The Religious Right, Sonograms and Conscience Clauses


FTBer Steven Andrew of Zingularity emailed about a very interesting little twist in the debate over abortion and mandatory sonograms. As you no doubt know by now, Virginia is trying to pass a bill that would require invasive sonograms — literally, a piece of medical equipment inserted into a woman’s vagina by order of the government — before anyone can get an abortion. But think about this…

The same people pushing for these mandatory sonogram bills have also been pushing for years for “conscience clauses” to allow people to refuse to perform medical procedures or even dispense medication if it violates their religious beliefs, like allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control. So what do you suppose they would say if a doctor refused to perform this government-mandated invasive sonogram as a matter of conscience?

In fact, any doctor should refuse to do so under their Hippocratic oath. No doctor should perform a government-mandated test that is medically unnecessary, as such procedures will nearly always be. And isn’t it funny that these same people who push those two ideas are also the same ones who scream about tyranny when the government does almost anything, but it doesn’t bother them in the least to pass laws that require doctors to perform unnecessary and invasive procedures?

If anyone else in any other setting inserted something in a woman’s vagina without her consent, they would be guilty of rape. And yet that is exactly what the Christian right wants the government to require, with the consent of neither the patient or the doctor. Tyranny, indeed.

Comments

  1. wilsim says

    Most indeedidly.

    And we see the anger and incoherence when they speak publicly from their cognitive dissonance.

  2. lofgren says

    The answer is simple. If you can’t cite a passage in the bible to justify your position, you can’t use the conscience clause. For example, “I’m sorry, we don’t fill prescriptions for Viagra here,” would be a violation of the law and an abuse of authority, but “I’m sorry, we don’t fulfill prescriptions for Viagra here [Galatians 6:10],” would be a protected conscientious objection to a tyrannical and amoral law.

  3. tubi says

    Why should conscience be dictated by the Bible? I (if I were a doctor, which I’m not) would refuse and cite tubi’s 1st law of not raping my patients. That ought to be enough.

  4. Pteryxx says

    As long as the laws specify “conscience clauses” and “personal beliefs” instead of “religious exemption” then a personal belief in the Hippocratic oath, the ethical codes of patient care, or even humanist/secularist/atheist beliefs should legally (perhaps not practically) qualify. If I were a health care provider, I would absolutely refuse to commit government-mandated sexual assault or harassment upon a patient out of a personal belief that the religiously-justified assault offended my conscience.

  5. d cwilson says

    More and more, I’m convinced that the words, “consent” and “woman” simply do not compute when put together inside the wingnut mind.

    This has been my theory about why arguments about consenting adults always sail over their heads. Women don’t consent to sex, they submit to it. When a same-sex couple engages in sex, there’s no clear distinction as to who is dominating and who is submitting. Thus, when you try to explain to people like Rick “Man on Dog” Santorum the difference between consenting adult sex and bestiality or pedophilia, all you get are blank stares. It’s like they’re struggling to understand what “consent” has to do with sex.

  6. daved says

    The Hippocratic Oath is a double-edged sword here; I seem to recall that the original form of the oath forbade physicians to perform abortions.

  7. Abby Normal says

    So what do you suppose they would say if a doctor refused to perform this government-mandated invasive sonogram as a matter of conscience?

    I think they’d say mission accomplished. She didn’t have the sonogram so she can’t get an abortion.

  8. Pteryxx says

    I think they’d say mission accomplished. She didn’t have the sonogram so she can’t get an abortion.

    If the abortion provider is capable of performing the sonogram (and most are, I think) couldn’t they simply go on with the abortion procedure (or prescribe the medication) while refusing the sonogram? It doesn’t constitute malpractice, and I recall that Catholic hospitals have regularly refused abortions while performing other, related procedures on patients.

  9. mikelaing says

    If anyone else in any other setting inserted something in a woman’s vagina without her consent, they would be guilty of rape. And yet that is exactly what the Christian right wants

    QFT

  10. Randomfactor says

    I assume the doctors are going to be billing for the ultrasound. They can send the bills to the state treasurer. If HE refuses to pay, it’s one of those “unfunded mandates” the Republicans are always complaining about.*

    In fact, if the state is mandating these medical procedures, they damned well better be paying for them, right? I smell an amendment here, argued on conservative, small-government grounds.

    *(Well, not “always,” just when it’s of BENEFIT to someone.)

  11. says

    The same people pushing for these mandatory sonogram bills have also been pushing for years for “conscience clauses” to allow people to refuse to perform medical procedures or even dispense medication if it violates their religious beliefs…

    They’re also the same people who scream about the individual health care mandate, and raise the specter of “death panels” if the government were to decide which procedures it will and won’t cover, etc. No one ever accused them of being consistent.

  12. abb3w says

    As a quibbling detail, under the Virginia code it would actually be “object sexual penetration” (§ 18.2-67.2) rather than “rape” (§ 18.2-61); but the statutory penalty looks about the same, so the distinction would only matter to a lawyer.

  13. Abby Normal says

    I’m not sure I buy into this rape angle. Under any other circumstances sticking a syringe into someone without their consent is assault. Every state still requires certain immunizations before a child can attend public school, some without exemptions. In no way do I support this legislation. It’s a demeaning, illiberal, useless piece of crap I wouldn’t use to line a bird cage. But rape? That seems overblown to me. I’ve worked with victims of rape and I feel like I would be belittling their experience with the comparison.

  14. Pteryxx says

    Pteryxx, is abortion a legally required prerequisite for those related procedures?

    I thought that was the whole point? A sonogram isn’t a medical prerequisite for an (early) abortion, only a legal prerequisite. Refusing an unnecessary sonogram doesn’t harm the patient, so malpractice law wouldn’t apply. But conscience exemptions have been used to justify refusal of care even when it risks, or loses, the woman’s or fetus’s life (as in selective reduction of multiples).

    So an abortion provider could refuse to force a sonogram on a patient, go ahead with the abortion procedure or prescription, and challenge the illegality of that act by saying the law strips them of their right to conscience-based refusal. Isn’t that why all-male religious leaders are screaming about being legally required to (let other people) provide contraception coverage?

  15. Pteryxx says

    But rape? That seems overblown to me. I’ve worked with victims of rape and I feel like I would be belittling their experience with the comparison.

    Rape can include sexual contact or penetration that’s forced via coercion, depending on the specific laws. I definitely think this fits the definition of coercion, because there is no corresponding personal or public good.

    IANAL but I don’t think assault has coercion in its definition.

  16. says

    It seems to me that this legislation, like much of these types of anti-abortion legislation designed to get around Roe, is just another boondoggle for us lawyers. Although, it always seems that it’s the underpaid ACLU and other similar public service lawyers that get stuck with the dirty work of having them declared unconstitutional.

    One thing that seems apparent to me is that the Republican/Religious Right that supports this shit are throwbacks from a time period of pure and utter ignorance, which is where objections to abortion and contraception come from. The Catholic Church was originally against contraception, because it didn’t know the biology of reproduction. It thought that the sperm was simply a small baby, and that the woman was the fertile soil the implanted sperm was allowed to grow in. It had no comprehension of what reproduction actually was, i.e. a joining of two equal partners in the process, each contributing a necessary ingredient. So it thought that preventing births was actually killing babies. This is why women are still second class citizens in the dialogue – they should just lie back and grow them babies and shut up!

    Unfortunately some people still have no comprehension, and we keep electing them to office.

    We’re the idiots. *

    *and by “we’re” I mean all those dumb-asses voting Republican.

  17. eric says

    The DNC or VA Dems should hire John Cleese to do an ad. Something along the lines of Meaning of Life’s “organ donor” sketch.

    [Scene of woman discussing something quietly in doctor’s office, you can’t hear their voices.]

    [Door bursts open, Cleese rushes in dressed in old doctor’s gear with the big mirror on the forhead, a big “GOP” button on one breast, and holding a huge black vibrator emitting a buzzing sound]

    Cleese: “Excuse me, I’m here from the Republican Party of Virginia, and I’d like to stick this up your hoo haa.”

    Woman, looking alarmed: “What? Why would you want to do that?”

    Cleese: “Its all part of our drive for smaller, lower cost government. Now please like back and think of Governer McDonnell, there’s a good lass.”

    [and so on, you get the point]

  18. Abby Normal says

    Pteryxx, I’d like to think it would go that way (re: post @16). But I don’t have any faith that the people supporting this law would see it as anything but a simple X must precede Y, probably followed by a rant about how early fingernails develop.

    Playing Devil’s Advocate I think everyone would agree that under normal circumstances, before undergoing a medical procedure like abortion, a woman needs to give informed consent. By definition this sonogram provides information needed to meet the informed consent standard. So while it is not medically necessary, it legally necessary. No conscience clause allows a doctor to bypass a patient’s right to informed consent.

    And now I’ve reached my daily limit on putting myself in the mind of conservative. Bleck!

    Regarding your post @17, I admit my feelings are driving my opinion. It feels wrong calling it rape. But since I apparently can’t be rational about it, I’ll say no more. I’ll reflect on it over coming days.

  19. interrobang says

    I’ve said for a long time that wingnuts don’t understand the concept of sexual consent. As they’re getting more and more overt about it, I’m definitely starting to understand why. Just recently, a wingnut named James Poulos wrote an article asking what women “are for,” and while he tried kinda to backtrack saying that he was asking contrastively with what women “are against,” the truth will out; further in the article he says “The prevailing answer is the non-answer, a Newt-worthy challenge to the premise that insists the real purpose of women is nothing in particular.” [Emphasis mine.] (What’s next, “If they become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, that’s why they are there”? Seriously, this is 16th C. levels of toxic misogyny.)

    That’s right, there are actually male wingnuts out there who are debating the uses of women as if we’re some kind of weird gadget sitting on a dusty shelf in a hardware store somewhere. Which is basically what male wingnuts think about women anyway, that we’re not actually people, we’re just talking (too much, allegedly) objects.

    He also actually unironically uses the phrase “the woman question.” Mary Wollstonecraft is spinning in her grave so fast she just hit the mantle and is still descending.

  20. grumpyoldfart says

    They don’t care if they miss out today. They’ll just keep niggling away, and every now and then, one of their laws will be passed until eventually – decades from now – people will look back and think, “How the hell did we get into this situation.” But it will be too late.

  21. says

    normal circumstances, before undergoing a medical procedure like abortion, a woman needs to give informed consent. By definition this sonogram provides information needed to meet the informed consent standard. So while it is not medically necessary, it legally necessary. No conscience clause allows a doctor to bypass a patient’s right to informed consent.

    @20: Abby, It’s not necessary to do an invasive and somewhat humiliating procedure to inform a patient all they need to know for informed consent. This presumes that a woman is too stupid to understand something told to them verbally and in writing that they need pictures too. If I was a women, I’d be insulted by the condescension.

    There. Does that help you get back out of the conservative mind? ;)

  22. eric says

    Abby: By definition this sonogram provides information needed to meet the informed consent standard.

    Why? The woman knows she is pregnant, and you can get pictures of foetuses at any stage of development, any time you want, from a variety of web and text sources, without the intrustion.

    You already know what’s in there. What additional information does this provide?

    Seems to me to be just about adding a visceral, emotional impact to an otherwise difficult decision (not to mention throwing up embarrasing and intrustive barriers).

  23. raven says

    Newt-worthy challenge to the premise that insists the real purpose of women is nothing in particular.” [Emphasis mine.] (What’s next, “If they become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, that’s why they are there”?

    Martin Luther said that. He was a terrible person like most founders of religions that we know of. Joseph Smith, David Koresh, Warren Jeffs, Reverends Moon and Jones and on and on.

    Yeah, well men are only good for two things. And who changes their own oil anymore? (This is a joke BTW)

    One of the blazing things about the current outbreak of the War on Women is how it is all directed at…women. The so called personhood amendment, mandatory ultrasound probes up the vagina, outlawing birth control, restricting Plan B and so on.

    They never bother with the other half of the equation. The men. 40% of all births in the USA are to single mothers. Although some of these men will pay child support and/or are de facto living with the woman as a spouse, a lot of them are just sperm donors. They could and should be held responsible for their actions as co-creators. Never seems to happen and it sure as hell isn’t happening now.

  24. raven says

    a wingnut named James Poulos wrote an article asking what women “are for,”

    The real answer to What are women for? is obvious. Whatever they want and choose to be “for”. And the same for men, to be fair.

    Last I heard, this was a democracy and they were full citizens.

    The majority of college graduates these days are women by a lot. Same with college students. Roughly half of all medical students, law students, and veterinary students are women.

  25. Alverant says

    Easiest way to derail this is to add a rider requiring all men who want Viarga or any similar “I wanna hard-on” drug to have a prostate exam using an instrument that is a modified elephant inseminator that needs three people to hold correctly and has a wireless link to YouTube with its built-in webcam. All paid for by the patient of course.

  26. Pteryxx says

    Abby Normal:

    No conscience clause allows a doctor to bypass a patient’s right to informed consent.

    Actually, aren’t Catholic doctors and facilities exempted under conscience clauses from providing ANY information about contraception or abortion? They don’t even have to refer a patient to someone who WILL provide that information; nor do they have to refer a patient who needs an abortion to a hospital that will perform one, even if she’s about to die. Nor do they have to disclose that their office or hospital even HAS a religious affiliation that would preclude contraception or abortion – the patient doesn’t find that out until they’re on the table asking for one.

    Here you go, from 2007:

    In a survey published this year in The New England Journal of Medicine, 63 percent of doctors said it is acceptable to tell patients they have moral objections to treatments, and 18 percent felt no obligation to refer patients elsewhere. And in a recent SELF.com poll, nearly 1 in 20 respondents said their doctors had refused to treat them for moral, ethical or religious reasons.

    […]

    In many cases, women don’t even know a doctor is withholding treatment. Boyer and Harnish, for example, wouldn’t have realized they’d been denied care if they’d been among the estimated one in three women who don’t know about EC [emergency contraception – Ptx]. In the New England Journal of Medicinesurvey, 8 percent of physicians said they felt no obligation to present all options to their patients. “When you see a doctor, you presume you’re getting all the information you need to make a decision,” notes Jill Morrison, senior counsel for health and reproductive rights at the National Women’s Law Center in Washington, D.C. “Especially in a crisis situation, like a rape, you often don’t think to question your care. But unfortunately, now we can’t even trust doctors to tell us what we need to know.”

    Source article

    In this case, I wonder about a particular invasive vaginal medical procedure being shoved into the legal definition of “informed consent” when the same conservative lawmakers do things like ban the word “uterus” in legislative debate, institute policies banning accurate sex ed and enshrining misinformation instead, pass gag laws silencing medical professionals, and fund religious-based crisis pregnancy centers using taxpayer funds diverted from Planned Parenthood. (Why yes I’m in Texas, how did you know?)

    As far as calling it rape: if a supervisor called a woman into an office to interview her for a job, then said “The job’s yours but only if you disrobe, lay on my desk and let me penetrate your vagina with this dildo.” I’d say that was rape, yes.

  27. Pteryxx says

    “If they become tired or even die, that does not matter. Let them die in childbirth, that’s why they are there”?

    …So that’s where that saying came from. A teacher actually SAID this in my school, in our supposed “sex-ed” class, and I got up and walked out. It never occurred to me to feel proud of that before now.

  28. says

    The whole gov sponsored rape thing, brought to us by Christians is too bizarre. No physician would do a procedure that was not medically warranted, so I don’t see it happening anyway. What is really amazing to me is how with 50% or so of our population being women, does the Christian Right continue to get away with its blatant disregard for women? I simply do not understand it. Even if we chalk it up to christian women drinking the christian Kool-Aid, I gotta ask…have any of you ever drank any Kool-Aid that says “Hey you are a second class citizen, sit down, be quiet, and do as your told?” I mean really, how many social groups have ever done that for any extended period of time? Stunning.

  29. Pteryxx says

    Oh frick, I forgot this bill also requires the woman’s written confirmation that the invasive ultrasound was performed, said confirmation to become part of her medical record.

    So to correct my analogy:

    As far as calling it rape: if a supervisor called a woman into an office to interview her for a job, then said “The job’s yours but only if you disrobe, lay on my desk and let me penetrate your vagina with this dildo.” And then told her to sign a form afterwards saying she’d consented to the procedure, and put that form in her official employee file. I’d say that was rape, yes.

    Bloody hell. BLOODYHELL.

  30. Pteryxx says

    Even if we chalk it up to christian women drinking the christian Kool-Aid, I gotta ask…have any of you ever drank any Kool-Aid that says “Hey you are a second class citizen, sit down, be quiet, and do as your told?” I mean really, how many social groups have ever done that for any extended period of time? Stunning.

    *looks at African-Americans*

    *raises eyebrowtuft*

  31. lofgren says

    I’m not sure I buy into this rape angle. Under any other circumstances sticking a syringe into someone without their consent is assault. Every state still requires certain immunizations before a child can attend public school, some without exemptions. In no way do I support this legislation. It’s a demeaning, illiberal, useless piece of crap I wouldn’t use to line a bird cage. But rape? That seems overblown to me. I’ve worked with victims of rape and I feel like I would be belittling their experience with the comparison.

    Well I think the point is that it’s technically rape, and I doubt that any woman forced to have a vaginal ultrasound would feel exactly the same way she would if she were raped (although she would probably feel pretty violated).

    Still I think it’s worth pointing out some differences between this and immunizations. Immunizations protects other people from your contagious diseases, sonograms do not. Immunizations are required in order to make use of public services that put others at risk of contagion, sonograms are required for a personal choice in which nobody else has any business involving themselves. Immunizations serve a valid and some would argue necessary medical good. Sonograms are cheap emotional manipulation.

    So even though jabbing somebody with a needle could be called assault in a similar way that inserting a wand into a person’s orifice could be called rape, an examination of the criteria required for the government to decide that it is justifiable to require assault/rape reveals that the far more egregious and invasive rape is treated more trivially than the minor assault. That is, if we agree that assaults might sometimes be necessary to ensure the health of the populace, this particular (sexual in nature) assault is still far more violating than it is necessary.

  32. Azkyroth says

    Playing Devil’s Advocate I think everyone would agree that under normal circumstances, before undergoing a medical procedure like abortion, a woman needs to give informed consent. By definition this sonogram provides information needed to meet the informed consent standard. So while it is not medically necessary, it legally necessary. No conscience clause allows a doctor to bypass a patient’s right to informed consent.

    And now I’ve reached my daily limit on putting myself in the mind of conservative. Bleck!

    Make up your mind.

  33. Azkyroth says

    Regarding your post @17, I admit my feelings are driving my opinion. It feels wrong calling it rape. But since I apparently can’t be rational about it, I’ll say no more. I’ll reflect on it over coming days.

    At the point where you’re declaring that some forced, unwanted penetration of the sex organs “doesn’t count” as rape you’re a monster, not an ally.

  34. steve oberski says

    @daved

    The Hippocratic Oath is a double-edged sword here; I seem to recall that the original form of the oath forbade physicians to perform abortions.

    You recall incorrectly.

    The original version of the oath does however restrict you to passing the art on only to other males (and to charge no fee for doing so).

    The doctor also is commanded to treat slaves as well as free men.

  35. Abby Normal says

    I suppose it would be unfair of me to put the argument out there and not try to defend it.

    Eric @24
    You already know what’s in there. What additional information does this provide?

    Seems to me to be just about adding a visceral, emotional impact to an otherwise difficult decision

    You’ve answered your own question. It provides information about how they’d feel when confronted with the reality of what they’re considering aborting. It’s one thing to see an image in a book and another to actually see what’s inside you. This information about their emotional state is critical for the patient when considering their long term psychological health.

    Pteryxx @28

    Actually, aren’t Catholic doctors and facilities exempted under conscience clauses from providing ANY information about contraception or abortion?

    Different procedures have different requirements and levels of informed consent. Sometimes you consent simply by getting a prescription filled. Other times disclosure of certain information is required. In the case you site, no doctor is required to provide that information, so it’s not an exemption. In the case of this sonogram, another level is required.

  36. Aquaria says

    This all goes back to them thinking that women are so childlike and charmingly stupid that they don’t know what they’re doing when they get an abortion.

    We know.

    We’re not as stupid as conservatard men who think they know what’s best for us, or what they think we don’t know.

    If one could call what those scumbags do “thinking”.

  37. Abby Normal says

    I think the patient’s rights make for a much stronger case than this conscience clauses line of attack. A patients right to refuse any test, treatment, or procedure is federal law under the Patients Bill of Rights, even if it produces inferior or harmful results. A doctor may be required to provide certain information. Attacking this on the grounds that a person’s right to autonomy includes right to guide their own medical care puts us on much stronger legal and moral footing.

  38. fastlane says

    Take it from someone (me) who knows someone who had a similar procedure forced on her when she was relatively young, and still has PTSD from it. It is rape, for all intents and purposes, and it will cause most, if not all, of the same, usually lifelong, trauma, for a woman who has to experience it.

    So fuck these VA legislators sideways, with a rusty, dead porcupine.

  39. Doc Bill says

    You can immunize a child because you are the parent or guardian of that child. A child can not consent.

    As an adult you can refuse to be immunized, however. You can refuse to sign papers authorizing surgery. You can refuse medical treatment even if it will save your life.

    You can refuse to a cavity search at the airport if you are willing to go to jail rather than to your destination. If you are traveling to Detroit you might weigh the options.

    If you go to a urologist for a vasectomy and the Dr. says, “I’m going to stick this probe up your ass. It has nothing to do with the procedure,” you could say no thanks.

    This entire insanity in the Republican party demolishes 40 years of women’s equality in society. It objectifies women and has no purpose other for men like Foster Friess to hold power over people, in this case, women. It’s disgusting and reprehensible and it’s sad that people in my state, Texas, either aren’t aware, are too comfortable or just don’t care about a similar Bill that is currently in the courts but, so far, has been sustained.

    The message is clear. Women who seek abortions are criminals and must be punished. If they can’t be thrown in jail then the state will at least ensure that their shitty day is made just a little more shitty.

  40. Michael Heath says

    Abby Normal @ 40 writes:

    I think the patient’s rights make for a much stronger case than this conscience clauses line of attack. A patients right to refuse any test, treatment, or procedure is federal law under the Patients Bill of Rights, even if it produces inferior or harmful results. A doctor may be required to provide certain information. Attacking this on the grounds that a person’s right to autonomy includes right to guide their own medical care puts us on much stronger legal and moral footing.

    Hear, hear!

  41. Pierce R. Butler says

    Abby Normal @ # 15 (et al., et seq.): Under any other circumstances sticking a syringe into someone without their consent is assault.

    IANAL, but last I heard, that qualifies as battery. (Just waving your fist can get you an assault charge; unwanted touch makes it battery, or A&B.)

    Using an implement in either case gives the arresting officer much more to write down. Using a potentially deadly instrument… hot damn. Ass–>grass.

    Even in a nice clean state-inspected clinic, nonemergency nonconsenusal injection will usually result in unemployment, canceled license(s), and other well-earned unpleasantness even before the Miranda reading.

    What with our besieged but persevering ethics codes, physicians’ aversion to legal liabilities, and the recently demonstrated power of feminist backlash, this particular bit of misogyny won’t last long.

    While this bit of overreach is likely to be aborted in court, expect numerous less visible exam room intrusions to accumulate.

    The recent surge of Republican male chauvinist swinery hasn’t exactly popped up out of nowhere, but the dynamics which have taken it to such virulence lately need explanation. I suspect that the craving of 2010 House teabaggers for reelection has more to do with it than the continuing 4 Stooges saga, but either way the Rabid Right is going into a self-induced lather of Olympic proportions.

    The most optimistic scenario is that we’re seeing the Ghost Dance of the Patriarchy, or at least the Glenn Beck-baggers, preparing for glorious self-immolation in Tampa this August.

    Alas, we won’t get rid of the crazies that easily, but at least the naked inflamed neuroses in the spotlight this winter provide multiple case studies of their collective pathology.

    Maybe we really will have to put them in rehab camps, for their own good and ours …

  42. danielm says

    @steve oberski,

    Actually the original version of the Hippocratic Oath listed at Classics.MIT, the University of Virginia’s medical library, and the NIH’s National Library of Medicine all include a phrase like “I will not give to a woman a pessary to produce abortion.” That phrase was also in a book on the history of medicine I read a while ago.

  43. tomh says

    @ 42
    As an adult you can refuse to be immunized, however.

    You can also refuse to have your child immunized in 48 states. Only West Virginia and Mississippi don’t allow a religious exemption for otherwise required immunizations. Nineteen states also allow exemptions for philosophical (non-religious related) objections.

  44. says

    Abby Normal:

    By definition this sonogram provides information needed to meet the informed consent standard. So while it is not medically necessary, it legally necessary.

    Is it, though?

    Abortion is a routine, safe procedure in the large majority of cases. Like appendix removals, but without anesthesia. Appendix removal patients don’t need to see pictures of their inflamed appendixes to give consent to their removal. Neither do pregnant women. (Of course I am not a doctor. But I’ve let a doctor slice open my tonsils without anesthesia, a procedure so painful I almost passed out and could hardly walk out of the office afterward, without being shown pictures of my abscess. I’m guessing this is true for a great many routine, safe, relatively uncomplicated procedures. I’ve also had an abortion, and did not need to see a sonogram in order to understand that I was pregnant and that their diagnosis, which was achieved with far less expensive and invasive means, was correct.)

    You don’t need a sonogram to know you’re 10.4 weeks pregnant unless you want the extra proof. You don’t need a sonogram of your inflamed appendix or tonsils in order to give informed consent to remove either. Such a procedure would be a waste of time and a burden on both the patients and doctors.

    In the case of the pregnancy sonogram, the sole purpose of the procedure is to increase the anxiety, time and financial expense of the patient. It has nothing to do with informed consent except perhaps in the most extreme cases. In which case it should be up to the doctor and patient.

  45. says

    @47

    Actually, isn’t the point of the procedure a naive attempt to extract some emotional response from the woman, who they assume is mindlessly contemplating an abortion without having any idea that what she is doing is killing a cute, tiny little baby, one she wouldn’t otherwise connect with unless she sees a picture of it? And once she sees her “child” her heart will go all aflutter and basically cause her to change her mind, thereby saving another of God’s creatures?

  46. michaeld11 says

    Please forgive my intrusion here, but I’m one of the “right wing conservative men” (although I’m not a Republican, I’m an Independent)you have been railing against.

    First, let me say I am pro-life, but second let me say I don’t agree with forcing a woman to go through a procedure she does not want in order to have an abortion.

    Many of you are absolutely correct when you infer this is tantamount to legalized rape. If there is not willing consent for this penetration, it should not be done. I believe you are correct that many doctors and nurses will not go along with this procedure.

    I am totally opposed to our government stripping rights from us as citizens and much as I abhor abortion, this is not the right method to convince anyone they are immoral.

    I know most of you disagree and believe there is nothing wrong with abortion, but I thought you should at least know that not all conservative men view women as objects or agree this procedure is in any way going to change hearts and minds for the better.

  47. gingerbaker says

    “…if it violates their religious beliefs, like allowing pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions for birth control. So what do you suppose they would say if a doctor refused to perform this government-mandated invasive sonogram as a matter of conscience?..”

    The fact of the matter is that religious rights enjoy special privilege in the U.S. because they are specifically enumerated in the First Amendment. It’s a trump card that can be pulled at any time, and will be until the First Amendment itself is amended. Unless your act of “conscience” is religion-based, it gets trumped.

    BTW, the bill vote failed yesterday 64-34. Allegedly:

    “… an unnamed lawmaker told a fellow Virginia delegate, a woman already consented to being “vaginally penetrated when they got pregnant.”

    Which is good news, it seems, for us motherfucking rapists who can now enjoy open season on any pregnant woman we encounter.

  48. RickR says

    I know most of you disagree and believe there is nothing wrong with abortion

    Really? This is how you would sum up the pro-choice position? “People who believe there is nothing wrong with abortion”?

    Yet another data point that conservatism either causes brain damage in its adherents, or the ideology attracts those with cognitive defects.

    Which is good news, it seems, for us motherfucking rapists who can now enjoy open season on any pregnant woman we encounter.

    Indeed. Or any woman who isn’t a virgin, for that matter.
    “Hey, she’s already hung out a sign that she’s open for business…”

  49. gingerbaker says

    “Indeed. Or any woman who isn’t a virgin, for that matter.
    “Hey, she’s already hung out a sign that she’s open for business…””

    Even better! :D

    “No hymen? Say Hi, man!” ?

  50. says

    Pteryxx—you reference:
    *looks at African-Americans*
    in response to my comment. I thought about that when writing it, and concluded that I do not think they are sitting thinking of themselves as second class citizens. Nor do I think they ever did. During the centuries of slavery, they didn’t have a means to correct the problem. So, with that thought in mind, I made my statement. Evangelical Christian women are in a class of their own, in that they will defend their social position ardently. My wife and I do not have children and she is a full time professional. You can probably imagine some of the comments she, and others like her receive about how they are wasting their lives, etc. I do not think that African-American slaves would be so quick to do the same. I do not think they saw value in the life they were forced to live. The same cannot be said for Evangelical Christian women.

    To grumpyoldfart—I could not agree with you more.

  51. says

    Abortion was initially forbidden because it was too dangerous to the woman, not because of concern for the fetus. In Hippocrates day, one of the sections of the original Gynecology book described how to examine a baby for defects before presenting it to its father for the decision on whether to accept the baby for raising or expose it for death.

  52. says

    Really? This is how you would sum up the pro-choice position? “People who believe there is nothing wrong with abortion”?

    Yet another data point that conservatism either causes brain damage in its adherents, or the ideology attracts those with cognitive defects.

    that is the position of many pro-choice advocates. it’s a medical procedure like any other, not some sort of “lesser evil” or whathaveyou

  53. Chris from Europe says

    that is the position of many pro-choice advocates

    Of course, but the point is that the label pro-choice indicates one is supporting safe and legal access to abortion and women deciding for themselves. Pro-choice includes both people who view it as standard procedure and those who see it as lesser evil.

  54. RickR says

    Jadehawk, I wasn’t thinking of the “lesser of two evils” stance at all when I was making my criticism of that post. This wording-

    “People who believe there is nothing wrong with abortion”

    struck me as decidedly weird because it reduces the argument to an abstract moral issue, and ONLY an abstract moral issue, completely ignoring or dismissing what IMO pro-choice advocates take for granted- that women are full human beings with full rights including bodily autonomy and the right to make their own decisions including reproduction and health choices.

    “People who believe there is nothing wrong with abortion” just says to me that actual women don’t matter, they aren’t part of the argument, and what they do or don’t want to do with their own bodies doesn’t matter. It’s a statement that completely misses the point, in other words.
    And by reducing the argument to a purely abstract moral issue, it’s an easy way to simply paint your opponents as “bad people”.

    Anyway, that was my reading of it.

  55. RickR says

    Chris from Europe:

    the label pro-choice indicates one is supporting safe and legal access to abortion and women deciding for themselves

    Shorter me- IMO, this is a much more accurate summation of the pro-choice position.

  56. michaeld11 says

    RickR,

    “People who believe there is nothing wrong with abortion” is “decidely weird” as you have said. The first reason it is so weird is because “that post” (#49) you refer to (which I wrote) did not say that, but instead said “I know most of you disagree and believe there is nothing wrong with abortion”.

    “Most of you” refers to people who would read what I wrote, not the entire pro-choice universe. I happen to know and love many people who are pro-choice, my daughter is one of them, but I respect her opinion and have defended it with my life as I served in the U.S. military.(That means I defended your right to disagree as well, BTW)

    What I did NOT defend, however, is your “right” to take my words out of context re-write them, and then set up a straw man to set fire to with snarky comments “conservatism either causes brain damage in its adherents, or the ideology attracts those with cognitive defects.” Now THAT is “weird”!

    If you crave to be right so badly you have to invent imaginary arguments to win, perhaps you don’t really believe the position you have chosen as deeply as you pretend.

  57. tomh says

    michaeld11 wrote:
    I respect her opinion and have defended it with my life as I served in the U.S. military.(That means I defended your right to disagree as well, BTW)

    Unless you fought in the American Revolution or the War of 1812, you haven’t defended any American against anything. In case you hadn’t noticed that was the last time the US was invaded. You’re not the only one who has been in the military, in combat even, and none of us was “defending” free speech or anything else, except perhaps an oil source somewhere.

    Instead of puerile breast beating about how your bravery has defended everyone’s right to free speech, you should own up to what you said and its implications. You said,”I know most of you disagree and believe there is nothing wrong with abortion.” How in the world do you know this? Has there been a single post that said there is nothing wrong with abortion, let alone any evidence that most of the readers here believe this? And then to claim that you didn’t mean the pro-choice “universe” in general, but only the readers of this blog is simply disingenuous. Why would pro-choice advocates here be any different than pro-choice advocates anywhere else?

    You claim to be a right-wing conservative man and I can believe it. You certainly argue like one.

  58. Michael Heath says

    Tomh’s last post speaks for me as well. Imagining a position for others is just plain poor form.

  59. nimue says

    What I haven’t seen mentioned here is that there are two types of sonograms. There’s an outer sonogram (the one most people are familiar with) and one where they use an internal wand. Assuming (and that’s a big assumption) that you need information about say.. the position of the placenta in the uterus, there doesn’t seem to be a good reason why you’d need the much more invasive internal sonogram instead of the normal external sonogram.

    This just seems to be designed to subject women to a painful, unpleasant exam. (I’ve had both types done.)

  60. nimue says

    Ok, so the transvaginal sonogram can detect pregnancy 1-1.5 weeks earlier. 4.5 – 5 weeks whereas an abdominal sonogram is good 6+ weeks. Seems that there should only be very, very few cases where a regular sonogram can’t be used.

    Not that I agree that any sonogram should be required, unless the Dr. needs the information.

  61. michaeld11 says

    TomH,

    “Unless you fought in the American Revolution or the War of 1812, you haven’t defended any American against anything. In case you hadn’t noticed that was the last time the US was invaded”

    Apparently you have been in some liberal induced stupor since 9/11/01. If have just now awakened from your coma, it was an attack on the U.S. by radical muslim terrorists. Please google this and come up to speed before you send out any further responses because you’re embarrassing yourself and every free thinking individual reading your nonsense.

    “You’re not the only one who has been in the military, in combat even, and none of us was “defending” free speech or anything else, except perhaps an oil source somewhere.”

    By ” none of us”, I assume you are trying to imply you served in the military. If so, I want you to look up the oath you took because you obviously don’t remember it. I do find it hard to believe, however, because your response sounds nothing like a disciplined member of our military that has willing put their life on the line to defend America from our enemies.
    You sound more like some ridiculous conspiracy theorist instead and you dishonor the men and women who have fought and died for this country.

    Michael Heath,

    There were 48 comments (I think 30 different people), prior to my post and not a single entry said anything that indicated anyone had any problem with abortion. I said “most” of you because I realized there could be a few who weren’t quite sure.

    “Imagining a position for others is just plain poor form.”

    Did I “imagine” this? Maybe you need to read these entries again.

    Try to be honest. I know that will be difficult, but I’m sure you have the ability within you.

    “Hear, hear”.

  62. tomh says

    michaeld11 wrote:
    because your response sounds nothing like a disciplined member of our military that has willing put their life on the line to defend America from our enemies

    You’re right, I wasn’t willing. I was drafted in 1965 and defended America from all our enemies in Vietnam. There were lots of peasants over there who I’m sure you would consider America’s enemies. I saw plenty of fools like you, too, who thought they were patriots.

  63. dingojack says

    michaeld11 – So London was invaded by the Nazis in 1940? Darwin by the Japanese in 1941 (along with Pearl Harbour, or perhaps all of Hawaii as a whole)? Who knew?

    Attack invade.

    However, back to the real issue…

    Dingo

  64. michaeld11 says

    TomH,

    I’m sorry you were forced into service and though I wasn’t in during Nam I do know it was hell. I also recognize your bitterness and know there is nothing I can say to make the wrong right. I do know, like Korea, South Vietnam wanted our help and we went in with good intentions. It was all downhill from there.

    Yet, those of us who understand the hell you went through, do appreciate you. I don’t believe the men and women who served were “fools”. Yes, you and they were patriots and whether you want it or not, generations later salute you. You should have received the heroes welcome when you came home, but we were so ashamed of ourselves we took it out on the returning troops.

    Believe it or not, we did learn some lessons from the mistakes we made and our combat methods have improved because of it.
    This probably does not impress you, but the sacrifices you made, did make an impact and have saved innocent lives.

    I don’t know what your feelings are about the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, but they were/are not fought the way Vietnam was. We do believe we are defending our way of life and every cluster that is taken out means there is less chance of another 9/11 attack. Yes, mistakes have still been made. War tears at your conscience as you constantly question are we doing the right thing, but the image of the Twin Towers collapsing is emblazoned in my mind. I never want to see our country harmed like that again.

    Way off topic from this blog, but I hope we gained some ground and at least a little respect for one another.

  65. michaeld11 says

    Dingo,

    Yes, let’s get back to the purpose of this blog and take the debate on the virtues and the evils of war elsewhere.

    I did not see your comment on the thread prior to this. What is your position?

  66. dingojack says

    michaeld11 – Invasive vaginal sonograms, unless provably necessary for medial reasons, are not justified and are an infringement on a women’s rights.

    And you?

    Dingo

  67. tomh says

    michaeld11 wrote:
    I do know, like Korea, South Vietnam wanted our help and we went in with good intentions

    You are wrong and know nothing of history.

    We do believe we are defending our way of life

    You are deluded.

  68. Michael Heath says

    michaeld11 writes:

    I know most of you disagree and believe there is nothing wrong with abortion

    Which has some objecting, including me, since this argugment was never predominately made in this forum.

    michaeld11 then writes:

    There were 48 comments (I think 30 different people), prior to my post and not a single entry said anything that indicated anyone had any problem with abortion. I said “most” of you because I realized there could be a few who weren’t quite sure.

    “Imagining a position for others is just plain poor form.”

    Did I “imagine” this? Maybe you need to read these entries again.

    Try to be honest. I know that will be difficult, but I’m sure you have the ability within you.

    Plenty of people support abortion rights who also do not agree with your claim, “there is nothing with abortion”. They in fact benchmark best global practices for countries with the lowest abortion rates and argue we should consider putting into practice those success factors precisely in order to both reduce unplanned pregnancies and abortions – better sex education for young people, easier access to contraception, better education and educative opportunities which reduces the rate of young and middle-teenagers having sex since they have more hope for their future and better learn to plan for the future rather than living more in the moment. The Democrats last three leading presidential candidates, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John Kerry, all take this position rather than the one you assert is true in this venue.

    The onus is on you to provide evidence this forum predominately thinks, “there is nothing with abortion” rather than imagining what people think. That would be the honest thing to do. Creating strawman of others’ positions, which misrepresents their positions, is not only a failure in argumentation, but also in character.

  69. michaeld11 says

    Dingo,

    I agree with what you have said about the sonagrams. A woman should not be forced to undergo this procedure because she has chosen to have an abortion.

    Abortion IMO is wrong except in certain extreme cases, but two wrongs do not make a right.

  70. michaeld11 says

    Michael Heath,

    I asked you to try to be honest, but instead you tap dance.

    It’s really very simple. I challenge anyone who had posted in this forum prior to post #49 to state if they believe there is anything unethical or immoral about abortion and if so, why do you feel that way.

    If you don’t have a problem with abortion, no need to reply.

    Let’s say we give this a week for responses (and Michael, I really do hope I’m proven wrong)

  71. michaeld11 says

    Michael Heath,

    The week is up and you should be disappointed, I know I am!

    Not a single person who had posted came back with any response indicating they had any moral or ethical objection to abortion.

    Your comment to me: “The onus is on you to provide evidence this forum predominately thinks, “there is nothing with abortion” rather than imagining what people think. That would be the honest thing to do. Creating strawman of others’ positions, which misrepresents their positions, is not only a failure in argumentation, but also in character.”

    So what have we determined? First, there is your “onus”, evidence that just as I said “I know most of you disagree and believe there is nothing wrong with abortion”. I did not “imagine” this as you tried to suggest, but understood very well what others on this forum were saying. This was no “strawman”, it was not “poor form” and it was not failure in argumentation or character.

    Instead you have failed. You have failed to understand the position of people you say, for the most part, you agree with. You have failed to recognize that a conservative who does not agree can understand their position. You have failed by insulting another person’s character simply because you don’t agree.

    I can only hope something good will come from this and you might open that very narrow mind of yours. If you truly do have a problem with abortion ask yourself why that is and what you feel needs to happen to correct that. I am not trying to push my beliefs on you. I am only asking you to know why you believe what you do and then stand by those beliefs without ridiculing those who do not agree.

    I have the same discussion with my fellow conservatives because I am proud to be an American. I love being in a country where we can have opposing views without bloodshed and I would like to see it stay that way. (I am NOT saying there never has been bloodshed because of opposing views – only I greatly prefer this does NOT happen!)

    I realize there is some element of fun to be had, when a conservative shows up on a free thought blog and you now wonder if the sky will be turning pink and clouds will be purple. I can only say there really are many of us out here who actually do care about what you think and what you have to say even if we don’t agree.

    And the best result of all? The bill in Virginia was shot down! Conservatives, Liberals and everyone in between made it clear, Americans do NOT want to have our freedoms stripped away!
    This is a victory not just for women’s rights, but for every American who loves FREEDOM!

  72. tomh says

    Not a single person who had posted came back with any response

    Well, that certainly is significant, except, why would anyone pay attention to your silly demands?

  73. mikelaing says

    And the best result of all? The bill in Virginia was shot down! Conservatives, Liberals and everyone in between made it clear, Americans do NOT want to have our freedoms stripped away!
    This is a victory not just for women’s rights, but for every American who loves FREEDOM!

    Wave of Ultrasound Bills About Humiliating Abortion Seekers
    Virginia officials backed off last week from requiring vaginal ultrasounds before abortions, but state legislators are still expected to pass a bill that mandates abdominal ultrasounds and adds other significant requirements for women seeking abortions.
    In recent years, this common diagnostic tool has taken a greater role in abortion-related legislation. Seven states require ultrasounds before abortions. Twenty states regulate some aspect of ultrasound exams, including requiring abortion providers to give women the option to view the image or listen to the fetal heartbeat if an ultrasound is performed.
    Eleven other states have legislation pending. If all of the measures pass, more than half of the states will have laws governing ultrasound exams before abortions. “I think we’re in the middle of a wave of ultrasound bills,” said Elizabeth Nash, a policy analyst with the Guttmacher Institute, which studies reproductive health.

  74. dingojack says

    michaeld11 – you have one week to prove that you haven’t raped then murder 5 girls under the age of 8 since the 1980’s
    GO!
    @@
    Dingo

  75. michaeld11 says

    Tomh,

    Wasn’t a demand, it was a challenge and as usual all I’ve seen is all type and no backbone.

  76. michaeld11 says

    mikelaing,

    “Virginia officials backed off last week from requiring vaginal ultrasounds before abortions”

    This is what we had been talking about. Sorry you missed the rest of the conversation.

  77. Michael Heath says

    michaeld11 writes:

    it was a challenge and as usual all I’ve seen is all type and no backbone.

    That’s a logical fallacy, specifically, a fallacy of false alternatives. Other possibilities also exist, some possibly more parsimonious than your explanation.

    Perhaps if you made coherent and compelling arguments not dependent on logical fallacies you’d get responses.

  78. michaeld11 says

    Dingojack,

    No problem! Meet me at Hagerstown, MD airport at 4 p.m. today and I’ll prove it to you! Go!

  79. mikelaing says

    michaeld11 says:


    February 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    mikelaing,
    “Virginia officials backed off last week from requiring vaginal ultrasounds before abortions”
    This is what we had been talking about. Sorry you missed the rest of the conversation.

    Who missed conversation? My, you are a lying sack of shit:
    but state legislators are still expected to pass a bill that mandates abdominal ultrasounds and adds other significant requirements for women seeking abortions.

    What did you say, something about

    And the best result of all? The bill in Virginia was shot down! Conservatives, Liberals and everyone in between made it clear, Americans do NOT want to have our freedoms stripped away! This is a victory not just for women’s rights, but for every American who loves FREEDOM!

    It was passed. You. Fucking. Moron.
    Your words, “This is a victory…:

    Eleven other states have legislation pending. If all of the measures pass, more than half of the states will have laws governing ultrasound exams before abortions.

    Republicans, you included, are antithetical to progressive Liberals, Democrats, democratic process, equal rights, and honesty, you fucking liar.

  80. michaeld11 says

    Dingojack,

    I’m just back from the airport. I’m so sorry you were not able to make it!

    It’s O.K. though Dingo, you’re apology was good enough and now that you realize Michael Heath, tomh and yourself were just miguided, full of hot air and venting frustration that a conservative understands your insecurities with the far left liberal factions in the U.S., everything is going to be fine.

    Acceptance of reality is the first step to recovery!

  81. michaeld11 says

    Michael Heath,

    You wouldn’t know a logical argument if it gave you free health care.

    Get a grip bud! You asked for “onus” you got it, you lost, now kiss yours and move on!

  82. Michael Heath says

    Michaeld11 writes:

    Michael Heath,

    You wouldn’t know a logical argument if it gave you free health care.

    For this to work you need to quote what I wrote, refer readers to the proper description of the fallacy, and then crack a joke at my expense.

    The fact you failed to present any evidence at all but instead quoted your own imagination reminds me of one of Christopher Hitchens’ better quips,

    “What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”

    Along with the Texas saying, “all hat, no cattle”.

    For an example of how this works check out my comment post @ 86 where I do this to some yahoo whose perception of his skills doesn’t quite match the demonstration of those skills in public.

  83. michaeld11 says

    mikelaing,

    Speaking of “hot air”! Wow! Do you hang out with Charlie Sheen? There’s an anger management class coming to a hospital near you! Please sign up and do everyone who knows you a favor.

    I’m really sorry you aren’t happy with the results of Virginia realizing their mistake and removing the invasive portion of the sonagram from the bill. Technically, since it had to be amended it is no longer the same bill.

    I’m sorry the bill put in its place doesn’t please you, but then it’s questionable that anything short of anarchy would!

    Now I served a number of years in the military and know lots of foul language. Keep it to yourself and have a little respect, if not for me at least for others who don’t want to read your whining!

  84. michaeld11 says

    MichaelHeath,

    I said, “You wouldn’t know a logical argument if it gave you free health care.”

    You said, “For this to work you need to quote what I wrote, refer readers to the proper description of the fallacy, and then crack a joke at my expense.”

    Michael, I’ll use your quote above. Just another example of your inability to form a logical argument. First, because you apparently believe the rest of the world is bound to your rules which…I know this will come as a shock…it is not! Secondly, because you simply can’t accept the fact I called your bluff.

    No one responded, not because they “didn’t want to talk to the con”, but because they honestly don’t have any moral or ethical issue with a woman having an abortion.

    I recognize you are conflicted with this. Unfortunately, that isn’t a joke.

    Time to move on!

  85. says

    michaeld11: Let me say first that you are acting like an arrogant prick, so way to go in representing conservatives on that front.

    Second, you did make demands, and frankly, this thread was dying by the time you made your “challenge,” which makes it trivially easy for you to claim victory when all that happened is that people lost interest in the discussion. (I daresay you helped with that somewhat.)

    Third, you’re talking to one of the most respected commenters on this site (Michael Heath) as if he were a complete dolt, which the regulars know not to be the case. Your credibility suffers as a result.

    Finally, I’m not one of the people you challenged, having not posted earlier in the thread, but I’ll throw in my two cents to deprive you of the joy of not getting a response. I don’t think that abortion is inherently immoral or unethical, although I do confess to feeling rather uncomfortable about it.

    One of the reasons why I don’t think I can reasonably call abortion unethical or immoral was made clear in a question posed to me once (when I would have considered myself “pro-life”): If abortion is illegal, would you have women who get an abortion arrested for murder? And my answer was no, mostly because I saw (and to a degree still see) abortion as the result of an unfortunate situation, and I couldn’t justify punishing a woman for what could be called a desperate move to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. I think my position has probably evolved a little from that, but at very least, I tend to see carrying a pregnancy to term in such a situation as a supererogatory action, which is perhaps desirable but not necessarily moral or immoral in and of itself.

  86. Michael Heath says

    michaeldll writes

    “You wouldn’t know a logical argument if it gave you free health care.”

    I responded earlier:

    “For this to work you need to quote what I wrote, refer readers to the proper description of the fallacy, and then crack a joke at my expense.”

    michaeld11 responds:

    Michael, I’ll use your quote above. Just another example of your inability to form a logical argument. First, because you apparently believe the rest of the world is bound to your rules which…I know this will come as a shock…it is not!

    It’s false to claim I relying on “my rules”. The development of logical [critical] thinking and the identification of fallacies is a key attribute of early western civilization. The fact you demonstrate ignorance that my identification of your fallacy of false alternatives @ 86 is not unique to me but instead a rudimentary fallacy of remedial thinking reveals the depth of your ignorance.

    Your inability to own up to your obvious fallacy and instead make more false assertions like the one I quote in this post also reveals a failure of character.

    michaeld11 – you’re not ready to play at this level, analogous to a kid struggling with Algebra I attempting to compete with people with a masters in math. I take no joy in your repeatedly demonstrating you don’t even know what you don’t know. I suggest reading some books or taking a class in critical thinking or introductory philosophy. Perhaps developing some skills in this area might also motivate you take up honesty as well. This book would be a good start: http://goo.gl/pdY7i

  87. michaeld11 says

    TCC,

    Thanks for your post. Not because you felt the need to defend MichaelHeath for his inability to think clearly, but because you actually responded to the subject at hand.

    I did not ask anyone to defend the reason they do not have an ethical or moral problem with abortion, merely to admit if they did or not and if they did, I was curious why.

    Tomh and MichaelHeath were not able to accept that I had correctly discerned the beliefs of those who had commented on this forum prior to myself and I simply called the bluff. You may want to say this discussion was dying, but here we are and the proof is at hand.

    You, yourself, have now admitted you also do not have a moral or ethical issue with abortion. I appreciate your honesty. I don’t agree with your position, but as I said to MichaelHeath, I am not here to push my belief that abortion is wrong, except in extreme circumstances, on you. I simply expect that those who do support it will have an intelligent response and I have to say yours was the first one I have heard!

  88. michaeld11 says

    Michael Heath,

    So you believe you are “math master” and I am merely a struggling “algebra I” student.

    You recommend I study philosophy or critical thinking to help me keep up with you.

    Your ego blinds you to the truth, but, no matter, TCC has begun some healthy, honest discussion. Care to join?

  89. mikelaing says

    February 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm
    mikelaing,
    “Virginia officials backed off last week from requiring vaginal ultrasounds before abortions”
    This is what we had been talking about. Sorry you missed the rest of the conversation.

    Who missed conversation? My, you are a lying sack of shit:
    but state legislators are still expected to pass a bill that mandates abdominal ultrasounds and adds other significant requirements for women seeking abortions.
    What did you say, something about

    And the best result of all? The bill in Virginia was shot down! Conservatives, Liberals and everyone in between made it clear, Americans do NOT want to have our freedoms stripped away! This is a victory not just for women’s rights, but for every American who loves FREEDOM!

    It was passed. You. Fucking. Moron.
    Your words, “This is a victory…:

    Eleven other states have legislation pending. If all of the measures pass, more than half of the states will have laws governing ultrasound exams before abortions.

    Republicans, you included, are antithetical to progressive Liberals, Democrats, democratic process, equal rights, and honesty, you fucking liar.

    You are a chickenshit, and a liar. Of course I’m angry at pansies like you that hide behind mounds of putrid verbal diarrhea. You are a fucking disingenuous little simpleton.
    You don’t speak for anyone, so STFU about whether or not my words offend delicate sensibilities like yours, you pretentious faker.

    I’m sorry the bill put in its place doesn’t please you, but then it’s questionable that anything short of anarchy would!

    Yeah, well, the bill wasn’t exactly shot down, was it? Your infantile inability to admit your misogynist viewpoint, as evidenced by misrepresenting my position by yet again, presenting a false choice dichotomy and using a fabricated, strawman ‘anarchist’ to espouse your vile and putrid bigotry.
    Further, your spineless charade of feigned indignance is but a tawdry diversion from the fact that you cowardly fail to address the main point, that you lied by including yourself and conservative intentions with the genuine concern of liberal progressives for autonomy for women and health care providers. This is a particularly slimy theft of character compounded on your weaselly yet transparent passive-aggressive retaliations.

    Now I served a number of years in the military and know lots of foul language. Keep it to yourself and have a little respect

    Shut your face, you blubbering milksop. Man up and explain your support for:
    VIRGINIA’S GENERAL ASSEMBLY, 82 percent of whose members are men and 3 percent of whose members are physicians, has taken upon itself the task of ordering up procedures between women and their doctors — specifically, ultrasounds for women seeking abortions.

    The purpose of this exercise in coercion is to discourage women from ending their pregnancies. Forced on the legislature by anti-abortion lawmakers, nearly all of them Republicans, it is a prime example of ideology, nanny-state paternalism and arrogance trumping plain good sense.”

    I give you the respect due any furtive charlatan.
    Cheers, fascist.

  90. mikelaing says

    In general usage, poisoning the well is the provision of any information that may produce a biased result.

    Michael Heath,

    I asked you to try to be honest, but instead you tap dance.

    It’s really very simple. I challenge anyone who had posted in this forum prior to post #49 to state if they believe there is anything unethical or immoral about abortion and if so, why do you feel that way.

    If you don’t have a problem with abortion, no need to reply.

    michaeld11 says(allow me): “See, what did I tell you?! No one replied, so that means they agree with my astute insights, and furthermore, implies that they are amoral and emotionless automatons!
    Wow, am I smart. I hope that no one see through my petulant contrivance to misappropriate otherwise benign and meaningless happenstance 8-O
    I know most people will not be back, let alone validate my arrogant insinuation of importance >|o “

  91. mikelaing says

    Secondly, because you simply can’t accept the fact I called your bluff.

    No one responded, not because they “didn’t want to talk to the con”, but because they honestly don’t have any moral or ethical issue with a woman having an abortion.

    LMAO! Take lessons in ‘bluff calling’, you feeble and trite little troll.

  92. dingojack says

    michaeld11 – you want to talk to me, I’m available.
    Meet me in the departure louge of Kingsford-Smith Airport in 90 mnutes from now (I’ll bring the bikies).
    GO!
    Dingo
    —–
    I notice you still haven’t denied the rapes then murders. Hmmm…

  93. michaeld11 says

    mikelaing,

    Is this really Linda Blair? Are you preparing for another demonic role? If so, I’ve got to say you have really gotten into character! I think I may laugh at this one as much as I did at the last!!

  94. michaeld11 says

    DingoJack,

    Hey, I already went down to the airport and you didn’t show up except to leave that phoned in apology at the front desk.

    Now as far as your fantasies are concerned, I said I’d prove this sickness is only in your head and I meant it. Here’s what you need to do:

    1. strip down to your skivies
    2. walk down to your local police department
    3. tell them you misplaced your UFO
    4. ask them if they can give you a lift to NASA

    That should do it and they’ll have you in a nice comfy place in no time.

    If it doesn’t work, you could always ask mikelaing for a ride on his broom!

    Cheers!

  95. dingojack says

    Ohh sure you claim to have been to the airport, just in the same way as you claim deny murder and rape.
    Prove it.
    Dingo

  96. michaeld11 says

    Dingojack,

    Nice! You call and leave a beautiful apology about how you were abducted by Madeline Murry O’Hare at an early age and have spent the last 20 years in de-programming and you’re really sorry and won’t do it again and then you come on here and deny everything.

    Sheesh! You’re as bad as Mitt Romney!

  97. says

    Thanks for your post. Not because you felt the need to defend MichaelHeath for his inability to think clearly, but because you actually responded to the subject at hand.

    Again with this insistence that Michael Heath, who has shown himself to be one of the clearest thinkers on this blog (far surpassing what you have demonstrated), is not a clear thinker. Evidence, please.

    I did not ask anyone to defend the reason they do not have an ethical or moral problem with abortion, merely to admit if they did or not and if they did, I was curious why.

    You weren’t curious; you pigeonholed the commenters on this blog in a certain way and then gave a demand to know people’s opinions on the morality of abortion once you were called on the fact that you didn’t know at all what you were talking about. You say “correctly discerned”; I say “pulled out of your ass.”

    You may want to say this discussion was dying, but here we are and the proof is at hand.

    Because you ran in and claimed victory after everyone else had moved on. In fact, I’m not inclined to respond any more after this and give you the benefit of thinking that your little ploy has worked.

    You, yourself, have now admitted you also do not have a moral or ethical issue with abortion. I appreciate your honesty. I don’t agree with your position, but as I said to MichaelHeath, I am not here to push my belief that abortion is wrong, except in extreme circumstances, on you. I simply expect that those who do support it will have an intelligent response and I have to say yours was the first one I have heard!

    I’m a teacher and the parent of two special needs children, so I have a wealth of patience, perhaps more than some other commenters. (Also, a raging case of SIWOTI Syndrome helps a little.) It’s not as though there is a paucity of reasoned answers to the morality of abortion; it’s been widely debated for a few decades now. But I guess you have to know more than your own religious moral code to understand that. (Let me know if I “correctly discerned” the religious morals part.)

  98. michaeld11 says

    Dingojack,

    TCC had shared a poignant story of Michael Heath as a clear, rational thinker and well respected on this site. I would venture to say TCC is emotionally biased and, as I have read Michael Heath’s comments on this forum only, I see no evidence for this position.

    You seem to be someone who loves a good challenge. Are you able to determine Michael Heath is not simply pompous, arogant and full of himself?

    P.S. Airport security has traced your call, done a reverse look-up and has the name and address for where you made the call. Now I’m sure he’s just a friend of your, but Anthony Weiner? C’mon, you need to distance yourself if you’re going to seriously continue seeking credibility.

  99. michaeld11 says

    TCC,

    Your loyalty to your friend is admirable, although misguided.

    I’m sure you’ll admit it is very easy to like someone and the things they say if you happen to agree with them. Not only does this validate their intelligence and wisdom, but it does your own as well. This ego stroking has positive reinforcement to the point where things that are said aren’t even questioned. You “know” this person so well that you believe you understand what they meant by a word or a statement.

    I’m not sure if you read the entire discourse beginning with the first comment on this forum, but when I entered, I stated I am a conservative who agreed that the Virginia bill, as then written, was a violation of women’s rights because of the invasive portion of the sonagram.

    My statement, “I know that most of you don’t believe there is anything wrong with abortion” was challenged by tomh as well as Michael Heath. (Dingojack entered just for fun, but that’s just because he’s contrary).

    Michael Heath demanded I provide proof, stating the “onus” was on me.

    I did not make demands. I said, no problem, if you want proof everything we need is at our finger tips. Anyone who has a problem speak up.

    You think a week wasn’t long enough for someone who is so “respected” to be able to get just one other person to write back in?

    The simple truth that you are railing against is that Michael Heath was wrong. Those 30 some odd folks that had been on the forum do not have any ethical or moral issues with a woman having an abortion. There is no judgement from me for this. I don’t see myself as superior because of this. I simply don’t agree.

    As I said “I did not ask anyone to defend the reason they do not have an ethical or moral problem with abortion, merely to admit if they did or not and if they did, I was curious why.”

    You then commented, “You weren’t curious; you pigeonholed the commenters on this blog in a certain way and then gave a demand to know people’s opinions on the morality of abortion once you were called on the fact that you didn’t know at all what you were talking about. You say “correctly discerned”; I say “pulled out of your ass.””

    So TCC, you subscribe to the same errant method of thinking as Michael Heath. You now tell me I am not curious why anyone would have an ethical or moral problem with abortion, when I most certainly am.

    You say that I “pigeonholed the commenters on this blog” This is circular reasoning because Michael Heath was the one who attempted to pigeonhole me with his challenge. The simple proof is that not a single person came back. They knew what I said was true and they moved on.

    I said, “You may want to say this discussion was dying, but here we are and the proof is at hand.”

    You commented, “Because you ran in and claimed victory after everyone else had moved on. In fact, I’m not inclined to respond any more after this and give you the benefit of thinking that your little ploy has worked.”

    I did not “run in” Those little comment follow-up boxes at the bottom of your screen work for everyone else just as well. One week was more than adequate time. This was not some little ploy I devised to show how inadequate Michael Heath’s line of reasoning is. It simply blew up in his face because he is so far off the mark.

    I said, “You, yourself, have now admitted you also do not have a moral or ethical issue with abortion. I appreciate your honesty. I don’t agree with your position, but as I said to MichaelHeath, I am not here to push my belief that abortion is wrong, except in extreme circumstances, on you. I simply expect that those who do support it will have an intelligent response and I have to say yours was the first one I have heard!”

    I sincerely meant this.

    You responded, “I’m a teacher and the parent of two special needs children, so I have a wealth of patience, perhaps more than some other commenters. (Also, a raging case of SIWOTI Syndrome helps a little.) It’s not as though there is a paucity of reasoned answers to the morality of abortion; it’s been widely debated for a few decades now. But I guess you have to know more than your own religious moral code to understand that. (Let me know if I “correctly discerned” the religious morals part.)”

    I would like to say you have correctly discerned that I am a person with “religious morals”, but even when I was an atheist I believed abortion was wrong. Those two special needs kids you mentioned are an example of why, but I don’t want to go into this discussion unless you are sincerely wanting to. I suspect there are many who have been reading our comments who have chosen not to participate and I respect their privacy. I don’t want to continue here unless you or another forum member feels there is merit to discuss this.

    You are correct it has been debated for many years, but those debates were held between other people who knew what they believed and why. I am seeing too many today, on both sides of the issue, who are willing to follow the pack and have no clue why they think the way they do.

    I would like to see people understand why they believe what they believe. What are your thoughts on this!

  100. says

    I’m sure you’ll admit it is very easy to like someone and the things they say if you happen to agree with them. Not only does this validate their intelligence and wisdom, but it does your own as well. This ego stroking has positive reinforcement to the point where things that are said aren’t even questioned. You “know” this person so well that you believe you understand what they meant by a word or a statement.

    You just don’t get this. I have disagreed with Michael Heath a lot in the past, and we have had some interesting (at least to me) and contentious debates over a variety of issues. I am, however, able to recognize when people are clear thinkers even if I disagree with them on the end results. Frankly, you haven’t demonstrated that Michael has shown evidence of unclear thinking in this thread alone.

    My statement, “I know that most of you don’t believe there is anything wrong with abortion” was challenged by tomh as well as Michael Heath. (Dingojack entered just for fun, but that’s just because he’s contrary).

    Michael Heath demanded I provide proof, stating the “onus” was on me.

    That’s because the onus is on you, since you made the positive claim. Let me help you with your education.

    I did not make demands. I said, no problem, if you want proof everything we need is at our finger tips. Anyone who has a problem speak up.

    You think a week wasn’t long enough for someone who is so “respected” to be able to get just one other person to write back in?

    This is remarkably fallacious thinking. You make a claim, say essentially, “I dare any of you to prove me wrong,” and then take an absence of evidence as evidence of absence when there are perfectly reasonable reasons not to have gotten any responses (e.g. people don’t care enough about the question or you personally to answer). You have no room to talk about unclear thinking.

    So TCC, you subscribe to the same errant method of thinking as Michael Heath. You now tell me I am not curious why anyone would have an ethical or moral problem with abortion, when I most certainly am.

    That’s not at all what my comment meant; you have severely misread it. I meant that curiosity was clearly not your true intent; you just wanted to prove a point about the conclusion you had previously jumped to.

    You say that I “pigeonholed the commenters on this blog” This is circular reasoning because Michael Heath was the one who attempted to pigeonhole me with his challenge. The simple proof is that not a single person came back. They knew what I said was true and they moved on.

    Unless you can demonstrate your skills of telepathy, this is speculation better explained by other factors already mentioned.

    I would like to say you have correctly discerned that I am a person with “religious morals”, but even when I was an atheist I believed abortion was wrong. Those two special needs kids you mentioned are an example of why, but I don’t want to go into this discussion unless you are sincerely wanting to.

    The funny part about that is that I understand even more as a parent of special needs kids why some people might want to abort when the child shows signs of congenital birth defects. I love my kids dearly, but dealing with their special needs (in their case, severe autism, which of course can’t be diagnosed in utero at least at present) is not something that is easily undertaken. My wife and I have stretched ourselves virtually to our limits trying to care for them and their special needs, and I don’t expect every individual to be prepared for that. As such, I think it highly presumptuous for me to tell anyone that they cannot terminate the pregnancy and thus are obligated to carry such a child to term, even though it also makes me very uncomfortable and I would never consider it personally (although of course it would be my wife’s decision, not mine).

    Look, you seem like you have the ability to be civil, but attacking people for a lack of clear thinking when the problem is yours won’t exactly endear you to people who see through your fallacies. This is also not a comment on differences in conclusions but in how you have interacted with other commenters and in your own processes. Michael Heath was not wrong, since you did not support your own innuendo with real facts and then hoisted the burden of disproving your claim onto other people. You made the error, no one else. Just accept responsibility and move on.

  101. michaeld11 says

    TCC,

    Again with the circular reasoning?

    Look if you want to think that the others who wrote on this forum do have a moral or ethical issue with abortion and that you are the only one who doesn’t, believe what you want to.

    That IS the point! Not Michael Heath’s little game of trying to make me prove it. He can tap dance all he likes, it doesn’t change the truth.

    Now it is true I have not been involved in past debates you have had with him. I would venture they are long and tedious. I imagine two people playing a game of chess, you saying “checkmate” and Michael Heath swearing to you it is not because of another move he would have made.

    He was wrong. The 30 or so people who commented do not see a problem with abortion. He can continue to deny his “king” is dead all he likes and you can join him staring at his defeat, but all of your whishing and whining won’t put Humpty back together again.

    You said, “That’s not at all what my comment meant; you have severely misread it. I meant that curiosity was clearly not your true intent; you just wanted to prove a point about the conclusion you had previously jumped to.”

    You are wrong again. Having beaten Michael Heath at his own foolish game gives me little joy. I am more interested in finding people who are willing to converse instead of attack. (I have only defended myself and make no apology for that.) My goal in entering this forum was to show that not all conservatives agreed with the invasive sonagram and we would fight this in Virginia. Equally so there would be liberals who DO have an ethical and moral issue with abortion and would be willing to discuss this openly.

    No one has spoken up. Have others so beaten them down with viciousness they are afraid? Is this really a “freethought” forum?

    Thank you for sharing about your children. I have a very good friend with cerebal palsy who’s mother did consider abortion. I can say her decision not to do this and the impact his life has had definitely influenced my thinking on the subject. And this occured prior to my being “religious”.

    I fully understand what you are saying about how hard a life can be for some, both the children and the parents. So many struggle with this decision who do know before the child is born. I will not villify these parents.

    Telepathy? Insight is not telepathy, nor is recognizing the obvious. You love your kids so very much! You have said this. I will go a little further and say I know you would defend them with your life. How do I “know” this? We have only shared a few posts and you could just be making them up, but, I dont think so. The tone of your words conveys feeling, just as others have as well.

    You certainly do not need my approval, but I commend you and your wife as you continue to work together to raise your children. I know this can be difficult on you and your relationship as well. I hope you have others who can help once in awhile so you and your wife are able to have some time out alone together.

    So what will it be? Do we continue to banter about Michael Heath or do we let him defend himself? I prefer to let him vent his hot air if he so chooses, but I am not intimidated or fooled by the man behind the curtain (or even his looming spectre).

    If you would like to further discuss the issues of abortion and women’s rights concerning this I’d be glad to continue, but, yes, let’s move on!

  102. says

    Again with the circular reasoning?

    It would be far less tedious to respond to you if you would explain what exactly is circular about which statements.

    Look if you want to think that the others who wrote on this forum do have a moral or ethical issue with abortion and that you are the only one who doesn’t, believe what you want to.

    I would like to know where I’ve claimed such a thing.

    That IS the point! Not Michael Heath’s little game of trying to make me prove it. He can tap dance all he likes, it doesn’t change the truth.

    This is tiring. We have repeatedly told you that you made the claim, and thus you have the burden of proof to back it up. Now, I’m not going to argue that there is any other way to ascertain the truth of your claim other than to ask, but no one is in any way required to answer, and to frame your question as “I’ll take silence as agreement” is ridiculously flawed reasoning. You haven’t even addressed that yet, which is the lynchpin in your whole argument.

    Now it is true I have not been involved in past debates you have had with him. I would venture they are long and tedious. I imagine two people playing a game of chess, you saying “checkmate” and Michael Heath swearing to you it is not because of another move he would have made.

    Can I just say how annoying it is that you think you know how MH interacts with people based on his interaction with you? I’ve been a regular commenter on this blog (both here and at the previous location) for several years, and your characterization is way off the mark.

    He was wrong. The 30 or so people who commented do not see a problem with abortion.

    Again, you do not know this. An absence of evidence is not evidence of absence when there are justifiable reasons for the absence. Your insistence that a lack of responses proves you right is absolutely exasperating, and even I have pretty much lost patience with you.

    And with that, I shall stop enabling you and simply go silent. (And no, a lack of responses doesn’t mean I concede the argument, before you make that claim.)

  103. michaeld11 says

    TCC,

    Yes it is VERY tiring when you can’t admit something so simple. You prefer to continue the charade. I’ll say it again, Michael Heath lost the challenge.

    This is the same way it works with America’s political system. No matter how many people don’t like someone, if they don’t show up to vote, the probability remains that the person they don’t like will win.

    No one showed up to support Michael Heath’s claim. I simply put the question out there and by default I won the challenge. I would have much preferred the former commenters would have said yes, Michael Heath IS right and we DO have an ethical and moral problem with abortion, but they don’t.

    Michael Heath lost the challenge and is not decent enough to admit it. You are simply making a fool of yourself defending his inability to think clearly.

    It is obvious at this point you did not want to really discuss the issue. I’m sorry you can not get past your insistence on defending a flawed argument, but, no matter, “go silent” as you prefer.

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