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“Do women have too many rights?”

How I wish that question was abruptly followed by laughter or “NO.” But alas, it’s not. It’s a title of a talk being given here at the University of Washington on Thursday by anti-choicer Abby Johnson.

Yes, I do choose. I choose the answer “No.” I choose putting a woman’s right to control decisions about her own body before a clump of cells. I choose letting women make their own choices, instead of forcing my personal beliefs on them.

I guess I’ve naively been thinking that I’ve escaped this sort of stuff, but I was wrong. What’s worse is this isn’t a tiny event. That room in Kane Hall is one of the biggest venues on campus. And Abby Johnson is one of the worst anti-choicers out there. She used to work at Planned Parenthood and uses outrageous stories from her time there to explain her stance…outrageously fabricated stories. I guess her superior morals don’t cover the whole “no lying” bit.

If you’re interested, some cranky baby killing feminists will be protesting her talk. I’m not sure if my blood pressure can stand the whole thing. Anything with the trolltastic title “Do women have too many rights?” is destined to be enraging and pointless.

Comments

  1. Buffy says

    Darn uppity women wanting to be more than disposable baby machines. We need some laws about that!

  2. says

    This woman’s bio says that she has a degree in counseling. The idea that she can be out there, giving psychological help to people in vulnerable states, some of whom will doubtless be women, is absolutely infuriating.

  3. MichaelD says

    Well of course you’re completely missing out on being maids and cooks! *cough snark*

  4. carlie says

    I don’t even understand what “too many rights” would mean in practice.

  5. Eric RoM says

    It’s a meme:
    “Do BLANK have too many BLANKS?”

    First up: “Do MEN have too many rights?”

  6. unbound says

    Aren’t you supposed to be married, kicking out children and making sandwiches by now anyways? :-)

  7. mnb0 says

    When reading the title my first reaction was laughter indeed, caused by sheer bafflement.

  8. F says

    Yes, of course, waaaay too many rights, so shut up already.

    Is that how such a speech goes?

  9. aurophobia says

    When Dawkins was in town, he advocated reclaiming phrases like “pro-life” and I fully agree. We could make signs that say, “I’m Pro-Life, that’s why I support Choice/Vaccines/Comprehensive Sex Education in Public Schools”

  10. says

    I believe it was SMBC that did a comment on this (though I’ll never find it in the archives). If your talk can be compressed into the word “No,” don’t give it.

  11. Liza says

    I’m cynically convinced that Abby Johnson doesn’t believe any of what she’s saying. I mean, how much money is she making from the book deals and speaking fees she’s gotten since she had her fake little life-changing experience? I find it tough to believe that anyone who’s worked for planned parenthood would spew as much medical misinformation as she does and really believe it. I hope she has an embarrassing fall from pro-life grace.

  12. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Your problem is that you define “truth” in terms of “what is consistent with the facts and consistent logically, with the facts taking priority over logic when they conflict.”

    Wingnuts define abuse the term “truth” to mean whatever is consistent with the dogma they follow. Inconsistencies with facts and logic are irrelevant.

  13. Mark says

    I think it would be better to say “Do females have the right to kill other females?”

  14. vremevents says

    Why don’t you get a couple of those baby-killing, god-hating feminist purveyors of sin and organize a talk entitled “do christian right-wingers have too many rights?” in a nearby venue, at the same time as her talk?
    Worst case scenario, you’ll call her out on her bullshit in a very visible (not to mention funny) way. Best case scenario, you’ll totally steal her thunder, make her seem like a hypocrite and inspire a flurry of blog posts with awesome titles :)

  15. says

    A sane, rational debate about abortion wouldn’t get people on either side of the issue upset, so it wouldn’t be politically or commercially motivating. Worse yet, it might result in some sort of settlement of the issue — which, in terms of memetic evolution, means those memes would not be successful competitors for debate-space. (This implies that public debate is always likely to be dominated by issues on which at least once side is not being rational.)

  16. says

    The punctuation on that poster is atrocious.

    By “too many rights,” I suppose Abby Johnson thinks we should be allowed to consent to sex, OR decide not to have babies, but not both. I have no doubt there’ll be some MRAs who show up and start frothing about how it’s so unfair that those bitches feel free to refuse sex.

  17. says

    My first thought regarding that dim phrase “you choose;” um, no, we don’t choose. Women do not have “too many rights,” and this question is settled by evidence and logic, and not in any way settled on the choice of anyone whining and butthurt over the rights that women are still hanging on to.

  18. Brony says

    What a nice way to frame the debate in completely unrealistic terms.

    The issue is not “Do women have too many rights?”

    The issue is “Are women’s rights being denied to them?”

    From what I have seen the issue has always been one of women not getting the equal social representation that they deserve so the law has had to specify areas where assistance is needed.

    What a bunch of dishonest crap. Sadly my fellow “Holders of the sacred Y” can be easily distracted by such when they fail to give their cerebral cortexs enough control over their brain stems.

  19. sqlrob says

    Actually, that gives me an idea that could be rather fun.

    The signs won’t look too off if you make a slight edit and remove two letters.

  20. says

    It means that you have, due to a tragic miscue in early development, two right halves of your body and no left half. It occasionally happens, but usually it results in two left feet. Or so I’ve been told.

  21. Sili says

    Yeah, what the hell do you want with life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, you greedy bitches.

  22. says

    Next, them ladies will be wanting shoes. And then they be talking in church like they done schooling and such. I ain’t gonna stand for such hokum.

    To them feministist I done told them, “I’ll done give you them rights, as soon as you done give Adam back his ribs. Rib stealing harpy.”

  23. jamessweet says

    I suppose it would mean that some behavior that legitimately ought to be restricted — outright theft, let’s say — was allowed for a particular group. Like if there were a law that said non-violent theft of property under $1000 was a misdemeanor, unless you were African-American, in which case it is not a crime at all. It’s an absurd example, but if such a law existed, I suppose you could argue that African-Americans “have too many rights”. I guess. Still an odd word choice.

    A more realistic example might be people who feel that all states should have laws preventing felons from voting. They might argue that “felons have too many rights”, and it would not be strange thing to say (though I would disagree with it strongly).

    I suppose there is one class of “people” which many of those here would agree has “too many rights”: Corporations. ;p

    In any case, I agree that it’s a mostly useless phrase.

  24. says

    There’s no way to have a “sane, rational” debate that avoids hurt feelings when the issue is fundamentally about whether women are people or ambulatory baby factories. It’s okay of me to be hurt that so many people believe I should be deprived of autonomy because I have a uterus.

  25. left0ver1under says

    Since when is asking to be equal under the law (or equally paid at work) an attempt to oppress others? That’s the argument used in the southern US to justify continued bigotry against blacks, to justify denying people the right to vote.

    Equality only scares those who want and benefit from discrimination. Women are half of the people and have half the brains in this world. Why shouldn’t they have half the power and influence?

    As NOW’s old slogan said, “A man of quality is not threatened by a woman seeking equality.”

  26. Mark says

    Every human life was endowed by their creator with the right to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The males and females have the right to engage in sexual intercourse knowing that the purpose of sexual intercourse is procreation. The bodies of both genders scream baby. It is a baby making activity. No one should engage in that activity unless they are ready for the responsibility of parenthood. It is reckless and selfish to engage in the activity when you know that you have no desire to have a child. So, to give your child the death penalty for your own selfishness is a mortal sin.

  27. Jefrir says

    endowed by their creator

    [citation needed]

    The bodies of both genders scream baby.

    I’m not entirely sure what you mean by this, but women’s bodies to me scream “evolutionary kludge” when it comes to reproduction. That’s why pregnancy and birth are so damn dangerous, and part of why abortion is so very necessary.

    Also, are you really saying that you only ever have sex to have a baby, or does that consideration only apply to women?

  28. BethE says

    Your body screams baby? I would get that looked at.
    Also, you might want to think about people who cannot have children and yet, *gasp*, still have sex!

  29. Brony says

    Every human life was endowed by their creator with the right to LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    So how does this relate to women having too many rights?

    The males and females have the right to engage in sexual intercourse knowing that the purpose of sexual intercourse is procreation.

    So if that is the case what is your view on using your hands to type on a computer? Obviously that was not their intended purpose since there were no computers. Or perhaps we can choose to use our bodies for whatever we can.

    The bodies of both genders scream baby. It is a baby making activity. No one should engage in that activity unless they are ready for the responsibility of parenthood.

    So the person quoting the Declaration of Independence wants to dictate how we use our sexual organs? I think the first amendment has something to say about that since we are talking about rights and all (the argument is ultimately religious). Especially when those same organs get used for all kinds of purposes in the animal kingdom too. Just baby making? Right….

    It is reckless and selfish to engage in the activity when you know that you have no desire to have a child. So, to give your child the death penalty for your own selfishness is a mortal sin.

    The entire human enterprise is about controlling our world around us and ourselves. That logic has been used to deny people medicine, force right-handedness, even demonize lightning rods. I see no morals of value here.

  30. sqlrob says

    1) I don’t believe in sin

    2) A baby / fetus is not worth much of anything, read your own damned book

    3) Until it’s sentient and self sufficient, it’s not a child, it’s the part of the mother. Or do you also support forced organ donation?

  31. Anonymouse says

    Females? Female what? Fruit flies? Electrical connectors? Plug ends? You have to be more specific.

  32. says

    Oh, Jen, I’ve missed you.
    Your posts get me all fired up and angry!

    Now, I’ve never met this Abby person, so I suppose I shouldn’t really be judging her, but I really, really am.

  33. yoav says

    The buybull repeatedly group women with livestock so I guess that if you were to subscribe to the idea of biblical morality™ then any right a woman had but farm animals didn’t would be considered to be one too many, so no owning property, voting or deciding if and when to get pregnant, or you will make baby jesus cry.

  34. Mark says

    The comments on this blog show the failure of our school systems. Nobody on here seems to know how a male and a female body works. No one seems to understand what a body is preparing for when it is aroused. You only have to know biology and use your human reasoning skills. It is not a religious argument. It is a matter of natural law. You don’t have to believe in God to use science to come to conclusions. A woman’s body during sex is preparing to receive sperm. It even has a ‘reservoir’ area to hold it inside for a period of time. So, you can throw around all kinds of insults at the truth if you want to do so, but it is your own ignorance showing to the truth. You can hope that sex has no consequences but you are only blind. Doing something over and over again hoping for a different result is only the sign of insanity. One of the purposes of sex is procreation. Killing a distinct human life so that you can live as you wish is the lowest form of humanity.

  35. says

    I have a BS in Genetics and Evolution. I’m getting my PhD in Genome Sciences. Maybe you should take five seconds to check if we “know biology.” Because you clearly don’t. Sexual activity in humans and many other species is mostly non-procreative. It’s used as a form of pair bonding. It has nothing to do with baby making most of the time. And even if it was only about baby making, we are not slaves to our biology. It’s a naturalistic fallacy to assume whatever is natural is “right.”

  36. says

    A woman’s body during sex is preparing to receive sperm.

    I don’t have ovaries, but if I did, they would be shriveling right now. I am picturing Mark pumping away furiously at some bored, dead-eyed woman and, after 3 minutes of “sex”, bellowing “PREPARE TO RECEIVE SPERM” at the top of his lungs.

    Doing something over and over again hoping for a different result is only the sign of insanity.

    Aww, that’s cute. Calling out a biologist for being “ignorant” of biology, and then displaying your own ignorance of psychology. You’re adorable. I have to draw you.

  37. says

    It is not a religious argument. It is a matter of natural law.

    Damn, missed this the first time around. Hey Mark, guess what? There is no such thing as “natural law” outside of religious discussions! In fact, the invocation of “natural law” is a pretty sure sign that the person speaking doesn’t have a fucking clue what ze’s talking about and should be ignored.

  38. Lindsay says

    Way to efface all lesbians and any women who have sex with other women there, bro. Do tell me more about how your argument isn’t religious-based, or is based located somewhere on the plane of reality. Really.

  39. says

    One of the purposes of sex is procreation. Killing a distinct human life so that you can live as you wish is the lowest form of humanity.

    Yes, ONE OF THE functions of sex is procreation. Not the entire purpose of the deed. Therefore, it is not hard to imagine, is it, that sometimes, just sometimes, people have sex while having no intention of making babies?

    Mark, we understand human biology as it relates to sexuality and reproduction far better than you do.

  40. Mikey says

    So when a guy masturbates its cuz he secretly wants to impregnate the klinex? Wtf?

  41. sqlrob says

    But that’s not against natural law, it can’t be.

    Homosexuality has been observed in species other than humans. Therefore, it can’t possibly be against natural law, can it Mark?

  42. Zengaze says

    1corinthians:
    “Women shut the fuck up, and ask your master what you are supposed to think when he gets you home.”

    Lesson one, do not allow anyone you want to control or exploit an opinion, under no circumstances permit independent thought, and never allow them parity of control in any area of private of civil life.

  43. sqlrob says

    Don’t you love people that make arguments about “natural” law online? I’d love to have the computer tree they used to grow their computer.

  44. says

    One of the purposes of sex is procreation. Killing a distinct human life so that you can live as you wish is the lowest form of humanity.

    (Emphasis mine)
    Anti-choice troll betrays his complete lack of knowledge of biology right there. FAIL!!!

  45. Rootboy says

    The result of 12 years of Catholic education is that I outright reject any argument based on “natural law” as flimsy rationalization of patriarchal prejudices.

  46. Jefrir says

    You do know that humans have specifically evolved not to have visible signs of fertility, yes? Most animals have times when they are in heat and able to conceive, and are not receptive to sex at other times. It’s one of the unusual features of humans that we don’t show signs of being fertile, and are receptive to sex when not fertile – which is a pretty significant sign that sex in humans is for more than just reproduction.
    Also, most of the features of arousal in women are aimed at 1. Making sex feel good and 2. Avoiding injury, rather than at promoting conception.

  47. Zengaze says

    Is this the same natural law that says if I am able to knock you down and put you in chains then that’s where you belong? Or is that just biblical law?

  48. Desert Son, OM says

    Actually, she doesn’t.

    That’s a particularly tragic aspect of this talk: she is a person who, consciously or not, suffers those same misogynist features institutionalized in broader society, those same long-standing, pernicious, and often brutal denial of rights, but she’s arguing for those misogynist features, not against them. In effect, she’s using the platform that women have long fought for – recognition in public debate – to argue for the very systems that would like nothing better than for her to be forever denied that platform (or be denied the right to determine the full extent of her own bodily health, including pregnancy and its termination).

    She may be arguing the wrong side (and I think she is), but she definitely doesn’t have too many rights, even if she wants to suggest (wrongly) that women somehow do.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  49. seditiosus says

    Well Mark, I do know a bit about biology and therefore, unlike you, I am aware that there are not just “male and female bodies”. There are also intersex bodies. In fact, the line between male and female gets extremely blurred in humans.

    Fit that fact into your naturalistic fallacy, if you can.

  50. Desert Son, OM says

    Mark posted:

    You can hope that sex has no consequences but you are only blind.

    Interesting. In all my years of having sexual experiences, I’ve never once hoped that it had no consequences.

    (As a theoretical aside: what does that make actual blind people who have sex, regardless of what consequences they may or may not hope for?)

    One of the consequences I have often hoped for is orgasm for both my partner and me (my sexual preferences have tended toward doing sex alone, or with one partner, but there are certainly many other lovely possibilities!).

    I don’t have children of my own, but I suspect that in some of the cases of people who do have children, another possible consequence hoped for was pregnancy.

    Another consequence I have hoped for during sex with another person has been mutual pleasure (not necessarily orgasm) in a shared, consensual, enthusiastic activity. Interestingly, this is also a consequence I have hoped for during D&D sessions with friends. The former has tended to feature more nudity than the latter, but maybe my D&D groups just aren’t trying hard enough.

    Doing something over and over again hoping for a different result is only the sign of insanity.

    Actually, that’s a colloquialism. The signs of insanity are diverse and complicated and most properly evaluated by medical and psychological professionals well-versed in significant study of things like human behavior, biology, environmental influences, evidence-based medicine, and so forth.

    One of the purposes of sex is procreation.

    No foolin’? I would say one of the possible outcomes of sex is procreation. I’d be reluctant to assign it “purpose” as that suggests that there’s some agentive aspect to the universe, and so far there’s no evidence for that.

    Killing a distinct human life so that you can live as you wish is the lowest form of humanity.

    Except that in the case of abortion, it’s not distinct. Distinct means “separate” (look it up, it’s a real actual English word and everything. Even has one of them, whatchamacallits, etymologies!). A zygote (a fetus, even) isn’t separate, it isn’t distinct. It’s technically a parasitic life form dependent upon the host life form. The whole time it’s in the host life form, it’s doing some pretty dramatic and fairly damaging things to the host, leeching nutrients, forcing significant morphological change, inducing system-wide chemical changes that can threaten life (hyper- and hypo-tension, toxicity, musculo-skeletal depletion, psychological disruption, and more).

    Interestingly, a significant number of fertilized human ova, including implanted ova, spontaneously abort and are excised in a subsequent menstrual cycle, all without the host life form even being aware that there was a fertilized ova. Happens all the time, every day. Basic biological process appears to be history’s greatest abortion provider.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  51. Lindsay says

    Seriously. There’s a similar argument going on over at LiveJournal right now, and there are proliars claiming that because zygotes, etc. “have their own unique DNA code,” they’re de facto full-fledged human beings and therefore deserve all human rights. Yeah. Yeeeeeah.

  52. Lindsay says

    From reading anti-choice arguments elsewhere, it seems like their new rhetorical strategy is to label zygotes, fetuses, etc. “distinct” because they have their own DNA, therefore they’re different from the mother, therefore it’s baby-killin’. Yes, it’s a gigantic fucking distortion of anything resembling reality, but that’s the only thing they’re good at.

  53. ema says

    [T]he purpose of sexual intercourse is procreation…. It is a baby making activity.

    You’ve been terribly misinformed. It’s orgasm/pleasure.

  54. Kristine says

    Wow, I had a class in that room today. I kinda want to go just to see how horrible it will be, but I’m stuck in lab tomorrow. Damn.

  55. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    It is a matter of natural law.

    Really?

    Fascinating.

    What’s the proportionality constant?

    Is there a 1/r dependence? Of what order?

    Is it mass dependent?

    Or do you really just not have any fucking clue what you’re talking about?

  56. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    The “purpose” of sex is whatever you’re doing it for.

  57. Mark says

    Wow, calling a human life a parasite. So, when does it stop being a parasite and become a human being? Sounds a lot like other forms of ruling party totalitarianism. I have the power and you don’t because you are a parasite in my eyes. It is amazing how human beings can De-humanize another human being to justify killing them. Oh, you aren’t human you are a parasite. Sounds a lot like the people in Rwanda when they slaughtered thousands of people and they called them cockroaches.

  58. flugelhornjesus says

    I love how, just when you think this guy has been completely torn apart, somebody else chimes in with something else he got wrong. It’s like a fractal wrongness how-to guide…

  59. Kristine says

    Are you trolling? I know the pro-life crowd has a bunch of crazies but you’re arguments are so terrible it almost seems deliberate.

  60. JSC_ltd says

    That wooshing sound you just heard was the point sailing over your head.

  61. Desert Son, OM says

    Mark at #27:

    Wow, calling a human life a parasite.

    As a zygote and fetus, it is parasitic. During those stages of development, the one (zygote/fetus) isn’t separate from the other (parasite). The earliest part of the human life cycle is a parasitic cellular collection.

    So, when does it stop being a parasite and become a human being?

    Mark, the point is, the opening stages of the human life cycle is parasitic. The parasitic stage of the human life cycle stops upon birth and excision from the umbilicus. At that point, the life form may be sustained by resources outside (if necessary) that of the host. Food, oxygen, shelter, and so forth, may be provided independent of the host. Up until that point, the life form remains parasitic.

    I would argue that the status of human being as organism with rights defined in a collective social environment and acknowledged within legal and other social systems therein, also starts at birth and host-independent viability, as well, though there have been socio-cultural systems that argue that actually happens later.

    Here’s the thing about all this: it’s not an insult. It’s not a “bad” thing. Before I was born, I was a parasite on the system of my mother (and I didn’t have enough cellular structure or collective complexity to have self-awareness of an identity as “I” or “me,” incidentally). It’s just the circumstances of the biological system. Ultimately, however, during the zygote and fetus stages, the host system is the viable system, and the host’s independence is paramount in terms of rights and autonomy. The host gets to decide. I don’t get to decide, even if my spermatozoan managed to fuse with the host’s ovum. I hope I might be a party to the discussion if I did contribute a spermatozoan, but ultimately, the host (the mother, the woman) is the one who’s ultimate autonomy about health and life decisions are paramount.

    You’re trying to re-categorize this issue as one of tyranny of one life over another (host over parasite), when in fact your own re-categorization is an imposition of tyranny of one life over another (your opinion over the independent health decisions of a woman, any woman). Your re-categorization demonstrates the extent to which you don’t value both the life and autonomy of women.

    The maintenance of that choice – the choices women make about their own health – exceeds the potentiality of a cluster of cells. Moreover, working to ensure that choice of health and well-being decisions remains with the person most dramatically affected (and in the case of pregnancy that is the woman, not the cluster of cells) actually helps improve the health and life chances of women and clusters of cells alike.

    I know it may be hard to see, but better availability of choice, and better infrastructure to support the outcomes of those choices, actually helps reduce long term human suffering. You want things to get better for potential clusters of cells?

    Start working to ensure that women have independence, autonomy, and choice in their health care decisions.

    I have the power and you don’t because you are a parasite in my eyes.

    One of the problems of religion and its effect on human psychology is how perfectly legitimate terms used to describe an elegant classification system have been appropriated as pejoratives. Now maybe you, Mark, aren’t religious, but here’s what happens:

    “Animal” becomes an insult. “Parasite” becomes something abhorrent.

    Except that I am an animal, nothing more, nothing less. I share many characteristics, down to the atomic level, with many other animals. I am a chordate, but that’s not unique to me or my species. I am a mammal, but that’s not unique to me or my species. I am a social animal, but that’s not unique to me or my species. I have multiple systems of communication, but that’s not unique to me or my species.

    And during the cellular collection that would eventually gain independence from its host such that it might continue to grow and attain enough consciousness that it identifies as “me” (even though that consciousness is strictly a manifestation of the material organism), I was a parasite.

    I was a parasite, but that wasn’t unique to me or my species.

    It is amazing how human beings can De-humanize another human being to justify killing them.

    I agree, especially the way many men (and some women) will de-humanize women to justify killing them or oppressing them by enforcing parasitic development that threatens the health and well-being of the woman, and by trying to remove the autonomy of choice from women such that they cannot make the best possible and most well-informed decision possible.

    Oh, you aren’t human you are a parasite.

    As I’ve explained, the one doesn’t exclude the other. I’m a human, but also an animal. I am a member of a species that biologically starts off in a parasitic state before achieving viable independence, and remains an animal throughout it’s life cycle.

    There’s a kind of special pleading that sometimes comes from religious believers (though perhaps you’re not a religious believer, I don’t know) who think that “human” is some sort of special achievement, some sort of unique state of being, a boss-level that you unlock in the X-box game of life. It’s easy to understand where that comes from if you imagine (as many religious believers do) that the universe is specially created for humans by a being that holds humans dear above all else.

    Except that’s not the case. Sure, there are some features that don’t appear very frequently elsewhere in other animals, but at our most elemental, we’re just organisms, long chains of hydrogen and carbon, and we share many other features, such as complex neurological systems, certain environmental adaptability (within limits), tool use, omnivorous diet, an endoskeleton, certain sexual proclivities, and so on, with other animals.

    And there’s no evidence that we’re special outside our own socio-cultural and psychological behavior of meaning-making. There’s no evidence of a universal creator that holds us dear.

    We’re not particularly special outside our socio-cultural meaning-making. It’s actually not a bad thing (or a good thing) to have started on the road to present consciousness (as an extension of the electro-chemical neural net) as a parasite. It’s just how it is. My mother happens to love her youngest former-parasite (she’s given birth to three of the little previously-non-independently-viable-collection-of-cells), but it still started as a parasite. Now her youngest has attained viability independent of host. Guess what? Mom still loves it, even when it doesn’t believe in the god that she does!

    That doesn’t change the fact that Mom loves it because loving is a behavioral characteristic of many examples of the species, and because our psychology makes meaning.

    Sounds a lot like the people in Rwanda when they slaughtered thousands of people and they called them cockroaches.

    Except that those were viable humans killing other viable humans, not zygotes and not fetuses, and not in consideration of the mother’s health and well-being. Those weren’t health decisions about the integral bodily autonomy of a host, and they weren’t health decisions made by the person most affected by the health circumstance. Those were just socio-political differences fallen under that age-old human method of resolution: violence.

    Nice try, but what you’ve created there is what’s known as a false equivalency, and it doesn’t work in arguing against abortion (or pretty much any other argument, for that matter). Try again.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  62. mithrandir says

    Mark said:

    So, when does it stop being a parasite

    When you can cut the umbilical cord and it doesn’t die in under a minute. When it can breathe and eat on its own.

    Wow, that was easy.

    Hey, my cousin needs a kidney and you’re the only match – we’re going to force you to have an operation to remove your kidney so she can get it. That’s fine by you, right?

  63. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Even if it is a human being, no one has the right to hijack another person’s body without their consent, even if they’ll die otherwise.

    You can’t even force someone to donate blood ethically. You fucking well can’t force them to donate basically their entire body (yes, pregnancy is that physiologically invasive and taxing).

  64. Mark says

    The zygote is composed of human DNA and other human molecules, so its nature is undeniably human and not some other species.

    The new human zygote has a genetic composition that is absolutely unique to itself, different from any other human that has ever existed, including that of its mother (thus disproving the claim that what is involved in abortion is merely “a woman and her body”).

    This DNA includes a complete “design,” guiding not only early development but even hereditary attributes that will appear in childhood and adulthood, from hair and eye color to personality traits.

    It is also quite clear that the earliest human embryo is biologically alive. It fulfills the four criteria needed to establish biological life: metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction.

    Finally, is the human zygote merely a new kind of cell or is it a human organism; that is, a human being? Scientists define an organism as a complex structure of interdependent elements constituted to carry on the activities of life by separately-functioning but mutually dependent organs. The human zygote meets this definition with ease. Once formed, it initiates a complex sequence of events to ready it for continued development and growth:

    The zygote acts immediately and decisively to initiate a program of development that will, if uninterrupted by accident, disease, or external intervention, proceed seamlessly through formation of the definitive body, birth, childhood, adolescence, maturity, and aging, ending with death. This coordinated behavior is the very hallmark of an organism.

    By contrast, while a mere collection of human cells may carry on the activities of cellular life, it will not exhibit coordinated interactions directed towards a higher level of organization.

    Thus, the scientific evidence is quite plain: at the moment of fusion of human sperm and egg, a new entity comes into existence which is distinctly human, alive, and an individual organism – a living, and fully human, being.

  65. Mark says

    The cardiovascular system is the first major system to function. At about 22 days after conception the child’s heart begins to circulate his own blood, unique to that of his mother’s, and his heartbeat can be detected on ultrasound. At just six weeks, the child’s eyes and eye lids, nose, mouth, and tongue have formed. Electrical brain activity can be detected at six or seven weeks, and by the end of the eighth week, the child, now known scientifically as a “fetus,” has developed all of his organs and bodily structures. By ten weeks after conception the child can make bodily movements.

  66. Mark says

    Abortion increases the risk of breast cancer.

    Researchers examining deaths among the entire population of women in Finland found that those who had abortions had a 3.5 times higher death rate from suicide, accidents, or homicides in the following year. Suicide rates among aborting women were six times higher compared to women who gave birth and two times higher compared to women who miscarried.

  67. Mark says

    Individually, a sperm and an egg are living cells; but when they are fused together they acquire the characteristics (growth, maintenance of homeostasis, etc.) that biology assigns to an independent living organism. Hence it is the moment of conception that marks the beginning of a new human organism and therefore the beginning of personhood and the rights that come with it.

  68. MatthewL says

    Even if your stats are correct, correlation is not causation. And this does nothing to argue that a woman should not have control of her own body and make her own decisions about her health.

  69. athyco says

    Bleh, Mark. Really? Copy/paste from “The Best Pro-Life Arguments for Secular Audiences” from the Family Research Council? That secular article ends its summary with “Prayerfully, and for the sake of women and their babies, let us go after those hearts and minds armed with knowledge and animated by compassion.” And its section on how to respond to your interlocutor was pretty cute…but amazingly NOT what anyone here had to say. Is that why you ignored the comments here and went to copy/paste?

    Oh, and thank you, Desert Son. I haz braingasm afterglow.

  70. MatthewL says

    Children do not have the same rights as their parents because they are somewhat dependent on the adults for survival. Why do you feel that the totally dependent zygote has more rights than the adult woman without whom it has no chance of survival? This seems like a total inversion of common sense.

    I don’t see how anyone can honestly see this “pro-life” argument as being about morality. It is clearly about the property rights of men who wish to control reproduction and use their future offspring as the proxy.

    Of course ignorance can be hard work sometimes.

  71. Zengaze says

    Your two line reply which amounted to nothing more than an unevidenced assertion, in reply to a well thought out and I’m sure time consuming attempt to educate you has told me two things.

    1 you are a moron
    2 you are not worth replying to again, your assertion as reply is an insult to the human intellect.

  72. Jefrir says

    The zygote is composed of human DNA and other human molecules, so its nature is undeniably human and not some other species.

    The new human zygote has a genetic composition that is absolutely unique to itself, different from any other human that has ever existed, including that of its mother (thus disproving the claim that what is involved in abortion is merely “a woman and her body”).

    These characteristics apply just as much to tumours as they do to zygotes.

    The zygote acts immediately and decisively to initiate a program of development that will, if uninterrupted by accident, disease, or external intervention, proceed seamlessly through formation of the definitive body, birth, childhood, adolescence, maturity, and aging, ending with death. This coordinated behavior is the very hallmark of an organism.

    The term “decisively is at least misleading here – the zygote has nothing it could be decisive with. The rest of your information is also incorrect. Pregnancy involves active participation from the mothers body, involving leaching her nutrients and even cannibalising her bodily organs. It’s also often far from seamless – around half of all zygotes fail to implant at all, and spontaneous miscarriage and threats to the woman’s life and health are pretty common. Seriously, go look up gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and birth defects.
    Pregnancy is seriously hard work, and carries an appreciable risk of death even in developed countries. It is not something women should be forced into in any circumstances.

  73. says

    That’s pretty much my point, yes, though at a slightly different angle. I could (if I were so inclined) frame both sides of the abortion debate in terms of coldly practical social dynamics. I’d be talking to myself; it wouldn’t be a debate. And one suspects nobody would want to read it. Rather than offending no one, it might well offend everyone, as folk on both sides would object it was obscuring the ‘real issue’. This would, of course, be somewhat true in that the real issue of debate isn’t rational, and somewhat folk not wanting to lose the opportunity to be upset.

  74. Attila says

    I think there could be a rational debate. Let’s pick a point where the majority of people agree there is no life. This is the moment before conception. So you have your zero. Now is there a moment the vast majority could agree there is definitely a life. I would say baby is born and takes its first breath. There is your one.

    Now when do you allow abortion. To the best of my understanding it is .66 except in cases of the life of the mother. (i.e. no third trimester abortions except where the life of the mother is concerned.) Now want to argue that the number should be different. I think you are now giving more rational arguments since we have removed the black white component.

  75. Eric RoM says

    I want to know which orifice is doing this screaming.

    All I usually hear from mine is “Grab my ass!”, and “Harder!”.

  76. ema says

    At about 22 days after conception the child’s heart begins to circulate his own blood….

    You have no understanding of the anatomy and physiology of pregnancy. The placenta and the maternal compartment are the ones doing the circulating, breathing, excreting, etc.

    Even if your stats are correct….

    His stats are not correct (see link provided in post).

    Individually, a sperm and an egg are living cells; but when they are fused together they acquire the characteristics (growth, maintenance of homeostasis, etc.) that biology assigns to an independent living organism. Hence it is the moment of conception that marks the beginning of a new human organism and therefore the beginning of personhood and the rights that come with it.

    Once again, you are not familiar with reproductive biology 101. The fusion of egg and sperm does not result in an independent living organism. A fetus, in utero, doesn’t breath, circulate, excrete, etc. Delivery is required to have the necessary anatomy/physiology.

    Also, the moment of conception marks the beginning of a bunch of totipotent cells (among other things like, you know, the placenta. A product of conception, with human, not plant mind you, DNA, that breaths, circulates, etc. You can’t get more personhood-y than that.) rather than a new, not plant organism.

  77. says

    Except you have yet to prove that fetus = baby. A fetus can develop into a baby, but that is not the same as proving that a fetus has the same rights as a baby.

    A baby can turn into an adult, so should we allow babies to vote?

  78. baal says

    Killing a distinct human life

    Just like god does for 2 of 3 fertilized eggs and another 1/3 implanted embryos are called home don’t make it to term?

    I’m also not sure that ‘distinct’ is the right word. Is a person a person before they are an adult? Made it past infancy? Are born? Are not yet born but gosh really almost there?

    A mass of cells doesn’t count as a person to me. The main reason it seems to count to the pro-life side is that a egg got ‘ensouled’ when an egg’s ploidy was ‘corrected’ by the addition of a sperm. Voodoo and paranormal do not change a ‘living thing’ to a person.

  79. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    It obviously isn’t a person, and the reason they insist on pretending to think it’s one is because if they just come out and say that they want to punish women for having sex, they’ll get less societal traction.

    Which is what this “your body is preparing to receive sperm” stuff is really about.

  80. baal says

    Mark, please stop lying. You know that “person” is legal definition and “a distinct set of cells with novel dna” – while it sounds very sciency – does not have anything to do with legal fictions.

    Are you saying that when slaves were not legal persons that they were also not “a distinct set of cells with novel dna”? That’s the exact meaning you’re using in your (copy pasta?) argument.

  81. Desert Son, OM says

    Responding to Mark at #27.3.1:

    Sorry I’m late getting back to the thread, but after dinner last night, I discovered the gravitational pull of the sleep surface at the other end of the apartment was simply too strong to escape.

    (I’m posting this further down as I get long-winded, and a nested reply might end up looking like a turn of the 20th century newspaper column too dense to read easily. Also, buy Dr. Bartlett’s Miracle Invigorating Powder! Guaranteed to regrow lost hair, increase the bust line, banish the grippe, calm unruly children, induce estrus in cattle, clean house cats, thicken the moustache, and get out the really tough stains from union suits! Only 99 cents a tin! Order yours today!)

    Mark posted:

    Since the baby is a human life my comparison to Rwanda stands.

    Actually, it doesn’t, as I mentioned, due to the problem of false equivalency.

    Insisting that it is the same despite false equivalency doesn’t suddenly make the false equivalency go away, or magically transform it into a true equivalency.

    Let’s retake the primer. I know I often find it helpful to go back to fundamentals.

    False equivalency: a logical fallacy in which one situation is compared to another such that it may seem the two circumstances have logically consistent and equal standing, when in fact no such equality exists.

    For more on this, I recommend: http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx

    As I explained, the reason the two situations are not equivalent is a critical component that your Autobahn-window-of-time reply failed to address. Well, my little Mercedez S-class, you’ve hit a stau just outside München, so since you’re idling on the road you might as well tune in and pay attention.

    Setting aside the basic biological reason the Rwanda genocide was not the same (viable independent life), I’ll concentrate on the part you missed, and it’s major. Big time. Can’t be ignored. Contextually relevant: the Rwandan genocide was not about women making autonomous health care and well-being choices.

    Got that part? That’s a critical and key difference. Sure, the biological viability and independence part is necessary, too, but the anti-choice position is rarely about the biology, no matter how much biology language anti-choice personnel choose to invoke. The anti-choice position is about control of women (and, before you say it, women who are anti-choice are participating in an ideological system that is set up against themselves, even if they don’t realize it, or don’t care. See, for example, oh, I don’t know, maybe, let’s say . . . Abby Johnson).

    So, once again, to be clear: the Rwandan genocide was not about women making autonomous health care and well-being choices.

    The issue of abortion is intricately and inextricably linked to the issue of women’s autonomy and the ability to make decisions about health care and well-being for themselves, and to be supported by the broader socio-cultural, economic, and legal systems in their right so to do.

    By the way, Mark, you’re false equivalency with the Rwandan genocide is actually pretty insulting, just so you know. Not to me, personally (not that I suspect you’d care if it was), but to the memories of those people who survived the genocide and who will carry scars on their bodies and psychologies for the rest of their lives.

    Why? Because by falsely setting the Rwandan genocide as equal to abortion you imply that the lives of approximately 800,000 people – individuals with significantly developed electro-chemical neural networks, people with powers of cognition, people with history, individuals who were viable and biologically independent of their original hosts – were just the same as collections of cells that can be initially cultured in a test tube.

    I’m not sure how living Rwandans might feel about that, but I’m pretty sure that, if it were me, I’d be inclined to say, “Fuck you and the colonialist dismissiveness you rode in on.”

    Now, at this point, you might be tempted to say, “Aha! You said that humans were parasites! Now you’re saying they’re different from the cells in a test tube! Oho! Got you against the wall now! I scream, you scream, we lolzscream for ice cream!”

    Except that what I said is: the human life cycle starts out in a parasitic state, but that the life cycle changes into one that is no longer parasitic after a certain point (birth and separation from the umbilicus). Thus, the biologically viable and host-independent state is differentiated from the cells in a test tube, in part because of the state of development of the organism, and in part because of the socio-cultural (remember that part?) environment that recognizes the basic biological life cycle shift.

    That socio-cultural recognition is critical, and comes back to the issue that is central in all of this: the right of a woman to make her own decisions about her health and well-being, including pregnancy and its termination.

    Remember, socio-culturally, the Rwandan genocide isn’t equivalent because that genocide wasn’t about a woman’s right to autonomy in her decisions about her body. Biologically they’re not the same because though the life cycles are temporally and sequentially linked, the collection of cells that can be initially cultured in a test tube is not capable of cognition, has no socio-culturally mediated history, cannot communicate, cannot use tools, cannot express love, cannot initiate human connection, cannot sexually reproduce, cannot do a whole shitload of things. In short, it’s not a person yet, because it’s not viable outside its host (which may be a test tube, but eventually must, necessarily, be a woman).

    You’ve been inculcated in two cultures. One culture insists (overtly and covertly) that men are the superior life form, which is stupid because men and women are the same life form (and as someone else in the thread mentioned, gender itself is varied and diverse and not a simple dichotomy). The other culture extends from the previous, and is more panicked about the collection of cells rather than the human being without which the collection of cells cannot survive, and both of those cultures are pretty fucked up, Mark. Seriously.

    You want to make existence better for cells with potentia?

    Start working to make life better for people who have complicated neural networks, histories, and exist in socio-culturally mediated spaces. Start working to make life better for women. Despite what you may have heard, women actually are people, they actually are human beings, and they actually are capable of making their own decisions, including (and especially) without men hovering over their shoulders.

    More importantly, women should be able to make their own decisions regardless of how you feel about the decision being made. This isn’t a “sex without consequences” thing. This is a human autonomy issue.

    By the way, I didn’t mention it in a previous post, but the whole “sex without consequences” line you posted earlier? That’s code for: women should be punished for sex. And it’s always the women that anti-choice people want to punish. Pregnancy results from the combination of ova and spermatozoa, followed by sustained implantation and development, but the anti-choice voices always come down on women. That’s how you know anti-choice isn’t really about cellular conglomerates and their potentia, but really about punishing women for sex.

    Abortion doesn’t stop, incidentally, simply because it gets outlawed. Look at any nation or history where abortion is illegal. Guess what? Abortion still goes on. The difference is, it goes on in dangerous health conditions such that a woman – a person already in a precarious health circumstance simply by virtue of being pregnant – risks further health complications because there is no supported infrastructure available to help her successfully through the threat to her health.

    Yes, a fetus is a threat to a mother’s health. Don’t worry, Mark, that’s not a value judgment. That’s just a fact of biology. I mentioned my mother in my previous post because I didn’t want to cite your mother as I don’t know her and have no way of knowing if she loves you or not (sad to say, but not all parents love their children). But I’ll take that chance now and say your mother (if she’s still alive) still loves you, Mark.

    But that doesn’t change the fact that you were a threat to her health when the collection of potentia that might one day end up as Mark posting on the Intartubez was residing in your mother’s uterus.

    This also doesn’t mean you don’t love her (again, I don’t know, maybe you don’t, not all children love their parents, you get the idea). But the basic biology means that every living human being started out as a threat to the host that incubated it, regardless of any sentiment of love.

    The absolute, number 1, no-question, hands-down killer of all time of women in human history? Pregnancy and child birth. Seriously. Pregnancy and childbirth are, quite literally, some of the hardest things a human body can go through. It really rocks the system at every level, and until modern science and evidence-based medicine, pregnancy was the greatest killer of women in history (it’s still a really dicey situation, even in super-modern highly developed nations with strong infrastructures).

    Stop thinking of pregnancy as some sort of beautiful, sacred, sparkling, transcendent thing that is accompanied by soothing celestial music. There are plenty of animal species that have a much better system of reproduction than humans, by measures of things like survivability for mother and young, and the tax that reproduction levies on the mother.

    Another aside: I bet that in whatever group of anti-choice people you regularly associate with . . . one of the members has had an abortion, or at least one of the members has a very close connection to someone who has. Don’t go asking among the anti-choicers you know, though, Mark. It’s none of your business.

    Which is kind of the whole lesson here. This is none of your business. Your interest in this should be the extent to which you can help develop, support, and sustain a socio-cultural, economic, and legal system that provides vital health care, information, and choice for women to make decisions about their own lives.

    Everything else is pretty much need-to-know, and until you get clearance from a woman, you don’t need-to-know.

    Sorry.

    Why do I get the feeling you’re not really sorry. In the words of a famous, fictional murderer and tenant: “Villains, dissemble no more!”(1)

    We are definitely NOT special as a species on the reproduction front. That doesn’t mean people can’t find joy in the process and the result, but the process itself is just a biological one that evolved, and evolved in such a way as to not necessarily be the most efficient and safe process for the species. Maybe in another million years or so, it’ll be better, but then, in another million years or so, we may not be humans after all. In fact, I’ve put that rather badly, as in another million years “we” won’t be “we,” we’ll be dead. In another million years, though, there may be life forms that evolved from a common ancestor that may be alive right now and on it’s way to becoming a transitional fossil. There’s alot of “if” in all that, though, so it’s more productive to work toward making things better right now.

    You are cordially invited to come join in making the world a place where women have autonomy in their decisions and actions. I’ll even let you in on a secret: that world is actually a great place for men, too. We can make it a great place for a whole spectrum of gender. It’s worth a try. It really, truly is.

    Still learning,

    Robert

    (1) Poe, E. A. (1843). The tell-tale heart. J. R. Lowell, ed. The Pioneer, 1. Boston.

  82. Desert Son, OM says

    Full credit:

    It was seditiosus at #23.11 who mentioned the spectrum of gender in humans. I apologize that I did not cite the reference in my long-winded post at #33, only now going back and finding that mention.

    Also, apologies for a few transposed their/they’re and its/it’s in my post at #33. I love the English language, but at times it vexes me. Typically it’s a delightful vexation, but no less vexing for the delight.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  83. Desert Son, OM says

    Ok, I keep following up, need to consolidate better.

    Just now making it through many of the additional follow-up comments, and there are so many excellent ones. Many of the things I tried to express in my novella were already covered by such magnificent contributions from Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven; ema; and Jefrir; as well as the aforementioned seditiosus. Awesome posts!

    Mark, hie thee to those posts immediately for outstanding edification! Great, accurate (and pithy!) reading awaits!

    Still learning,

    Robert

  84. fastlane says

    I’m tempted to try to get down there tonight.

    I think I should just wait for her speech to start, wait 30 seconds, stand up and yell, “Yes, you have too many rights. Now stop making speeches and go make me a sammich, woman!”

    I suspect the point would fly right over her head, though.

  85. Mark says

    blah blah blah blah. You can spend as many words as you want trying to justify your stance. It is not the truth. Centuries later from today, people will look back upon people like you and your generation the same way that we look at past generations. They will call you the most self-centered generation in all of human history. You have made yourself a god. You are the master of your universe and you are willing to sacrifice other human beings so that you can live as you wish. You can write as many words as you wish but a baby is a human being who has been created with the right to LIFE. You can deny the child with life but it still doesn’t take away its right. You and those other people who have posted on this blog will have succeeded in adding yourselves to the long list of people who have promoted or personally killed and maimed and tortured and raped and done all kinds of evil upon other human beings in an effort to keep power. Women are being killed just because they are female. Doesn’t that bother you?

  86. anon atheist 78 says

    Women have more rights. Women have the right to choose and they have the right to make the men pay for the child independent of whether he wants the kid or not. Whether this is a right too many is imho worth discussing.

  87. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Shorter Mark: LALALA can’t hear you! Bitchez ain’t shit! That’s the TRUTH!

  88. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Oh gawd. who opened the lying misogynist pen again?

  89. ButchKitties says

    Electrical brain activity can be detected at six or seven weeks

    Just curious what your source is for this. If it’s “Life or Death by EEG” by Dr. Hannibal Hamlin, I’d be happy to explain to you why it’s not a valid source.

    (Hint: It’s a really good example of why it’s a bad idea to cite an opinion paper instead of going directly to the research that opinion paper is quoting. Hamlin got some major technical details wrong, like saying that research conducted on 90+ day old fetuses was done on 40-odd day old fetuses.)

  90. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    If the genocide victims in Rwanda had been living inside the bodies of the victors without their consent your comparison would make some sense. As it stands…

  91. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    There’s a small valid point here, but the existing gender disparities are such that any attempt to address it before fixing those inequities and inequalities is going to create far more misery and injustice than it will resolve.

    Or, in other words, once women have access to abortions at will and aren’t being robbed of 25% of the income a man doing the exact same job would make, then we can talk about whether paternal rights and responsibilities should be opt-out.

  92. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    I repeat:

    Even if it is a human being, no one has the right to hijack another person’s body without their consent, even if they’ll die otherwise.

    You can’t even force someone to donate blood ethically. You fucking well can’t force them to donate basically their entire body (yes, pregnancy is that physiologically invasive and taxing).

    Respond to this point, you sniveling sack of shit.

  93. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Individually, a sperm and an egg are living cells; but when they are fused together they acquire the characteristics (growth, maintenance of homeostasis, etc.) that biology assigns to an independent living organism. Hence it is the moment of conception that marks the beginning of a new human organism and therefore the beginning of personhood and the rights that come with it.

    Oh, really.

    If a blastocyst/embryo/fetus has the biological traits of growth, maintenance of homeostasis, etc. it should be able to survive just fine outside of the body of an organism which DEFINITELY has those traits. So there should be no problem with removing one from the uterus if the woman whose uterus it is doesn’t want it there.

    Right?

  94. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Were you too busy sticking forks in light sockets to notice that you’re drooling on the blog of a biologist, you condescending dipshit?

  95. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    As I posted below:

    Even if it is a human being, no one has the right to hijack another person’s body without their consent, even if they’ll die otherwise.

    You can’t even force someone to donate blood ethically. You fucking well can’t force them to donate basically their entire body (yes, pregnancy is that physiologically invasive and taxing).

    I haven’t seen anyone even ATTEMPT to address this.

  96. ema says

    You are the master of your universe and you are willing to sacrifice other human beings so that you can live as you wish.

    Projection much? You’re the one who is willing to sacrifice other human begins, the pregnant women, at the altar of your fantasy about women’s bits of internal organs.

    You can write as many words as you wish but a baby is a human being who has been created with the right to LIFE. You can deny the child with life but it still doesn’t take away its right.

    OK, enough with this kindergarten-level propaganda. Either point to where anyone is arguing that a baby is plant life, or admit (to yourself is fine) that a baby is a human being is meaningless.

    As to created with the right to LIFE, again, basic biology fails you. The majority of fertilized eggs do not implant. Carrying a pregnancy to term is the exception to the rule.

    You and those other people who have posted on this blog will have succeeded in adding yourselves to the long list of people who have promoted or personally killed and maimed and tortured and raped and done all kinds of evil upon other human beings in an effort to keep power.

    Perhaps you need to take a moment to reestablish contact with reality and compose yourself?

    Women are being killed just because they are female. Doesn’t that bother you?

    Yes, it’s bothersome that there are people who are doing everything they can to use the power of the State to kill women just because they are pregnant.

  97. Desert Son, OM says

    blah blah blah blah.

    I must admit, this insightful opener has me backed against the wall. Well-played, Mark! Well-played! Nevertheless, I’ll give the response a go. You may want to start ignoring this now. It’s a big ‘un.

    I appreciate that you may not be interested in the length of my posts. In defense of the length, I’ll simply say that the issues at hand are complex, not the kind of thing that can be easily condensed down into, say, a Twitter-length limitation, or a bumper sticker.

    It’s problematic that you think the manner in which I’ve tried to engage with this issue is, itself, problematic. That is to say, it bothers me that the depth of discussion bothers you.

    If you can simply dismiss it as “spending words” then I’m not sure you’re really engaging with the material at hand (and maybe you’re not. Maybe you’re not particularly interested in a discussion, and that’s fair enough. There’s no rule that says you have to engage in discussion when posting to a blog).

    Regardless, my analogy about the Autobahn-speed reply seems more apt in light of your follow up. It’s not about whether you can engage with the material with which your position has been challenged. It’s seems more about how you can post your talking points and then breeze away in an exhaust cloud of dismissal.

    Each time you have posted your argument against women’s right to choose, you have been answered. Ignore my answers (I suspect you’re well on your way, regardless). Pay attention to what others have said. There have been substantive replies to your comments. I mentioned some of those names: Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven; ema; Jefrir; seditiosus.

    Those, and other, posters have responded to your comments, yet you don’t seem to follow up with them much, either. No love for the other posters challenging your perspective and backing up their words with strong argumentation, and dismissal when you have marginally engaged at all.

    So, it seems to me like you’re probably not here to engage. Very well. Here’s why I’m going to respond anyway: Partially? Ego. I haz one. That for full disclosure.

    However, more importantly, someone else may be reading this thread who is uncertain about the issue of abortion rights and women’s autonomy to make decisions about their lives and health. I’m unlikely to reach you, Mark, or any of the other anti-choice community in which you are entrenched (including the ones who have had abortions themselves), but maybe some of the commentary in Jen’s excellent blog will reach those who are unsure.

    So. Let’s begin:

    You can spend as many words as you want trying to justify your stance.

    What’s particularly awesome about my “stance” is that my words don’t justify it, quite the other way around, actually. The “stance” is justified by its rectitude, and my words are simply an articulation of what’s at stake, why what’s at stake is important, and why the opposition to what’s at stake demonstrates ineffective and misguided arguments.

    As I mentioned, the anti-choice stance is worried about cell clusters that might become a biologically independent organism some day (and as we know from history and biology, that “might become” is not necessarily in the “very likely to become” range of the curve). The problem with worrying only about the cell clusters is that the anti-choice group discards the only thing that actually is relevant to the potential viability of the cell clusters anyway: the host (the mother, the woman). The pro-choice supporters argue not only for the socio-politically vital issue of autonomy, but also for the biological potential of that cluster of cells by supporting the one thing that even gives that biological cluster of potentia a shot at extended existence. The pro-choice position recognizes that decisions about that vital host circumstance reside with that host. I know it’s tough to see, but in the case of an individual that is host-independent with a sophisticated neural network capable of cognition, then decisions about the health circumstance of that individual reside with the individual.

    And a fetus is not an individual. Blastocysts are not individuals. It behooves us, then, to create as positive a circumstance for that individual to make decisions as possible, and that means having the choice available to terminate pregnancy.

    The choice is not forced. Pro-choice does not mean “Women must get abortions!” It simply means the choice is available, supported, recognized, and informed, and that the choice, ultimately, resides with the woman in the circumstance of pregnancy. It also means that, should a woman make that choice, she is not discarded, marginalized, shamed, or punished for having made such a choice.

    Centuries later from today, people will look back upon people like you and your generation the same way that we look at past generations.

    How long have you had the gift of foresight, and from whence do you get your supply of melange(1)? I can’t say how history will view “people like me and my generation.” Incidentally, how do you know in what generation I fall? I don’t recall disclosing my age during previous posts. Nevertheless, only history will determine how history will see “people like me and my generation” (for various values of “people” and “generation,” it would seem).

    You have made yourself a god.

    I thought I had made it quite clear in a previous post that I am not a god, nor do I believe in the existence of any gods, but rather I am an animal, a distinct member of a species of chordates that have a number of defining characteristics.

    You are the master of your universe and you are willing to sacrifice other human beings so that you can live as you wish.

    Again, no. I am most certainly not master of any universe. I am subject to the universe in essentially every way possible, right down to the characteristics of the atoms that comprise the matter in my body. However, as an agent in socio-cultural systems, I do have some measure of power (approximately the same measure you do, controlling for influencing factors such as economics, privilege, and so forth), and one of the things I am trying to do with that power is work toward making sure that other distinct individual representatives of the species also have that same measure of power.

    I feel it incumbent to once again point especially to the adjective “distinct.” Fetuses, blastocysts? Not distinct. Humans post-birth and separation from the umbilicus? Distinct. I only reiterate this point because it seems to be one of the ones you dismiss so readily, and since it’s important, I’d hate for it to get, well, lost in either my lengthy ruminations or your haste to ignore the substance.

    You can deny the child with life but it still doesn’t take away its right.

    Mark, you’re moving the goalposts. Abortion terminates a fetus, a collection of cells, not a child. The “child” part is a classification of a life-cycle stage that happens post birth, post excision of the umbilicus.

    Here’s a thought exercise to put this into perspective: consider a fetus in a pregnancy. That fetus is leeching off the host, causing significant impact on the mother (it’s a parasite, remember? Parasite is just a classificatory term in this case, not a value judgment. It’s like saying aqueous, or blue, or prehensile. It describes a characteristic of the life cycle). That fetus may enter a state that threatens the life of the host. If you think that fetus is a person, then shouldn’t that fetus be liable for prosecution under law? After all, the fetus is threatening the health of the mother! Moreover, if that fetus enters a state that actually kills the mother, and you think that fetus is a child, then that child committed murder!

    Incidentally, if that happens, that child also committed suicide. This is one of the reasons why it is so important to ensure the rights of the mother, Mark! The mother! Her survival, her decision-making, those are paramount, because everything else having to do with the blastocysts, with the fetuses, has to do with the woman!

    That’s why I mentioned that human pregnancy is not a particularly elegant example of reproduction: it’s hard on all parties involved, and very often causes extensive damage, and even death, to all parties involved. So much for notions of intelligent design.

    But back to the fetus example: it’s hurting the mother, so if it’s a person, as you are insisting, then it’s subject to prosecution, right? And if it’s a person, and subject to persecution, then we are all in big trouble because guess what? We all hurt Mom. No amount of love we may (or may not) feel changes the fact that we were causing Mom damage while in utero. As I mentioned before, it’s o.k. in the socio-culturally mediated space, because in many cases (though sadly not all), Mom still loves us, and in many cases (though not all), we still love Mom. But that doesn’t change the biology.

    But if you think a fetus is a person, then you have to turn yourself in to the nearest police station for assault. And technically, so does every other person alive, right now, including the police, the lawyers, the judges, and the juries.

    At the very least, call your mother tonight and say you’re sorry.

    Women are being killed just because they are female. Doesn’t that bother you?

    It bothers me every day. I hope it bothers you, too. All the more reason to do everything in our power as members of socio-cultural systems to empower women not only with the rights to make their own decisions about their health and well-being, but also with the resources and systems to ensure those rights are not taken away from them overtly or in end-around deceptions.

    I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but making abortion safe, legal, supported, and culturally relevant and acceptable actually makes life better for everyone. Extra special note: doing these things does not trivialize the decision! Very important. It’s connected to all kinds of issues like economics, resource management and long-term sustainability, biology, legal parity and social justice, and even love.

    But I don’t think your follow up was about that, was it, Mark? Because that would mean you would have to engage with the content that has been posted in response to your claims, and you haven’t done that. Instead, you’ve insisted that pro-choice supporters are all wrong and all bad, and there’s a reckonin’ comin’, in the historical assessment, if nothing else.

    It’s too bad, because you could be doing something today to actually make the world a better place, like donating to Planned Parenthood, or emailing your representatives, or, you know, engaging with the content in blog posts and comments.

    I meant it when I said it, Mark. Come join the pro-choice effort to make life better for women, and everyone by extension. It actually is a positive thing, and it has legitimate argument, evidence, history, and sense supporting it. It has tons of really cool people, too, people who are genuinely interesting and have passionate lives. You know. People like women. People like Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven. People like ema. People like Jefrir. People like seditiosus. People like Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort. People like Crommunist.

    People like Jen McCreight.

    People too numerous to mention effectively, yet each a viable host-independent person, full of complexity and dynamism and intellect and emotion and expression.

    With an awareness of the issues, with an engagement with the substance, and with a realization of the rightness of choice being available as an autonomous and respectful decision for women to make, then, maybe someday: people like you.

    Still learning,

    Robert

    (1) Herbert, F. (1965). Dune. Philadelphia: Chilton Books.

  98. ema says

    Women have the right to choose….

    You are aware that male patients also have the right to make their own medical decisions, yes?

  99. Lindsay says

    A woman’s right to choose abortion and the child support debate are really NOT comparable in this case, considering you know, there’s a big difference between a fetus and then an actual, born infant. Are there problems with the child support system as it exists right now? Yes, but they’re also not the fault of mothers: they’re the fault of the legal system.

    But barging into a discussion about women’s autonomy and blathering CHILD SUPPORT is straight out of an MRA handbook, and really not cool. :|

  100. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    That was precisely his point though. We were talking about the unimportant incubators some call ‘women’, when we should have been talking about the poor oppressed boys!

  101. Jefrir says

    At about 22 days after conception the child’s heart begins to circulate his own blood, unique to that of his mother’s, and his heartbeat can be detected on ultrasound.

    Intestinal worms also have independent circulation, should we avoid killing them?
    Also, heart cells will beat when sat in a jar all by themselves.

  102. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Women are being killed just because they are female. Doesn’t that bother you?

    Yes. Especially when they’re being killed by being denied abortions that are necessary to save their lives, you disingenuous piece of shit.

    You’ve made it abundantly clear that as far as you’re concerned the only point of women even existing is pumping out babies. How fucking dare you pretend to care about their lives?

  103. mnb0 says

    “A woman’s right to choose abortion and the child support debate are really NOT comparable”
    In fact it is. Every man has the right to have vasectomy. I did it about 15 years ago. My own choice. No woman in the entire world is going to make me pay for any child anymore.
    Which shows that anon atheist is even more wrong than Lindsay already thought.

  104. Anat says

    The males and females have the right to engage in sexual intercourse knowing that the purpose of sexual intercourse is procreation.

    Not true. Except for one year in my life, when I had sex my purpose was to enjoy myself and to bring enjoyment to my partner at the time. Actions do not have purpose on their own. Only autonomous beings can give purpose to their actions. The only autonomous beings involved in any sexual acts I ever engaged in were myself and my respective partner.

    Oh, and my creators were my parents. They agree with me, not that their opinion matters.

  105. Anat says

    Also have a look at Clitoral kludges

    Women can experience orgasms in ways that have nothing to do with reproduction. (Heck, at least this woman can orgasm without being touched below the waist.) If the only purpose of sex is reproduction why create this ability?

  106. Jefrir says

    Tell you what, we’ll have exactly the same rights:
    1. Men and women can have equal rights to remove any embryo that is growing inside their bodies. You can remove embryos from your body, and I’ll remove embryos from mine.
    2. Men and women can have equal responsibilities to support any children they have once they are born.
    There, see, perfectly equal! I’m sure this will make such a big difference.

  107. says

    …the purpose of sexual intercourse is procreation.

    It is an objective and observable fact that sex serves more than one purpose for many people. So your argument fails because it is based on an obviously false premise.

  108. says

    The zygote is composed of human DNA and other human molecules…

    So do my skin cells.

    Oh, and what makes a molecule “human?”

  109. says

    Um…men still have the right to use condoms, get vascectomies, and/or choose not to have sex. Any one of which would pretty much negate a woman’s ability to stick a guy with child-support obligations.

    Funny how the guys who bitch and howl about wimmin forcing men to pay for child support, are the same guys supporting laws to deny women access to birth control, good medical information, and decent sex-ed. In other words, a bunch of clueles hateful dolts who still haven’t managed to deal with all the hurt and resentments of puberty and ating, and are still incapable of thinking like grownups. Yes, I’ve been there too, and yes, it’s a LOT of hurt to process; but trust me, hating wimmin and embracing the Taliban doesn’t help.

  110. R Johnston says

    Funny how the guys who bitch and howl about wimmin forcing men to pay for child support, are the same guys supporting laws to deny women access to birth control, good medical information, and decent sex-ed.

    They also tend to be the same guys who are violently opposed to having the state help support single mothers who aren’t able to afford everything a child deserves. These guys really hate children.

  111. says

    No, cupcake.
    Child support is about children.*
    Pro-choice is about women.
    But I’ll tell you something, how about changing the system:
    We set up a taxpayer funded system that pays for the things children need. No more fucking up children’s lives because their parents can’t afford health-care, no more alnutritioned children because their parents are poor. No more child-support because the children are supported.
    Sounds good to me…

    *Here’s some surprising news: if the dad takes care of the child the mother has to pay.

  112. MatthewL says

    It seems like the record (aka Mark) is irreparably broken. Time to take it off the turntable.

  113. sc_d1b525835d45dee9b9761548a1dfc2ef says

    It’s like you godless Lefties forgot how Jesus used animal metaphors for his male disciplines. Last Sunday is nicknamed Good Shepherd Sunday. The hired farmhand is only there to make money. If a wolf shows up, he’s outta there. No paycheck is worth the personal safety risk. The good shepherd OTOH, lays down his life to protect his flock. “I am the Good Shepherd who will give up his life to protect his folk.” Or something like that.
    Oh, and he told them that he would make them fishers of men, too.
    Since y’all are so smart, I’d hate to not provide you some context.
    What’s with “anti-choice?” They are anti-abortion. No one cares what you order for dinner or what color you wear to the Reason Rally. No one says you have to actually sleep or go after multiple orgasms in your bed. “Doggy-style” is not a term that Fox News coined.
    Starbucks eliminated the food coloring made by squished bugs because that is senseless cruelty. But a developing human being? C’mon! That’s a parasite. Wait…parasites are animals….. Does PETA care about parasites? Where is the consistency?
    Farm animals deserve humane treatment. So whats so wrong about a conservative politician compares females to livestock? PETA values animals more than humans. So that is a compliment.
    When I breastfed my kids, it didn’t make me a cow.

  114. sc_d1b525835d45dee9b9761548a1dfc2ef says

    folk-flock
    Call me Yahoo mess. I don’t know why it came up that way.

  115. Jefrir says

    In case you hadn’t noticed, this isn’t a PETA website. In fact, most people here think PETA are a bunch of loons.

  116. No way! says

    You know, if all I had to do to eradicate sexism was have one of my ribs surgically removed, I would totally do it.

  117. says

    Excellent really jbsdbhb to see that you have enjoyed this, as I read, I just passed this onto a colleague who was doing a little research on that. And he actually bought me lunch because I found it for him smile So let me rephrase that: Thanks for lunch!

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