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Do not donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure

As the daughter of a breast cancer survivor, I am pissed off about Susan G. Komen’s decision to pull its grants for breast cancer screening from Planned Parenthood.

Komen claims the move is because their newly adopted guidelines do not allow them to donate money to organizations under investigation by Congress. But let’s cut the crap: this is nothing more than a snivelling political move to appease anti-choicers:

Komen has been under pressure from anti-abortion groups to drop its funding for Planned Parenthood, which received $680,000 from the anti-cancer group in 2011. Most recently, abortion foes forced a Christian publisher to stop printing pink Komen bibles and pressured bookstores to take them off the shelves. Groups have also called on supporters to boycott Komen entirely, and decried the group as a “lie from the pit of Hell.” But Komen says the anti-abortion groups’ activism didn’t play a role in its decision, which it claims is the result of a new internal policy forbidding it from funding for any organization that’s currently under investigation in Congress. (Planned Parenthood is the target of a congressional investigation, but that probe is led by an anti-abortion lawmaker who has sought to end all federal support to the group.)

One thing the AP piece misses, however, is that pressure to end the Planned Parenthood funding may have also come from within Komen itself. Karen Handel was named senior vice president at Komen in April 2011, and is now “leading the organization’s federal and state advocacy efforts.” But before joining Komen, she was a candidate in the Republican gubernatorial primary in Georgia, and was critical of Planned Parenthood. “[S]ince I am pro-life, I do not support the mission of Planned Parenthood,” she wrote in a blog post, and pledged to eliminate all state funds for breast and cervical cancer screening to the group if she were elected governor.

Isn’t it oddly convenient that their new guidelines coincide with these events? Why, it’s almost as if they adopted those guidelines in order to appease anti-choicers, while simultaneously attempting to deflect blame onto Congress!

We can speculate on Komen’s motivations until we’re blue in the face, especially since they won’t even reply to Planned Parenthood’s requests to discuss the decision. But the motivations don’t change the result: Roughly $600,000 a year will no longer be going toward breast health education, clinical breast exams, and mammogram referrals for predominantly poor and minority women. Without these preventative measures, women’s health will suffer.

Some people will argue that this is not true because Komen will simply donate the money to other organizations. If there’s an organization that provides these services with the experience and geographical spread of Planned Parenthood, fill me in. But this means more than funding for some exams, as Amanda Marcotte points out:

The existence of breast-cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood has always been a thorn in the anti-choice side. Most of Planned Parenthood’s services are related to the choice to be sexually active—contraception, STD screening and treatment, cervical cancer screening—making it easy to write off those services as unnecessary if you follow the strict abstinence-only prescription the Christian right has for women. Breast cancer, however, can strike the lifelong virgin, the married woman who only has sex for procreation, and the dirty fornicator (i.e. the vast majority of American women) alike. Because of this, anti-choicers have tried to create a rift between women’s health advocates who focus on breast cancer and those who focus on reproductive health concerns below the waist. Today, they had a victory with Komen’s act of cowardice.

[…]In the end, the grant money is less important than the symbolism of Komen buying into the conservative myth of good-girl health care vs. bad-girl health care. In reality, women’s health care can only work if it’s comprehensive health care.

Even without this latest development, there were enough issues about Komen to give me pause:

Their removal of support from Planned Parenthood is the straw that broke the camel’s back. I will now be looking for other breast cancer foundations to support, and I’ve made a donation to Planned Parenthood’s emergency funding drive. I suggest you do the same, and inform your friends and family about this situation.

Comments

  1. paul says

    Were the contributions to PP earmarked for breast cancer related work? Is there a way that individuals could make similarly earmarked donations?

  2. Makoto says

    @paul – The money from SGK was earmarked for cancer screenings and education, but when you donate to PP as an individual, you can only mark it for locations (or a national donation). I don’t know of a way to earmark it for specific causes such as cancer screenings from an individual point, but I could just be missing it.

    Jen, thanks for spreading the word about this.

  3. Smikey says

    They’re a deeply crappy organization, as far as I can tell. Hopefully, this will mark a turning tide.

  4. says

    “Why don’t you want people to be cured of cancer!?” This is what I imagine what goes on in the head of someone who has raised money, done the walks, worn pink, etc., if I were to mention that the Susan G. Komen Foundation does very little to support research or to provide services to cancer patients or their families and instead spends a majority of their funds on marketing and salaries.

    This is exactly why critical thinking can be difficult, but is important to exercise in your personal life. Sure, we can’t analyze all of the variables and put the world in a laboratory, but it is important to match your expectations with reality when you make a decision.

  5. Dianne says

    I never did like the Komen foundation much. My first objection to them was their sheer pompousness. They seem to think that the improvement in breast cancer survival is all due to them. They do fund good research, but not nearly as much as they seem to think. This just confirms my impression. Not donating, not taking their money either. (Heh, not that they’ve offered it to me, but I’m not wasting my time applying for grants from them at this point.)

  6. Kelsey says

    “Result: Roughly $600,000 a year will no longer be going toward breast health education, clinical breast exams, and mammogram referrals for predominantly poor and minority women.”

    Wrong. The result is that roughly $600,000 a year will no longer be going to Planned Parenthood. Other community health clinics that serve low-income populations can now compete for those grants. Komen will still be giving out money for breast exams.

  7. Kristin says

    What Breast Cancer org is the best one to give money to? I just doubled my PP donation today. I want to start giving to a different breast cancer charity too.

  8. Rawnaeris says

    AFAIK, PP is the only low income/walk in clinic that deals with women’s health in my town. There aren’t any other clinics to go to.

    This is probably due to the fact that I’m in the South, and religion based clinics for any heath need are as common if not moreso than real doctors. Hell, the one non-religiously affiliated hospital near me has been known to put up billboards that say things like “What good is Medicine without Faith?”

    So,yes, in my area, those breast exams that would have been performed with that grant money are likely to get either a lot more expensive and thus possibly not happen.

  9. Rawnaeris says

    I donate to the Vera Bradley Foundation, Link, they directly support a research institute at Indiana University in Indianapolis.

    Full disclosure, I used to work as an hourly for a local Vera Bradly store. However, I am not employed by them any longer, so this is purely an endorsement of my personal opinion.

  10. judykomorita says

    Thanks for the info, Jen. I just donated to PP, and will link your post to my Facebook page (FWIW).

  11. says

    So, oddball “complementary therapies” are okay, and PP is NOT okay? That is as messed up as it gets. Thank you for clarifying the issues. I admit I had been wondering why people were getting so annoyed at Komen lately.

  12. Suz says

    I stopped donating to Komen years ago. They give very little funding to actual research. What doesn’t go to administrative overhead goes to “raising awareness” of breast cancer. Who isn’t aware of breast cancer by now??

    A much better organization is the National Breast Cancer Foundation. 80% of their $$ goes directly to mammograms for low income women and cancer research.
    http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/default.aspx

  13. johnhorstman says

    Jen, have you read “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” by Samantha King? As noted in the links at the end of your post, Komen has been a dubious organization leveraging the concern of the public over breast cancer into a branding/marketing strategy designed primarily to support the narrow interests of Komen’s board/executives and their corporate partners, and not actually combating breast cancer, for a long time now. As much as I hate to see PP lose even more funding, I’m hoping this will serve as a wake-up call to people such that they stop supporting Komen entirely (either through direct donations, or by purchasing pink-branded items, the production of a disturbing number of which actually involve releasing carcinogens into the environment – those silicone bracelets, for example, are one of the worst trends I’ve ever seen) and instead put money and time toward organizations like PP that are actually directly providing services or smaller charities with less overhead and support for corporate hegemony that fund research grants.

  14. ButchKitties says

    Maybe other states are different, but when you donate to Planned Parenthood of Indiana, you have the option of earmarking your donation for the general operating fund, the women’s health fund, the abortion fund, the Sanger Endowment, the education fund, or the technology fund.

    Breast cancer screenings would fall under the “women’s health” umbrella, but that fund is not used exclusively for cancer screening/treatment. It also includes contraceptives, STI screenings, STI treatments… basically all medical services.

  15. Sandiseattle says

    Jen, as much as I admire you, I can’t follow suit. I’ve seen closely the good that Komen has done. Yeah the PP nonesense was boneheaded, but they’re still on my ‘good’ list. (14 yrs in remission myself and two female friends who benefited from the aid of Komen.)

  16. jeri says

    Planned Parenthood is government supported euthanasia.

    Please keep sending them your hard earned money so they can continue to rip the heads off of “undesirable” babies.

  17. says

    OK seriously… I’m pro-life and I’m not stupid enough to assume that Planned Parenthood does abortions nor am I going to presume that I have the right to tell a woman what to do with her body.

    Please do the rest of us pro-life people a favor and stop talking like a FOX News-watching f*ckwit.

  18. says

    OK.. that should be “that Planned Parenthood only exists to do abortions”. Really, I do know that they provide a lot of care to women without insurance who need their annual exams and other pieces of essential preventative medicine.

  19. dianne says

    Not that it matters to you, but being pro-choice is the opposite of eugenics: it leaves the decision of which pregnancies to complete to the individual rather than to any uninvolved group such as the government. Anti-choice laws are eugenic: they seek to force pregnancies against the will of the person who is pregnant or at risk of pregnancy in the interest of undifferentiated cells.

    Also to echo jen’s statement: Planned Parenthood is more than an abortion provider. Some PP clinics don’t even perform abortions. Instead, they provide low cost birth control, pregnancy testing, pap smears and other gynecologic care, and counseling about options when accidentally pregnant. ALL options, including raising the baby and adoption. Or referral for abortion if and only if that’s what the woman decides she wants.

  20. julian says

    Oh I plan to!

    A parasite leaching off a woman’s resources without her consent and desire has no right to exist.

  21. jeri says

    Planned Parenthood offers some very nice services. They also rip apart the bodies of “undesirable” little babies with a vacuum and a knife and spit them into a sink.

    If you’re cool with that then keep sending them your money. Was I not clear enough?

  22. says

    The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago has an extensive collection of stillbirths if you want to see the difference between embryos and fetuses compared to babies.

  23. dianne says

    They also rip apart the bodies of “undesirable” little babies with a vacuum and a knife and spit them into a sink.

    Most abortions occur before the 8th week of pregnancy. At 8 weeks the embryo is about 1-2 cm long. It’s not “ripped apart”, it’s removed whole. Nor is it “spit into a sink”, it’s examined for completeness and then thrown in the biohazard container. In other (scarier) words, sucked out of the womb and dumped in the trash can. If you must propagandize, at least get your horror stories straight.

  24. jeri says

    Ok, they are “sucked out of the womb, examined for completeness, and dumped in the trash can” if you prefer.

    You guys seem like such a fun bunch! I can’t imagine why feminism is so unpopular.

  25. Makoto says

    Er, do you know what euthanasia means? The compassionate ending of a life of pain and suffering? I’m pretty sure that’s not what PP handles.

    Anyway – government funding to PP does not go to abortion, which seems to be what you’re against. And only 3% of their business involves abortion – in fact, many PP facilities don’t do any abortion services at all. The rest of what they do is cancer screenings, family planning, contraception, and so on – all services that help prevent abortion.

  26. Jessica says

    Well, certainly more “fun” than you seem to be, “Jeri.” You do of course realize that without feminism you couldn’t vote (“Jeri” being a female name)? Feminism is alive and thriving sweetie.

    And no, during abortion the fetus isn’t “ripped out”, you should really educate yourself, hun. You do realize that the anti-choice movement is headed by men (hmmm, wonder why)? And that anti-choice societies have greater poverty, greater oppression of women, and higher deaths among women than progressive regions, right? Those are undisputed facts sweetie, that are easy to look up! Now go educate yourself (though I doubt you will, because that would be untroll-like behavior).

  27. Azkyroth says

    Er, do you know what euthanasia means? The compassionate ending of a life of pain and suffering? I’m pretty sure that’s not what PP handles.

    So in other words, it’d be treatment. Abortion is preventative care, so to speak.

  28. Phledge says

    Are you kidding me? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME? SGK withdraws its total funding to PP for the, wait wait, <3% of total revenues that are used to perform the usually less than eight week gestational age abortions, and you are here to anti-abortion troll?

    You clearly have never a) witnessed an abortion, b) performed an abortion, c) needed an abortion, d) had an abortion (and understood anything about it) or e) been the trusted friend to whom a woman would go if she needed or had an abortion. Congratulations on your fantastically anti-woman, pro-forced birth stance. Women who relied on PP to receive low cost or free health care of all stripes will be less healthy because of assholes like you.

  29. Joel Grant says

    I just donated $200 to Planned Parenthood.

    Since PP spends only about 3% of its budget on abortion-related services perhaps I should have made it an even $206.

    I urge everyone to chip in to make up for the loss of money due to SGK’s moronic right wing decision.

    As for moronic right wingers, we have one right here.

  30. jeri says

    “You do of course realize that without feminism you couldn’t vote”

    If Susan B. Anthony had referred to fetuses as “leeching parasites” and advocated sucking them out with a vacuum and tossing them in the garbage you’d still be waiting for your voters registration card. Susan B. Anthony was stalwart and inspirational. You people are just gross.

    “Feminism is alive and thriving sweetie.”

    Feminism is alive and very unpopular, honey.

    “And no, during abortion the fetus isn’t “ripped out”, you should really educate yourself, hun.”

    Violently sucked out, if you prefer, my dear. Gosh you people are disingenuous.

    “You do realize that the anti-choice movement is headed by men (hmmm, wonder why)?”

    What’s wrong with men? Yet another reason feminists are looked upon with embarrassment.

    “And that anti-choice societies have greater poverty, greater oppression of women, and higher deaths among women than progressive regions, right?”

    You do understand the difference between correlation and causation, right?

    “Those are undisputed facts sweetie, that are easy to look up! Now go educate yourself”

    Oh yeah, the smug self-righteousness. That’s the other thing people hate about modern feminists.

    Planned Parenthood terminates innocent human life. If you like this sort of thing then by all means send them lots and lots of money. (Not that they need it. They make millions in profit)

  31. jeri says

    “Since PP spends only about 3% of its budget on abortion-related services…”

    False.

    The figure you are thinking of is 3% of all services are abortions.

    Every 8th person who visits PP is there for an abortion.

    Again, if terminating innocent human life is your thing then send more money to Planned Parenthood. They make $100 million bucks profit/year but that won’t stop them from taking your donation.

  32. Joel Grant says

    Complete nonsense. Here is a link to their 2010 annual report:

    http://issuu.com/actionfund/docs/ppfa_financials_2010_122711_web_vf?mode=window&viewMode=doublePage

    Their entire annual budget in 2010 was just over $11M. They are a non-profit 501(c)3 organization and do not make a profit. If they did make a profit it would not be possible for the amount of that profit to exceed their entire annual budget by one thousand percent.

    Of the $11M about $329K was for abortion services.

    I have absolutely no idea where you get your information about PP but it is not a source that has anything to do with PP.

    Does anyone here speak a language “jeri” comprehends?

  33. Makoto says

    Abortion is not preventative care. Nor is it the ending of a life of pain and suffering – think of it like this. If you have a pet put to sleep because it is old/in pain/can’t live a full life anymore, that’s euthanasia. Quite different from abortion. Of course, contraception / family planning / prenatal care isn’t abortion, either, but PP provides those. They don’t provide euthanasia as far as I know.

  34. jeri says

    It’s not just that you are reading the statement wrong, (their budget is over a billion dollars, not a puny 11 million.), it’s just that you are so condescending, insulting, and smug about it.

    Misreading a financial statement is forgivable. Bigotry is not. You’d be wise to check your bigotry at the door before you call someone a moron, because it really makes YOU look like the moron.

  35. Phledge says

    In what way is support for abortion “bigotry?” What, because we care about the health of the innocent women instead of the “innocent babies?” What, because there’s some rot out there that Planned Parenthood “targets” populations of color (when in fact they are simply sometimes the only providers of quality reproductive health to women and men in economically depressed areas, places in which people of color are overrepresented)?

    Look, Jeri, you’ve got a lot of nerve coming into a known feminist space, calling us humorless murderers who want to eviscerate and mutilate babies with knives and then throw them in the garbage, when pro-choice advocates are calling for comprehensive and quality care for women, disproportionately poor ones, as well as health care for women who want to have healthy pregnancies. Did you know that Planned Parenthood is a major provider of prenatal care in the US, especially for women of lower socioeconomic status? And did you know that, even without legal, safe, available abortion providers in this country, abortion will still go on. If a woman chooses to terminate her abortion it will happen with or without Roe or your fucking permission. And then I will get to treat those women for sepsis or hemorrhage, or maybe not; maybe I will get to explain their deaths to their families. So go think about what you’re advocating with your Photoshopped gory pictures of fetal parts that are incongruous with the real story of abortion, and let us know if you have a fucking braincell that hasn’t been braindouched out by the pro-forced-birth advocates. In the meantime, we’ll be here serving women and protecting their right to bodily autonomy. You can go fuck yourself.

  36. jeri says

    “You can go fuck yourself.”

    And that’s the other thing that makes people despise feminism – the strident vulgarity.

    I’ve said over and over that people should send money to Planned Parenthood. That’s fine. But let’s not be ignorant about the millions of innocent human lives that they snuff out.

  37. Phledge says

    I find nothing quite as vulgar as women presuming to call other women murderers, as you have called me. Yes, I have performed abortions, and I plan to continue to provide them.

    And multiply your “millions of innocent human lives” by two when the result of an unintended pregnancy is a dead woman with a dead fetus inside her.

  38. jeri says

    “I find nothing quite as vulgar as women presuming to call other women murderers, as you have called me.”

    I never called you a murderer but ask yourself this one question…

    Do you, or do you not, terminate innocent human life?

    If the answer is yes then deal with it. Deal with it some other way than telling others to “go fuck themselves” for pointing out this truth.

  39. says

    My friends and I ran in race for the cure. It was a lot of fun and promoted health, strength, and raised money for a good cause. It’s disappointing that this happened, but it’s evidence that the real issue under attack is women’s health. It’s been obvious for a while, but now, it’s to the point where even the more conservative women who consider themselves against abortion can see what’s being done. Gee, why don’t you think a personhood amendment passed in Mississippi, Land of Conservative Politics?

  40. Jason says

    “Oh yeah, the smug self-righteousness. That’s the other thing people hate about modern feminists.”

    And you know why people hate anti-feminists? Because they are uneducated, cool-aid drinking idiots who read the conspiracy theory esq bullshit written on the web and spoken by fox news political commentators. Do yourself a favor and listen to the distinguished ladies who replied before me, educate yourself.

  41. Phledge says

    Nope. I perform a needed medical procedure that results in the death of a group of cells that requires a constant influx of nutrients from its host organism in order to become a human life.

    Kisses, cupcake.

  42. Azkyroth says

    That’s some pretty spectacular point-missing there.

    Abortion prevents the birth of children that will be unwanted, inadequately cared for, and much more likely to have a life of pain and suffering. As opposed to ending the pain and suffering once it’s already been happening for a while.

    I’ll grant it’s a morbid analogy…

  43. Azkyroth says

    It never ceases to amaze me that people who are dumb enough to think “you’re using naughty words!” is a rebuttal can be taught to feed themselves.

  44. Azkyroth says

    Surely you understand Jeri’s concern for the well-being of unwanted, parasitic, genetically human organisms without functioning brains is a simple matter of camaraderie.

  45. Azkyroth says

    I wonder if the claim that Planned Parenthood is a for-profit entity and makes “millions in profits” is actionable libel…

  46. says

    Since when does an organization that raises money for breast cancer prevention, need to make a public statement about abortion? They’re two completely different issues…

  47. dianne says

    Breast cancer and abortion are completely separate issues. Abortion neither increases nor decreases the probability of getting breast cancer. Uterine cancer, on the other hand, is lower in women who have had abortions. It’s a minor association and by no means proven causal, but it’s there and a society not scared to death of the idea that abortion might have health benefits might consider the effect worth investigating further.

  48. Brandon says

    PP does not even do mammograms in most areas, and where they do, they outsource it. Komen has simply stated that rather than give money to PP, they will simply give it straight to the source that is cruelly providing the medical service.

  49. Dianne says

    Komen has simply stated that rather than give money to PP, they will simply give it straight to the source that is cruelly providing the medical service.

    As wiki says, citation needed. Could you provide a link or other evidence of this?

  50. Jeri says

    “I perform a needed medical procedure…”

    No, most abortions are simply for convenience. Next.

    “that results in the death of a group of cells…”

    No, it’s an organism, not a group of cells. I thought you were a medical professional. Next.

    “that requires a constant influx of nutrients from its host organism…”

    It’s not a parasite, it’s human. Mom created him/her so it’s mom’s responsibility to feed him/her.

    “in order to become a human life.”

    No, it’s got 46 human chromosomes, a determined sex, hands and feet etc. It’s human. It’s life.

    “Kisses, cupcake.”

    And there’s the obligatory condescending parting shot. Here’s the thing – if you have to lie and obfuscate simply to defend what you do for a living then you must not be proud of what you actually do. If you actually were proud of what you do then you would simply come out and admit that you terminate innocent human life for the convenience of the mother- and not try to hide under a flurry of weasel words.

    Is it any wonder feminism is so unpopular these days?

  51. Adam G says

    “No, most abortions are simply for convenience.”
    “No, it’s an organism, not a group of cells.”
    “It’s not a parasite, it’s human.”
    “No, it’s got 46 human chromosomes, a determined sex, hands and feet etc. It’s human. It’s life.”

    Citations needed on all counts. (Protip: you won’t find any)
    Perhaps you should leave the medical science to us Medical Scientists.

  52. Dianne says

    Mom created him/her

    Jeri, maybe we need a little biology 101 here. People don’t reproduce hermaphroditically. There was a second person involved in the creation of the embryo.

    On the social argument level, your words make it very clear that you see children as a punishment. That’s too bad. I view them differently.

  53. Dianne says

    No, it’s got 46 human chromosomes, a determined sex, hands and feet etc.

    This is a fun one to deconstruct too.

    46 chromosomes make a person? No other requirements at all? Most cancers have 46 chromosomes as do most somatic (non-reproductive) cells. Is every individual cell in the human body a person? What about cancer cells in cell culture? Are they enslaved people?

    Conversely, what about people with Turner’s syndrome or Kleinfelter’s or DS? They have 45 chromosomes or 47. Not people per your definition, apparently.

    A “determined” sex is needed to be human? I guess then transgendered people, especially genderqueer aren’t human to you. Nor, presumably, are people born with ambiguous genitalia or hermaphrodism. Would you be ok with infanticide of a baby if it had ambiguous genitalia and therefore no clearly determined sex? For that matter, an early embryo has no genitalia and its ultimate sex depends on a lot of things: genetics, of course, but also the presence or absence of a number of events that shape the sex organs in utero.

    Hands and feet? Hate to tell you, but the homonculus theory of human development is a few hundred years out of date. There’s not really a little man sitting in the sperm waiting to grow…an embryo doesn’t have hands or feet and the development of normal limbs depends, again, on quite a number of factors. How did you think thalidomide caused birth defects? Did you think it destroyed some pre-existing little hand? No: it just prevents the formation of limbs. And again, is an amputee not a person in your bizarre world?

  54. Stephanie says

    “Mom created the baby, therefore it’s mom’s responability to fee the baby”

    Give me a break. Where’s the man’s responability?!

  55. Stephen Pollei says

  56. Jeri says

    re: Adam G.

    Lol! Ok, I’ll leave it to you, genius. Let’s see that study that shows that most abortions are medically necessary. Or the study that refers to an 8 wk old fetus as “parasite”.

    re: Diane

    I’m fairly certain that you knew what I meant. If you really did believe that I thought humans were hermaphrodites then you are quite stupid.

    So that leaves us with two choices regarding you – stupid, or willfully ignorant.

  57. Dianne says

    I’m fairly certain that you knew what I meant.

    No, not really. The closest I can come is that you’re adopting an “I know it when I see it” definition of what a “human” is. This is, of course, a perfect set up for a fascist world view: it allows you to declare anyone you want to be “non-human”. Fairly classic of the “pro-life” movement when I think about it: one celled organisms are human, women and obstetricians aren’t.

    If you don’t think that having 46 chromosomes, a determined sex, and hands and feet are critical to being human, why did you say so? Are we to assume that you’re incapable of making a coherent argument and sticking with it?

  58. Adam G says

    Jeri,

    You really don’t understand how logical debate works, do you?

    You initially asserted that “No, most abortions are simply for convenience.”

    The burden of proof is on you to provide evidence that this statement is true, otherwise nobody will take your assertion at all seriously. I’d be happy to debate this point further with you if you are able to back up any of your statements with factual evidence.

    As for the ‘parasite’ part of your response, I was objecting to the fact that you view fetuses as ‘human.’ You state this as if it were a fact with no supporting evidence. How do you expect to convince people if all you do is wave your arms and yell about what you think is true?

    Stating that something is true does not make it so!

  59. Jeri says

    Jeri: If it has 46 human chromosomes and human hands and human feet then it must be a human.

    Dianne: So if it doesn’t have hands then it’s NOT human?!?!

    Jeri: My, what an ignorant thing to say. My fifth grade daughter would not make such a logical fallacy.

    Is there one person of reasonable intelligence here to talk to? Anybody?

  60. Jeri says

    Adam G: “I was objecting to the fact that you view fetuses as ‘human.’ ”

    I know. I think it’s this kind of willful ignorance that turns people off to the pro-choice movement.

  61. Guest says

    you meant “the millions of women PP saves by providing safe health care” right? it’s sad that anti-abortionists claim to be “pro-life” because they are clearly not. Refusing safe abortions increases back-alley abortions which in turn increases the mortality of women. Refusing funding to an organisation who provides health care incl. cancer screening and contraception because a small portion of their service is abortion? How can that be pro-life?

    (I know, don’t feed the troll but it’s hard not to)

  62. says

    I’m pretty sure a grant is administered differently than a donation though. I’m at a university, and my current research is funded by a fairly specific corporate grant. A private donor going through the university’s website would only be able to donate to my academic department. I’d imagine that Planned Parenthood works in much the same way.

  63. Lindsay York says

    Not all feminists swear, nor does Jen ever claim to be Grand Arbiter of All Things Feminism, but nice strawman attempt!

    Innocence is a subjective term and completely unrelated to a fetus. Abortion isn’t about guilt, innocence, rightness, wrongness, or any of that moralizing garbage that religious people like to attach to the issue. It’s about valuing a woman’s autonomy and trusting them to make choices about their own body, period.

  64. Lindsay York says

    An abortion isn’t suddenly unnecessary even if it’s for “convenience,” which you know is an oversimplification of pregnancy, birth, and the long & expensive process of rearing a child into an adult. It’s despicable to demonize women for aborting for “convenience” as if the alternatives are a cakewalk. They’re not. Stop acting like you’re being some neutral truth-teller, because it’s tiresome and no one’s going to buy your shtick here.

  65. Adam G says

    “I think it’s this kind of willful ignorance that turns people off to the pro-choice movement.”

    Here’s the thing, Jeri.

    Human skin cells are not, in and of themselves, a human. Human sperm cells are not, in and of themselves, a human. Human egg cells are not, in and of themselves, a human. Human fetuses are not, in and of themselves, a human.

    I understand that you disagree with this last statement. My question is why??
    You’ve failed to give us even a single reasonable argument that might support this position. Instead, you’ve simply assumed that we are ‘willfully ignorant’ because we do not agree with you on this point. Don’t you understand that this empty assertion works both ways?

    Perhaps you are the ‘willfully ignorant’ one for ruling out, for no apparent reason, the possibility that Human fetuses are not, in and of themselves, a human.

    I think it’s this kind of willful ignorance that turns people off to the anti-choice movement.

  66. Jeri says

    Lindsey York: “Not all feminists swear, nor does Jen ever claim to be Grand Arbiter of All Things Feminism, but nice strawman attempt!”

    Wow! A double-strawman strawman!

    This is quite possibly the lowest collective IQ I have ever encountered on the web. If this is “freethought” then some of you need to be caged for your own safety.

  67. Jeri says

    Adam G, before: “I was objecting to the fact that you view fetuses as ‘human.’ ”

    Adam G, after: “Human fetuses are not, in and of themselves, a human.”

    Human fetuses are human, regardless of Adam G’s semantic gyrations.

  68. Adam G says

    Once again, you’ve failed to answer my question.

    You say “Human fetuses are human”

    All I want to know is WHY

  69. Dianne says

    Well, to be fair to Jeri, your question IS unanswerable. There simply is no logically consistent definition of human that excludes various obviously non-human entities and includes embryos. So Jeri’s only option is to scream “baby killers!” and fling insults endlessly and hope no one notices that she’s making no sense.

  70. Adam G says

    Exactly. This is why we need to keep asking the question…her lack of response only serves to illustrate that her position has no basis in reality.

  71. Jeri says

    Uh, same reason canine fetuses are canine and feline fetuses are feline?

    You guys can’t be this dumb. Can you?

  72. Adam G says

    That’s a complete non-answer.

    Are human skin cells human? If so, why are we not concerned about the well-being of the millions we shed daily? If not, then why exactly aren’t human skin cells considered human?

  73. Jeri says

    Duh, why do you suppose people don’t name their skin cells?

    Why don’t people decorate a special room in the house for their skin cells?

    I tried to measure my skin cells heartbeat and couldn’t find it. Should I be concerned?

    Really, you people are so stupidly disingenuous. Is this really your best argument? That it’s ok to kill a skin cell so it must be ok to kill a fetus?

    You people are the reason that Roe v. Wade becomes less popular every single day.

  74. says

    Even if fetuses are human…so what? No person is entitled to my body, period. You can’t take my kidney and transplant it into someone else without my permission, even if their life depends on it. Hell, in my state I can shoot and kill a human being who is in my house without my permission.

    You in my body and I don’t want you there? Out you go.

  75. Jeri says

    Unwanted babies are like burglars and should be killed.

    Yeah, that’ll win the hearts and minds of the American populace.

    You people are just gross. Ick.

  76. Sophia says

    It’s amazing how little weight and concern you give to the fact that a real, live, thinking, feeling woman is going to have to go through 9 months of medical procedures, potential complications, physical changes, financial complications, appointments, and emotional distress, culminating in the trying process of labor and giving birth. But…I guess that doesn’t matter at all?

  77. Dianne says

    I tried to measure my skin cells heartbeat and couldn’t find it.

    Not too long ago I saw someone plunge a knife into someone’s chest, remove his beating heart (and other organs) and send the remains of the person to the morgue. Why wasn’t that murder or any other crime? Why did the family members of the person whose heart was just removed thank the person who took it? In short, why is fetishizing a heartbeat complete BS?

  78. Dianne says

    Arguably off topic, but no more than the whole abortion debate above…Any US-Americans here might remember the breast cancer stamps that you can buy: they’re stamps (usually with pink ribbons printed on them) with the cost rounded up to the nearest 10 cents (i.e. if the price of a first class stamp is 0.35 they cost 0.40) and the difference between the first class stamp price and the cost goes to “breast cancer research”. Know who administers the breast cancer research those stamps fund? The Department of Defense. Yep, by buying breast cancer awareness stamps you’re supporting the Pentagon.

  79. Jeri says

    Wow you people are sick. Just sick.

    Appointments? Really?? I don’t want my body to change so I’m going to rip your little body out with a vacuum???

    Gross.

  80. says

    I hate the phrase “anti-choice”. It’s negative and not as punchy as a two syllable construction.

    Commandeering a woman’s body for power trip purposes? “Pro rape” sounds about right.

    What do you think about Santorum’s belief that rape babies are a gift from God?

    (On that note, I’d actually think I’d have more trouble willing myself to shoot a trespasser than get an abortion. For one thing, a trespasser has a face. Hopefully I’d never have to be in either situation.)

  81. Sophia says

    You make it sound like someone’s body changing when they don’t want it to is just a minor inconvenience instead of potentially traumatic. Can you seriously imagine having to go through a pregnancy when you don’t want to? You may be comfy and privileged, but if you’re poor and taking care of children, a bunch of medical appointments is going to be a major drain on your time and finances (not to mention the potential health complications, morning sickness, pain, etc.). And I fail to see how forcing a woman to carry a child for months, and go through labor, is any different from rape. Her body is being altered and use without her consent, for purposes that are not her own.

  82. Jeri says

    Johnny Kaje: “I’d actually think I’d have more trouble willing myself to shoot a trespasser than get an abortion. For one thing, a trespasser has a face.”

    Wow. A coward. Who would have a guessed?

    BlagHag has some real winners here.

  83. satanaugustine says

    Sandi – that’s great for you, but what about all of the women living in poverty who rely on Planned Parenthood for their breast cancer screenings?

  84. Jeri says

    Sophia: “You make it sound like someone’s body changing when they don’t want it to is just a minor inconvenience instead of potentially traumatic.”

    Yeah, getting your head sucked through a straw isn’t traumatic at all.

    Is it possible that an entire website is populated by really, really dumb people?

  85. says

    Apparently empathizing with other human beings = cowardice.

    Yep, I guess I have a cowardly streak, doubting my ability to blow another person’s head off with a magnum.

  86. satanaugustine says

    Jeri – you have repeatedly complained about the tone of responses to your posts and accusing people of self righteousness, yet you have no trouble doing the exact same things yourself. The hypocrisy is appalling. Your attacks also indicate that you have no legitimate arguments. Don’t pretend that you are being the fair and nice person in this discussion when you’re actually acting in the manner which you decry.

    Oh, and you’re obviously a troll and a phenomenally ignorant one at that. As another commenter suggested, educate yourself. So far you’re just spouting boilerplate anti-choice cliches, which, in case you were unaware, do not constitute a valid argument.

  87. Dianne says

    Adam: I hadn’t realized that the NIH got part of the breast cancer stamp money. I must admit that I knew that the DoD got some of it because, well, I applied for a grant from them. My personal experience with DoD cancer grants is that they’re even more arbitrary and less transparent than the NIH. The NIH reviewers at least try to make sensible comments to explain their scores. The DoD…not so much.

    Also I don’t think the government should be asking for charity. If we don’t have enough money for breast cancer research, increase taxes in an honest way rather than trying to guilt people into paying for it. You know it’s not the Romneys of the world buying those stamps.

  88. Ivy Mike says

    What’s traumatizing is the boredom of hearing, for the umpteenth time, the breathless, hyperbolic repetition of anti-choice/forced-birth unsupported blind assertions. I swear, can’t these religious fanatics get somenew material, or is whinging about “teh babeez beez zucks iter deh zincs!” all they have? no wonder the guys who shoot doctors are inevitably mouthbreathing idiots…no one with a brain falls for this emotion-and-religion driven crap.

  89. hieropants says

    Yes, we give up. This whole website is hopelessly, stupidly devoted to things like facts and evidence about how women, children, and society in general do much better when women have access to health care. Your brilliant proofs by assertion (and re-assertion and re-assertion and re-assertion) are leaving us all in the dust!

    We stand in awe at your rhetorical excellence.

  90. Ivy Mike says

    Jeri, if you don’t want an abortion, don’t have one. You and your finger-wagging, church-lady cohort do not, however, get to use the force of the law to compel others to obey your religious rules. No one is forcing you to get an abortion, so you don’t get to force them not to. Besides, your crew would shit themselves if they had to pay the taxes to support all the unwanted kids with welfare and Medicaid. Not to mention how much you’d pay to build the prisons necessary to house a disproportionate number of them down the road.

  91. Jeri says

    Johnny Kaje: “Yep, I guess I have a cowardly streak, doubting my ability to blow another person’s head off with a magnum.”

    Yeah but put a vacuum in Johnny Kaje’s hand and put him next to a 10 week old fetus and he’s freakin’ Rambo.

    My God you all are an embarrassment.

  92. Dianne says

    Though you’ve got a point about the stamps funding good research. The NIH at least seems to be doing good stuff with the proceeds and 70% good outweighs a 30% earmark to the Pentagon, especially one that is designated for breast cancer research.

  93. Jeri says

    Johnny Kaje: “It’s not actually that traumatic when you’re not capable of sentient thought.”

    The dumbness here is un-freakin-believable.

    Trauma
    a : an injury (as a wound) to living tissue caused by an extrinsic agent

  94. Jeri says

    Yup. Christians everywhere are going around impregnating women with turkey basters while they are asleep and then forcing them to bring their babies to term.

    I truly am flabbergasted at the dumb arguments I am hearing here at the BlagHag. By far the dumbest group I have ever encountered.

  95. Jeri says

    Ivy Mike: “Besides, your crew would shit themselves if they had to pay the taxes to support all the unwanted kids with welfare and Medicaid. Not to mention how much you’d pay to build the prisons necessary to house a disproportionate number of them down the road.”

    Wow! That’s exactly the kind of argument we heard from the eugenics crowd back in the day.

    Hey, let’s just sterilize the imbeciles while we’re at it.

    You people are sick.

  96. Ivy Mike says

    Ah, no substantive response then. No surprise, you’re as boring and ignorant of the real world as any of your ilk. I’d hazard a guess that the educational levels of those here far outstrip your own. Make it through high school, did you? Your discoursive skills don’t indicate any more.

  97. Ivy Mike says

    Haha! It is the conservatives, my dear, who oppose all social programs which care for unwanted children. Were every aborted blastocyst brought to term,, their mothers having been forced at government gunpoint to do so regardless of their own wishes, you and your preachy buddies would become pro-choice about ten seconds after seeing your tax bill. Don’t bother denying it…It ‘s not like it’s any secret that the Right really likes their money.
    And the Godwin you just threw? Hilarious considering the source. Again, you have nothing new to say.

  98. Ivy Mike says

    Jeri, why do you think that everyone should be forced to live under your religious beliefs? Not confident that those beliefs are compelling enough in and of themselves? Think they sometimes need the government’s help to reach all the sinners?
    My, what a weak god you worship.

  99. Ivy Mike says

    Well, you ARE in favor of forcing women to give birth, are you not? Even most conservatives would agree that a law equals government force. So, what’s it to be? arresting every unmarried, pregnant woman and imprisoning her under strict observationto ensure she delivers?
    Because that’s exactly what you would have to do. Since when did women surrender all their civil and Constitutional rights upon fertilization?
    Please answer, and spare me the hyperbole about straws and sinks. I’ve heard it already.

  100. satanaugustine says

    Jeri – you are full of nothing but insults and non-evidenced assertions. So I’ll play your game: You are an idiot, an imbecile, an ignorant moron. You obviously have no idea what you’re talking about because you continue to repeatedly spout bullshit. You mention “willful ignorance,” but you have yet to form a coherent argument and to genuinely reply to other posters here. You come across as a clueless, hateful, useless dimwit. You wear your ignorance like a badge, as though you’re proud of it. I’ve rarely encountered such pathetic excuses for arguments as your posts here. You are an embarrassment to humankind. You should really go elsewhere – like an anti-choice blog or discussion board – where your talents for ignorance and rank stupidity will be appreciated.

    Seriously, why are you posting here? To stir up trouble and to insult people who are obviously considerably more intelligent than you are. That is the definition of a troll. You’ve added nothing to this conversation because you haven’t even tried to do so. You are not trying to change minds, but rather venting your anger at people who have nothing to do with making you angry. You should be ashamed of yourself, but based on your posts here you have no shame. Please no more with the imbecilic, evidence free assertions. You don’t have an argument. You’re simply an unpleasant person with an ax to grind and a chip on your shoulder, but guess what? That is not the concern of Jen or any of the posters here. We don’t care about your particular insanity because your posts inspire nothing but revulsion.

    Should you think that this post is harsh, keep in mind that you brought this upon yourself and that I’m criticizing you in the same crude manner that you’ve criticized others. Maybe that will sink in to that concrete thinking brain of yours, but I rather doubt it. You are a close-minded ideologue who bases your beliefs on doing your best to not think at all. You appear to have no self-insight (not a surprise) and would probably balk at the idea of genuine introspection and any attempt to examine your beliefs rationally would likely scare the hell out of you.

    I don’t wish you ill will, I wish you enlightenment and the ability to form a coherent argument.

  101. echidna says

    Jeri,

    Not every pregnancy is desirable. Rape and incest, ectopic pregnancies, and other medical complications of either the mother or the fetus indicate that some abortions are absolutely necessary.
    This is why abortions are legal. You may not like it; that’s fine. Don’t have an abortion.

    But don’t try to control other people’s lives who are in circumstances you know nothing about. It’s none of your business.

  102. Azkyroth says

    Also:

    What’s wrong with men?

    Nothing, generally, but insofar as men are incapable of getting pregnant, men campaigning against reproductive choice is as appropriate as Canadians voting in the U.S. presidential election.

  103. says

    Do you, or do you not, terminate innocent human life?

    No, she does not. A fetus is not a “human life,” it’s a clump of cells that will become a human if the bearer chooses to allow it, but it’s not human yet, any more than any other bit of connective tissue with the same DNA; nor can it possibly be considered in any way “equal” to a sentient adult.

    Calling a tiny clump of cells “a human life” only denigrates human life in general — which is exactly the intent of most anti-abortion hysterics: elevate non-sentient life above conscious, responsible beings.

  104. Jeri says

    As expected, the unintelligent pay attention to the small percentage of times when abortion is justifiable to support the vast majority of times when abortion is not justifiable.

    Not a bright bunch here at BlagHag.

  105. Jeri says

    It’s just wrong to kill a helpless little child. Period.

    I know that the less intelligent among us often try to justify the killing with what they imagine are rational arguments. But any intelligent person can see that abortion is killing.

    I’d have a lot more respect for the Pro-abortion crowd if they would simply be truthful about it. But they seem truly incapable of being truthful. That’s why you seem so dumb.

  106. Ivy Mike says

    LOL! Since when have right wing fanatics been against murder?
    Support the death penalty, Jeri?
    How about the war in Iraq?
    For that matter, when has your “god” ever been against it? Seems to me that fictional hypocrite ordered or carried out quite a bit of the ‘ol Superviolence in that book of fairy tales you all fetishize.

  107. Ivy Mike says

    Of course, you or people like Rick Santorum or the Pope or some other pulpit-pounder are wise and all-seeing enough to tell us all what is and is not “justified”, right?
    Tell me, by what rigorous, objective, and fair means do you determine this? Why should anyone else trust you, given the history of religious fanatics?

  108. Dianne says

    you and your preachy buddies would become pro-choice about ten seconds after seeing your tax bill.

    No, no, Ivy Mike, you don’t understand at all! Once they’re born, the babies are supposed to go out and get jobs and support themselves, not mooch off taxpayers! Plus having more unwanted children who can be provoked into doing something stupid and possibly violent more easily is all to the good as far as the prison industry is concerned: more slave labor. The “pro-life” movement has always been objectively pro-slavery, but the move towards using prisoners as free labor, while still being able to put “made in the USA” on the products they produce, has really made it much more overt.

  109. Jeri says

    Wow. Another great argument. “But THEY do it too!”

    This is seriously becoming like arguing with a bunch of 3rd graders.

  110. Jeri says

    Ivy Mike: “I bet you gave a cheer when George Tiller was killed.”

    I bet you are incapable of thinking beyond simple stereotypes.

    The ignorance of the BlagHag crowd is stunning.

  111. Jeri says

    But for the record, I thought it was wrong to murder George Tiller.

    But the difference between you and me is I call it murder. I didn’t try to weasel around it by claiming he was a “parasite” or that he was “just a group of cells”.

    That’s why people despise you. You cover up murder with lies.

  112. az says

    Lurker here(I usually post on rdnet and sometimes on pharyngula), I largely agree with the thrust of the OP. It’s a good thing they were exposed so thoroughly. I wasn’t aware of the SGK foundation’s machinations until this episode and will not be donating to them and will instead donate to PP. Now, I noticed in the comments section the espousal of the biological version of the anit-abortion argument(which is quite weak), and I want to paste a comment from rdnet that I’ve written on this subject(the only prob is that it’s long). Hopefully, it’s helpful.

    Cheers
    —-

    I find that in the abortion debate there are some very serious questions that people do not even attempt to address, for one reason or another. Is an embryo a member of the species Homo sapiens? This is a rather simple biological question with a simple answer. A more relevant question would be if an organism is a member of a species, say Homo sapiens, is it a person simply because of it’s biology? It is not entirely clear that a being is person simply because they belong to a certain species. The biologic version of the antiabortion argument explicitly assumes that a human is a person, namely, that “all innocent(obviously if it was guilty of something then you could easily make an argument in favor of abortion, however, being charitable most bioethicists assume innocence) organisms belonging to the biologically defined species, in this case Homo sapiens, without exception have a serious ‘right to life.'” This version of the antiabortion argument is not taken seriously because of several fatal objections. Firstly, there are clear counterexamples to it. Second, the argument does not express a basic moral principle and needs to be extended in order to uncover the underlying basic moral principle. However, extending the argument requires bringing in some other version of the antiabortion argument(religious arguments from the soul, appeal to capacities, or appeal to potentialities attributed to Don Marquis). Since, the biological version reduces to some other version then if those other versions fail then so too does the biological version. The last objection follows directly from the second objection; namely, since the original moral principle is not basic enough then how does one derive the original moral principle in the first place? If you try to derive the original moral principle you will find that the derivation is either false, the derivation itself is unsound, or that the derivation does not in fact support the original argument that all innocent organisms that are biologically Homo sapiens, without exception, have a serious right to life.

    Keeping in mind what the original argument was then you have several counterexamples that demonstrate that it’s not even prima facie wrong to let certain organisms belonging to species Homo sapiens die or indeed kill. Some examples are anencephalic infants(infants with little to no neural tissue), organisms that have a functioning brain stem(+/- a functioning spinal cord) but non-functioning cerebrum, and organisms that have cerebral/brainstem/cord death. A common practice among bioethicists(say Tooley, Marquis, Mary Warren, Judith Thomson) is to sketch out a range of cases of organisms with varying degrees of personal status(ie different psychological and physical capacities). What you find is a range of individuals from a physically and psychologically normal individual on one end to an individual with a non functioning cerebrum/brainstem kept alive with life support on the other extreme. Between these 2 extremes, most(note not all) rational people draw a line between an individual who is psychologically normal(ie has a mental life) and whose brainstem is non-functional but has an “artificial brainstem”(to minimize confusion think of this as a respirator) keeping them alive, and an individual whose cerebrum is non-functioning but is alive with a functioning brainstem meaning they are permanently comatose and have no mental life. What this exercise teases out is an intuition that what makes it morally wrong to kill or let someone die has something to do with an organism’s mental life.

    On to the second objection, what is the basic moral principle espoused in the biological version. Well, it’s pretty obvious: namely that killing an innocent organism that is a member of species Homo sapiens is without exception prima facie wrong(there are many ways to formulate the principle but this is a standard way). Now, immediately one can see that this principle is certainly not a basic moral principle, namely it deals strictly with Homo sapiens. Maybe there’s a more general and hence basic moral principle involved. An easy way to derive it would be to apply the original principle in different situations and then find a more general principle that explains each situation. For example, let’s consider a rose flower and derive a similar moral principle, namely, “the killing of innocent rose flowers is without exception prima facie wrong.” Next, let’s consider Han Solo from star wars and derive another moral principle, namely, “the killing of an innocent member of Han Solo’s species is without exception prima facie wrong.” Well, I think reasonable people would agree that there is something that distinguishes a rose flower from Han Solo and a human. What feature could that be? Surely, whatever answer you give must invovle at least in some measure a reference to the type of mental life that humans and Han’s species apparently share. Now, we see that the consideration of other possible species suggests that we must generalize even more, that is, generalize so that our basic moral principle is free of reference to any particular species. In practice, you end up with a principle akin to “all innocent organisms that have a capacity for a kind of mental life have a right to life” or “all innocent organisms that have a capacity for a kind of mental life or the potential for a capacity, have a right to life”(the principles concerning potentials is the more difficult case and attributed to Don Marquis). Thus, the original moral principle in the biological argument in effect reduces to a moral basic more principle that you find in a capacities or potentialities version of the antiabortion argument.

    The final objection follows from the second and takes a considerable amount of time. Since, it has been established that the original moral principle was not a basic moral principle then a question arises how one can even satisfactorily derive it in the first place. First, there is the religious derivation using the notion of a soul. The argument is along the lines of: all organisms that have souls that have the capacity for higher mental functions have a right to life; all humans have souls that have the capacity for higher mental functions; thus all organisms that are humans have a right to life. It’s a valid argument but wholly unsound. There is no good reason for thinking that adult human beings have a soul that contains the capacity for higher mental functions. To be explicit, there is no plausible evidence for a soul being present in adult human let alone an embryo or fetus. In fact, neurological inquiry(stroke research etc) produces enormous evidence supporting the conclusion that higher mental abilities, say the ability to think, depend upon the presence of a complex and specific arrangement of neurological structures. Thus, the conclusion that higher mental abilities are based upon capacities found in the brain is highly probable as compared to the notion that they reside in a soul that should, if one thinks about it, not be impaired by any damage to the brain. Secondly, there is the capacities derivation which is also valid but unsound. The argument is something like: all organisms that have the capacity for higher mental functions have a right to life; all humans have this capacity for higher functioning; thus all organisms that are humans have a right to life. Here too, we have strong evidence from stroke research/accidents and embryology that higher mental abilities are dependent on a complex arrangement of neural structures from the former and from the latter that neural structures like a brain occur much later in development. The presence of neural crest cells or neuroectoderm or a primitive neural tube is not the same thing as a brain that can “think” or have higher mental abilities. So, the capacities version is unsound for the simple reason that organisms do not have relevant mental capacities at all times. The potentialities derivation takes the most time to parse fully, but given the length of the post, I”ll just point out a few quick flaws. The derivation is valid(simply replace capacities with potential for capacities) but also unsound. If we recall the counterexamples from the first objection then if anencephalics or any organism that has a non-functioning cerebrum/brainstem then they by definition do not have the potential for the capacity of higher mental functions. Another flaw is that potentiality does not, in and of itself, entail “rights to life” but instead entails the value of an entity. However, the value of a embryo is not the same as the value attributed to an adult.

    Finally let me just add that this argument against the biological critique is not novel. It’s fairly well known, and would behoove anyone who is against abortion and who espouses a biological approach to personhood to at least attempt to respond to. Indeed, bioethicists like Don Marquis usually concede the futility of the biological approach and prefer the potentialities approach. However, if you’re interested you can find that there are quite devastating flaws in that approach too.

  113. Jeri says

    Hi az,

    That’s the argument for aborting a child who will never have a brain. The other 99.99% are waiting for you to tell them why they deserve to die.

  114. says

    But for the record, I thought it was wrong to murder George Tiller.

    Wow, that’s a pretty tepid thing to say, after all the relentless implacable hate you’ve flung at people who merely disagree with you about abortion. Once again, the “pro-life” crowd show how little they care about actual human life.

  115. says

    Also, notice how Jeri attacked us first, then tossed in a perfunctory “condemnation” of Tiller’s murder as an obvious afterthought. This little hater only cares about “life” in the abstract; real people in the real world mean nothing to her.

  116. az says

    Sorry, you’re quite incorrect; the argument demolishes the biologic version of the anti-abortion argument. The relevant question is exactly as I stated and bears repeating. If an organism is a member of a species, say Homo sapiens, is it a person simply because of it’s biology? The biologic approach to personhood is quite impotent and well known to be impotent as I have outline above, which is why no one espouses it, at least no one who has researched the topic; it just doesn’t have any force to it. There are clear counterexamples, the basic moral principle in the biologic approach is actually derived from some other approach: the capacities, potentialities approach, or religious approach each which is unsound and hence the original principle is unsound. Remember it’s important to think rationally and reasonably, neuroectoderm is not a brain, and to espouse that it is then commits one to the potentialities approach, exactly as I outlined so easily. Don Marquis’ potentialities approach is probably the best anti-abortion argument, though, it has numerous flaws(the lack of moral significance concerning passive or active potentials, the nearly active potentials objection, the artificial womb objection, the rights objection, the consequentialist critique, the intrinsic value critique, etc) that have also been demonstrated by the likes of Mary Warren, Judith Thomson, and M. Tooley etc to which Marquis’ has been unable to respond to. The objections to the potentialities approach are well known to bioethicists and philosophers and doctors who are interested in this subject and no one who espouses a potentialities approach has been able to deal with the objections. It’s just bog standard for anyone who knows anything about the topic to know that the potentialities position is thoroughly unsound. As an aside, even Marquis, an atheist to boot, concedes the futility of the biologic version of the anti-abortion argument(indeed since the biologic approach to personhood is critical to the biologic version of the anti-abortion argument Marquis also concedes that). The net result is that there are only two philosophically, ethically, and scientifically defensible positions(for those interested there are 4 broad positions in the lit: the extreme abortion position, the extreme anti-abortion position, the liberal position, and the moderate position) in the literature, known as, the liberal abortion position and the moderate abortion position. There are many “meaty” books that delve more deeply into this issue, Tooley has two pretty good books(one is a nice survey of the various positions with point/counterpoint and in the other, he argues for his deontological/neo-Lockean approach), S. Kagan also has interesting articles on this topic(but he comes at it using an utilitarian approach).

    The interesting fact to those who perhaps don’t follow the literature is that it looks like the liberal position is actually the strongest philosophical/ethical/scientific position. Now, that’s a shift from moderate position(for those not familiar with it, it’s basically the position of the supreme court). As more and more neurological research has been produced, the research has tipped the scales in favor of the liberal position.

    Cheers

  117. Azkyroth says

    Aren’t you a little old to think it’s about “deserve”?

    In any case, deserving something doesn’t mean you’re allowed to use slave labor to get it.

  118. violet says

    Just de-lurking to offer moral support to the USA ladies. The attitude in America to abortion and women’s healthcare generally is ruddy terrifying, thank the Non-Gods for the NHS (or whatever will be left of it when our bloody government has finished selling bits of it off). Currently un-employed but when I get a proper job I’ll make a donation to Planned Parenthood. Global sisterhood and all that.

    I know a few people who’ve done the “Race for Life” runs in the UK to raise money for a major breast cancer charity – I normally automatically sponsor them; might have a check that the charity is not affiliated to Komen in any way.

    And Jeri, feel free to visit the UK ANYTIME, and spout your self-serving rubbish at the average British woman(even one’s that are themselves anti-abortion) – you’ll fairly quickly find out why the anti-abortion mob are a LOT quieter and more circumspect over here.

  119. DrugMonkey says

    Hey antichoice wingnut, where are all of these unaborted supposed to fit in this here crowded ass blue marble?

  120. spectator says

    Go Jeri, go!!!!

    Amazing how compassionate these Hags are. Why we must raise money to cull the undesirables!

    This has been the best thing to happen to PP. Even fematheists will put a crow bar in their wallets if it’s going for the worthy cause of pissing off religious folk! Since it’s a tiny human it doesn’t deserve to live …and a “parasite”. My oh my! That’s Humanism, yes sirree!
    PP already gets enough of my tax dollars.
    SGK can suck it, too!

    Keep standing up to these dunderheads, Jeri :)

  121. echidna says

    disagree with Jeri = unintelligent now. Right.

    It is not your call, Jeri, to proclaim what is and is not abuse of abortion. Abortion has been practised by many cultures for thousands of years. For example, for pre-European-settlement Australian aboriginals, the number of people in the tribe was absolutely fixed, and children were only allowed if someone had died. An abortion was a moral and necessary thing. You will find the same kinds of values among any group where resources are scarce. With the extra food that agriculture provides, we lost the immediate need to control fertility, although there are people (economists, scientists) who point out that this may have been a big mistake, as humans are now destroying our planet by sheer numbers.

    Who are you to impose your ancient middle-eastern agricultural-society values on people who do not share your wealth or background?

    Are you even consistent? If you are pro-life, are you anti-war? Anti-capital punishment? Pro-social welfare?

    Or are you just into the power kick of controlling what other people may or may not do?

  122. says

    About the only useful part of the ButterBeliever link/article provided is the funding breakdown. The rest is pure alt-med woo, from the evils of Big Pharma to spruiking the Burzynski film.

  123. spectator says

    ” Hey antichoice wingnut, where are all of these unaborted supposed to fit in this here crowded ass blue marble?”

    Have you slactivists considered protesting in front of fertility clinics? Why is medical technology being used to over-populate the world, and that is just fine and dandy. Because their offspring comes from good stock? How about we do the compassionate thing by supporting women who chose to give their children up for adoption? I doubt that PP mentions that option nor offer supportive counseling for these women who unselfishly bless a childless couple with a healthy infant. Less painful, emotionally draining, expensive infertility procedures would be done to women.
    But if population control is your shtick, mixing up several embryos and implanting a 3-4 per shot, that should be far more troubling to a Malthusian worldview.
    So compassionate individuals who find elective abortions as a violation of human rights, are now called “anti-choice?” Then that would make you “anti-life”.
    I don’t favor making it a crime. But glamorizing it as a blessing to women is the most callus, misogynist, brutally deranged notion of all.
    Yay, I got the HTML right finally!

  124. Azkyroth says

    In the apparently unlikely event that Jen ever takes a look at this thread, I would be very interested to hear whether “Jeri” and “spectator” actually have different IPs.

  125. Saba says

    Not a Komen supporter, for most of the already stated reasons.

    But I am concerned that a private foundation can be coerced into reversing an internal decision, by the combined efforts of the previous recipient of their monies and some input from the gov’t.
    Anyone else finding the letter from a quarter of the U.S. Senate to Komen inappropriate? Because they are a private foundation?
    Kind of sounds like a protection racket to me.

  126. dianne says

    IIRC, legalizing abortion doesn’t actually decrease fertility all that much. Wealth and education decrease fertility, but abortion per se doesn’t. As to how we’re all going to fit: cities. People in cities have a relatively low carbon footprint and that reserves most of the world for agriculture and natural environments.

  127. Jeri says

    Az: “…the argument demolishes the biological version of the anti-abortion argument.”

    No. Your argument teeters on the idea that it’s ok to kill an anencephalic child because “most (note not all) rational people” agree that it’s ok.

    For all of az’s posturing as an expert in bioethics, it simply boils down to “majority rules”. Ho hum.

    The good news is that az has just unwittingly given us a rationale for overturning Roe v. Wade since a majority of Americans no longer support abortion on demand.

    Such is the strange cognitive dissonance that is produced when one tries to rationalize murder of innocents.

  128. dianne says

    They do have slightly different styles: jeri knows how to respond to a comment, but spectator knows how to use HTML (sort of.) So they may be two separate people. It’s not as though there’s only one crazy “pro-lifer” out there.

  129. az says

    No. Your argument teeters on the idea that it’s ok to kill an anencephalic child because “most (note not all) rational people” agree that it’s ok.

    Again you’re quite incorrect, the argument is multipronged. The argument that it’s not even prima facie wrong to kill organism that are from say, species Homo sapiens is demonstrated conclusively by the counterfactual of anecephalics. Thus, it’s not even prima facie wrong to kill organisms of the species Homo sapiens. Further prongs include, the basic moral principle that is used within the biological version of the anti-abortion argument is not a basic moral principle, that when one tries to derive the basic moral principle one finds that it actually depends on principles from other anti-abortion arguments, namely, the religious version, capacities version, or as you have even explicitly advocated, the potentialities version, and the biological approach to personhood is flawed given that it centers on species membership. Now, since all of the versions of the anti-abortion are also unsound, and since the biological version is based on them then it too is unsound(independent of any further argument; to be explicit, having an unsound basic moral principle alone dooms this argument). Thus, the claim that the argument “teeters” on 1 thing is quite false too. Next, you point out the note. It’s important to not quote mine. Here’s the full sentence:

    Between these 2 extremes, most(note not all) rational people draw a line between an individual who is psychologically normal(ie has a mental life) and whose brainstem is non-functional but has an “artificial brainstem”(to minimize confusion think of this as a respirator) keeping them alive, and an individual whose cerebrum is non-functioning but is alive with a functioning brainstem meaning they are permanently comatose and have no mental life.

    Now it’s important to have better reading comprehension skills. Let’s examine this in more depth. The exercise was to make a continuum of different psychological and physical capacities(the elements of personal status). Note, the two extremes of this continuum, on one end you have someone with full psychological/physical capacities(hence full personal status) and someone with no physical and psychological capacities(hence no personal status; think of this as a rock). Now, between those two extremes where do people draw a line and say, well this set of capacities is functionally equivalent to having no person status and this other set of psychological and physical capacities clearly does have personal status. Most people draw the line where I described. Once again note the full quote, it has nothing to do with anecephalics; the diving line divides someone with a mental life from someone who has a non-functioning cerebrum. Someone who has a non-functioning cerebrum but is alive due to the functioning of the brainstem is exactly someone who has a cerebrum and thus, precisely not an anecephalic. Non-functioning is not non-existent. Thus, once again, you’re quite incorrect. If you want to read about this exercise in more depth then you will have to look up the authors I mentioned before: Tooley, Thomson, Warren, Kagan etc.

    For all of az’s posturing as an expert in bioethics, it simply boils down to “majority rules”. Ho hum.

    The good news is that az has just unwittingly given us a rationale for overturning Roe v. Wade since a majority of Americans no longer support abortion on demand.

    Such is the strange cognitive dissonance that is produced when one tries to rationalize murder of innocents.

    I prefer rational argument, and your implication concerning majority rule is quite wrong. It’s not majority rule to say that everyone who has espoused the biological version of the anti-abortion argument in the literature has failed to defend it from numerous objections that render it unsound(there is simply no defense of the biological version and hence no one puts it forth; to be explicit, in science, all the arguments in favor of the phlogiston theory were shown to be incorrect; it’s not majority rule that makes it incorrect, it’s that substances do not contain phlogiston, a substance that allows them to combust; anyone who again puts forth the phlogiston theory would be wrong not because the majority of chemists rule so but because substances do not contain phlogiston, as Lavoisier showed, and hence the theory itself is flawed). Indeed, exactly as you have failed to do so. Thus, the further inference that it would help you overturn R v W is wrong also. Look, it’s a difficult thing, you have people like Marquis who has at least tried to argue for a strong anti-abortion position with the potentialities approach but failed badly. Now, I’m not saying you’re stupid or something similar; all I’m saying is that there are people who’s job it is to think about these things in exquisite detail, and even they are unable to defend the biological version. Thus, it’s not surprising that you have failed to do so also. It’s just a bad argument full stop. Now since, the position is unsound I will, given my preference for sound argument, refrain from making it. Again, people are free to be irrational, but unsound arguments just don’t have any force in a debate. Indeed, it’s just plain bizarre when someone continues to make an unsound argument; it has the air of the Dunning–Kruger effect or some other cognitive bias.

    It’s just a sad fact, for you at least, that your position is scientifically/ethically/morally indefensible. The biological version of personhood is fatally flawed; there’s just far more to personhood(indeed there are entire books on personhood alone; perhaps you should pick some up and read them?) then species membership exactly as I demonstrated in the original post. You have failed so completely in defending the biological version of anti-abortion argument that it’s bizarre, to me at least, for the following reason. When I’ve debated people who espouse the biological version of the anti-abortion position they are usually well aware of the flaws of the biological approach to personhood, the lack of proper derivation of the moral principle involved, etc etc, and they usually are testing to see whether I know that it’s flawed too. Then usually they bring forth their “actual” argument which tends to be quite fallacious but much better and more clever than the biological version. It’s almost like you’ve not researched this topic at all, and instead have only had superficial discussions about this topic in the past or that you’re summarizing what you’ve heard at a seminar or something. Anyways, it doesn’t really matter. Hopefully, at the minimum, you’ve been enlightened that the subject is quite deep and that many common arguments against abortion are so weak no one defends them successfully. As an aside, I’m curious, what do you do for a living? Does it have any bearing on medicine or ethics? Are you religious perchance? If so, are you one of those “fundamentalists” ie someone who thinks the earth is 6K-10K yrs old or a creationist? I ask because it always helps me when I can calibrate my arguments, that is, if I understand the background knowledge of the person/audience(given this is freethought website, I assume quite a bit about commenters knowledge base) ie if the debate were about chemistry then it would help to know how much you actually knew about the subject so that my replies would at least explain concepts/ideas/arguments that you have not heard of, say for example, MO theory.

    Cheers

  130. says

    Oh, I’m watching this thread. It’s amusing me greatly. And for what it’s worth, they do have different IPs.

  131. Kaleberg says

    Please stop calling them anti-choice, they’re the death to women crowd and should be called that.

  132. Jeri says

    You are still defining personhood based upon what “most people” consider the “dividing line”. That’s an acceptable philosophical approach (quasi-relativism) but by accepting majority opinion as the benchmark of morality you must also accept that “most people” think that abortion on demand is wrong. This immediately renders your argument impotent.

    Your “argument” was a two legged stool from the get go and now you’ve gone and kicked one of the legs out.

    Try to reformulate your argument removing any appeals to popular opinion and you might be able to overcome the internal inconsistencies.

    Check out Singer’s attempt to reconcile this. He was no more successful than you but he was at least internally consistent.

  133. az says

    You are still defining personhood based upon what “most people” consider the “dividing line”. That’s an acceptable philosophical approach (quasi-relativism) but by accepting majority opinion as the benchmark of morality you must also accept that “most people” think that abortion on demand is wrong. This immediately renders your argument impotent.

    You’re quite confused and wrong to boot. I’m not defining personhood(i’m attacking the biological approach to personhood that you espouse and fail to defend). And remember, I don’t even have to have an approach to personhood to attack your fallacious approach to personhood. Indeed, this is just an elementary principle of rational discourse; if we are debating a theory of gravity, I don’t have to have a sound theory of gravity in order to show or demonstrate that your theory of gravity is dreadfully wrong. Personhood is a complex topic not left to one line summaries(though it could, though I’m doubtful, be enlightening for you to have my position more fleshed out; my position is in line with M. Tooley’s position, which you can read about in the literature or in his books, and is a rights based approach basically deontological/neo-lockean; you’ll note in my original post at the end I did mention rights and I thought that was a dead give away for a rights based approach apparently I thought incorrectly). What the exercise teases out is that what makes people people has something to do with their mental life. This doesn’t define personhood as only X, this exercises demonstrates at least one important characteristic of personhood is X. It’s important to read carefully. Here’s the full quote:

    What this exercise teases out is an intuition that what makes it morally wrong to kill or let someone die has something to do with an organism’s mental life.

    Note specifically the this means that what’s important has something to do with an organism’s mental life. Species membership dooms the biological approach to personhood yet to remove species membership would with some work essentially yield a version of personhood used in either the liberal or moderate abortion position. Indeed, once more, you’ve offered no defense, which is not surprising since it’s an incoherent position.

    Your “argument” was a two legged stool from the get go and now you’ve gone and kicked one of the legs out.

    Try to reformulate your argument removing any appeals to popular opinion and you might be able to overcome the internal inconsistencies.

    Again, you’re quite confused in this quote too, but first let’s finish with the objection in the first quote that there is an appeal to opinion. There’s a difference between empirical evidence and popularity. It’s important not to confuse the two. Now, I think it’s important that I be explicit given your apparent unfamiliarity with this subject. The exercise teases out important properties needed for personhood. The objection that this is somehow an appeal to popular opinion is so weak that I’m surprised you’re making it(then again given your argumentation so far perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised). It’s trivially easy for me to obtain the conclusion that a mental life is important without using this exercise(which I’ll do next). The exercise was to demonstrate some of what one would find in the literature if one actually was interested in learning more. In any case, a trivially easy way to tease out the same conclusion is to analyze what is done concerning patients who meet the clinical definition of brain death. If such patients are receiving supportive treatment or life-support then all such patients have their support withdrawn. This is an empirical fact based on medical evidence, not based on intuition or anything to do with popularity(to be rigorous, there are no persons who are kept alive once clinically diagnosed with brain death, save those who’s organs would be donated). Again, this counterfactual demolishes your notion that there is some sort of non-empirical fact involved in the discovery that a mental life is critical to an organism. It’s simply a medical fact that once one meets the clinical criteria for brain death one would lose the ability to maintain homeostasis in addition to losing their psychological capacities even if they could maintain perfusion, and that all such patients are treated accordingly. Furthermore, the argument as I mentioned before is multipronged: the basic moral principle involved in the biological version of the anti-abortion argument is not a basic moral principle, the moral principle in fact can only be derived from some other version of the anti-abortion argument each of which is unsound, and the biological approach to personhood is fatally flawed. Frankly, none of your responses have defended the biological version successfully. And finally, you out yourself so thoroughly it’s embarrassing. Read what the liberal position or even the moderate abortion actually is and what it commits one to defend. Note, it does not commit one to defend the extreme abortion position(which you apparently are totally ignorant of otherwise you wouldn’t confuse it for liberal or moderate position) that is the position that one can abort anytime during gestation. The liberal/moderate views and the extreme abortion view are literally different positions; I even mentioned a post that there are 4 broad positions the extreme anti-abortion view, the extreme abortion view, the liberal view, and the moderate view. The liberal or moderate abortion positions are themselves arguments against what’s known as the extreme abortion view. I mean this is simply definitional. I’ll say it again the liberal and moderate positions are against the extreme abortion position, full stop. Thus, since I’m defending the liberal or moderate position, your assertion on what I must accept is so bizarre that I have to question your competence.

    Check out Singer’s attempt to reconcile this. He was no more successful than you but he was at least internally consistent.

    Yikes, I’m quite familiar with Singer’s approach, he has an internally consistent approach unlike say your incoherent position, but his position is quite unsound too given his act-utilitarianism. And given you’re familiar with Singer I’m sure you’re aware of how he deals with the well known criticisms of act-utilitarianism. Though in case you’re unaware(to be honest, a highly likely proposition), I’ll spell it out for you; Singer just dismisses the criticisms because they require unusual circumstances to demonstrate that act-utilitarianism is flawed which is to say he does not give much of a defense at all. Now, since you brought him up, I’ll assume you’ve read some of his books which specifically deal with the abortion topic. And given that you know something about his position, I find it supremely bizarre that you note that Singer attempts to “reconcile this.” It’s frankly amusing. Singer is an utilitarian, and you’re familiar with what that means concerning rights-based approaches. Here’s a hint if you don’t know anything about utilitarianism: they don’t think right’s are normative concepts in metaethics. Hence, it’s impossible for him to reconcile a rights-based approach, which is the approach that I favor and that only act-utilitarians use his approach but the act of using act-utilitarianism opens one up to other objections that render their original argument mute. Once again, your responses have failed to defend the biological version. Indeed, your responses do have a certain air to them. In reading your responses, what I find is someone who’s astonishingly ignorant of relatively straightforward and well known arguments. Nothing I’ve presented is frankly novel(I’m tempted to say why don’t you write up your anti-abortion argument and submit it for publication in a bioethical journal; given the liberal position is the dominant position and there have been zero successful anti-abortion arguments, your anti-abortion argument, naturally given you think it’s right, should really shake things up), and none of it is a rigorous treatment; they require no expertise and someone with a lay interest in the subject could easily master them. Yet your responses are so wildly off and out of “left field” that it’s almost like you have the barest of familiarity with the topic(I mentioned Shelly Kagan, and he’s also an utilitarian but his approach actually can be made to fit with a deontological approach which is why I said he was interesting; perhaps you got confused because I mentioned him and so you brought up Singer). Given the former, I must reiterate again, as an aside, what do you do for a living?? Does it have any bearing on medicine or ethics?? Are you religious perchance? If so, are you one of those “fundamentalists” ie someone who thinks the earth is 6K-10K yrs old or an old earth creationist??

    Cheers

  134. Jeri says

    You just made the same mistake again. But this time you’ve appealed to the way “all such patients are treated” as some kind of moral arbiter -the “everbody’s doing it so it must be right” approach to morality.

    I shouldn’t have to explain to someone of your obvious intellect why this is a philosophical non-starter.

    Perhaps you could begin by defining personhood based solely upon human attributes and not what other people think about those attributes.

  135. Dianne says

    Perhaps you could begin by defining personhood based solely upon human attributes

    So what attribute or attributes do you believe define personhood? I notice that you backed off of your earlier description of 46 chromosomes, a defined sex, hands and feet pretty quickly when it was pointed out to you that it wasn’t particularly tenable. Go ahead, give a definition. You must have a pretty strong one to be willing to spend so much time trying to convince strangers that you’re right and must be pretty desperate to get it accepted to get so angry as to insult the very people you’re in principle trying to convince. So, what is it? I’d be much more willing to consider the sogenannter “pro-life” movement’s arguments if they’d ever give a strong, consistent definition of “personhood” that was based on something other than their own prejudices.

  136. says

    Hardly inappropriate at all. SGK made a bad decision and backed it up with bullshit and inconsistent logic. There was no good reason NOT to protest, and it’s actually commendable that someone in Congress got involved because it indicates that at least some congresscritters actually care about womens’ issues.

  137. az says

    You just made the same mistake again. But this time you’ve appealed to the way “all such patients are treated” as some kind of moral arbiter -the “everbody’s doing it so it must be right” approach to morality.

    Lolz, once again you leave me flabbergasted. I didn’t “appeal to how to such patients are treated.” The “all such patients are treated” is a rejoinder to an earlier analogy I used concerning the theory of phlogiston! Honestly, did you not understand the analogy?? Before, I explain the example in greater detail let me first explain the rejoinder. Now, remember, the earlier post: I noted that the reason all chemists say the phlogiston theory is wrong is not because all such chemists say so. This would be eminently circular. The reason they say the phlogiston theory is wrong is because phlogiston, as a fact of chemistry and physics and biology, does not exist as Lavoisier demonstrated. Similarly, when I said all such patients are treated such and such is not to make an appeal to popular opinion; it’s to emphasize the same notion that I used in the chemistry analogy, that the reason all such patients are treated in such a way is because of the medical evidence. Now back to the example I used, it is a reflection of a medical fact which is undeniable by anyone. I’ll go over this once again. The phenomenon of clinical brain death is a medical fact, it establishes that a person does not have the ability to maintain homeostasis on their own(patients have a wide variety of problems some of which are not being able to respirate to not being able to perfuse) and that they have lost their psychological capacities permanently. The fact of permanence is critical; patients diagnosed as having brain death are not like patients who have had some temporary insult. Thus, it’s simply a medical fact that with brain death one loses psychological capacities and these psychological capacities are facts about persons that need accounting for(I’ll explain the process below).

    I shouldn’t have to explain to someone of your obvious intellect why this is a philosophical non-starter.

    Look, I’m not saying the following as an attack. I’m probably no more intellectually adept than the average person. I just happen to be more knowledge in some areas; you’re probably more knowledgeable in other areas; Jen is more knowledge in yet other areas and so forth. Now, what I do know is that it’s simply an empirical fact that there are no philosophically defensive anti-abortion positions. In fact, the philosophical debate has reached the point where bioethicists/philosophers openly state that the ultimate decision between the only defensible philosophical positions(the moderate and liberal ones) will be decided by the scientific evidence. So, when one makes an anti-abortion argument, in particularly, one of the most flawed approaches, I think one should look into the topic in more depth to see if their approach has been tried and if it was successful. Now, I don’t think you’re a crank, but let me use the example of a crank in science; a common practice among scientists is to reply to cranks and simply tell them to write up and publish their work. If they are sure they are right and that something has been missed or that they have discovered something that others have missed then why not publish it; you can’t be wrong, can you? Now, I don’t know if you’re a crank, I think not. What I gather from your responses is that you’re ignorant of this topic, to a profound degree. You obviously have a position, but it’s incoherent. I mean I mentioned Marquis because at least he has a coherent anti-abortion argument. Furthermore, he’s an atheist; there’s no theistic cognitive bias involved in his argument. The only problem is that there are so many flaws to his argument, but at least, it has the virtue of being clever. For you to even imply that a deontolgoical approach to both personhood/abortion is non-starter is to quote a famous physicist not even wrong.

    Perhaps you could begin by defining personhood based solely upon human attributes and not what other people think about those attributes.

    I’m going to repeat myself, but I haven’t defined personhood. I only pointed out one relevant characteristic that is ignored by the biological approach to personhood and showed that one can derive that characteristic without any appeals to opinion; indeed, the characteristic of persons to have a mental life is an empirical fact that must be dealt with in any account of personhood. See, I don’t know how much you know about this topic so I don’t know where to start. If one wants to define personhood, one is going to have to account for certain empirical facts about being a person. A quick analogy in chemistry, sulfur is a non-metal. Any account of sulfurhood(the state of being sulfur) would have to explain it’s yellow color at room temp., it’s noxious odor when gaseous, it’s oxidation states and so forth(these are all empirical observations about sulfur, similarly that persons have a mental life is an empirical observation full stop). Now, physical chemistry provides the account of those empirical facts, for example, MO theory can account for the yellow color(a spectroscopic property) of sulfur at room temperature. Similarly when I demonstrate that persons have a mental life, any account of personhood would have to account for that empirical fact. Put another way, species membership(the core of the biological approach) has absurd conclusions. Since every cell in my body that has my dna or had my dna(like RBCs) would be a member of species Homo sapiens then on species membership, one is logically entailed to say that these cells are persons, but though these cells are members of species Homo sapiens(they have the relevant dna) they certainly aren’t persons. What is demonstrated is a reductio in the biological account of personhood because the biological account cannot, on it’s own, distinguish between things that have a mental life(say me) and those that don’t(say a cardiac cell). Furthermore, the problems for your approach to personhood multiply because you’d have to account for agency(in the lit. it’s generally defined as beings that have thoughts or desires, both of which are temporal states ie have duration), awareness, and other things. Let me bring up Marquis, he discards the biological approach to personhood and prefers the future value approach to personhood but in doing so he loses the right to life of a fetus and replaces it with the value of fetus. Now, from an abortion perspective and anti-abortion perspective, value is a much weaker criterion than right(s). I think you can, hopefully, see more clearly that cliches are in general impotent in the abortion debate; it’s best to avoid them.

    Moving on, my argument was an attack on your biological conception of personhood. I’m really not required to have a position on personhood in order to attack another position on personhood. Now, once again, what I’m going to say isn’t a slight, but I’m not sure you’d understand Tooley’s approach to personhood, which unlike the biological approach is defensible. The reason I think you wouldn’t be able to follow it is not because you’re incapable but because it requires some familiarity(honestly not a lot but some) with the broad positions on personhood, and given your previous posts, I highly doubt you’re actually familiar with them. For example, what do you know about personal identity theory, identity theory, psychological continuity, division/fission, and the principle of transitivity? See Tooley is an interactionist dualist(something he could be wrong about) but his approach to ethics is rights based(deonotology is defensive with some work) but also neo-lockean. Now neo-lockean views do get attacked, specifically, the reliance on continuity. However, critics usually don’t understand the neo-lockean position on psychological continuity and what it really entails. For example to quote Tooley directly, do neo-lockean persons exist only as long as certain capacities such as the capacities for consciousness, thought, self-consciousness, and rationality continue to exist? Critics think the answer is yes, but the answer is actually no, that is, as Tooley states a neo-lockean person can continue to exist even after said capacities have all been completely destroyed say by a stroke to the relevant structures of the brain, all that really matters on a neo-lockean concept of a person is that those states that according to such a concept underlie personal identity and personal survival continue to exist, as long as states exist that could in the future give rise to relations of psychological connectives and continuity with the states in the earlier temporary slice of persisting subject of experiences the relevant neo-lockean person continues to exist. When it is explained it renders mute some of their objections mute. A more superficially plausible objection is the case of division, however, there are neo-lockean responses to that too(see D. Parfit). In any case, one doesn’t even need a neo-lockean approach to defend the liberal or moderate abortion position(see Thomson, who’s certainly not neo-lockean).

    Cheers

  138. Jeri says

    So in order to be considered a person one must be able to “maintain homeostasis”?

    Az, when my dear mother suffered from multiple organ failure she lost the ability to maintain homeostasis. Yet never did anyone consider her to no longer be a person.

    Once again your appeal to “medical fact” is internally inconsistent. (Your subsequent attempt to patch this gaping hole with metaphysics notwithstanding).

  139. az says

    So in order to be considered a person one must be able to “maintain homeostasis”?

    I’m going to repeat myself once again, but I haven’t defined personhood. I only pointed out one relevant characteristic that is ignored by the biological approach to personhood and showed that one can derive that characteristic without any appeals to opinion; indeed, the characteristic of persons to have a mental life is an empirical fact that must be dealt with in any account of personhood. Thus, I had demolished your contention that I was appealing to opinion. It was trivially easy to do so given your weak responses.

    Az, when my dear mother suffered from multiple organ failure she lost the ability to maintain homeostasis. Yet never did anyone consider her to no longer be a person.

    I must say as an aside, I actually am beginning to have fun. Your arguments/responses are so profoundly bad they elicit laughter(at least on my part). You know it’s an interesting case you bring up namely MODS and MOFS(terrible to treat). Once again, you display your ignorance for all to see. There’s a perfectly good reason no one failed to consider her a person. Want to know why? Well maybe you don’t ;). It’s because multiple organ failure is not brain death. I mean, are really you this ignorant?? This is simply definitional. Here I’ll help you out some(not that it will help but that it may enlighten some of the others who read this thread). Both MOFS and brain death are clinical diagnoses. They each have their own criteria. Brain death is defined as the irreversible cessation of all cerebral hemisphere and brainstem function. Note, this is not MOFS. Thus, she still possessed relevant characteristics of personhood and was considered a person. The relevant neurological criteria needed for the diagnosis of MOFS would be to have a glasgow coma scale level <6(in the absence of sedation). Note, that this neurological criteria for MOFS differs massively from someone who has irreversible cessation of all cerebral hemisphere and brainstem function. Concerning brain death, one must show among many things: coma/complete unresponsiveness(except for spinally mediated reflexes), absent pupillary light/corneal/oculocephalic/oculovestibular/oropharyngeal reflexes, apnea, the presence of an irreversible underlying pathology, and other criteria(+/- a confirmatory EEG if the situation requires it). Also, again for the benefit of others, if you are ever diagnosed with MOFS then transplant surgeons cannot remove your organs. The reason being, among other things, is that in order to harvest a patients organs they have to be diagnosed clinically brain dead. Put another way, a diagnosis of MOFS is not a diagnosis of clinical brain death. As an aside, all I can say is that I'm glad I don't live in Jeri's nightmare world, where MOFS/MODS is the same thing as clinical brain death(whew!). However a virtue of her nightmare world would be the availability of many more organs. Though given the paucity of argument and plethora of ignorance displayed in her replies, she just may believe that we do live in that world.

    Once again your appeal to “medical fact” is internally inconsistent. (Your subsequent attempt to patch this gaping hole with metaphysics notwithstanding).

    Once again, I showed your response to be ignorant and incorrect. The medical fact stands; your appeals objection is trivially defeated. Your defensive of the biological approach to personhood continues to be fatally flawed. Furthermore, your defense of the biological version of the anti-abortion argument continues to be unsound. I must reiterate this once again, what do you even do for a living?? Does it have any bearing on medicine or ethics?? Are you religious perchance? If so, are you one of those “fundamentalists” ie someone who thinks the earth is 6K-10K yrs old or an old earth creationist??

    Cheers :)

  140. Jeri says

    Ok, so you’ve abandoned the whole “homeostasis” argument. That’s good.

    But you are back to your old argument which centers around the idea that a child with no functioning cerebrum has no right to life because “most people” consider him or her to not be a person.

    All you have is an arbitrary demarcation and an appeal to majority opinion. Why should any rational person take you seriously?

    You claim that a baby with a functioning brainstem and a nonexistent cerebrum has no “mental life”. But this is true only if you arbitrarily define mental life as those mental faculties which are controlled by the cerebrum. Why should any rational person take your tautological reasoning seriously?

    Here’s an idea, az. Your attempts thus far have been marked by internal inconsistency, arbitrariness, illogic, appeals to majority opinion, and tautology. Try just answering this simple ‘fill-in-the-blank’ exercise and perhaps we can get a logical argument out of you.

    “I (state your name) believe that a healthy, innocent child in the womb has no right to live because______________________”

  141. az says

    Ok, so you’ve abandoned the whole “homeostasis” argument. That’s good.

    Once again you expose your lack of comprehension. I never “abandoned” homeostatsis. Indeed, this is elementary logic. An inability to maintain homeostasis is an element of clinical brain death but is not the whole of clinical brain exactly as I showed before. Let’s note the original quote:

    It’s simply a medical fact that once one meets the clinical criteria for brain death one would lose the ability to maintain homeostasis in addition to losing their psychological capacities even if they could maintain perfusion, and that all such patients are treated accordingly.

    The irreversible cessation of all cerebral hemisphere and brainstem function would lead one to be unable to maintain homeostasis and lose their psychological capacities. Note the words “in addition.” Are you functionally illiterate??? The medical fact still stands, and your response falls short once again. :D

    But you are back to your old argument which centers around the idea that a child with no functioning cerebrum has no right to life because “most people” consider him or her to not be a person.

    You’re quite wrong once again. The medical facts stands, and there are no appeals to “most people” as I have demonstrated repeatedly. The empirical fact that patients diagnosed with clinical brain death do not have psychological capacities has thoroughly demolished your biological species membership claim to personhood. Indeed, it does so easily.

    All you have is an arbitrary demarcation and an appeal to majority opinion. Why should any rational person take you seriously?

    There is nothing arbitrary about saying the lose of psychological capacities means the lack of having a mental life. Furthermore, there was no majority appeal. It’s just an empirical fact about people. Now, rational people shouldn’t take you seriously. Indeed, no one who has espoused the biological approach to both anti-abortion and personhood has ever been able to show it’s sound. Indeed, the former and latter approaches are so hopelessly bad that it’s bizarre to actually see them openly espoused. Thus, in your case at least, I’m convinced that rational people would not take you seriously. Here’s a thought, why don’t you write up your position and get it published in a bioethical journal? Honestly, if you’ve found something that bioethicists have really missed then why don’t you publish your work so that they can be made aware of the advancements you’ve discovered. Lol now granted, you may be able to convince the irrational(it is a bit like preaching to the choir for you), but I don’t consider that a virtue, given that the irrational can be convinced of many unsound things. Indeed, I’m more convinced than ever that the Dunning–Kruger effect is applicable to you. As such I must ask again, what do you even do for a living? Does it have any bearing on medicine or ethics? Are you religious perchance? If so, are you one of those “fundamentalists” ie someone who thinks the earth is 6K-10K yrs old or an old earth creationist?

    You claim that a baby with a functioning brainstem and a nonexistent cerebrum has no “mental life”. But this is true only if you arbitrarily define mental life as those mental faculties which are controlled by the cerebrum. Why should any rational person take your tautological reasoning seriously?

    LOL, your knowledge of medicine must as atrocious as your knowledge of ethics. Are you really this ignorant???? As an aside, do you seriously believe that our brainstem has psychological capacities?! LOL. Ok, this is the first time I’ve ever read a statement like that, LOL. You’re even more ignorant than I could have possibly believed. Here’s an exercise, name one mental or psychological capacity that persons have that exists within the brainstem? I’m making it sooo easy, just name one, only one. See, if you can’t name even 1 mental/psychological capacity that is within the brainstem then I, by definition, am not being arbitrary. I can only be arbitrary if you provide a mental/psychological capacity that is only within the brainstem and then I say “well I’m ignoring that.” So, now another task you have is to provide the capacity that is present in the brainstem only. I’m waiting with baited breath(I’ll make note in your next reply, and frankly I am giddy to see what you’ll actually come up with :D). Here’s a news flash: we know quite a bit about the structures and capacities of the brainstem, the spinothalamic tracts that pass through the brainstem on their way to the thalamus in the cerebrum!, the ascending reticular activating system which terminates on the the thalamus and cerebral cortex(both of which are in the cerebrum!), the location and function of cranial nuclei, and the innervation of said cranial nuclei from the cerebrum!(lolz like say the trigeminal), and much much more. The reason why rational people take my position seriously is that unlike your views/positions mine are not fallacious. It’s just not more complicated than that. ;) As an aside, at first I was just flabbergasted at your ignorance but now it’s actual amusing and fun; your replies are a bit like the game wack-a-mole, but instead of wacking moles I wack fallacious responses. Where is the fallacious argument going to pop up next?!

    Here’s an idea, az. Your attempts thus far have been marked by internal inconsistency, arbitrariness, illogic, appeals to majority opinion, and tautology. Try just answering this simple ‘fill-in-the-blank’ exercise and perhaps we can get a logical argument out of you.

    I must remark once again that your responses have be so abysmal that it borders on functional illiteracy. My responses have easily rebutted your biological anti-abortion argument and demolished the biological approach to personhood that you have used. Just to catalog a few of the many errors in reasoning: the outright ignorance of basic empirical facts like psychological capacities resident in our cerebrums, the further error of not being able to account for said capacities in your own biological account of personhood, the inability to understand simple definitions, your confusion of MOFS with brain death, your failure to comprehend the continuum exercise, your laughable assertion that utilitarians could square a rights-based, the lack of a basic moral principle espoused in your biological anti-abortion argument, and the inability to derive the moral principle espoused in your biological anti-abortion approach without an appeal to other fallacious anti-abortion approaches to name a few. All in all, one can only say as Pauli did, you’re not even wrong.

    “I (state your name) believe that a healthy, innocent child in the womb has no right to live because__”

    Here I’ll answer your question if you answer my elementary question that I asked first. If an organism is a member of a species, say Homo sapiens, is it a person simply because of it’s biology? :)

    Cheers!

  142. Lancer says

    Just a bunch of libs complaining about OPM (other people’s money) again. Congress should have no say in what a PRIVATE charity does with its funds. Just because libs believe that their taxes count as charity doesn’t mean that they have the right to tell charities (which are mostly funded with Conservative money.) If SGK chooses to cave to Planned Parenthood, those who do not believe in the practices of PP should withhold their donations. Rather, they should give to the American Cancer Society instead. Libs – you have your hands too much in the pockets of US citizens. Don’t think you can tell us where to put our charity dollars, especially since you fail to donate yourselves.

  143. Jeri says

    Anencephalic babies have all sorts of mental life. Some react to pain, some cry, some respond to various stimuli, albeit in a very rudimentary way.

    You’ve said it’s ok to kill them. But luckily the US constitution, and US law, disagrees with you.

    So not only are you continually inconsistent with yourself, you are inconsistent with most every authority that actually matters.

    As for your question to me, biology is a big part of it but by no means the only part.

    So tell us, az. Why do you think innocent, healthy children in the womb have no right to live?

  144. az says

    Anencephalic babies have all sorts of mental life. Some react to pain, some cry, some respond to various stimuli, albeit in a very rudimentary way.

    LOL, pain reflexes are now equivalent to having a mental life. The world you live in is interesting indeed! This is perhaps the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard concerning anecephalics. Are you this deluded??? You are aware that pain reflexes are spinally mediated. Thus, that anencephalics react to pain is not evidence of anything other than that they have a spinal cord! I love this, it’s getting too easy now. In your bizarre world, all that is required to have a mental life is to have a functioning spinal cord. Now for more things you’re probably ignorant of pain and temperature sensation is mediate by first order neurons whose cell bodies are present within the DRG, the second order neurons have cell bodies within the dorsal horn of the spinal cord and project to the thalamus and the third order neurons present in the thalamus project via the posterior limb of the internal capsule to the somatesthetic cortex of the postcentral gyrus(in the cerebrum!). Anencephalics don’t have a postcentral gyri!! LOL, honestly are you even trying to make an argument anymore. You’ve also mentioned that they cry and respond to various stimuli. HERE’s another news flash for you: all that shows is that they have a brainstem/spinal cord! LOL, I mean, crying in newborns is a reflex! All you’ve shown is that they have intact reflexes!! Here’s another reflex anencephalics will have: the babinski reflex(dorsiflexion of the big toe/toes). That they have a babinski sign is not evidence that they have a mental life Furthermore, the reflex unlike in healthy newborns will be permanent. DO you know why? It’s because after about 2 years of age, the lateral cortiocospinal tract has myelinated to a degree to suppress the babinski sign. Thus, you have now failed to offer even one, just one, mental/psychological capacity that exists within the brainstem. LOL :D, as an aside, I was not expecting that you would equate reflexes to having a mental life. I look forward to the next installment of wake a fallacious argument :D. I’ll be waiting with baited breadth for you to provide an actual mental/psychological capacity that is found only in the brainstem in your next reply.

    You’ve said it’s ok to kill them. But luckily the US constitution, and US law, disagrees with you.

    Again, you’re quite confused. It’s a theme with you, but not unexpected :D. One doesn’t have to kill anencephalics. They die all on their own. The incidence of anencephalics is roughly 1 in every 1K births, and they typically die within minutes to days if they aren’t already dead on delivery. Also, note once again how internally inconsistent you are. We do kill them if we do NOT institute resuscitation on anencephalics. If your contention that we don’t kill them is correct then given they are 1 in 1K birth there should be wards FILLED with anencephalics who are on respirators receiving TPN, pediatric surgeons should routinely be taking anencephalics into the OR to put in g-tube or g-j tubes for feedings, they should be on pressors and a host of other measures. BUT low and behold, we don’t have find this! PICUs are filled with short gut syndrome, pyloric stenosis, malrotation, volvulus, intussusception, atresias, but the number of anencephalics is surprisingly low.

    So not only are you continually inconsistent with yourself, you are inconsistent with most every authority that actually matters.

    I’ve showed all your positions to be fallacious and inconsistent. Furthermore, the supreme court agrees with me concerning abortion(but to be honest, I’d still be correct if they didn’t agree with me). In addition, we don’t resuscitate anenecphalic unless we want to harvest organs(obviously after they have met the clinically criteria for brain death). GEE, we routinely do not resuscitate. In your bizarre world, the reason must be because we think they are persons ie we withhold treatment because they are persons. Eeekk, as I said before and will say again, I’m very glad I don’t live in your world.

    As for your question to me, biology is a big part of it but by no means the only part.

    So tell us, az. Why do you think innocent, healthy children in the womb have no right to live?

    OH my!!! I can’t believe it! YES!! Jeri, honestly, it did it really have to this hard to get you to answer that question! LOL oh my goodness. To be honest, given, your previous posts, I was sure you would not agree. Finally. Ok :). Well, now given your answer you’ve totally conceded the biological approach to anti-abortion and also the biological approach to personhood. I have won conclusively ,and the answer to you question is mute. Remember, I hold to the liberal position! To make this explicit, you have to consider the right of the fetus once they have achieved the relevant psychological and physical capacities(these are now scientific questions). Note, this right to life occurs before birth. See this is progress Jeri. We’ve, after a few posts, made progress. I did have fun :). As an aside, I’d really like to know: are you creationist or religious(I mean this is a freethought blog, but it doesn’t seem likely that you’re an atheist)?? If you want a clever anti-abortion argument check out Don Marquis; it’s a total non-religious argument; it has problems, but at least it’s clever. It focuses on the future value of a person; it’s not exactly rights based, but the future value approach is worth knowing.

    Take care,
    Cheers!

  145. az says

    Anencephalic babies have all sorts of mental life. Some react to pain, some cry, some respond to various stimuli, albeit in a very rudimentary way.

    LOL, pain reflexes are now equivalent to having a mental life. The world you live in is interesting indeed! This is perhaps the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard concerning anecephalics. Are you this deluded??? You are aware that pain reflexes are spinally mediated. Thus, that anencephalics react to pain is not evidence of anything other than that they have a spinal cord! I love this, it’s getting too easy now. In your bizarre world, all that is required to have a mental life is to have a functioning spinal cord. Now for more things you’re probably ignorant of pain and temperature sensation is mediate by first order neurons whose cell bodies are present within the DRG, the second order neurons have cell bodies within the dorsal horn of the spinal cord and project to the thalamus and the third order neurons present in the thalamus project via the posterior limb of the internal capsule to the somatesthetic cortex of the postcentral gyrus(in the cerebrum!). Anencephalics don’t have a postcentral gyri!! LOL, honestly are you even trying to make an argument anymore. You’ve also mentioned that they cry and respond to various stimuli. HERE’s another news flash for you: all that shows is that they have a brainstem/spinal cord! LOL, I mean, crying in newborns is a reflex! All you’ve shown is that they have intact reflexes!! Here’s another reflex anencephalics will have: the babinski reflex(dorsiflexion of the big toe/toes). That they have a babinski sign is not evidence that they have a mental life Furthermore, the reflex unlike in healthy newborns will be permanent. DO you know why? It’s because after about 2 years of age, the lateral cortiocospinal tract has myelinated to a degree to suppress the babinski sign. Thus, you have now failed to offer even one, just one, mental/psychological capacity that exists within the brainstem. LOL :D, as an aside, I was not expecting that you would equate reflexes to having a mental life. I look forward to the next installment of wake a fallacious argument :D. I’ll be waiting with baited breadth for you to provide an actual mental/psychological capacity that is found only in the brainstem in your next reply.

    You’ve said it’s ok to kill them. But luckily the US constitution, and US law, disagrees with you.

    Again, you’re quite confused. It’s a theme with you, but not unexpected :D. One doesn’t have to kill anencephalics. They die all on their own. The incidence of anencephalics is roughly 1 in every 1K births, and they typically die within minutes to days if they aren’t already dead on delivery. Also, note once again how internally inconsistent you are. We do kill them if we do NOT institute resuscitation on anencephalics. If your contention that we don’t kill them is correct then given they are 1 in 1K birth there should be wards FILLED with anencephalics who are on respirators receiving TPN, pediatric surgeons should routinely be taking anencephalics into the OR to put in g-tube or g-j tubes for feedings, they should be on pressors and a host of other measures. BUT low and behold, we don’t have find this! PICUs are filled with short gut syndrome, pyloric stenosis, malrotation, volvulus, intussusception, atresias, but the number of anencephalics is surprisingly low.

    So not only are you continually inconsistent with yourself, you are inconsistent with most every authority that actually matters.

    I’ve showed all your positions to be fallacious and inconsistent. Furthermore, the supreme court agrees with me concerning abortion(but to be honest, I’d still be correct if they didn’t agree with me). In addition, we don’t resuscitate anenecphalic unless we want to harvest organs(obviously after they have met the clinically criteria for brain death). GEE, we routinely do not resuscitate. In your bizarre world, the reason must be because we think they are persons ie we withhold treatment because they are persons. Eeekk, as I said before and will say again, I’m very glad I don’t live in your world.

    As for your question to me, biology is a big part of it but by no means the only part.

    So tell us, az. Why do you think innocent, healthy children in the womb have no right to live?

    OH my!!! I can’t believe it! YES!! Jeri, honestly, it did it really have to this hard to get you to answer that question! LOL oh my goodness. To be honest, given, your previous posts, I was sure you would not agree. Finally. Ok :). Well, now given your answer you’ve totally conceded the biological approach to anti-abortion and also the biological approach to personhood. I have won conclusively ,and the answer to you question is mute. Remember, I hold to the liberal position! To make this explicit, you have to consider the right of the fetus once they have achieved the relevant psychological and physical capacities(these are now scientific questions). Note, this right to life occurs before birth. See this is progress Jeri. We’ve, after a few posts, made progress. I did have fun :). As an aside, I’d really like to know: are you creationist or religious(I mean this is a freethought blog, but it doesn’t seem likely that you’re an atheist)?? If you want a clever anti-abortion argument check out Don Marquis; it’s a total non-religious argument; it has problems, but at least it’s clever. It focuses on the future value of a person; it’s not exactly rights based, but the future value approach is worth knowing.

    Take care,
    Cheers!

    Sorry this is a double post jen, is it possible for you to delete comment 48? If not, it’s fine, but I want to reply to the appropriate comment tree.

  146. Jeri says

    Lol! Az, it’s over. Finito. You were knocked out in the last round! Did that haymaker hit you so hard that you don’t even remember it? Lol! No problem! I’ve got a slo-mo instant replay for you.

    Remember that the lynch-pin of your argument was that it was ok to kill anancephalic babies, and that most rational people agreed with you.

    After repeatedly showing you how internally inconsistent this is I revealed to you that under the law, anencephalic babies are given equal protection under the constitution. In fact, they are actually considered PERSONS! There was a big kerfuffle about this very issue back in the 90’s regarding organ harvesting – long story short, the medical establishment decided not to pursue a change in public policy due to:

    A) The dangers of the slippery slope
    B) The difficulty ascertaining brain death in infants, and (get ready…here comes the haymaker)
    C) The question of whether anencephalic babies feel pain was deemed ambiguous.

    Ouch. That had to hurt, but you know what they say: A debater who doesn’t know his history is like a fighter wearing an eye patch. You can expect to never even see the knockout blow coming.

    So now is not the time, az, for you to start swinging wildly. Now is the time when we meet in the center of the ring, the referee raises my arm above my head, we hug and tell each other thanks and good effort and all that.

  147. Jeri says

    Btw, I noticed early in our discussion that you bear nearly all of the hallmarks of Asperger’s Syndrome. I’ve had years of experience working with adults with all manner of pervasive developmental disorders and I’d love to ask you a few questions about your experience. Would that be ok?

  148. Rozy Ann Palmer says

    If you think this is bad wait until you see this. I was horrified and mortified. We are all so busy picking apart the small stuff that the big horrifying facts pass us right on by.

  149. says

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