Quantcast

«

»

Mar 18 2014

Secular Pro-Life “Fetus Worshippers”?

Should we defend freethinking spaces from anti-choicers like Secular Pro-Life? I wanted more information on this organization as I have seen them at conventions.  Lucky for me, I know you-tuber True Pooka, who as he will tell you, shares the same concern. He has more experience investigating anti-choice groups than I do. He has shown me things I wouldn’t have seen; even though SPL hides them in plain sight. So I asked him to help me gather information in order to share it with our community. I don’t have faith in anything, but I trust in the people I have communed with at gatherings that they are an intelligent bunch, and can make up their own minds. So here is his first post in a series on what he found when looking at Secular Pro-Life…

We report, you decide, right?

This is his rationale for investigating SPL’s claims…

This is a topic that I’ve always found rather fascinating. I was raised in a strict Judaic upbringing so I’ve always considered the pro-life position on abortion law to represent a two-fold threat; a threat to not just the rights of women but to the right of my religious group of upbringing to practice their religious beliefs when it comes to abortion.
I was also once one of those young men who were placed in the unfortunate position of having to fight his way past protesters to help take a loved one to have a needed abortion, an abortion that she would die without. So I’ve always had a multi-faceted interest in the abortion issue and over the years have done a certain amount of study on the topic. I was genuinely curious because while I’ve heard quite a few arguments against abortion that claim to be secular in nature, as of yet none of those arguments that have been presented to me have been logically consistent. In fact the presentations of the majority of alleged secular arguments against abortion are distinctly religious in nature.

He will get to the meat of what he found this week in the next post.

Lucky for you, you can get a peek of what’s going on in their rationale because Matt Dillahunty is debating one of their openly Christian members this next week on March 25. His last debate with a former SPL member was more like debating someone, who argued like a Christian.

SPL has also taken umbrage at PZ, Greta, and Avicenna’s post on their blog.

76 comments

1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Menyambal

    Christians are willing to pretend anything if they think it will further their cause. My bet is that most of the “secular” folks are liars for Jesus.

    1. 1.1
      Sara

      That’s simply untrue. I’m an ex-muslim atheist and pro-life. You may associate prolifism with misogyny, anti-choice, anti-sex positivity, whatever you will, since that’s an opinion, but saying every secular pro-lifer is secretly a christian or religious…that’s a silly conspiracy you’ve conjured up.

      Also, I don’t worship fetuses, just like pro-choicers don’t worship abortion or women. That’s emotional rhetoric.

      I worship nothing, but I do reference the fetus and it’s future of value and weigh that in with the bodily autonomy of the pregnant woman, rather than accepting a black or white narrative of the issue (i.e “abortion is an absolute right” “abortion is wrong in every circumstance”).

      1. NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

        …but I do reference the fetus and it’s future of value and weigh that in with the bodily autonomy of the pregnant woman, rather than accepting a black or white narrative of the issue (i.e “abortion is an absolute right” “abortion is wrong in every circumstance”).

        And that’s your problem right there. The woman’s right to bodily autonomy wins.

        Every.

        Time.

        And that’s that. There’s nothing else to it. She’s already alive. She’s already been born. There is absolutely NO REASON WHATSOEVER for her to be FORCED to give up her bodily autonomy.

        If she wants to, then great! If she doesn’t, then neither you nor anybody else have the right to tell her she does.

        Get over it.

        1. Sara

          The premise that’s being argued is that bodily autonomy wins. Claiming it doesn’t make it valid. Also, the fetus is “already alive”, otherwise the term miscarriage is meaningless.

          1. NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

            The premise that’s being argued is that bodily autonomy wins. Claiming it doesn’t make it valid.

            And my point is that bodily autonomy isn’t up for debate. How hard is it to wrap your head around that? A living, already born human’s right to choose what happens to their own body is absolute.

            If you can’t agree to that, then we have nothing further to discuss. This is a point I refuse to debate.

          2. NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

            And by “absolute”, I don’t mean in the supernatural bullshit sense. I mean that if we can’t guarantee this one right to already-living-and-born persons, then we can’t guarantee any rights to anyone at all. And in that case there’s simply no point to society, is there?

            Bodily autonomy is the one right that has held or been fought for more than any other throughout human history. All civil rights fights, all attempts of a society to defend themselves against outside attackers, have been down to one very simple thing: the right to bodily autonomy. This is the one right that guarantees freedom, choice, and cooperation. It guarantees consent and safety. Without it, we are slaves.

            If you are actually willing to argue against bodily autonomy… well…

            Also, the fetus is “already alive”, otherwise the term miscarriage is meaningless.

            As the brain stem is not yet connected to the spinal chord in the stage we refer to as the “fetus”, and the heart is not functioning, and the nervous system is not yet developed, I’m rather curious by what measure you are defining “alive”.

          3. Reginald Selkirk

            Also, the fetus is “already alive”, otherwise the term miscarriage is meaningless.

            Of course the fetus is “alive.” So are the millions of sperm which then die every time a man ejaculates.

            And of course the fetus is “human.” We’re not talking about chicken embryos here.

            These are not the right questions to be addressing.
            That you are addressing one of these questions is your first clue that you are doing it wrong.

        2. Sara

          “I mean that if we can’t guarantee this one right to already-living-and-born persons, then we can’t guarantee any rights to anyone at all.”

          That is an unnecessarily rigid belief. Of course it is possible to grant and waive rights depending on the circumstance. Rights and obligations aren’t fixed, and they change and are different for everyone. The problem is when the difference is arbitrary (race, gender, appearance) but in some cases there can be differences (age, financial status, mental health).

          “As the brain stem is not yet connected to the spinal chord in the stage we refer to as the “fetus”, and the heart is not functioning, and the nervous system is not yet developed, I’m rather curious by what measure you are defining “alive”.”

          A fetus is unborn offspring, maybe it starts being called a baby later in gestation, but it’s technically still a fetus. I’m defining “alive” to mean “not dead”, and when a woman miscarries or has an abortion, the fetus will die (cells stop dividing, if the fetus were alive they’d be reproducing constantly)

          “And my point is that bodily autonomy isn’t up for debate. How hard is it to wrap your head around that? A living, already born human’s right to choose what happens to their own body is absolute.

          If you can’t agree to that, then we have nothing further to discuss. This is a point I refuse to debate.”

          As suspected, this probably is the deadlock in any abortion debate. There was no debate to begin with then.

          1. NateHevens, resident SOOPER-GENIUS... apparently...

            Tell you what, Sara… go chaperone at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Don’t judge anyone, don’t offer your opinion. I would be shocked if you can continue to hold on to your anti-choice views afterwards. And if you can… then I really don’t know what to say to you, because being so staunchly anti-choice in teh face of the science and the real women who are affected by this is rather disturbing to me.

            And further… if you really, truly are pro-life, and you want to see abortion rates diminish, I have a full-proof plan that will work, and I know it will work because there are states in the US and countries world-wide that already implement it and have amazingly low abortion rates as a result:

            1. Fully and completely legalize abortion. Force all insurance plans to cover it (preferably at 100%… but I’m also a Socialist and want single-payer health care).
            2. Force insurance to fully cover ALL birth control options, for both men and women.
            3. Enforce comprehensive safe-sex/consent is sexy education starting in Pre-K (in the context of sharing toys and things… bring in the sex when they’re older and more able to handle and understand the information), including the gender expression and sexual expression spectrums. Recognize that older children are going to have sex no matter what you say or do, so it’s better to ensure they have the knowledge to do so in the safest way possible. (For the record, such education actually correlates to lower rates of teens having sex and, as a result, teenage pregnancy.)

            I know for a fact that abortion rates will freefall to lows that prohibition and religious “abstinence-only” bullshit will never achieve.

          2. WithinThisMind

            If you accept women as people, there is no ‘pro-life’ argument that will convince you.

            I am sorry that you do not accept women as people. But that is a failure in you, not in the debate.

        3. Sara

          I agree with comprehensive sex-ed and am not opposed to contraception. Fully legalizing abortion doesn’t reduce the abortion rate, nor does making it completely illegal. The abortion rate depends on a variety of political, social, and cultural factors.

          “Tell you what, Sara… go chaperone at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Don’t judge anyone, don’t offer your opinion. I would be shocked if you can continue to hold on to your anti-choice views afterwards. And if you can… then I really don’t know what to say to you, because being so staunchly anti-choice in teh face of the science and the real women who are affected by this is rather disturbing to me.”

          Of all the things to be disturbed by, this is what disturbs you? And I like my job working with at-risk youth more. It’s clear everyone looses their cool around here because sooner than later you all start whipping out emotionally charged sound-bites.

      2. Monocle Smile

        You’ll find very, very, VERY few people who think abortion is an “absolute right.”
        You’ll find a shitload of people who think abortion is wrong in every circumstance.

        NateHevens is right. The woman’s right to bodily autonomy wins, especially when you consider the lines already drawn by Roe v. Wade. This “future of value” nonsense smacks of the idea of fate, and there’s a built-in slippery slope that you don’t want to acknowledge. You’re not taking into account legal pragmatism. If this “future of value” was deserving of the kind of rights you want to assign it, we’d have to investigate EVERY MISCARRIAGE as manslaughter. I mean, we already investigate accidental deaths as criminal acts and wrongful death suits are as copious as they come. The law is a blunt instrument, and there are real consequences for advocating such sweet nothings as “future of value.”

        1. Sara

          “You’ll find very, very, VERY few people who think abortion is an “absolute right.”
          You’ll find a shitload of people who think abortion is wrong in every circumstance.”

          Alright, in what circumstances would you prevent a woman from having an abortion?

          A future of value is not a sweet nothing or nonsense. It’s why murder is “wrong” even if it caused no pain to the victim. A future of value could mean mediocrity. It has no idealistic connotation. It only means being sentient and experiencing life.

          “…smacks of the idea of fate, and there’s a built-in slippery slope that you don’t want to acknowledge. ”

          Hmm, instead of telling me what my intentions are, you could actually explain how a “future of value” connotes fate or a slipper-slope fallacy.

          No, we do not have to investigate every miscarriage. It simply doesn’t have to be like that. There are prenatal substance abuse laws, as there are neglect laws. If you are a caretaker for a senile person and they die under your care from natural causes, it’s not a crime. Neither is or should a miscarriage.

          1. Monocle Smile

            I think abortion should be legal until the EEG brain wave is fully formed AND the fetus is medically determined to be viable. Complications and exigent circumstances can still arise, and abortion needs to be a legal option in emergencies as well.

            It only means being sentient and experiencing life.

            I agree. And if you honestly think a zygote is sentient, there’s no point in discussing this further.

            A future of value is not a sweet nothing or nonsense. It’s why murder is “wrong” even if it caused no pain to the victim.

            No. This is NOT why murder is wrong. You don’t seem to understand the nature of this issue.

            If you are a caretaker for a senile person and they die under your care from natural causes, it’s not a crime. Neither is or should a miscarriage.

            Except miscarriages are not always natural. There is still an investigation in the case of a senile person to confirm cause of death. There’s also another slippery slope where masturbation becomes criminal. Or using plan B.

            The next-of-kin can LEGALLY terminate a comatose patient whose EEG has failed. That’s because brain-dead is dead. Thus, brain-alive is alive and the mother gets to determine what happens before the EEG forms in the fetus…which doesn’t happen until around 26 weeks.

          2. WithinThisMind

            —Alright, in what circumstances would you prevent a woman from having an abortion?—

            In the same circumstances you would force a woman to submit to rape, of course. That being because every ‘pro-life’ argument is essentially a ‘pro-rape’ argument.

            Nobody has the right to use a woman’s body against her will, and she may defend her body with potentially lethal force if that is what it takes. That is true if it is a grown man making the attempt, and it is true if it is a fetus.

            Sex is to rape what a wanted pregnancy is to an unwanted pregnancy.

            Consent matters.

            I am sorry you disagree, but that is a failure in you. I hope someday you overcome it.

        2. Sara

          “I think abortion should be legal until the EEG brain wave is fully formed AND the fetus is medically determined to be viable. Complications and exigent circumstances can still arise, and abortion needs to be a legal option in emergencies as well.”

          I know you are not supporting late-term abortion, but that is something troubling with pro-choice advocates. An abortion procedure to kill a viable fetus even to save the life of the mother is unnecessary. A medical abortion by inducing labor or performing a caesarean section and transferring the infant to the NICU can save both the mother and the child. If the infant dies, it’s an unfortunate consequence but a measure was taken to save it’s life.
          The problem is when people conflate the common usage of the word abortion (that it must result in the death of a fetus) with medical abortion, which means terminating a pregnancy early. If it’s before viability, inevitability the fetus will die. After viability there’s a chance it can live if the abortion is a birthing procedure. For the record I think abortion should be legal only up to 12 weeks, then from 21 weeks onwards abortions should be performed only in the methods described above, in my opinion.

          In another comment you said this in regards to bodily autonomy:
          “You seem to think it should be able to be overruled.”

          Doesn’t your opinion that abortion should be illegal after the point of viability mean you also think it can be overruled?

          “I agree. And if you honestly think a zygote is sentient, there’s no point in discussing this further.”

          No, of course a zygote isn’t sentient! I never implied that. “A future of value” means being allowed experience sentience and existence. A zygote will be sentient in the future, as will I and you if no one kills us. “But…sperm!” <- Sperm will only coagulate.

          "No. This is NOT why murder is wrong. You don’t seem to understand the nature of this issue."

          Someone who has no friends, no family is killed painlessly in their sleep is still punishable. Murder isn't wrong because it impacts the people around you, nor is it wrong because it caused pain – the unifying factor of all murders is the ability to ever be sentient is deliberately ended, which is the same consequence for a fetus or a born-person.

          "Except miscarriages are not always natural. There is still an investigation in the case of a senile person to confirm cause of death. There’s also another slippery slope where masturbation becomes criminal. Or using plan B.

          The next-of-kin can LEGALLY terminate a comatose patient whose EEG has failed. That’s because brain-dead is dead. Thus, brain-alive is alive and the mother gets to determine what happens before the EEG forms in the fetus…which doesn’t happen until around 26 weeks."

          Masturbation isn't more criminal than your hair falling out, and I have no issue with Plan B. Sperm and oocytes are not organisms like zygotes though.
          I'm not familiar with EEGs, but babies have been born as early as 21 weeks and survived into adulthood. My little cousin was born at 24 weeks and he wasn't brain-dead at all. If your cutoff point is at 26 weeks that's fine because, like I stated above, if they are aborted through labor or cesarean then taken care of adequately, it has a probable chance of surviving.

          1. Monocle Smile

            An abortion procedure to kill a viable fetus even to save the life of the mother is unnecessary. A medical abortion by inducing labor or performing a caesarean section and transferring the infant to the NICU can save both the mother and the child.

            And yet you somehow think I or anyone else here is OPPOSED to this? What could possibly make you think that? Why do you think WE are the ones conflating terms? Nobody’s arguing for an absolute right to kill a viable fetus. It’s about the right to terminate a pregnancy. I think you’re the only confused one here.

            I think abortion should be legal only up to 12 weeks, then from 21 weeks onwards abortions should be performed only in the methods described above, in my opinion.

            What’s so magical about 12 weeks? Is that just an arbitrary line you drew? My line is based on science and medical rationale. Also, 98.5% of abortions occur before 20 weeks.

            the unifying factor of all murders is the ability to ever be sentient is deliberately ended

            CURRENT sentience. CURRENT. Life has value NOW. This isn’t about some mystical “future of value.”

            Also, tone-trolling bits of crap like accusing us of “emotionally charged sound bites” would sound less hypocritical if you provided any actual rationale behind your arguments besides arbitrary cutoff points and undefined concepts like “future of value.”

          2. azhael

            “Sperm and oocytes are not organisms like zygotes though.”

            How? Which definition of organism are you using?

        3. Sara

          “O RLY? Let’s JUST consider childbirth mortality rates in this country. What do you suppose they are?

          Hint: much, much, MUCH higher than what laymen would imagine.”

          100% of people living without both kidneys must undergo dialysis or they die. Most women who give birth do not die. I looked up the childbirth mortality rate, it is around .015%. Obviously any death is problematic, but I don’t take issue with life saving abortion.

        4. Sara

          “And yet you somehow think I or anyone else here is OPPOSED to this? What could possibly make you think that? Why do you think WE are the ones conflating terms? Nobody’s arguing for an absolute right to kill a viable fetus. It’s about the right to terminate a pregnancy. I think you’re the only confused one here.”

          And I quote “I know you are not supporting late-term abortion”.
          No, I don’t think anyone is opposed, nor could I understand that position anyways. But a lot of people are unaware of the difference, and think a viable fetus’s death is inevitable.

          Again, the problem is viable fetuses do get killed because the birthing option isn’t taken. When you say exceptions for late-term abortions should be made for a risky pregnancy, it’s implying the fetus will die. Otherwise, why would it be an “exception” rather than ok? I suspect you’re being intentionally disingenuous.

          “What’s so magical about 12 weeks? Is that just an arbitrary line you drew? My line is based on science and medical rationale. Also, 98.5% of abortions occur before 20 weeks.”

          Your line of 26 weeks says a fetus is brain -dead before then which is ridiculous because babies are born before then and then live. I said 12 weeks because it’s the end of the first trimester and before 13 weeks there are no measurable brain waves. And many countries have a 12 week abortion limit, like the horribly misogynistic Finland, Switzerland, France, Denmark…

          I bid adieu to all the lovely pleasant people at freethoughtblogs.

          1. Monocle Smile

            When you say exceptions for late-term abortions should be made for a risky pregnancy, it’s implying the fetus will die.

            As someone who has seriously dated a med student, there are a LOT of things that can go wrong during a pregnancy. There are a host of horrible disorders that don’t present until later in the pregnancy, either…like anencephaly.

            Your line of 26 weeks says a fetus is brain -dead before then which is ridiculous because babies are born before then and then live.

            I would actually be okay with a slightly more conservative line, and I fully explained my rationale specifically so people wouldn’t stupidly make this too simple. Again, 98.5% of abortions occur before 20 weeks, which is definitely before the non-viable line. I believe we’re also capable of detecting fetal EEGs, so drawing an arbitrary line may be moot anyway.

            many countries have a 12 week abortion limit, like the horribly misogynistic Finland, Switzerland, France, Denmark…

            Those countries offer a shitload of support to single and/or impoverished mothers and generally make an excellent effort to ensure that their children grow up well. In this country, single mothers are slut-shamed and (most of) the same people who want to ban abortion also oppose all or most forms of welfare and support for mothers in particular. They also oppose access to contraception and comprehensive sex education, both of which are already abysmal. Don’t act as if these are equal situations.

            I bid adieu to all the lovely pleasant people at freethoughtblogs.

            So you WERE just here to troll. What did you honestly expect?

  2. 2
    hjhornbeck

    W00t! I’ve also been doing some digging myself, as I’m somewhat familiar with the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform. The evidence so far supports my claim that “secular arguments” is the “intelligent design” of the anti-choice movement, a deliberate strategy to shift the opinion of people who wouldn’t fall for a religious argument.

    While here, I’d also like to share the twenty-year roadmap of the CCBR, which has made for some very interesting reading.

  3. 3
    lurker

    Sara # 1.1
    “…but saying every secular pro-lifer is secretly a christian or religious…that’s a silly conspiracy you’ve conjured up”
    That would be silly, if that is what Menyambal said, but they said “most”, there is a massive difference there. Strike 1

    “I don’t worship fetuses, just like pro-choicers don’t worship abortion or women. That’s emotional rhetoric.”
    But your comment of “the fetus and it’s future of value” isn’t emotional rhetoric? Strike 2

    Also, I don’t think the word miscarriage, means what you think it means. Strike 3

    OED: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/miscarriage
    “1. The spontaneous or unplanned expulsion of a fetus from the womb before it is able to survive independently:”

    P.S. I wish my mother had aborted me (and I’m an able-bodied person of privilage), and I am far from the only person with logical reasons for thinking this. So please don’t rely so strongly on your personal, unfounded belief in how valuable a fetus’ future will be, you know nothing about other people’s lives… It is a VERY poor arguement. Bonus Strike 4

    Better luck next time. I’ll leave your a fetus is “already alive” crap to someone with more patience for bad-fith/ill-informed arguements.
    Meanwhile, I reserve the right to do whatever I want with my body, and I will never force you to have an abortion – deal? Because women’s right are not up for debate.

    1. 3.1
      Sara

      “That would be silly, if that is what Menyambal said, but they said “most”, there is a massive difference there. Strike 1″

      No, most people who identify as pro-life and atheist/agnostic/nonreligious are not lying about their views. Whether he/she said most or all, it’s still untrue and implying some sort of christian conspiracy.

      “But your comment of “the fetus and it’s future of value” isn’t emotional rhetoric? Strike 2″

      It isn’t. “Future of value” is a term coined by a philosopher named Don Marquis (who is secular) and the only thing this term means is possible life experiences in the future. It’s not a sentimental thing.

      “Also, I don’t think the word miscarriage, means what you think it means. Strike 3″

      Your assumption is a strike against me? Interesting. I know what miscarriage means! Let’s take the definition you gave
      “1. The spontaneous or unplanned expulsion of a fetus from the womb before it is able to survive independently:”

      If a fetus is not alive, how can it be surviving prior to a miscarriage?

      “P.S. I wish my mother had aborted me (and I’m an able-bodied person of privilage), and I am far from the only person with logical reasons for thinking this. So please don’t rely so strongly on your personal, unfounded belief in how valuable a fetus’ future will be, you know nothing about other people’s lives… It is a VERY poor arguement. Bonus Strike 4″

      Never did I assume a fetus’s life post-birth would be good (although I do believe in a societal obligation to redistribute wealth and resources to help one another, and believe in working towards increasing the collective well-being of society). If as an adult they decide their life is not worth living, then medically assisted suicide ought to be available, but instead of someone else making a permanent decision for them, the individual will make the decision for themselves.

      1. Leo Buzalsky

        “the only thing this term means is possible life experiences in the future. It’s not a sentimental thing”

        Sure it is. As you yourself point out, the term doesn’t really mean much — it’s very vague and unspecific. So how can you “weigh that in with the bodily autonomy of the pregnant woman”? As the term means so little, I fail to see how it can have much weight (so bodily autonomy should win every time). The only way I can really see it having weight is if it is made into a sentimental thing.

        Plus, I’ve seen this argument made as a very sentimental thing. I’ve called it the “You aborted Beethoven!” argument.

        “although I do believe in a societal obligation to redistribute wealth and resources to help one another, and believe in working towards increasing the collective well-being of society”

        Well, Amanda Marcotte has a post just for you over at Pandagon. Amanda points out that, in reality, you can’t have both a ban on abortion and an increase in the well-being of society. This is because those who favor bans on abortion fight against increasing well-being (in the USA, the Republican party) and those who want to increase well-being don’t want to ban abortion (in the USA, the Democrat party). So, what is more important to you? Banning abortion or increasing well-being? You only get to choose one. Choose wisely.

      2. Reginald Selkirk

        … (although I do believe in a societal obligation to redistribute wealth and resources to help one another, and believe in working towards increasing the collective well-being of society).

        How about organs? How would you react if an authority ordered you to donate a kidney because someone else’s life depended on receiving that kidney? This is what it meas to deny a right to bodily autonomy. I won’t presume your answer, but i will say that the vast majority of people would respond that they might donate their kidneys if they wish, but should not be obligated to do so.

        1. Sara

          If it is my child, then I should be obligated to so. But giving up my kidney would mean undergoing dialysis forever, or I will die. Most pregnancies do not impact a woman’s body to such an extent permanently.
          Also, organ donation really should be mandatory after death.

          1. Monocle Smile

            If it is my child, then I should be obligated to so.

            Well, at least you’re somewhat consistent. And this is where discussion will probably end, because there’s a fundamental difference in how we perceive bodily autonomy. You seem to think it should be able to be overruled.

            Most pregnancies do not impact a woman’s body to such an extent permanently.

            O RLY? Let’s JUST consider childbirth mortality rates in this country. What do you suppose they are?

            Hint: much, much, MUCH higher than what laymen would imagine.

          2. Reginald Selkirk

            Also, organ donation really should be mandatory after death.

            Well there you go. You appear to agree with the vast majority that a person is not obligated to give up use of a part of their body for the good of another while they are alive. That you would willingly do so under certain very constrained circumstances in no way detracts from this conclusion.

            The rest is you waffling.

  4. 4
    leni

    Should we defend freethinking spaces from anti-choicers like Secular Pro-Life?

    You mean should we “teach the controversy”?

    I dunno. You report, you decide.

    —-

    Not so excited about this rationale:

    I was also once one of those young men who were placed in the unfortunate position of having to fight his way past protesters to help take a loved one to have a needed abortion, an abortion that she would die without. So I’ve always had a multi-faceted interest in the abortion issue and over the years have done a certain amount of study on the topic.

    How nice for True Pooka to be so multi-faceted.

    I was genuinely curious…

    Was that before or after True Pooka “fought” their way past the protesters who argued for their loved one to die? Just genuinely curious.

    …because while I’ve heard quite a few arguments against abortion that claim to be secular in nature, as of yet none of those arguments that have been presented to me have been logically consistent.

    And yet True Pooka remains open and curious despite the fact that they know SPLs are full of shit.

    Bullshit.

    In fact the presentations of the majority of alleged secular arguments against abortion are distinctly religious in nature.

    mmmhmm.

  5. 5
    lurker

    @ leni #4

    I don’t quite understand what you are getting at… could you be a bit clearer in the point you are trying to make please?
    I can see you have a problem, but I can’t see exactly what that problem is?
    :)

    1. 5.1
      leni

      You know what, I changed my mind. Here ya go, Lurker. Clarifications in helpful [] brackets.

      You mean should we “teach the controversy”?

      I dunno. You report, you decide.[me]

      [Ambivalence and mockery. I thought that remark in the OP about reporting was a fucking cop-out. So I mocked it. But I also get that it's hard and that it probably wasn't entirely serious, so I mocked gently. I threw in the joke about teaching the controversy because that's basically what I think this is, even if I don't think it was intentionally shitty.]
      —-

      Not so excited about this rationale[me]:

      I was also once one of those young men who were placed in the unfortunate position of having to fight his way past protesters to help take a loved one to have a needed abortion, an abortion that she would die without. So I’ve always had a multi-faceted interest in the abortion issue and over the years have done a certain amount of study on the topic.[True Pooka]

      How nice for True Pooka to be so multi-faceted.[me]

      [More mocking, because at this point I was seriously fucking irritated that some jackass with pooka for a name is basically claiming to be more "faceted" than people who went through those lines by necessity. Including the supposed loved one of Pooka. And myself.

      Also, when I italicized "multi-faceted", I did it with the hope that it would sound like Parseltongue in the mind of anyone who read it.]

      I was genuinely curious…

      Was that before or after True Pooka “fought” their way past the protesters who argued for their loved one to die? Just genuinely curious.

      [More ambivalent mockery and irritation that "genuinely curious" was the response to something that felt to me, as a person who went through it, more like an act of terrorism.]

      …because while I’ve heard quite a few arguments against abortion that claim to be secular in nature, as of yet none of those arguments that have been presented to me have been logically consistent..[True Pooka]

      And yet True Pooka remains open and curious despite the fact that they know SPLs are full of shit.

      Bullshit.[me]

      [This is me expressing doubt that True Pooka didn't know this was all a bunch of bullshit from the get-go, yet still treated these assholes as if they had something valuable or new to say, conveniently at other peoples expense. That fucking irritates me, even if we ultimately agree, hence more sarcastic ambivalence.]

      In fact the presentations of the majority of alleged secular arguments against abortion are distinctly religious in nature.[True Pooka]

      mmmhmm. [me[

      [This is me agreeing and sarcastically re-affirming my suspicion that all of this was an exercise in bullshittery.]

      Hope that helps!

      1. Raging Bee

        No, it doesn’t help. That comment is, if anything, even more hopelessly muddled than the ones you were trying to explain/excuse/justify/squirm out of/whatever.

        1. leni

          The “helpful” remark was also sarcastic, if that’s helpful.

  6. 6
    leni

    I don’t quite understand what you are getting at… could you be a bit clearer in the point you are trying to make please?

    Let me think about that for a minute…

    No.

  7. 7
    Stacy

    OK, leni. So you’re not actually interested in making any sort of coherent comment. You’re just here to–leave the cyber equivalent of scent markings, I suppose.

    1. 7.1
      leni

      So you’re not actually interested in making any sort of coherent comment.

      What I am is not interested in spoon feeding you. Pun-like phrasing intended.

      That comment wasn’t directed at you so, no, I’m not going to rephrase it so you can participate in a conversation that I’m not having with you.

      1. Monocle Smile

        We get it. You’re trolling. Be less obvious about it.

        1. leni

          No, you don’t get it. Be less obvious about it.

          I don’t want to have a meta argument with random people about comments that weren’t directed at them. That is actually kinda the opposite of trolling.

          But whatever. Details.

          1. Raging Bee

            If you don’t want to have an argument, then why are you arguing? And if you don’t want to respond to “random people,” then why did you post comments that said “random people” would see?

            Seriously, what the fuck is your problem?

          2. leni

  8. 8
    lurker

    So that was just a rude way of actually answering. Thanks for clarifying. I guess you do want your position to be clear after all.

  9. 9
    A. Noyd

    @Sara
    You really do not seem to give any fucks for the well being of women forced to complete pregnancies they don’t want. You’re happy to devalue their futures. And their present experiences. Not to mention you’re overlooking the many, many people who would not have been born if their mothers had been forced to keep a pregnancy before theirs. Should we sacrifice the value of their futures to your passion for primogeniture? To your presumption that it’s better to force every conception to be born rather than end their existence before they’re aware of it? How sadistic.

    And then there’s this.

    If as an adult they decide their life is not worth living, then medically assisted suicide ought to be available, but instead of someone else making a permanent decision for them, the individual will make the decision for themselves.

    Fuck you from the bottom of my heart.

    Wishing you were never born is not the same as wanting to end your life. Sometimes it’s about the cruel joke of finding yourself alive and being unable to stay that way. It’s about the horror of facing the inevitability of your eventual unmaking. It’s about being cursed with depression and anxiety such that sometimes you cannot leave your house for a week because everything reminds you of its impermanence and your own. It’s about wanting to make more of your life but feeling futlility creeping in every time you start getting somewhere. It’s about living with the constant worry you’ll mismanage your sleeping pills and get hit with an anxiety attack when your thoughts turn towards death in that vulnerable few minutes between waking and sleep.

    Can you even possibly consider what it’s like to live with a crippling fear of something that you cannot escape no matter what? What it’s like to know that the genes you share with your family predispose you all to this sort of anxiety? What it’s like to imagine you could be forced to bring another person into the world who could go through the same thing as you? Only with fewer resources and privileges than you because you can barely manage to keep a cat and thus would have to give it up for adoption?

    You think you should get to force my offspring into existence because you’re so privileged you can be blase about how it feels to wish you were never born?

    Fuck. You.

    1. 9.1
      Sara

      What I’m getting from your comment is that you wish you were never born but you’re really scared to die, and it’s cruel to subject people to life rather than death because in life one must face the inevitability of death?

      I’m not going to invalidate those feelings, but you and lurker are in the minority. Few people think anything like this, let’s be real. And if that’s your reasoning for being ok with abortion, why is euthanizing babies wrong? They’d never know otherwise.
      Insulting me is kind of pointless, since if I don’t know your intentions, then you don’t know mine. I’m not crippled with a fear of death and generally feel grateful for the life I have – and it’s a reasonable assumption to make for others. You are unhappy for whatever reason, and are assuming every or most children born become miserable once they become cognizant of their life, which is hardly the case.

      1. lurker

        Ok, Sara enough, you are being really disingenuous and self-involved here.
        You are tone trolling, and rubbing your privilage in the face of those less fortunate with no concern. You are being a bully.
        I am aware I am in a minority, and I am sure others who feel this way know that too, because we live with the stigma of with mental illness every fucking day. And neither me nor A. Noyd ever claimed we were in a majority so this is a strawman.
        And no you’re not going to invalidate those feelings, just belittle them with a sarcastic “let’s be real”.
        So, “let’s be real”.
        You may want so check your privilage.
        The fact that some lives are not as good as you’d like (even in privilaged places where you have food, shelter and care), is still a valid point against your “life is so precious” bullshit, even if you choose not to adress it.
        Depression is one of the worlds biggest killers, so don’t be so sarcastic and belittling, because there are still millions of people who feel this way, and millions more affected by that, so it isn’t a dismissable number.
        And that is not my reason for being ok with the women’s right’s to bodily autonomy over a non-scentient clump of cells. It is just one small point that shows your position to be the careless, privilaged, self-involved, bullying, intrusive, and pro-misery cruelty it is.

        You completely ignore A. Noyd’s point that mental illness has genetic predispositions, so yeah, me knowing the history of my family, and the posibility of any children I have having a life like mine means that if I get pregnant I have to consider that. I have to consider my bility to survie a pregnancy without it driving me to suicide, (which would kill the fetus as well, because it is not a seperate person). Yes, you are so lucky that your life is good, and I am happy for you that you don’t have to think about these things, but a lot of us do. And this isn’t even considering other health issues.

        Euthenising babies is wrong because they are alive. They are people. They have feelings, emotions, etc. And they would know. Stop conflating live babies with parasitic clumps of cells that cannot survive without depending on another person’s organs. This shows how de-humanising and disingenuous your position really is. How about finding some evidence that supports your notion that fetuses are alive in the same way a born child is before you start using that as a cudgel, because honestly, this arguement makes you look foolish.

        I used to live on a farm, I have seen fetuses self-abort at every stage of gestation, I have seen how premature things die quickly without the joys of modern medicine, and even animals can grieve, I have had to pull fully gestated animals out of the mothers bit by bit after they died and rotted inside them, I have seen those mothers die because abortion isn’t widely available to animals. When I think of this being applied to people it makes me sick. So stop comparing babies to real live conscious children with feelings, and emotions, and experiences. They are not the same thing. And instead spare a tought for the children and adults that would be tortured by your selfish, preoccupation with your own privilage.

        You say you care about social issues like wealth distribution etc., but poor access to contraception and health care disproportionately affects the poor, thus undermining all of your good intentions if women do not have the right to abortions. So it appears you don’t really care about babies that much, or haven’t thought too far beyound collecting the terrible arguements to support your privilage based “but I like my life” a priori conclusion.

        You say you don’t know A. Noyd’s intentions, but then claim to know that they are “assuming every or most children born become miserable once they become cognizant of their life”…. What a ludicrous thing to say. This is more than a strawman it is intentionally misreading what A. Noyd said, which was specific to certain people’s experiences and genetic predispositions, some of which have a very high heritability rate, and that would be coupled with pre-natal stresses and being raised with either a mentally ill parent, or the potential feelings of abandonment after adoption that could aggrivate any genetic predisposition they would have.

        “I’m not crippled with a fear…” Do you want a parade? Can you not put yourself in someone elses shoes even for a second? It isn’t all about you, sometumes other people’s experiences are different. Gloating at being more able than someone else is sick. You should be ashamed of yourself.

        Maybe A. Noyd was angry with you because you are acting like their very real concerns mean nothing. You would put people with health issies in a position where their life would be at risk, with no regard for the quality of life of the resulting child either. We know most people aren’t mentally ill. That is very clear already thank you.

        I support abortion because when it is needed, it is essential. I support abortion because a woman and her family, and her children mean more to me than the unproven notion that anything with human DNA is the equivalent of a person with feelings.

        You are being patronising, condescending, heartless and frankly, a bully.
        You are clearly not arguing in good faith. And you are abelist.

        I name you troll. And a hateful one at that.

        1. Sara

          Whatever helps you sleep at night.

          1. leni

            Does it help you sleep better at night to pretend that everyone in the world is as lucky as you?

            I don’t want children for my own reasons. How bout we just end the discussion there since anything past that is:

            1) None of your business
            2) Not your decision to make for me
            3) Presumes that your opinions about who I choose to donate my body to and when matter. Here’s a hint: They don’t.

            If you think they do matter, perhaps you would reciprocate and let me decide what your body used for and when?

        2. A. Noyd

          Thank you, lurker. Everything here is correct and stated beautifully.

      2. A. Noyd

        I’m not going to invalidate those feelings, but you and lurker are in the minority. Few people think anything like this, let’s be real. And if that’s your reasoning for being ok with abortion, why is euthanizing babies wrong?

        No, fuck you and your abstractions. I’m not talking about “babies,” I’m talking about me and my potential offspring. And you are invalidating my feelings because you’re attempting to write off their significance. I don’t care how much I’m in the minority. I care that how I feel is terrible enough (and there are many, many people worse off than me) that I should not be made to risk it befalling someone who wouldn’t exist without me.

        And I’m okay with abortion because women should have full bodily autonomy. Women should never, ever be forced to give up their body to the use of another. And I trust women to know what’s best for themselves.

        Insulting me is kind of pointless, since if I don’t know your intentions, then you don’t know mine.

        I’m not the one in favor of taking away your rights to bodily autonomy while remaining ignorant of what that would do to you. That’s you doing that. Your intentions don’t even fucking matter because, whatever they are, you would do harm to others. To living, breathing, conscious people with futures of their own.

        You are unhappy for whatever reason, and are assuming every or most children born become miserable once they become cognizant of their life, which is hardly the case.

        No, I’m not assuming that, because I’m not stupid. I’m saying that no one should be forced to gamble their offspring will not be miserable. I should never have to carry a pregnancy to term just because most people are not like me.

        Imagine if I were to sit you down in front of a computer connected remotely to a robot that carved up bodies. And you had to operate it to carve up a body out of sight in another room. And what if I told you that there was a 99% chance that the body was just a dead body from a donor. But there was a 1% chance it was actually your own living, breathing child. Should I be able to force your hand onto the keyboard with the reassurance that it’s so much more likely that you’re not hurting anyone? Would the 99% chance that you’re not slicing your child to pieces really make you feel any better?

        Well, the heritability of depression and anxiety in my family is much closer to 100% than 1%.

        By the way, don’t reply to this. I don’t want to hear more of your facile ideas on why you should get to brush away concerns of people like me and lurker for the sake of your disgusting, self-righteous, authoritarian, misogynistic fantasies. Clearly you didn’t leave enough of Islam behind. Do better.

      3. Rowan vet-tech

        I’m late to the party… but I think like that. And so does my brother. I’ve been hyper-aware of my mortality since I was at least 4 years old. I’ve gotten very good at shutting down the panic attacks that, like A. Noyd, happen as I’m falling asleep by becoming… well…. fatalistic about it. Pun partially intended.

        But there are times where I wish I had never been born because the idea of ‘not-being’ fills me with abject terror when I let myself *truly* ponder the idea.

  10. 10
    lurker

    @ A. Noyd # 9

    This. A Thousand times, this.

    *Trigger warning: discussion of suicide.

    Add to that the effect of the relationships a person has formed with any family or friends, and the pain that would be caused to those who love or care about them, if they decided to end their own life. Suicide is not an act isolated to the individual (it is usually a last resort to prevent more pain). It effects living sentient people with memories, emotions, attachments developed over time, and lives to continue.

    The look on my mother’s face, and her visible pain when I attempted suicide, (or discussed assisted suicide with her) cannot in anyway be compared to the complete lack of anything the clump of cells that went on to be me would not have felt if she had chosen to abort it (at any point). And it truely is offensive that someone would imply it is.

    I think the lack of empathy you highlighted here betrays a fundamental lack of compassion and respect for people in general that is pervasive in the forced birth arguements. To equate the life of a person with all it’s complexities and interconection to others with nonscentient, genetic material that may or may not one day go on to be be a baby, is truly dehumanising.

    I am not just my biological components, I am now a collection of experiences and relationships that extend beyond myself.

    It seems even I value life more than these people. Because I wouldn’t wish my life on someone else, let alone force it on them and their family. And I wouldn’t belittle the lives affected by years of suffering, suicide and grief by equating them with a medical procedure.

    Knowing the lives of my friend’s and family would be better, or at least unaffected if I had never lived, is not improved by the idea of causing them more pain. Now that I am here, we are dealing with it as well as we can. But if I had been aborted, I would never have known, because I was not alive. I was not a person, until my mother chose to give birth to me. And I respect her choice to do that, as much as her right to have aborted me.

    1. 10.1
      Sara

      “Knowing the lives of my friend’s and family would be better, or at least unaffected if I had never lived,”

      First of all, there’s absolutely no way of knowing someone’s net impact on the world. You can’t even make an educated guess. Second of all, just because you find your life meaningless doesn’t mean that applies to most people. I like existing, as imperfect as life is. I’m not privileged because of that (I am for other reasons though). It’s actually quite common.

      “As to your comments about suicide….see my respose to A. Noyd below. I will not respond to you personally, as I fear I would be impolite.”

      This was my comment:
      “If as an adult they decide their life is not worth living, then medically assisted suicide ought to be available, but instead of someone else making a permanent decision for them, the individual will make the decision for themselves.”

      This is what bothered you? Perhaps consider that you choose to get offended at many things.

      “Your arguments are weak and multiply fallacious; arguments from emotion, incredulity, authority, consequences and special pleading. ”

      The irony is that almost every argument you’ve made has been an appeal to emotion.

      You take care too.

      1. lurker

        You again have misrepresented what was said.
        I have a pretty good idea on my net impact, and was careful to only comment on my experience, no-one else. I made no assumptions about others.
        You are privilaged to not have such serious problems. That is just a fact. There is nothing wrong with that, so I don’t know why you’d take issue with it when you acknowledge your privilage in other areas.

        Then accuse me of “chooosing” to get offended at “many” things…
        I got offended by you equating suicide which effects real people with a medical procedure and I shared my personal experience, which you flipantly disregard here. That notion is truly offensive. It is not my fault you can’t see that.

        You are the one making unfounded claims, like fetuses are babies, they are alive. You have provided no support for these claims. Your whole movement has failed to support these arguements adequately enough to even warrant a place at the table. You are the equivalent of intelligent design advocates (who also have secular arguments) And even if you did have any leg to stand on, it would not outweigh the bodily rights arguement.

        As for my areguments being appeals to emotion, I was merely pointing out where yours fail, so that is totally irrelevant. The burden of proof is on you.

        I’m done trying to talk to you.
        You are ignorant and uninformed, you are dismissive of others, and you are intentionally cruel.

        I was trying to have a reasonable conversation and explain why I disagreed with you, but you are wholly unreasonable and people like you should not be entertained.

        I am disapointed you SPLers have even been given a platform because you have no justufication for wanting to take away my rights. Because it implies women’s rights are something that we are willing to give up. It is not.

        Crawl back under your rock.

        Don’t bother replying, your only interested in verbal masturbation and you don’e need me for that.

      2. Raging Bee

        First of all, there’s absolutely no way of knowing someone’s net impact on the world.

        …says the person who insists that an embryo’s “future value” outweighs a woman’s present-day rights. (And yes, such mindless veneration of abstract and imagined concepts can indeed be called “fetus worship.”)

        And yes, there is a way of determining, with pretty good accuracy, a person’s net impact on the world: it’s called observation. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.

        You may associate prolifism with misogyny, anti-choice, anti-sex positivity, whatever you will, since that’s an opinion…

        No, it’s not an opinion — it’s an OBSERVATION, both of anti-choicers’ words and actions, and of the consequences of policies they support.

  11. 11
    lurker

    @ Sara #3.1

    I am sorry if my first response was rude, but this is a highly charged issue and I strongly disagree with your position, as you know.

    I never implied most people in SPL for example are religious, merely pointing out that you misrepresented what Menyambal said, which made your arguement disingenuous, but your correction is fine by me. I do not think most are religious. But I do think there are unexamined assumptions about the “value of life”, and disagreements about when life starts, that could come from the surrounding religious cultures, but I have no gripe now you have clarified.

    I don’t care who made up the term “value of life” or their religious affiliation. I take issue with the assumption that a life will always be of value to the person, and that existence is always preferable to non existence (but hjhornbeck has a refutation of Marquis’ arguement on another blog post that I do not have time to find now, but hopefully he can repeat it here). This assumption of preferability comes from the experience of your own life being preferable to non-existence to you, but is not translatable to everyone’s experience, thus I said it is an emotional arguement, (at best an arguement from incredulity) and thatpoint still stands.

    The fetus was “surviving” prior to miscarriage purely due to its parasitic relationship with the mother’s body. And the bodily right’s of the woman win there, so that is just semantic games and special pleading, so does nothing to improve your position on that point.

    I also “believe in a societal obligation to redistribute wealth and resources to help one another, and believe in working towards increasing the collective well-being of society”, but I believe that part of that is allowing women a choice not to bring more pain and suffering into the world in cases where an abortion would prevent that.

    As to your comments about suicide….see my respose to A. Noyd below. I will not respond to you personally, as I fear I would be impolite. And after appologising for my previous combative attitude (even though I think it justified seeing as you argue to take away my human right to bodily autonomy), I do not want to go there.

    But I do not think you have improved your case here. Your arguments are weak and multiply fallacious; arguments from emotion, incredulity, authority, consequences and special pleading.

    I hope you will one day change your mind on when life begins, and truly hope you never have to face the prospect of needing an abortion. Women face enough difficulties in the world without experiencing the efforts to shame and guilt them over this procedure, due to the actions of people who value clumps of cells over women. Whether they are religious or not.
    But still…The rights of women, hard fought for, are not up for debate, this is purely about hearts and minds.
    Take care.

    1. 11.1
      hjhornbeck

      lurker @11:

      (but hjhornbeck has a refutation of Marquis’ arguement on another blog post that I do not have time to find now, but hopefully he can repeat it here).

      I did, but I’ve made so many comments over so many blogs in the past week that I’m unable to track that one down. As a compromise, I’ll just link to the full paper and leave the debunking as an exercise.

      Ironically, I did track down a comment I made that poked holes in the arguments against bodily integrity.

    2. 11.2
      hjhornbeck

      Found it! No wonder I was having such difficulty tracking that sucker down, it was made over at SkepChick.

  12. 12
    Luther10

    Pro-Lifers represent an extreme position in this issue. The concept that a collection of a few cells should be afforded the same rights as a person is a bit absurd. On the pro-choice side we some that have an almost equally absurd notion that a perfectly viable child that’s over 30 weeks is no more than the products of conception and can be destroyed at a whim. Framing the debate as a choice between the two camps is dishonest. The real area of debate is late term abortion not between zygote personhood or forced birthers.

  13. 13
    Ed

    I don’t think the secular pro-lifers are closet Christians. It’s probably just a mixture of pre-existing cultural prejudices, sloppy thinking (potential equated with with actual, etc.) and sentimentality. In some cases something more sinister could be at work like actually having a personal problem with women’s rights on a conscious, active level. There’s nothing that says atheists are all reasonable.

    Communists, strict Freudians, radical behaviorists, Randians and a few other groups are definitely atheists but hold anti-human, anti-reason positions. Though they are not by a long shot above lying, I can’t see devout Christians living as public, self-proclaimed atheists. They would be denying their Lord over and over again. This would make them afraid of going to hell.

  14. 14
    hjhornbeck

    Ed @13:

    I don’t think the secular pro-lifers are closet Christians. It’s probably just a mixture of pre-existing cultural prejudices, sloppy thinking (potential equated with with actual, etc.) and sentimentality.

    Not true, all the anti-choice groups I’ve dealt with, and nearly all of the ones I’ve researched online, have been extreme-right religious groups deliberately adopting a secular veneer for tactical reasons.

    1. 14.1
      Ed

      hjhornbeck-

      Thanks for the reply!

      Good job exposing those weasels! The one guy looks like he didn’t even cover his tracks since he acts as a public Christian apologist at other times. What nerve.

      Until this issue came up on all the freethought sites, I’d never specifically sought out secular pro-life material or info on specific groups promoting this stance (being absolutely pro-choice and already familiar with enough pro-life arguments to see their logical and moral flaws, there would be no point)

      I was perhaps hastily basing my opinion of that type of org largely on the example of a small number of people that I’m certain as is possible to be are not theists. The main example is Nat Hentoff, a regular contributor to Free Inquiry, the magazine of the Council for Secular Humanism. He has been a self-proclaimed atheist for a long time and is Jewish by origin, though completely non-practicing.

      His writings in promotion of atheism are strong, and he is very concerned with the rights of poor people caught up in America’s negligent public schools and draconian legal system. I think he’s a member of the ACLU.

      BUT, and this drives me crazy, he is a rigid pro-lifer for some stupid reason (or was last time I read him on the subject which wasn’t all that long ago). His arguments for it aren’t even superficially clever or imaginative. Just the same old junk. At least he advocates government assistance for people in need. But more women would be unnecessarily impoverished in the first place if they took his advice.

      He’s also opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide, but at least seems to base this on fears of these activities being easily abused if legalized,. I am very much for the right to die, but do worry about such abuse, too. I care even more about bodily autonomy and the relief of unbearable suffering, though.

      Free Inquiry has a few questionable characters as regulars. There is also Tibor Machen who is a Rand-like free market absolutist, I think a former follower of her, who rants against even the slightest bit of redistribution of wealth, any government welfare spending, and nearly all regulation of business. He also weighs in uselessly on the complex debate between free will vs determinism, using antiquated slogans and crude insults against anyone who questions free will.

      I’ve heard that Christopher Hitchens at least had reservations about the right to abortion, but I’m not sure what his ultimate conclusion was. It wouldn’t be his first alliance with the right. But if these guys are/were secretly religious, they are essentially master spies with the skill to infiltrate the highest levels of the atheist and humanist communities.

      I’m curious as to whether you’ve looked into Nat Hentoff`s background.

      1. hjhornbeck

        Ed @14.1

        I’m curious as to whether you’ve looked into Nat Hentoff`s background.

        I haven’t. My primary focus has been on the mainstream anti-choice movement, which almost entirely consists of religiously-funded groups pretending to be secular. I’m not aware of any truly secular person participating in the anti-choice movement, presumably because they’d face pressure to convert and conform to the majority. For instance, Norma McCorvey, who was the “Roe” in “Roe v. Wade,” converted to Christianity at approximately the same time she openly became anti-choice. The few others I’ve looked into have followed the same arc, though the conversion sometimes happens a decade after their switch.

        Secular anti-choice individuals just aren’t on my radar, they seem incredibly rare and unlikely to actively campaign against women’s rights.

  15. 15
    grasshopper

    When will the anti-choicers learn?

    Life does not begin at conception. Life began 3,600,000,000 years ago, give or take half an hour. We and our gametes are part of a life-cycle that began long ago. To argue otherwise is to imply that at each and every conception a miracle occurs,wherein non-life is injected anew with some mystical life-force cum spirit cum soul i.e. that conception is a supernatural event.

  16. 16
    iamcuriousblue

    To hear the sheer level out outrage coming from Greta Christina, Avicenna, and the rest, you’d think there’s some significant portion of the secular movement that’s gone pro-life and wants secular organizations to start adopting ‘pro-life’ positions. In fact, nothing of the kind has is taking place, the sheer level of misdirected hatred being hurled at Massimo Pigliucci notwithstanding. Actually, all that he’s advanced is the mere claim that there’s a secular argument against abortion – maybe not a *good* argument, or at least one that’s not very persuasive, but a secular one nevertheless. And also that secularism does not imply a specific position on the political spectrum. It’s especially silly to bash a philosopher for pointing to logical possibilities of particular positions – that’s what philosophy does, after all.

    I might add that for all the umbrage directed at such a discussion, if one takes the position that human rights are something worth defending, the definitional questions of who has such rights and at what point inevitably comes up, for all the same reasons that there’s a debate around animal rights. Saying that this is a ethical position to be discussed is not the same as saying anybody should stop supporting legal abortion rights against the many threats to such rights. That much should be obvious to anyone but an ideological dogmatist.

    As to David Silverman’s extending a branch to secular conservatives, that’s part and parcel of coalition building. The question of who you ally with on a particular topic has never been an easy one. The position taken by the “intersectional” secularists is a pretty narrow one – only those people who share their set of political commitments have any place in the secular movement. Not only is that kind of purism silly in its own right, it strikes me as a losing strategy. On the other hand, one wouldn’t want someone like David Duke in a coalition either.

    Personally, I don’t think the mere fact of a secularist taking an anti-abortion position to be enough of a deal-breaker to say that this would be somebody I’d never work in a coalition with on other church-state issues. Other people’s mileage may vary. This is hardly a unique dilemma – if you’re pro-sex workers rights, do you work in a pro-choice coalition with feminists you know to be pro-Nordic model? If you’re atheist and anti-war, do you work with pro-life and anti-secular Catholics that also happen to be pacifist? Or does one stay ‘pure’ on all the issues one supports, and end up in a coalition of one?

    Of course, the flip side of having a big tent is giving the whole circus away – Planned Parenthood backing anti-sexwork legislation based on playing feminist coalition politics, or de rigeur “prayer circles” and ubiquitous theological language in some parts of the anti-war movement. Likewise, while I’d say working in a coalition with ‘pro-life’ secularists on church-state issues would be acceptable, I would not want secular organizations to start taking even moderately ‘pro-life’ positions to attract such people.

    1. 16.1
      lilandra

      What if I substitute the words anti-abortion and pro-life with Intelligent Design would you still have them in the “coalition”? Let’s try it…(Bold emphasis on additions)

      To hear the sheer level out outrage coming from Greta Christina, Avicenna, and the rest, you’d think there’s some significant portion of the secular movement that’s gone pro-life *Intelligent Design and wants secular organizations to start adopting ‘pro-life’ *Intelligent Design positions. In fact, nothing of the kind has is taking place, the sheer level of misdirected hatred being hurled at Massimo Pigliucci notwithstanding. Actually, all that he’s advanced is the mere claim that there’s a secular argument against abortion*Evolution – maybe not a *good* argument, or at least one that’s not very persuasive, but a secular one nevertheless. And also that secularism does not imply a specific position on the political spectrum. It’s especially silly to bash a philosopher for pointing to logical possibilities of particular positions – that’s what philosophy does, after all.

      I might add that for all the umbrage directed at such a discussion, if one takes the position that human rights are something worth defending, the definitional questions of who has such rights and at what point inevitably comes up, for all the same reasons that there’s a debate around animal rights. Saying that this is a ethical position to be discussed is not the same as saying anybody should stop supporting legal abortion rights*Evolution against the many threats to such rights. That much should be obvious to anyone but an ideological dogmatist.

      As to David Silverman’s extending a branch to secular conservatives, that’s part and parcel of coalition building. The question of who you ally with on a particular topic has never been an easy one. The position taken by the “intersectional” secularists is a pretty narrow one – only those people who share their set of political commitments (*like science education)have any place in the secular movement. Not only is that kind of purism silly in its own right, it strikes me as a losing strategy. On the other hand, one wouldn’t want someone like David Duke *or Casey Luskin in a coalition either.

      Personally, I don’t think the mere fact of a secularist taking an anti-abortion*Intelligent Design position to be enough of a deal-breaker to say that this would be somebody I’d never work in a coalition with on other church-state issues. Other people’s mileage may vary. This is hardly a unique dilemma – if you’re pro-sex workers rights, do you work in a pro-choice coalition with feminists you know to be pro-Nordic model? If you’re atheist and anti-war, *or anti-creationism do you work with pro-life*Intelligent Design and anti-secular Catholics that also happen to be pacifist? Or does one stay ‘pure’ on all the issues one supports, and end up in a coalition of one?

      Of course, the flip side of having a big tent is giving the whole circus away – Planned Parenthood backing anti-sexwork legislation based on playing feminist coalition politics, or de rigeur “prayer circles” and ubiquitous theological language in some parts of the anti-war movement. Likewise, while I’d say working in a coalition with ‘pro-life’*Intelligent Design secularists on church-state issues would be acceptable, I would not want secular organizations to start taking even moderately ‘pro-life’ positions to attract such people.

      1. Iamcuriousblue

        Well, nice attempt at a cheap-and-easy counterargument, but there’s the small matter that you’re making a false equivalency between ethical positions and scientific facts – a not uncommon error the FTB crowd falls into. Interestingly, an error that the Randian Objectivist crowd also falls into.

        Ethical arguments are a wholly different truth claim than scientific theories. Making a truth claim contrary to established scientific theory and in support of a thinly-veiled religious agenda, as Intelligent Design proponents do, would certainly call into question one’s “secularism”. On the other hand, making an ethical truth claim contrary to the majority of other secularists simply means one has a different set of political and ethical priorities from most other secularists. (Perhaps different enough that other secularists might not wish to associate with you.) But it doesn’t mean you’ve taken an anti-science or anti-secular position in and of itself.

        1. John Morales

          Shame people are not oviparous, eh?

          (Things would be more obvious, were it so)

        2. Monocle Smile

          One of the bigger problems with the abortion issue is a distinction most people don’t want to make. To me, the issue isn’t so much whether abortion is ethical or not. The issue is whether the government can legally step in and MAKE that ethical decision for a pregnant woman.

          I can slightly understand why secularists could potentially be pro-life. That’s fine and there are unobjectionable ways to make it easier for women to choose to maintain pregnancy. I can’t understand why they’d find it appropriate from a secular standpoint to lobby the government to criminalize abortion.

    2. 16.2
      hjhornbeck

      To add on to lilandra’s comment @16.1, there seems to be a fair number of skeptics and atheists who don’t know much about the anti-choice movement, but are willing to lecture to those who do. It’s a good illustration of Dunning-Kruger, and fortunately there’s an easy cure: education.

      If that can’t come from social justice atheists and skeptics, though, then it’ll have to come from the anti-choice movement. In comment #2 here, I linked to the twenty-year roadmap of an anti-choice group. On another thread, I share their religious ties and those of their parent group, plus detail their current tactics, in a series of comments scattered throughout the page.

      Please read up on what you might be supporting, either through ignorance or a desire to debate for debate’s sake.

      1. Iamcuriousblue

        (Pardon the weird asterisks between paragraphs – this comment form seems to be having a problem with placing paragraph breaks any other way.)
        *
        Re: HJ Hornbeck @16.2
        *
        I don’t know what it is you think I might be “supporting” or that I’m “ignorant” of the nature of the pro-life movement and its religious basis. Though the claim that I disagree with the stance taken here is out of “ignorance” – well, thanks for the condescension, but I really think you can and should do better than that. BTW, the Dunning-Kroger effect cuts both ways and is abundantly evident in the brash assumptions you make about where I’m coming from.
        *
        Basically, no, I’m not trying to carry water for the pro-life movement, and as a matter of political sympathies, it’s a movement I’d like to see thoroughly defeated. (That’s all I’m going to say about my leanings in this area, because for those who wish to assign some sinister ulterior motive – basically astroturfing or concern trolling for some larger right-wing agenda – well, there’s really nothing I can do to assuage that level of paranoia.) My objection is the idea that if the subject is discussed at all by secularists, that this is giving aid and comfort to religious right. This is especially disconcerting, because, in my estimation, a few of the best and brightest secular thinkers happen to come out of philosophy, where dissecting and debating the finer points of ethical issues is an important part of what they do. The fact that you and many other SJ folks simply dismiss this as “debate club” strikes me as revealing a strong anti-intellectualism that’s in stark contradiction to being part of a “rationalist” movement.
        *
        My objection is on several grounds: 1) I *loathe* party lines about what can and cannot be discussed. I have as strong political opinions as anybody here and there are a lot of ethical/political positions I would not like to see realized in terms of state power. However, the idea that they shouldn’t even be discussed, that certain ethical positions are “decided” so shut up about it amounts to a kind of democratic centralism being imposed on the secular movement. I’m going to go one better than you did toward me and assume you’re not ignorant, and perhaps know a thing or two about the history of Leninism and of second-wave feminism to know how problematic (to put it mildly) that kind of mandated groupthink has always been.
        *
        2) I think the secular movement would be stronger for being politically pluralistic, even if that means being on the same ‘side’ as people who’s views on other issues I don’t like very much. (To name but one example, I highly value Christopher Hitchens contribution to the atheist movement, while acknowledging that his stance on interventionism and the Iraq War in particular were pretty bad.) I’ve outlined the fact that real politics often involves coalition building across some deep divides, and also the pros and cons that come with that. So far, I have yet to see anybody on the “not up for debate side” even address those issues. Obviously, that puts me on squarely on the other side from those who think secularism should be exclusively a left-wing movement (to the point of demanding that libertarians be actively purged from the ranks – I’ve seen a lot of that sentiment around these parts), and I make no apologies for that.
        *
        3) I’m sure you’ve noticed that abortion rights are far from universally supported, either in US/Canada, much less when you get outside the bubble of developed Western countries. It’s actually something that still needs to be argued for, and I don’t think an intellectually atrophied pro-choice movement that thinks it’s going to win that battle on the basis of abortion rights being somehow self-evident to any rational person is going to go far.
        *
        To use an example from a different are of politics, consider the current battles over porn and sex worker rights. I know that generally many in the SJ movement comes out as anti-SWERF, yet there’s more than a little sympathy in the overall feminist movement toward a very hard line, antiporn/pro-censorship, pro-’Nordic model’, anti-’sexual objectification’ set of political priorities. That in spite of the fact that the deep entanglement of that kind of feminism with the socially conservative/religious right is well-documented and ongoing. And yet this certainly didn’t stop much of the Skepchick/FTB crowd from falling all over themselves with praise for this video on ‘sexual objectification’ by Carol Heldman linked to by Rebecca Watson, one which is *packed* with dogwhistles to the positions outlined more explicitly by Gail Dines and the Stop Porn Culture crowd. So this is an area of deeply problematic politics that feminists have chosen to either agree to disagree on, or even actively embrace.
        *
        For my part, I’m strongly opposed to the anti-porn/anti-sex work movement, which I see as one of the more reactionary movements that currently manages a widespread following. Do I wish more feminists/leftists would take a stance against it? Yes. Do I think it would be good if an “It’s been decided, shut up!” stance were taken on the issue? No, not really. Actually, I find the writings of the more intellectually rigorous ‘antis’ (Rae Langton, Lina Papadaki, Anne Eaton, and Martha Nussbaum – not exactly household names) to be quite valuable in sharpening my thoughts around these issues, even though I remain wholly opposed to their larger political agenda. Nor would I say that anybody should decline to work with that type of feminist in the context of the pro-choice movement, though I think a line should be drawn at letting them get groups like Planned Parenthood to endorse their issues. (Something that took place in California last year, actually – not a hypothetical.) That kind of difficult balance is part and parcel of coalition politics – not easy, but absolutely necessary, for reproductive rights, secularism, or any other agenda you wish to advance. The alternative being a go-nowhere purism.

    3. 16.3
      hjhornbeck

      iamcuriousblue @16:

      To hear the sheer level out outrage coming from Greta Christina, Avicenna, and the rest

      Since I have the data handy, is anyone curious who “the rest” includes?

      Ophelia Benson: The hyenas are prowling – Butterflies and Wheels
      Amanda Marcotte: The Real Debate Isn’t About “Life” But About What We Expect Of Women | The Raw Story
      James Croft: On the Privilege of Discussing Abortion
      Stephanie Zvan: You Made Your Bed, Now Burn in It – Almost Diamonds
      Brianne Bilyeu: The Secular ProLife Argument is Poop – Biodork
      “Libby Anne:” The Totally Unoriginal Atheist Case against Abortion
      Dana Hunter: I Lost My Best Friend to Abortion – I Can Stand to Lose the Atheist Orgs – En Tequila Es Verdad
      Jason Thibeault: David Silverman’s “Darwin Was Wrong” Moment – Lousy Canuck
      PZ Myers: The biological species concept is not an anti-choice argument – Pharyngula
      Sarah: Is there a secular argument against abortion?
      Steve Ahlquist: David Silverman offers compromise on women’s rights
      “Secular Woman:” Rending the Tent: A Statement from the Secular Woman Community
      The “American Secular Census:” Messaging is important. Women are furious. Stop being blockheads.

      Bear in mind those are only articles that I’ve read, and I’ve only linked to one article per person.

  17. 17
    Raging Bee

    Wow, I wonder if the “bargain holidays” bot can offer round trips to countries that still offer abortion services after they’re totally erased from American soil.

    1. 17.1
      lilandra

      Sorry. I am zapping them.

  18. 18
    kestra

    “For the record I think abortion should be legal only up to 12 weeks, then from 21 weeks onwards abortions should be performed only in the methods described above, in my opinion.” ~Sara

    Sooo… Your position is that abortion should, at some (arbitrarily defined by you) point, be legal. And after that, all efforts should be made to keep the fetus alive after the procedure.

    1. That makes your position a restricted version of the one commonly described in US politics as “Pro-Choice”.

    2. You are arguing against medical realities, not abstract concepts. When a pregnancy has to be medically aborted after 20 or so weeks (less than 2% of all abortions), it is due to a catastrophic failure in the pregnancy (placental abruption, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, just to name a few) that will kill the mother. In those cases, the survival of the fetus is secondary and in many cases impossible if the woman is to survive the procedure. An abortion procedure is much safer for the woman than attempting a life-birth delivery OR a c-section, and in cases where the woman’s life is in danger, it is downright medical malpractice to privilege the survival of the fetus by using a less-safe procedure like induced labor to end the pregnancy. You are blatantly favoring the fetus’ survival over the woman’s, which I find grotesque.

    3. The circumstances I discussed in point 2 are just regarding failures of the pregnancy that endanger the mother’s life. Consider major birth defects like anencephaly, which is just one of many, many developmental issues and genetic disorders that are not detectable prior to about 20 weeks. Again, you seem to be demanding that woman place the needs of a child that will not survive outside of the womb, or life a short life of pain and suffering, above their own mental and physical well-being, which is disgustingly selfish and self-righteous of you.

    4. Based on what I’ve laid out in points 2 and 3, I conclude that outlawing post-20-week abortions, which you advocate, is just callously condemning women with major complications and horrible fetal defects to suffer those conditions with no medical relief. Real compassionate of you. Magnanimous even.

    5. Any fetus delivered alive and nurtured in the NICU prior to fell gestational age, especially in the 24-26 week range, will have life-long medical issues related to their premature delivery. Some parents are willing, able, and content to accept the responsibility for a special-needs child and doctors and nurses go to heroic lengths to preserve the lives of their delivered children. Other parents have neither the means nor the desire nor the emotional fortitude to handle such a child. Will *YOU*, Sara, tell those people that rather than opt for a simple end to the pregnancy, or palliative care and a peaceful death for their child if delivered, that they have an obligation to preserve that life at all costs to it and themselves? Fuck you for presuming to insert *YOUR* moral preferences into the medical decisions of other people.

  19. 19
    http://antiqueslotmachinesforsale.com

    Hey there! This is my first comment here so
    I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy
    reading your articles. Can you suggest any other blogs/websites/forums that
    go over the same subjects? Thanks!

  20. 20
    Colbert

    i think abortion is up to the woman. I am a man and I can’t think about the idea of “killing” a young foetus, BUT it is inside the woman and as a simple man I think guys can have an opinion about it, but it should never be a breakthrough in a discussion or even a political decission.

  1. 21
    This Week in Religion and Spirituality | Evangelically Atheist

    […] Should we defend freethinking spaces from anti-choicers like Secular Pro-Life? I wanted more information on this organization as I have seen them at conventions. [Read more] […]

Comments have been disabled.