing so.

    I am not talking merely about suppressing emotions in the face of trauma. “Boys don’t cry”, “Be a man,” are most often said in non-traumatic situations.

    Note that the opposite of stoicism is neuroticism: high sensitivity to emotions.

    Note that I talked about the suppression of emotion, not the lack of any emotion.

    It fails to recognize that everyone needs some amount of stoicism, more so in certain circumstances.

    Sure. But boys don’t cry. Don’t be a girl. That’s not the same as saying you should have some amount of stoicism. That’s saying that only girls cry and it’s shameful to be a girl.

    And then you wander down a tangential path that doesn’t seem, to me, to be relevant to my points.

    Feel free to respond, but I will not be discussing this further with you. I’ve already broken my resolution of not engaging you.

  5. 105
    Mandolin says:

    Just FTR, I’ve certainly seen authorities back girls’ non-physical bullying of peers. I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened with physical bullying. I’ve also, of course, seen power structures support abusive women who are supposed to have power over their victims, like teachers.

    There’s definitely a difference in valence, and possibly in frequency, but I think it’s there.

    I’m just replying to you, Squid, because the claim caught my eye. I’m unfamiliar with most of the conversation (and I’m not planning to read it to catch up). So, sorry if this is contextually irrelevant.

  6. 106
    J. Squid says:

    Just FTR, I’ve certainly seen authorities back girls’ non-physical bullying of peers.

    Oh, I’m not saying it doesn’t happen. I just haven’t seen it. Certainly not with the frequency that I’ve seen bullying encouraged among boys. Of course I realize my experience isn’t necessarily reflective of general reality, but that’s what I’m going with here. My experience of what makes toxic masculinity more common than it needs to be.

  7. 107
    Sebastian H says:

    J. Squid, isn’t part of it the labeling? It’s clearly a thing. There is a whole “mean girls” trope that is readily understood. In my experience, all sorts of authority figures are willing to play into the pecking order that the “mean girls” represent even later in life.

    But for whatever reason we don’t call that toxic femininity.

  8. 108
    hf says:

    By all means, quote this official guideline saying that “stoicism” is always bad. I’ll confess my mistake here and also give you $50.

    But hey, don’t engage with my previous comments or anything.

  9. 109
    J. Squid says:

    I’ve had some time to think and I don’t think I’m right. Or, at least, I’m not able to formulate my thoughts into something that makes sense. If I can figure out how to do that, I’ll come back and do so.

  10. 110
    Mandolin says:

    So, one reason I don’t think we have a term for “toxic femininity” is that a lot of second wave feminism took a strong stance against femininity in general — which is to say, it’s already been constructed as toxic.

    The terms are slightly different for toxic masculinity and second wave analysis of femininity. Femininity is constructed as “false consciousness.” It’s degrading and imprisoning. Think of every feminist argument you’ve ever heard about high heels and makeup, and it probably has at least some roots in the early association of femininity and toxicity.

    A great deal of femininity is toxic! The belief and practice that it’s required to wear high heels all the time without regard for one’s health or inclination — that’s toxic. Is wearing high heels always a manifestation of toxic femininity? No. Are many of the attitudes informing who has to wear them, why, and when part of toxic femininity? Absolutely.

    Scary toxic femininity? Serial killer nurses.

    Anyway, the term may not exist, but the concept does. It’s like 30%* of feminist discourse.

    *Number completely fictional.

  11. 111
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Is the problem just the word “toxic?” I think it is.

    Imagine I’m critiquing a religion, trying to sort out the good and bad ideas, with a sincere desire to inspire positive change. I want the world to be better.

    So I say, “Oh look, there’s another example of toxic Islam.” That would be a bad way to do reach people, even though I wouldn’t be wrong if I defined my terms carefully. I try not to talk like that.

    It’s sort of like “white fragility.” It’s a thing I guess. But in this day and age what identity doesn’t have fragile and especially loud members that dislike hearing criticisms of their tribe? Yet I’m not going to say “Islamic fragility,” after some cartoons spark world-wife protests. It’s juvenile, I’ve got better words available. “Fragility,” and “toxic” seem as if they were chosen to spark anger.

    Sometimes I feel like certain phrases related to the culture war, or even entire lines of argumentation, serve mostly to anger the opposition and signal tribal allegiances. I’m not offended by their use, but why speak like that?

  12. 112
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Jeffrey Gandee,

    I think that these terms have a very controversial implied meaning (which often doesn’t come from the terminology itself, but how it is used in practice). For the people who disagree with that implied meaning, it feels like an abusive rhetorical trick where agreement with the overt meaning is treated as agreement with the controversial implied meaning and/or where speaking out against the controversial implied meaning is taken as disagreement with the overt, much more benign meaning.

    In some cases, the overt meaning is ambiguous, making this even worse. Is ‘toxic masculinity’ a claim that all masculinity is toxic or does it refer to part of masculinity? People use it both ways (sometimes even the same person), so what are you (dis)agreeing with?

    For many people here it’s probably more illustrative to use an example that the other side might use and that would offend them: ‘all lives matter.’ On its face this is a perfectly innocent claim that only very bad people would disagree with. Yet of course it implies that certain claims about how the lives of certain groups are more under threat and/or are considered less valuable are false or greatly exaggerated.

    Back when this phrase was first coined and not yet fully ‘assigned’ to one side of the culture war, you had people innocently use the term for its overt meaning and then getting attacked for its implied meaning.

    One person’s dog whistle that legitimizes something evil is another person’s perfectly valid term that the other side objects to for no good reason & vice versa.

    PS. This is also why politically correctness and it’s opposition are actually not what they seem at first glance. Many of the opponents feel that PC language is extremely offensive to them and puts them at a disadvantage, so in their eyes it is not what it is claimed to be, but a way to wield power against them.

  13. 113
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Lol, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the concept ofTM used to criticize all masculinity. This link is what I’m used to seeing:

    Much of what I’m seeing there is the calling out of sort of norm enforcement, where there is a penalty for being a man and deviating too far from certain norms coded masculine. My problem with that is that every identity group does this, so it’s weird to focus so heavily on men doing this to other men. We’ve all witnessed people get accused of not being feminine enough, or acting white/black when they identify as the other (I find this attempt at norm enforcement especially gross).

    Where it often goes wrong is when people assume that a guy like me is being stoic or drinking beer because of TM, and not just because I happen to like many things that, on average, men like more. Or perhaps the behavior being enforced, competitiveness or physicality for instance, will itself be labelled toxic.

    To me, that Geek Feminism link, when taken to it’s logical conclussion, is really all about being aware of the ways humans try to enforce arbitrary norms on one another, so that we can do a better job of accepting others as they are.

    Given the quality of the Toxic Masculinity page, it’s really too bad Geek Feminism also wrote this,

  14. 114
    Jeffrey Gandee says:

    Relevant to the comment I made above:

    I call it “toxic post-colonialism.” Imagine a venn diagram of people who say “toxic masculinity” unironically but also enjoy policing other people’s expressions of their cultural identities.

  15. 115
    LimitsOfLanguage says:

    Jeffrey Gandee,

    It’s not just men doing it to men, though. It’s actually one of my complaints that it is often argued or heavily implied that only men are enforcing gender norms on men (see the Gillette commercial), while it is recognized (and often exaggerated) how men are enforcing norms on women.

    Where it often goes wrong is when people assume that a guy like me is being stoic or drinking beer because of TM, and not just because I happen to like many things that, on average, men like more.

    Yep. I actually also see a decent amount of complaints by men of them being expected to be more ‘feminine’ by their partner or others than they would prefer, not just complaints about being expected to be masculine in certain ways.

    Many different research findings (and more casual observations) seems to suggest that there is a biological personality difference between the sexes, where men are considerably more thing-oriented and women considerably more people-oriented on average.

    If that is true, then forcing equal outcomes, rather than equal opportunity, is not going to be “accepting others as they are.”

    It makes the situation quite complicated, because you simultaneously can have men being pressured into acting more feminine than they are naturally in some ways, while also being pressured into acting more masculine than they are naturally in other ways.

    Add in that such pressure can shape personality and we may not even know our true personality. We may also not even want people to act naturally, when acting on their natural traits is harmful to overall human well-being.

    All this uncertainty also makes it very easy for people to think that they are liberating people, while they are actually merely enforcing their own (gender) norms, which may not be as benign as they think they are.

    Or perhaps the behavior being enforced, competitiveness or physicality for instance, will itself be labelled toxic.

    Many of these things have an optimum. Most of us presumably want people to physically intervene when someone is abusing a child, but not to get violent when other people transgress a little (in their eyes).

    However, a problem is that it’s very hard to teach such things without overshooting. A lot of people push very hard in one direction, which does push some people closer to the optimum, but which pushes others further away from it.

    Instead of declaring certain things like violence as always being wrong, which is not the case or merely pushing back against a vague concept (like ‘abuse’) that people will interpret wildly differently, it probably makes more sense to be far more concrete, talking about specific good and bad behaviors.

    However, even then it should be recognized that people may have a hard time complying because the incentives not to do so may be enormous.

  16. 116
    RonF says:

    Amp, @ 90: Maybe I’m dense, or maybe it’s because I’ve been in the house for two days solid because each of the last two mornings when I’ve gotten up it’s been -22 F outside, but I’m missing your point completely.
    Amp, @ 93: To see that as a joke you’d have to a) know what that person’s comic persona is and b) give her the benefit of presuming that she was acting within her comic persona. I rather imagine that few people know her comic persona (certainly not most of the people that Tweet got publicized to) and under the circumstances of the plethora of other Tweets I”ve seen about those kids I’m not inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt.
    Jeffrey, @96: I sing in a group of about 100 people that sings mostly sacred classical work (e.g., our Spring concerts are Brahms’ Shicksalslied and Dvorak’s Requiem). They have parties on occasion. They’re all from the northern Chicago suburbs and I”m from the southwest suburbs and unfortunately the stereotype is on display in those parties – everyone drinks wine. The first time I showed up empty handed and there wasn’t a bottle of beer to be had. I’ve never been a wine drinker, but I tried drinking some. I didn’t like the taste of any of them. So the next time I showed up with a couple of six-packs of craft beer (I like craft beer). I definitely felt out of place sitting there drinking beer while everyone else was drinking wine – until I noticed that the beer was definitely disappearing faster than I was drinking it on my own.

  17. 117
    Sebastian H says:

    The last time we had this discussion, I suggested that if people who use the term “toxic masculinity” can’t easily think of what non toxic masculinity is like—I.e. not just “good person” coding but “masculine good person” it is appropriate to interpret them using “toxic masculinity” as really just attacks on “masculinity”.

    We are sort of in a transitional phase for feminism as the “there is no difference between the genders” stance has fallen in popularity, but “this is the difference” has not yet been well explored/accepted. Being unable to identify what non toxic masculinity looks like is a holdover from the old stance and might be a sign that older feminists haven’t really accepted the change.

  18. 118
    Ampersand says:

    LOL, replying to me:

    Out of all the millions of abortions that have taken place in the U.S., is there even ONE documented example of an abortion that took place the day before natural childbirth?

    That can never be documented, because the actual moment of childbirth cannot be predicted a day before. As you seem to realize, I wanted to know if RJN really believes that there should be no limits on how late non-medical abortions may still be performed. I’m not interested in getting mired in defending a specific law at this point, but want to focus on defending a moderate position that excludes both extremes.

    Okay, is there even one documented example of an abortion that took place after the 32nd week of pregnancy?

    I understand what you were going for. But it’s a pointless “gotcha” question, because it all but never happens. Pro-lifers don’t emphasize day-before-birth-abortion because it’s a real problem; they emphasize it because it’s much easier than talking about how they want to literally outlaw abortion at every stage of a pregnancy.

    Screaming “THEY WANT TO MURDER BABIES” is not helpful, or intelligent, and it has basically no relationship to abortion as it actually happens in the world. But that’s generally what “one day before birth abortions!!!!” rhetoric is about – insinuating that pro-choicers are baby-murderers.

    I trust people who are pregnant to make the right choice far more than I trust pro-lifers in power (judges, hospital administrators, etc) to be good faith actors, and to have the right balance in mind between protecting their own health and protecting the health of their fetus.

    You seem to be insinuating that all pregnant women who choose to have an abortion do so because of medical reasons, but the evidence actually shows that the most frequently cited reasons are the impact on their life and financial reasons (which in the study is summarized as ‘cannot afford’ which I think is a highly inaccurate and biased choice of terminology). In the survey study I linked to, health issues are only given as the most important reason for the abortion by 7% of women.

    You justly object to those who argue for a full ban on abortion based on very rare cases, but similarly, I think that you should also defend abortion based on the common case that doesn’t involve medical reasons, unless you merely want to defend abortion for medical reasons.

    I thought it was clear from context that I was talking about late-term abortions, not about abortions in general. The study you link to doesn’t say anything about late term abortions. (It does have a category for 13 weeks and later, but late-term abortions are usually defined as 20th week or later, although some people try to plump up the numbers by including 16th week or later).

    Truthfully, I can’t even be begin to concerned about the fetus’ rights until sometime after the 28th week, and abortions that late are very rare (1.3% of abortions take place after the 21st week, and presumably the number would be much lower for after the 28th week). For the overwhelming majority of abortions in the U.S., I see no moral conflict in a pregnant person choosing an abortion for any reason at all.

  19. 119
    Ampersand says:


    The Guttmacher Institute (which is VERY pro-choice) has repeatedly found that later term abortions have only a slightly higher medical necessity component than early term abortions.

    Link, please?

    A Guttmacher report LOL linked to (pdf) didn’t include a separate category for abortions that take place after 20 weeks (the usual definition of “late term”). But it did find that people whose abortion took place at the 13th week or later were about twice as likely (21% vs 10-12%) to cite fetal health concerns as a reason they had an abortion. I’d say that’s more than “slightly” higher – and although there’s no evidence, it seems plausible that the number might get higher for late-term abortions.

    (Surprisingly, there was essentially no difference in the numbers for people saying they were concerned for their own health.)

  20. 120
    lurker23 says:


    you said this:

    I can’t even be begin to concerned about the fetus’ rights until sometime after the 28th week, and abortions that late are very rare (1.3% of abortions take place after the 21st week, and presumably the number would be much lower for after the 28th week). For the overwhelming majority of abortions in the U.S., I see no moral conflict in a pregnant person choosing an abortion for any reason at all.

    i think you are making n argument using the “not-what-i-think” way and it is very confusing.

    you do not say the date is 28 weeks, or sometime later (how late), and you do not say what should happen (aborting should be legal, or not-legal), you only say (i think) that it would maybe be concerning (if it is not ‘not-concerning’) or maybe raise moral conflict (if it is not ‘no moral conflict’).

    i do not understand why it is so normal for people to argue without having to say what they really think but it seems like that is normal for abortion in this thread, and that is a funny thing.

    my view is that it should be legal for people to have abortions any time up to birth. is that your view? if not, what is your view?

  21. 121
    Ampersand says:


    My view is that it should be LEGAL for people to have abortions up until birth. As I’ve said, this is a case in which I trust pregnant people to make the right decision, more than I trust the government. (Also, in practice, the nightmare scenario pro-lifers are obsessed with – that completely unnecessary abortions will happen days or hours before childbirth would happen naturally – basically never happens).

    My view is that, although it should remain legal, I can imagine abortions taking place after the 28th week which I’d find morally questionable. (Lots of things that are morally questionable, I still think should be legal.)

    And my view is that, before the 28th week, no abortion is morally questionable. A fetus before that point has no independent moral value at all.

    I hope that clarifies things.

    TL,DR: I think abortion should be legal at every stage of pregnancy.

  22. 122
    lurker23 says:

    yes thank you Ampersand! i think the same way.

  23. 123
    March says:

    (Hi, long time lurker.)

    Been following the recent spate of late-term abortion threads online with interest.

    As a recently-pregnant person, I wonder what most people think actually HAPPENS during your average post-viability abortion?

    I know (as in personally know) two people who had to abort their pregnancies at 32 weeks. One was an emercency C-section because the mother was developing pre-eclampsia. One was induced labor because the placenta was calcifying. Both procedures resulted in baby and mother being alive, while in one case the mother would’ve died and in the other case the baby.

    I also have close-but-not-personal (think sister-in-law’s friend) stories of abortions at 39 weeks (by all indications healthy fetus that had just died a few days earlier for no reason anyone knows of) and at 20 and 28 weeks (incompatible-with-life issue). All three were simply done by inducing labor.

    In all cases I know of, late-term abortions of viable pregnancies result in live (if perhaps premature) babies. And late-term abortions of unviable pregnancies result in dead babies, and always would have. Of course, these pregnancies were all wanted. Unwanted pregnancies are aborted earlier.

    Perhaps it’s because in my country, the legal limit for an elective abortion is at 24 weeks (and may move downward with viability, which will suck if the anatomy scan remains at 20 weeks), but none of the midwives and obstetricians I spoke to had ever heard of viable, healthy fetuses being killed when they could’ve just been delivered.

  24. March,

    Thanks for commenting. If you’re comfortable doing so, would you mind saying what country you’re from?

  25. 125
    March says:

    I’m from the Netherlands.

    The Dutch wikipedia article on abortion mentions ‘intact dilation & extraction’ but I don’t know if that’s just something someone translated from the English version because apparently it’s not a thing at all here. Unless it can also just mean induced labor.

    Labor sucks anyway, induced labor apparently sucks even more and I don’t even want to guess at how much it sucks to go through all that to deliver a dead wanted fetus (or a live unwanted one). I can totally believe that there’s not much one can do to make it quicker, easier to undergo (except for pain relief) or easier to recover from than to just let the body take over at some point or just go for a C-sec immediately. (Granted, I say that as someone for whom the cervical checks were by far the worst part of an pretty painful unintentionally unmedicated birth.)

  26. 126
    LimitsOfLanguage says:


    An obvious issue with looking at the current legal abortions is that they are by definition only going to be done at a point in a pregnancy, for reasons and with methods, that are legal by law.

    So then we cannot simply assume that liberalization won’t change what people do, as more legal options become available.

    Also, you probably know people who are similar to you, who are thus probably not a cross-section of society. So while your anecdotes are interesting from a qualitative point of view, they don’t really give very good quantitative information.

    In all cases I know of, late-term abortions of viable pregnancies result in live (if perhaps premature) babies.

    I’m a bit confused by what you write. By definition, abortions result in dead fetuses, otherwise it is a birth.

    You need to keep in mind that non-viable fetuses don’t necessarily expire immediately upon leaving the womb. I have a family member who had a premature birth when the fetus was not viable. He still lived (and perhaps suffered) for some hours.

    Abortions typically involve acts that kill the fetus. Sometimes this is part of the same procedure to remove the fetus from the mother, sometimes the killing is a separate act.

    Unwanted pregnancies are aborted earlier.

    The research into the motivations for late abortions suggests that many of these women were unaware of their pregnancy at first.

    Anecdotal stories I’ve heard and some studies I’ve seen suggest that this may be especially likely for poorly educated and/or low intelligence women (who are probably not in your social circle).

  27. 127
    J. Squid says:

    So there I am, having a conversation about vaccines with my anti-vax friend and she links me to this article. In the link, the writer call measles a “a bullshit rash!” Yet they also link to the CDC page about measles in which the first sentence – THE FIRST SENTENCE – says, “Measles is a highly contagious, acute viral illness that can lead to serious complications and death.”

    The entire argument is that measles is harmless and, therefore, they’re not going to expose their kids to the dangers of vaccines.

    This led me to write the following in response:

    Oh, I’d love to talk about this more with you. This is, by far, the most reasonable and civil discussion I’ve had on this subject. Of course, some of that may well be on me. But the links – my gods, the links – given to me are so… lacking in evidence, support or reason. They’re so often wild accusation after wild, unsupported theory after wild accusation. These articles are meant for and targeted at those who already believe. They leave those who don’t believe cold because they provide no reason for those outside the canon to believe what they’re saying.

    I read your link above and I’ve got to say that saying that measles is a harmless rash strikes me as willfully ignorant. And dishonest. Did you see what the first sentence of their link to the CDC description of measles says?

    “Measles is a highly contagious, acute viral illness that can lead to serious complications and death.”

    Serious complications and death. Right there in that link. And it’s linked to because they KNOW that true believers aren’t gonna click through. They don’t need to. They know in their hearts that the false claim is true. But if you’re not a true believer and you do click through… You can see that this person is lying to you. That’s what I mean when I say these articles and screeds are aimed at the faithful, not the unbelievers.

    This is the kind of dishonesty that drives me nuts. A much better argument would be that the death rate for measles is only .03%. Then we could discuss that. And that is the sort of discussion that can be fruitful. But to claim that it’s a harmless rash precludes discussion with anybody who knows that to be factually incorrect.

    And this is what I mean about the links provided by anti-vax folks. They’re flat out wrong when they’re not being dishonest. They never provide solid, verifiable evidence for the position. It’s disheartening to be told, “Believe this or shut up,” which is what that link – and others like it – are telling its readers. I, for one, do not find that persuasive nor conducive to a reasonable discussion.

    Because this non-evidence cited as evidence drives me up a fucking wall.

  28. 128
    J. Squid says:

    Previous comment marked as spam after editing. Please release – cuz I worked super hard on it – and delete or not this comment.

    [Comment retrieved from spam! –Amp]