Obama is a secularist just like he’s a socialist »« Episode CCCXIV: Dust that comments

Irrational humans

I really have a hard time wrapping my mind around the strategies of anti-choice activists. I’ve encountered a few, and I’ve browsed some of their websites, and am so unimpressed with their tactics…but they seem to work effectively with some people.

We’re all familiar with their favorite choice of signage: preferably something with lots of blood splatters and body parts. This is quite blatantly an attempt to inspire aversion to what goes on beneath our skin, and encourage people to ignore the messiness of reality. It’s ugly but it works, to a degree (it also leads to desensitization; I notice that those sign-waving picketers aren’t prostrate with grief, as you’d expect if they were really feeling the message of their signs).

Their message could be whipped around and applied directly to, for instance, surgeons and oncologists. They also do bloody messy things, and they lop off parts and scar living, adult people. Shall we demand an end to surgery?

And then there’s the Big Lie. I have yet to meet a single anti-choice advocate with a shred of honesty and principle; the ones I’ve talked to are even more nauseating than creationists. They have a party line, and they stick to it…reason doesn’t even exist for these people, just blind, fawning adoration of babies, which they imagine to be sleeping inside the blood and meat of a living woman. So they say things like this without a stirring of conscience:

That’s just bizarre. What biologist has ever claimed that an oocyte was not alive? Of course it’s alive: sperm and egg are perfectly healthy, normal living haploid cells, the fertilized egg is a living cell, the immature oogonia and spermatogonia in the gonad are living cells, the primordial germ cells in the developing gonad are alive.

The argument is never about whether some state is alive or not. Your appendix and tonsils are great masses of living cells, but if the organ becomes inflamed, doctors will cut them out and throw them away. Every time you poop, about a third of that mass that you excrete and flush away consists of living bacterial cells, yet no one hesitates and feels regret at the tragic loss of life when their hand is on the handle.

The argument is about whether that living thing is a person requiring extensive legal and moral protection, and it’s entirely clear that “life” is not a sufficient criterion, or people would be lobbying for the protection of turds and tonsils. We are not absolutists about protecting all life; we can’t be.

Even the anti-choicers know that. That’s why, if you look at the awful site that image came from, you discover their other argument: it’s a baby. It’s got fingers and toes and a face and its heart beats. This is a purely emotional argument, trying to compel you to empathize with something on the most superficial grounds. This is the motivation behind all those intrusive ultrasound laws — you are supposed to surrender reason and decide that because something has a face and hands and heartbeat, it is exactly the same as a teenage girl who wants to go to college, or the young woman who discovers her much-hoped-for pregnancy has gone awry and the fetus is lethally deformed. It’s demeaning to real human beings.

But here, here’s a living creature with a face and hands and a heartbeat.

It’s even got far more autonomy and functionality than a twelve-week fetus, and is adorably cute. Shall we also declare that women and newts are morally, socially, and legally equivalent? It seems to be the way we’re going.

Comments

  1. dianne says

    aren’t there “liver dialysis” protocols in existence?

    Yes, and what I have seen of them fills me with existential despair. However, it’s not my area so I may be misrepresenting…in any case, there aren’t long term liver dialysis units the way there are kidney dialysis units. In 10 years…maybe. Don’t start drinking your liver cirrhotic yet though.

  2. Just_A_Lurker says

    diane

    Ok, “happy” was a bit too far. “Willing to put up with it if it would stop the ongoing harassment and increasing restrictions” is closer to correct. But I think one critical point is that, if I understand correctly, in the Netherlands abortion is paid for by the federal insurance so it’s essentially free. No need to save up. That, to me, is critical for any even vaguely acceptable law restricting abortion in the third trimester: abortion must be readily available to ALL in the first trimester and readily available on need in the second trimester (yes, “need” is determined by the patient).

    It’s giving the fetus privileges that no living person has, but would be at least a little better than the current slew of bills where each state competes to have the most restrictive, most slut shaming, most life endangering anti-abortion law.

    I could see that. I get where you are coming from. I used to be very squeamish when it came to abortions too.

    And I do agree it would be better than our current failure of a system.

    However, in this US, I think we really just need to take a hard line on no restrictions. This liberal giving into the religious right through “compromise” has done nothing but drag every one into the center. There are basically no liberals left in the democratic party. I just see these hypothecials as worthless and these sediments about abortion being “rare” as a hole for the forced birthers to exploit. Like the trap LFAAPN has pulled here.

  3. Eris says

    HATEFUL + SELFISH!

    You’re right! This has all made me realize that we are not talking about the truly important issue:

    Would it be just for a woman to have an abortion of a healthy, viable fetus that was 5 minutes away from being born if this abortion would allow scientists to turn blood into a cancer cure, thereby defeating the Nazis’ nefarious time-travel plot to prevent the draft so they can achieve world domination?!?!?!?!

    We must know! Waaah!

  4. kemist says

    dianne: Not trying to diminish your point, but aren’t there “liver dialysis” protocols in existence?

    Nope.

    Well, it exists, but is still experimental.

    Liver failure is still currently a short-term death sentence if one does not get a transplant.

  5. says

    Would it be just for a woman to have an abortion of a healthy, viable fetus that was 5 minutes away from being born if this abortion would allow scientists to turn blood into a cancer cure, thereby defeating the Nazis’ nefarious time-travel plot to prevent the draft so they can achieve world domination?!?!?!?!

    I don’t understand. Where are the intelligent leeches in this thought experiment?

  6. Eris says

    I don’t understand. Where are the intelligent leeches in this thought experiment?

    Shit!

    Er, uh, the blood-into-cancer-treatment discovery process would clearly involve intelligent leeches. Clearly.

    *peers about*

  7. Jean-Renee says

    I don’t understand. Where are the intelligent leeches in this thought experiment?

    We will use the intelligent leeches to suck the blood out. Duh.

  8. says

    However, in this US, I think we really just need to take a hard line on no restrictions. This liberal giving into the religious right through “compromise” has done nothing but drag every one into the center.

    And in this case, the center can’t hold.
    There really is no practical way to restrict abortions that doesn’t (at least) potentially stomp on the rights of women. Even if you “compromise” and allow third trimester abortions to save the life of the woman, or when her health is endangered, in practice this can run into problems pretty quickly. What exactly constitutes “saving the life” or “endangered health,” and who decides when the criteria is met? If a bunch of doctors think the woman has, say, a 70% chance of survival, is that good enough? And if another doctor says it’s only 60%, how should that be decided? Keep in mind that you can only estimate odds, and that no pregnancy or childbirth is entirely without risk.
    What might look like compromise on the surface is actually a concession to the conservative way of thinking: promoting ideas that sound good and principled, but fall apart quickly when you start working through the implications.

    Granted, I’m using hypothetical situations here to illustrate the point, but I was at least able to avoid any pregnant nazis with cancerous leeches on their kidneys. At least I’m trying to stay grounded in reality.

  9. A. R says

    Er, uh, the blood-into-cancer-treatment discovery process would clearly involve intelligent leeches. Clearly.

    And goats on fire.

  10. Eris says

    Goats on fire? No, no! That’s clearly a strawman that you have created to marginalize and dismiss the valid points laid out in my thought experiment.

    Be reasonable now. We deal in logic here, not flaming Satan metaphors.

  11. anchor says

    Everyone now and then makes a mistake. Sometimes one does something dishonest, and comes to regret it. Sometimes one does something idiotic and comes to rue it. On occasion one may even imagine one is special or priviledged and upon self reflection arrives at the kind of emotional security associated with responsible adulthood and maturity to retract it.

    But it takes a special kind of priviledged and permanent idiot to think and act as if one is in possession of knowledge that cannot be corrected by any information, new or old, and who therefore behaves as if dishonesty as well as stupidity were virtues. And that’s exactly what the folks who composed that infantile and boundlessly stupid little eye-byte are: utterly stupid and without moral scruple. That they will always remain proud of their ignorance only galvanizes their conviction of righteousness.

    Their bastardization of reality and their attempt to hoodwink the under-educated and young people into their miserably myopic worldview needs to be soundly ridiculed and denounced as the product of the self-serving idiocy and dishonesty that it in fact is. Accomodationists please note: the reality is that only assholes do shit like that. There can be no objection to telling assholes to quit defecating on OUR world.

  12. Amphiox says

    Isn’t even close to a valid comparison. Vaccinations stop diseases from killing people.

    So does the hypothetical blood transfusion cure for cancer, which was the analogy I was referring directly to.

    You will note that we do not have mandatory universal vaccinations in our society. We have strongly supported public education campaigns aimed at convincing as many people as possible to voluntarily vaccination themselves and their children.

    But mandatory, compulsory vaccination is only used in special, limited circumstances, and universal compulsory vaccination is never done.

    Nor should it. A vaccine is still a foreign object/substance placed into someone’s body. Compulsory vaccination is as much violation of an individual’s right to bodily autonomy and integrity as any other.

  13. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Like: Treyvon Martin’s, who was an autonomous being who had “fingers and toes and a face and (a) heart beat.” But his right to life got trumped by someone else’s right “to stand his ground”.

    Err, Trayvon Martin’s life was “trumped” by someone else’s desire to shoot “one of THOSE people” in the back. There was nothing remotely self-defensy about it.

    (Since it’s apparently, like, really non-obvious or something, the above is NOT a comment supporting the murderer *eyeroll*)

  14. Amphiox says

    My point being, of course, that even for something as obviously and clearly beneficial as vaccination, we do not, except in extreme circumstances, MANDATE a medical procedure. We encourage, we teach, we convince, we eliminate barriers to access, we subsidize.

    We do NOT compel.

  15. Just_A_Lurker says

    feralboy12

    What might look like compromise on the surface is actually a concession to the conservative way of thinking: promoting ideas that sound good and principled, but fall apart quickly when you start working through the implications.

    Yes, I completely agree, which is why I used the scare quotes on compromise. I’m sorry if that didn’t come through.

    Amphiox

    So does the hypothetical blood transfusion cure for cancer, which was the analogy I was referring directly to.

    My point being, of course, that even for something as obviously and clearly beneficial as vaccination, we do not, except in extreme circumstances, MANDATE a medical procedure. We encourage, we teach, we convince, we eliminate barriers to access, we subsidize.

    We do NOT compel.

    I’m sorry I’m not sure where this comes into the argument of pro-choice vs force birthers. Are you using this to say they shouldn’t mandate legality of abortion using this example? Or are you using this strictly to argue against his hypothetical blood transfusion cure for cancer?

    His hypothetical has jack shit to do with anything. It’s worthless and ridiculous so I just shrug it off. Perhaps I’m being dense or missing something here, we may just be talking past each other. I’m apologize if so.

  16. Just_A_Lurker says

    Oh, my I just read it again. Third time is the charm I guess. I thought he was quoting the vaccinations position as if it supported his “argument”. Which is why I went all ranting on it.
    Fuck. I’m sorry I missed that one by a looooong shot. My apologies.

  17. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Why are we still talking about when it would be reasonable to put restrictions on abortion? Why is this a goal for conversation?

    Seriously- why? Dianne? Anyone?

    WHY are we doing this?

  18. says

    Why are we still talking about when it would be reasonable to put restrictions on abortion? Why is this a goal for conversation?

    Seriously- why? Dianne? Anyone?

    WHY are we doing this?

    Motherfucking sexism & misogyny, planted in everyone’s brain. Ya gotta dig deep to get that shit out.

  19. Catnip, Not a Polymath says

    Why are we still talking about when it would be reasonable to put restrictions on abortion? Why is this a goal for conversation?

    Seriously- why? Dianne? Anyone?

    WHY are we doing this?

    As strawmen go, the idea that late term abortions uz bahd, ‘cuz o’ tha kiddez, is a compelling one, as many people fall for the emotional argument.

    It’s still a strawman though. The only thing that is relevant in this discussion is that a woman has the right to control of her body & should not be compelled to be an incubator.

  20. says

    Why are we still talking about when it would be reasonable to put restrictions on abortion? Why is this a goal for conversation?

    Seriously- why? Dianne? Anyone?

    I’ll try.

    The goal is: free abortion on demand for all pregnant women. For any reason at all. (OK, assuming sufficient sound mind for informed consent to the procedure.) The current situation is not that. Then we may discuss how best to get from here to there.

    Possibly that might take the form of lifting restrictions one at a time, which logically entails that some restrictions will remain. Abortion in the third trimester is already regulated in the US – by no less a precedent than Rose v Wade. You must have a medical reason.

    Introducing abortion with that particular restriction (or even extending that to 2nd trimester) in Nicaragua would immediately save many women’s lives. Now. Literally. There is probably somebody dying in agony right this very minute, who would not die if only abortion were available with a legal restriction to cases with a medical exemption.

    If free abortion on demand is not politically achievable, then achieving the maximum possible freedom, but with some unnecessary regulation, is still better than letting more people die.

    Now you might legitimately disagree that accepting any regulation at all is a good strategy in the US. Perhaps you think there have been too many compromises already. Perhaps it’s different when you’re talking about expanding rights rather than defending existing ones. That’s legitimate tactical discussion. “ALL OR NOTHING!” is not, especially when NOTHING is a frighteningly strong possibility.

  21. A. R says

    I wonder how many abortions (not early induced birth of a live infant, but actual termination) have been actually performed in normal circumstances after viability. I would think that that number would be relatively small.

  22. Just_A_Lurker says

    Alethea H. Claw

    Introducing abortion with that particular restriction (or even extending that to 2nd trimester) in Nicaragua would immediately save many women’s lives. Now. Literally. There is probably somebody dying in agony right this very minute, who would not die if only abortion were available with a legal restriction to cases with a medical exemption.

    If free abortion on demand is not politically achievable, then achieving the maximum possible freedom, but with some unnecessary regulation, is still better than letting more people die.

    I’m sorry I do not know much about the situation in Nicaragua so I googled it.
    This is what Wikipedia says:

    The law before November 2006 permitted therapeutic abortion in Nicaragua so long as the woman and three doctors consented to it. The definition of “therapeutic” was not specific but was commonly understood to apply to cases in which the pregnant woman’s life is endangered.[2]

    The law prior to November 2006 held that anyone who performed an abortion upon a woman without her permission would be subject to a prison term of three to six years. If the woman consented, both she and the person who performed the abortion faced a sentence of one to four years, and if she attempted a self-induced abortion, the term of imprisonment was four to eight years. A person who performed, or attempted to perform, an abortion, and, as a result, caused injury to the pregnant woman would be jailed for four to 10 years, or six to 10 years if it caused her death.[2]

    In October 2006, right before the general elections on 5 November 2006, the National Assembly passed a bill further restricting abortion 52-0 (9 abstaining, 29 absent). The European Union and the United Nations had urged for the vote to be delayed until after the presidential elections. The new law outlawed abortion in all circumstances, making Nicaragua the sixth country in the world to do so, after The Philippines, Chile, El Salvador, Malta, and Vatican City. The Assembly rejected a proposal which would have increased the penalty for performing an illegal abortion to 10 to 30 years in prison. President Enrique Bolaños supported this measure, but signed the bill into law on 17 November 2006. Pro-choice groups in Nicaragua have criticized the change to the country’s abortion law, and one, the Women’s Autonomous Movement, were prepared to file an injunction to prevent it from being enacted,

    (If this information is incorrect please let me know)

    It does not seem like compromise worked very well there to start. The article went on to say “An unintended side effect has been a ‘chilling” of other forms of obstetrical care for women.”
    Wouldn’t the need of 3 doctors permission before the ban in 2006 also give the chilling effect? We see the effects of restriction on abortions in the US. No one wants to risks their liscense, jail or their very lives to do it. Those who do take tremendous risks and are very brave to do so.
    If the start of repealing this is the restriction on late term abortions, then start there. But do not give into their traps of “ickiness” with it. They see that as a weakness, that we agree there is something wrong with late term abortions. There still needs to be a fight to lift all restrictions. I do not see them saying “Ok, we compromise no more restrictions”, especially when they didn’t except it before.

    That’s legitimate tactical discussion. “ALL OR NOTHING!” is not, especially when NOTHING is a frighteningly strong possibility

    The problem is they aren’t going to fund abortions at all. They have drawn the line in the sand. They don’t even want to fund birth control. They are actively working towards restrictions that make it practically impossible for a lot of women to get abortions at all. Give them the restriction on late term abortions, they will restrict it farther.
    They are restricting the ability to get it early, or again at all. In the US, there are states that have underground help for women to get an abortion because it is not realistically possible to get one.

    There is no compromise. We have to fight to get abortion readily, safely, reasonably available. Roe V Wade has restrictions on late term abortion already. They are fighting to take it away altogether. The Supreme Court tried compromise and you can see how forced birthers treat that.

    Fuck that. Fuck them. This is a bullshit discussion as far as the US goes and I don’t suggest just fighting for the restricted abortion anywhere unless it is indeed just the first step.

  23. Just_A_Lurker says

    Er, clarification to my last comment

    Ok, we compromise no more restrictions”, especially when they didn’t except it before.

    No more restrictions, meant no more than just the late term abortions. As in, just accepting your compromise of later term restriction or second term abortions and not trying to restrict it further.

  24. says

    I certainly do not advocate restrictions.

    I have thought that ACCEPTING restrictions can be a tactically OK position, in cases where the restrictions actually are totally meaningless in practice, or are a reduction of previous levels of restriction. I’m fairly sure that this is not relevant to the US any more, but I think it probably applies in other places where the public discourse is different.

    “No late terminations on a whim? Sure, no worries, gotcha covered there. Medical certificate requirement. See!” Fffwwhip! Rug out from under them. Importantly, though, this works only where enough of the populace is already OK with abortion in a general sense. Like OK in the easy early cases, where it’s not an obvious big belly with babby on board, but still made a bit squeamish about the fundie lies about late term abortions.

    As to Nicaragua, that went from horribly dire to unspeakably horrifyingly murderously bad. Returning to horribly dire would be a step up, so I would not oppose that, even if it is clearly very far from good enough.

  25. Gnumann says

    Going through with the kidney transplant is ABOVE AND BEYOND the requirements of normal morality. It is an act of heroism, and is rightly celebrated. But it is NOT ethically right or fair to REQUIRE or COMPEL anyone to be a hero. Nor is it ethically justifiable to sanction anyone for failing to be a hero.

    A bit late to the show here, but this made me remember that the medical risks of kidney transplants for the donor are less than the medical risks of birth for the mother. Yet I don’t see many of the anti-woman camp campaining for forced kidney transplants…

  26. says

    However, what I feel is a stronger argument is that after X months (say 3 or 6), the mother knows if she’s pregnant, and failure to get an abortion in a “timely” manner carries consent to carry the fetus to birth.

    You know, there’s a show on TLC about that.

  27. says

    Ah, I’m late to the party

    Yawn, nobody has come up with a time other than birth that totally defines the change from fetus to baby/personhood. I’m not changing my mind on that without new evidence. Mental wanking is irrelevant.

    Now, I am actually inclined to agree with people who argue that birth is, indeed, a bit arbitrary.
    Seriously, one of my kids was 5 days late, the other one 5 days early, it’s hard to think that at 40 weeks one of them had full moral worth and the other one zero.
    I even admit that after they develop a brain and central nervous system in utero there is a conflict of interest between one entity that wants to continue its existence and avoid pain and suffering (and yes, we’re talking about a continuum here), and another one who wants to do the same. Yet one of them is totally absolutely depending on the other and what is commonly known as a parasite.
    In that case, as in every other case mentioned (blood donation, kidneys, bone marrow donation), the right to bodily autonomy and integrity of host/donor trumps that of the parasite/recepient.
    That’s why I find personhood arguments and discussions mightily uninteresting.
    As long as it is inside of me, it’s there at my courtesy. If anything goes wrong, it’s out. If even during birth there should be a situation where the only way to save me is to hack it into pieces, it’s barbecue.
    Once it’s out, welcome new human being with rights*
    Although it doesn’t change dramatically for the fetus/baby at birth, it changes dramatically for the woman.
    After birth she is no longer needed personally to sustain the baby. And since we’re thankfully no longer in the situation where we have to decide between nursing hir and letting hir starve to death, to me the arguments about “hunter scavengers” don’t apply anymore, because we really don’t want to get into what they had to do in order to survive.

    *No, we don’t grant all the rights to newborns, that’s because, indeed, they don’t have the mental capacity to use them responsibly.
    And yes, we draw other, way more arbitrary lines as to when they reach that point.
    Why? Because it’s the only reasonable way to do it.

  28. Louis says

    I am heavily on the “no compromise with forced birthers” side.

    Regardless of Nazi blood donation cancer cure draft dodging thought experiments, which are Great Fun On The Internet and all, reality bites.

    The reality for women in nations without legal abortions, and in nations with a past which had no legal abortions, is/was horrendous. Do I want a perfect world, a nirvana, a fictional reality where no woman would ever want or need an abortion and all disease and want was eliminated? Of course I do. Back in the real world, we don’t have that and we’re never going to. Even if we did, I’d want abortion to be legal.

    It’s possible to have, for example, different ethical positions on how to treat severely disabled people, the elderly, people who want euthanasia and abortion. Even though there may be elements in common under certain circumstances, elements that speak to the lines we draw around personhood for example, they do not map onto each other.

    Forever and always, the life of a female, fully self aware, experienced human takes precedence over a foetus that relies solely on her. Couch the theoreticals how you will, the practicality and benefits of legal, available abortions trumps the alternatives.

    As for the “safe, legal, rare” thing, I take Josh’s point entirely. This is too easy to misread. On a separate topic I once said to my (right wing, not especially educated but intelligent, Daily Mail reading) mother “I want government to be as big as it needs to be to do the infrastructure jobs we need” and she replied “I want government to be as small as it needs to be”. I replied “that’s exactly the same size”. The same thing applies here. Do I want abortions to be “rare”? Full scare quotes around “rare” for a reason. Sure I do, but only because I want the conditions that require abortions to be actually rare. When we eliminate want, disease, rape, violence, error, poverty, and misogyny, be sure to let me know. Until then my “rare” will be “precisely as rare as women need it to be”, which is, let’s be blunt, not very fucking rare under the current circumstances.*

    What annoys me, like it annoys Josh, is that this even has to come up. Why do I even feel the need to mention it? I’ll tell you why: because the forced birthers have so skewed the “debate” that the Overton window has moved to a place where pro-abortion advocates like me have to rush out denials that we’re not ravenous baby murderers unaware of the theoretical underpinnings of the subject. Is it really that hard to grasp that unless we have a world rid of evil (not happening), that the lesser of two evils is preferable?

    Oh, and what Giliel said.

    Louis

    *The point about “rareness” here is analogous to the point in the Marx quote about religion. Marx wanted people to be non-religious so they could more clearly see the chains that bind them and remove those chains. I want abortion to be “rare” in exactly that sense, and ONLY that sense, i.e. the conditions which require abortion should be rare. And that would require Utopia. Which ain’t happening. Ever. Even if it did, as said above, abortion should still be legal. If only because reality bites you on the arse every now and again. Either way “rare” is the wrong word to use, it gives entirely the wrong impression.

  29. Looking For An Applicable Political Name says

    My point being, of course, that even for something as obviously and clearly beneficial as vaccination, we do not, except in extreme circumstances, MANDATE a medical procedure. We encourage, we teach, we convince, we eliminate barriers to access, we subsidize.

    We do NOT compel.

    From my quick googling to educate myself further on the topic, this is seemingly false on its face for some US states – specifically Mississippi and West Virginia in the recent past and/or present require vaccinations for public school attendance without any form of waivers, and school attendance is itself required. Now, if you want to be pedantic, you can home school I suppose, or private school, but those in effect cost money, a lot of it.

    I will politely disagree to your dichotomy between “forced” and “heavily promoted” as genuine or interesting in the moral or legal setting. To be a productive, “normal” member of our society, schooling is almost without substitute. The moral quibbling I think is quite disingenuous. “Ok, you can’t use force to compel it, but you can charge such an large amount of money that for most of the populace, it might as well be forced.” Where have I heard this kind of argument before? Usually w.r.t. policies that oppress minorities, deny basic civil liberties, and other bullshit. There isn’t a magic black-and-white difference between “forced” and “under duress”, “extorted”, and so on.

    Hell, this kind of argument is getting almost sci-fi dystopian -esque. Imagine a tax choice, or a fine for a parking ticket, etc., where you could pay 1- an exorbitant amount of cash, or 2- a kidney. Sure, on the pedantics it’s not “forced”, merely “heavily promoted”, but it’s bullshit nonetheless. That is your distinction.

  30. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Again, do you think it’s morally permissible to notice a leech leaching on you, to know it has no mind but will soon develop one, to not remove and kill it now, and to later remove and kill it after it develops a mind?

    Why does it matter? There’s no plausible way the situation you’re using this as an analogy for would even HAPPEN. Even in the fantastically unlikely event that a pregnant woman really was foolish and fickle enough to randomly decide to have an abortion shortly before birth, no doctor is going to opt for a procedure resulting in fetal death unless there’s a dramatically higher risk to the mother or the fetus has conditions incompatible with life.

    Asking “is it morally permissible to abort electively shortly before birth” is like asking “should abortion be legal north of the North Pole?”

  31. says

    Asking “is it morally permissible to abort electively shortly before birth” is like asking “should abortion be legal north of the North Pole?”

    Especially since the only way to “abort” such a fetus would be to give birth to it anyway, one way or another.
    So, in order to comply with the desire of the woman, you don’t actually have to harm or kill it.
    Yes, 3rd trimester abortions are performed with the sole intention of killing the fetus. They’re not done to save the mother, because at that point we’re already talking about premies.
    It might be absolutely necessary to birth them NOW and it may very well result in the death of the fetus/baby.
    It’s called birth, not abortion.
    And then there are 3rd trimester abortions. They’re done to kill the fetus.
    Why? Well, because us women are cruel things wo like nothing more than 2lbs of tender roasted fetus. They are especially tasty if they have some condition that would be either incompatible with life anyway, or damn the child to a short and painfull existence in a NICU

  32. Louis says

    Giliell,

    Oh come now. Everyone knows that crispy fried foetus with pancakes and hoi sin is the best. And you can blame any extra weight on the baby! A little indulgence before you go back to being dirty, dirty sluts who use birth control. ;-)

    Louis

  33. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Still waiting for EVIDENCE that third-trimester abortions are being done for grins by the woman. Mentally masturbating about such a situation is irrelvant if it doesn’t occur.

  34. dianne says

    Why are we still talking about when it would be reasonable to put restrictions on abortion? Why is this a goal for conversation?

    This reply is deeply America-centric. Apologies to the rest of the world for that.

    Because the Pharyngula passports are a joke. None of us live in a perfectly logical misogyny free country.

    But some of us may have it better than others. As far as I know, there is no strong anti-abortion movement in the Netherlands. Their right wing nuts are busy harassing immigrants and don’t spend as much time worrying about who has sex with whom and whether or not they conceive. Additionally, it was implied above that restrictions on purely elective abortion in the third trimester have no effect on the abortion rate at all. So there’s probably effectively no demand for third trimester purely elective abortion. And it is possible to have a law permitting abortion in the first two trimesters without antis continually harping on the law and demanding it be changed. (I think. I’m not terribly up on the political situation in the Netherlands since most of what I know about politics in the Netherlands comes via the German press. Maybe I missed it.)

    Banning purely elective third trimester abortion might satisfy the (if you’ll excuse the term) sane pro-lifers: the people who really are sincerely concerned about perfectly healthy babies being killed five minutes before transition or whatever it is they’re picturing in their heads. With a little eduction to point out things like fetal pain is impossible prior to 23-30 weeks because the spinothalamic tract isn’t there, cortical formation is a late event, an eight week embryo doesn’t look particularly human, the majority of abortions occur before 8 weeks, etc, and maybe they’ll lose interest in pursuing a total ban on abortion. They might even be amenable to the idea that funding early abortion prevents later abortion and vote in favor of laws funding abortion in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Frankly, in the US, it is likely that funding abortion would do more to improve access for many women than changing the law to allow abortion up to week 40 of pregnancy but not allowing public funding of abortion.

    As a side bonus, there is a significant cohort of working class people who vote Republican because of the abortion issue. They vote “pro-life”, but they get anti-union. Take that issue away from the Republicans and you make life better for a lot of men too.

    OTOH, it may be that it just wouldn’t work. Maybe proposing a compromise would only lead to the anti-choice movement saying, “See! Even they know it’s immoral!” Just a lurker suggested (if I understood her correctly) that compromising on abortion led to greater restrictions in abortion in Nicaragua, though I’m not sure how it follows. It’s not clear to me what led to the 2006 law. Anyone have more information?

    Ok, I’m done arguing with myself now. I brought up the idea of a compromise as part of the discussion with LFAAPN who seems to me to read as a “moderate” anti-choicer. I’m willing to compromise with people like that if it means repeal of laws demanding that women seeking abortion be raped or that their identifying information be published so that they can be stalked more easily and maybe even improving access without their quite realizing that that is what’s going on. If compromising doesn’t work, screw it.

  35. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    LFAAPN, may I suggest that if you want to make an argument you drop that “on a whim” crap (you’ve used that phrase about three times already, iirc). On a whim? “Oh, I feel like having an ice-cream today. Hmm, that leaves me with a little time to kill … oh, I know, I’ll have an abortion too”. That’s a whim, ffs. Now you don’t look that inarticulate … which kind of implies you actually mean it.

    Having third trimester abortions “on a whim” is right up there with the fantasies of the forced-birthers, somewhere in a cloud cuckoo land inhabited solely by straw-people.

  36. stanton says

    Still waiting for EVIDENCE that third-trimester abortions are being done for grins by the woman.

    Evidence has already been given… Sort of. Except that all it consists of is mental masturbation and inane, misogynistic slander.

    Mentally masturbating about such a situation is irrelvant if it doesn’t occur.

    Mental masturbation is always relevant anywhere if you (mentally) masturbate for Jesus!

  37. rookieatheist says

    Thank you to those who replied to my question (comment 104). So I see most of the replies here say that for them the dividing line is birth. That actually took me by surprise. To the user named KG: I do not consider myself a liar or an idiot, and I’m not sure how you came to such conclusions based on my simple question.

    I just cannot agree that a fetus close to term (for argument’s sake, say after more than 8 months pregnancy) should be allowed to be aborted, except in cases where not doing so could result in a health hazard to the mother. A fetus at 8 months is a viable human life.

    To those who are wondering, yes I am a man, but I would be reluctant to accept that it’s a major factor in reaching my conclusions.

    If anybody wants to continue the discussion, then we could try by e-mail. My address is simply “my username on this site at gmail” (I’ll let you figure it out).

  38. dianne says

    one of my kids was 5 days late, the other one 5 days early, it’s hard to think that at 40 weeks one of them had full moral worth and the other one zero.

    The difference between a 40 week fetus and a newborn isn’t development, it’s access to resources. A fetus has an oxygen saturation of about 70%, a newborn about 99%. The cerebral cortex is really sensitive to hypoxia. It’s like the difference between a computer that’s in sleep mode versus one that’s running: both may have the same processing speed and memory and both are maintaining essential functions, but you can only blog on the one that’s running.

    I would argue that that’s irrelevant because whatever the moral worth of your 40 week old fetus, your moral worth is higher and therefore it should be your decision what to do about the fetus. There aren’t many situations that are likely to come up in Germany that would make the situation come down to 40 week healthy fetus versus pregnant woman, but if one did come up, it should be resolved in the pregnant woman’s favor.

  39. Eris says

    I’ve never been able to find any numbers on why women have abortion in the third trimester. No one seems to have been interested enough to figure it out. The only data I’ve been able to find also includes the second trimester (it’s 16 weeks or more, which means the data won’t be correct for just the third trimester) and done by the Alan Guttmacher Institute. It says this*:

    71% Woman didn’t recognize she was pregnant or misjudged gestation
    48% Woman found it hard to make arrangements for abortion
    33% Woman was afraid to tell her partner or parents
    24% Woman took time to decide to have an abortion
    8% Woman waited for her relationship to change
    8% Someone pressured woman not to have abortion
    6% Something changed after woman became pregnant
    6% Woman didn’t know timing is important
    5% Woman didn’t know she could get an abortion
    2% A fetal problem was diagnosed late in pregnancy
    11% Other

    The thing that frustrates me about this is that we can do things to help women get abortions earlier (thereby preventing later abortions). For example, 48% cited trouble making arrangements for the abortion as at least one reason they had an abortion after 16 weeks. A good way to help these women would be to help them make arrangements earlier. But we as a country don’t do that; instead, we run around and put up more hoops. Why? Because all these limits are to push women into a situation where they have “timed out” and thus are too far along to get a legal abortion. That’s a feature of our system, not a bug. When we have a system like that, it doesn’t make sense to tut tut when women actually fall prey to the traps put forth in their path, forcing them into getting later abortions.

    *Stolen from Wikipedia because I didn’t feel like finding the article again, although I’ll look if someone is particularly interested.

  40. consciousness razor says

    A fetus at 8 months is a viable human life.

    Is that so?

    Viable:

    (of a fetus) having reached such a stage of development as to be capable of living, under normal conditions, outside the uterus.

  41. says

    Dianne, as much as I’m strongly agreeing with most of your arguments in this thread, I’d strongly disagree that there’s anything “moderate” about someone who thinks it’s “reasonable” to compel women to report their monthly pregnancy status to the state. Between that and his (pretty sure LFAAPN is male) insistence that Slutty McWhores go out and get abortions in the ninth month “on a whim,” he’s a fascist piece of shit, and, like all fascists, misogynist to the core.

    Rookieatheist:

    To those who are wondering, yes I am a man, but I would be reluctant to accept that it’s a major factor in reaching my conclusions.

    Of course you would.

  42. consciousness razor says

    To those who are wondering, yes I am a man, but I would be reluctant to accept that it’s a major factor in reaching my conclusions.

    You mean you are reluctant. Do you expect us to wait?

  43. Eris says

    @rookieatheist Assuming the fetus IS viable (it can live outside the uterus), then what would be the problem with inducing early labor? Because I think most of the people here would argue that if the fetus is viable and the woman wants it removed, then removing it in a manner that does not result in the fetus’s death is the best road to go if at all possible.

    Inducing early birth only becomes a problem if one assumes the fetus will be harmed if it comes out, but that would indicate the fetus wasn’t REALLY viable.

  44. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I just cannot agree that a fetus close to term (for argument’s sake, say after more than 8 months pregnancy) should be allowed to be aborted, except in cases where not doing so could result in a health hazard to the mother.

    Not even an exception for fetal deformity? That is cruel, and you should be required to cover all costs for said birth, short hospitalized existence, and funeral if you are arrogant enough to make that decision for somebody else base on your “squimish” factor. Be willing to put your money where your mouth is, or don’t go there.

    And if it doesn’t occur, and you haven’t shown that is the case, why worry about it? That is what I mean by useless mental masturbation.

    A common technique used by the anti-choice zealots is is to find a point where you can agree abortion should be outlawed, and then keep trying to move the goalposts. Which is why some of us don’t move at all. Are you trying that?

  45. rookieatheist says

    @Eris (re: comment #548)
    Thank you for that interesting argument. It’s one of the more rational ones that have been proposed to me. I’ll try to let it sink in and mature before replying further.

  46. says

    Dianne
    I think you find nothing in my posts that contradicts your point.
    As I said, as long as it is inside of me, my priorities have absolute priority even at the danger of redundancy.
    My point is that for me, the main difference doesn’t lie with the fetus/baby before/after birth, but with ME.
    That’s why I will vehemently defend any idiot asshole unassisted natural homebirth woman’s decision to do that even though she might kill the fetus/baby in the process. It is her body and her decision to get medical assistance or not.
    As I said, that’s why I think personhood pretty irrelevant: even if the blastocyte was granted full personhood, my right to bodily autonomy and integrity would always trump it just like it does with blood, kidney and bone-marrow donation:
    Everything is fine and dandy when it’s your choice to do. That’s why I donated plasma for years and am a registered bone-marrow donator and a mum of two: My choice to let other people use my body for their own needs.

  47. dianne says

    I’d strongly disagree that there’s anything “moderate” about someone who thinks it’s “reasonable” to compel women to report their monthly pregnancy status to the state.

    It’s a good point. I clearly didn’t read the thread thoroughly enough before commenting. Missed most of the discussion of how to make sure you’re not pregnant.

    71% Woman didn’t recognize she was pregnant or misjudged gestation
    48% Woman found it hard to make arrangements for abortion
    33% Woman was afraid to tell her partner or parents
    24% Woman took time to decide to have an abortion

    All of the reasons that more than 10% of women cited are at least partially amenable to treatment.

    Women who don’t want to be pregnant and feel that pregnancy is a disaster are more likely to not recognize early symptoms or misjudge their gestation. Like women-and men-who ignore a lump in their breast or explain it away because they are terrified at the thought of breast cancer and therefore are more likely to have later stage cancer at presentation. Make pregnancy less of a disaster by means ranging from better prenatal care and family leave to better access to abortion and I strongly suspect the number of women not noticing early pregnancy would decrease. (Though of course it won’t go to zero.)

    Lack of access needs no further commentary. It’s inherently obvious how to solve that problem.

    Fear of telling partner or parents again is a function of social disapproval of pregnancy and of the choice to have an abortion. Decrease social pressure on young women to be a good girl virgin and to carry a pregnancy to term and you’ll decrease this number. Also, why do they need to tell partner/parents? Make abortion readily available so that women (or teenage girls) who don’t feel safe telling their parents or partners about the pregnancy don’t have to.

    The time needed to make the decision would likely be far less if there weren’t so much social pressure against abortion and specifically lies about the supposed health risks. If women weren’t afraid that their choices were raising a child they don’t want/can’t afford or getting breast cancer, they might find the decision easier.

    In short, I think that the majority of women who had elective abortions in the late second trimester could have had them in the first if we had reasonable laws and social conventions surrounding pregnancy and abortion.

  48. rookieatheist says

    @Nerd of Redhead (re: comment #549).
    I honestly don’t have any particular agenda. My initial post was simply to find out what the consensus of posters on this blog were. Now that I know that the consensus (at least of those who replied to me) is that the day of birth is a valid dividing line, I’m simply trying to understand why, as I’ve always been “squimish” about that.

    A fetal deformity is certainly a valid argument for termination close to term. I simply forgot to mention that option earlier, my bad.

    I’m pro-choice to a point, and that point (at least for the moment) is several months before birth. Does that really make me a bad person from the point of view of other pro-choicers? It’s like euthanasia. I’m for the choice of a person to stop their suffering by ending their own life, but again only to a certain point, defined mainly be medical expertise.

  49. dianne says

    Gilell: I agree. I was just being fussy about the fetus versus baby thing. There are physiological differences, but they’re not–or shouldn’t be–relevant to the debate for the reasons you gave.

  50. says

    Rookieatheist:
    Yes, it makes you a bad person.

    A woman’s bodily autonomy should be the only consideration when discussing abortion. How have you missed the point that has been made over and over again– no one has the right to use your body without your permission.

    Limiting my rights because you feel squicky? That makes your pretty fucking bad, in my book.

  51. consciousness razor says

    I’m pro-choice to a point, and that point (at least for the moment) is several months before birth.

    Several months? For fuck’s sake, how many months do you think a pregnancy lasts? And what dipshit fucking reason are you going to come up with for calling this “pro-choice”?

    Does that really make me a bad person from the point of view of other pro-choicers?

    Yes, it really is a bad point of view.

    It’s like euthanasia.

    No it isn’t.

    I’m for the choice of a person to stop their suffering by ending their own life, but again only to a certain point, defined mainly be medical expertise.

    What the fuck does “to a certain point” mean?

  52. dianne says

    Assuming the fetus IS viable (it can live outside the uterus), then what would be the problem with inducing early labor? Because I think most of the people here would argue that if the fetus is viable and the woman wants it removed, then removing it in a manner that does not result in the fetus’s death is the best road to go if at all possible.

    In the majority of cases–in fact, in essentially all cases–where the abortion is performed after 24 weeks, there is some problem that would make labor and delivery implausible.

    The fetus might have hydrocephaly associated with anencephaly so that the head was just to big to fit. It might have seized and spasmed into an impossible position to deliver. It might be dead or dying and endangering the life of its twin, which would have a much better chance of survival if it gestated longer.

    Outside the first world where access to c-sections is easy, the fetus might simply be slightly in the wrong position. If, for example, the head is tilted back instead of tucked, it is too large to fit through the cervix and if you don’t have an OR your only option is primitive D and E.

    In other cases, the mother may be too compromised to survive delivery or c-section. Abortion is not as physiologically stressful and might be the only plausible way to save the mother.

  53. says

    Also, fuck that euthanasia shit.

    1) At no time during gestation is a fetus comparable to a person. It cannot make a decision for itself and it’s a parasite.

    2) If someone truly wants to die, for fuck’s sake, let them die with some dignity.

    Why do you insist that your squick factor trumps other people’s automony? That’s really fucking cruel.

  54. Eris says

    One problem with the “pro-choice until viability” stance is that people often don’t really mean “viability” when they say “viability.” They mean “some stage late in the pregnancy during which the fetus could be removed and MAYBE survive with severe birth defects caused by being removed too early.” That means that these people say no to induced labor, because the fetus isn’t really viable. And so they start making women continue being pregnant for the benefit of the fetus.

    For example, some people will say that the 20th week is when abortion should be made illegal (I think there was a reason this week got picked, but I can’t remember what it was). But we don’t even start getting a 50% survival rate of the fetus until week 24, and that’s just talking about survival, not survival with reasonable health outcomes.

    In short, “pro-choice until viability” is often a very different stance than it is portrayed as. If you can take the fetus out and it will be fine, that’s viability. If you take the fetus out and it won’t be fine (so you need to force the woman to stay pregnant longer), then that isn’t viability. You can’t take a fetus out at week 20 (the week I cited earlier) and have the fetus be fine. A week 20 fetus just dies.

  55. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Does that really make me a bad person from the point of view of other pro-choicers?

    Yes, you aren’t pro-choice. That means the person who is pregnant makes the decision, not you.

    The real questions you must address, and apparently haven’t, are: 1) Who the fuck gave you permission to make that decision for someone else? 2) Would you like someone else interfering in your private medical decisions the same way? 3) Are you willing to put your money where your mouth is, and say provide half the cost of bearing and raising the child to adulthood by your making that decision for someone else?

  56. Eris says

    @dianne

    I’m not talking about cases like the ones you mentioned, in case you weren’t aware. If you’re just doing an FYI thing, then I’ll just say that agree with what you posted.

  57. says

    Rookieatheist:

    It’s one of the more rational ones that have been proposed to me.

    Shove a porcupine up your ass, you condescending concern troll. Are you going to call some of us “emotional” and “hysterical” next, especially those of us capable of getting pregnant?

    I’m pro-choice to a point, and that point (at least for the moment) is several months before birth. Does that really make me a bad person from the point of view of other pro-choicers?

    To people who are actually pro-choice, in that they value a woman’s bodily autonomy, vs. “I’m pro-choice, but…” assholes like you? Yep.

  58. dianne says

    @eris: A FYI. A lot of people who are anti-abortion don’t understand much about pregnancy or its risks. I thought it might be useful to explicitly list some of the risks and complications for the lurkers. Sorry if it came off as accusing you of not knowing, since your post clearly shows that you do.

  59. Eris says

    @dianne

    No, it’s fine. I think an FYI is good. I just wasn’t sure, as sometimes I don’t articulate myself as well as I might, and people misunderstand me.

  60. twist says

    Rookieatheist – you’re not pro-choice. Stop saying you are. Maybe you consider an eight month fetus to be a person, but it is still living inside another person, and if that other person withdraws their consent to have it living inside them, then it should be removed, regardless of whether or not they consented to carry it in the first place. Consent that cannot be revoked is meaningless.

    This is something that will never, ever happen to you. You don’t get to whinge about how it ought to be outlawed just because it squicks you out, and expect to be taken seriously ’cause we all know you’re on our side really, up until the icky squishy late term abortions that we’re all getting for shits and giggles. Keep your opinions away from women’s bodily autonomy.

  61. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    1) At no time during gestation is a fetus comparable to a person. It cannot make a decision for itself and it’s a parasite.

    QFT, and may I just say I particularly love it that you said this now.

    If we were neighbours I’d be trying to convince you to borrow my old Warning. Alien on board. t-shirt (it’s a bit well-worn and well-washed, but still OK to do the gardening in and suchlike) :-)

  62. dianne says

    Of all cancers, Nazi cancer is definitely the worst.

    A long time ago and a joke, but I have to disagree. I think the atomic bomb cancers, especially those from the Nagasaki bomb, are the worst. Totally unnecessary. And though I may be as emotional as ever Josh accused me of in this, descriptions of people dying of acute leukemia make me want to throw something.

  63. rookieatheist says

    Okay folks, thanks for the replies, but no thanks for the harsh attacks. I am truly, honestly, trying to have a rational conversation. Maybe my way of commenting comes across as condescending to some of you, which I will accept as I have been told numerous times before that I am guilty of being condescending. Sorry. Some of you say I’m not pro-choice, but surely it’s obvious that I’m not anti-choice? Yes, I’m in the middle somewhere, and apparently that makes me a bad person to many of you. As should be obvious from my pseudonym, I’m relatively new to this discussion and I’ve rarely had the occasion to discuss it with other people. Many of your comments have hit me hard (boy was I naive when I posted), but I will try to let them sink in. I am prepared to change my views. I’ve decided to set up a blog to gather together my random musings, and my first post (well, actually my second) deals with this conversation. Feel free to take me apart over there: http://rookieatheist.blogspot.com

  64. says

    Opposablethumbs,
    :)

    Trust me, there’s no other way I could feel about my pregnancy– I feel like shit, even though everything is progressing normally. I want a child and my fetus still feels like an invader and I still feel like a fucking incubator.

    I think I may have to start searching for an “alien on board” shirt. I was thinking that if I’m still pregnant on Halloween (I’m due at the end of Oct) of dressing up with an alien bursting out of my chest. :D

  65. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    You should so do that! I wanted to get one of those 3D t-shirts, but couldn’t find any at the time. (though just printed lettering was probably more comfortable to sleep in)

    I really sympathise. It is inevitably profoundly invasive, and – as you pointed out – quite enough to deal with when it’s wanted; unconscionable to impose on someone else when they don’t want it. I had it (relatively) easy, and I would still have handed off the job of gestating Aliens 1 and 2 to their other parent in a shaved nanosecond and without a second thought if it were only possible.

  66. opposablethumbs, que le pouce enragé mette les pouces says

    Awesome costume, SQB, and guaranteed to make at least some of those who encounter it freak the fuck out :-D

  67. says

    Or, if you’re willing to make a statement, lots of blood and half a coat hanger sticking out from between your legs.

  68. Jean-Renee says

    Audley,

    Congratulations!

    Also and off-topic, I was born on Halloween. The doctor was dressed as a werewolf, but had to change for the actual delivery. The very first picture of me as a newborn is me being held by a doctor wearing scrubs, a surgical mask, and a Lone Ranger mask. You could be in for a very interesting delivery if the timing is right. :)

  69. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    but surely it’s obvious that I’m not anti-choice?

    You sound anti-choice whenever you atttempt to limit a woman’s right to make the decision for herself, for whatever selfish reasons you present. You sound like a concern troll type one with your misgivings.

    and apparently that makes me a bad person to many of you.

    No, what makes you bad is misrepresenting yourself. If you are pro-choice, it means pro-choice, period. Anything else isn’t pro-choice. So stop pretending you are pro-choice.

    I’ve decided to set up a blog to gather together my random musings, and my first post (well, actually my second) deals with this conversation. Feel free to take me apart over there

    Oh, lookie, another blogwhore.

  70. says

    Rookieatheist:

    but no thanks for the harsh attacks.

    Baaaw.

    This is a rude blog. We like to argue — heck, we like a loud angry brawl. Don’t waste time whining at anyone that they’re not nice, because this gang will take pride in that and rhetorically hand you a rotting porcupine and tell you to stuff it up your nether orifice. If you intrude here and violate any of the previous three mores, people won’t like you, and they won’t hold back—they’ll tell you so, probably in colorful terms.

    I have no trouble believing that you’ve been called condescending before.

    Some of you say I’m not pro-choice, but surely it’s obvious that I’m not anti-choice? Yes, I’m in the middle somewhere, and apparently that makes me a bad person to many of you.

    There’s no “middle” when it comes to whether women are full human beings or not.

    Not interested in going over to your blog and dealing with your tone-trolling. Go whore it somewhere else.

  71. Richard Austin says

    rookieatheist:

    Some of you say I’m not pro-choice, but surely it’s obvious that I’m not anti-choice? Yes, I’m in the middle somewhere, and apparently that makes me a bad person to many of you.

    There is no “middle”. Either you support the right of a woman to control her own body – or you don’t. Anything less than “you can do what you want with your body” is anti-choice.

    You may not realize that yet, but that’s simple fact. If you’re taking away control in any circumstance, you’re taking away control. Full stop.

  72. Ogvorbis (no relation to the Ogg family) says

    Yes, I’m in the middle somewhere, and apparently that makes me a bad person to many of you.

    So what, exactly, is the point at which a woman, a human being, no longer has the right to say what will, or will not, happen to her body? And how does one find that point? The point at which the woman is no longer considered a human being?

    These are not rhetorical questions.

  73. says

    Nah, rookieatheist
    If you need to come up with some idiotic scenarios that actually never happen in order to make an argument as to why you think women such immoral beings as they need to be told what to do, you’re not pro-choice.
    Reminds me of the last anti-choice idiot I argued with “what if a woman managed to abduct a premie and implant it into her uterus, would she be allowed to abort it?”

    Audley
    It totally felt like science fiction until #1 was actually out.

  74. chigau (違う) says

    I’m pretty sure I’ve read all the comments on this thread…
    have we really NOT had anyone suggesting that the father sperm donor should have a say?

  75. Janine: History’s Greatest Monster says

    Chigau, we did have one brainstem suggest that all women should have a monthly exam in order to make sure if they are pregnant or not. And the banned one arguing that women were built to entice men and have babies.

    It was an unforgettable experience.

  76. FilthyHuman says

    @Eris
    #560

    For example, some people will say that the 20th week is when abortion should be made illegal (I think there was a reason this week got picked, but I can’t remember what it was).

    I think I looked up statistics on this before (forgot the details). But I believe that the 20+ week point was when the rate of mortality in abortion is equal to the risk of pregnancy (in short, after that point, if you’re healthy, it’s safer to carry pregnancy to term). Basically, the idea was that unless there’s a medical reason for abortion, trying to abort would cause more harm then remaining pregnant.

    Of course, we shouldn’t need that law anyway, I would believe that any competent doctor can make that decision with a patient.

    One more caveat, the statistics may have changed now, it was a while ago since I researched about it.

  77. Pteryxx says

    Late to the party, but I did some searching for late-term abortion statistics.

    Here’s the Wiki article that Eris cited above, with numbers from the Guttmacher Institute:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_termination_of_pregnancy

    United States: In 2003, from data collected in those areas that sufficiently reported gestational age, it was found that 6.2% of abortions were conducted from 13 to 15 weeks, 4.2% from 16 to 20 weeks, and 1.4% at or after 21 weeks.[12] Because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual study on abortion statistics does not calculate the exact gestational age for abortions performed past the 20th week, there are no precise data for the number of abortions performed after viability.[12] In 1997, the Guttmacher Institute estimated the number of abortions in the U.S. past 24 weeks to be 0.08%, or approximately 1,032 per year.[13]

    The Guttmacher Institute 1997 article:

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/ib14.html

    I also found this post reviewing an article on the reasons for late-term abortions:

    http://sciencenotes.wordpress.com/2009/06/22/what-causes-third-trimester-abortions/

    The reasons they gave were basically the same as those I found in a research paper from 1999, on second-trimester and third-trimester abortions at one hospital over several years. Only “singletons” were studied, so none of the fetuses were conjoined twins, which is another way that a fetus can be non-viable. About 2/3 were done in the second trimester and 1/3 in the third trimester. The reasons for a third-trimester abortion were:

    * In 40%, an earlier test indicated that a defect existed but not how serious it was. Doctors delayed and re-tested to see if the defect was serious enough to be life-threatening. Some genetic conditions can be mild or severe, so to prevent unnecessary abortions the doctors waited.
    * In 37%, an earlier test failed to find the serious defects that showed up later.
    * In 18%, a diagnosis for this kind of defect can’t be made until the third trimester. This often seems to include anencephaly, a fatal birth defect.
    * And in the remaining 5%, doctors or parents delayed the decision to abort. I correlated this with what I’ve read about doctors ordering yet another another test to make sure, waiting for a referral, parents not able to believe the news, having hysterics and going home, and praying for a miracle.

    Reference:
    Dommergues M, Benachi A, Benifla JL, des Noëttes R, Dumez Y., British Journal of Obstetrical Gynaecology, 1999 Apr;106(4):297-303. The reasons for termination of pregnancy in the third trimester. PubMed ID: 10426234.

    (cont’d…)

  78. Pteryxx says

    That PubMed source:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10426234

    Another paper from the Netherlands:

    In 75% of cases, a plan had been agreed upon with the pediatrician about the action to take if the child was born alive. The pregnancy was terminated at 28 weeks or under in 28% of cases, between 29 and 37 weeks in 64%, and after 37 weeks in 8%. In 85% of late pregnancy terminations, labor was induced by administering prostaglandins intravenously. 80% of the fetuses were stillborn; the live-born infants all died within 24 hours of birth. Extrapolation of these data suggests that about 150 late-pregnancy terminations are performed in the Netherlands each year.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9141586

  79. FilthyHuman says

    @chigau
    #584

    I’m pretty sure I’ve read all the comments on this thread…
    have we really NOT had anyone suggesting that the sperm donor should have a say?

    You know, I’m surprised on that point too. No one mentioned about “male-abortion” (aka with-holding child-support from his biological child).

    Maybe the MRA missed this. Pretty likely, considering the title is “Irrational Humans”, which probably didn’t trip the MRA signal.

  80. Pteryxx says

    ——————–

    Also seconding what Eris said at #560.

    One problem with the “pro-choice until viability” stance is that people often don’t really mean “viability” when they say “viability.” They mean “some stage late in the pregnancy during which the fetus could be removed and MAYBE survive with severe birth defects caused by being removed too early.” That means that these people say no to induced labor, because the fetus isn’t really viable. And so they start making women continue being pregnant for the benefit of the fetus.

    For example, some people will say that the 20th week is when abortion should be made illegal (I think there was a reason this week got picked, but I can’t remember what it was). But we don’t even start getting a 50% survival rate of the fetus until week 24, and that’s just talking about survival, not survival with reasonable health outcomes.

    IIRC, the 20th week is the earliest point at which there is ANY chance of the fetus surviving; meaning, there’s been a handful of cases of premature births at 21 or 22 weeks with full neonatal ICU support where the fetus (now baby) survived. But again, that’s just an excuse to ban abortion, because a 1% chance of a fetus surviving with any amount of damage trumps even a 99% chance of a woman dying from pregnancy. By that reasoning it’s fine for a child to die in infancy, or be disabled for life, as long as the woman suffered as much as possible in the process of producing it.

    From the wiki:

    In the U.S. where many infections and other causes of neonatal death have been markedly reduced, prematurity is the leading cause of neonatal mortality at 25%.[4] Prematurely born infants are also at greater risk for having subsequent serious chronic health problems as discussed below.

    [...]

    A large study on children born between 22 and 25 weeks who were currently at school age found that 46 percent had severe or moderate disabilities such as cerebral palsy, vision or hearing loss and learning problems. 34 percent were mildly disabled and 20 percent had no disabilities, while 12 percent had disabling cerebral palsy.[12]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterm_birth

  81. Pteryxx says

    I think I looked up statistics on this before (forgot the details). But I believe that the 20+ week point was when the rate of mortality in abortion is equal to the risk of pregnancy (in short, after that point, if you’re healthy, it’s safer to carry pregnancy to term). Basically, the idea was that unless there’s a medical reason for abortion, trying to abort would cause more harm then remaining pregnant.

    I think this is wrong, because I’ve got some sources somewhere in my hoard that say abortion is safer than *delivery* at every stage in pregnancy. Even if mortality due to abortion would be safer than *pregnancy*, that’s pretty darn useless to know since pregnancy must result in birth or abortion. (Or maternal death.)

  82. says

    If anybody wants to continue the discussion, then we could try by e-mail. My address is simply “my username on this site at gmail” (I’ll let you figure it out).

    Um no. it’s rather rude to insert yourself in a discussion and then unilaterally decide to take it outside. Why would I want to continue a public conversation in private, simply because you seem to not be comfortable with it being public.

  83. Brownian says

    Yes, I’m in the middle somewhere, and apparently that makes me a bad person to many of you.

    Jesus fucking Christ, deliver me from fuckwits for whom the greatest crime possible is to be thought of as a “bad person” by others on the internet.

    When you take a page out of the playbook of the GOP, where being called racist is way worse than actually being the victim of racism, yeah, you are a bad person. Is that a problem for you? Then stop being a bad fucking person, asshole.

  84. says

    As a side note, Josh Offical Spokes Gay: I did not appriciate the insinuiation that my stance was ‘emotional’.

    a) Yes it is an emotional topic, it’s silencing and callous to go on and dismiss people because of their emotional reaction to such a topic. That sort of shit people throw down on feminism and rape threads. It’s the sort of shit Libertarians throw at me when they’re shocked, SHOCKED, that I take personal umbridge to their insistence that I suffer for their ideological purity

    b) My stance is not one of emotion but has what I feel are solid objections to Stinger, both from a practical, rational and strategic POV (someone else already pointed it out but trying to latch the argument Joey was making to the pro-choice movement IS a strategic move we’ve seen the pro-life side make. It was cited in TET where I protested the straw-manning of trying to tie a concept that is unrelated to abortion and not shared highly with the pro-choice side, to the pro-choice side because of emotional baggage.

    c) It is perfectly possible to be both sincere and calm and rational and still disagree here. I don’t appreciate what IMO was an ad hom that since we disagree with the premise we are not being rational.

  85. Eris says

    I agree with Pteryxx that it seems unlikely that banning abortion after the 20th week has anything to do with the health/life of the mother because (to the best of my knowledge) abortion is always, at every stage safer than giving birth. That’s one of the reason that women who are pregnant with dead third trimester fetuses or third trimester fetuses that are about to die get abortions; it’s easier and safer to get it out with an abortion than via birth.

    If we remove the dangers of birth from the equation (compare the risks of abortion solely to the risks of being pregnant) the numbers might work out, but then I wouldn’t understand why it would ever be such that an early term abortion would be less dangerous that simply being early term pregnant; it seems to me that an early term abortion should always be more dangerous than simply being pregnant. I don’t think term pregnancies are usually very dangerous. It’s as you get later in the pregnancy that things get more and more sketchy, both for being pregnant and for having an abortion. If we’re talking about safety to the woman, it’s about how all abortions are safer than completing the pregnancy and giving birth, and early abortions are safer than late abortions.

  86. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Ing, what in the world are you on about? Where did I direct any of those things to you?

  87. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Also,

    I know how dismissive and silencing accusations of emotionalism can be. I deplore that as much as you, Ing, and I’d hate to be found doing it to someone. Nevertheless, it is not out of bounds to observe that sometimes people lose rationality and start thinking illogically and in a contradictory way to the way they usually do when there’s an emotional trigger at hand. I’m sorry, that is simply a fact. No, I’m not talking about appropriate outrage and emotion—I’m not pulling a Straw Spock. I’m talking about emotion provoked by something that isn’t actually true, isn’t really going to happen, and the kind that stops logical thinking dead in its tracks. This is such a topic often times. When people start making claims that are absurd, or pointedly avoid answering straightforward questions, or answer them by repeating irrelevancies (especially when you know such people are otherwise very lucid) it’s not rude or oppressive to note that. We can’t have conversations without teasing these things out, and they are not ipso facto callous, dismissive oppression.

    But again, I have no idea why you’re talking to me about this unless your name is Dianne.

  88. Eris says

    I don’t think term pregnancies are usually very dangerous

    I meant EARLY term pregnancies. Oopsies.

  89. says

    @Josh

    Well it was undirected and I was arguing against Joey so it seemed implied.

    And the thread devolves into an embarrassing pit of emotional arguments and loaded terms.

    “Killing babies” is, I gather, so powerful an emotional trigger that the most rational people lose their ability to engage in logic. It may well be the only impossible conversation.

    IMO this is implying that people who disagree with you, not only are but necessarily MUST be doing so for irrational emotional reasons. I didn’t think this was a fair characterization.

  90. FilthyHuman says

    @Pteryxx
    #591

    I think this is wrong, because I’ve got some sources somewhere in my hoard that say abortion is safer than *delivery* at every stage in pregnancy. Even if mortality due to abortion would be safer than *pregnancy*, that’s pretty darn useless to know since pregnancy must result in birth or abortion. (Or maternal death.)

    Ah, good point, if you’re going to have to get a fetus out, more options is always better.

    I think the abortion statistics I found must have been fairly old.

    Actually, found a new data source that I’m pretty sure I didn’t see before.

    D&E mortality rate around 1980
    4.9/100,000 mortality.
    Infant mortality around 1980
    12/100,000 mortality in 1980.

    12/100,000 in 1990
    13/100,000 in 2000
    17/100,000 in 2007
    … WTF?

  91. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    *Nerd and Eris, too.

    *Makes another notch in tutu*

  92. Louis says

    Excuse me everyone but I am still trying to understand a few things apply.

    Thing 1: Every woman should take monthly pregnancy tests.

    Thing 2: I’m in the middle.

    How are these ideas compatible with the idea that women are people?

    It’s done hurting mah brainy stem.

    Louis

  93. Pteryxx says

    Here’s the new study comparing risks from LEGAL abortion to birth:

    Dr. Elizabeth Raymond from Gynuity Health Projects in New York City and Dr. David Grimes of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, found that between 1998 and 2005, one woman died during childbirth for every 11,000 or so babies born.

    That compared to one woman of every 167,000 who died from a legal abortion.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/23/us-abortion-idUSTRE80M2BS20120123

  94. says

    @Josh

    I think some people have a very real concern about the implications of such criteria for person-hood as you described. I don’t think their worry about it IS irrational even if emotional. The concern of “what if this leads to killing the retarded” may see absurd alarmism to you, but I think the very real specter of ableism and past history of abuses to groups that ethical systems have deemed ‘less’ human makes this something that should be addressed rather than dismissed as emotional hysteria.

    parents often have a very strong aversion to thoughts of children being put in danger, so even though it may not be rational I don’t think it’s sensible to think that you can actually avoid that discussion on this topic. Addressing that concern, IMO should be the #1 priority in the topic and the first thing that needs to be done in order to move forward

    Non-neurotypicals and people concerned about them might have very big concerns that such criteria as “rational” and “self-conscious” could put them at risk. It wasn’t too long ago that the psychiatric medical community institutionalized abuse of homosexuals because it didn’t meet their criteria.

    People are responding emotionally to real, and possibly valid concerns and implications of a proposed ethical system and even if ‘absurd’ or ‘irrational’ to you deserve more than to be shamed for that.

  95. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Ing:

    IMO this is implying that people who disagree with you, not only are but necessarily MUST be doing so for irrational emotional reasons. I didn’t think this was a fair characterization.

    This is extremely frustrating. I was crystal clear about the people to whom I was objecting and the specific arguments they were making that I objected to (and yes, absolutely, I found them not *driven* by emotion, but actually compromised in sensibleness by emotion—big, big difference). It’s *you* who’s reading a wider net into my meaning. I can’t be responsible for that-how could I?

  96. says

    Phein39, most cogent remark of the thread:

    “This is what every right-to-lifer can’t stand: Each and every one of us was created by an individual woman. That’s a simple truth. But for pathological reasons of their own, they can’t recognize that fact and grant the authority that naturally goes with the power and responsibility.”

    Late abortions, especially third-trimester abortions, are undesirable because they are more dangerous than childbirth. Consequently, doctors won’t do them without a good reason. And, as someone said, if it can survive ex utero birth will be induced one way or another. Thus the whole “what about aborting it just before it’s born?” is a red herring.

    Early abortions are literally thirteen or fourteen times safer than childbirth. Therefore, forcing a woman to continue an unwanted pregnancy is forcing her to risk her life: an ethical no-no.

  97. says

    Louis:

    Thing 1: Every woman should take monthly pregnancy tests.

    Thing 2: I’m in the middle.

    “I will swallow the hook,
    But you’ll see nothing new.
    Two questions. We’ll call them
    Thing One and Thing Two.
    These Things, they may bite you.
    That’s how they have fun.”
    Out from under the bridge
    Came Thing Two and Thing One!
    And they ran to us fast.
    They said, “How do you do?
    Would you like to come hoggle
    With Things One and Two?”

  98. Pteryxx says

    Infant mortality around 1980
    12/100,000 mortality in 1980.

    12/100,000 in 1990
    13/100,000 in 2000
    17/100,000 in 2007
    … WTF?

    FilthyHuman, if you’re going WTF because infant mortality in the US is INCREASING, yeah it is. Mostly due to lack of maternal health care and (IIRC) increased teen birthrates (see: abstinence-only education). I’ll see if I can find my source…

  99. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    People are responding emotionally to real, and possibly valid concerns and implications of a proposed ethical system and even if ‘absurd’ or ‘irrational’ to you deserve more than to be shamed for that.

    Ing, I know all these things and I agree with you. But damn it, please work a little harder not to lump things together. I’m being clear and it’s really important to me that you get that. Please.

    1. I understand fears of eugenics. Really. Honestly. I’m not ignorant.

    2. That does not change the fact that an answer to a question that’s demonstrably orthogonal to it, non-responsive, or plain fucking wrong is, well, wrong. Understandable emotions don’t give people a free pass to turn their brains off and it’s not fucking oppressive for me to say this!

    Dianne, for example, continued to answer my question “Why is birth itself considered so morally relevant” by not answering my question. She kept describing what birth meant physiologically which had NOTHING to do with what I asked. What I asked was why—accepting all those physical realities, OK? —- that was morally relevant.

    Do you understand my frustration? Part of tackling these big issues is sussing out which fears about consequences and strategies are justified, and which are not. These can be life or death for real people. But that does not entail shutting down inquiry and assuming all fears are warranted. That’s counterproductive and ridiculous.

  100. Pteryxx says

    /off topic

    Ooh ooh! TANGENT but relevant and hey, free full-text article!

    http://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/Fulltext/2012/04000/An_Over_the_Counter_Simulation_Study_of_a.12.aspx

    OBJECTIVES: To evaluate use of a single-tablet (levonorgestrel 1.5 mg) emergency contraceptive administered to young females under simulated over-the-counter conditions. Secondary objectives were to assess repeat use, pregnancy, and adverse events.

    METHODS: Females aged 11–17 years requesting emergency contraception at teen reproductive health clinics in five cities were eligible to participate. Participants read the study product label and determined whether and how to use the product without interacting with providers. Study product was dispensed to participants who appropriately selected to use it; participants were contacted 1, 4, and 8 weeks later to assess use, pregnancy, and adverse events. The incidences of outcomes were calculated and regression analysis was used to assess the effect of age and use status (ever used or no previous use) on primary outcomes.

    RESULTS: Of the 345 females enrolled, 279 were younger than age 17 years. Among the 340 participants included in the selection analysis, 311 (91.5%) (97.5% confidence interval 87.5– 94.5%) participants appropriately selected to use or not use product. Among the 298 participants who used product, 274 (92.9%) (97.5% confidence interval 88.8–95.8%) correctly used it as labeled. Selection and correct use were not associated with age. Fifty-seven participants (18.8%) used additional emergency contraception over the study period and seven (2.3%) participants who used product became pregnant; there were no unusual adverse events.

    CONCLUSION: Restricting young females’ use of a single-tablet emergency contraceptive by prescription only is not warranted, because females younger than 17 years can use it in a manner consistent with over-the-counter access.

  101. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Shorter me: We can’t have any conversations at all, any inquiry, or any hope of addressing very real ethical concerns if we don’t agree to having actual conversation free of eliding, conflating, and ducking issues. It just doesn’t work.

  102. FilthyHuman says

    @Pteryxx
    #611

    FilthyHuman, if you’re going WTF because infant mortality in the US is INCREASING, yeah it is. Mostly due to lack of maternal health care and (IIRC) increased teen birthrates (see: abstinence-only education). I’ll see if I can find my source…
    Yes, the WTF was that USA is the only country, as far as I could tell, with consistently upward trend in maternal mortality since 1980 (other country have some upward blips in the four samples, only US is on a consistent upward trend).

    It’s the fact that we’re apparently “special” that’s the WTF.

  103. FilthyHuman says

    @Markita Lynda
    #617
    I’m pretty sure a random, un-sourced picture on flickr is not a credible source.

  104. Pteryxx says

    FilthyHuman: The source for explanation of US MATERNAL mortality’s easy, it’s AmnestyUSA’s report “Deadly Delivery”:

    http://www.amnestyusa.org/sites/default/files/pdfs/deadlydeliverysummary.pdf

    The USA spends more than any other country on health care, and more on maternal health than any other type of hospital care. Despite this, women in the USA have a higher risk of dying of pregnancy-related complications than those in 49 other countries, including Kuwait, Bulgaria, and South Korea.

    Maternal deaths are only the tip of the iceberg. During 2004 and 2005, more than 68,000 women nearly died in childbirth in the USA. Each year, 1.7 million women suffer a complication that has an adverse effect on their health.

    This is not just a public health emergency – it is a human rights crisis. Women in the USA face a range of obstacles in obtaining the services they need. The health care system suffers from multiple failures: discrimination; financial, bureaucratic, and language barriers to care; lack of information about maternal care and family planning options; lack of active participation in care decisions; inadequate staffing and quality protocols; and a lack of accountability and oversight.

    Disturbing as these figures are, they probably significantly understate the problem. There are no federal requirements to report maternal deaths and US authorities concede that the number of maternal deaths may be twice as high.18 Amnesty
    International’s survey suggests that reporting of pregnancy-related deaths as a distinct category is mandatory in only six states – Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York,
    Pennsylvania and Washington. Despite voluntary efforts in some other states, systematic undercounting of pregnancy-related deaths persists.

  105. says

    Rookieatheist wrote

    I’m pro-choice to a point, and that point (at least for the moment) is several months before birth. Does that really make me a bad person from the point of view of other pro-choicers?
    That is not a pro-choice attitude because a pro-choice person trusts the person most involved, the pregnant one, to make correct moral and medical decisions in consultation with her doctor.

  106. says

    Blockquote failure!

    Rookieatheist wrote

    I’m pro-choice to a point, and that point (at least for the moment) is several months before birth. Does that really make me a bad person from the point of view of other pro-choicers?

    A a pro-choice person trusts the person most involved, the pregnant one, to make correct moral and medical decisions in consultation with her doctor.

  107. says

    So completing the pregnancy giving birth is over twice as dangerous as having a D&E.

    It fucking doesn’t really matter.
    Her body, her choice.
    C-sections increase a maternal morbidity and mortality, but it is still a woman and her doctor who must decide if and when to have one.

    Markita
    Well, considering that many of those 16+ abortions will have taken place because of severe medical issues, that’s a bit comparing apples and oranges.
    If Karen Santorum had died she wouldn’t have died because of an abortion but because of a nasty infaction due to a dying fetus.

  108. dianne says

    Dianne, for example, continued to answer my question “Why is birth itself considered so morally relevant” by not answering my question.

    Josh, see comment #350.

  109. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Fair enough Dianne, but I think we’re just talking past each other. I understand what autonomy is (I’m not sure why you directed that at me; we’re on the same side as far as the violinist thought experiment goes). What I don’t get is why it’s relevant, or more relevant than personhood (however one defines that). I get what it means. I don’t know why it matters. We could say the same thing about Terri Schiavo—any number of competent caregivers could have kept her going.

  110. dianne says

    @617: Are you sure you don’t mean maternal mortality? Infant mortality is measured in the per 1000, not per 100,000.

    Maternal mortality is increasing partly due to changes in how it is measured (i.e. recently death certificates had a check box added which asked “was the pt pregnant within the last year” which increased the number of known maternal deaths by identifying them better), more high risk women becoming pregnant, and changes in the insurance system that mean greater numbers of uninsured and underinsured people.

  111. Gregory Greenwood says

    This thread has blown up to over 600 posts, and we are still getting anti-choicers who don’t understand that the only relevant moral factor with regard to abortion is the bodily autonomy of women – in the same way as no adult can claim rights in the flesh of another person, even if the consequence of not being able to do so is their death, then equally no foetus can possess rights in the flesh of a woman – it is a parasite until it is born and is capable of existing independent of the mother’s body.

    And as for the ridiculous late term abortion scenarios of a viable foetus being killed on a whim; this bears no resemblance to reality at all. In such circumstances, the pregnancy would be brought to an end by induced birth and the baby given up for adoption, whatever the lurid horror stories anti-choicer propganda may spread.

    The analogy to organ transplant is a strong one – none of these anti-choicers are campaigning for forced organ transplant, even though the same ‘logic’ should be applied if their argument is to retain any semblance of consistency. And why? Because such a law could effect men as well as women, and would not operate as a means of promoting fundie pseudo-morality by functioning as a method of punishing supposedly ‘slutty’ behaviour on the part of women who do not fear and revile their own sexuality as xians believe they should.

    This is not really about the foetus at all – this is about controlling and punishing women; treating them as baby making machines and making sure that there are penalties in place for any women who doesn’t toe the line, especially in regard to toxic, patriarchal concepts of ‘sexual morality’.

  112. dianne says

    I’d like to propose a law that before a legislator can propose any law restricting abortion he or she must first spend 6 months in a clinic specializing in repair of rectovaginal fistulas, talk to the families of 5 women who have died in childbirth, and read the descriptions of the doctors who testified in Roe vs Wade. Then they need a 10 week waiting period during which they’ll be quizzed on issues like what RVFs smell like and how maternal deaths affect families. If they still decide to go for it, they must first sign informed consent saying that they understand that their actions will lead to the unnecessary deaths of women and the suffering of their family members but that they feel this is acceptable because it may benefit their political careers.

  113. Pteryxx says

    Markita Lynda, thanks – I was tracking down that photo and had sourced it back to the blog, but I didn’t realize it was yours. I haven’t been able to find the OP either with my crappy technology.

  114. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    Okay folks, thanks for the replies, but no thanks for the harsh attacks. I am truly, honestly, trying to have a rational conversation.

    Try harder.

  115. Looking For An Applicable Political Name says

    @539 dianne
    I never would consider myself “pro-lifer”. It’s just funny. A few weeks ago I had a rather involved discussion with my silly catholic friend about how conception is an arbitrary cutoff point. Eventually, we did boil catholic dogma on the issue down to “because the pope says so, and because this one bible verse says the pope is infallible when read with one eye closed”. I emphasized that no brain -> no mind -> no moral consideration, and of course he argued the bullshit “potential” argument, which I tried to deconstruct by talking about a egg constructed fully artificially from rocks (not that farfetched with today’s science, but constructing a full eukaryotic cell is still a long way away), and asked where exactly is the line? When the doctor takes the needle and puts the DNA into the nucleus? What if we put the DNA in first and the mitochondria in later? His answers were woefully inconsistent, and it was fun in a sick way to watch him (of course a him) squirm.

    I do thank you for the reasonable discussion dianne. I still don’t know how I feel on this issue.

    If others are right that I’m approaching a strawman about women waiting for elective abortions until late into pregnancy, then I apologize.

    I still disagree that offering free pregnancy tests and requiring women know when they’re pregnant, if we are talking about stopping the lives of humans, is a substantial enough invasion on its own to be concerned about. Still, I am a fan of limited government, and I fully acknowledge that with the current political climate this is beyond unworkable due to asshat religious anti-choicers.

    I’ll go with what Giliell said here:

    I even admit that after they develop a brain and central nervous system in utero there is a conflict of interest between one entity that wants to continue its existence and avoid pain and suffering (and yes, we’re talking about a continuum here), and another one who wants to do the same. Yet one of them is totally absolutely depending on the other and what is commonly known as a parasite.

    And I am very partial and sympathetic to:

    In that case, as in every other case mentioned (blood donation, kidneys, bone marrow donation), the right to bodily autonomy and integrity of host/donor trumps that of the parasite/recepient.

  116. Pteryxx says

    LFAA: *headshake*

    As far as universal pregnancy tests, something like 40% of early pregnancies fail on their own, without intervention from anyone. Surveilling women and girls for early pregnancy may well result in MORE abortions, as some of them will seek intervention in pregnancies that would’ve failed anyway. It’s a stupid idea.

    If others are right that I’m approaching a strawman about women waiting for elective abortions until late into pregnancy…

    *facetalon*

    Think for yourself for once. What possible reasons could women have for delaying elective abortion of their own will until it’s MORE risky, MORE expensive, HARDER to access, and subject to more onerous regulation? Can you come up with ANY reasons that aren’t either coercion from without, or presumption that the woman is stupid?

  117. Louis says

    LFAAPN,

    I still disagree that offering free pregnancy tests and requiring women know when they’re pregnant, if we are talking about stopping the lives of humans, is a substantial enough invasion on its own to be concerned about.

    Just outline for me, if you will, precisely how you see this working. How is it overseen? Who checks if women have been taking their pregnancy tests? Who checks the results? How is that data used?

    The giving away of pregnancy tests I agree with, but then I am an evil socialist European who thinks people should get free healthcare at the point of delivery. Healthcare like contraception and pregnancy tests for example. The “requiring women to know when they’re pregnant”…I’ll be generous…I don’t believe you’ve thought this through.

    Louis

  118. Pteryxx says

    Heck, instead of free pregnancy tests to everyone, why not give free contraception to everyone? That would absolutely reduce the risk of any “human lives” being killed by abortion. Sheesh.

  119. Looking For An Applicable Political Name says

    The “requiring women to know when they’re pregnant”…I’ll be generous…I don’t believe you’ve thought this through.

    Nope. Just throwing out ideas. I was thinking more like outlaw abortions barring extenuating circumstances after 6~ months, and it’s up to the woman to know she’s pregnant.

  120. Pteryxx says

    Nope. Just throwing out ideas.

    . . .

    Why, again, do you think you should have any say on other people’s medical care when you can’t even be bothered to get a clue?

    Oh, right. Too privileged to give a shit.

  121. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    and it’s up to the woman to know she’s pregnant.

    It’s up to you to know stupid ideas. You found one with that shit. Why don’t you think it is so stupid it shouldn’t see the light of day, much less the light of Pharyngula?

  122. Jean-Renee says

    LFAAPN,

    I will agree to take a monthly pregnancy test when every man in the U.S. with a prescription for Viagra agrees to be kicked in the testicles once a month.

    What’s that? Oh, my bad. I thought this was “making absurd and unreasonable requests” time.

  123. Louis says

    LFAAPN, #638,

    Then do me a favour and work through, by throwing out some ideas about them, the questions I posed in my #636. Here they are again:

    Just outline for me, if you will, precisely how you see this [compulsory pregnancy testing for women] working. How is it overseen? Who checks if women have been taking their pregnancy tests? Who checks the results? How is that data used?

    Louis

  124. Louis says

    Pteryxx,

    Oh, right. Too privileged to give a shit.

    And too stupid to notice.

    Louis

  125. Ze Madmax says

    LFAAPN @ #638:

    I was thinking more like outlaw abortions barring extenuating circumstances after 6~ months

    Because if there is something abortion needs, it’s MORE limits. I get the feeling you haven’t thought this through because, as Pteryxx points out, it does not fucking matter to you. After all, pregnancy is something that happens to other people.

  126. twist says

    I still disagree that offering free pregnancy tests and requiring women know when they’re pregnant, if we are talking about stopping the lives of humans, is a substantial enough invasion on its own to be concerned about.

    Offering free pregnancy tests (key word:’offering’) -> Good. They’re bloody expensive.

    Requiring that women take a pregnancy test every month and report the status of their reproductive organs to the state -> Not good. A gross invasion of privacy and bodily autonomy. As someone asked earlier, would this apply to everyone with female reproductive organs, or just those who are both fertile and sexually active with fertile men? If the latter, how would you propose to prevent people from cheating the system? Sounds like something a creepy, bedroom policing, vagina policing fascist would come up with, as others have pointed out upthread.

    But then we wouldn’t want the livestock women to get the idea that they can actually make decisions for themselves now, would we?

  127. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

    Nope. Just throwing out ideas. I was thinking more like outlaw abortions barring extenuating circumstances after 6~ months, and it’s up to the woman to know she’s pregnant.

    Abortion threads, I swear. Here we go again:

    There are the occasions that men—intellectual men, clever men, engaged men—insist on playing devil’s advocate, desirous of a debate on some aspect of feminist theory or reproductive rights or some other subject generally filed under the heading: Women’s Issues. These intellectual, clever, engaged men want to endlessly probe my argument for weaknesses, want to wrestle over details, want to argue just for fun—and they wonder, these intellectual, clever, engaged men, why my voice keeps raising and why my face is flushed and why, after an hour of fighting my corner, hot tears burn the corners of my eyes. Why do you have to take this stuff so personally? ask the intellectual, clever, and engaged men, who have never considered that the content of the abstract exercise that’s so much fun for them is the stuff of my life.

    – Melissa McEwan, The Terrible Bargain We Have Regretfully Struck

  128. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

    Translation: STOP “just throwing out ideas.” Get the fuck out of here until you can think shit through, and show some semblance of empathy and understanding for the fact that for a lot of people, this is not a fucking game. This is our bodies and our lives.

  129. twist says

    And because I feel like joining the realms of the implausible, along with the ‘being against the draft means letting the nazis win’ and ‘what if you had a self-aware leech feeding on you’ hilarity from earlier, let’s say I learned how to shrink myself really small, and built a tiny submarine. Then I used it to travel around LFAAPN’s body. LFAAPN didn’t actually consent to me being there, but s/he knew there was a risk to entering my laboratory. The exhaust fumes from my submarine cause symptoms including nausea, vomiting, dizziness, muscle weakness and fatigue, and there is a small but non negligible risk that I will lodge in an artery causing permenant disability or death. The only way to remove me is to inject a substance that will disolve my submarine, killing me in the process. Yes, all other options have been explored, and no, there is no other way LFAAPN can be free of me. Does LFAAPN inject the drug, or does s/he consider my right to life more important than his/her own health?

    ^Apologies for that.

  130. Amphiox says

    I still disagree that offering free pregnancy tests and requiring women know when they’re pregnant

    Goal-post moving liar.

    You did NOT start out talking about “offering free pregnancy tests”. You started out talking about FORCING WOMEN TO TAKE PREGNANCY TESTS.

    What pathetic intellectual dishonesty.

  131. Amphiox says

    I was thinking more like outlaw abortions barring extenuating circumstances after 6~ months

    Past six months we are talking third trimester, ie LATE TERM ABORTIONS.

    And late term abortions are virtually NEVER DONE, EXCEPT with extenuating circumstances.

    Another piece of pathetically dishonest argumentation.

  132. John Morales says

    twist,

    Does LFAAPN inject the drug, or does s/he consider my right to life more important than his/her own health?

    Good question; fair play.

  133. Pteryxx says

    “requiring women to know when they’re pregnant” still effectively means forced pregnancy tests. In very early pregnancy, there’s no way for the woman to know before missing a period or so, and even then it’s not a sure thing, just a strong suspicion.

    How about requiring people to know when they have cancer, how reasonable is that? Damn fool.

  134. Amphiox says

    You want a monthly pregnancy test? Here’s one.

    Was there a regular menstrual cycle this month? Yes? Pregnancy test NEGATIVE!

    It’s not as reliable as a urine test for the earliest phases of pregnancy, and the reliability goes down in the youngest and oldest female cohorts, and there are a minority of women with irregular cycles, but for a nice, cheap, reasonably sensitive screening test, it’ll do.

    (Hell, in real life, this is exactly the test women use as a screening test for pregnancy. Most of the time they only use the urine test or blood test if they already suspect they may be pregnant, because they missed a period….)

  135. Pteryxx says

    You want a monthly pregnancy test? Here’s one.

    Was there a regular menstrual cycle this month? Yes? Pregnancy test NEGATIVE!

    Any guesses on whether LFAA even knew that much?

    Any guesses on how much of Congress even knows that much? *sigh*

  136. says

    Dianne@631: teh awesomest!

    @Josh: there is a very good reason for birth to be a moral dividing line. Because right there, right then, is the point at which any moral calculations about the infant/fetus/babby stop involving any compulsory use of a woman’s body. This is a critically important thing about the pro-choice position.

    Adding debates about the definition of personhood, and whether it’s achieved at birth, or at the naming ceremony, or when the father picks it up off the floor, or whatever is not actually relevant to the abortion question. The ethics of infanticide really is a separate question. Also, it’s a thing that the forced-birthers just love to bring in to confuse the issue. Ew.

  137. says

    Amphiox:

    Hell, in real life, this is exactly the test women use as a screening test for pregnancy.

    Shit, that’s how I knew I was pregnant.

    Looking:

    I was thinking more like outlaw abortions barring extenuating circumstances after 6~ months…

    Why? Why??

    Do you have any reason AT ALL for such an arbitrary cutoff where women’s bodily autonomy magically goes away? What is so fucking special about 6 months?

    Jesus fuck, I hate this game.

  138. Louis says

    Cassandra Caligaria,

    For my (intellectual, clever, engaged?) part, I’m asking LFAAPN for his “views” on his proposal simply to get him to think. Believe me when I say I doubt it will be an intellectual, clever or engaged response.

    Why? Because I cannot believe anyone who thinks for a few seconds about administering up to ~150 million pregnancy tests (or even the bureacracy around deciding who of that ~150 million needs them) and the subsequent data every month will fail to realise how ridiculous it is. Both as a simple exercise in data management and as an ethical policy.

    [Uh oh...rage...building...rant alert! Rant Alert! Sensitive flowers run for cover! SAVE YOURSELVES!]

    Fuck it. Fuck the unimaginative dishonest fuckwit. Fuck his “throwing out ideas” like an uninformed, privileged turd box.. I’ve got a few ideas to throw out.

    Ok LFAAPN, let’s play ideas!

    Let’s just say you USAnians instigate mandatory pregnancy testing for all women (simplest scenario in terms of numbers). You set up the Bureau of Coochies, Uteri and Natal Transitions.

    The Bureau, as we shall call it because I can’t think of an acronym, is in charge of manufacturing, distributing, administering, collecting and processing these tests. Let’s say there are 150 million women precisely who take these tests every month. Let’s also say that the manufacture, distribution and collection of the test is $10 a piece. I.e. it costs $10 to physically make and move the test item. That’s $1.5 billion a month or 18 billion a year for the physical part alone. And I’m deliberately underselling it.

    Then, as it is mandatory, each test must be witnessed and the result recorded. So every month, every woman must leave work (because the clinic are only open on work days) and go to a newly set up clinic called the Management and Inspection Service Overseeing GYNaecological ladY matters clinic. I can think of an acronym for this one, Misogyny Clinics.

    Let’s be generous and say there are 25 working days in the month and therefore in any given day 6000000 women must be processed nationally. Let’s say the clinic is open for 10 hours a day, and that each women gets a 10 minute slot to take the test and see a state approved administrator who checks and records the result. 10 hours times 60 minutes per hour divided by 10 minutes per woman is 60 women per day, per clinic at full capacity. We’ll assume the system works perfectly all the time.

    60 women per clinic per day is 1500 per clinic per month, meaning we need 100000 clinics nation wide, or 2000 per state if we assume all states have the same population. According to Wolfram Alpha the average area of each US state is 75933 square miles, let’s make that 75625 square miles for simplicity’s sake. Assume each state is a perfect square, again for the sake of ease, and that therefore each state is 275 miles to a side.

    Assuming the populations are distributed evenly and the terrain is perfectly flat and accessible each clinic is set out on a grid then the MISOGYNY clinics should be every 6 miles or so. (root 75625 = 275, root 2000 = 44.72, 275/44.72 = 6.15). Let’s just assume that we round clinics up from 44.72 per “line” per state to 45. Can’t have .72 of a clinic now can we, that would be ludicrous!

    Let’s say each clinic costs $250000 to buy, build and set up, averaged over the nation. 2000 clinics costs you 500 million per state, or 25 billion nationwide. That’s before any woman has pissed on any stick.

    Factor in salaries, maintenance costs and what not, let’s say each clinic costs you an additional $150000 per month, effectively an additional $100 per tested woman in doctor’s fees, cleaners, water treatment (LOTS of piss!) services etc. That’s another $15 billion a month or $180 billion a year. So thus far, the first year of operation has cost the treasury 223 billion, with operating costs of $198 billion annually. Nice addition to the ~$3.83 trillion spending of the USA. Well done, you small government advocate, you!

    Oh and whilst I think of it, we need a data processing centre. The Bureau needs a big centre to process and record all test data, and obviously the proprietary software to do this. Let’s call it a round $100000000 for the facilities and set up and a cheeky $1000000 a month for salaries and what not. Chalk up £12 million annually to the treasury (peanuts!) and £100 million initial outlay. Sundry expenses, bribes to senators, you know, the usual operation of government, let’s round this to a gleeful £225 billion in year one, and $200 billion in subsequent years. Remember, we are talking about monitoring the uterine status of every woman in the USA every month. BIG undertaking. This also covers an inspectorate by the way. See how generous I am?

    And we haven’t even decided what to do with the results yet.

    Okay, more assumptions. Let’s assume all women tested could become pregnant in principle. What do we do? Upon receipt of a positive test we obviously need to look at each woman’s situation. Is she married or unmarried for example. Does she want to have an abortion or not. If she wants an abortion, can she pay for it in your lovely country that thinks health is optional? What if it takes her above the 6 month limit you favour to save the cash? Not everyone’s most serious worry is their next D&D game.

    If she is married is the need for an abortion greater or lesser? After all simply by getting married to a man and having consensual (one presumes) sex with him has she consented in some way to becoming pregnant? If she is unmarried does that mean she is less favoured as a potential mother and therefore should be forced to abort? What do we do with this data that has cost the treasury hundreds of billions of dollars to obtain? What if a woman who is raped gets pregnant and she’s just had her appointment? Does she have to wait until the next appointment (a month away) to take her test? What about holidays? Is a woman allowed to go abroad for more than the 29 days between appointments? What happens if a woman misses a test?

    What I want you to do LFAAPN is think. To imagine what the consequences of your “just thrown out ideas” are and why many people think you are a clueless fuckwit. Your “just thrown out ideas” might be fun to mentally masturbate over with people as clueless about their privilege as you, and as demonstrably ignorant as you. But when you are faced with people less clueless and vastly less ignorant you look a fool. Here people will tell you that. It’s easier for you to think first.

    Louis

  139. says

    LFAAPN, you’re “a fan of limited government” for men only. “Requiring women to know when they’re pregnant” is not only a gross violation of my constitutional rights, but medically impossible for reasons explained to you at length.

    Typical ignorant, arrogant, self-righetous, misogynist liberturd.

    Just throwing out ideas.

    Uh-huh. Fuck off and die, you scum-sucking bottom feeder. You deserve to have a dumptruck’s worth of used tampons and maxipads and pee sticks emptied over your car, preferably after they’ve been fermenting in the hot sun for a month.

  140. A. R says

    I’ve seen quite a few of these arguments for a 6 month cutoff. Probably has something to do with fetal viability being reached at 6 months.

  141. 'Tis Himself says

    Yet more evidence that libertarians lie when they pretend they want as little government as possible and maximum freedom.

  142. Louis says

    And another fucking thing LFAAPN,

    If you want to ask questions, ASK FUCKING QUESTIONS. Dialogue and discourse with honest interlocutors is desired the world over. People less informed on a topic ask people more informed on a topic things all the time. It’s one way we get informed. There are plenty of subject area experts here who can at least point an honest interlocutor to resources.

    What is less fun is fucking about with clueless, ignorant pissants like you who just “throw out ideas” like a baby throws food at the wall. I.e. to see if it sticks and to get its parent to feed it. Spoon feeding fuckwits is no fun at all.

    If it’s your opinion that women should be banned from deciding to have an abortion after 6 months except in super-duper special cases, then maybe, juuuuuuuust maybe the burden is on you to inform yourself about the issues FIRST. There’s a difference between “can anyone point me to some data about late abortions?” and “hey it’s just my opinion that women shouldn’t abort after 6 months most of the time”. And that’s assuming you are honest and just not very bright or informed.

    Given that the 6 month blah di blah is an anti-choice talking point, people are less likely to consider you honest without better information. So give the innocent pose a rest and fuck off and do some basic reading. If you;re a grown up, it’s what we grown ups do.

    [/Rant]

    Louis

  143. Pteryxx says

    I’ve seen quite a few of these arguments for a 6 month cutoff. Probably has something to do with fetal viability being reached at 6 months.

    A.R, I think you’re assuming that there’s an actual medical argument for a 6-month cutoff.

    Have a look at this graph:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_abortion_by_gestational_age_2004_histogram.svg

    Very, very few abortions even happen after 6 months (let’s say 27 weeks so the numbers match up). In the entire US there might be a thousand or so late-term abortions per year. Medical indications are sufficient to produce that rate.

    Why, then, is there a need to legislate a ban on abortions after 6 months for non-medical reasons? It’s like the voter fraud of medicine. It’s virtually nonexistent in reality, but it’s a flimsy excuse for onerous laws that just happen to do major collateral damage.

  144. Louis says

    ‘Tis, #662,

    Given that the “Looking Up Women’s Hoo-Hoos” budget proposed by LFAAPN is about a quarter of the UK national spend per annum, can I say that you Yanks owe it to us in unpaid back taxes for the next 200 years or so please. That way we can use it properly to fund science.

    I mean, if Secretary for the Interior (of Women) LFAAPN is quite literally going to piss your money away, let’s give it to people who can use it. Heyyyyy it’s the “Special Relationship”* right?

    Louis

    * The “special relationship” that strangely only the UK seems to have heard of. I wonder why that is…

  145. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    If anyone would care to vex and annoy A.R on my behalf (he killfiled me), I’d write:

    I’ve seen quite a few of these arguments for a 6 month cutoff. Probably has something to do with fetal viability being reached at 6 months.

    You know, it’s fucking extraordinary for someone who goes around failing to believe discrimination is as bad as it is and who casts about for excuses and who demands EVIDENCE for utterly uncontroversial claims to turn around and regurgitate bullshit he hasn’t even bothered to look into.

    Pig.

  146. says

    A. R:

    I’ve seen quite a few of these arguments for a 6 month cutoff. Probably has something to do with fetal viability being reached at 6 months.

    *sigh* This has already been discussed at length in this thread. “Viability” does not guarantee survival.

    Fetal viability also as fuck all to do with the pregnant woman’s bodily autonomy.

  147. Louis says

    Oh and before the Politeness Police get onto me for being a mean old bastard. Being nice takes effort. As does thinking and doing just a tiny bit of work.

    If people can’t be bothered to think and do a tiny bit of work…

    Louis

    P.S. Yes yes, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. But you catch even more flies with shit, so what’s your point?

  148. Suido says

    I know, I know!

    Since ordering women to prove their non-pregnant status every month is on the table, why don’t we just mandate vasectomies for all 10 year old boys, which can only be reversed when married?

    Oh, wait, men have a God-given right to autonomy over their own body. I forgot.

  149. Louis says

    Suido,

    Don’t be ridiculous! Have you any idea how much that would cost?

    ;-)

    Louis

  150. says

    “In Canada, it is perfectly legal to abort your healthy, 8.5 month old fetus.”

    I am Canadian and this is in a way BS.

    No doctor will do it. It is against their code of ethics.

    You cannot abort a healthy viable child in Canada.

    Late-term abortions in Canada are I believe 1.5% of abortions.

  151. Cassandra Caligaria (Cipher), OM says

    “In Canada, it is perfectly legal to abort your healthy, 8.5 month old fetus.”

    I am Canadian and this is in a way BS.

    Except that as far as I can see, nothing else in your post contradicts the claim that it is perfectly legal.

  152. Amphiox says

    “In Canada, it is perfectly legal to abort your healthy, 8.5 month old fetus.”

    It is perfectly legal, if medically indicated. It is perfectly in keeping with the medical profession’s code of ethics, if medically indicated.

    And it is incredibly rare to be medically indicated.

    The vast majority of pregnancies that need to be terminated at 8.5 months with a healthy fetus, can be terminated by induced birth. The procedure of induced birth is either essentially identical to, or SAFER, than an abortion, for the woman, at this point.

    So abortion is the medical option only if induced birth is not possible.

    And thus, the complete legality of the procedure under Canadian law does not result in any increase in these sorts of abortions, or abuses of the law, or “slippery slope scary scenarios” of “botched” late-term abortions that the dishonest fear mongers love to use.

    I’ll also point out, biologically, that a significant proportion of pregnancies NATURALLY end around 8.5 months (ie 37-38 weeks gestation). Such babies aren’t even considered preemies.

  153. says

    Gregory Greenwood wrote:

    The analogy to organ transplant is a strong one – none of these anti-choicers are campaigning for forced organ transplant, even though the same ‘logic’ should be applied if their argument is to retain any semblance of consistency. And why? Because such a law could effect men as well as women…

    I have suggested that if women are required to carry pregnancy to term, then men between the ages of 15 and 54 should be subject to a draft requiring them to act as dialysis filters for patients with kidney failure for a similar number of months and similar odds of being chosen, say 5% a year. Sauce for the gander! But they seem to think that would be a grotesque and unreasonable intrusion into their lives. Odd, isn’t it?

  154. says

    Here’s that brave new world you wanted, LAAFN(?):

    El Salvador has not only a total ban on abortion but also an active law-enforcement apparatus — the police, investigators, medical spies, forensic vagina inspectors and a special division of the prosecutor’s office responsible for Crimes Against Minors and Women, a unit charged with capturing, trying and incarcerating ]women who have abortions.]

    “The ban was part of a backlash,” I was told by Luisa Cabal, the legal consultant for Latin America at the Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion rights organization based in New York. The proposed bill, Cabal said, was a result of “the church’s role in pushing for a conservative agenda.” With the archbishop’s vocal support of the ban and conservative groups fully energized, opposition soon became difficult. Any argument in favor of therapeutic abortion was met with a religious counterargument.

    Julia Regina de Cardenal runs the Yes to Life Foundation in San Salvador, which provides prenatal care and job training to poor pregnant women. She was a key advocate for the passage of the ban. She argued that the existing law’s exception for the life of the mother was outdated. As she explained to me, “There does not exist any case in which the life of the mother would be in danger, because technology has advanced so far.”

    A report by the Center for Reproductive Rights offers this grim list of tools used in clandestine abortions: “clothes hangers, iron bars, high doses of contraceptives, fertilizers, gastritis remedies, soapy water and caustic agents (such as car battery acid).” … According to a study on attempted suicide and teen pregnancy published last year by academics at the University of El Salvador, some girls who poison their wombs with agricultural pesticide (its efficacy being a Salvadoran urban legend) would rather report the cause of their resulting hospital visit as “attempted suicide,” which is not as felonious a crime nor as socially unbearable as abortion.

    In the event that the woman’s illegal abortion went badly and the doctors have to perform a hysterectomy, then the uterus is sent to the Forensic Institute, where the government’s doctors analyze it and retain custody of her uterus as evidence against her.

    Much more here: Pro-life nation.

    And there you have it. All your bodies are belong to us.

  155. says

    Cassandra, abortion is not controlled by the Criminal Code of Canada but it is controlled by the Canada Health Act, which sets standards for medical procedures, when they are allowed and not allowed for medical reasons. A late abortion is not indicated on a whim. Here’s the Canada section of medical guidelines for reproductive health, where there’s a link to the guidelines for induced abortion (PDF file).

  156. Pteryxx says

    Pteryxx @666, if the second trimester ends at 28 weeks, why isn’t the first trimester up to 14 weeks? 0-12 doesn’t make sense, especially since at “12 weeks” the fetus is only 10 weeks old. So if any trimester is going to be longer, it should be the first one. Any clues?

    *shrug* I just took 40 weeks and divided by 3. Gives 13.3 weeks per trimester and I rounded up. I didn’t see a reference for exactly when they were… wouldn’t you know better than me what the medical definitions are?

    (ot: did I get #666? Awesome.)

  157. Pteryxx says

    OH duh, you meant in the histogram from wiki that I linked!

    It says: first trimester (0-12 wks), second trimester (13-28 wks), third trimester (29-40 wks). Here’s part of the raw data:

    Gest. week Abortions weeks/bin Percent

    under 9 weeks 400197 (8) 60.6%

    9-10 112936 (2) 17.1%

    11-12 60323 (2) 9.1%

    13-15 41517 (3) 6.3%

    16-20 24837 (5) 3.8%

    > 21 8365 (19) 1.3%

    much easier to read at the original link:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:US_abortion_by_gestational_age_2004_histogram.svg

    Since it’s made from CDC data, which are problematic because the gestational ages aren’t separated out well among other things, looks like that’s the best approximation the graph maker could get. There isn’t a natural break of the data at the trimester marks.

  158. Louis says

    LFAAPN has not responded to my posts. And I did MATHS and everything. I AM DISAPPOINT!

    Luckily I’m, ya know, just throwing ideas out there.

    Louis

  159. Gen Fury, Still Desolate and Deviant #1 says

    I get a distinct vibe from LookingForACluestick over here. I can’t really put it into words, but it goes something like this:

    1.) Women have the power to make/create a human life in their bodies
    2.) Women are stupid and irresponsible sub-humans who would kill REAL humans on a whim.
    3.) Abortion is just an excuse to kill real humans legally
    4.) Therefore it follows “logically” that women should be policed to the full extent of possibility, lest they abuse this ability to grow a life.

  160. Gen Fury, Still Desolate and Deviant #1 says

    …actually, in these kinds of arguments, I always get the feeling that it’s like women are machines (breeding machines, in fact, as nofriend so honestly pointed out) who will malfunction not only accidentally but maliciously given half a gap to do so, and so must be constantly monitored to prevent CATASTROPHIC FAILURE.

    Or something.

  161. Louis says

    I think the argument runs roughly thus:

    Women: we need to look in your vaginas and keep that shit under control. Because babies, that’s why. Honest.*

    Louis

    * And whilst that cheerful piece of misogyny flitters through your mind, read it out in a pervy, upper class, British uncle voice. The sort of uncle who has idols and effigies from foreign lands all of which have enormous genitals and/or breasts. The voice is the one he uses when stroking the penis of a particularly priapic specimen and describing it as “a very significant find”.

  162. Looking For An Applicable Political Name says

    Louis
    @683

    LFAAPN has not responded to my posts. And I did MATHS and everything. I AM DISAPPOINT!

    I’m somewhat familiar with the culture here. Riding a thread gets people pissed at me. Not replying to everyone gets you pissed at me. I can’t win.

    @663
    If I understand correctly, this is how your argument goes:
    “You cannot talk about the morality of late term abortions without being an expert on current law and current practices in every country in the world.”
    Allow me to use the Courtier’s Reply. I do not need to be an expert in the finest details of a discussion in order to comment on it. More specifically, I don’t need to be acquainted with irrelevant details. Allow me to explain: nany people in this thread made the very abstract moral claim that the mother’s rights to abort whenever she wants, on a whim, ought to be protected. I don’t need to be an expert as to whether it ever happens in real life to comment on this abstract moral claim.

    Now, some of you have called me out on using that phrase (“on a whim”), to which I have to say “fuck you”. It’s a legitimate characterization of many people in this thread. Now, if people want to back off the statement that the mother has the absolute right to throw out the parasite whenever, for whatever reason, then I’ll stop using “on a whim”.

    My purpose here was only to learn if people really felt that way, and whether they could be reasoned into accepting a slightly weaker position, or if they legitimately felt that way.

    For example, if you agree to give someone a partial liver transplant, but decide to flake at the last minute thereby costing the recipient’s life (sorry if this isn’t the correct medical fact), I’m not sure I want to force you to continue through with it. However, this seems to be an ultimate level of malicious and callous. I don’t know what I would want to do. I was just thinking, “Maybe a contract violation, and thus maybe some punitive money damage awards?”. (Oh noes – I didn’t inform myself of all of the facts before making a hypothesis as to what might result in a better world. Whatever will happen? Will the world end now? THE SKY IS FALLING!)

  163. twist says

    You think a person should be punished for changing their mind about putting themself through life changing and potentially life threatening surgery, just like women should be punished for ending a pregnancy they were slutty enough to get in the first place, in addition to requiring women to submit to monthly pregnancy tests and report the results to the state. You’re also in favour of forcing people to fight wars against their will.

    Your idea of a better world is not mine.

  164. Looking For An Applicable Political Name says

    ‘being against the draft means letting the nazis win’

    (and many other posts)
    I am annoyed at this continued obvious false caricature of my initial hypothetical. Do any of you asshats read the original posts that started this? No, it’s gone beyond that now. You are reading just enough to shove porcupines my way. It’s not about a legitimate discussion. You’ve entered echo chamber territory.

    Let me explain more clearly why I entered my initial tirade. Maybe one of you people will bother to listen. Here’s the context:
    @Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

    what difference does it make whether I’m killed by my government against my will because it wants me to fight a war, or because it thinks I’m too jewish?

    @Jadehawk, cascadeuse féministe

    so you don’t have an answer, you just “know” that forcing people to die in one of these ways is “bad”, and in the other way is “good”.

    Here’s the most straightforward reading of that:
    “I see no moral difference between dying to saves the Jews et al in the Holocaust, vs dying because I’m a Jew in Germany. That is, I’m such a self centered sycophant that I couldn’t give a damn if I was forced to die for the genocidal goals of a fascist state vs trying to end that fascist state.”

    Alternatively, maybe Jadehawk is just a complete pacifist. I’ll have to do a different rant for that.

    Alternatively, AFAIK as Jadehawk “clarified” later, it’s more like:
    “I’m not ok with being forced to die for any cause, but I am ok with some of the products of my labor et al being taken to pay people to kill and die in my name for some(?) causes. Because of this silly distinction, I’ll make super retarded remarks that I don’t care if I’m forced to die fighting Nazis or forced to die for the pleasure of the Nazis, but I would totally make a distinction as to where I would want my tax money going.”
    It’s still beyond the pale.

  165. joey says

    I had to travel cross country since my last post. Haven’t opened this thread since then.

    Interesting discussion that has blossomed. No one still has given me a clear, precise, and unambiguous definition of when “birth” actually happens. Otherwise, such a vague defining line is really just as problematic as other dividing lines, such as 24 weeks or “viability”, or even 28 days after birth (as advocated by Singer).

    So why not just move the defining line at a moment past birth since it would be safest on late term mothers who chooses an abortion? (And please don’t tell me these cases are non-existent, because in this very thread links statistics and documentation of such abortions, as well as studies that list the various reasons why such late term abortions occur.)

  166. Looking For An Applicable Political Name says

    Go fuck yourself. You’re a shitty misogynist.

    My position is merely the two moral claims:
    – “If you agree to donate your body to save a life, then it’s morally reprehensible to go back on that decision on a whim, costing the other person’s life. Repercussions are morally permissible.”
    – “Electing to not have an abortion in a timely fashion, and delaying to a later date to have an abortion, can qualify under the above assertion.”

    No. There is a difference between this position and misogyny. I’m sorry that you’re too dug in to see the difference, but whatever. I didn’t expect to change people’s minds. I was just curious as to the opinions of people here when presented with the moral claims.

  167. twist says

    If consent cannot be revoked without repercussions, then it wasn’t really meaningful consent in the first place.

  168. Looking For An Applicable Political Name says

    @joey
    Here’s your definition. (I don’t agree with the following argument, but here it is.) If it’s a parasite, it can be ended without consideration. If it’s not a parasite, then it has practical moral considerations. Birth is that dividing line between “parasite” and “not parasite”. This is a perfectly sensible legal definition that is perfectly enforceable. There’s far more vague shit that’s used all the time in courts without problem.

  169. Pteryxx says

    LFAA: you’re also assuming there MUST BE LAWS AND PUNISHMENTS in case someone out there’s enough of a brainless slutty slut shitty shit to register for organ donation, go through all the screening, discussions with medical staff about the risks and magnitude of the decision to donate, and only at the LAST MINUTE change their mind. Potential donors, UNLIKE PREGNANT WOMEN, are given every possible opportunity to back out before they ever get to that last minute. Specifically so that your straw scenario does not arise. Why? Because it would be unethical for the medical staff to force donation on a volunteer who doesn’t consent to it.

    Donors fall through all the time, because of insufficient tissue matches, unexpected medical complications on either the donor’s or recipient’s side, or even because the donor was exposed to a disease. The default is always, always that the donor must consent at every stage.

    No matter how many people languish on waiting lists for organ donations, no matter how many die while they wait, you don’t see pro-lifers agitating for increased funding for transplants. Besides a few TV and radio spots, there’s no huge national movement to educate people and encourage them to be living donors. There’s no push for health insurance to cover the risks of voluntary donation. Even something as low-risk as blood donation is completely voluntary and barely covers the demand.

    You could live in a better world just by pulling your head out of the little cloud of presumed malice that you keep in your ass.

  170. Looking For An Applicable Political Name says

    If consent cannot be revoked without repercussions, then it wasn’t really meaningful consent in the first place.

    Again, ever heard of this neat thing called contract law?

  171. twist says

    So in addition to the previous ridiculousness, you would like organ donors and pregnant women to be forced to sign contracts, essentially handing ownership of their bodies over to someone else? Sounds like it could almost lead to something else, something beginning with s.

  172. Pteryxx says

    - “If you agree to donate your body to save a life, then it’s morally reprehensible to go back on that decision on a whim, costing the other person’s life. Repercussions are morally permissible.”
    – “Electing to not have an abortion in a timely fashion, and delaying to a later date to have an abortion, can qualify under the above assertion.”

    No. There is a difference between this position and misogyny.

    No. There is NO difference between your position and misogyny; because pregnancy proceeds regardless of the woman’s consent. Only if abortion is freely available does the decision to continue pregnancy constitute consent.

  173. Looking For An Applicable Political Name says

    Only if abortion is freely available does the decision to continue pregnancy constitute consent.

    Sure. You’re somehow miscontruing my position in the most favorable way possible, that as some asshat trying to in effect ban abortions. I’m not. I’m not suggesting we do any of this shit now without first getting rid of all of the bullshit laws, and probably getting rid of the bullshit societal attitudes to the patriarchy and religions.

  174. Looking For An Applicable Political Name says

    So in addition to the previous ridiculousness, you would like organ donors and pregnant women to be forced to sign contracts, essentially handing ownership of their bodies over to someone else? Sounds like it could almost lead to something else, something beginning with s.

    Protip: verbal contracts are enforceable too.

  175. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Stupid troll is still stupidly trolling. Banhammer warning please.

  176. twist says

    Protip: verbal contracts are enforceable too.

    Not when it comes to OWNERSHIP OF ONE’S OWN BODY, YOU MISOGYNIST SHIT STAIN.

    Protip: Whenever someone starts talking about verbal contracts in the context of one person having irrevocable access to another’s body, I think of rape apologists.