Cartoon: Abortion Should Be Decided By The States


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Obviously abortion rights are on everybody’s mind this week. The Supreme Court’s upcoming decision overturning Roe is horrifying but not surprising.

One argument that’s touched on in the draft opinion – an argument many anti-choice activists and politicians have been making for decades – is that abortion’s legality should be decided by the legislature of each state, not by the federal government. “Let each state decide.”

Their bad faith is as subtle as a herd of elephants. Republicans in Congress have never hesitated to use federal law to limit abortion access nationwide – such as when they passed the so-called “partial birth” abortion ban. Every member of the Supreme Court, and every Republican in Congress, knows that without Roe in their way they’re going to propose more nationwide bans.

But no matter what they do – and they will do enormous harm – this is not the end of abortion access in America.

Anna North writes:

…People who want to end a pregnancy [won’t] be completely without options. Abortion funds around the country would continue their work, in some cases helping patients travel to blue states to get the procedure. Community-based providers, who perform abortions outside the official medical system, would likely continue to operate. And self-managed abortion, in which people perform their own abortions with pills, would take a bigger role.

Preparing for that reality will require a lot from advocates and providers, from raising money to campaigning against laws that can send people to jail for self-managing an abortion. But people have been ending their pregnancies in America since long before Roe v. Wade or even abortion clinics existed, and a court decision isn’t going to stop them. It’s just going to change what their options — and the risks involved — look like.

In pragmatic terms, abortion bans can never truly ban abortion; but they can make abortion less available and more dangerous. That’s something anti-abortion activists seem perfectly comfortable with.


Abortion is way too large an issue to cover in one cartoon, and this cartoon is obviously narrowly focused on one specific wrinkle. I’m sure I’ll be producing more cartoons about abortion rights in the months ahead.

No promises (I’m not very good at controlling where my inspiration goes), but if there’s a particular facet of abortion rights you’d like to see a cartoon about, feel free to let me know in comments.


I’m not at all sure it comes across, but attempting to draw 1980s hair in panel one was so much fun. And yes, Reagan’s campaign did use the slogan “Let’s make America great again.” (The only thing Republicans believe in recycling is ideas.)


TRANSCRIPT OF CARTOON

This cartoon has four panels. Each panel shows a different scene, with a different person or group of people talking to the viewer.

PANEL 1

A man with a “Reagan ’80: Make American Great Again” t-shirt and blonde hair in a mullet is talking with a somewhat angry expression, raising a forefinger to make his point. Next to him, a concerned-looking woman with a leather jacket and ENORMOUS hair is speaking with her hands clasped together.

CAPTION: 40 years before Roe v Wade is overturned.

MAN: Roe is wrong! Abortion is too important for the federal government to decide for everyone.

WOMAN: We should leave it to the states.

PANEL 2

A woman stands alone in front of a sidewalk; behind her is a patch of grass, a couple of trees, and a stone wall. She’s wearing a red skirt with a pattern of circles, and a t-shirt that says “GORE is a BORE.”  She’s smiling and talking with her palms out.

CAPTION: 20 years before Roe is overturned.

WOMAN: Without Roe, every state could make its own abortion policies.

WOMAN: Which is how it should be!

PANEL 3

This panel shows a crowd of white men. All of the men are wearing dress shirts, jackets, and neckties, except for one man who is in “Tea Party” cosplay, including a tricorn hat, although I’m not sure that anyone can tell it’s a tricorn hat because it turns out that tricorn hats are hard to draw.

In the center of the panel, one man is grinning big and speaking to the readers. He has glasses and parted blonde hair.

CAPTION: 10 years before Roe is overturned.

MAN: Let the states decide. That’s all we’re saying.

PANEL 4

A man and a women, both dressed in gender-typical business wear, are speaking to reporters; the reporters aren’t in panel, but we can see their hands holding microphones, which are pointed at the speakers. We can see in the background that we’re on the steps of some sort of fancy, large building with pillars and arches (I’m hoping people will see that and assume it’s a government building of some sort).

The man is smiling big and holding a little stack of papers. The woman is clasping her hands and speaking with an earnest expression.

CAPTION: Ten minutes after Roe is overturned.

MAN: Our new law bans abortion nationwide.

WOMAN: Abortion’s too important to be left to the states!


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164 Responses to Cartoon: Abortion Should Be Decided By The States

  1. 101
    JaneDoh says:

    @Corso As someone who was pregnant, I can say I placed little to no value on my zygotes – I had three known pregnancies: one chemical pregnancy and 2 live births, so a pretty easy path for me. I did not mourn the chemical pregnancy, nor did I experience it as a significant loss (though I do know that some do). More like disappointment that we had to wait another month, since we had started trying for a baby (which is why I knew about the chemical pregnancy).

    It would have been far more painful if another month had gone by, after the real pregnancy changes had started in my body and I started to look forward to raising the child. I can believe that people who don’t want to be pregnant don’t assign much value to their zygotes/embryos. At that point, it is an abstract thing whose value is exclusively assigned externally. If someone is planning to have an abortion, they don’t start having hopes and dreams that revolve around the developing embryo/fetus in their uterus. And pregnancy is pretty uncomfortable for many people, so if I didn’t want to be pregnant, I can see focusing on getting my body back rather than on what is going on inside of it.

  2. 102
    RonF says:

    JaneDoh, what’s a “chemical pregnancy”? I’ve never seen that term before.

    Lauren @92:

    You can give a child up for adoption in the U.S. everywhere. There are various agencies for this. In many States there are also laws such that you can surrender a newborn at places such as hospitals, police stations, fire stations, etc. (it varies from State to State) in an anonymous fashion.

    OTOH, simply abandoning a newborn is generally a felony.

  3. 103
    Lauren says:

    Corso, at the risk of repeating myself, framing the discussion as mainly an issue of whether or not a zygote, embryo or fetus has a value/ life/ rights of its own ignores the core issue of bodily autonomy- which does not depend on that question at all.

    There is a reason why abortion-rights are only part of the broader movement for reproductive justice – issues like forced sterilization, horrible birth-conditions in jail, unequal access to contraception etc all revolve around the core issue of bodily autonomy and the ways in which that central right intersects in various ways with questions of reproduction.

    Looking at abortion rights as mainly a question of when life begins means giving in to the forced-birth framing and pretending it is a neutral question, when focusing on that question already biases the discussion against reproductive justice movements, since their focus is being ignored.

    The question of “fetal personhood” is only important because the forced-birth movement managed to convince too many people that this is the central question. They used it to chip away a Roe v. Wade for decades, getting more and more restrictions passed by moving the beginning of “personhood” earlier and earlier in the pregnancy. The impossibility of finding a definite answer to the question, combined with an approach of “if in doubt, assume personhood” was so successful for the forced birth movement because it removed the pregnant person and their bodily autonomy from the discussion.

    “Legal, safe and rare” is a slogan that was put forward as an appeal to “centrists” but it actually ceded an incredible amount of ground to the forced birth – movement by pretending that everybody views abortion as a bad thing, a necessary evil at best. It disallows / marginalizes/ paints as amoral the experiences of all the people who were incredibly happy to be able to access abortion care.

    In the end, whether you believe life begins a conception or not should have no impact on the question of whether or not the government should be allowed to force people to be pregnant and give birth against their will. Because even if the zygote has personhood from the moment sperm and egg meet, even if an embryo has all the rights an independent person has, the right to use another persons body against their will is not one of those rights everybody has. It is a right that anti-choicers believe only the unborn to have.

    When life/ personhood begins might be a very important question to the individual deciding whether or not abortion is the right choice for them – but that is an issue of personal faith, morals and believes. (Which according to the US-constitution are supposed to be free, instead of one specific subset of one specific religion pretending that their faith is an objective truth.)

    The government should not have the right to put a particular answer to a philosophical question into law, using it as a justification for violating peoples bodily autonomy.

  4. 104
    Lauren says:

    You can give a child up for adoption in the U.S. everywhere. There are various agencies for this. In many States there are also laws such that you can surrender a newborn at places such as hospitals, police stations, fire stations, etc. (it varies from State to State) in an anonymous fashion.

    OTOH, simply abandoning a newborn is generally a felony.

    I assumed so. And in case it wasn’t clear, I was not talking about simply abandoning a child when I wrote about the choice not to parent a child after the birth, but those legal options where the child is protected.

  5. 105
    Dianne says:

    JaneDoh, what’s a “chemical pregnancy”? I’ve never seen that term before.

    A pregnancy that shows up as a positive pregnancy test but there is no further evidence of pregnancy. In essence, they’re probably fertilizations that fail to implant and they’re very common. Most people don’t realize how often they happen because few people get pregnancy tests until they’ve at least missed a period or had other signs of pregnancy, at which point it’s no longer a chemical pregnancy.

  6. 106
    Lauren says:

    On a more personal note, regarding the question of “punishing people for leaving their children” that was brought up:

    The government can (or at least should) only punish you for doing something harmful when you chose to do it even though you had a less harmful option.
    I don’t think that anyone can force themselves to want/ love a child. So in this case, the alternative to “leaving the child for somebody else to care for (in one of those legal ways RonF wrote about)” is not “providing the child with a loving, healthy, caring home” but “putting the child in the position of being raised by somebody who didn’t want to do so and only does it to avoid punishment”. Children are not stupid. They notice. And there are more than enough stories written by people who were unwanted children raised by resentful parents to know that it is incredibly damaging.

    My genetic father broke of all contact with my mother when she got pregnant. Do I have issues because of that? Yes. But working in the family court system, I know that my issues would be so much worse if he had been forced to spend time with me against my will, possibly fighting repeated court battles to reduce the time he had to spend with me. Children are not stupid. They realize when they are resented. They realize when they are not loved. Insecure attachment to one of two parents because of emotional inavailibility and lacking interest in caring for the child can be more damaging that having no attachment to one of them at all. Or both, if neither wants/ is able to parent. Sometimes giving the child up to be cared for by people who are able to parent is the most loving thing a first parent can do.

    And you know what helps me with those “your own father didn’t want you, you are worthless” – thoughts? Knowing that my mother absolutely did. That she had the option of terminating the pregnancy but chose to have me. She wasn’t forced into it. She got to make her own decision, and her choice was to become my mom. Because she did want me. (So did my dad, who adopted me when my parents got married).

    It’s one of the reasons that reproductive rights, specifically abortion rights, are so important to me. I want to live in a world where everybody knows that someone chose to give them life. Even if the first parent isn’t the one who ends up raising the child, I want them to know that they were not “given away” because it was the only way that the first parent could avoid being responsible for a child they were forced to give birth to against their will, but that they actively chose to continue the pregnancy and give birth, because even though they were not able to parent the baby themselves for whatever reason, they still wanted that child to be born.

    I think every person deserves to know that the person who gave birth to them did so freely, willingly, because they decided that they should be born and live.

  7. 107
    Dianne says:

    And saying that the unborn don’t have value because their mothers don’t ascribe it to them is… sad.

    Why? There is little evidence that a fetus has any thoughts or consciousness of its own and if embryos or zygotes do then we don’t understand what consciousness is at all. You’d pretty much throw all biology in doubt if you claim that an embryo, which literally doesn’t yet have stationary neurons, has consciousness. If the z/e/f doesn’t have the ability to value itself, then whose value should we ascribe to it? Why not the pregnant person’s? Who else’s opinion matters?

  8. 108
    Corso says:

    Lauren @ 103

    Corso, at the risk of repeating myself, framing the discussion as mainly an issue of whether or not a zygote, embryo or fetus has a value/ life/ rights of its own ignores the core issue of bodily autonomy- which does not depend on that question at all.

    I know there’s been a lot of words written here, but I feel like I’ve been clear on this. What you’ve laid out is exactly the reason that I’m pro-choice. I made that exact argument @ 78:

    And so… More directly to the question: We have a competing rights problem: The right to bodily autonomy against the right to life. This, in my opinion, is not that hard a question either: Just like you save the kid over the cooler 100% of the time, the mother’s right really should take precedence. Because she is different than the life she carries.

    I think the disconnect is that you aren’t willing to rhetorically walk and chew gum at the same time. You’re saying “It’s her right, because the right to bodily autonomy supersedes.” And we agree. And you seem to think that at that point, there’s nothing else to discuss. That’s where I disagree. There are all kinds of things that are legal, all kinds of things that people have the right to do, that I think they should choose not to do. I think that there are moral and ethical questions and discussions that it’s very healthy to have around abortion.

    I’m even going to go so far as to say that I think that to some extent, the progressive tendency not to have those discussions (because it’s not just you) probably hurts (or at least doesn’t help) the health of the broader political discussion, because it seems to me that this is one of the issues where if people really talked about it, common ground could be found. The abortion debate is generally had in tones of preach or scream, and I don’t know if anyone has ever been convinced of anything like that.

    “Legal, safe and rare” is a slogan that was put forward as an appeal to “centrists” but it actually ceded an incredible amount of ground to the forced birth – movement by pretending that everybody views abortion as a bad thing, a necessary evil at best.

    Sorry in advance, but I think this is one of the worst facets of pro-choice argument (closely following “better dead than poor”). Not to put too fine a point on it, but abortion is a bad thing. It is a necessary evil. Even if you put absolutely no value in the unborn, then it’s the very least it’s a stupid, bloody waste. That doctor or medical professional could be doing literally anything else with their day.

    The grievance I have with the “celebrate your abortions crowd” is that while we can coach it in terms of “destigmitization”, really… outside of the reasonable exceptions, we’re celebrating a series of bad decisions. We know where babies come from. In this era of education, birth control and contraceptives, if someone becomes pregnant in 2022 without wanting to be pregnant, there has been a cascading failure of intelligence leading up to that. At the point where a woman chooses to abort, it’s her right, and it might even be the best thing to do at that point in time, but it’s not worth celebrating. It’s not good. It’s not neutral. It’s bad.

  9. 109
    Görkem says:

    “abortion should be safe and legal, but not enough to make an abortion anything but a tragedy, and ideally rare”

    Bill Clinton? Is that you?

  10. 110
    Dianne says:

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but abortion is a bad thing. It is a necessary evil.

    Why?

    Even if you put absolutely no value in the unborn, then it’s the very least it’s a stupid, bloody waste.

    I agree that birth control is generally quicker, simpler, and less risky. However, birth control fails. Pregnancies go wrong. Backup is needed and it’s not a waste to have a backup option when option A fails.

    That doctor or medical professional could be doing literally anything else with their day.

    Well, yes, they could, but their training and profession is all about helping people resolve their medical issues and return to good health. Abortion is an order of magnitude safer than completing a pregnancy in terms of mortality and prevents mental and physical trauma associated with pregnancy, especially unwanted pregnancy. Why would you possibly think that a medical professional wouldn’t find this a satisfying part of their job?

  11. 111
    Dianne says:

    In this era of education, birth control and contraceptives, if someone becomes pregnant in 2022 without wanting to be pregnant, there has been a cascading failure of intelligence leading up to that.

    Do you know the failure rate of condoms (used correctly)? It’s about 2%, meaning that of 100 people with cycling ovaries using condoms consistently, two will become pregnant. Over a fertile lifetime of approximately 40 years, that leads to an averages of nearly 1 in 2 users who use condoms perfectly becoming pregnant. Adding other methods such as IUDs or OCP can reduce the risk of pregnancy, but they have their own risks, making them inappropriate for some people. Not even counting situations that I believe you would consider exceptions (rape, pregnancy gone wrong, etc), since I think you’d agree that abortion is the best option in those situations.

  12. 112
    Saurs says:

    That doctor or medical professional could be doing literally anything else with their day.

    Just as it’s been pointed out that, no, not everyone thinks of medical and surgical abortions as bad and distasteful last resorts but as fundamentally necessary medical interventions to be celebrated and protected, doctors also don’t find them icky and do specialize in reproductive care and seek work as abortion providers because they really like it and find it a worthy human cause that improves and in many cases saves the lives and health of their patients. They literally want to be there and to the credit of some mainstream media, there stories are out there if you actually want to hear from them.

    It’s so weird to deny them their agency here, I don’t get it. Do we treat any other run of the mill medical treatment or intervention like it’s a waste of resources or a drain on the system?

  13. 113
    Görkem says:

    “Why would you possibly think that a medical professional wouldn’t find this a satisfying part of their job?”

    I think Ron is applying a deliberately extraordinarily high bar here – why should they be doing abortions when they could instead be doing heart surgery an adorable 5 year old girl who is also a violin prodigy who loves her puppy?

  14. 114
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Görkem – Corso, not Ron.

    But yeah, it’s a ridiculous standard, and one that could easily apply to any potential medical procedure. I once (thanks to malpractice by my previous dentist who didn’t properly sanitize their tools) had a tooth rot under a filling, which smelled really foul once the filling was removed and dealing with it took my dentist five consequtive hours of delicate work. I’m sure he would rather have been spending his day doing regular checkups on people with healthy teeth. He would have helped a lot more people doing that, too. Guess my procedure should have been disallowed.

  15. 115
    Corso says:

    Gorkem @ 109

    Bill Clinton? Is that you?

    Ah, did not have sexual relations…. But seriously, I could do worse in this conversation than be accused of parroting one of the most popular presidents of the last 50 years, even with all his foibles.

    Dianne @ 111

    Do you know the failure rate of condoms (used correctly)? It’s about 2%, meaning that of 100 people with cycling ovaries using condoms consistently, two will become pregnant.

    Which is why I prefaced that by saying:

    outside of the reasonable exceptions

    And really… This is the way these conversations usually go. By and large, condom failure isn’t the root cause of the majority of abortions. Rape and incest account for less than 1%. The average abortion *is* indicative of a cascading failure of intelligence, and the cases where something truly unfortunate has occurred doesn’t change that.

    Görkem @ 113

    I think Ron is applying a deliberately extraordinarily high bar here – why should they be doing abortions when they could instead be doing heart surgery an adorable 5 year old girl who is also a violin prodigy who loves her puppy?

    You’ve done this twice now….. I’m still not Ron. :P

    That’s not the bar, and frankly, I don’t care how satisfied the doctor is or how relatively “icky” they find a procedure. Right now, the waiting list for a hip or knee replacement is the better part of a year.

    Even if we’re generous to the exceptions argument and we completely exempt people effected by rape, incest, or contraceptive failure from the narrative, the people who did everything right but were dealt a raw hand…. If we somehow (and I know this is completely unrealistic) prevented the unwanted pregnancies of the people who just made a series of bad decisions… What would that be? Half of them? More? Do you know how many procedures you could do with that time? That’s somewhere between 300-400,000 abortions a year. This isn’t an off case of a prodigy violinist, this is hundreds of thousands of years of quality of life.

  16. 116
    Corso says:

    I’m sure he would rather have been spending his day doing regular checkups on people with healthy teeth. He would have helped a lot more people doing that, too. Guess my procedure should have been disallowed.

    No. Medical care is medical care, and at the point it’s necessary, you obviously provide it. My issue is that it’s entirely preventable medical care, and we should probably take steps to prevent entirely preventable medical care.

    And we absolutely do treat other things like this. Famously; We have spent an entire generation on anti-smoking initiatives for basically this exact reason, with relatively great success. But there are also thousands of smaller things that we do societally and legally to prevent preventable injury.

    Take seat belts, as an example – wearing them drastically improves your health outcomes when you’re in an accident. If someone chooses not to wear them, and they get in an accident, I’m not going to stand between them and healthcare, but I’m going to think that they’re an idiot for not wearing their seatbelt, I’m going to be annoyed at the waste their idiocy caused, and I really would hope they’d learn something from the experience.

  17. 117
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    This debate is just like being in 1985. The exact same things are said, the same arguments and denials and falsities are on parade exactly as they were nearly 40 years ago.

    At least we wised up and stopped arguing with flat-earthers. I think it would be worthwhile to do the same with anti-choicers.

  18. 118
    Dianne says:

    I think Ron is applying a deliberately extraordinarily high bar here – why should they be doing abortions when they could instead be doing heart surgery an adorable 5 year old girl who is also a violin prodigy who loves her puppy?

    Because they’re OBs, not pediatric cardiac surgeons.

    the waiting list for a hip or knee replacement is the better part of a year.

    Given the choice between waiting a bit longer and having an OB do my knee replacement, I’d choose to wait. It’s simply not the same skill set or interest.

  19. 119
    Eytan Zweig says:

    At least we wised up and stopped arguing with flat-earthers. I think it would be worthwhile to do the same with anti-choicers.

    I wish we could, but flat-earthers aren’t causing actual damage with their arguments, beyond indirectly via the general increase in overall stupidity. Anti-choicers are doing direct harm to people.

  20. 120
    Dianne says:

    We have spent an entire generation on anti-smoking initiatives for basically this exact reason

    Most people would say, “Lung cancer is a tragedy”, not “Lobectomy is a tragedy” or even “Chemotherapy is a tragedy”. An unwanted pregnancy is a tragedy. Abortion is a means of dealing with the tragedy.

  21. 121
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    Nope. We don’t need to argue with ant-choices. It’s enough to say, “Oh, honey! Your opinions are based on emotions and don’t reflect reality. Worse, your opinions harm actual living people. You need to stfu before you cause more harm.”

    There’s simply no point dignifying their ridiculous unsupported and/or religious beliefs by taking them seriously. There’s been no gain in that for 45 years. All it’s gotten us is the path to the repeal of Roe. We can stop now and treat them and their awful politics the way we should have been all these years.

  22. 122
    Corso says:

    Diane @ 120

    Most people would say, “Lung cancer is a tragedy”, not “Lobectomy is a tragedy” or even “Chemotherapy is a tragedy”. An unwanted pregnancy is a tragedy. Abortion is a means of dealing with the tragedy.

    I mean…. Go through chemo and come back to me, it felt fuckin’ tragic let me tell you. But yes! You’re so close! You’re actually saying all the words now. An unwanted pregnancy *is* a tragedy. And the abortion is the procedure that relieves that tragedy.

    Now, I think that abortion is tragic in and of itself. We obviously disagree on that, but that’s OK, we can do that… Because like I said before (and certain characters here seem hellbent on ignoring): I’m pro choice! So we’re arguing in scope, not form.

    Unwanted pregnancies are a tragedy. Agree! And they’re usually a preventable tragedy. So… Is it better, do you think, for someone to prevent a tragedy, or to have a good safety net for then the preventable tragedy occurs?

    The answer seems self evident! It’s better to never experience a tragedy than to be able to recover from one, right? So it would be best if abortion was safe (because of course it should be), legal (because the reality of the situation asserts itself) and rare (because we would ideally want to prevent tragedies).

    We should be able to find common ground here. We should be able to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, generally… Because that’s a win. Right?

  23. 123
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Corso – I can’t speak for Diane, but I agree with you on your last point. We should reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. I fully support better sex education for all, and widely available cheap/free contraception. I also fully support attempts to reduce the amount of rape in our societies, and to reduce the amount of people who are in abusive relationships where their partner can force them to get pregnant. All that are things I would be happy for if they happened.

    But that is not a replacement for abortion. Because even if all the above was still true, even if magically no one ever got pregnant without wishing to be pregnant, there would still be cases where a pregnancy is wanted at the point of conception but not wanted afterwards. Maybe there are medical complications. Maybe the pregnant person (or their partner) lost their job and can no longer afford another member to the family. Maybe the pregnant person (or their partner) was offered their dream job and they decide that actually children at that time in life is not what they want. Maybe the couple break up. Maybe the couple discover too late that they are actually half-siblings. Maybe the couple already has a child, and that child gets seriously ill and the couple decide they have to invest all their time and energy on them.

    All of those are valid reasons for abortions, as are an infinity of other scenarios that involve a pregnancy that is initially desired but stops being so. So yes, preventing unwanted pregnancies is a worthwhile goal independently of abortion. And allowing abortion is important (and positive) regardless of unwanted pregnancy prevention.

  24. 124
    Eytan Zweig says:

    To put this in a different light – consider pregnancy because of rape. Of course I want to eliminate that completely, for the simple reason that I want rape to be eliminated completely from our society. And in a society where abortion is safe, legal, and freely accessible, then eliminating rape may well reduce the amount of total abortions. But that has nothing to do with why I want rape to be eliminated.

    Similarly, I want better and more widely avaialble sex education because I think people should be more educated about matters that affect them. I don’t oppose abstinance-only education because it doesn’t work (though it doesn’t), I oppose it because I oppose any type of education that is designed to spread ignorance. If abstinance-only education was the best way to reduce the amount of unwanted pregnancies, I’d still oppose it.

    And yes, there is contraception, which is the one thing I support that is designed to be in direct competition with abortion – the more people use contraception to avoid unwanted pregnancies, the less there is a need for abortion. But I don’t support contraception because abortion is bad, I support it because contraception is good.

    So no, I don’t want to minimize abortion for the sake of minimizing abortion. I want to promote policies that are independently needed, and if they end up minimizing abortion (without reducing access to abortion) then we can both be happy. But I can’t agree with you that it’s best if abortion is rare, because if policies I believe in would end up increasing the amount of abortions, then I wouldn’t find that particularly problematic.

  25. 125
    Dianne says:

    Go through chemo and come back to me, it felt fuckin’ tragic let me tell you.

    Feel free to ignore this impertinent question, but do I take it by your wording that you’ve experienced chemo? I’m sorry. It’s pretty obnoxious, but to me at least it’s the horror you have to deal with to overcome the tragedy, not the tragedy itself. Maybe we’re using the word differently. I see abortion worth “celebrating” because abortion is a means of averting a life threatening and certainly life changing unwanted event. Is it something I think everyone should have or want? Nope. Not in any way.

    I agree that preventing unwanted pregnancies is a good goal. I definitely prefer birth control to abortion. I’m quite happy that technology like the IUD has reduced the risk of unwanted pregnancy and therefore the need for abortion. Know who doesn’t approve of birth control and making better (safer, more effective, etc) birth control? Most “pro-life” people. I don’t expect you to explain this. I just note that it’s a thing.

  26. 126
    Dianne says:

    Is it better, do you think, for someone to prevent a tragedy, or to have a good safety net for then the preventable tragedy occurs?

    None of the above. Neither is sufficient on its own. Prevention is generally preferable to treatment, but except for small pox we’ve never been able to make prevention work well enough to make something not happen.

    We should be able to find common ground here. We should be able to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, generally… Because that’s a win. Right?

    I agree with you, but I can’t stop my imagination from playing monkey’s paw and finding ways that it would be a loss. Aliens invade and sterilize all humanity, so there are no more pregnancies at all? Loss. But the “no unwanted pregnancies” would still be an up side of the thing.

  27. 127
    Lauren says:

    Corso:

    I think the disconnect is that you aren’t willing to rhetorically walk and chew gum at the same time. You’re saying “It’s her right, because the right to bodily autonomy supersedes.” And we agree. And you seem to think that at that point, there’s nothing else to discuss. That’s where I disagree. There are all kinds of things that are legal, all kinds of things that people have the right to do, that I think they should choose not to do. I think that there are moral and ethical questions and discussions that it’s very healthy to have around abortion.

    I think the disconnect is that you are insisting on mixing the question of whether abortion should be legal with the question of whether abortion is always moral.

    And no, I did not miss the fact that you are pro-choice. But in a discussion started by a comic/ post that is about the legality of abortion, specifically the forced-birth-movements to make it illegal for as many people as possible, mixing those two issues is incredibly problematic. That’s what I am objecting to. Not because I can’t do both, but because mixing the two is one way the forced-birthers got to where they are. Ignoring the question of bodily autonomy almost completely and instead spending all their effort convincing people that a fetus is a person, moving the beginning of “personhood” further and further back…this is a concious move. And by allowing ourself to fall for it, to turn every discussion about the absolute neccessity of legal abortion for the protection of the rights of pregnant people away from the legal fact that there is no other cenario in which the governemt can legally ignore a person’s bodily autonomy to further the goals of somebody else, no matter how moral those goals are – we are allowing forced-birthers to direct the discussion.

    If we lived in world where safe, legal abortion was easily accessible to everybody who needs it, maybe we could have discussions about the beginning of personhood, the value of unborn life, the responsibility of society for all the reasons that people feel like abortion is their only option… all those issues without endangering peoples rights. But we do not live in that world. We live in one where rights are being reduced. And I personally do not think it is moral to allow forced-birthers to hide behind the smokescreen of “difficult moral questions” and “protecting innocent lives by valuing the baby as much as the mother (because they never consider other pregnant people to be valid)” when what they want is to take away thie rights of people to control their own bodies.

    Discussions of personal believes and morals can be usefull and neccessary between partners, depending on the state of the relationship. If the pregnant person wants it, they can have those discussion with family members, or religious/ spiritual leaders. But until the bodily autonomy of pregnant people has the same legal protection as the bodily autonomy of literally everybody else – I am not going to pretend that having that discussion when the issue at hand is not morality but legality is ever enything else than a distration – intentionally or not.

  28. 128
    Görkem says:

    “If we lived in world where safe, legal abortion was easily accessible to everybody who needs it, maybe we could have discussions ”

    Hear hear

    It is all too easy to imagine Corso, watching the Nuremberg laws being passed, saying “Of course I don’t support these laws, now, let’s discuss the exploitative business practices of some bank owners of Jewish descent”

  29. 129
    Görkem says:

    re: the tragedy discussion, let me try to frame it in a way that is maybe more amenable to typical American conservatives.

    If I see a violent, deadly assault happening, and I have to draw my gun and shoot someone to stop it, the violence and trauma of the act of my shooting someone is undeniable, but the “tragedy” is the assault, not my actions to stop it, however unpleasant they may be when considered in isolation.

    It’s the same with chemo to cancer, or an abortion to an unwanted pregnancy. The palliative measure may be an unpleasant experience, but it’s not in itself a tragedy. In fact, it’s an anti-tragic measure.

    We could argue about the exact meaning of the word “tragedy” which isn’t precise. But when anti-abortion politicians, or even pro-choice politicians trying to triangulate, describe abortion as “tragic”, I don’t think they are using the word in the same sense that Corso is using to describe chemotherapy.

    PS: Since Corso is a straight white man of high income, he is about as low risk for cancer as it’s possible to be, so the odds are he has not experienced chemotherapy.

  30. 130
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    And by allowing ourself to fall for it, to turn every discussion about the absolute neccessity of legal abortion for the protection of the rights of pregnant people away from the legal fact that there is no other cenario in which the governemt can legally ignore a person’s bodily autonomy to further the goals of somebody else, no matter how moral those goals are – we are allowing forced-birthers to direct the discussion.

    Precisely. We can see exactly where that has gotten us.

  31. 131
    Ampersand says:

    It is all too easy to imagine Corso, watching the Nuremberg laws being passed, saying “Of course I don’t support these laws, now, let’s discuss the exploitative business practices of some bank owners of Jewish descent”

    Please turn this down several notches. Thanks.

  32. 132
    Lauren says:

    PS: Since Corso is a straight white man of high income, he is about as low risk for cancer as it’s possible to be, so the odds are he has not experienced chemotherapy.

    Sarcasm doesn’t always translate well, so I am going to have to ask: you were joking, right?

  33. 133
    Corso says:

    Dianne @ 125

    but do I take it by your wording that you’ve experienced chemo? I’m sorry. It’s pretty obnoxious, but to me at least it’s the horror you have to deal with to overcome the tragedy, not the tragedy itself.

    Did! Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Clear for 7 years. Do not recommend.

    Lauren @ 127

    I think the disconnect is that you are insisting on mixing the question of whether abortion should be legal with the question of whether abortion is always moral.

    I actually think it’s the opposite… I’m trying to move past the legality, because I don’t think anyone here actually disagrees on it. I think the disconnect is in the response, and I think that you properly identify why that’s happening:

    If we lived in world where safe, legal abortion was easily accessible to everybody who needs it, maybe we could have discussions about the beginning of personhood, the value of unborn life, the responsibility of society for all the reasons that people feel like abortion is their only option…

    That’s fair. I think we can do better, but it’s not unreasonable to think this… That said, I think that you’re tacitly admitting that you’re mixing the issues because you can’t get to the second without dealing with the first. Again: Fair. But I’m not doing that.

    Gorkem @ 129

    PS: Since Corso is a straight white man of high income, he is about as low risk for cancer as it’s possible to be, so the odds are he has not experienced chemotherapy.

    I dislike how personal disagreement here tends to get, and so I generally avoid these… But I have to ask: Is this a Ron thing again? Because the only parts of this that was right were “white” and “man”.

  34. 134
    JaneDoh says:

    Corso, I am sorry to hear that you had to go through that – cancer sucks, and the treatments are horrible. Glad that suffering through chemo was worth it in the end for you, though!

    I agree with Lauren on this one – discussing personhood and balancing rights would be a lot more palatable if healthcare of all kinds (especially reproductive health) in the American context were more accessible to everyone. It is kind of hard to have a calm philosophical discussion of the value of a zygote when pregnancy kills so many needlessly, and there is no social safety net if someone gets pregnant unexpectedly.

  35. 135
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    I don’t think personhood is relevant to the right to bodily autonomy. Nobody should be forced to use their body to save another’s life – person or not.

    There’s no debate to be had around the issue of bodily autonomy, not if we want to think of ourselves as free in any meaningful way.

  36. 136
    Corso says:

    That seems to be a consensus position, and I think that this might be a privilege problem on my part.

    Perhaps it pays to remember that I’m Canadian… Abortion is solidly ensconced here. There is no real dissent on the issue. There’s a very fringe minority of extreme backbenchers that’ll march in the parade for life every now and again, but there just isn’t the same appetite for abortion laws here as there is in America, so unless there’s a massive sea change in popular sentiment I can feel pretty darn safe having those conversations.

    I can only hope ya’ll get there eventually.

  37. 137
    Görkem says:

    “Perhaps it pays to remember that I’m Canadian…”

    I agree that for those of us living in the West outside the USA (and Poland) it is quite easy to forget that abortion can be contested. I’m not American (or Polish) either, but I still don’t feel comfortable pontificating about the abstract virtue of abortions in a perfect world. I didn’t even before this recent ruling.

  38. 138
    Dianne says:

    Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Clear for 7 years. Do not recommend.

    I agree. One star out of 5. I’m only giving it one because I’m saving the zero star review for pancreatic cancer. Congratulations on 7 years in remission though!

  39. 139
    Dianne says:

    While I agree that the personhood or lack thereof of the zygote/embryo/fetus should be irrelevant, I would like to point out what an extreme position the claim of personhood for the z/e/f really is. The zygote and embryo don’t have stationary neurons. If they’re conscious then we really, truly do not know what consciousness or personhood are. In fact, pretty much all of biology is wrong.

    There is a little more ambiguity after 8 weeks, but even then not much. The fetal cortex is smooth at 22 weeks and doesn’t develop its final architecture until about the 32nd week. In addition, the uterine environment is hypoxic. Brains, particularly the cortex, don’t work very well under hypoxic conditions. That’s why, for example, you’re supposed to put on your oxygen mask first–you’re going to pass out in seconds in an environment with more oxygen than that a fetus is in. If the fetus is conscious, again, we really don’t know what consciousness means or what allows it to occur.

    TL;DR summary: If the fetus is a person, we don’t know what “a person” is.

  40. 140
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    I get what you’re saying, Dianne. But the idea that a zygote is a person is so far removed from reality that it’s not worth engaging.

    “You’re wrong and that idea lacks any evidence at all. You should be ashamed of using your ignorance to hurt and kill people, ” is all the engagement necessary.

    If you have to because you’re that much nicer than me, you can always say, “Nobody’s bodily autonomy is required to be forfeit for another’s benefit.”

    The philosophical argument about when a clump of human cells constitutes a person can’t be had with anti-choicers. They’re all either entirely irrational on the subject or lying.

  41. 141
    Corso says:

    Dianne @ 139

    If they’re conscious then we really, truly do not know what consciousness or personhood are.

    I don’t think anyone here made that argument, I’ve talked about “value”. But I think you’re right in that we don’t know what “personhood” is…. I’m sure most people have an opinion, and think they have an answer, but which person actually has the right answer? The fact that so many people have *very* different ideas on what personhood is, I think, demonstrates that it’s subjective.

    And I think that this discussion misses a lot of forests for the trees. The scientific argumentation in particular. The science was relevant when the standard was viability, because viability was a shifting goalpost as our understanding and abilities changed. The science is a good response to “the pain” that the unborn feel, or what they’re “thinking”, because at early stages they don’t think or feel. But the science is really bad at making the subjective values judgement of whether the unborn have some level of personhood.

    And really…. Does it matter? If the unborn did feel pain or if they had thoughts, would that change your position? It wouldn’t change mine. Similarly, the inability to feel pain or think probably doesn’t change the math for the pro-lifers.

    The issue isn’t the complexities of science. It’s a values judgement coupled with the proper application of rights. Values are subjective, and they color rights. You might be able to educate someone out of a values position, but that’s not a given. If it is possible, it’s going to be hard. Because it’s hard, if you want to do it, you have to commit to the work.

    This is why the position of Jaqueline hits me as ineffective: It’s not enough to disengage and tell your opponents to shut up. Frankly, how’s that working out for you?

  42. 142
    Dianne says:

    The Dobbs ruling overturned Roe v Wade. Did it also overturn McFall v Schimp?

  43. 143
    Ampersand says:

    The Dobbs ruling overturned Roe v Wade. Did it also overturn McFall v Schimp?

    As I understand it – and I’m not a lawyer – it did not overturn McFall v Shimp. But it created a precedent which could justify (or rationalize) the court overturning McFall in the future.

  44. 144
    Dianne says:

    As I understand it – and I’m not a lawyer – it did not overturn McFall v Shimp. But it created a precedent which could justify (or rationalize) the court overturning McFall in the future.

    And that’s not dystopian at all.

  45. 145
    Karen says:

    The argument that I heard from the right / Bork-type people after Roe v. Wade was decided was not “the states should decide”, but instead this:

    According to the Constitution itself, and a case in the early 1800s called Marbury versus Madison, a function of the US Supreme Court, the function relating to what we are discussion here, was to look at laws by Congress etc. and then call them unconstitutional / invalid if a part of the Constitution said you can’t make a law like that.

    So if the government shut down a newpaper because it was critical of the current government, the US Supreme Court would point to the 1st Amendment and say you can’t do that.

    On the flip side, according to the Constitution itself, specific functions are given to specific branches of government. So the function of legislation, for example, is given to Congress. That means that the US Supreme Court is only supposed to uphold what is in the Constitution, but not make up stuff that’s clearly not in the Constitution (i.e. “legislate”).

    What the Supreme Court did in Roe vs. Wade was to simply make it up that the Constitution said you can’t prohibit abortions. The current decision by the Supreme Court outlines the silly twists and turns that the Court tried at that time to justify its decision in Roe vs. Wade.

    Now misusing the court like that is fine if you are pro-choice and don’t like the pesky discussion, legislation and democracy route. But if a court is going to misuse it’s power, it may just make up something YOU don’t like down the road. What is in the Constitution should be upheld, otherwise it is a matter of discussion, legislation and democracy. It’s not that the states should decide, it’s that it’s not the function of the US Supreme Court to usurp the power of another branch in that way.

  46. 146
    Corso says:

    Karen @ 145

    That’s about right. The biggest failure of the last 50 years was that there wasn’t an administration with the foresight to codify Roe. It would have had to be a Democrat administration, and it would have had to have been a supermajority, but there’s been a couple of those. And it’s particularly egregious that they didn’t because Roe has been so controversial since it’s passage, and the justification for Roe was so legally thin.

    20/20 quarterbacking here, but I think that if Roe had actually been law as opposed to a precedent, there were always going to be legal keeners complaining about Roe because it was so badly interpreted, but with actual laws on the books, and the overturning of Roe not able to have the intended outcome…. Fundamentalists, I think, would have abandoned that avenue.

  47. 147
    Schroeder4213 says:

    I am a lawyer, and Dobbs did not overturn McFall v. Shimp or really even undermine its reasoning.

    McFall was not a United States Supreme Court case but rather a case in the Common Pleas Court of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, which is a Pennsylvania state trial court. The court issued its ruling as a matter of Pennsylvania common law. So, as a initial matter, the U.S. Supreme Court couldn’t overrule Shimp, because it has no authority over Pennsylvania common law.

    But in any event, Shimp is not authority, even in Pennsylvania, because trial court decisions are not binding. It has been cited just once in the nearly 45 years since it was issued. It does not rely on substantive Due Process or any of the line of cases cited by Roe. (In fact, it doesn’t cite any authority at all.)

    As a less technical matter, though, McFall simply involved a different set of issues. McFall sued Shimp to compel him in equity to donate his bone marrow. Crucially, there was no law or precedent that would allow someone to compel this. The closest McFall came was a nearly 700 year old English statute.

    Thus, the issue wasn’t whether Mr. Shimp had a right not to donate bone marrow; the issue was whether Mr. McFall had a right to compel Mr. Shimp to donate bone marrow. The court correctly said no.

    I imagine if a person brought a similar suit today (citing only a 700 year old English statute), he would be sanctioned for filing a frivolous lawsuit, even post-Dobbs (maybe even especially post-Dobbs, because there is certainly no fundamental and historically rooted right to compel bone marrow donation).

    (By the way, donating bone marrow is a great thing to do!)

  48. 148
    Dianne says:

    As a less technical matter, though, McFall simply involved a different set of issues. McFall sued Shimp to compel him in equity to donate his bone marrow.

    This is exactly what anti-abortion laws do: compel a person to donate their body to another. The only difference is that McFall was an actual person. Actually, no, the other difference is that bone marrow donation is substantially safer than pregnancy. Also, it’s a more temporary matter: bone marrow will grow back long before a pregnancy will complete. And it makes fewer long term changes to the body. In short, it’s safer, less traumatic, and less of a risk or inconvenience than a pregnancy.

    The only way one can see this as in the least bit different is that cis men have bone marrow and therefore might be compelled by a law forcing the donation of marrow if needed. Saying that Dobbs doesn’t undermine Shimp is saying that only those with uteri should be harmed. Which is, of course, the core belief and motive of the anti-abortion movement.

  49. 149
    Eytan Zweig says:

    Diane – they’re different, because of the identity of the “other person”.

    In McFall vs. Shimp, one person had something in their body that another person wanted, and the courts decided the first person cannot be compelled by the second person to give it to them.

    Anti-abortion laws are different, because a pregnant person has something in their body that the state wants, and SCOTUS decided that the state has a right to compel them to give it up. The way you framed it is incorrect – the pregnant person isn’t being compelled to donate their body to another, because there is no another, just the state.

    So they’re not the same, in that the pregnancy equivalent to McFall vs. Shimp would be a childless person suing a pregnant person saying that the pregnant person must give them the child. That’s not a defense of anti-abortion laws, though.

  50. 150
    Schroeder4213 says:

    This is exactly what anti-abortion laws do: compel a person to donate their body to another. The only difference is that McFall was an actual person.

    Legally speaking, though, that is a huge difference. The case would have been more legally analogous to Dobbs if Pennsylvania had passed a law requiring bone marrow donation and the question was whether that law was constitutional. In that case, Dobbs might have undermined it.

    As it is, the only question in McFall was whether McFall has a common law right to Shimp’s bone marrow. And that’s just a different and easier question, even if you see bone marrow donation and giving birth as analogous.

    I wasn’t trying to comment on the validity of the analogy one way or the other. I was just saying that Dobbs does not undermine McFall.

  51. 151
    Dianne says:

    As it is, the only question in McFall was whether McFall has a common law right to Shimp’s bone marrow.

    Okay, this is my understanding of what you’re saying: If PA passed a law requiring anyone who agreed to be a donor, as evidenced by their being tested for potential HLA match, to donate if they are matched then the precedent would be relevant or potentially relevant, but since the question was brought up as common law, it is not?

  52. 152
    Schroeder4213 says:

    If PA passed a law requiring anyone who agreed to be a donor, as evidenced by their being tested for potential HLA match, to donate if they are matched then the precedent would be relevant or potentially relevant, but since the question was brought up as common law, it is not?

    I think so, if I’m understanding you correctly.

    If Pennsylvania passed such a law, the question would be whether the law was constitutional under the US Constitution or the Pennsylvania Constitution. In answering that question, the Common Pleas Court would likely have to wrestle with a lot of the same legal questions that the Roe, Casey and Dobbs courts did.

    But that’s not what happened in McFall. In McFall, McFall said (essentially): “I have a natural right to receive my nephew’s bone marrow.” And the court said, “No; of course you don’t.” There was no Pennsylvania law saying he did, and the Court couldn’t order it “in equity.” So in that sense, I guess you could say it was brought up “as common law.”

    I don’t know how much of a legal background you have, but “equity” is basically the (now limited) power of courts to just act fairly. There used to be, in England, “courts of law” and “courts of equity.” The courts of law were subject to all sorts of harsh and technical rules, but the courts of equity were called “the king’s conscience” and they basically just tried to do the fair thing. Eventually, the courts of equity developed their own legal rules based on court decisions. Those court decisions are called “common law.”

    In the US, the courts of equity and the courts of law merged, so US courts usually have some power to order people to behave fairly.

    So, in this sense, McFall was brought up as common law: McFall was saying that the Court should order Shimp to donate his bone marrow because it was just the fair thing to do.

    But in another sense, it wasn’t really brought up as common law: “[A] diligent search has produced no authority” supporting McFall’s position (other than a 700 year old English statute).

  53. 153
    Dianne says:

    BTW, in case anyone was wondering, McFall died. Shimp may or may not have been able to save him, but by refusing to give his marrow doomed McFall. I still agree with the court though, both in saying that McFall had no right to Shimp’s marrow and in saying that Shimp was behaving like a jerk.

    Donating marrow is a wonderful thing–if you want to do it. Unlike in 1978, you don’t even have to be stabbed with a bone marrow needled 50-100 times because we now have a technique for mobilizing stem cells to the peripheral blood and collecting them.

    Pregnancy is a wonderful thing too–if you want to do it. It’s also dangerous. I don’t regret my pregnancy, but I came closer than I ever had before or since to dying and experienced more pain than I had before or since. The former won’t stand forever, but the latter may.

    Neither should be forced on anyone.

  54. 154
    RonF says:

    Lauren @ 127:

    … there is no other cenario in which the governemt can legally ignore a person’s bodily autonomy to further the goals of somebody else, ….

    There’s a whole lot of people who have lost their jobs or positions because they refused the COVID vaccination who would disagree with this.

    Eytan Zweig @ 149:

    Anti-abortion laws are different, because a pregnant person has something in their body that the state wants, and SCOTUS decided that the state has a right to compel them to give it up.

    No. Anti-abortion laws hold that a pregnant woman has someone, not something, in their body whose life the State has an obligation to protect. The State does not want to take possession of that child. This not a perspective unique to anti-abortion law, either. Most if not all States will convict you of a felony if you injure a pregnant woman to the extent that the fetus she is carrying dies. Those laws have a carve-out for abortion in those States where abortion is legal.

  55. 155
    Eytan Zweig says:

    No. Anti-abortion laws hold that a pregnant woman has someone, not something, in their body whose life the State has an obligation to protect.

    That may be the motivation of the legislators voting for anti-abortion laws, but that’s not actually stated by the text of anti-abortion laws (at least not the ones I’ve looked at, including those of several US states, but I didn’t do a complete survey). Most current anti-abortion laws prohibit people from performing abortions (on others or on themselves), but do provide a reason why. It was also not an (explicit) factor in the SC decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

    Note that in my formulation, I didn’t mean that the state wants the baby. What the states wants is the act of birth, and what the pregnant person has is the potential of that. In many cases where the state prevents abortion, no one wants the baby (and in the case where someone does, it’s very rarely the state).

  56. 156
    RonF says:

    That may be the motivation of the legislators voting for anti-abortion laws, but that’s not actually stated by the text of anti-abortion laws (at least not the ones I’ve looked at, including those of several US states, but I didn’t do a complete survey). Most current anti-abortion laws prohibit people from performing abortions (on others or on themselves), but do provide a reason why. It was also not an (explicit) factor in the SC decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade.

    I’m not clear on how this refutes my point. If you prevent an abortion by forbidding people to perform them you preserve a life – at least, in my opinion and those of many others. It is the protection of that life against feticide/homicide that is the point of anti-abortion laws. And the point of the Supreme Court decision was whether or not attaining an abortion is a right protected by the Constitution vs. an issue that is properly subject to legislation. Whether or not preventing abortions preserves a life or not doesn’t need to figure into that.

  57. 157
    Eytan Zweig says:

    I’m not clear on how this refutes my point. If you prevent an abortion by forbidding people to perform them you preserve a life – at least, in my opinion and those of many others.

    You said that “anti abortion laws hold that [preventing abortions preserves lives]”. My point is that anti abortion laws hold no such thing. You may believe that, and lots of other people share your opinion, but the anti-abortion laws, at least the ones currently in existence, do not take that position.

    Now, if you wanted to argue that my earlier formulation of what anti-abortion laws do is also not represented in the text of the laws, then you’d have a stronger argument.

  58. 158
    RonF says:

    Do laws against murder, which act by punishing murderers, take the position that preventing murder saves lives? If your point is that laws against abortion do not explictly state that their objective is to save lives you may be correct, but I think it’s irrelevant.

  59. 159
    Eytan Zweig says:

    It’s not irrelevant, because you framed it as a question of whether the unborn child (to use Texas’s wording) is someone or something. The law is silent on that particular issue. Note that “life” isn’t a suficient criteria to be someone – the Forsythia in my garden is alive, but it’s a something.

    It is important to distinguish between what laws do and what they are for. What they do is an objective fact. What they are for is a matter of opinion – most directly the opinion of the legislator, but also of people interpreting the law. You say that abortion laws protect human lives. I say that that’s not true, because no human lives are lost in a succesful abortion, any more than human lives are lost in a succesful amputation – what’s lost is a part of a human body. We’re not going to agree on this. But if I’m wrong, I’m not wrong about anti-abortion laws. I’m wrong about pregnancy and abortion. And the same is true of you.

  60. 160
    RonF says:

    O.K. I accept the correction of my statement; while I have not in fact read the statutes in question I would not be surprised if they themselves do not state “The purpose of this statute is to save lives.” I do hold that it is certainly the intent of the legislators who wrote them, however.

  61. 161
    Jacqueline Onassis Squid says:

    And, man, my reading comprehension no longer exists.

    My apologies.

  62. 162
    RonF says:

    Note that “life” isn’t a sufficient criteria to be someone – the Forsythia in my garden is alive, but it’s a something.

    True. But context counts; we’re not talking about Forsythias.

    I say … no human lives are lost in a successful abortion, any more than human lives are lost in a successful amputation – what’s lost is a part of a human body. We’re not going to agree on this.

    No, we are not. I don’t expect to change your mind on the matter anymore than you expect to change mine. But at least you recognize that this is the crux of the matter.

  63. 163
    Dianne says:

    Barry needs to do a new cartoon about abortion. This thread is excessively long.

  64. 164
    Ampersand says:

    The next abortion-related one will be posted in about five days!