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The only abortion argument that counts

We can make all the philosophical and scientific arguments that anyone might want, but ultimately what it all reduces to is a simple question: do women have autonomous control of their bodies or not? Even if I thought embryos were conscious, aware beings writing poetry in the womb (I don’t, and they’re not), I’d have to bow out of any say in the decision the woman bearing responsibility has to make.

For the sake of your sanity, do not read the comments. The Catholics have descended upon it.

Comments

  1. quinnmartindale says

    A powerful and well-produced video. It’s good to see a passionate and unapologetic defense of human dignity and human rights. While I think that conflating basic rights of bodily integrity with access to desirable social services or freedom from criticism, I can’t fault its power.

  2. thisisaturingtest says

    Kind of reminds me of those idiotic bumper-stickers reading “Choose Life!” Typical slogan-based “thinking”- to insist on as policy a cliche where the meaning of either of the two words isn’t really clear to the one espousing it.

  3. pharylon says

    What? Seriously? No. Look, I’m pretty pro-choice. My wife and I have had several abortions, in fact (all medically necessary, but there are people out there who frown even on those).

    If embryos were conscious, aware beings, then they would have a right to live. The woman’s actions were (almost certainly) complicit in it’s creation, and the embryo’s right to continue to live would trump the woman’s right to choose.

    Now, at this point I want to reiterate that EMBRYOS ARE NOT SAPIENT and the woman ABSOLUTELY HAS A RIGHT TO CHOOSE.

    But in this fantasyland of poetry-writing embryos, they are conscious, and that makes them PEOPLE. And people aren’t allowed to kill other people, even if the life of one person is incredibly inconvenient for the other. That’s called murder. And I *DO* have a right to step in and tell someone else that they can’t do that.

    That’s why we have laws, that’s why we have government. That’s why murder is illegal. Saying one human has the “right” to kill another and the government has no say? Bullshit. That’s moving into some kind of weird libertarian worldview.

    Again, I’m not saying abortion is wrong. It’s fine, because embryos aren’t people. But if they were? If they had hopes, feelings, dreams, understanding of their surroundings, and a full human mental suite? No. The woman’s right to choose gets trumped by another human’s right to live. Especially a human that she almost certainly helped create.

    This is just the kind of argument we in the pro-choice movement get tarred and feathered with. This is the kind of thing that they accuse us of being – heartless monsters killing real full people – and we deny. I had always thought the person who was fine with women killing babies was a strawman (embryos are not babies in real life, of course, but they would be if they had this level of consciousness). I’m shocked to find out I was wrong.

  4. michaelpowers says

    It’s always been my position that since I don’t have a uterus, my opinion on the matter should bear no weight on whatever decision a woman makes. If I were asked for advice, I would give it to the best of my ability, but the final decision should be between a woman and her doctor. Period.

  5. ischemgeek says

    @quinnmartindale

    “desirable social services”? May I ask what you mean by that? If by that, you mean health care, I disagree.

    I’m of the opinion that health care is a human right, deriving from the rights to life and security of person. Deny health care, people die, are disabled, and may end up homeless or bankrupt. If you have the right to life, you have the right to life-saving health care. If you have the right to security of person, you have the right to things that enable you to remain whole and healthy, including preventative medicine and therapudic treatment for chronic conditions.

  6. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But if they were? If they had hopes, feelings, dreams, understanding of their surroundings, and a full human mental suite? No.

    Philosophical what-ifs are for those with a losing argument. Show the evidence that the fetus has those properties, and then, and only then, is the what-if even worth debating. Not a problem unless you want to allow the presuppositionalists to dictate the terms, like pretending the fetus is not only fully human, but a superior to the woman who carries it. That should never happen.

  7. says

    Okay, I’ve been goaded into coming back.

    Pharylon:

    My wife and I have had several abortions, in fact (all medically necessary, but there are people out there who frown even on those).

    For clarity’s sake are you a man or a woman? If you’re a cis-man, do not ever claim that you had an abortion, because you didn’t and you never will.

    Hell, along those lines, don’t ever say “we’re pregnant”. No, you’re not. She’s pregnant.

    But in this fantasyland of poetry-writing embryos, they are conscious, and that makes them PEOPLE. And people aren’t allowed to kill other people, even if the life of one person is incredibly inconvenient for the other. That’s called murder. And I *DO* have a right to step in and tell someone else that they can’t do that.

    This is fundamentally wrong. I cannot be held accountable if I refuse to donate an organ to a family member in need. I cannot be held accountable if I promise to donate an organ and back out. No one is EVER compelled to give up their own bodily autonomy for someone else’s health– why should pregnancy (FetusShakespeare or no) be any different?

  8. mythbri says

    If embryos were conscious, aware beings, then they would have a right to live. The woman’s actions were (almost certainly) complicit in it’s creation, and the embryo’s right to continue to live would trump the woman’s right to choose.

    I know that you’ve said that you’re pro-choice, pharylon, but your wording here troubles me. It sounds way too similar to the anti-choice arguments you deride. Are you saying that IF embryos were conscious, aware beings, then the woman in question would have absolutely no right to terminate the pregnancy? What if it was killing her? What if she was not “complicit in its creation”, in the case of rape? What of the untold pregnancies that spontaneously self-abort – would we just imprison any woman whose body failed to carry a pregnancy?

    A woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body will and must trump anything that falls within that sphere of influence.

  9. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    pharylon, you are wrong. Entirely wrong, even within this hypothetical world. Refer to Audley Z. Darkheart (carrying the Official SpokesFetus)’s post on why. There is no compelling reason that anyone, any woman, should be compelled to donate her body.

  10. says

    This bugs me:

    That’s called murder.

    No, it’s not. Unless you’re claiming that people who choose not to give blood are murderers. Or people who are walking around with two functioning kidneys without considering donating one are murderers. How about people that hang on to all their bone marrow? Plasma?

    Hell, we don’t even harvest organs from dead bodies without the express permission of the next of kin or will/living will. And dead people ain’t using them!

  11. tbp1 says

    Even if a fetus were the moral equivalent of a full-fledged human being, with all the rights, responsibilities and privileges thereunto appertaining (and I don’t actually believe this, but for the sake of argument), I would still be pro-choice, on the grounds that no human being has the right to occupy another human being’s body without permission.

  12. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Audley Z. Darkheart (carrying the Official SpokesFetus), foetus trumps woman’s bodily autonomy. Duh!

  13. Randomfactor says

    The woman’s body, at the skin line, is a foreign country over which I have no say. I may deplore what happens across the border, but the government of that sovereign state is under no obligation to pay me any attention.

    (I can make treaties binding on both of us…but that’s up to HER.)

  14. pharylon says

    For clarity’s sake are you a man or a woman? If you’re a cis-man, do not ever claim that you had an abortion, because you didn’t and you never will.

    Hell, along those lines, don’t ever say “we’re pregnant”. No, you’re not. She’s pregnant.

    Fair enough. I’m a man, and I used to be uncomfortable with that language too, but she prefers it when I say “we’re pregnant.” But I totally get where you’re coming from there, and I should have phrased it differently online with people I don’t know. It’s just become second nature to me.

    This is fundamentally wrong. I cannot be held accountable if I refuse to donate an organ to a family member in need. I cannot be held accountable if I promise to donate an organ and back out. No one is EVER compelled to give up their own bodily autonomy for someone else’s health– why should pregnancy (FetusShakespeare or no) be any different?

    Because, in one case you’re not helping someone who’s dying, in the other, you’re actively killing someone.

    Again, I just want to be really clear: abortion is totally fine in real life! Embryos aren’t people!

    But let’s say your foot got caught on the train track. You can’t unwedge it and here comes the train. You see the first responders coming to help you, so you know you’re not going to die, but they’re not going to make it in time. You’re about to lose a foot. You could hit the switch and move the train onto another track, though. Problem is, someone is on that track, and will definitely die. Do you have a right to kill that person to save your foot? No.

    I don’t understand this hypothetical situation, though. It’s stupid. Embryos aren’t people. Saying we don’t care if they are or not? That’s just giving the other side ammunition.

  15. pharylon says

    Beginning of this thread disclaimer: I’m pro-chioce, because in real life embryos aren’t people. A woman has a right to choose. Full stop.

    But I find it completely insane that people would be pro-choice even in a world where embryos are as intelligent as fully grown humans.

    To the couple people who said something about blood or organ donation as an abortion in this fantasy world: no it’s not, because in one you’re just not helping. In the other, you’re actively killing. If the woman took no action, that human being would continue to live, and yes, cause the woman an inconvenience.

    Two: If we posit it has full human capacity for thought, then it’s a person. And then it has a right to live. If it is fully consciousness, doesn’t IT have the right to choose what happens to it’s own body? Like, to have that body continue to exist?

  16. says

    Pharylon:
    Regardless if you say “we’re pregnant”, would you ever say “we had heart surgery”? The why in the hell would you claim you had an abortion as well?

    Because, in one case you’re not helping someone who’s dying, in the other, you’re actively killing someone.

    Actually, yes you are. There’s no was to keep a fetus (under 20-25 weeks, anyway) alive without the woman in question. A fetus is actively dying without intervention.

  17. anteprepro says

    Because, in one case you’re not helping someone who’s dying, in the other, you’re actively killing someone.

    Ugh. Actively killing them by refusing to allow them the ability to live inside your body and use your own biological systems to support themselves. Seriously. We aren’t even obliged to give housing to someone for nine months if the alternative to giving them that housing for them is death. Why are women obliged to give housing to someone for nine months when that house happens to be their fucking body ?

    Please look at the violinist thought experiment. The only difference between making it analogous to the real world and analogous to the fantasyland where embryos are people is by making the violinist conscious in the latter case. The principle should still be clear: It is perfectly morally defensible for the person to unhook themselves from the violinist. Even if it is effectively murder. No other person has a right to another’s person body. Even if embryos were actually conscious, sapient creatures. The principle is really not that hard to grasp, and how it actually helps the pro-choice case (by showing that abortion is permissible even if we grant the stupid assumptions of pro-birthers) also isn’t that hard to grasp. So, what’s your issue here?

  18. Nightjar says

    Hell, we don’t even harvest organs from dead bodies without the express permission of the next of kin or will/living will.

    Or we do without express refusal. Really depends on the “we”.

  19. quinnmartindale says

    I was referring to the following statements when I referenced social services:

    “I have the right to be screened for [breast cancer]”
    “I have the right to … health care, to education”

    Those rights are categorically different from the other rights listed. We as a society should absolutely provide those services to as many people as possible, but I disagree that the claim to them is of the same kind as the other rights that “are none of your business.”

    Having a negative right does not necessarily mean you have positive rights to support that negative right. Every human being has a right to life. To me, that means we, as a society, must try to prevent others from wrongfully taking that life away and punish those who do so. That doesn’t mean, that we must do everything we can to preserve life. For a whole host of ethical and pragmatic reasons I’m sure we agree on, we should do some things to preserve life – including providing food, housing and health care to those who need it. That’s the distinction I make.

  20. mythbri says

    @pharylon

    Then I’m confused as to why you brought it up in the first place. As a hypothetical, it’s completely useless and as you said, bolsters the side of the anti-choicers.

    But now that you have mentioned it, it reveals some problems in the way that pregnancy-capable persons are uniquely disregarded in favor of an entity that is nothing more than a potential person. For your convenience, I’ll repeat my questions to you here:

    What if a woman were carrying a pregnancy that were killing her?

    What if a woman were not complicit in its creation?

    What of the untold number of pregnancies that spontaneously self-abort? Do we imprison the people whose bodies were incapable of carrying that pregnancy?

  21. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Saying we don’t care if they are or not?

    That isn’t what is being said. Don’t let the other side dictate the terminology. Embryos and fetus are on their way to becoming fully human, but aren’t there yet compared to the woman. Period, end of story. Nothing further needs to be done, other than to challenge the presuppositionalists that they are right with solid and conclusive physical evidence. Like say, point to said human in a human environment, that is outside of the womb. Gee, its born…

    But I find it completely insane that people would be pro-choice even in a world where embryos are as intelligent as fully grown humans.

    Well, that isn’t case, as they aren’t, so why are you pretending that it is. I smell concern troll here, classic example.

  22. mythbri says

    @pharylon

    If it is fully consciousness, doesn’t IT have the right to choose what happens to it’s own body? Like, to have that body continue to exist?

    This is ridiculous. If I were pregnant with an embryo that was a fully conscious, intelligent entity, I would have it arrested for trespassing and evicted from my body.

  23. dianne says

    To the couple people who said something about blood or organ donation as an abortion in this fantasy world: no it’s not, because in one you’re just not helping. In the other, you’re actively killing. If the woman took no action, that human being would continue to live, and yes, cause the woman an inconvenience.

    At least some abortion procedures are essentially removal of the fetus or embryo from the uterus. If it can go on living outside then it does so. So, choosing not to help, not actively killing. But like the person who will die of leukemia if you don’t donate bone marrow, it will die. In both cases, your act is denying the person the use of your body or body parts, not “actively killing”.

    And it’s not an “inconvenience”. As you know perfectly well, abortion is sometimes a life saving procedure. And any pregnancy, no matter how low risk, can kill. A friend of mine went into her pregnancy about as low risk as a person can be. In her 20s, in perfect shape, no problems with the fetus or pregnancy, no gestational diabetes, hypertension, etc. She still ended up in the ICU for several months after delivery. Amniotic fluid embolus. Can’t be predicted. Don’t ever assume a pregnancy is safe. The fact that the mortality is measured in the per 100,000 is a reflection of modern medical care’s ability to save women from dying, not a reflection of how easy pregnancy is.

  24. pharylon says

    Regardless if you say “we’re pregnant”, would you ever say “we had heart surgery”? The why in the hell would you claim you had an abortion as well?

    I’m not really defending it. It is pretty stupid language. But my wife wants me to do it, so I do. :) Honestly, she’s borderline pro-life. She doesn’t think abortion should be done except in the rape, incest, and medical necessary cases (though I doubt she’d actually make it illegal). It’s something we disagree on, but due to her worldview it’s made the ones she had to have much harder on her, so by phrasing it that way around her, I share the responsibility, and it makes her feel better.

    I’m not saying it’s right, it’s just what my situation is.

    Actually, yes you are. There’s no was to keep a fetus (under 20-25 weeks, anyway) alive without the woman in question. A fetus is actively dying without intervention.

    She’s not intervening, though. Intervention requires an active conscious decision.

    As a parallel, how about conjoined twins? Let’s say my twin and I are only barely connected at the torso, but I have several vital organs that my conjoined twin relies on. Without my organs, he would die. Do I have a right to kill him so we can be surgically separated?

    Again, I want to stress in real life, this isn’t an issue and a woman has a right to choose (I know I’ve said it several times, but I just want to be sure!). But if you figure the fetus is a fully sapient poetry-writing person, that changes the equation. The fetus would then also have the right to control her own body, specifically to make sure she continues to live.

  25. pharylon says

    Then I’m confused as to why you brought it up in the first place. As a hypothetical, it’s completely useless and as you said, bolsters the side of the anti-choicers.

    I didn’t bring it up, PZ did.

  26. quinnmartindale says

    Pharylon is reacting to a hypothetical raised by PZ. A world where full human mental function greatly preceded viability would be a morally troubling one. We don’t live there.

  27. mythbri says

    @pharylon

    Choosing to continue the pregnancy IS an active, conscious decision. I’m sorry about what your wife has had to go through, and you, too. But I find it hard to believe, given what you’ve related of your circumstances, that you think that being pregnant is a passive thing. It is a damn hard thing to do. It is not easy.

  28. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    pharylon, you’re an idiot. Also, the tram problem you’ve presented? Stupid. You’re asking the wrong bloody question.

    The answer to this question: Do you have a right to kill that person to save your foot? Is not, ‘No.’ it’s, ‘That’s a non sequitur of a question.’

    You do have the right to save your foot. By any means possible? That’s a moral dilemma and not one of rights. It could be argued, successfully I think, that actively choosing, even in a disconnected sort of way, to end the life of someone else to save your foot is immoral considering the relative value accorded to legal people as compared to the body parts of legal people.

    But your hypothetical scenario isn’t comparable in any way to the other hypothetical scenario presented. Surely you can see that?

  29. pharylon says

    This is ridiculous. If I were pregnant with an embryo that was a fully conscious, intelligent entity, I would have it arrested for trespassing and evicted from my body.

    But your body put it there.

  30. Brownian says

    But if you figure the fetus is a fully sapient poetry-writing person, that changes the equation.

    I think you need a variable for the quality of the poetry in there.

  31. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But your body put it there.

    Irrelevant concern troll, just like your hypothetical. I still smell a liar and bullshitter underneath all you claims, or you would have shut the fuck up 5 posts ago…

  32. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    plato.stanford.edu has a good summary of the violinist, so I’m going to copy it here.

    Judith Thomson provided one of the most striking and effective thought experiments in the moral realm (see Thomson, 1971). Her example is aimed at a popular anti-abortion argument that goes something like this: The foetus is an innocent person with a right to life. Abortion results in the death of a foetus. Therefore, abortion is morally wrong. In her thought experiment we are asked to imagine a famous violinist falling into a coma. The society of music lovers determines from medical records that you and you alone can save the violinist’s life by being hooked up to him for nine months. The music lovers break into your home while you are asleep and hook the unconscious (and unknowing, hence innocent) violinist to you. You may want to unhook him, but you are then faced with this argument put forward by the music lovers: The violinist is an innocent person with a right to life. Unhooking him will result in his death. Therefore, unhooking him is morally wrong.

    However, the argument, even though it has the same structure as the anti-abortion argument, does not seem convincing in this case. You would be very generous to remain attached and in bed for nine months, but you are not morally obliged to do so. The parallel with the abortion case is evident. Thomson’s thought experiment is effective in distinguishing two concepts that had previously been run together: “right to life” and “right to what is needed to sustain life.” The foetus and the violinist may each have the former, but it is not evident that either has the latter. The upshot is that even if the foetus has a right to life (which Thomson does not believe but allows for the sake of the argument), it may still be morally permissible to abort.

  33. quinnmartindale says

    I think you need a variable for the quality of the poetry in there.

    After all, if it were Vogon quality poetry, abortion should be mandatory.

  34. mythbri says

    @Brownian

    *Applause*

    Exactly.

    And with regards to poetry, if it’s anything like Vogon poetry, well….

  35. IslandBrewer says

    For the sake of your sanity, do not read the comments.

    And, of course, you link to said comments.

    “Please do not push the big red shiny candy-like button.”

    Gah, makes me want to ban the Catholic Church from this planet.

  36. pharylon says

    pharylon, you’re an idiot. Also, the tram problem you’ve presented? Stupid. You’re asking the wrong bloody question.

    The answer to this question: Do you have a right to kill that person to save your foot? Is not, ‘No.’ it’s, ‘That’s a non sequitur of a question.’

    You do have the right to save your foot. By any means possible? That’s a moral dilemma and not one of rights. It could be argued, successfully I think, that actively choosing, even in a disconnected sort of way, to end the life of someone else to save your foot is immoral considering the relative value accorded to legal people as compared to the body parts of legal people.

    That’s exactly why it’s a good analogy! You have a right to your own body, to protect it and choose what happens to it. That’s why a woman has a right to choose. If no one else was on the tracks, it’s a no-brainer. Of course you can throw the switch!

    That’s the situation in real life. No one is on the other tack because embryos aren’t thinking people.

    But if embryos were thinking, feeling people then you don’t have a right to throw that switch. The person on the other track’s right to live trumps your right to chose what happens to your body.

    Anyway, I think I’m done here. I’m completely amazed that people would still be pro-choice if embryos were thinking and feeling human beings. I mean, seriously. I’m obviously not going to convince you, you’re not going to convince me. I’m just completely blown away by the response to my post.

    Later.

  37. quinnmartindale says

    The problem with the violinist hypothetical is that society finds it perfectly acceptable to impose all sorts of duties on parents and other care givers of children. I really don’t see child endangerment laws or our moral revulsion at those who abandon their children changing any time soon.

  38. Brownian says

    After all, if it were Vogon quality poetry, abortion should be mandatory.

    I’m pretty sure the Steve Miller band should be serving some jail time for “Take the Money and Run”.

  39. jayliverstitch says

    Could someone please help clarify the implications of the Violinist thought experiment?

    I understand pharylon’s objection to this post and I think I agree with it, but I’d like to better understand how Audley and others think on this issue so I can change my mind if need be.

    Specifically, here is what I’m confused about. Using the Violinist thought experiment as a guide, how can we conclude that it would be morally wrong for a mother to leave her newborn baby in the trash can immediately after giving birth, with near certainty that the baby will die as a direct result?

    Don’t we agree that mothers (and fathers) have an obligation to provide care for their children, and that they should (and do) suffer legal ramifications if they do not? Using the Violinist experiment as a guide, I don’t see how one could justify this notion, and existence of government agency’s like the Division of Family Services many States have in place.

    Please explain what I’m not understanding.

  40. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    The fetus would then also have the right to control her own body, specifically to make sure she continues to live.

    No. No one has any right to the access to another person’s body. The foetus can have that control can want to continue to live, but it is not incumbent upon the person who’s body within whom she resides to donate it for her continued survival.

  41. mythbri says

    @pharylon

    You might think about it differently were you to suddenly grow a uterus and become pregnant. Or you might not. Either way, I don’t think you’re right on this one.

  42. says

    Pharylon:

    She’s not intervening, though. Intervention requires an active conscious decision.

    I don’t even know how to respond to this. If my body is used to keep someone else alive, it’s intervening, whether it’s my decision or not. Unless you’re claiming that this mythical under 25 week old fetus could survive without me.

    The problem I see (and why I’m arguing) is that you don’t respect a woman’s bodily autonomy and that is completely unacceptable.

    Do I have a right to kill him so we can be surgically separated?

    You do realize that this actually happens, don’t you? Often when conjoined twins are separated, there is high risk involved and they know that one or both are likely to die.

    But it’s a seperate case, anyway. Sharing organs in the case of conjoined twins is not the same as the parasitic nature of a fetus. Try anothjer hypothetical situation.

  43. Brownian says

    I’m completely amazed that people would still be pro-choice if embryos were thinking and feeling human beings.

    Have you met thinking and feeling human beings? They’re not as awesome as you think.

  44. anteprepro says

    Anyway, I think I’m done here. I’m completely amazed that people would still be pro-choice if embryos were thinking and feeling human beings. I mean, seriously. I’m obviously not going to convince you, you’re not going to convince me. I’m just completely blown away by the response to my post.

    Yeah, I’m having a hard time not reading the above as “Trolling Accomplished!”.

  45. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Audley Z. Darkheart (carrying the Official SpokesFetus), your fuzzy pink lady brains are slow on the uptake, it seems. Pharylon will never be able to come up with an appropriate hypothetical to support his case. It doesn’t exist.

  46. mythbri says

    @jayliverstitch

    Unborn = under the pregnant person’s sphere of influence. Only that person has the right to decide whether to continue or terminate the pregnancy.

    Born = citizen with rights and protections.

    Leaving a newborn baby in a trash can to die isn’t morally ambiguous. It is wrong, and it is against the law.

    Terminating a pregnancy is a choice, that can be made because of one’s legal (for now) right to make medical decisions about one’s own body.

  47. timothya1956 says

    In an isolated corner of the world, there was once a fight when the local government and the local religions tried to restrict abortion rights for women. It happened to be the place where I lived in the early 1980s.

    I remember a rally when a very large number of women and men were chanting:

    Not the church
    Not the state
    I will decide my fate.

    We didn’t just chant. We confronted the government (the police stood aside when the rally decided to march down to Parliament House). The chant meant that women (every single woman) must, as a matter of right, control their bodies. No individual man, no “men’s rights” organisation and no government, can override that right.

    And guess what. We won! The government turned tail and abandoned their anti-abortion law. And now, when the same challenge is on the table, you can win too.

  48. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Brownian, what the hell does that mean? (referring to #52) I know humans aren’t awesome, but I read you implying that you believe pharylon is right. Do you think he is?

  49. anteprepro says

    Using the Violinist thought experiment as a guide, how can we conclude that it would be morally wrong for a mother to leave her newborn baby in the trash can immediately after giving birth, with near certainty that the baby will die as a direct result?

    lolwut? The Violinist thought experiment is about bodily rights and autonomy. When the baby is newborn, it is no longer violating the mother’s bodily rights, and it is biologically autonomous. There is nothing to unplug. What exactly about the Violinist do you think applies when the baby is outside of the mother?

  50. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    The problem with the violinist hypothetical

    What you are about to say is not a problem with the violinist hypothetical.

    is that society finds it perfectly acceptable to impose all sorts of duties on parents and other care givers of children. I really don’t see child endangerment laws or our moral revulsion at those who abandon their children changing any time soon.

    Because they are all born children; they are outside of another person’s body.

    After birth, it is possible to say “you must do [these things] for this child you’ve given birth to”, without [these things] thereby infringing upon the woman’s right to bodily autonomy.

    (Where [these things] include giving away the child at a designated Safe Haven location such as a police station, hospital, or fire department.)

  51. dianne says

    She doesn’t think abortion should be done except in the rape, incest, and medical necessary cases (though I doubt she’d actually make it illegal).

    If she wouldn’t make it illegal and wouldn’t prevent anyone from getting an abortion by any means other than saying “I think this is a bad idea” (i.e. wouldn’t block clinic access, wouldn’t support laws that put undue burdens on women getting abortions, etc) then she’s pro-choice. Many people who are pro-choice find abortion an unpleasant concept, wouldn’t have one themselves except in dire emergencies, and don’t like others to have them. If they aren’t pro-illegalization or actively supporting extralegal means of stopping abortion then they’re pro-choice.

  52. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Or, what anteprepro just said at #58.

    Amazing how people can’t or refuse to understand that we’re talking about the woman’s bodily autonomy, no more and no less.

  53. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    pharylon @ #45, it’s a bad anaology you block-head twit. You don’t read well, do you? Next time, before the flounce, respond to the part where I call your analogy not comparable to the other, not the part where you can construe my response and correction to your bad analysis as supporting it’s utility.

    That’s fucking dishonest. Asshole.

  54. says

    Shorter pharylon:
    BUT WHAT IF IT’S A BAYBEE?!

    Jay:

    Don’t we agree that mothers (and fathers) have an obligation to provide care for their children, and that they should (and do) suffer legal ramifications if they do not?

    *sigh*

    Yes, parents have an obligation to their spawn. However, once a baby is born, they have options (not very good ones in the US, but still) if they cannot or will not care for the child. Take that into account with the fact that the baby is no longer a parasite and that’s why abortion should have nothing to do with child endangerment laws.

    To put it in perspective: I am currently 7 months pregnant. My fetus is dependant on my body for its nurtients, waste removal, protection from harm, etc. In short, my organs are keeping her alive. Once she is born, her organs will take over and anyone can care for her at that point.

    To bring it back to the violinist: read what I wrote about my organs again. Would it be moral to force an adult to give up their body for another adult?

  55. David Marjanović says

    Hell, we don’t even harvest organs from dead bodies without the express permission of the next of kin or will/living will.

    Or we do without express refusal. Really depends on the “we”.

    In other words: it depends on the country whether organ donation is opt-in or opt-out. AFAIK, it differs even among EU countries.

  56. says

    There’s good eating on a fetus!

    As it stands now, the state can’t even compel me to provide a single drop of blood for the sake of another human being, and the anti-abortion crowd tend to also believe that the state shouldn’t be allowed to tax them for the sake of the medical care of other people, so why should we compel a woman to provide her body for the sake of something that isn’t even a person yet?

    I’m not pro-choice, I reject the term. I’m PRO-ABORTION. I believe in the absolute right of women to have as many or as few babies as they want, which means I’m for abortion on demand. I’m for abortion in cases of rape, incest, or the woman just doesn’t really like the guy who impregnated her all that much. I’m for abortion to save a woman’s life, or to save her from unwanted stretch marks. For deep and profound reasons, for “shallow” and “selfish” reasons, and everything in between I’m pro-abortion.

    If someone says that women who want/get abortions are immoral? That they are irresponsible for not using birth control, or sluts for getting pregnant outside of marriage? That they are degenerates who have no place in society? Then that person should ALSO be pro-abortion, because those women who they hate so very much are the last ones they should want having children. From where I’m standing, I don’t want to see any child raised by someone who doesn’t want to have a child and who might resent that child.

  57. mythbri says

    Here is an example of what happens when you override a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body. And this is here in Ammurrika, not the Catholic-controlled countries of Ireland, Central and South America. This happened here.

    I don’t think it needs a trigger warning, but it is incredibly sad.

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

  58. jayliverstitch says

    mythbri, I understand that’s the current state of the law, yes. But that’s not really my question.

    My question is specifically in regard to the violinist thought experiment that someone else mentioned. If we’re going to grant that parents have a moral responsibility to protect and provide life giving care to their children, then isn’t the question of what is defined as “children” or “human” an acceptable and in fact necessary question to answer?

    Pro-lifers claim that a fertilized egg falls under the definition of human, and, they’d argue, humans have rights to life. Now, I think that’s a crazy definition to be sure, but I think asking the question of when, or what constitutes a human is a valid question.

    The violinist argument, as far as I understand it, can be used to argue that parents have no moral requirement to provide for their children, even in the face of certain death. So it seems to fail to achieve it’s point, or at least, lead to other conclusion that none of us would accept.

    Maybe I could pose this another way. Is there any point during a pregnancy, before birth, that you would find an abortion to be morally unacceptable? Say, an apparently perfectly healthy fetus, a week before due date? What about partial birth abortions (I hate to bring this up because now I feel I sound like “them”)? I don’t want to ratchet up the conversation to extreme levels or anything, I just want to better understand.

    Again, please show me where I’m wrong. I fully admit that I may be.

  59. says

    Also, I wanted to respond to this:

    But your body put it there.

    Is essentially saying that if I invite someone into my house then can’t get rid of them, tough shit, they aren’t trespassing.

    (Also, nice one. This smacks of “if a woman has teh seksy tiems, she deserves to get pregnant”, doesn’t it?)

    Pharylon really isn’t very good at this.

  60. Brownian says

    Brownian, what the hell does that mean? (referring to #52) I know humans aren’t awesome, but I read you implying that you believe pharylon is right. Do you think he is?

    Not at all. For whatever reasons (certainly not well-thought out ethical ones), ‘but what if it’s a thinking, feeling human being’ doesn’t have any emotional appeal to me whatsoever.

    We don’t live in a culture that values human life, and I find it telling that we’re obligated to pretend that we do whenever the subject is abortion.

    “But what if it’s a baby?” indeed. I dunno, fuck, then deny it affordable healthcare, give it a gun, and send it off to shoot Arabs for oil. What am I supposed to say to that?

  61. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Umm …my #54b isn’t okay. Fuzzy pink lady brain comments should be reserved for making fun of stupid things other people say to womem in order to mock sexist attitudes. They should not be used to jest with other posters outside of that context. Audley, even if you don’t see the problem with my use, I’m sorry. And I did mean it to be jesting, but I still think it was out of place on reflection.

  62. Brownian says

    If we’re going to grant that parents have a moral responsibility to protect and provide life giving care to their children

    …and if they fail, then the state intervenes in order to provide the life giving care that the parents cannot provide.

  63. =8)-DX says

    Amazing! Strong! Slightly intimidating (in a good way, makes me rise up a finger and whisper “but I never..”). True!

    One thing that was a bit off was at the beginning there was point about being able to choose what medicines I take, I felt an odd shiver of anti-vax sentiment there though that clearly wasn’t the message – an adult should be the first and last arbiter of what happens to their body.

    Bravo!

  64. quinnmartindale says

    Audley:

    To bring it back to the violinist: read what I wrote about my organs again. Would it be moral to force an adult to give up their body for another adult?

    Yes. It is moral to force a parent to care for their child. I’d be support forcing parents to give kidneys to their children. I’d be fine with punishing parents who chose to save their lives at the expense of their children. I’m sure this moral intuition is determined by my mammalian nature, but that doesn’t change the overpowering instinct I have that parents have extreme moral obligations to their children up to and beyond the point of their own lives.

    I’m still pro-choice because embryos and fetuses are not children.

  65. ButchKitties says

    Care of an infant is transferable to any willing and capable adult, and it does not necessitate parasitizing another person’s body. Care of a fetus is not transferable, and parasitizing another person’s body isn’t just required, it’s a defining feature of being a fetus.

    Is that distinction really so hard to understand?

  66. jayliverstitch says

    Thanks Audley for the explanation.

    Please don’t get frustrated with me. I’m just trying to better understand the arguments from both sides.

    And to be clear, I fully understand that me, a male, trying to dictate to you how you must act (or not act) while pregnant would be offensive to you, and rightly so. That’s not what I’m trying to do. I just wish to understand. Cheers.

  67. carlie says

    She doesn’t think abortion should be done except in the rape, incest,

    So she’s saying that there are moral reasons to abort a healthy fetus when it will cause the woman involved mental anguish. Why does she draw the line at those two? What does she define as rape? If it’s a married couple and the husband coerces wife into sex when she doesn’t want to, does that count? Does she count it as incest if they’re second cousins twice removed? What if it was consensual sex but then a week later the guy threatened her life?

    I fuckin’ HATE the “rape and incest as an out” position. You either think that it’s wrong, or you don’t. You don’t get to impose your own judgment on whether it’s a good enough reason for you.

  68. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Brownian, I don’t know. I’m not American, that wouldn’t be the reality here, even if it’s not too far off. I like to think that we do value human life, but perhaps I’m mistaken. The ‘what if it’s a baby’ thing is ridiculous in a conversation about abortion, even in a hypothetical super-foetus world.

  69. mythbri says

    @jayliverstitch

    Maybe I could pose this another way. Is there any point during a pregnancy, before birth, that you would find an abortion to be morally unacceptable? Say, an apparently perfectly healthy fetus, a week before due date? What about partial birth abortions (I hate to bring this up because now I feel I sound like “them”)? I don’t want to ratchet up the conversation to extreme levels or anything, I just want to better understand.

    This reflects a lack of understanding on your part. Abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. If a fetus is expelled from the uterus, i.e. born, then the pregnancy has ended.

    In your hypothetical, the doctors would choose the safest means of terminating the pregnancy, which would probably mean inducing labor.

    I know that’s not the argument you were looking for, but I actually find the hypothetical situation of women deciding, on a whim, after 8 months and 3 weeks of pregnancy that they want to abort their fetus, to be an extraordinary claim, which is not worth discussing unless there exists extraordinary proof that would make it useful to do so.

    Canada has abortion on demand. Would you like to guess how many late-term abortions occur when the health of the mother is not in danger, and the fetus is healthy?

  70. Brownian says

    I’m sure this moral intuition is determined by my mammalian nature

    It’s not. In most of human history, up until the rise of agriculture, the growth of farms, and the need to plunk out as many free labourers as possible, humans were foragers who valued the lives of adults and older children more than they did fetuses and young infants.

    It was a simple calculus: an adult or older child had demonstrated the skills necessary to survive: a young child was an untested burden that could die for any reason. If you had to make the choice between a seven-year-old and a seven-month-old, the seven-month-old lost.

    Unless you were stupid.

  71. quinnsmith says

    Fetuses so aren’t parasites and they’re not comparable to cancer. They’re the result of human bodies functioning normally. Women can have abortions because it’s the woman’s choice and she’s not hurting anyone. If the embryo was actually fully sentient, she’d be hurting someone, though.

    Especially since the fetus didn’t choose to be there. Unless it’s was somehow sentient before conception and actively chose to be born and invade the uterus. I’m not sure what all the variables are in this stupid hypothetical.

    Saying abortion is fine even if the fetus was sentient is just giving the other side amunition.

    This is a stupid argument.

  72. carlie says

    The violinist argument, as far as I understand it, can be used to argue that parents have no moral requirement to provide for their children, even in the face of certain death.

    It’s true insofar as their own bodily integrity is concerned. That’s even enshrined in the law – parents cannot be forced to provide organ, tissue, or blood to their offspring. Again, it’s ONLY the woman/fetus combination where suddenly people start arguing about what they have to be forced to do.

  73. jeremynel says

    While I get that a woman has the right to bodily integrity (obviously!), it is by no means so clear that this right would trump the fetus’s right to life IF IT WERE A FULLY CONSCIOUS INDIVIDUAL, as in PZ’s hypothetical. In fact, I can’t see how it would in most pregnancies.

    To take an extreme example, is the majority consensus here really that a woman could invoke her right to bodily integrity to kill a fully conscious and sentient human fetus one day away from delivery? Would all the suffering that an abortion would cause to such a (hypothetical!) fetus STILL be trumped by the woman’s right not to have to go through one more day of pregnancy if she didn’t want to?

    To be clear: I’m not saying that the (hypothetically brilliant) fetus’s rights would then always automatically trump those of the woman’s. I’m only saying that it would become debatable, and the individual cases would have to be weighed up separately.

    To be clearer: in the REAL world, I’m 100% behind the right to have a abortion, but not for the reason that “the woman’s right to bodily integrity is absolute”. I think this is a serious factor to be considered, in every case, but that the reason that I’m so happy for abortions to be done in real life is ALSO that the fetus is not the poetry-writing genius in PZ’s examples.

  74. davec says

    Jayliver, there are no laws that require parents to donate blood, organs, tissue, etc for the children. So, replace your violinist with a newborn instead of a fetus and you get the same result. You can’t change the thought experiment by changing conditions on just one side of the experiment; child protection laws aren’t hooking up a parent to a person.

  75. jayliverstitch says

    ButchKitties, I get that distinction, but I think I could still raise objections to some types of abortions even in light of it.

    For example, if this fetus were capable of survival outside and independent of the mothers body, then in the same sense wouldn’t it’s “care” be “transferable”?

    So this goes to my question above to mythbri, is the viability of the fetus a consideration?

    Once again, I feel I must reiterate because I’m sure I’m pissing some people off with these questions. That’s not my intent. My intent is merely to understand where exactly you guys stand and why.

    Thanks to everyone who’s responded.

  76. Brownian says

    I like to think that we do value human life, but perhaps I’m mistaken

    I should be clearer. We do value life, but it has a specific value, and that value is much lower than we tend to think. (And I, of course, am not American either.)

    This is getting into some serious what ifs, but consider the rate of vehicular traffic-related morbidity and mortality in the city/town/village in which you live. How much would it cost to redesign your municipality to reduce the rate to as near zero as reasonably possible?

    In a simplistic way, you can consider that amount to be more than the sum of the value of the lives lost.

  77. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Audley Z. Darkheart, of course. I’m super pissed right now and I let that influence my friendly snark. This issue and the stupid things people say is one of the top things that enrages me, maybe even thing #1. It’s so basic and elementary, and so very important to real-live people, and yet people are so fucking stupid. Anyhow, thanks for understanding!

  78. quinnmartindale says

    Care of an infant is transferable to any willing and capable adult, and it does not necessitate parasitizing another person’s body. Care of a fetus is not transferable, and parasitizing another person’s body isn’t just required, it’s a defining feature of being a fetus.

    The possibility of transfer exists because of pragmatic considerations. More children will live if their parents can legally abandon them at a safe haven than if such laws do not exist. That doesn’t mean society is wrong to impose a duty of care on parents.

  79. davec says

    Or, what Carlie said earlier than me (I only use index fingers to type, how can I possibly win the race?)

  80. Brownian says

    To take an extreme example, is the majority consensus here really that a woman could invoke her right to bodily integrity to kill a fully conscious and sentient human fetus one day away from delivery? Would all the suffering that an abortion would cause to such a (hypothetical!) fetus STILL be trumped by the woman’s right not to have to go through one more day of pregnancy if she didn’t want to?

    That’s my feeling, yes.

  81. carlie says

    For example, if this fetus were capable of survival outside and independent of the mothers body, then in the same sense wouldn’t it’s “care” be “transferable”?

    So this goes to my question above to mythbri, is the viability of the fetus a consideration?

    It’s simply not a question – you’ve entered into the imaginary area of the mythical “day before due date abortion”, which is not only not useful, but an impediment to the discussion. There are simply no abortions that are done after full healthy viability that are done for any reason other than life-threatening emergencies.

  82. mythbri says

    Can we put a moratorium on “woman endures ideal pregnancy for eight months, three weeks, six days, twenty-three hours and fifty-nine seconds and THEN all of a sudden decides that she wants to abort the perfectly healthy fetus” argument?

    If a woman chooses to have an abortion late in her pregnancy, something has gone horribly wrong. This hypothetical never happens.

  83. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    Fetuses so aren’t parasites . . . .

    Then what do you call something that lives in your body, uses the nutrients you have taken in to grow, and is not part of your body?

    Especially since the fetus didn’t choose to be there. Unless it’s was somehow sentient before conception and actively chose to be born and invade the uterus.

    Which, oddly, is one of the arguments used by forced birthers.

    Saying abortion is fine even if the fetus was sentient is just giving the other side amunition.

    This is a stupid argument.

    Arguing over whether or not a woman, a human being, has the right to bodily autonomy is a stupid argument. Right. So should we chain the woman to a bed and force feed her healthy food and vitamins so she doesn’t do anything that might harm the foetus which is more important than she?

  84. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Brownian, how could I forget your lack of Americanness? And yeah, that does put a perspective on it. Is it at all telling that I dream of oraganising and single-handedly imposing such a redesign? Is it more telling that I dream of this not first because it would save human lives, but because it’d be more efficient than the current system. Yes, you’re absolutely right. Dammit.

  85. carlie says

    Not just “not done”:

    No state in the US allows for abortions after the 28th week except for life-threatening emergencies.

    No one who doesn’t want to be pregnant would carry for that long before deciding otherwise.

    The goal of an abortion is to end a pregnancy. When after the stage of full viability with a healthy fetus, the easiest and safest way to end it is through birth rather than abortion, and doctors would decide it that way. (which they can’t decide anyway, given that it’s illegal at those stages)

  86. says

    For fuck’s sake. One more time:
    You cannot force a person to give up their bodily automony, no matter who stands to benefit. It doesn’t matter if it’s Stephen Hawking or a fully conscious* fetus– no one has the right to another’s body for any reason whatsoever.

    *Even if brain development was advanced enough, IIRC, amniotic fluid acts as a sedative, so it really doesn’t matter anyway.

  87. ButchKitties says

    When you pass laws against late term abortions to try the prevent hypothetical “I’m one week away from my due date and just now decided not to have a baby” abortion, you aren’t actually preventing those abortions. You’re just fucking over the women who want to become mothers but have found out late in their pregnancies that something has gone wrong. You’re putting them at risk of infection, loss of fertility (so now on top of losing a wanted pregnancy, they may lose their ability to try again), or death. You’re making them get a major abdominal surgery to remove a dead or dying fetus intact instead of letting them get a much less invasive d&x. You’re forcing doctors to make medical decisions based on avoiding lawsuits/fines/jail time instead of what’s best for their patients. In short: you’re hurting real people in the name of an imaginary problem.

  88. mythbri says

    @jayliverstitch

    For example, if this fetus were capable of survival outside and independent of the mothers body, then in the same sense wouldn’t it’s “care” be “transferable”?

    So this goes to my question above to mythbri, is the viability of the fetus a consideration?

    If the fetus were capable of survival outside and independent of the mother’s body, then it would be BORN, not a fetus.

    Did you not understand my earlier response to you? You’re talking about fetuses as if they ARE capable of autonomous life, but they are NOT capable until they are BORN. At which point, the argument becomes moot, because the born person is a citizen with rights and protections.

  89. Brownian says

    Brownian, how could I forget your lack of Americanness? And yeah, that does put a perspective on it. Is it at all telling that I dream of oraganising and single-handedly imposing such a redesign? Is it more telling that I dream of this not first because it would save human lives, but because it’d be more efficient than the current system. Yes, you’re absolutely right. Dammit.

    Well, I work in public health. Finding out just how much people aren’t willing to pay to save lives is just part and parcel of the job.

    Is it at all telling that I dream of oraganising and single-handedly imposing such a redesign?

    I think you and I could have some marathon sessions of SimCity or similar sandbox/god games together.

  90. CT says

    jeremynel:

    To take an extreme example, is the majority consensus here really that a woman could invoke her right to bodily integrity to kill a fully conscious and sentient human fetus one day away from delivery? Would all the suffering that an abortion would cause to such a (hypothetical!) fetus STILL be trumped by the woman’s right not to have to go through one more day of pregnancy if she didn’t want to?

    This is really not a useful example since one day from delivery, the fetus in a normal situation will be perfectly able to live outside the womb.

    If an embryo were conscious and able to write poetry, it would still be a parasite that requires a host. It is still the woman that gets to decide to be that host.

  91. Brownian says

    When you pass laws against late term abortions to try the prevent hypothetical “I’m one week away from my due date and just now decided not to have a baby” abortion, you aren’t actually preventing those abortions. You’re just fucking over the women who want to become mothers but have found out late in their pregnancies that something has gone wrong. You’re putting them at risk of infection, loss of fertility (so now on top of losing a wanted pregnancy, they may lose their ability to try again), or death. You’re making them get a major abdominal surgery to remove a dead or dying fetus intact instead of letting them get a much less invasive d&x. You’re forcing doctors to make medical decisions based on avoiding lawsuits/fines/jail time instead of what’s best for their patients. In short: you’re hurting real people in the name of an imaginary problem.

    A friend of mine once said, “If you’re really against late-term abortions, the only ethical solution is to provide complete, free, and easy access to early-term abortions.”

  92. spamamander, more skeptical-er and rational-er than you says

    @74

    Holy shit.

    My children are more important than me by virtue of what?

    I would like to think that yes, momma bear instincts would kick in and I would do anything to attempt to save the lives of my children.

    But in this hypothetical you would put me in prison if, say, I took the only available floatation device, instead of putting an infant on it that may or may not be able to hold on, knowing it could not take the weight of both of us? Yes, far fetched, but there are circumstances where someone might only be able to save themselves, and having the parent and child BOTH die is simply asinine. Nobody should be obligated to risk their own lives to save another. Morally perhaps they should, especially in regards to a parent, but mandating over-riding survival instincts by law?

  93. jayliverstitch says

    mythbri I absolutely agree. I was using extreme examples, and I highly doubt that many, if any women would choose to abort in the final week of pregnancy. But purely as a hypothetical, I think the thought experiment can (or might) be instructive, just like the hypothetical violinist thought experiment, which is even more unlikely to ever occur, yet here we are discussing it.

    So I don’t agree that this isn’t a valid point of discussion just because it’s highly unlikely in the real world.

    As an honest curiosity, I notice you didn’t really answer my question. So to you or anyone else interested in answering, is the viability of the fetus outside the body a concern you use to inform your understanding of the morality of when, or if abortion is moral?

  94. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    Amazing how often the ‘what if’ crowd starts talking about extremely late term abortions and how often they have no understanding at all about what it actually means.

  95. says

    If foetuses could somehow be deemed persons – if they could be regarded as (quasi)sentient human beings – then I don’t see how “exercising one’s bodily autonomy” would be sufficient as a carte-blanche to commit what might otherwise be construed as unlawful killing of another ‘person’.

    You may argue your fundamental freedom in principle to have a foetus removed from your body at your behest. I may agree in principle. But I’m afraid you have another argument on your hands if you wish to assert that that liberty in itself would necessarily override any culpability for causing suffering or death to what might physiologically be a premature infant.

    Indeed – a conjoined twin may choose to kill his/her fellow twin somehow – another (presumably healthy)human mind reliant on the same combined body. They may have some fundamental right to do so as it pleases them. And many of us would still find the idea abhorrent, unless it were done in the most critical of circumstances.

    The proposition that “I can do what I want with my own body” simply doesn’t satisfy the assumption that, therefore “I cannot not be held culpable for what I choose to do with my body, or for any sentient beings affected by my choices”.

  96. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Care of an infant is transferable to any willing and capable adult, and it does not necessitate parasitizing another person’s body. Care of a fetus is not transferable, and parasitizing another person’s body isn’t just required, it’s a defining feature of being a fetus.

    The possibility of transfer exists because of pragmatic considerations. More children will live if their parents can legally abandon them at a safe haven than if such laws do not exist. That doesn’t mean society is wrong to impose a duty of care on parents.

    Because they are all born children; they are outside of another person’s body.

    After birth, it is possible to say “you must do [these things] for this child you’ve given birth to”, without [these things] thereby infringing upon the woman’s right to bodily autonomy.

    (Where [these things] include giving away the child at a designated Safe Haven location such as a police station, hospital, or fire department.)

  97. Thomathy, Holy Trinity of Conflation: Atheist-Secularist-Darwinist says

    Ah, how I dream of a new and functioning version of SimCity. The last playable version was SimCity 2000, and I still play Civilization II for fun. I can’t very well play two ancient games at the same time, besides the bad midi jazz, though unforgettable and hum-inducing, precludes any enjoyment. I just can’t play that game without the city noise behind that irritating jazz repeat-list.

  98. jayliverstitch says

    mythbri, forgive me, I hadn’t read your comment to me until after I posted that last one (I’m sort of half working here as well and can’t keep up. :) )

    I do appreciate your responses and am giving them their due consideration, I promise.

  99. mythbri says

    @jayliverstitch

    The viability of the fetus would only be a determining factor in HOW to terminate the pregnancy. As I and several others have said, in this hypothetical late-term scenario, it is likely that the SAFEST means of terminating the pregnancy would actually be to induce labor.

    Abortion is exactly as moral as the woman in question believes it to be. It is HER decision, made by consulting with her doctors, that determines whether or not she continues the pregnancy.

  100. mythbri says

    @jayliverstitch

    If you have the time, please read this link. This is a case of someone other than the woman making decisions for her based on the potential viability of the fetus. This isn’t completely similar to your hypothetical, but it is related. What do you think the parties involved should have done differently, if anything?

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

  101. quinnsmith says

    @ogvorbis

    If it’s is of foreign origin, I would call its a parasite. If generated internally from eggs and sperm, I would call its a fetus or embryo.

  102. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    So to you or anyone else interested in answering, is the viability of the fetus outside the body a concern you use to inform your understanding of the morality of when, or if abortion is moral?

    In this thread alone that has been answered more than once. As others have already written (much more clearly than I), an abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. If a doctor determines that, to save the life and health of the woman the pregnancy must be terminated, and the woman agrees to the procedure, then the doctor must determine the best way to terminate the pregnancy. If the foetus is late term and viable, then induced labour or a c-section would, in most cases, be the most effective way to abort the pregnancy.

  103. Brownian says

    But in this hypothetical you would put me in prison if, say, I took the only available floatation device, instead of putting an infant on it that may or may not be able to hold on, knowing it could not take the weight of both of us? Yes, far fetched, but there are circumstances where someone might only be able to save themselves, and having the parent and child BOTH die is simply asinine. Nobody should be obligated to risk their own lives to save another. Morally perhaps they should, especially in regards to a parent, but mandating over-riding survival instincts by law?

    As I noted in 80, such a moral calculus looked entirely different when survival was dependant upon experience. A parent could always have another child. A parentless child was a walking meal or accident waiting to happen.

  104. says

    Quinnsmith:

    Fetuses so aren’t parasites

    Maybe not technically, but it’s a damned good comparision. A fetus relies on the pregnant woman’s body for everything it needs, all while causing at the very least pain and discomfort and at the very most, death.

    The only difference is potential which hardly matters if the woman in question doesn’t want a child.

    If the embryo was actually fully sentient, she’d be hurting someone, though.

    So is the fact that I no longer give blood.

    Jay:

    To take an extreme example, is the majority consensus here really that a woman could invoke her right to bodily integrity to kill a fully conscious and sentient human fetus one day away from delivery?

    Two things:
    1) This argument comes up EVERY DAMNED TIME we talk about abortion rights. It’s not original, nor is it clever.

    2) Terminating a pregnancy doesn’t necessarily mean killing the fetus. If a woman wanted the fetus out, she would be induced (which actually happens quite a bit– many women schedule the day and time of their labor. They’re still technically terminating, whether or not they keep the resultant baby.)

  105. says

    As an honest curiosity, I notice you didn’t really answer my question. So to you or anyone else interested in answering, is the viability of the fetus outside the body a concern you use to inform your understanding of the morality of when, or if abortion is moral?

    I don’t.

    First, I don’t consider it (depending on it’s stage of development) a person. It’s a proto-human that may be a person one day. I’m not that concerned about a clump of cells.

    Secondly, I’d say that abortion is never a good thing. Like amputation, it’s not something that one technically wants, but there may be additional factors.

    If it comes down to a healthy fetus, for instance, it may be that the adoption agencies are swamped (many are) and the parents cannot afford to raise the child (many can’t).

    I would see it as more immoral to bring a life into a world where it’s only going to be impoverished and miserable. It’s better to abort before it has a chance to care, or feel pain, or suffer.

  106. quinnmartindale says

    @spamamander,

    It’s not that your children are more important than their parent to everyone, it’s that parents have a special duty to their children and that people who fail to fulfill that duty ought to be punished. Of course, there aren’t going to be trolley problems in real life where parents actually choose the certainty of their life over the certainty of their child’s life since reality is messy. Also, embryos and fetuses aren’t children. But I think it’s morally fine to force people to fulfill their duties to others.

  107. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I was using extreme examples, and I highly doubt that many, if any women would choose to abort in the final week of pregnancy. But purely as a hypothetical, I think the thought experiment can (or might) be instructive, just like the hypothetical violinist thought experiment, which is even more unlikely to ever occur, yet here we are discussing it.

    So I don’t agree that this isn’t a valid point of discussion just because it’s highly unlikely in the real world.

    Well, you are wrong and you are doing an immoral thing.

    There isn’t an actually-existing social problem of music lovers demanding laws against unhooking violinists. Treating that hypothetical as SERIOUS BUSINESS isn’t going to make the world a worse place.

    There is an actually-existing social problem of anti-choicers demanding laws against abortion. Treating a hypothetical just-because-I-want-to last-minute abortion as a serious moral matter does get in the way of realistic thought about real-world issues. You are making a non-existent problem seem existent, and that in turn empowers anti-choicers.

    So, stop it.

  108. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    If it’s is of foreign origin, I would call its a parasite. If generated internally from eggs and sperm, I would call its a fetus or embryo.

    So the worms that occasionally live, feed and breed within the human intestinal system are not parasites. Got it.

    You can do better than that.

  109. Brownian says

    OT:

    Ah, how I dream of a new and functioning version of SimCity.

    I’ve played every version, and was crushed when I upgraded my OS to Windows 7 from XP and realised SC4 wouldn’t work.

    Apparently there’s a new one coming out next year (I hope they dropped the cheeseball SimCity Societies shtick), but it looks like you have to be logged in to EA to play.

    EA. Electronic Assholes.

  110. jayliverstitch says

    Not just “not done”:

    No state in the US allows for abortions after the 28th week except for life-threatening emergencies.

    Correct and understood. But I’m not so much speaking about the legality of such events, as to the morality of them, and more to the point, why we think they should or should not be considered morally acceptable.

    mythbri I certainly understand that viability determines how such a pregnancy would be aborted. What I want to understand is, WHY it determines it.

    If it’s morally acceptable to abort (not induce labor on) a perfectly viable fetus, then why do we, or why should we have laws against it? Now, to be fair I’m not suggesting you think this is morally acceptable; I’ve yet to ascertain exactly how you and carli and others feel about it. Kinda why I’m here asking all these annoying questions :)

    Also as a quick note, I feel like many posters are attributing beliefs to me that I may not hold. As to your link “In re A.C.”, my answer is, I really don’t know. I’m not sure how I do or how I should feel about certain aspects of this issue. Hence, why I’m here pestering you nice folks.

  111. quinnsmith says

    @Audley

    No,the difference is High School biology. Parasites are foreign invaders, not generated by a healthy body’s normal function.

  112. anteprepro says

    If it’s is of foreign origin , I would call its a parasite. If generated internally from eggs and sperm , I would call its a fetus or embryo.

    I didn’t know that women impregnated themselves. I must have missed the fact that all pregnant women were self-inseminating hermaphrodites when I was in health class.

    But really, good work on “I would call embryos a type of embryo”. That’s a very special form of pedantry.

  113. Brownian says

    It’s not that your children are more important than their parent to everyone, it’s that parents have a special duty to their children and that people who fail to fulfill that duty ought to be punished.

    That’s patently stupid. Is your goal to have children get the access to the care they need, or to enforce some sort of Stepford Parent fantasy? If it’s the first, then fuck punishing the parents. Get the child to a situation where they can get care, and stop obsessing over your opportunity to cluck your tongue at shitty parents.

    But I think it’s morally fine to force people to fulfill their duties to others.

    How? How do you force parents to fulfill their duties? Think it through.

  114. hotshoe says

    It’s not. In most of human history, up until the rise of agriculture, the growth of farms, and the need to plunk out as many free labourers as possible, humans were foragers who valued the lives of adults and older children more than they did fetuses and young infants.

    It was a simple calculus: an adult or older child had demonstrated the skills necessary to survive: a young child was an untested burden that could die for any reason. If you had to make the choice between a seven-year-old and a seven-month-old, the seven-month-old lost.

    Unless you were stupid.

    And in which case, your whole family lost.

    Baby-adoration is a little more rational than fetus-adoration, but not much more.

  115. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    If it’s morally acceptable to abort (not induce labor on) a perfectly viable fetus, then why do we, or why should we have laws against it?

    We have laws against it because, here in the US, politicians do not trust women to exercise proper control over their own bodies, do not trust women to be rational, do not trust women to think, do not trust women to make decisions. So rather than letting doctors and women decide, together, how to achieve the desired end we have ridiculous laws regarding one broad type of medical procedure.

    And, as has been stated, the morality of the abortion is right where it belongs — in the conscience of the woman.

  116. Brownian says

    Parasites are foreign invaders, not generated by a healthy body’s normal function.

    That’s a stupid dichotomy.

  117. CT says

    Wait, embryos are generated by my bodily functions? Then why the hell do we need men! FREEEEDDDDDDDDOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!!! /snark

  118. Amphiox says

    Not this “hypothetical healthy one week from full gestation” stupidity again. No, the question does NOT illustrate ANYTHING, morally, ethically, legally or otherwise.

    It is a hypothesis contrary to medical reality. A NORMAL pregnancy of a NORMAL healthy fetus at that stage is terminated by INDUCED BIRTH, not abortion. Abortion is not on the table. It is not even an option at this stage. If induced birth is not possible and abortion is even a consideration then by definition it is not a normal pregnancy or a normal fetus.

    One may as well pontificate on the morality of beheading one of a hydra’s mythical heads.

  119. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    If it’s morally acceptable to abort (not induce labor on) a perfectly viable fetus, then why do we, or why should we have laws against it?

    If it’s morally acceptable to smoke cannabis, then why do we, or why should we have laws against it?

  120. Paul says

    That’s a stupid dichotomy.

    Not to mention treating “healthy” as some sort of magic word. Of course, xe was doing it so rule out teratomas and tumors, I’m sure. But isn’t one “healthy” until they develop the tumor, making the tumor something generated by a healthy body?

  121. spamamander, more skeptical-er and rational-er than you says

    My “special duty” to my children ends at the line where I am required to die for them.

    Again, I probably would. But I haven’t been in a circumstance that would require me to make that decision, and in all honesty the real-world chance of it happening is pretty much nil.

    Just because I gave birth does not mean I give up my chances for survival in that situation. We can argue the morality all you want, but you simply cannot force people to give up their own lives for someone else- their own children, or no. It’s basically punishing parents for having children- “You chose to make kids, therefore your life comes always behind theirs”.

  122. mythbri says

    @jayliverstitch #122

    If it’s morally acceptable to abort (not induce labor on) a perfectly viable fetus, then why do we, or why should we have laws against it?

    It’s frustrating that you keep coming back to this, because it is not a real situation. In fact, if by “abort” you mean kill the fetus, that only ever happens in a late-term pregnancy when something is extremely wrong, either with the fetus itself or with the mother.

    And I just want to be clear, DID you read the information contained in the link I provided? Because if you did, and you don’t have an opinion on what should have been done differently, then I’m at a loss to understand. This woman was drugged and had delayed treatment AGAINST HER WILL in a futile attempt to “save” a fetus that might have been potentially viable, but turned out not to be. The fetus died, and so did Angela Carder.

    The response I would expect from any empathetic human being regarding that case is that the doctors should have respected her decision. She need not have died.

  123. CT says

    If it’s morally acceptable to smoke cannabis, then why do we, or why should we have laws against it?

    ah, that’s too easy. get the Poors off the streets, derher. If you can’t afford the heavy stuff, you must be a Poor and removed from the sight of the overlords. herpaderp.

    that’s snark in case no one caught on.

  124. anteprepro says

    That’s a stupid dichotomy.

    What’s so stupid about it? Obviously, “foreign invaders” couldn’t be anything but parasitic! Obviously, everything generated by a “healthy body’s normal function” is good! Obviously, no-one gives a fuck about even giving an “unhealthy body” (whatever that would be) room in the dichotomy! And obviously one would be foolish to even entertain the idea that parasites and other assorted bad things change and do so in the process of exploiting the “body’s normal function”!

    Any of these considerations would be absurd to make. Especially on the blog of a biologist, of all places!

  125. quinnmartindale says

    Brownian:

    Is your goal to have children get the access to the care they need, or to enforce some sort of Stepford Parent fantasy?

    Neither, it’s an application of retributive justice. People who do wrong (in this case, fail to fulfill a duty) ought to be punished.

  126. jayliverstitch says

    Well, you are wrong and you are doing an immoral thing.

    There isn’t an actually-existing social problem of music lovers demanding laws against unhooking violinists. Treating that hypothetical as SERIOUS BUSINESS isn’t going to make the world a worse place.

    There is an actually-existing social problem of anti-choicers demanding laws against abortion. Treating a hypothetical just-because-I-want-to last-minute abortion as a serious moral matter does get in the way of realistic thought about real-world issues. You are making a non-existent problem seem existent, and that in turn empowers anti-choicers.

    So, stop it.

    But… but the violinist experiment is being used solely to inform that actually existing social problem of abortion and the fight against it. So, outlandish hypotheticals are permissible to prove your, point, but they’re against the rules to your opponents? I can’t say I see the difference here.

    I’m doing an immoral thing by coming to this blog to better understand a viewpoint that has up until relatively recently been foreign to me?

    One more time, I am not the enemy, I promise. I am not the person standing outside abortion clinics holding signs, or even frequenting blogs detracting the practice. I am here, with people who I mostly consider like minded individuals, trying to better understand a complex issue. I am asking to be convinced. If I can’t ask honest questions, as dumb as they may be perceived, or may actually be, among “friends” without being accused of acting out evil, then I think humanity ever coming to common ground on any issue is more hopeless than I ever thought.

  127. spamamander, more skeptical-er and rational-er than you says

    I could use one of those man-types to unload hay and kill the paper wasps building a nest in my overhang…

  128. Paul says

    For opening jars?

    I dunno. That’s all I got.

    I made the mistake of casually asking my wife to open a jar for me (my hands were slippery) at a public event. I’m not sure I’m ever going to be able to live it down.

  129. Brownian says

    Not this “hypothetical healthy one week from full gestation” stupidity again. No, the question does NOT illustrate ANYTHING, morally, ethically, legally or otherwise.

    But what if the hypothetical healthy fetus is Hitler? Made out of antimatter? Who knows the parts of Kubla Khan that Coleridge forgot? And exactly seven weeks from full gestation is the only time it can be destroyed, and then only by special bullet ants genetically modified by Monsanto?

    Is GM bullet ant abortion ethical or moral in that case? Discuss.

    C’mon, if you’re gonna do hypotheticals, make ‘em good ones.

  130. Brownian says

    Neither, it’s an application of retributive justice. People who do wrong (in this case, fail to fulfill a duty) ought to be punished.

    The England of Charles Dickens called. They want their antiquated sense of retributive justice back.

  131. Amphiox says

    A third trimester NORMAL pregnancy is equivalent to having a 20 lb* benign tumor in your pelvis. And one part (the placenta) actually bears all the physiological and cytoarchitectural features that are diagnostic of a mid-grade malignancy. The physiological stress on the woman is about equivalent.

    If you don’t like the parasite analogy you can use the cancer analogy.**

    *about 9 lbs fetus and rest is placenta and fluids
    **bearing a child is an act of altruistic heroism, and if men could become pregnant there would have been heroic epics composed and sung to the task. In no other arena of human activity is it considered acceptable for the state to use its powers to mandate and compel life-risking heroism. Why should pregnancy be any different?

  132. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    For example, if this fetus were capable of survival outside and independent of the mothers body, then in the same sense wouldn’t it’s “care” be “transferable”?

    We had this out with a hypothetical philosoph who couldn’t prove such a thing actually happens. Third trimester abortions are for either fetal deformity or to save the life of the woman. Otherwise, labor is induced for an early birth. So, your scenario is hot air, not worthy of debate.

  133. quinnsmith says

    @anteprepro

    You are aware where eggs come from, right? The idea that men impregnated women, who have nothing to download with its is outdated and sexist.
    .
    And I call things what they are. Embryos share characteristics with cancer too. Or with fire (they consume organic molecules to grow!). But embryos aren’t fire. Or cancer. Or parasites. Or people.

    Embryos are just embryos. If you think calling an embryo an embryo is pedantic, you’re an idiot.

  134. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Indeed – a conjoined twin may choose to kill his/her fellow twin somehow – another (presumably healthy)human mind reliant on the same combined body. They may have some fundamental right to do so as it pleases them.

    If there’s two people and only one body, the same body the’ve both been in as long as they’ve existed, then they both have a right to that body. The killer would be violating the victim’s right to the body.

    This is categorically different from abortion, in which there are two bodies, and the first one does not consent to being occupied by the new one.

    The proposition that “I can do what I want with my own body” simply doesn’t satisfy the assumption that, therefore “I cannot not be held culpable for what I choose to do with my body, or for any sentient beings affected by my choices”.

    Yes, it does. Cf. the violinist.

  135. quinnmartindale says

    spamamander:

    “You chose to make kids, therefore your life comes always behind theirs”.

    I’m taking a stronger position than that. My position would be that parents ought to do their best to take care of their children, and that legal guardians must do so or they should face legal penalties. This duty is inherent in the parent-child relationship, and does not stem from any choice or action by the parents.

    As a consequence of that position, I’m pro-family planning and support a broad social safety net in order to ensure as much as possible that people 1) choose to undergo that obligation; and 2)are able to fulfill that obligation. I don’t think that one sex or gender has a stronger duty than another in a two parent household, and I think that society ought to allow parents a large amount of discretion in determining how to best raise a child.

  136. Tethys says

    Fetuses so aren’t parasites

    Oh, It doesn’t attach itself to my body and proceed to feed off my blood supply? It doesn’t remove calcium from my bone structure? Pregnancy does carry the risk of death. It has very few upsides healthwise for the host.

    It is apparent that you know very little about this pregnancy thing.

  137. CT says

    The idea that men impregnated women, who have nothing to download with its is outdated and sexist.

    This does not compute. Can you elaborate exactly how I can skip the whole having sperm to make a baby part? It must be my white trash education.

  138. jayliverstitch says

    @mythbri #139

    I have not yet read the entire article, no, so you’re entirely fair to say I was speaking about it uninformed. After my meetings in a while I’ll dedicate the proper time to read it in full.

    I’m sorry you find my question frustrating, it’s not my intent. Maybe I’m being thick-skulled about this but it’s purely a limit on my intellect, not intentional belligerence :)

    I know this never happens, and I fully understand that it only ever happens when the pregnancy has turned tragically sideways. And there is no question that it is a tragedy when this happens. I mean not to trivialize any such difficult situation.

    I guess my question is more to the issue of figuring out if we as a people should find such a practice morally unacceptable, and if so, why should we. Maybe we shouldn’t, as some have suggested (and thank you for your answers). If we should though, then is it because the fetus was sentient or for some other reason altogether? I’m trying to get to the crux of the topic, this is all.

    So, as a related question, carli mentioned that most states have laws in place to prevent the late term scenario I bring up, do you agree we should have said laws? No matter your answer, I’d like to hear why you think the way you do.

    I need to go to some meetings for a bit so I won’t be commenting for an hour or so, but I’ll come back and read any responses later in the afternoon.

    Thanks again to everyone who responded.

  139. Feats of Cats says

    @120

    So the worms that occasionally live, feed and breed within the human intestinal system are not parasites. Got it.

    That woman was totally asking for the worms in her intestine when she ate that shady burrito. Welp, she’s stuck carrying them now.

    @83

    To take an extreme example, is the majority consensus here really that a woman could invoke her right to bodily integrity to kill a fully conscious and sentient human fetus one day away from delivery? Would all the suffering that an abortion would cause to such a (hypothetical!) fetus STILL be trumped by the woman’s right not to have to go through one more day of pregnancy if she didn’t want to?

    Yes. If you can make the fetus live without my involvement, which would be the case in a one-day-from delivery situation, go for it. Otherwise, you don’t get to make me be a living incubator, no matter what. Even if the fetus is writing poetry and tapdancing and shouting how much it wants to live. It has no right to my organs without my consent, period. Also: fuck you.

  140. anteprepro says

    Quinnsmith, you are aware that sperm DOESN’T occur naturally in a female’s body, right? Because that was my point. That sperm was of “foreign origin” and therefore your argument is as fuckwitted as your “rebuttal”. The fact that eggs aren’t also of “foreign origin” does fuck-all to help your asinine argument.

  141. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    But… but the violinist experiment is being used solely to inform that actually existing social problem of abortion and the fight against it. So, outlandish hypotheticals are permissible to prove your, point, but they’re against the rules to your opponents? I can’t say I see the difference here.

    The difference, which you claim you can’t see, is right here:

    «There isn’t an actually-existing social problem of music lovers demanding laws against unhooking violinists. Treating that hypothetical as SERIOUS BUSINESS isn’t going to make the world a worse place.

    There is an actually-existing social problem of anti-choicers demanding laws against abortion. Treating a hypothetical just-because-I-want-to last-minute abortion as a serious moral matter does get in the way of realistic thought about real-world issues. You are making a non-existent problem seem existent, and that in turn empowers anti-choicers.»

    That is not “far out stuff is okay for us but not for you.”

    That is “far out stuff is okay when it doesn’t contribute to actually-existing social problems in the real world.”

    If there were an actually-existing social problem of people becoming hooked up to violinists, and of music lovers demanding laws against unhooking violinists, then it would not be trivial to defend hypotheticals about violinists.

    I’m doing an immoral thing by coming to this blog to better understand a viewpoint that has up until relatively recently been foreign to me?

    You’re doing an immoral thing by treating a hypothetical just-because-I-want-to last-minute abortion as a serious moral matter.

    Don’t do that.

    One more time, I am not the enemy, I promise.

    You can’t promise that. You can only demonstrate that by not using the arguments of the enemy.

    I am not the person standing outside abortion clinics holding signs, or even frequenting blogs detracting the practice.

    But you are promoting the idea that hypothetical just-because-I-want-to last-minute abortions are a serious moral matter.

    That makes the world a worse place for women. So, stop doing it.

    I am here, with people who I mostly consider like minded individuals, trying to better understand a complex issue.

    Great! Hypothetical just-because-I-want-to last-minute abortions are not any real part of this issue. So don’t flog that point. Talk about the real parts of reality.

    I am asking to be convinced. If I can’t ask honest questions, as dumb as they may be perceived, or may actually be, among “friends” without being accused of acting out evil, then I think humanity ever coming to common ground on any issue is more hopeless than I ever thought.

    We don’t need common ground. We only need a legislative majority.

  142. Amphiox says

    (Note that many cancers actually become malignant through the activation of genes normally active in the placenta. And for that matter, in the fetus.)

  143. CT says

    Audley Z. Darkheart (carrying the Official SpokesFetus)

    Fuck, I’d take the migraines again in trade for having to pee every half an hour.

    let’s hope you’re lucky enough to keep the ole bladder in optimal position after labor. Oo, I know, let’s play the “what pregnancy does to your body that sucks” game! That will totally go with the “sperm, who needs sperm” game!

  144. Feats of Cats says

    @48

    Specifically, here is what I’m confused about. Using the Violinist thought experiment as a guide, how can we conclude that it would be morally wrong for a mother to leave her newborn baby in the trash can immediately after giving birth, with near certainty that the baby will die as a direct result?

    The difference here is that with both the violinist scenario and the fetus scenario, there is nobody else that could keep them alive. You’re the only person in the world with the body characteristics to keep the violinist alive, and the fetus won’t survive outside of your body.

    Once it has been born, the baby can be given to other people to be taken care of. That is the difference.

  145. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I am asking to be convinced. If I can’t ask honest questions, as dumb

    What is dumb is that you aren’t paying attention (essentially deaf) to the repeated answers being given you. Otherwise, the position of most people here is crystal clear. Any problems you have are with you on the receiving end.

  146. Tethys says

    Audley

    Fuck, I’d take the migraines again in trade for having to pee every half an hour.

    Word. I willingly gave birth to three feti, and was nearly killed by another. I still can’t come up with any beneficial health effect for the mother.

    OT- Has darkfetus started hiccuping yet? I remember that occurring around the seventh month, generally when I was trying to go to sleep.

  147. jayliverstitch says

    I don’t.

    First, I don’t consider it (depending on it’s stage of development) a person. It’s a proto-human that may be a person one day. I’m not that concerned about a clump of cells.

    If I might ask you to clarify. You’re saying you don’t consider fetuses to be humans, unless or until they’ve reached a certain stage of development? Is that what you mean?

    At what stage then, do you consider it a human? I understand it’s a gradient and there’s probably not a specific day when you say it becomes human. But I’d like to understand what variables you use to characterize it as human. For instance, what properties does the fetus require before you consider it a human? Sapience + viability? Something altogether different? Or am I just way off base with how you view it to begin with?

  148. kp71 says

    I’m not even a woman and that made me want to pump my fist at the fundies and say YEAH!!!

  149. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    Neither, it’s an application of retributive justice. People who do wrong (in this case, fail to fulfill a duty) ought to be punished.

    You do realize that there are those who firmly believe that if a woman is pregnant, and does not carry the pregnancy to term, she has failed to fulfill a duty and ought to be punished? Retributive justice does not work. And shit like this is just one example of why it does not work.

    So, as a related question, carli mentioned that most states have laws in place to prevent the late term scenario I bring up, do you agree we should have said laws? No matter your answer, I’d like to hear why you think the way you do.

    No. Definitely not. Those laws have been used to prevent therapeutic abortions in which the life of the woman has been endangered by the pregnancy. As I said above, this is one of the very few parts of medicine in which politicians have placed themselves over the doctors and the patients. And the reason for this is that they do not trust women to behave as adults.

    The only health upside I’ve found so far is no migraines. Considering that migraines aren’t life threatening, it’s kind of a shitty consolation prize.

    I seem to remember a thread a few months ago in which a commmenter claimed that going 9 months without a period made pregnancy worth every minute. Or some nonsense like that.

    Fuck, I’d take the migraines again in trade for having to pee every half an hour.

    On the bright side, you probably know the location of every single bathroom that is located near your normal haunts.

  150. quinnsmith says

    @anteprepro

    The fact that you are using outdated and sexist ideas about pregnancy to argue that features are parasites is idiotic. The woman’s body does the bulk of the work, and actively works to promote the embryos implantation and growth. It cannot exist without a woman’s body behaving in a natural and healthy way.

    It’s not a passive process, the woman’s body is fostering the life.

  151. CT says

    Audley: we can restrict it to just things that happen after birth if you’d like. if we used things during pregnancy, we might be here all day! :)

  152. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The fact that you are using outdated and sexist ideas about pregnancy to argue that features are parasites is idiotic.

    No, that is your vain attempt to redefine what is and isn’t parasitic. Fetus = parasite. End of story, except for a concern troll.

  153. Tethys says

    jayliverstich

    Nobody said a fetus is not genetically human. They said a fetus is not a person.

    If I drop and break a carton of fertilized eggs I did not just kill a dozen chickens. I broke some eggs.

  154. quinnsmith says

    In general, I find the argument that pregnancy is something the menz do to the passive women, and a woman’s ability to grow another life inside her reduced to a parasitic infection as a rhetorical device to win a pointless hypothetical argument the most sexist thing I’ve read all day.

  155. says

    Often an anti choice person would look at that video and agree that those woman have rights, but that the fetus has the right to life and that that right to life outweighs that women’s ownership of her uterus and vagina.

    I think it is important to not run from this argument but address it head on. But whether the fetus is fully human, with full legal rights just like a newborn is not a question of morality nor philosophy nor religion. It is a question of law and would need therefore a constitutional decision.

    Scalia recently argued that battle axes could be banned in spite of the second amendment because such battle axes were illegal at the time of the writing of the constitution. Thus we can assume, because Scalia is such an honorable and principled man (snark) that he would also hold that whatever the prevailing view of the fetus that was widespread at the writing of the constitution should be true today.

    Now I won’t make the argument here but remember some key points.
    1) The Negro was 3/5ths of a person but only in the census. He/she had no rights and in many states your owner could execute you for any reason. This is our constitution.
    2) Woman were little more than chattel in many states. In many states, a woman caught in adultery could be executed by the husband but not the other way around. This was not in our constitution but a pretty prevailing view, one that I suspect Scalia may still hold.
    3) I am not aware of the practice of having funerals for miscarried fetuses. This may be a modern practice, but I’m not aware of any such practice at the time of our founding, which is the point that I am making.
    Thus, we have a constitution, and a “view of the time” that allowed for the right to life to be NOT absolute for woman and blacks and there is no evidence of any prevailing view at the time that the fetus was thought to be human or to have any kind of human right that was afforded to white males in America.

    This brings us to Roe V Wade. This ruling found that when the fetus is not viable, the woman’s ownership of her body is inviolate and no state can interfere with that right. After viability – 24 weeks – it becomes an issue of her life versus the fetus and thus her right to ownership of her body at that point is only up to the point of saving her life. which I daresay is giving the fetus a LOT more rights than the constitution as written ever would have.

    In conclusion, the right to an abortion, at least before 24 weeks, is not a right based upon privacy, its a right based upon what I think most people would agree is the inalienable right endowed to us by our creator to the ownership of our body.

  156. jayliverstitch says

    Any problems you have are with you on the receiving end.

    I’ve been very clear that my difficulty in understanding your perspective on this issue may very well be my own lack of intellect.

    I’ve read the repeated answers, and some people directly answered the questions I asked and I thank them for that. Others, however, simply skirted the question altogether by claiming it wasn’t a real world scenario (something I admitted in my 2nd or 3rd post that I agreed with). Now, maybe they were right to not answer the question; maybe the question was completely stupid to begin with. If they want to explain to me why it remains a stupid question, then I welcome that as well, whether I ever get it or not.

    The posters here are not of one hive-mind though. So while some have answered my questions directly, that doesn’t mean others will necessarily agree with those answers, and I want to hear all answers, and all rationales for them.

    I feel I’m being rather civil, attempting to have a rational and informative conversation. If you have nothing to offer but insults, then kindly fuck off. Thank you.

  157. says

    Tethys:
    I don’t know if DarkFetus is hiccuping, but she definitely has rhythmic movements sometimes. She also has more of a schedule: she’s more active midday and a few hours before midnight. And right now, I can actually see her move, which is super cool.

    Oggie:
    That “9 months with no periods” bullshit was from Check Mate, Pro-choicers!– a Tumblr authored by a 19 year old “stay at home daughter” that’s filled with gotchas!. *eyeroll*

  158. CT says

    In general, I find the argument that pregnancy is something the menz do to the passive women, and a woman’s ability to grow another life inside her reduced to a parasitic infection as a rhetorical device to win a pointless hypothetical argument the most sexist thing I’ve read all day.

    Sperm are required, tho, yes? Just trying to get clarification since it seems you have knowledge I don’t about the need for sperm.

  159. Paul says

    The fact that you are using outdated and sexist ideas about pregnancy to argue that features are parasites is idiotic. The woman’s body does the bulk of the work, and actively works to promote the embryos implantation and growth.

    Would you prefer if they move the discussion to describing a fetus as equivalent to an auto-immune disorder? If your only argument is “the woman’s body is causing any bad stuff”, it’s not a very strong argument (and indeed, nothing new. This same discussion has to have happened at least a hundred times over the lifetime of Pharyngula).

  160. jayliverstitch says

    @Tethys #177

    Correct and I fully agree. I shouldv’e used the word “person” there instead of “human”. I was using human only because the original commenter used it. Point taken though.

  161. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If they want to explain to me why it remains a stupid question, then I welcome that as well, whether I ever get it or not.

    Hypothetical questions about somthing that can’t happen in reality are STUPID. Whate part of that don’t you understand, and need explained to you in words of one syllable or less?

  162. mythbri says

    @jayliverstitch #159

    So, as a related question, carli mentioned that most states have laws in place to prevent the late term scenario I bring up, do you agree we should have said laws? No matter your answer, I’d like to hear why you think the way you do.

    When you put it this simply, then I can give you my honest opinion.

    No, I don’t believe that those laws should be in place, because they attempt to outlaw something that does not (or extremely, extremely rarely) happen. I don’t believe those laws should be in place because the spirit of those laws denies the personhood and autonomy of a woman in favor of a potential person. I don’t believe those laws should be in place because I trust women to be able to make their own decisions, and that regardless of all outside considerations, no one is more qualified to make that choice than she is. She definitely should have input from doctors and close family members if she so chooses, but ultimately it is her decision.

    I mentioned in one of my previous comments that Canada has no such laws about late-term abortions. Do you know how many healthy, viable fetii are aborted by healthy pregnant women in that country?

  163. Feats of Cats says

    In general, I find the argument that pregnancy is something the menz do to the passive women, and a woman’s ability to grow another life inside her reduced to a parasitic infection as a rhetorical device to win a pointless hypothetical argument the most sexist thing I’ve read all day.

    This is your own interpretation and not what (at least most) people are saying. In the unlikely event I ever get pregnant, it will be an accident resulting from happy and consensual activities that my boyfriend and I do together, not something that happens to a passive me. It would be a parasite and I would remove it ASAP, just as I would with a tumor or tapeworm.

  164. quinnsmith says

    I guess since it’s a parasitic infection, all the stupid women who don’t get rid of it are idiots. It’s so weird that no medical association or biological definition classifies them as parasites, though. Fortunately, the people are smart enough to tell the women of the world pregnancy is just a disease!

  165. jayliverstitch says

    Whoops, I just read that comment again and I’m absolutely wrong, he did say person. Yep, I’m the dumbass here. Please make the mental substitution in my post.

  166. spamamander, more skeptical-er and rational-er than you says

    Oh yeah, no periods was so much of a benefit that I could totally ignore the morning sickness, swollen limbs, fetus that decided to either push head into my bladder or hook a foot into my ribs, peeing in a cup every doctor’s visit, the amniocentesis when I was pregnant with number three, labor and the aftermath, my loss of pelvic floor strength…

  167. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I feel I’m being rather civil, attempting to have a rational and informative conversation.

    Not from my point of view. YOu are being dumb, stupid, and ignorant, and wish to remain that way with deafness/selecdtive hearing. You can only have a rational conversation if you allow that can be wrong, which I don’t think is on the table. Can you be wrong?

  168. Feats of Cats says

    Fortunately, the people are smart enough to tell the women of the world pregnancy is just a disease!

    It is a disease resulting in babies. Some people like and want babies, though (for reasons beyond me), so they allow the disease to continue its course.

  169. says

    I’ve read some threads on whether the fetus is a human, whether an acorn is an oak tree, or whether a fertilized egg is a chicken.

    This is all irrelevant. Even whether or not the fetus is a human. that is not the question. The question is does the fetus have the constitutional ownership of a woman’s uterus when that fetus is the size of a decimal point.

    We all have different philosophies and different religions so we all can come to different conclusions about what a fetus is or is not. But we all have the same constitution. And when a state wants to take away a person’s ownership of their body, that state can only do that if the constitution as written allows it. They CANNOT TAKE IT AWAY based upon religion or philosophy.

  170. Azkyroth, Former Growing Toaster Oven says

    But in this fantasyland of poetry-writing embryos, they are conscious, and that makes them PEOPLE. And people aren’t allowed to kill other people, even if the life of one person is incredibly inconvenient for the other. That’s called murder. And I *DO* have a right to step in and tell someone else that they can’t do that.

    If I need your kidney to live, and you don’t want to donate it to me, do I have the right to force you to donate?

    Then shut the fuck up.

  171. Amphiox says

    At least half of the work is actually done be the FETUS, under control of FETAL genes that take advantage of and subvert the woman’s normal physiology in ways that can be step be step DIRECTLY analogous to what some parasites do and what many of not most cancers do.

    quinnsmith seems to have neglected this little bit of biology.

    (Interestingly, many of these genes active in the placenta are PATERNALLY imprinted in mammals, meaning they are the male’s genes, inserted by the sperm – somewhat analogous to a viral infection.)

  172. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Fortunately, the people are smart enough to tell the women of the world pregnancy is just a disease!

    Prima facie evidence (you know, that stuff you avoid) showing you are an anti-choice troll, and not an honest person.

  173. absolute says

    Now I know you’ll call me a moron as soon as possible, as that seems to be the primary word used for anyone outside of FTB consensus bubble, but I’ll try anyway.

    Assuming that:
    - the woman got pregnant after a wild party (no rape scenario)
    - she would be able to take care of the child (no malnutrition cases)
    - the fetus is healthy
    - the fetus does not pose an above normal health risk to the woman
    - at a late stage of pregnancy, she decides she does not want to have a child

    Is her right to terminate pregnancy more important that the child that already had no say in the process?
    Nobody asked it if it wanted to be born out of an accident and then killed when the person it was forced to depend on changed her mind.

    I do need to assume that an advanced fetus is similar in concept to a person, which it most likely isn’t.

    My MAIN contention is that even under this assumption you’d take value the woman more.

    p.s. I’m also wondering whether our decisions should be influenced by the potential medical progress. So if one terminated pregnancy because it would be difficult to live for either side, and then a year later a cure was discovered, wouldn’t we deem that decision immoral because it was essentially done due to lack of knowledge and did not go for the morally safe default option?

  174. Brownian says

    It’s so weird that no medical association or biological definition classifies them as parasites, though.

    Not at all. Did you read the link on parasitism I provided earlier? Are you aware that cancer researchers commonly refer to ‘cancer’ as a collection of different diseases, with different etiologies?

    That the categories we use for cognitive ease do not exactly match up with biological reality is nothing new to those that understand biology.

  175. carlie says

    Going back to the foreign bodies analogy, sperm in fact act in ways that are actively detrimental to the woman who ends up stuck with them. There are genes that are active only in sperm that code for high insulin production and growth, to make the fetus as big as possible. Maternal genes have to fight back against those to keep the fetus from growing large enough to destroy the woman.

  176. Brownian says

    Now I know you’ll call me a moron as soon as possible, as that seems to be the primary word used for anyone outside of FTB consensus bubble, but I’ll try anyway.

    We’re not a hive-mind. jayliverstitch said so.

  177. says

    Absolute:
    I’ll pose Amphiox’s question to you:
    If your kidney was needed to save my life, can you be forced to donate it?

    (And seriously, stop with the late abortion bullshit. It’s already been dealt with IN THIS VERY THREAD and at best it’s simply a derail and at worst it is used to take what few rights I have away from me.)

  178. mythbri says

    I’m going to post this again, because it keeps happening:

    Can we put a moratorium on “woman endures ideal pregnancy for eight months, three weeks, six days, twenty-three hours and fifty-nine seconds and THEN all of a sudden decides that she wants to abort the perfectly healthy fetus” argument?

    If a woman chooses to have an abortion late in her pregnancy, something has gone horribly wrong. This hypothetical never happens.

  179. Brownian says

    Is her right to terminate pregnancy more important that the child that already had no say in the process?

    Yes.

    My MAIN contention is that even under this assumption you’d take value the woman more.

    THANKS for LETTING us KNOW the POINT of YOUR claim, even THOUGH it was GLARINGLY obvious.

  180. says

    Jesus fucking Christ can we stop with these idiotic hypotheticals seriously.

    It. Doesn’t. Fucking. Matter whether a woman may “hypothetically” decide to abort one day before delivery or whether “hypothetically” a fetus was sentient cause these questions do nothing but distract from the real life difficulties of women in real life situations. These things never and do not happen, so why the fuck would you derail actual real life conversations with these stupid questions?

    Ask real questions, don’t pussyfoot around with the hypotheticals.

    Should a woman be free to terminate her pregnancy at whatever point she wants to? Yes. Period. End quotation mark. Paragraph end. Section end. Essay end.

  181. Brownian says

    Should a woman be free to terminate her pregnancy at whatever point she wants to? Yes. Period. End quotation mark. Paragraph end. Section end. Essay end.

    But we didn’t answer absolute’s issue:

    What if the woman is a flighty skank?

  182. carlie says

    But we didn’t answer absolute’s issue:

    What if the woman is a flighty skank?

    And, and, what if she’s a poor illegal immigrant? Huh? Huh?

  183. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    at a late stage of pregnancy, she decides she does not want to have a child

    Prove that this would result in a third trimester abortion for reasons of birth control, or shut the fuck up. Hypotheticals like yours are for loser philosophs to mentally wank over, not reality based folks looking at evidence. Hint, the scenario is not possible with our current laws, so why go there?

  184. Paul says

    Nobody asked it if it wanted to be born out of an accident and then killed when the person it was forced to depend on changed her mind.

    Your hypothetical asked about abortion, not infanticide. It was not born. Nice try.

  185. Brownian says

    And, and, what if she’s a poor illegal immigrant? Huh? Huh?

    Yes, those anchor babies.

    So we’re clear that the only ethical choice for stupid, irresponsible party pumps is to force them to carry the baby to term.

    Gosh, I hope she’s smarter about her diet for nine months than she is about beer bongs at the Frat house.

  186. says

    Scalia recently argued that battle axes could be banned in spite of the second amendment because such battle axes were illegal at the time of the writing of the constitution. Thus we can assume, because Scalia is such an honorable and principled man (snark) that he would also hold that whatever the prevailing view of the fetus that was widespread at the writing of the constitution should be true today.

    When the constitution was written, abortion was legal throughout the former British colonies so long as it occurred prior to detected fetal movement, which is usually at some point between 15 and 20 weeks. There were no laws forbidding it and so British common law prevailed: abortion could occur before quickening.

    Naturally, Scalia should support it.

  187. jayliverstitch says

    Not from my point of view. YOu are being dumb, stupid, and ignorant, and wish to remain that way with deafness/selecdtive hearing. You can only have a rational conversation if you allow that can be wrong, which I don’t think is on the table. Can you be wrong?

    I’ve actually stated more than once that I may be wrong on this topic, but more importantly, I’ve not even stated how I feel about it. I think maybe you’re the one not reading my posts. I’m asking questions; questions whose answers might help me understand, not to mention come to, the conclusions that others here have already reached about the morality of this topic.

    And as an aside, I think I better understand and now, as a result, more closely identify with mythbri’s, Audley’s and others positions (because they actually took the time to help me understand, unlike you).

    I hope I’m being trolled. If so, bravo sir.

  188. carlie says

    Gosh, I hope she’s smarter about her diet for nine months than she is about beer bongs at the Frat house.

    Oh, and that’s a whole other can of worms, regulating what pregnant women get to put in their own bodies while pregnant.

  189. Amphiox says

    Even if a fetus was fully conscious and A PERSON, if unwanted, it is violating the bodily integrity of another FULLY HUMAN PERSON and threatening her health (even if a completely normal pregnancy). The woman has the absolute right to evict the fetus in self-defence with whatever level of force is necessary. Even if this level of force has the secondary result of killing the fetus, this is allowed in the application of force in self-defence and is the justification for both the stand your ground and the castle doctrine laws.

    No matter how you slice it, denying a pregnant woman the right to use force to evict an unwanted fetus (even if fully human) from inside her body can only be ethically justified by arguing that the pregnant WOMAN is LESS THAN FULLY HUMAN. The degree of humanity of the fetus is actually completely irrelevant, because EVEN IF YOU SET THAT AT MAXIMUM, at fully human, it is not enough to justify restricting abortion.

    Restricting abortion = accepting that pregnant women are not fully human and do not have the same rights to bodily integrity on self defense as other full humans do.

  190. Brownian says

    Nobody asked it if it wanted to be born out of an accident and then killed when the person it was forced to depend on changed her mind.

    That is a shame.

    How do you think a fetus would answer such a question, given that both clauses depend upon a theory of mind, the existence of which in children under 3-4 is a matter of debate among researchers.

  191. Millicent says

    The only plus that I got from being pregnant was that all my MS symptoms went away (of course they then came roaring back after I delivered. Vertigo while caring for a newborn is NOT fun).

    I’d say that all the hypothetical “what if the preg lady wants to abort at the last second aieee!” should be answered with a quick “Doesn’t happen. Do you have a question about reality?” because damn. What a freakin’ derailing waste of time.

  192. Brownian says

    Oh, and that’s a whole other can of worms, regulating what pregnant women get to put in their own bodies while pregnant.

    It’s kind of irrelevant. The health of the fetus for 9 months doesn’t matter: what does is its utility in the punishment of women for fucking.

  193. Pteryxx says

    …y’all post way too fast for me. Thoughts…

    Why is this:

    Especially since the fetus didn’t choose to be there.

    some sort of argument on the fetus’s behalf but not on the woman’s behalf? Because a woman’s a conscious adult capable of choice, she should have LESS rights? If the woman didn’t choose to be pregnant, and doesn’t choose, actively, to REMAIN pregnant, then why should the fetus get a pass for attempting to kill the pregnant woman with its presence?

    Also, y’all really do need to look at that wiki link if you’re going to toss these one-day-before-birth hypotheticals around, to realize just how callous you’re being.

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

    Spoiler:

    Nonetheless, and despite medical testimony that such a procedure would probably end Carder’s life, an order was issued authorizing the hospital to perform an immediate C-section. Obstetricians at the hospital initially refused to carry out the procedure, but eventually one reluctantly agreed. A three-judge appellate panel upheld the decision in an emergency telephone appeal, despite Carder’s own repeated pleas of “I don’t want it done.”

    Exactly how long the fetus survived is a matter of some dispute; the most commonly cited figure is two hours. Susan Faludi quotes the obstetrician who performed the surgery as saying attempts to inflate the fetus’s lungs were “like trying to ventilate a rock”.

    Angela Carder was informed of her baby’s death and survived her surgery for two days before lapsing into a coma and dying thereafter.

  194. Brownian says

    I’d say that all the hypothetical “what if the preg lady wants to abort at the last second aieee!” should be answered with a quick “Doesn’t happen. Do you have a question about reality?” because damn. What a freakin’ derailing waste of time.

    I understand that Seriallatetermabortia is a close cousin of Chicagowelfarequeenie.

  195. Feats of Cats says

    jayliverstitch, save your JAQing off for a topic that isn’t so emotionally charged, or, y’know, never, because it’s annoying. Abortion may not be a big deal for you, but that’s not the case for many people here. Don’t be surprised when you bring into question whether we’re full people that we insult you and tell you to fuck off.

  196. carlie says

    Also, since the fetus doesn’t get to decide what to eat every day, there should be a government-approved diet that all pregnant women must follow* in order to give the fetus the best environment it can possibly get under the onerous circumstances of not being able to choose for itself. And they have to be restricted in what activities they can do and where they can go, so as to protect said fetus. Oh, and all women have to start taking gigantic pre-natal vitamins every day as soon as they start menstruating just in case an embryo pops up in there sometime, just to be ready for it.

    *but they have to pay for the specialized food themselves; we don’t want government all in our business and giving handouts or anything.

  197. Paul says

    some sort of argument on the fetus’s behalf but not on the woman’s behalf? Because a woman’s a conscious adult capable of choice, she should have LESS rights?

    But it is an argument on the woman’s behalf; almost all abortion laws have allowances for “cases of rape or incest”. If a woman gets pregnant otherwise, she chose to have sex so she chose to risk pregnancy. The fetus didn’t even have that, therefore its interest should get priority. The woman should have known better.

    It’s a common argument. Hell, our esteemed host’s kin was making it a couple years ago in one of the Pharyngula comment threads.

  198. mythbri says

    @Pteryxx

    Thanks for re-iterating the point of that case. It’s not precisely analogous with the extremely improbably hypothetical scenario that people keep bringing up, but it’s similar enough to demonstrate why that argument is harmful.

  199. says

    Especially since the fetus didn’t choose to be there.

    If the fetus didn’t choose to be there then it clearly doesn’t want to be there, so what’s the problem amiright?

    The fetus has shown no preference (it didn’t choose) the woman didn’t choose and shows a negative preference (I don’t want it), so it seems that both parties are in unanimous vote!

  200. Brownian says

    Also, since the fetus doesn’t get to decide what to eat every day, there should be a government-approved diet that all pregnant women must follow* in order to give the fetus the best environment it can possibly get under the onerous circumstances of not being able to choose for itself. And they have to be restricted in what activities they can do and where they can go, so as to protect said fetus. Oh, and all women have to start taking gigantic pre-natal vitamins every day as soon as they start menstruating just in case an embryo pops up in there sometime, just to be ready for it.

    *but they have to pay for the specialized food themselves; we don’t want government all in our business and giving handouts or anything.

    Plus daily slaps. In case they enjoy the pregnancy too much, and the potential child support they’ll get from the hapless sugar daddy whose sperm was probably stolen under false pretenses.

  201. jayliverstitch says

    @Katherine Lorraine, Chaton de la Mort #207

    I completely agree, they don’t happen in the real world. And I also completely understand why you think it’s futile to raise them and debate policy based on them, as it would be solving a problem that simply doesn’t exist in the first place. Point taken.

    But if you claim that we should remove outlandish hypothetical scenarios from the discussion, then this entire topic, including PZ’s original post should be removed from the blog. Fetuses don’t write poetry. PZ is making a point based on a crazy hypothetical that they do, and claiming that abortion would still be moral if that were the case.

    I just wasn’t sure coming into this discussion that I could buy his argument. So to better understand his crazy hypothetical, completely non-real scenario, I am raising additional hypothetical non-real scenarios. I’m still not entirely convinced that I agree with him, but many points people are making do make sense to me and will no doubt help in informing my position.

  202. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Dear Cthuthlu, Audley, you rock so hard. In honor of the Darkfetus having a kick ass mom, I’d really like to make something awesome for her. I am going to e-mail you.

    ++

    My MAIN contention is that even under this assumption you’d take value the woman more.

    O.M.G. You mean the DON’T treat WOMEN like temporarily useful
    INCUBATORS!! What horrible people they ARE!

  203. Millicent says

    I understand that Seriallatetermabortia is a close cousin of Chicagowelfarequeenie.

    Indeed, they have a beeeyoutiful palace in Notrealityville, a glorious place full of assumptions and ignorance!

  204. vaiyt says

    If terminating a pregnancy is murder, does that mean a miscarriage or a blastocyst that fails to attach equals involuntary manslaughter?

    There won’t be enough prisons for all those women, I fear.

  205. davec says

    Is there some Order beyond the Molly? Brownian, I think 148 and 149 deserve perticular recognition. Bravo, sir.

  206. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Typical jacking off concern troll:
    Asks inane and repetative questions, and can’t hear the answers.
    Says it has no opinion (every adult has an opinion on abortion).
    Says we can convince it (sure-eh).

    Guess who fit the bill? QUACK, QVACK, QWACK.

  207. Quinn Martindale says

    Ogvorbis:

    You do realize that there are those who firmly believe that if a woman is pregnant, and does not carry the pregnancy to term, she has failed to fulfill a duty and ought to be punished? Retributive justice does not work. And shit like this is just one example of why it does not work.

    Incorrect applications of theory do not invalidate the theory. Example What duty, if any, do pregnant women have to their fetuses? If none, as everyone here (including me) seems to agree, then no punishment is proper. If there is such a duty, then other forms of criminal justice rooted in consequentialism would also require punishment, e.g. deterrence.

  208. says

    But if you claim that we should remove outlandish hypothetical scenarios from the discussion, then this entire topic, including PZ’s original post should be removed from the blog. Fetuses don’t write poetry. PZ is making a point based on a crazy hypothetical that they do, and claiming that abortion would still be moral if that were the case.

    I just wasn’t sure coming into this discussion that I could buy his argument. So to better understand his crazy hypothetical, completely non-real scenario, I am raising additional hypothetical non-real scenarios. I’m still not entirely convinced that I agree with him, but many points people are making do make sense to me and will no doubt help in informing my position.

    I’m sorry, are you stupid?

    “Even if BLANK were true it wouldn’t matter” is different from “What about if Ninjascorpionlions!?”

    One is arguing the realities of a situation pointing out that a given metric is irrelevant (much like how the volume of your neighbors tuba playing is irrelevant to your tax rate) where the other is asking to make a change or discussion on real world issues based on an unlikely hypothetical.

    “Even IF the Jews had killed Christ, they deserve respect like every other human” compared to “Well about Jews making matza from baby blood!? Are you against that!?”

  209. carlie says

    If terminating a pregnancy is murder, does that mean a miscarriage or a blastocyst that fails to attach equals involuntary manslaughter?

    There won’t be enough prisons for all those women, I fear.

    Oh, making miscarriages criminally prosecutable is old news.

  210. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    FFS! It doesn’t matter if an embryo or fetus is a parasite in the sense that ecologists or parasitologists mean. I’m not confused at all that what is meant in the context of this discussion, and I doubt many of you are either.

    Amphiox says:

    ..No matter how you slice it, denying a pregnant woman the right to use force to evict an unwanted fetus (even if fully human) from inside her body can only be ethically justified by arguing that the pregnant WOMAN is LESS THAN FULLY HUMAN. The degree of humanity of the fetus is actually completely irrelevant, because EVEN IF YOU SET THAT AT MAXIMUM, at fully human, it is not enough to justify restricting abortion.

    This argument holds regardless of this distracting quibble over the meaning of parasitism.

  211. Paul says

    I remember that. If I’m thinking of the rignt argument, she was saying that women need to “take responsibility for their actions”.

    /nod. I was threatened with banning because I didn’t want to let it slide, when most others just took a couple whacks at it and then decided to drop it (although the main reason for repeated responses is I felt that the other side was being misrepresented in a cheap effort at summary dismissal). Perhaps that has some bearing on my positions in more current discussions; I’m not sure. Something for me to think about.

  212. CT says

    @jayliverstitch

    I think it’s pretty clear they don’t agree with PZ about discussion about this hypothetical. If they *do* agree, they have not made that clear.

    Your hypothetical is a bit different than PZ’s. Your hypothetical involves a viable late term fetus while his involves an embryo something that by definition can’t live on it’s own.

    Also, your questions sound very much like a pro-life troll since you immediately took a hypothetical about an embryo and turned it into a discussion about late-term abortion. very pro-life trollish. Maybe you didn’t mean to. Since I’m just an ignorant hash mark on the face of society myself, I’ll give you the benfit of a doubt.

  213. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    …In case they enjoy the pregnancy too much, and the potential child support they’ll get from the hapless sugar daddy whose sperm was probably stolen under false pretenses.

    Or maybe it was just carelessly left at the National Gallery.

  214. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    What duty, if any, do pregnant women have to their fetuses?

    Depends on the woman, not you. You are irrelevant to the discussion, and shouldn’t have any say in what another adult does. That is what should be treated with social condemation, you trying to tell another full adult what to do with their bodies.

  215. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Your hypothetical is a bit different than PZ’s. Your hypothetical involves a viable late term fetus while his involves an embryo something that by definition can’t live on it’s own.

    Also, your questions sound very much like a pro-life troll since you immediately took a hypothetical about an embryo and turned it into a discussion about late-term abortion. very pro-life trollish.

    jay knows this, still doesn’t care.

    Rising probability that jay is trolling.

  216. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oh, Pharyngula, I just can’t quit you. jliverwhatevs compelled me to un-flounce.

    Listen up cupcake:

    1. “Civil” is not synonymous with “avoiding using bad words and aggressive argumentation.”

    2. What you’re referring to is arbitrary aesthetic etiquette, a dress code for words if you like. By analogy, if you show up at the opera in pajamas rather than a tuxedo, you are not naked. You’re merely wearing the wrong arbitrarily designated attire.

    3. Civility requires much, much more than merely conforming to verbal etiquette. It requires serious ethical engagement with your interlocutors (this includes shutting up when appropriate), avoiding derailing conversations to satisfy your selfish desires, morally weighting the effects of your masturbatory hypotheticals on the very dire situation faced by real people in the real world.

    For most of this thread you’ve been what you believe is “civil.” Meaning you didn’t use profanity and you didn’t “sound angry.” That’s not real civility. That’s appealing to, frankly, a classist method of discourse that allows selfish, rude, outrageous behavior to go unnoticed as it’s cloaked in fine evening wear.

    Shocking though it clearly is to you, you’ve been an absolute FUCKER in this conversation. Stop “just asking questions”. You’re bullshitting even though you don’t know it. Do better, asshole.

  217. says

    I think the only situation in which you can talk about imposing responsibilities to a fetus is one that has such open contraception and abortion access that no one can have an unwanted pregnancy. Also the state would have to recognize the task of reproduction as some social good and provide compensation ala tax break or additional benefits.

  218. jayliverstitch says

    @Ing: Praise The Lord And Pass the Ammunition #240

    Jesus H Christ why is everyone thinking that I’m here to be belligerent! I’ve said it, you people are winning. You are helping to sway my opinion on this topic. Why must everyone be such an asshole to me for simply trying to be persuaded to your point of view?

    I am not trying to sway public policy in any way. I’m not even trying to sway you people in any way. I am not an anti-abortionist. I believe it should be legal at least up until late in the pregnancy (and maybe even after, I’m not sure on that part yet). I came here with those beliefs, yet everyone seems to think I’m disagreeing with them. I’m simply having a difficult time accepting PZs dismissal of that metric as informative. That’s all.

    As to your point, I’m sorry I still see no difference. I can phrase it so that it sounds exactly the same.

    PZ stated that a given metric is irrelevant.

    jay asked if a different metric was relevant, and if so, why.

    Most have stated that this metric (viability) was irrelevant. Fair enough, now I understand.

  219. Pteryxx says

    I think the only situation in which you can talk about imposing responsibilities to a fetus is one that has such open contraception and abortion access that no one can have an unwanted pregnancy.

    …and also in which health care is so advanced and freely available that a pregnancy doesn’t risk the woman’s life or health. …basically it’d require artificial standalone uteri.

  220. carlie says

    Well, if we’re going to talk about violating bodily autonomy because fetuses are so important, I think we need to nip it in the bud, so to speak.

    All men have to have vasectomies upon reaching puberty, and can choose to have those vasectomies reversed if and when they plan to have children, with a signed affadavit from the woman who is going to allow them to attempt impregnation. What’s wrong with that?

  221. Paul says

    Most have stated that this metric (viability) was irrelevant. Fair enough, now I understand.

    Care to repeat why it’s irrelevant, based on the opinions in this thread? Honest question. I’m curious what you took away from this.

  222. says

    As I gave in an example
    “Even IF the Jews had killed Christ, they deserve respect like every other human” compared to “Well about Jews making matza from baby blood!? Are you against that!?”

    Merit X is irrelevant the topic is Merit Y. vs What if Unicorns went spear fishing with ninjas!?

    Jesus H Christ why is everyone thinking that I’m here to be belligerent! I’ve said it, you people are winning. You are helping to sway my opinion on this topic. Why must everyone be such an asshole to me for simply trying to be persuaded to your point of view?

    I’m not being an asshole to you. You’ll notice a stark contrast when I decide to be an asshole.

  223. Quinn Martindale says

    Nerd of Redhead:

    Depends on the woman, not you. You are irrelevant to the discussion, and shouldn’t have any say in what another adult does. That is what should be treated with social condemation, you trying to tell another full adult what to do with their bodies.

    I didn’t realize I stumbled into a den of libertarians. We all tell each other what to do all the time. Arguing otherwise is facile. Should we minimize societal intrusions on personal autonomy? Absolutely. I agree that fetuses are not children, that abortion should be legal, and that we must respect the bodily integrity of everyone. But people have to respect the rights of others, pay their taxes and, in most cases, take care of their children.

    I support a government that tells people they cannot put intoxicating substances into their bodies while operating motor vehicles. I support a government that requires educators and medical professionals to report child abuse. We impose duties, both positive and negative, on members of society all the time, and punish those who fail to fulfill them.

    I’m enjoying this discussion, but I’ll point out again that I don’t think there is much disagreement here about anything in terms of real world policy.

  224. CT says

    Pteryxx:

    …and also in which health care is so advanced and freely available that a pregnancy doesn’t risk the woman’s life or health. …basically it’d require artificial standalone uteri.

    This.

  225. dianne says

    Is there any point during a pregnancy, before birth, that you would find an abortion to be morally unacceptable?

    No. Because at any time up to birth, the pregnancy can still go wrong and kill the pregnant woman.

    Say, an apparently perfectly healthy fetus, a week before due date?

    No. See above. There’s another party in this matter besides the fetus whose health matters.

    What about partial birth abortions (I hate to bring this up because now I feel I sound like “them”)?

    What about them? Why not use the technique that is most likely to result in the pregnant woman retaining her life, health, and fertility, regardless of how “icky” you think the technique is.

  226. says

    …and also in which health care is so advanced and freely available that a pregnancy doesn’t risk the woman’s life or health. …basically it’d require artificial standalone uteri.

    Well I was imagining some scenario where the government actually saw producing a new citizen as a temporary second job and treated being pregnant as a civil service position.

  227. says

    I support a government that tells people they cannot put intoxicating substances into their bodies while operating motor vehicles. I support a government that requires educators and medical professionals to report child abuse. We impose duties, both positive and negative, on members of society all the time, and punish those who fail to fulfill them.

    But we don’t force people to be organ donors.

  228. Quinn Martindale says

    carlie:

    All men have to have vasectomies upon reaching puberty, and can choose to have those vasectomies reversed if and when they plan to have children, with a signed affadavit from the woman who is going to allow them to attempt impregnation. What’s wrong with that?

    Presumably you’re trying to make a point about bodily integrity and the risk of unnecessary medical procedures, but I’ve got no objection to this in principle.

  229. carlie says

    But we don’t force people to be organ donors.

    Not even when they’re dead. Organ donation of dead people is opt-in, not opt-out. Dead people get more legal bodily autonomy than women.

  230. Walton says

    Neither, it’s an application of retributive justice. People who do wrong (in this case, fail to fulfill a duty) ought to be punished.

    I disagree with this. “Retributive justice” – i.e. revenge – isn’t justice at all. It’s irrational and destructive. As Gandhi put it, an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

    If parents are failing to care for their children properly, I’m not sure how punishing the parents is supposed to help the children. What would you do? Send the parents to prison, meaning that the children would likely be put in state foster care (something which is demonstrably a bad outcome for the children)? Or fine the parents, meaning that they’d have less money with which to support the children? How would these options make the children’s lives any better?

    The retributive impulse is something we ought to learn to resist. We ought, as a society, to learn to be more compassionate and forgiving. Parents who aren’t able to take care of their children properly often have serious problems of their own – mental health issues, debt, substance dependencies, and so on – and ought to be helped, not condemned. It’s easy to sit on a privileged high horse and tell people that their problems are “their own fault”, but real life doesn’t work like that.

  231. dianne says

    But we don’t force people to be organ donors.

    We are so far from forcing people to be organ donors that if a person agrees to donate an organ or tissue, goes through all the testing required to prove that s/he is a good candidate for donating, and signs the informed consent for removal of the organ or tissue then changes his/her mind just before going under anesthesia…we stop and do not remove the organ. Even if the “organ” in question is bone marrow which will grow back on its own without damage to the donor. Even if the recipient will die without it. We just don’t do that. With one exception: pregnant women are forced to donate space in their uteri to fetuses regardless of their consent or lack of consent.

  232. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Question to the horde:

    Do any of you have good links on the way that laws about late-term abortion have been exploited by anti-choicers filing frivolous lawsuit after frivolous lawsuit to burden doctors who wish to perform late-term abortions for medical reasons from being able to do their necessary work in peace?

    I think I remember some good stuff came up in the George Tiller thread, but its comments aren’t restored yet.

  233. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Don’t let’s use the term “partial birth abortion”. It’s made up propaganda, it is not used by medical professionals, and we should not concede its use by repeating it.

    Also, our “opt-in” system for organ donation is despicable. No one should have the right to say “no, you may not use my kidneys to help another person even when I no longer exist and can have no interests to insult or satisfy.” At the very least we should have an opt-out system.

  234. Pteryxx says

    Well I was imagining some scenario where the government actually saw producing a new citizen as a temporary second job and treated being pregnant as a civil service position.

    …talk about dangerous jobs, whew. I wonder if all those manly-men miners and fishers and smoke jumpers and whatnot would change careers?

    If parents are failing to care for their children properly, I’m not sure how punishing the parents is supposed to help the children.

    this. Parents already have huge problems if they’re ONLY caring for their children because of the threat of punishment if they don’t. Not to mention, half the time they’re punished for being poor, not for being cruel to their children.

  235. Quinn Martindale says

    Ing:

    But we don’t force people to be organ donors.

    We should absolutely require postmortem organ donation. We should incentivize living organ donation, and I’d support requiring parents to donate a kidney or marrow to their own child.

  236. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    We all tell each other what to do all the time. Arguing otherwise is facile. But should we be doing that if the public isn’t endangered by what is happening? You mention drinking and driving. By all means, one shouldn’t drink and drive, as the public is endangered. But, having a drink at home? You, nor anyone else, shouldn’t have a say in that. Likewise, as in anything to do with a pregnant woman that doesn’t endanger the public shouldn’t be under a third parties perview. Nothing really changes whan a woman becomes pregnant.

  237. carlie says

    We are so far from forcing people to be organ donors that if a person agrees to donate an organ or tissue, goes through all the testing required to prove that s/he is a good candidate for donating, and signs the informed consent for removal of the organ or tissue then changes his/her mind just before going under anesthesia…we stop and do not remove the organ.

    Hell, if the person who has agreed to donate, gone through all the tests, and signed all the paperwork then dies, their relatives can object to their organs being donated and stop the whole procedure, against the wishes of the person who has just died thinking their organs were going to be donated.

  238. carlie says

    I’d support requiring parents to donate a kidney or marrow to their own child.

    What if the parent has 6 children, and a high risk of death if they donate, thereby leaving the other 5 without a parent?

  239. says

    Quinn:
    Read ixchel’s links. Talking about late abortion does have real world implications: restricting access puts women’s lives at risk. Talking about super intelligent fetuses lets us know where others stand on bodily integrity. Arguing about parasites points out who has magical thinking about pegnancy. Or are you saying that everyone’s opinion is different in the real world?

    And fuck you. I’m not a libertarian simply because I think you’re an idiot.

  240. jayliverstitch says

    @Paul #256

    It’s my understanding that the objection is based on the fact that the fetus is dependent on the woman’s organs and/or body as a whole for survival. So if we claim a right to force a woman to use her body as the host for another individual, we are robbing her of her choice to use her body in the way she sees fit. It would be similar to a scenario where the government could force another individual (woman or not) to forfeit a kidney if another fully independent person would otherwise die. Is this remotely accurate? If so, I understand the point, and I agree that it’s a valid one.

  241. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I’d support requiring parents to donate a kidney or marrow to their own child.

    Take your obsessive child fetishization elsewhere. You’re creeping me the fuck out. You don’t get to expect other people to worship children above all things just because mommy instinct.

  242. Tethys says

    jay

    Jesus H Christ why is everyone thinking that I’m here to be belligerent!

    If it walks like a duck troll, and it talks like a duck troll …

    We have had this discussion many times, and you are using troll derailing anti-abortion talking points. Many here are on a very short fuse due to a full year of non-stop misogyny flame wars.

    I do give you +1 for figuring out that you misread the human versus person statement, and owning the error.

  243. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    I’ve actually stated more than once that I may be wrong on this topic, but more importantly, I’ve not even stated how I feel about it. I think maybe you’re the one not reading my posts. I’m asking questions; questions whose answers might help me understand, not to mention come to, the conclusions that others here have already reached about the morality of this topic.

    And yet you keep asking, basically, the same question: under what circumstance is it okay for me (or someone else) to tell another person that they have to go through pain, discomfort, and possible disability or death? You may be phrasing it differently, but that is what you keep asking.

    Jesus H Christ why is everyone thinking that I’m here to be belligerent!

    Because you are. You drop into a thread and immediately start to ‘Just Ask Questions’. All of which are predicated on the imaginary bugaboo of the late term termination of viable foetuses. This is an extremely aggressive and beligerant tactic used by many on the anti-choice side of human rights.

    Why must everyone be such an asshole to me for simply trying to be persuaded to your point of view?

    Because you keep aksing questions that are predicated on the idea that there is a certain point at which you get to decide what a woman can do with her body. Reacting to this does not make us assholes. An argument could be made that your questions, all of which point to restricting the rights of women, would make you the asshole. If anything, you have been treated with far more respect than your JAQing would normally deserve.

    I believe it should be legal at least up until late in the pregnancy (and maybe even after, I’m not sure on that part yet). I came here with those beliefs, yet everyone seems to think I’m disagreeing with them.

    Because you are disagreeing with us. You have decided that there is an arbitrary point at which someone other than the woman and her doctor, within current law, must step in to stop a woman from making a ‘bad choice.’ So yes, we are disagreeing with you. And we keep explaining, again and again and again, what that disagreement is.

    Presumably you’re trying to make a point about bodily integrity and the risk of unnecessary medical procedures, but I’ve got no objection to this in principle.

    You have no objection to forcing people to undergo a medical procedure? Fine. My liver is failing. I need one. Give me yours. Now.

    Basically our society and legal system has agreed there is a line that the government cannot cross…except in very very hypocritical situations where it is in error.

    Only when a woman might make a decision that gods don’t like.

    …talk about dangerous jobs, whew. I wonder if all those manly-men miners and fishers and smoke jumpers and whatnot would change careers?

    Nah. Women’s work. They’d probably come up with the equivalent of a waiter’s wage. After all, if a woman can do it, how hard can it be? (This is sarcasm!)’

    MEAT: This thread is moving too fast for my poor old liberal arts mind to keep up.

  244. dianne says

    I’d support requiring parents to donate a kidney or marrow to their own child.

    Forever? Can I (at 44) demand my (77 year old) father’s kidney if I want to?

  245. jayliverstitch says

    @Tethys #281

    I’ve not had this discussion here, ever. Maybe you have, but I don’t generally read the comments and often don’t even read the original post.

    I’m not a troll. I’m on your side. Understand however, that having been raised in a Christian household for most of your life (maybe you were too, I dunno), it takes time for opposing arguments to sink in; it takes time to “get it”.

    Every time I’ve heard this “it’s my body” statement, I always took that to mean that pro-choice advocates were stating that the fetus itself was part of her body (and I think that’s how most pro-lifers take it). So the standard response, ofcourse, is, “it’s not your body, it’s a baby”.

    So to be clear, I’ve thought for quite a while that both of these points of rhetoric were nonsense. The fetus isn’t part of her body (at least I don’t think that’s what you guys are saying) but it’s also not a baby, it’s a potential baby.

    The “its my body” talking point though, as I now understand it, has to do with the woman’s actual body being forced as a host to a child she may not want or that may even be a danger to her. A completely valid point to be sure.

    So please bare with me. Sometimes it takes a while, even well into someones rejection of religion, for the indoctrination and forced misinformation to wear off.

  246. CT says

    I’m trying to think what sort of poetry an embryo might compose. “An Ode to the Walls that Shelter Me” perhaps?

  247. Quinn Martindale says

    @Walton,

    The retributive impulse seems to be a fundamental part of human nature. Retributive theories of justice are a significant part of punishment theory, with Immanuel Kant’s The Metaphysics of Morals probably being the first modern example. Furthermore, such theories can be embraced even by utilitarian philosophers, such as James Rachels. “Punishment and Desert”.

    Responding to your specific example, there are plenty of non-retributive reasons to punish bad parents. Such punishment could scare other parents straight (deterrence), prevent the bad parents from further harming their children (incapacitation) or change the bad parents’ behavior (rehabilitation). Do you really disagree with the proposition that we should punish parents who abuse or neglect their children?

  248. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Part of you “getting it”, jay, is going to include people telling you that at a certain point you need to shut the fuck up and listen. Get used to it. It isn’t going to change, and your desires or needs to be spoken to in a certain way because of your upbringing do not necessarily override other concerns. You really need to think about that.

    We get it too. All of us have held retrograde, blinkered, or stupid views. We’ve argued/whined about how mean people were for not putting up with our preferred brand of conversation. We’ve all been told to fuck off because we’ve all deserved it from time to time.

    You won’t die. It is not the end of the world. And do not even think of saying, “well, I would have supported your rights but you’ve alienated me and driven me away.” If you’re thinking along those lines right now you need to be clear that that means you’re not actually the ally you think you are.

  249. carlie says

    Forever? Can I (at 44) demand my (77 year old) father’s kidney if I want to?

    Ooo, good point! Can a 16 year old demand a parent’s organ? What about 21? That’s a good cutoff, since that’s when they’re legally adults for everything. But what about 20 and 11 months? What if the parent gives themselves liver poisoning so the surgery has to be put off for another month and then they can say no because the kid is overage?

  250. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    We should absolutely require postmortem organ donation.

    I don’t see any cited evidence for that claim. Your OPINION and mental wanking isn’t worth the electrons used to post it, if you ar telling other people what to do with their bodies, even portmortem. And that is about the only thing Liberturds and I agree on…

    Sorry about the blockquote failure #273. First line is quoted.

  251. ChasCPeterson says

    Amphiox says:

    ..No matter how you slice it, denying a pregnant woman the right to use force to evict an unwanted fetus (even if fully human) from inside her body can only be ethically justified by arguing that the pregnant WOMAN is LESS THAN FULLY HUMAN. The degree of humanity of the fetus is actually completely irrelevant, because EVEN IF YOU SET THAT AT MAXIMUM, at fully human, it is not enough to justify restricting abortion.

    This argument holds regardless of this distracting quibble over the meaning of parasitism.

    I totally agree with both Amphiox and AE.
    And I just erased a long Marjonovician comment-draft quibbling furiously about the meaning of parasitism to prove it.

    [Executive snark-free summary: I grant that a human fetus is kind of like some types of parasites (and, more grudgingly, cancers) in certain respects, but the comparisons are limited, mostly facile, and flawed. The statements that 'fetuses are parasites' are very simplistic and unhelpful to a meaningful discussion of abortion rights.]

  252. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Nerd, I don’t like Quinn’s positions much either, but I do agree that people do not have the moral claim to their organs after death that US culture tells them they do. It’s not “your body” anymore when there’s no “you” that exists. No person. No sentience. No interests that can be fulfilled or thwarted (no, I don’t believe the prior interest the still living person has in “knowing” “their” kidney will go to the grave with them is sufficiently compelling). Part of the social compact in a society in which organ transplant is possible should be that you have a duty to share what you can no longer use.

  253. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    The statements that ‘fetuses are parasites’ are very simplistic and unhelpful to a meaningful discussion of abortion rights.

    Thanks for your opinion.

  254. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Josh: It hasn’t been helpful in this thread. In my opinion.

    I’m unclear on what the goal is for which it has been unhelpful. Serious, not snarking.

  255. pensnest says

    jayliverstitch @ #171

    At what stage then, do you consider it a human?

    When it breathes air like the rest of us.

    absolute @ 200

    Assuming that:
- the woman got pregnant after a wild party (no rape scenario)
- she would be able to take care of the child (no malnutrition cases)
- the fetus is healthy
- the fetus does not pose an above normal health risk to the woman
- at a late stage of pregnancy, she decides she does not want to have a child

    Dear me. It must have been one hell of a hangover if she does not notice that she is pregnant and doesn’t want to be until, oh, eight months later.
    Don’t be so damn silly.

    And, please note, if something goes drastically wrong *during labour*, which is not unknown, I would be firmly in favour of prioritising the woman’s life over that of the fetus. And I would have expected my husband to make the same choice had it ever been necessary for him to do so.

    (My, this thread is fast.)

  256. jayliverstitch says

    @Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph #282

    I knew when I posed the late term question that I ran the risk of being accused a pro-lifer and of just generally throwing a live hornets nest into the discussion. I even mentioned it in that post.

    Perhaps I could’ve or should’ve tried to come up with a different way to pose what was a genuine point of confusion, without resorting to the hyperbolic point of late term abortions. I apologize that I didn’t.

    And for the record, I’ve actually retorted on many occasions when in conversations with my still religious friends (because as you say, they always go there), that partial birth abortions are a non-issue because A) they’re illegal and B) nobody is advocating for them anyway.

    The point I was wanting to get at was to see how you guys determine the morality of the situation, and whether it does in fact differ from mine.

  257. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Part of the social compact in a society in which organ transplant is possible should be that you have a duty to share what you can no longer use.

    A couple of practical problems there. (I’ve been on the organ donor list in the past.) First, it ignores religious objections of the families. Second, typically the donor/donor’s family pays for the operation to remove their organs, even post-mortem (which is why I’m no longer on the list). The state needs to step in and fix the latter problem.

  258. dianne says

    And, please note, if something goes drastically wrong *during labour*, which is not unknown, I would be firmly in favour of prioritising the woman’s life over that of the fetus.

    In some places in the world, an abortion is still the only way to deal with obstructed labor that has any chance of saving the pregnant woman.

  259. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    The retributive impulse seems to be a fundamental part of human nature.

    Naturalistic fallacy.

    Retributive theories of justice are a significant part of punishment theory, with Immanuel Kant’s The Metaphysics of Morals probably being the first modern example.

    Doesn’t matter.

    Furthermore, such theories can be embraced even by utilitarian philosophers, such as James Rachels. “Punishment and Desert”.

    But they shouldn’t be. Rachels is an asshole.

    Responding to your specific example, there are plenty of non-retributive reasons to punish bad parents.

    But you didn’t actually respond to Walton’s specific example, because Walton gave plenty of reasons to not punish.

    Such punishment could scare other parents straight (deterrence), prevent the bad parents from further harming their children (incapacitation) or change the bad parents’ behavior (rehabilitation).

    You cite no evidence in favor of any of these claims.

    Do you really disagree with the proposition that we should punish parents who abuse or neglect their children?

    He really does.

    Why are you so shallow, Quinn?

    The point is that punishing parents makes the childrens’ lives harder.

    If there are problems which the state needs to do something about, the state can mandate assistance to the family.

    There is a reason why social workers exist.

    If there are problems which are so bad that they must be dealt with by removing the children from the parents, then do so. (I don’t think Walton is saying that there are absolutely no such circumstances — only that we often imagine that bar should be lower than it is, because we fail to realistically account for how bad it is to be taken away from even shitty parents.)

    If the problems are not so bad as to require removing the children, then the state should have social workers step in and intervene as appropriate.

    Considering these two things, there is nothing else that retribution can do to improve the kids’ lives. Retribution can only impose burdens upon the family, and that necessarily means a reduction in resources for the child.

  260. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    “The statements that ‘vaccines work!’ are very simplistic and unhelpful to a meaningful discussion of anti-vax rights.”

    just trying to see if that statement is as stupid when applied to other topics as it was to this one.

  261. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Josh: Whether an embryo/fetus is a parasite, a potential human, or a completely sentient and aware human, it has no rights that trump the right of its host/woman/mother to bodily autonomy. So, establishing the status of the thing is not productive in answering the title question, “do women have autonomous control of their bodies or not?”

  262. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Jay, people have made it very clear how they determine the morality of the situation. Woman’s body, woman’s choice. It’s not so much that you were trying to understand that, but that you didn’t like the answer. You assumed that other people agreed with the premises that:

    1. Viability changes the moral balance and could override a woman’s autonomy.

    2. That there was, at bottom, some fundamental moral problem with abortion. In other words, fetuses appear to occupy the “person” category in your mind once they achieve certain alleged characteristics. We disagree on this, and I think it was hard for you to grasp that such disagreement was possible.

  263. Quinn Martindale says

    @Audley,

    There are two Quinn in this thread. quinnsmith is the one talking about parasites. I’ve been talking about various theories of duty and justice. When I talk about a lack of disagreement in reality, I mean that I think the vast majority of people in this thread support the same real world policies: safe and legal abortion and a solid social safety net.

    I called Nerd of Redhead was a libertarian because they took the position that anything that doesn’t endanger the public should be nobody else’s business. That’s libertarian rhetoric.

    @Josh,

    How would you feel about a person who had the ability to save the life of their child but didn’t? I, and I’d best most other people, would find such a person morally repugnant unless they had a good excuse. We already impose a substantial duty of care on legal guardians of children, and, in principle, I’d be fine extending that. As carlie and dianne pointed out, there are significant problems with implementing such a policy in reality.

  264. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    The point I was wanting to get at was to see how you guys determine the morality of the situation, and whether it does in fact differ from mine.

    And others have told you, multiple times, that the only place that morality enters into it, in the case of abortion, is what the woman thinks the morality is. I do not have the right to tell a person that a life-saving medical procedure is out-of-bounds because of my ‘morality.’ Unfortunately, a large number of US voters and a larger number of US politicians think that their personal version of morality is enough to condemn a woman to death.

    By the way, there are men and women here. Not all of us are ‘guys’.

  265. dianne says

    partial birth abortions are a non-issue because A) they’re illegal and B) nobody is advocating for them anyway.

    If by “partial birth abortion” you mean intact dilation and extraction, I’m advocating for them. There are (fortunately rare) circumstances under which an intact D and X is the procedure most likely to save the most lives. For example, a woman with a twin pregnancy and fetal demise of one twin. The second twin has a better chance of surviving and not undergoing premature delivery if an intact D and X is performed than any of the alternatives. Even the currently used alternative, D and E, has a higher risk of trauma to the surviving fetus. Unfortunately, pro-lifers apparently don’t believe that the second twin’s life is more important than making a point that won’t stop a single abortion.

  266. Tethys says

    The statements that ‘fetuses are parasites’ are very simplistic and unhelpful to a meaningful discussion of abortion rights.

    I disagree. ;P

    It is a very useful to counter the emotion based anti-abortion positions.

    Most people are not developmental biologists, but everyone knows what a parasite is. If they are stuck in perceiving a blastocyst or fetus as a precious, precious baybee, miracle gift from gawd, it is a very helpful comparison to the reality of pregnancy.

  267. jayliverstitch says

    @dianne #306

    Sure, fair enough. I didn’t mean to indicate that there were no circumstances period where such a thing would be ok. Point taken.

  268. absolute says

    I don’t know why you’re all getting angry when the
    ‘late abortion of an overly advanced fetus decided by the woman for possibly trivial reasons’ scenario is presented.

    Of course it almost never happens.

    It doesn’t make it any less mind boggling to read you’d not consider it immoral.

  269. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    First, it ignores religious objections of the families.

    1. Several problems you need to think through. First, if you’re defending the right of the donor to bodily autonomy after death, why are you now invoking the wishes of people who are not that body? That seems inconsistent.

    2. I’m a little surprised you assume that the religious objections of family members ought to be accorded a lot of weight when it comes to another person’s organs. Would you accord similar weight to people’s religious objections to vaccinations for public schools (I wouldn’t, for the record)?

    I realize people have strong emotional investments in death and I don’t know that I’d go to the mat on this, but I do think we should question whether “religious objections” should be automatically accorded such weight.

    Second, typically the donor/donor’s family pays for the operation to remove their organs, even post-mortem (which is why I’m no longer on the list).

    Um, I may well be ignorant but this sounds so outlandish I have to believe it’s a misunderstanding. Really?

  270. Walton says

    The retributive impulse seems to be a fundamental part of human nature.

    The same could be said of religion; after all, religion has arisen in all human cultures, and the vast majority of people in human history have been religious. That doesn’t make it right, nor does it mean we shouldn’t strive to overcome our irrational impulses.

    Retributive theories of justice are a significant part of punishment theory, with Immanuel Kant’s The Metaphysics of Morals probably being the first modern example.

    Kant’s view of punishment was deeply irrational, as illustrated by his “Last Murderer” hypothetical:

    Even if a civil society were to be dissolved by the consent of all its members (e.g., if a people inhabiting an island decided to separate and disperse throughout the world), the last murderer remaining in prison would first have to be executed, so that each has done to him what his deeds deserve and blood guilt does not cling to the people for not having insisted upon this punishment; for otherwise the people can be regarded as collaborators in his public violation of justice.

    “Blood guilt” is a supernatural concept. It has no basis in reality. It’s based in a pre-rational worldview in which sinners must atone for their sin by blood-sacrifice, in which the moral order of the universe must be rebalanced by violent retribution. There is no reason, from an atheist and materialist perspective, why this should be so.

    An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Revenge simply produces more suffering, and achieves nothing.

    Responding to your specific example, there are plenty of non-retributive reasons to punish bad parents. Such punishment could scare other parents straight (deterrence), prevent the bad parents from further harming their children (incapacitation) or change the bad parents’ behavior (rehabilitation).

    But that’s not what you said. You expressly advocated retributive justice: punishing people who do “wrong” because you think they “deserve” to be punished. You didn’t advance these kinds of consequentialist reasons.

    In any case, sending people to prison isn’t generally very effective in “rehabilitating” them. Quite the opposite: most people come out of prison traumatized, depressed, unemployed, unemployable, often with substance addictions, and often with nowhere to live. That isn’t going to make them better parents. And as I pointed out, sending parents to prison often means that the kids will be put into state foster care, which is not a good outcome for them.

    That said, there are certainly (rare and extreme) circumstances in which it’s necessary for the state to take children away from their parents, for the sake of the children’s best interests. I never said otherwise. I was disagreeing with your view that punishment for the sake of punishment, i.e. retributive punishment, is a desirable thing.

    Do you really disagree with the proposition that we should punish parents who abuse or neglect their children?

    Depends on what you mean by “punish”.

  271. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    How would you feel about a person who had the ability to save the life of their child but didn’t?

    That’s such a vague and loaded question that it’s not a fair rhetorical move. It’s “because mommy instinct” reactionary emoting. At what cost to the potential life-saver? Under what circumstances? Seriously!

  272. Brownian says

    How would you feel about a person who had the ability to save the life of their child but didn’t?

    I’d think that person was probably better off not being a parent.

  273. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Nerd—I’m even more certain now that you have a serious misunderstanding of payment for organ donation. The US Dept. of Health and Human Services:

    “The transplant recipient’s health insurance policy, Medicare, or Medicaid usually covers the cost of a transplant. The donor’s family neither pays for, nor receives payment for, organ and tissue donation.”

    http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/organ-donation.cfm#g

    I’m extremely concerned something hinky may be going on in your state. Who told you transplant donor families pay?

  274. vaiyt says

    @Audley et al:

    Which only proves my rhetorical point. This is all about the full personhood of women, and those who wish to control/minimize it. It’s not about the babies, it’s not about health. It’s a gender equality issue.

    And I know which side I’d rather be on.

  275. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    Of course it almost never happens.

    It doesn’t make it any less mind boggling to read you’d not consider it immoral.

    At what point do your beliefs outweigh the right to bodily autonomy? Be specific.

  276. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    And I’m not trying to be a dick Nerd; sorry if I come off that way:)

  277. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    It doesn’t make it any less mind boggling to read you’d not consider it immoral.

    LOl whut? What the hell is wrong with you? You’re upset that women won’t agree to be brood mares in a circumstance that never fucking happens?

    Are you pissed off that the crew of the SS Minnow don’t try harder to get home too?

  278. mythbri says

    @absolute

    Are you asking if I value an actual person, with thoughts and feelings and input about what happens to her body over a potential person? Because the answer is yes.

  279. dianne says

    How would you feel about a person who had the ability to save the life of their child but didn’t?

    That depends. Are we talking about someone who refuses to vaccinate their child and lets them die of tetanus? Or someone who refuses to feed their child to punish them for some misbehavior? I’d consider either of those scenarios pretty bad.

    Or are we talking about the parent who puts on their oxygen mask first? Or the parent who doesn’t donate their kidney to their child because s/he (the parent) suffered from CHF and likely wouldn’t survive the surgery? Or didn’t bust their child out of jail after s/he was convicted of mass genocide and sentenced to the death penalty*? I’d find the failure to save the child not unreasonable in any of these cases.

    *I’m against the death penalty and therefore wouldn’t agree with the sentence, but don’t think a parent could be faulted for failing to prevent its being carried out.

  280. mythbri says

    @absolute

    Do you know how your question reads to me?

    “Hey, guys! Wouldn’t it be incredibly awful and immoral if [something theoretically possible but extremely unlikely, which requires extraordinary proof to be taken seriously]?!”

    Then people point out to you that this doesn’t happen. And you say:

    “OMG you guys are so awful and immoral! Boggling!”

  281. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Illuminata:

    “The statements that ‘vaccines work!’ are very simplistic and unhelpful to a meaningful discussion of anti-vax rights.”

    just trying to see if that statement is as stupid when applied to other topics as it was to this one.

    Bad analogy. I think this is more apt.
    “The statements that ‘sera not obtained from cattle are not technically vaccines!’ areis very simplistic and unhelpful to a meaningful discussion of anti-vax rights.”

    The point being, that it doesn’t matter what biological status you ascribe to the thing growing inside of a woman’s uterus. Autonomy is non-negotiable.

    In other words, if I were to convince you that that thing isn’t a parasite in any way that the word is normally used, it shouldn’t alter your opinion on whether a woman has a right to do what she likes with her own body.

  282. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Of course it almost never happens.FIFY. You haven’t presented any evidence it does, ergo *POOF, your claim is dismissed as sophistry.

  283. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Kant’s view of punishment was deeply irrational, as illustrated by his “Last Murderer” hypothetical:

    Goddamn that felt good to read.

    Walton, man, I’m so glad you’re here.

  284. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    “The transplant recipient’s health insurance policy, Medicare, or Medicaid usually covers the cost of a transplant. The donor’s family neither pays for, nor receives payment for, organ and tissue donation.”

    On a live donor. Postmortem, the Redhead knows of families being billed by the hospital for OR costs.

  285. mythbri says

    @Brownian

    Looking at how long the line is for teh secks with Brownian, I can only imagine.

  286. Quinn Martindale says

    ixchel:

    The point is that punishing parents makes the childrens’ lives harder.

    If there are problems which are so bad that they must be dealt with by removing the children from the parents, then do so.

    If the problems are not so bad as to require removing the children, then the state should have social workers step in and intervene as appropriate.

    Considering these two things, there is nothing else that retribution can do to improve the kids’ lives.

    I believe some crimes demand punishment regardless of whether it benefits the victims of those crimes. What would you have the state do in cases of domestic violence or sexual assault? I hope you’d support punishing the parents beyond simply removing the children from the home. There are behaviors we, as a society, choose not to tolerate.

    @Walton,
    Retributive justice is not about revenge, it’s about treating people the way they deserve to be treated. There’s a deeper philosophical divide between us than can be addressed in this forum, but I respect your view point. In answer to your “blood guilt” point, I’ll point out that a desire for just deserts seems deeply rooted in human psychology as shown by numerous experiments. See e.g. “The Neural Basis of Altruistic Punishment.”

  287. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    On a live donor. Postmortem, the Redhead knows of families being billed by the hospital for OR costs.

    See, I’m just almost certain this is wrong, should not be happening, and may be illegal. It’s not normal and it should be looked into. I’m not disputing you that the Redhead has seen this. What I’m saying is I’m alarmed that someone has taken himself off the donor list for something that sounds scandalously wrong and should be the starting point for an investigation.

    Dianne—can you weigh in on this?

  288. Louis says

    I see an abortion thread.

    I see just asking questions.

    I see that women need to be punished for being filthy, filthy sluts.

    I despair.

    Louis

  289. Walton says

    Goddamn that felt good to read.

    Walton, man, I’m so glad you’re here.

    *blushes modestly* Thanks. I’m glad you’re here too.

  290. Walton says

    Retributive justice is not about revenge, it’s about treating people the way they deserve to be treated.

    If we don’t have libertarian free will – and we don’t – then the concept of “just deserts” is essentially meaningless. I won’t expand on this here because it would be a derail, but see this interview with Galen Strawson for starters.

  291. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    Louis:

    You forgot that women are children and cannot be trusted to make the decision that gods wants.

  292. Quinn Martindale says

    @dianne,

    I think your reasoning proves my point. There is a basic duty for parents to protect their children’s lives that can be excused by circumstances. I hope that this isn’t controversial.

    Given that, and the belief that people should be punished for failing to fulfill their ethical obligations (a belief I realize is not as widely shared), my position follows.

  293. consciousness razor says

    I believe some crimes demand punishment regardless of whether it benefits the victims of those crimes.

    I don’t listen to the demands of crimes. It’s like negotiating with terrorists, except it’s absurd because crimes are incapable of making any demands. Why do you say you believe absurd things?

    Retributive justice is not about revenge, it’s about treating people the way they deserve to be treated.

    How do you know what is “the way they deserve to be treated”?

    I’ll point out that a desire for just deserts seems deeply rooted in human psychology as shown by numerous experiments.

    You can repeat it or point it out, but this will continue to be fallacious if you want it to have ethical implications.

  294. jayliverstitch says

    Jay, people have made it very clear how they determine the morality of the situation. Woman’s body, woman’s choice. It’s not so much that you were trying to understand that, but that you didn’t like the answer. You assumed that other people agreed with the premises that:

    1. Viability changes the moral balance and could override a woman’s autonomy.

    2. That there was, at bottom, some fundamental moral problem with abortion. In other words, fetuses appear to occupy the “person” category in your mind once they achieve certain alleged characteristics. We disagree on this, and I think it was hard for you to grasp that such disagreement was possible.

    I came in knowing that the standard stance was “Woman’s body, woman’s choice”. But that didn’t so much help me understand how you guys (Sorry Ogvorbis, I accept the rebuke) came to reach that moral stance.

    I wanted to poke the mind of Josh and find out what information or data helped you reach that moral position.

    And many have helped in that regard. Thanks.

    As to your second point, you’re partially right. I do see fetuses at some stage of development as a “person” and maybe I’m completely wrong in this, and I admittedly have no idea at what “point” that would actually be (“point” is probably the wrong word anyway). Maybe it’s holdover from some other ill-informed belief on my part.

    I take the point that others have made however, that even if you grant that it’s a person, it doesn’t mean that its well being should override that of the mother. So we agree completely on that part.

    I want to point out though, that at least one other poster, at post 117, Jasper of Maine seemed to agree that at some stage in development he also considered a fetus a person. That is, unless I completely misunderstood what he was saying.

    You may disagree with Jasper, and you may be entirely correct. But I’d still like to hear from Jasper and others that agree with him, at what point they consider a fetus a person. I think he left a long time ago though, which was probably a smart move :).

  295. Paul says

    Seconding (thirding? fourthing? whatever) the “it’s good to see Walton here”.

  296. twincats says

    Lots of payoff in getting to this part of the thread where awesomeness abounds:

    I think the only situation in which you can talk about imposing responsibilities to a fetus is one that has such open contraception and abortion access that no one can have an unwanted pregnancy.

    …and also in which health care is so advanced and freely available that a pregnancy doesn’t risk the woman’s life or health. …basically it’d require artificial standalone uteri.

    I might well have had a kid if that were the case!

    Well, if we’re going to talk about violating bodily autonomy because fetuses are so important, I think we need to nip it in the bud, so to speak.

    All men have to have vasectomies upon reaching puberty, and can choose to have those vasectomies reversed if and when they plan to have children, with a signed affadavit from the woman who is going to allow them to attempt impregnation. What’s wrong with that?

    Love this!

  297. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I believe some crimes demand punishment regardless of whether it benefits the victims of those crimes.

    Retributive punishment? You have no case for it. You’re conflating things:

    What would you have the state do in cases of domestic violence or sexual assault?

    I would have the state do something to prevent the perpetrator from committing more domestic violence or sexual assault! But that is not retribution, that is prevention.

    I hope you’d support punishing the parents beyond simply removing the children from the home.

    I would not, because it would not improve the world in any way. More suffering is more suffering. You are trying to make the world worse instead of better, just to satisfy your irrational premodern mind.

    There are behaviors we, as a society, choose not to tolerate.

    Indeed, and there are other ways of not tolerating them, besides retribution.

    Retributive justice is not about revenge

    That is not true.

    In answer to your “blood guilt” point, I’ll point out that a desire for just deserts seems deeply rooted in human psychology as shown by numerous experiments. See e.g. “The Neural Basis of Altruistic Punishment.”

    What the fuck is it with you and the naturalistic fallacy?

  298. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Paul! Thank you!

    A month or so ago, NatGeo had shut off the Wayback Machine’s access to Sb Pharyngula!

    I didn’t realize it had been restored. (Somebody tell Owlmirror!)

  299. Paul says

    @342

    Thanks for answering my earlier question.

    As to your second point, you’re partially right. I do see fetuses at some stage of development as a “person” and maybe I’m completely wrong in this, and I admittedly have no idea at what “point” that would actually be (“point” is probably the wrong word anyway). Maybe it’s holdover from some other ill-informed belief on my part.

    Would it make you feel any better to realize that, past the point you consider them a “person”, it’s unheard of for them to be aborted unless there is a serious risk to the mother or the fetus is otherwise dead/unviable? That is one point people have been trying to make this entire thread. Contrast this with the serious risk that laws pose to prevent a therapeutic abortion, resulting in death of both fetus and mother.

    I want to point out though, that at least one other poster, at post 117, Jasper of Maine seemed to agree that at some stage in development he also considered a fetus a person.

    Many people do. You’re not even wrong, if all you’re saying is that “I consider the fetus a person at point x” or “he considered the fetus a person at point y”. Many (all or nearly all?) prospective mothers do as well. However, this is not a reason to accord them special legal status. I consider my cat to be a full part of my family, and would treat it as I would a child of mine in basically any manner. Many other people would as well. That does not mean such should be enshrined in law*.

    *And I’m not saying animals shouldn’t have rights either, so let’s not get into that here :-). Just saying that sentimentality alone does not provide a basis for law.

  300. mythbri says

    @jayliverstitch

    I’d still be interested to read your thoughts on the case that lined to earlier (twice), and see whether that case clarifies my position for you.

    One of the main things that informs and clarifies my position is that I am directly affected by the legislative outcomes of discussions such as these, being a woman capable of becoming pregnant. I don’t know if you can truly appreciate the feeling I, and other women, get when we hear “debate” about what we are allowed to do with our own bodies. It’s dehumanizing.

  301. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    [meta]
    Regarding the discussion of retributive justice:

    One of the things that philosophers practice is the dissection of everyday proposals. As an exercise, this may have no value to any one who isn’t …exercising, I guess. But sometimes everyday premises like “Retributive justice is not about revenge, it’s about treating people the way they deserve to be treated.” ought to be dissected. Dessert as a premise turns out to be 1)integral to how law is typically enforced, and 2) entirely unsubstantiated.

    Once every six months we have a bruhaha about the value of philosophy. I need to remember conversations like these.
    [/meta]

  302. dianne says

    Josh @332: Unfortunately, no. I’ve never heard of a family member being charged for organ donation, but don’t really know for sure. If there is someone out there with an unpaid bill for organ donation, I’d suggest challenging the hospital on it. The hospital would probably cave out of sheer embarrassment, no matter how technically within their rights they were to send the bill.

  303. Nightjar says

    I don’t know why you’re all getting angry when the
    ‘late abortion of an overly advanced fetus decided by the woman for possibly trivial reasons’ scenario is presented.

    Who are you to tell the pregnant woman that her reasons are trivial, anyway? I mean, maybe they are. But who gets to decide? Who is in a better position to decide that than the pregnant woman herself? And why is the fact that any given number of people find her reasons trivial a good enough reason to force her to give birth?

    Of course it almost never happens.

    But sometimes late term abortions are necessary and the reasons are not trivial. You’re actually making life harder for real women and their doctors with these stupid hypothetical scenarios. Why?

    It doesn’t make it any less mind boggling to read you’d not consider it immoral.

    I can only speak for me, but it’s not that I don’t find some (usually hypothetical) abortions immoral. It’s that the alternative, forcing a woman to carry a pregnancy to term against her will, is much, much worse. Do you understand this?

  304. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    Dessert as a premise turns out to be 1)integral to how law is typically enforced, and 2) entirely unsubstantiated.

    Hee hee. I’m a fucking knucklehead. Dessert isn’t a premise, but a conclusion. To, like, a meal.

    “Desert as a premise,…blah, blah.”

  305. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    I wanted to poke the mind of Josh and find out what information or data helped you reach that moral position.

    Then you should have asked that question — Josh, what information or data helped you reach that moral position? It would have saved a shitload of nonsense. And misunderstanding on my part.

    You may disagree with Jasper, and you may be entirely correct. But I’d still like to hear from Jasper and others that agree with him, at what point they consider a fetus a person.

    A foetus becomes a person when the foetus is delivered and no longer depends upon the nutrients in the blood of the mother and/or is outside her body. Any other definition denies the personhood of the pregnant woman.

    And even then, the new person does not get full rights until an arbitrary age — 16, 18, 21 years old.

  306. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    I don’t know why you’re all getting angry when the
    ‘late abortion of an overly advanced fetus decided by the woman for possibly trivial reasons’ scenario is presented.

    Of course it almost never happens.

    It doesn’t make it any less mind boggling to read you’d not consider it immoral.

    Everybody seems fine with no restrictions on eating tomatoes, but imagine a situation in which the tomato is in fact a fully sentient human who has been turned into a tomato by a witch, and you know that, yet you slice up the tomato anyway because how else are you going to make a BLT? Are you saying you’d really be comfortable with eating the tomato in that situation?

    And shouldn’t there be a law against slicing and eating tomatoes created by witches out of people? Even if it never happens, it might happen and it’s mind-boggling to think that people wouldn’t consider it immoral.

    Just to be safe we should ban BLTs.

  307. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Hee hee. I’m a fucking knucklehead. Dessert isn’t a premise, but a conclusion.

    Lol. Excellent recovery.

  308. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    Just to be safe we should ban BLTs.

    You can have my baby, lettuce and tomato sandwich when you can pry it from my cold dead hands!

    (Please note that this was an attempt at humour. As in, trying to be funny, not it is funny when he is trying. No tomatoes or babies were harmed in the preparation of this joke. The lettuce, however, was torn and the bread was sliced and toasted. Oh, and the mayo was whipped.)

  309. jayliverstitch says

    Paul #348

    To be clear, I’m in real outrage or anything over this non-existent phenomenon of 9 month -1 day abortions. I know that in a practical sense this is a non-issue. And this may in fact be why I have never really delved into this type of conversation before; because I didn’t see any real extant problem that is desperately in need of fixing.

    Anyway, I appreciate your answer. Thanks.

    Mythbri #349

    I still haven’t gotten around to reading it, but I fully intend to. Also, for the record, you already have done a decent job of clarifying your position I think, and I feel I’m better informed because of it. Thank you.

    Also, I have no delusions that I would ever be able to fully understand or appreciate the situation, being as I will never be faced with it as a woman. So I in no way blame you for feeling dehumanized when you hear a bunch of old white dudes trying reaching outcomes that affect you, and not them. It’s highly offensive to me; I can not imagine how it must appear to you.

    I hope you and others didn’t take my presence here as any “debate”. It was merely an honest and sincere search for understanding, or as close as I could come to it. Sorry if it came off as anything else.

    After work I’ll plan to read the article and post back.

  310. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I’m a little surprised you assume that the religious objections of family members ought to be accorded a lot of weight when it comes to another person’s organs. Would you accord similar weight to people’s religious objections to vaccinations for public schools (I wouldn’t, for the record)?

    I see a category error between vaccination and herd immunity at a public school, versus organ donation post mortem. One can endanger the public (other children), while that is absent in the second case. Ergo, in the first case, public health concerns overides religious beliefs

    Different groups have different burial rituals and methods(enbalming, etc.) Orthodox Jews are expected to be in the ground in toto within 24 hours. I see no reason not to respect that, as it doesn’t effect me. I told the Redhead to donate my organs and then cremate me. That’s when the cost of donating organs postmortem came up.

  311. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    jayliverstitch, on personhood:

    For any definition of “person” to be sensible and rationally and ethically justifiable, it seems to me it has to include characteristics beyond “can breathe on its own.” I don’t accept that a fetus inside a woman’s body is ever, at any time, a person in any meaningful sense.

    “Persons” (and I’m paraphrasing Peter Singer, I hope accurately. No, I’m not defending every position he holds.)are self-aware beings who have interests. Those interests go beyond needing to eat and sleep. I mean things like awareness of one’s own self, awareness of one’s own capacity to be harmed or killed and the concomitant desire to avoid these, relationships with people and society that are meaningful to the person, etc.

    A fetus, even up to the moment before birth, has none of these higher interests or even the capacity for self-reflection required to experience them. It merely has the potential to become a person.

    Yes, I am saying it’s not a fully developed person like the mother and that it does not make sense to accord it the same ethical considerations. Yes, this also means I don’t think newborn infants are persons either but this is not the place to go down that road in detail.

    However, even if the fetus were a person my position of absolute autonomy for the woman would not change.

  312. jayliverstitch says

    Erg… the above post should read “I’m NOT in any real outrage…”. Sorry.

  313. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Nerd, I’m aware of all these things, but I don’t think they address my question. Organ donation is very much a public health concern. Thousands of people die every year for want of organs. You’ve reiterated that religious objections and burial rituals exist (which is uncontroversially true and something I was well aware of), but you haven’t said why these should be accorded such weight in the organ donation case.

    I don’t mean to pick, but I’m asking a very different question. You’re not obligated to answer me, of course, but I wanted to make sure you knew you’re answering something I didn’t ask:)

  314. Tethys says

    Antiochus Epiphanes

    desserts

    Thank you! Deserts are either arid, or abandonment in my brain.

    Desserts are sweet treats, or rewards.

    /spelling variation wrongness whine.

  315. Brownian says

    Thank you! Deserts are either arid, or abandonment in my brain.

    Desserts are sweet treats, or rewards.

    You’ve never tucked into a dessert with wild abandon?

  316. dianne says

    As someone who has recommended late second trimester abortions to a couple of people, I think I can say with mild to moderate authority that if someone came up with a treatment that would do away with 18+ week abortions by making them unnecessary*, that the vast majority of women having these abortions would thank you. Profusely. Late second and third trimester abortions occur because bad things have happened in the pregnancy and it is no longer viable.

    So, how about it, pro-lifers, pro-choicers, and those on the fence? Can we all agree that more funding into the causes and possible treatment (other than abortion) of pre-eclampsia, HELLP syndrome, and acute fatty liver of pregnancy (to name three) would be a good thing? What about more funding into better treatment for sickle cell disease, diabetes, hypertension, and cancer so that women with these conditions would be more likely to be able to safely sustain a pregnancy? There’s been some progress, i.e. sickle used to have something like a 30-50% maternal mortality, it’s now down to about 1% or less, but we can do better. Better funding for medical research=pro-life for the born as well as the unborn.

    *By “unnecessary” I mean “make it possible for the fetus and the mother to reach delivery alive and healthy.”

  317. twincats says

    Partial Birth abortions have to be allowed…they’re what is done when something goes drastically drastically wrong.

    QFT

    And for the record, I’ve actually retorted on many occasions when in conversations with my still religious friends (because as you say, they always go there), that partial birth abortions are a non-issue because A) they’re illegal and B) nobody is advocating for them anyway.

    B. is blatantly false

    Back when I still attended church (early 90′s), a young woman, an ex congregant who had relocated to another state (and also someone I used to babysit) came back to visit and also to try to garner support for partial birth abortions. She was doing this because she lost her fertility (i.e. her uterus) due to being forced to “give birth” to a fetus that had died of a congenital disorder in utero. The trauma of that “birth” could have been avoided if she had been able to abort when the disorder was discovered (early third trimester, if memory serves.)

    I forget the name of the disorder, but it apparently caused the fetus to become rigid, hence the terrible damage to her uterus and vagina.

    At that time, she had at least one and possibly more surgeries to look forward to in order to reconstruct her vagina; she was still dealing with a lot of (physical) pain.

  318. Rasmus says

    It’s all well and fine to rely completely on the argument from bodily autonomy, and it’s interesting to think about a hypothetical world where that were the only valid argument for the right to abortion. It’s also a convincing argument in debates and discussions with anti abortionists.

    But in a debate you will probably find yourself wanting to use the argument from lack (of anything resembling what we normally regard as) human personhood, because if you don’t use that argument you give the anti abortionist free reign to paint some false dilemma, perhaps one between the mother’s rights on the one hand and the virtuousness of love and compassion for the baby on the other hand. If the anti abortionist is a particular kind of asshole he’ll (it’s usually a guy in this case) compare the fetus to a black person or a Jew in Nazi Germany. “You know who else liked human bodily autonomy? Hitler!”

    There’s no dilemma of any sort between rights and virtuousness with regards to abortion.

    And there’s no magical inherent knowledge that abortion is wrong. People rarely talk about it, but when researchers talk to women who have had abortions a lot of them feel really good about it. They talk about things like the empowering feeling of having taken control over their body, or of having resolved a the minor crisis that finding out that they were pregnant caused, or of knowing that they are able to get pregnant.

  319. Tethys says

    You’ve never tucked into a dessert with wild abandon?

    Yes, sometimes I will go really wild and eat dessert first.

    Anarchy!

  320. carlie says

    I don’t know if you can truly appreciate the feeling I, and other women, get when we hear “debate” about what we are allowed to do with our own bodies. It’s dehumanizing.

    Seconding this for emphasis. It’s not talking about some vague “other people”, it’s talking about us.

  321. mythbri says

    @dianne

    I like your comments, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Also, your request for common ground is eminently reasonable, and therefore not appealing to anti-choicers.

  322. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I don’t know if you can truly appreciate the feeling I, and other women, get when we hear “debate” about what we are allowed to do with our own bodies. It’s dehumanizing.

    Doubly dehumanizing, because these dudes are always putting us as third or fourth class citizens beneath babies that don’t exist

    how fucking much do you have to hate women to think that they are less important than IMAGINARY babies?

  323. Quinn Martindale says

    consciousness razor:

    “I don’t listen to the demands of crimes”

    Clever. I guess I should have said, the type of society I would prefer to live in has, as a prerequisite, societal structures that punish bad actors without regards to the benefits of such punishment to the direct victims.

    How do you know what is “the way they deserve to be treated”?

    A good and deep question regarding the nature of desert. Walton rightly points out that pursuing this question would derail the thread even further, and his position that determinism precludes just desert is a common one. I think this article contains a good discussion of the issue from Walton’s position: “For the law, neuroscience changes nothing and everything’ and that this article contains a good argument for my position “Pro Tanto Retributivism: Judgment and the Balance of Principles in Criminal Justice”.

  324. carlie says

    Regarding “partial-birth abortions”: read this.

    The procedure she had was a D&X, that same procedure. It was the only way to do it without potentially killing her or rendering her entirely infertile. The search on her older posts is wonky, but this one has a little more info. She has since had a little girl.

  325. dianne says

    I like your comments, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

    Thanks. But I don’t have a newsletter. At least I don’t think I do. Must go check to do list for promise to start newsletter.

    Also, your request for common ground is eminently reasonable, and therefore not appealing to anti-choicers.

    I’ve made this argument on sites with primarily “pro-life” people commenting. They have almost universally not gone for it. Excuses have ranged from the inane to the bizarre, but usually boil down to “I don’t love fetal life enough to want my taxes raised to save it!”

  326. carlie says

    Yes, sometimes I will go really wild and eat dessert first.

    I have eaten dessert FOR BREAKFAST. Yeah, that’s right.

  327. chigau (違う) says

    Would it be immoral to have a late-term abortion of a fetus that was the result of Alien Probing?
    Just asking.

  328. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    I have eaten dessert FOR BREAKFAST. Yeah, that’s right.

    if you’re American, that’s pretty much a given. Who doesn’t eat French Toast?

  329. thunk (Фарингюловская Народная Республика) says

    Even if the fetus were a person, it would still be dependent on the mother’s body. If there was a way to separate it upon the potential mother’s not wanting to gestate, I would be all for it.

    And there is– abortion.

    As explained above, even if the fetus will die as a result, it has no claim to any resource of the mother (cf the violinist argument).

  330. Nightjar says

    I don’t know if you can truly appreciate the feeling I, and other women, get when we hear “debate” about what we are allowed to do with our own bodies. It’s dehumanizing.

    Seconding this for emphasis. It’s not talking about some vague “other people”, it’s talking about us.

    Thirded.

  331. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    but you haven’t said why these should be accorded such weight in the organ donation case.

    First, organ donation, or donations to medical schools, should be voluntary IMHO. The last remnant of bodily autonomy, as mandatory smells too much like the military draft of old.

    Now, we do need to take away reasons why people don’t donate organs other than the obvious (say multiple organ failure as the cause of death), which as I noted, could also mean the donating family incurring the costs of harvesting the organs. The receiving family can’t pay for the harvesting for ethical reasons, so that leaves the states to cover the costs, and they are strapped for money these days.

    Personally, I also see nothing wrong with the state providing some token acknowledgement for donation, be it a medallion, headstone symbol, letter detailing who received the tissues, or even a flat burial marker.

  332. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    Would it be immoral to have a late-term abortion of a fetus that was the result of Alien Probing?

    Or the anti-christ. Would I be allowed to abort satan’s baby? I be the pope would pay for it himself!

  333. carlie says

    if you’re American, that’s pretty much a given. Who doesn’t eat French Toast?

    Obligatory dessert for breakfast video.

    Of course, to drag this kicking and screaming back to the main topic, pregnant women shouldn’t be allowed to have chocolate cake for breakfast. Bad for the fetus. Potentially.

  334. dianne says

    Would it be immoral to have a late-term abortion of a fetus that was the result of Alien Probing?

    Yes. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find alien/human hybrids for study? That one definitely needs to go to term.

  335. chigau (違う) says

    Or the anti-christ.

    But if the anti-christ is here that means the EndTimes® are here and that’s a good thing.
    Right?

  336. Quinn Martindale says

    @ixchel,

    Fair point on the naturalistic fallacy. While the fact that people derive pleasure from punishing unfairness has implications for consequentialist theories of punishment, it does nothing to justify retributivism.

  337. dianne says

    Or the anti-christ.

    Given that the anti-christ is supposed to be a part of god’s plan, there’s a philosophical/biblical fanfic discussion to be had on the question of whether you can (are physically capable of) aborting the fetal anti-christ.

  338. twincats says

    See, I’m just almost certain this is wrong, should not be happening, and may be illegal. It’s not normal and it should be looked into. I’m not disputing you that the Redhead has seen this. What I’m saying is I’m alarmed that someone has taken himself off the donor list for something that sounds scandalously wrong and should be the starting point for an investigation.

    Dianne—can you weigh in on this?

    Not Dianne, but my brother-in-law was an organ donor in 2006 after suffering a stroke. No one in our family was charged a dime. Some possible pertinent facts: We live in CA, the surgery was done while he was on life support for the sole purpose of the organ donations; he had been brain-dead for a day and a half when the surgery took place.

    The whole experience was enlightening, inspiring and uplifting for us in a very sad time. The coordinator in our case worked unbelievably long hours and was still amazingly supportive, as were the hospital and staff. I wish everyone well who benefited from our loss.

  339. mythbri says

    @dianne

    Fair enough. ;)

    With regard to common ground with anti-choicers, I’m continually astonished by their massive, gaping blind spots. To see people cheering on the de facto closure of the last abortion clinic in Mississippi is jaw-dropping. To hear legislators speak of women as livestock is incredible.

    I understand, but do not grok, how it has come to this.

  340. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Clever. I guess I should have said, the type of society I would prefer to live in has, as a prerequisite, societal structures that punish bad actors without regards to the benefits of such punishment to the direct victims.

    Again I note that this does not require retribution.

    Therefore even if “I want this” were a good argument, it would not suffice as an argument for retribution, since there are other ways to get what you specify in the above paragraph.

    Cf “I would have the state do something to prevent the perpetrator from committing more domestic violence or sexual assault! But that is not retribution, that is prevention.”

    I think this article contains a good discussion of the issue from Walton’s position: “For the law, neuroscience changes nothing and everything’

    It doesn’t. I know that article. The fact that Walton cited Strawson above should tell you that neuroscience is not the basis of his objection.

  341. dianne says

    To hear legislators speak of women as livestock is incredible.

    And then they ask how we can possibly believe their views are based on misogyny rather than love of life.

  342. says

    I’ll just weight in on this briefly, since I haven’t seen these arguments in this thread.
    While I may have moral qualms over abortion in some cases, I have none in cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is in danger. In fact, not allowing abortions in these cases is something I would regard as immoral: in the case of rape, you would be forcing a woman to endure a pregnancy she never chose to risk, and in the case of risk to a woman’s health, obviously you’re forcing her to risk her life for a creature that is nowhere near sentient.
    Can you outlaw abortion with those exceptions?
    No.
    In cases of rape, you would be putting the woman in the position of having to prove she was raped. Considering the pitiful rate of successful prosecutions of this crime, this is not feasible, not without forcing some (unknown to me) number of rape victims to bear their rapist’s baby. Which I find utterly repellent.
    In cases where the woman’s life and/or health is in danger, you would be empowering someone other than that woman to determine what constitutes an acceptable risk. This is also wrong.
    And there is always some risk.
    I therefore conclude that, whatever moral qualms I may have, a woman should not have her right to an abortion restricted in any way.

  343. consciousness razor says

    Clever.

    Not especially. I just responded to your empty rhetoric with some of my own.

    I guess I should have said, the type of society I would prefer to live in has, as a prerequisite, societal structures that punish bad actors without regards to the benefits of such punishment to the direct victims.

    I guess you should have also explained why you and everyone else should prefer to live in that type of society, if you could, which you can’t.

    A good and deep question regarding the nature of desert.

    There is no nature of desert to be regarded, because there is no such thing as moral desert.

    Walton rightly points out that pursuing this question would derail the thread even further

    Why did you derail it in the first place? Take it to TZT. Note that taking it to TZT is not a punishment, but it will remedy this situation.

  344. Pteryxx says

    feralboy12: making decisions about whether the woman was really raped or really is in danger also *delays* the abortion, making it costlier and more dangerous within weeks. Having the restrictions would endanger more lives *even* if the rape/health conditions turn out to be completely justified.

  345. Quinn Martindale says

    ixchel,

    The article has a substantial discussion of the philosophy of law from a hard incompatibilist position which is what I understand Walton’s position to be. If there’s a better one, I’d be glad to read it.

  346. dianne says

    Re the “risk to woman’s life” exception: There is no such thing as a pregnancy that is not a risk to the pregnant woman’s life. In the US, the risk of death to an average risk woman is higher than her risk of death for planning to fly on September 11, 2001*. Fourteen per 100,000 only sounds low until you think about the risk in terms of other things we consider dangerous.

    *Actually taking off is a higher risk.

  347. Quinn Martindale says

    @consciousness razor,

    I would take it to TZT, but I don’t have a choice. You wouldn’t blame for that, would you? :)

  348. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    Quinn, as consciousness razor says at #394, let’s take it to TZT. That is the traditional thread for metaethics anyway.

  349. consciousness razor says

    I would take it to TZT, but I don’t have a choice.

    The choice is between peddling your bullshit in this thread or that thread — or another thread, all of the threads, or no longer in any threads. I think that exhausts the possibilities.

  350. kayden says

    Interesting how Republicans started out with restricting access to safe abortions and have now rallied against access to contraception. What’s next?

    I am confident that women who choose to have abortions do so after much careful deliberation. Anti-choice folks don’t respect women to make good decisions. Almost as if women were children.

  351. says

    CT:

    But did you see the DarkFetus haiku? Cuz that was fucking awesome.

    :D Thanks!

    mythbri:

    I don’t know if you can truly appreciate the feeling I, and other women, get when we hear “debate” about what we are allowed to do with our own bodies. It’s dehumanizing.

    Ding ding ding ding ding! That gets right at the heart of the matter, I think. Someone who has never has never had to worry about an unplanned pregnancy will never understand the fundamental basis of the abortion debate*. All we can hope is that d00dz like jay shut up and listen for once in their goddamn lives.

    *And yes, I did just say that all men don’t get it. I stand by that, whether you’re an ally or not.

    What a Maroon:

    Just to be safe we should ban BLTs.

    Fuck.

    You.

    ;)

    Illuminata:

    Doubly dehumanizing, because these dudes are always putting us as third or fourth class citizens beneath babies that don’t exist

    how fucking much do you have to hate women to think that they are less important than IMAGINARY babies?

    Gotta propagate the species AT ALL COSTS!

    /MRA

    carlie:

    I have eaten dessert FOR BREAKFAST. Yeah, that’s right.

    I thought that was the purpose of leftover pie. I mean, it’s fruit and pasty and (possibly) dairy. It must be healthier than a Pop Tart!

    Of course, to drag this kicking and screaming back to the main topic, pregnant women shouldn’t be allowed to have chocolate cake for breakfast. Bad for the fetus. Potentially.

    Fuck.

    You.

    ;)

  352. Brownian says

    *And yes, I did just say that all men don’t get it. I stand by that, whether you’re an ally or not.

    But, what if you’re a really, really, really smart guy? Like, you’ve taken some intro poli sci or philosophy classes?

  353. Brownian says

    Then your chances of understanding the impact of abortion is slim to fucking none.

    Thanks, Audely. I just wanted that on the record.

  354. Brownian says

    Your response, I mean. Though I doubt the JAQers will listen.

    (And sorry for the misspelling. I dunno what happened.)

  355. Feats of Cats says

    The thing that gets me the most is who benefits from people who don’t want children being forced to have children? If my IUD failed and I got pregnant and was forced to bear it to term, society would be burdened with an abandoned child with mental and physical health problems, which probably received inadequate prenatal support due to lack of funds and caring. Everybody wins! Wait, no, the other thing. Losing.

  356. carlie says

    Aw, Audley, you know I love you. :) Here, have some blueberry pie. With real whipped cream on top.

    in the case of rape, you would be forcing a woman to endure a pregnancy she never chose to risk,

    I reject this premise entirely. Having sex does not equate to choosing to have a pregnancy. That’s what the entire contraceptive movement was for, fer chrissakes. That’s like saying someone in a car accident shouldn’t get medical attention, because they chose the possibility of an accident when they chose to drive.

  357. carlie says

    To clarify: the premise i reject is that women who have consensual sex are thereby choosing to risk a pregnancy.

    Anyone who has not had the scare of a late period has no way to fathom what it’s like. Anyone who has not had a pregnancy test come back positive when this is the absolute worst time for that to happen has no way to fathom what it’s like. Pregnancy is not a short inconvenience. It is a life-altering event. And if it is happening at the wrong time, the only humane thing that can be done is to let the woman minimize the damage.

  358. says

    That video is beautifully poignant. Also beautifully true. It really is a shame there has to be any more argument past that…

    Oh, and if fetii could write poetry, that’d be even more reason to abort them. Think of the paper cuts!

    Also Quinnsmith is clearly just a confused whiptail lizard that learned to type. We probably shouldn’t pay much attention to her views on how babby is formed.

    Anyways, on the topic of “but what IF they were sentient”, let’s say I’ve got a house. Now, by whatever means, a homeless person ends up in my house. Maybe they broke in, maybe I left the door open, maybe I let them in for a night out of sympathy, maybe I rented out a room to them and now they can’t pay and they’re just hanging around! Whatever.

    But this person is a pain to have around. They eat my food. They trash the house. They steal my things and pawn them off. They kicked my dog. They stash drugs in my house and the police are suspicious. I don’t know. They’re just making my life a living hell.

    The thing is though, they’re not in good health. The climate is harsh and they wouldn’t make it outside without a roof over their head. Maybe they’re pregnant! Either way, they have to be in someone else’s house to survive and can’t support themselves.

    I could let them live in your house until they’re self sufficient, but that’s going to take 20 or so years out of your life while you focus on giving them care. I consider giving them a ride to a homeless shelter, but they’re all full for, say.. the next 9 months. No luck dropping them off unless I want to let almost a year of my life suffer still! And let me reiterate, this person is a nuisance. My quality of life is severely decreased by having them around.

    My only options are to kick them out or to give up, at the very least, a year of my life to them. Is it really my duty to do that? I certainly didn’t welcome them into my home- and in the instance that I did, let’s say that they’re less of a nuisance (which I decided I could handle when I let them in) and more of an actual threat to my life.

    In that instance, am I really killing them by refusing to let them stay in my house any longer? Do I have any reason to be responsible for their life other than the fact that they picked my home to intrude upon? Particularly when there are no other options?

    I’m gonna have to say no.

  359. says

    Carlie:

    Anyone who has not had the scare of a late period has no way to fathom what it’s like. Anyone who has not had a pregnancy test come back positive when this is the absolute worst time for that to happen has no way to fathom what it’s like.

    Bingo. That’s why I said that dudes (no matter who they are or what their opinion is) will never fully grasp the importance of abortion.

  360. Pteryxx says

    To clarify: the premise i reject is that women who have consensual sex are thereby choosing to risk a pregnancy.

    Heck, there are even women out there – having kids in marriage even – who don’t know that sex causes pregnancy. (Thanks to religious horror of basic sex ed, mostly.)

  361. says

    Pteryxx:

    Heck, there are even women out there – having kids in marriage even – who don’t know that sex causes pregnancy.

    A yup. Back in the 70s, my mom knew a young woman (who wass a Mormon, surprise) who had four kids and thought marriage caused pregnancy. Sex was something you did to submit to your husband.

  362. gareth says

    The statements made by these women are so self-evident. It is a sad state of affairs that they even have to make these arguments, that anyone could possibly hold an alternative viewpoint.

  363. carlie says

    That’s why I said that dudes (no matter who they are or what their opinion is) will never fully grasp the importance of abortion.

    Yep, which is why “you shouldn’t get so emotional! It’s just a discussion!” makes me just say “FUCK YOU”.

  364. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    you shouldn’t get so emotional!

    Translation, I’m losing the logical argument, HELP!

    It’s just a discussion!

    Translation, I know I’m a presuppostional idjit spouting slogans, so don’t be cruel with reason, logic, and evidence refuting my presuppositions. HELP!

  365. Montesino says

    It really boils down to that. Two 100% conflicting views: women as autonomous individuals versus women as recipients.

  366. says

    @ixchel (#135)

    If it’s morally acceptable to abort (not induce labor on) a perfectly viable fetus, then why do we, or why should we have laws against it?

    If it’s morally acceptable to smoke cannabis, then why do we, or why should we have laws against it?

    Because some people have declared themselves the Morality Police, and continue to push and enforce Prohibitionist laws against a mostly-harmless* plant. Or against a medical procedure (abortion). Or, hey, sex; it’s legal to have sex, it’s legal to sell things, but you can’t sell sex because it’s somehow “wrong”. Oh, or Mayor Bloomberg banning (or trying to ban) the sale of sodas larger than 16 ounces. (Stopping now, because rambling.)

    @Audley — I loved the haiku.

    Now I want dessert… :(

  367. Forbidden Snowflake says

    If the anti abortionist is a particular kind of asshole he’ll (it’s usually a guy in this case) compare the fetus to a black person or a Jew in Nazi Germany. “You know who else liked human bodily autonomy? Hitler!”

    Gotta say that I’m actually not above a good “You know who else banned abortions…?”.

  368. says

    On punishment.

    The way I see it, negative behavoir/Criminology can easily be studied and there are roughly 5 motivations/goals behind any system

    1) Correction: Reverse the outcome of a crime; theives return what they stole.

    2) Retribution: Inflict pain or suffering because people who commit crimes deserve that.

    3) Deterrence: Create barriers that cause people to not want to or be able to commit crimes.

    4) Rehabilitation: Reform criminals to not be criminals, when a crime occurs treat it as a symptom of a problem that needs to be addressed

    5) Incarceration: remove the ability of an offender to re-offend.

    Out of all of them 4 seem to have good real motivations and outcomes and should be required for any sensible legal or punitive system. 2 has no rational reason and actively undermines the other 4

  369. says

    Oh and for reference I do believe we actually have the “terminate a pregnancy that is 9 months -1 day”. We typically do that by inducing labor. No one has ever done it because they don’t want the kid FFS. And even if they did they are clear outliers and making decisions based on them is not reasonable. For some reason “what if someone uses a gun to kill 50 people!” is not considered a good argument by many conservatives for gun control but “what if a ninjapirateunicorn woman aborts just for the fun of it at 9 months” is for anti-abortion.

  370. Esteleth, Who Knows How to Use Google says

    I’ve been eating all
    the greasy foods. Oh, dear me,
    The gasses rise up.

    /a haiku, dedicated to my digestion.

  371. Esteleth, Who Knows How to Use Google says

    Given how hard giving birth is on a woman’s body, the only reason to do a fetus-destroying abortion at full term (and “nine months – 1 day” counts as full term) is if labor is obstructed and a c-section is impossible. There is historical precedent for this – fetuses that were stuck might have their limbs broken, for example, or torn apart if necessary.

    Basically, the only reason to not just induce labor is if something has gone horribly wrong.

  372. mythbri says

    Oh! Oh! I just remembered one of the stupidest anti-choice arguments I’ve ever heard, and it wasn’t on a political site or on a thread about abortion. But one commente claimed that since they were born very prematurely, they didn’t count as a person in some States.

    Pretty sure thst once you are born alive, you are a person. :P

  373. Esteleth, Who Knows How to Use Google says

    Actually, I was doing a Wiki walk and, buried inside the Pfft page on Catherine de’ Medici (1519-1589), was this:

    In 1556, Catherine nearly died giving birth to twin daughters. Surgeons saved her life by breaking the legs of one of the two babies, who died in her womb.

    Catherine had a full-term abortion. Because she was dying. And this is presented as a bit of trivia, a note in the life of a woman most famous for her piety and her strict Catholicism.

  374. says

    There was a prolife thing on campus when I was an undergrad. Because someone heard me making a …unkind comment to a friend I was accosted with the question “aren’t you glad your mother was prolife”

    I told them she wasn’t and asked if they wanted to see my coat hanger scar.

  375. mythbri says

    RAmen to that. :P

    I asked the commenter if the IRS considered them a person, and they didn’t want to talk anymore.

  376. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    And for the record, I’ve actually retorted on many occasions when in conversations with my still religious friends (because as you say, they always go there), that partial birth abortions are a non-issue because A) they’re illegal and B) nobody is advocating for them anyway.

    For the record, you are quite ignorant about the issue.

    In 2000, the pre-Bush Supreme Court noted that “the record shows that significant medical authority supports the proposition that in some circumstances, D&X [dilation and extraction] would be the safest procedure. … (1) it reduces the dangers from sharp bone fragments passing through the cervix, (2) minimizes the number of instrument passes needed for extraction and lessens the likelihood of uterine perforations caused by those instruments, (3) reduces the likelihood of leaving infection-causing fetal and placental tissue in the uterus, and (4) could help to prevent potentially fatal absorption of fetal tissue into the maternal circulation.”

    In 2003, Bush signed the “Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act”, which prohibits the D&X procedure. That means doctors are now forced to use other procedures that put women’s lives at greater risk.

    I am certainly advocating for a repeal of this women-killing law.

    +++++
    WMDKitty, laws against robbing, torturing, stalking, shooting people are also morality policing. All laws ever are in fact morality policing. There is no such thing as civilization without morality policing. You need to do better than that naive complaint; think about consequences.

  377. jonathanray says

    If sperm cells were intelligent, then the morality of ejaculating on to the ground would be complicated…

  378. absolute says

    OK then, so your bottom line is – Since the fetus is inside the woman, and depends on her, she has the right to abort it regardless of how advanced it is – even if it would be considered a person. Because it’s her body.

    Therefore if the fetus would be able to survive outside the womb, which can happen even months before the usual 9, it would be immoral to abort it, so the woman would be morally obliged to release it at that point or later (assuming she doesn’t want it, and the child’s life would not be full of pain).

    If you can’t concede that, you’re giving the woman right to carry another being, however advanced, and end its life even though given today’s medical progress it would be able to survive ‘on its own’.

  379. Nightjar says

    If you can’t concede that

    Concede what? That when induced birth is deemed more appropriate than abortion by the woman’s doctor for her particular case, then the chosen procedure to end her pregnancy should be the former and not the latter? Because I can concede that. Or that therefore such decisions can be legislated instead of evaluated on a case by case basis by the woman and her doctor? Because that would be irresponsible.

  380. julietdefarge says

    For an interesting contrast, play the video for the song “Golddigger,” where a man gripes about being financially responsible for a child for 18 years.

  381. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Since the fetus is inside the woman, and depends on her, she has the right to abort it regardless of how advanced it is – even if it would be considered a person. Because it’s her body.

    Fixed that for you, stiking out the irrelevancies. The fetus is not a full person until it is born and breathes air. Up until then it is lesser of a person to the woman at all times, so she has total control of her body. Your attempts to add persuppositions are rejected.

    Therefore if the fetus would be able to survive outside the womb, which can happen even months before the usual 9, it would be immoral to abort it, so the woman would be morally obliged to release it at that point or later (assuming she doesn’t want it, and the child’s life would not be full of pain)

    I don’t even lknow what you mean with this word salad, as it makes no sense. But then, presuppositionalists like yourself rarely do. Something to do with belief coming before reality in your delusional mind. But you haven’t been listening to the FACTS. All abortions after the fetus is “viable” are for fetal deforminities or to save the life of the woman. They are not done for “birth control”. Early labor is an option, and is considered abortion in the sense that the pregnancy is terminated even if a live birth results. This makes your last paragraph nonsense, as you don’t recognize the facts of the situation. Your morality has nothing to do with it, other than you shouldn’t impose it upon anybody other than you.

  382. dianne says

    Or that therefore such decisions can be legislated instead of evaluated on a case by case basis by the woman and her doctor?

    That’s at least one of the cruxes of the issue. Why not leave the decision of how to deal with a pregnancy going wrong to the person most directly effected by the decision (the pregnant woman) and the person who has the most medical knowledge about the case (her doctor)? How does the intervention of a congressperson who couldn’t pass high school biology or an insurance executive who doesn’t know the difference between PPH and simple hypertension improve the situation?

  383. absolute says

    Yeah, being a person is irrelevant, especially when your community agrees that IF the fetus was a person, it would still be OK to abort it if the woman wanted to.

    Not expecting you to grasp notions that are out of your consensus bubble.

    Nice statistic, backed only by your imagination.

    You continue to ignore my point, which is that in your worldview the woman can decide to end the life of the fetus even if (successful) early labour would be an option.

  384. absolute says

    Corrected Failpress.

    Fixed that for you, stiking out the irrelevancies.

    Yeah, being a person is irrelevant, especially when your community agrees that IF the fetus was a person, it would still be OK to abort it if the woman wanted to.

    I don’t even lknow what you mean with this word salad, as it makes no sense.

    Not expecting you to grasp notions that are out of your consensus bubble.

    All abortions after the fetus is “viable” are for fetal deforminities or to save the life of the woman.

    Nice statistic, backed only by your imagination.

    You continue to ignore my point, which is that in your worldview the woman can decide to end the life of the fetus even if (successful) early labour would be an option.

  385. crowepps says

    Christianity regards women agriculturally

    “I don’t see what sort of help woman was created to provide man with, if one excludes procreation. If woman is not given to man for help in bearing children, for what help could she be? To till the earth together? If help were needed for that, man would have been a better help for man. The same goes for comfort in solitude. How much more pleasure is it for life and conversation when two friends live together than when a man and a woman cohabitate?” St. Augustine

    http://www.fideidefensor.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=churchfathers&action=display&thread=570

  386. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    especially when your community agrees that IF the fetus was a person,

    It isn’t more of a person than the woman, and far less of person until it is born. That is our point. If you have a point other than your ad populum fallacy, show us the physical evidence that the fetus is more of a person than the woman bearing it, starting with my ability to take a picture of said person directly with my camera like I can do with the woman. Prima facie evidence of which is the real and total person.

    Not expecting you to grasp notions that are out of your consensus bubble.

    This no doubt from a delusional fool, who believes in imaginary deities and that a book of mythology/fiction is inerrant. You need to get out of your delusional bubble and face reality.

  387. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You continue to ignore my point, which is that in your worldview the woman can decide to end the life of the fetus even if (successful) early labour would be an option.

    Citation needed that such events actually occur, as the medical professionals above have said repeatedly early labor is an option and is used. Otherwise, your point is nothing but lies and bullshit, also know as anti-choice propaganda. Which it is.

  388. crowepps says

    You continue to ignore my point, which is that in your worldview the woman can decide to end the life of the fetus even if (successful) early labour would be an option.

    Your point incorporates your worldview, which seems to include the belief that women are naturally hostile to having children, the consequence inflicted on them as their just punishment for having had sex, and therefore no woman should be trusted with the power to control her own body because she will use it to escape the control of men.

  389. dianne says

    Sometimes early labor versus a more formal abortion procedure (i.e. D and E) is offered. In general, if this choice is being offered, it is not expected that a live baby will result from the early labor. It’s more a matter of what is easiest on the pregnant woman and what fits best with her desires. For example, if she wants to see the baby after it is born, induction is a better choice. If she wants to avoid a labor that will end sadly, D and E is a better choice. And so on. But I’ve never even heard of a situation where the choice was D and E versus delivery and putting the baby in the NICU. It just doesn’t come up as an issue.

    Incidentally, the rare “survived an abortion” cases you hear about are usually cases of early induction of labor where the fetus is born alive and might live for a few hours or even days. If it lives longer than that then someone screwed up badly or acted in a very unethical manner.

  390. carlie says

    Nice statistic, backed only by your imagination.

    Not like you can find it on the internet or anything.

    Late-term abortions are very rare. About one percent of all abortions performed in the United States occur after 21 weeks. There are different definitions of what constitutes a “late term abortion,” but most definitions refer to abortions at or after 24 weeks or in the third trimester.

    The Guttmacher brief notes that:

    37 states prohibit some abortions after a certain point in pregnancy.
    24 states initiate prohibitions at fetal viability.
    5 states initiate prohibitions in the third trimester.
    8 states initiate prohibitions after a certain number of weeks, generally 24.
    The circumstances under which procedures are permitted after that point vary from state to state. For example:

    29 states permit abortions to preserve the life or health of the woman;
    4 states permit abortions to save the life or health of the woman, but use a narrow definition of health;
    4 states permit abortions only to save the life of the woman.

    Some states require the involvement of a second physician when a later-term abortion is performed. Nine states require that a second physician attend in order to treat a fetus if it is born alive. Ten states require that a second physician certify that the abortion is medically necessary.

  391. Illuminata, Genie in the Beer Bottle says

    You continue to ignore my point, which is that in your worldview the woman can decide to end the life of the fetus even if (successful) early labour would be an option. which is that women are psychotic murdering harpies that hate babies and should be stopped at all costs!

    Once again, why are you trying so hard to feign outrage that women might refuse to be your personal brood mare in a circumstance that never fucking happens?

    What is your damage?

  392. Nightjar says

    absolute, care to answer my questions? You’ll never get anyone to concede anything if you don’t answer when they ask for clarification.

    ***

    your community agrees that IF the fetus was a person, it would still be OK to abort it if the woman wanted to.

    But the woman is a person too. And while we generally praise people for stuff like donating blood/organs/bone marrow/etc or putting their life at risk to save another person’s life, we don’t make them do it against their will. We don’t. Because bodily autonomy. Why should pregnancy be a special case, fetuses-as-persons or not?

    Of course abortion would be a trickier moral question if fetuses were persons. But what some of us are saying is that a strong pro-choice argument could still be made in that case.

    in your worldview the woman can decide to end the life of the fetus even if (successful) early labour would be an option.

    Again, answer my question @#438. And just to make it clear, are we still talking about the hypothetical world where a fetus is a conscious being and just as much of a person as the pregnant woman, and where pregnant women routinely decide to have late term abortions just for the fun of it… or are we talking about the world we actually live in?

  393. ryanquattro says

    If science considers bacteria to be life then how can a fetus not be? A fetus is a life every bit as much as a plant is a life. Do we consider it on the same level as a fully developed human? No. But terminating a fetus is still killing.

    In having said that, government can no way forbade a woman to do what she pleases with her body. It is simply not constitutional.There is nothing in the Constitution that authorizes the government to restrict a person’s right to do what they want with their body.

  394. Nightjar says

    If science considers bacteria to be life then how can a fetus not be?

    Huh. Where did anyone say it isn’t?

    But terminating a fetus is still killing.

    Where did anyone say it wasn’t? And why is this even remotely relevant?

  395. dianne says

    But terminating a fetus is still killing.

    Oh, for…Yes, cells die in an abortion. It’s “killing”. As you implicitly point out, so is taking antibiotics. So is getting an appendectomy. So is sneezing. So is treating cancer. So what?

  396. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    [rant rhetorical]
    I get very pissed at posters who think we don’t know the real score on abortion. For example, I’ve been arguing abortion since before Roe v. Wade was announced in ’73. I haven’t heard a new anti-choice argument in twenty years. Why do the anti-choicers think otherwise???

    They also remind me of TF’s sycophants, MRA’s, PUA’s and the like. All OPINION, and evidence to back up the OPINION is absent.
    [/rant rhetorical]

  397. ixchel, the jaguar goddess of midwifery and war ॐ says

    I mentioned at #269 that I was looking for links about how laws about late term abortions are exploited by anti-choicers to burden doctors. I haven’t yet found coverage on this phenomenon generally; rather there’s plenty of discussion about it being directed at this doctor or that doctor. Anyway, here’s some:

    http://www.kake.com/home/headlines/41977227.html

    http://www.kake.com/news/headlines/4985991.html

    http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/ethics_panel_recommends_indefinite_suspension_for_ex-kansas_ag/

    http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=3752146

    https://www.plannedparenthood.org/about-us/newsroom/press-releases/phill-kline-17928.htm

    I hope these links will give jayliverstitch a glimpse of the problem. Such laws are not necessary, and the only purpose they serve is to allow legal harassment of doctors.

    Since they also have the effect of discouraging more doctors from getting into this line of work, and thus contribute to a lack of expertise at medical schools which, in turn, can’t do the best possible job of educating students on how to safely perform late term abortions; and since the laws encourage doctors to err on the side of legal self-defense rather than considering only the woman’s best interests, these laws will also contribute to the deaths of more women.

  398. opposablethumbs says

    Much as I often hate these threads for the obtuse arrogance of the forced-birthers we often get coming around, I love them for the impassioned and informed arguments of the Horde. In this particular instance, I just wanted to say extra thanks to Carlie #408 for

    That’s like saying someone in a car accident shouldn’t get medical attention, because they chose the possibility of an accident when they chose to drive.

    - which I think puts it very well indeed.

    I have learned a great deal from these threads and clarified my ideas considerably (and that’s after going on pro-choice demos since the Corrie bill). I just wish I were a better debater myself.

    Just to say I’m one of (I suspect) many who are reading and learning; thank you all (all the pro-choicers, obvs.)

  399. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    Noticed a new billboard today on my commute: a six- or eight-month-old baby sitting on a baby blanket with the text “Please don’t kill me, Mommy. Please?” Would it have the same effect if it was a two month foetus?

  400. dianne says

    Oggie @462: Somehow the first time I read your comment my mind garbled it and it came out being about texting while driving with an infant in the car and the infant saying “Please put down the phone, mommy, I don’t want to die in an auto accident.”

    I still think my version makes more sense.

  401. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Would it have the same effect if it was a two month foetus?

    We all know the anti-choice folks have a problem with the truth. I’m not surprised they would try to pretend born babies are being aborted. They definitely don’t want the typical aborted embryo at proper size being shown…without magnification…

  402. Ogvorbis: The only post-Permian seymouriamorph says

    I still think my version makes more sense.

    Id toes.

    We all know the anti-choice folks have a problem with the truth.

    No, really? You don’t say!

  403. dianne says

    I don’t think your average anti-choicer even really knows what a 2 month old fetus looks like. Gilell’s put up intrauterine photos of elephant fetuses and I’ve put up ultrasound images of gall stones during arguments with “pro-lifers” without either of our bluffs getting called.

  404. absolute says

    absolute, care to answer my questions?

    Sure, since you didn’t call me a moronic asshole from the get go I will happily follow your response.

    It’s so sad to read this parade of insults, especially when I’m probably more anti religious and pro choice than most of you.

    I like to pull the most extreme cases that I MYSELF struggle with, and bounce them off the FTB community to see what COULD be a possible response to a dillema.

    But it seems that – maybe to impress PZ since he’s just like that – I just get insulted.

    And while we generally praise people for stuff like donating blood/organs/bone marrow/etc or putting their life at risk to save another person’s life, we don’t make them do it against their will.

    Good point. What I’m struggling with is the fact that it was the woman’s action that brought the fetus to life. This is what distinguishes it from acts like giving blood.


    Again, answer my question @#438. And just to make it clear, are we still talking about the hypothetical world where a fetus is a conscious being and just as much of a person as the pregnant woman, and where pregnant women routinely decide to have late term abortions just for the fun of it

    Yes, I’m talking about the hypothetical case, an extreme one, to see where you stand – if you see limits in your views and what you base them on.

    I agree with your post #438. You say legislature rather than woman and doctor decision would be irresponsible. I still somehow see a vague connection between the act of killing which is forbidden by legislature and the ‘woman and a doctor deciding to end the life of a fetus even though it could survive outside the womb’

  405. says

    @Absolute

    The hypothetical world you are proposing is one that creates a dilemma where either way you have to choose between two conscious beings. You should not be surprised that in this dilemma people actually make a choice and shoot the dog. Nor is it at all fair of you to propose a dilemma and then criticize people for acting within the parameters given. It’s like proposing the trolly dilemma (clang clang clang) and expressing disbelief that someone would advocate murder. Obviously they’re not but you’re proposing a dilemma (really tri) of weighing two sets to be sacrificed for the other or through inaction sacrificing both.

    Since the woman gets first come first serve and is the one being actively imposed against the fetus loses out. Furthermore, if you want to play that game I’d like to add the hypothetical that by aborting the (yes conscious fetus) we could use the fetal cell lines in research potentially saving far more lives than we took (and would have to take). Since we cannot actually make nearly as good a use out of a dead woman’s body, a dead fetus is the preferable action.

    You know since we’re playing this childish game.

    I still somehow see a vague connection between the act of killing which is forbidden by legislature and the ‘woman and a doctor deciding to end the life of a fetus even though it could survive outside the womb’

    If it could survive outside the womb, often the abortion of pregnancy actually includes inducing labor as an option. If for whatever reason that is NOT an option, then don’t you agree this is a big fucking difference?

  406. says

    Good point. What I’m struggling with is the fact that it was the woman’s action that brought the fetus to life. This is what distinguishes it from acts like giving blood.

    Sorry isn’t a male usually involved? Why is special onus put on the woman here? Or is this about not wanting people to escape ‘responsibility’

  407. mythbri says

    @absolute

    Good point. What I’m struggling with is the fact that it was the woman’s action that brought the fetus to life. This is what distinguishes it from acts like giving blood.

    No, it is not solely the woman’s action that caused a fertilized egg to implant in her uterus, thus causing her to be pregnant. But since she entirely bears the physical effects of pregnancy and cannot transfer the pregnancy to another person, then she the ONLY person who gets to decide what happens to her body. Full stop. End of story.

    This:

    woman and a doctor deciding to end the life of a fetus even though it could survive outside the womb

    Requires extraordinary evidence (because it is an extraordinary claim) to prove that it is worthy of discussion. You are attempting to argue about something that can hypothetically occur, but does not occur in reality.

  408. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I still somehow see a vague connection between the act of killing which is forbidden by legislature and the ‘woman and a doctor deciding to end the life of a fetus even though it could survive outside the womb’

    I see no evidence that this occuring, and you, of course provided none, actually tacitly acknowledging that this inane and fuckwitted claim is outside of reality. Ergo, the claim is *POOF* dismissed for terminal fuckwittery and presupposition. Who gives a fuck what you think with this twisted logic outside of reality? WE are realists, you are a delusional presuppositional evidenceless fool. Hypotheticals are for those without a winning reality based argument…Thanks for acknowledging we are right by not shutting the fuck up. You are your own worst enemy.

  409. Nightjar says

    I like to pull the most extreme cases that I MYSELF struggle with, and bounce them off the FTB community to see what COULD be a possible response to a dillema.

    But it seems that – maybe to impress PZ since he’s just like that – I just get insulted.

    OK. I don’t think you’re being insulted to impress PZ, I think you’re being insulted because of this. Even though you say you’re pro-choice, this topic makes me and the other women here uneasy because in real life these kinds of debates are being held to determine whether we should or shouldn’t be denied a basic right. I hope you understand why that makes us a bit wary of posts like yours, and sometimes angry.

    It also doesn’t help that if the scenario you presented @#200 practically doesn’t happen in the world we live in, discussing it in the context of a world where fetuses are known to be conscious beings just seems ridiculous to me. This “debate” is ultimately pointless, but it’s not harmless at all.

    What I’m struggling with is the fact that it was the woman’s action that brought the fetus to life.

    And the man’s action, too. Perhaps in this hypothetical world we should seriously consider doing this?

    I mean, if we’re concerned about the suffering and dead of conscious fetuses. Not if we really just want to punish women for being “sluts”, like it seems to be the case with so many anti-choicers.

    I still somehow see a vague connection between the act of killing which is forbidden by legislature and the ‘woman and a doctor deciding to end the life of a fetus even though it could survive outside the womb’

    Yes, but who assesses the fetus’ chances of survival outside the womb in each particular case? Because I don’t know how it would work in the fetuses-as-persons world, but in this world such things aren’t clear cut, a wrong decision can severely compromise the quality of life of the newborn, and the fetus has no way of communicating its opinion on the matter.

    Incidentally, consider this point. Applies to the real world, and to the one where fetuses are persons, but probably not to the one where fetuses write poetry. *shrug*

  410. absolute says

    Thanks for the comments. Many of you point out the poor wording of the phrase “woman’s action brought it to life”. I didn’t want to exclude men. If you want to make it the “the man the woman and the doctor” decision, by all means do so, though you yourself agree that almost all of the burden, and thus the right, is on the woman.

    The other point made is that since it’s the woman’s right, government should not intervene because it’s irresponsible, or even immoral. But if one’s view is that it prevents the fetus from being killed if the alternative is an early, but successful labor, then the interest of the government is on the same level as when preventing murder. You would like the law to be enforced then, wouldn’t you?

    You’re boring, try not to make use of recycled, unoriginal vocabulary of insults, then I’ll be yawning less.

  411. absolute says

    I apologize, I should really use the preview functionality on this ancient piece of web software more.

    Thanks for the comments. Many of you point out the poor wording of the phrase “woman’s action brought it to life”. I didn’t want to exclude men. If you want to make it the “the man the woman and the doctor” decision, by all means do so, though you yourself agree that almost all of the burden, and thus the right, is on the woman.

    The other point made is that since it’s the woman’s right, government should not intervene because it’s irresponsible, or even immoral. But if one’s view is that it prevents the fetus from being killed if the alternative is an early, but successful labor, then the interest of the government is on the same level as when preventing murder. You would like the law to be enforced then, wouldn’t you?

    I see no evidence that this occuring, and you, of course provided none, actually tacitly acknowledging that this inane and fuckwitted claim is outside of reality. Ergo, the claim is *POOF* dismissed for terminal fuckwittery and presupposition. Who gives a fuck what you think with this twisted logic outside of reality? WE are realists, you are a delusional presuppositional evidenceless fool. Hypotheticals are for those without a winning reality based argument…Thanks for acknowledging we are right by not shutting the fuck up. You are your own worst enemy.

    You’re boring, try not to make use of recycled, unoriginal vocabulary of insults, then I’ll be yawning less.

  412. Nightjar says

    If you want to make it the “the man the woman and the doctor” decision

    What? No, no, the man doesn’t get to make that decision. But the man is just as responsible as the woman for any resulting unwanted pregnancy (saving some exceptions). Hence…All men have to have vasectomies upon reaching puberty, and can choose to have those vasectomies reversed if and when they plan to have children, with a signed affadavit from the woman who is going to allow them to attempt impregnation. What’s wrong with that?

    though you yourself agree that almost all of the burden, and thus the right, is on the woman.

    Yes, the burden and the right. Not the responsibility.

    But if one’s view is that it prevents the fetus from being killed if the alternative is an early, but successful labor, then the interest of the government is on the same level as when preventing murder.

    *sigh*

    Like I said: “Yes, but who assesses the fetus’ chances of survival outside the womb in each particular case? Because I don’t know how it would work in the fetuses-as-persons world, but in this world such things aren’t clear cut, a wrong decision can severely compromise the quality of life of the newborn, and the fetus has no way of communicating its opinion on the matter.”

    Your thoughts on this are too simplistic, absolute. Also, read this: “a woman who chooses abortion is making TWO choices. The first is for herself to end her pregnancy. The second is for her potential child as surrogate decision maker – the decision that the likelihood of survival and the expected quality of that survival is too low to be worth the pain and suffering that would accompany it.

  413. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But if one’s view is that it prevents the fetus from being killed if the alternative is an early, but successful labor, t

    This view is bullshit, *POOF* dismissed because the burden of proof is upon you to show it isn’t hypothetical, and you failed again to provide any evidence it isn’t’ a hypothetical. Hypotheticals are mental masturbation and are meaningless to rational people who deal with reality. You don’t’ deal with reality, as you can’t get off of it, like a rational person would. You are a presuppositionalist, and I don’t believe for one second you are an atheist. Little lie, big lie. You need to quit lying.

    You’re boring, try not to make use of recycled, unoriginal vocabulary of insults, then I’ll be yawning less.

    The reason you are insulted is because you deserve them by not giving up on non-realistic and meaningless hypotheticals. Show us your rationality. If it doesn’t occur, shut the fuck up about it.

  414. vaiyt says

    The lives and livelihoods of real women aren’t means for you to win points in a debate. Stop treating a matter that affects people as a mere thought experiment, and maybe you’re going to receive less insults in turn.

  415. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, and Absolute, if you can’t stop saying the same thing with the same words in the exact same order you have already used a dozen times, consider this: 1) your argument is bullshit and meaningless to us, or 2) you don’t have evidence, which is required here, to back up your meaningless statement, so you won’t change our minds due to lack of evidence. You want to change our minds? You have real and conclusive evidence, we’re listening. Hypotheticals and sophistry? *BUZZ*, you lose.

  416. im says

    Even if a fetus were the moral equivalent of a full-fledged human being, with all the rights, responsibilities and privileges thereunto appertaining (and I don’t actually believe this, but for the sake of argument), I would still be pro-choice, on the grounds that no human being has the right to occupy another human being’s body without permission.

    First, bodily autonomy be damned, you are still killing people.

    Second, with organ donation/rescuing people, those call on people who did not consent to donating or having to risk life and limb to rescue somebody (I am ignoring rape or medical neccesity for the moment) and there are substutes. THis would be acceptable if, say, an embryo could be transferred to a willing surrogate’s womb but I don’t think we have the tech for that yet.

    Even if embryos were equivalent to five-year-olds, I would say they were not SUPERIOR to the mother’s life. But it’s still a freaking life and we need to be making arguments to SAVE more life, not to accept death more easily. Like, we should have more organ donation, etc. (and still have abortion because embryos are not people).

  417. im says

    “Could someone please help clarify the implications of the Violinist thought experiment?”

    With the violinist example, you could find a substitute person. You could use a criminal who was to be subjected to that as punishment, or pay somebody to do it, or just find somebody who was willing. Cannot do that with embryo.

    Also, (except in the case of rape or malicious failure to use contraception) you consent to activities that cause a risk of pregnancy.

  418. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Also, (except in the case of rape or malicious failure to use contraception) you consent to activities that cause a risk of pregnancy.

    Fuck off.

  419. says

    But it’s still a freaking life and we need to be making arguments to SAVE more life, not to accept death more easily.

    Fuck off, Cupcake. My life is none of your business, and my life was literally saved by having access to a safe abortion many years ago. I was not in physical danger nor was the pregnancy a result of rape. I would have done whatever I had to do to get rid of an unwanted pregnancy. Legality wouldn’t have mattered and neither would physical risk.

    You don’t get to decide what is or isn’t important to me. You want to save lives? Great, go do that. In the meantime, you can shut the fuck up about womens’ lives. None of your fucking business, full stop. By the way, women have the right to a sex life. That’s none of your fucking business either.

    If the idea of women having abortions bothers your little heart so much, then get off your ass and start agitating like all hells for women to be able to obtain an education and birth control. Start agitating like all hells for women to be seen as and treated like full human beings, with all the rights therein, all over the godsdamn world. Then you’ll see a change. Until then, shut the fuck up and stop wanking over embryos that are not residing in your body.

  420. im says

    “In no other arena of human activity is it considered acceptable for the state to use its powers to mandate and compel life-risking heroism. Why should pregnancy be any different?”

    Ever hear of the freaking DRAFT? When in times of war the state compels citizens to suffer danger, violence, and risk of death by the sword in order to ensure the survival of the country?

    I recognize that pregnancy is difficult and freaking risky. I don’t think that allowing murder to avoid that serves the greater good. With the violinist example there is the possibility of finding a willing or deserving donor, and people DO consent (usually, anyway) to acts that substantially increase the risk of pregnancy.

  421. hotshoe says

    im –

    “Could someone please help clarify the implications of the Violinist thought experiment?”

    With the violinist example, you could find a substitute person.

    Pay attention.

    In the violinist thought scenario, you are told to imagine that you are the only person on the planet who can be hooked up to save the violinist. Imagine it that way, because otherwise it’s not a dilemma which illustrates how you’re trapped in that you – and you alone – remain hooked up to this unwanted burden for nine months. Or else, you can kill the violinist by taking some action to unhook the violinist’s life support system from your own body.

    Get it?

  422. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I don’t think that allowing murder to avoid that serves the greater good.

    “Murder” requires a full-fledged person as a victim. See my comments above. Fetuses are not persons.

    Move to the next bingo-card square, and thank you.

  423. John Morales says

    im:

    Ever hear of the freaking DRAFT?

    You clearly refer to military conscription; have you ever heard of conscientious objection?

  424. hotshoe says

    im –

    I don’t think that allowing murder to avoid that serves the greater good.

    Since when is abortion murder ?

    You’ve blasted right past me giving you the benefit of the doubt, directly into fundie whackaloon zone. Stop being hateful, or if you can’t stop being hateful, go away.

  425. im says

    “If the idea of women having abortions bothers your little heart so much, then get off your ass and start agitating like all hells for women to be able to obtain an education and birth control. ”

    Are you stupid? OF COURSE I FAVOR ALL OF THOSE THINGS. All of those do IMMENSE help to the greater good. In the real world, where fetuses are not people, so does the existence of abortion. The hypocrisy of the anti-abortionists you inadvertently support is revealed by their active opposition to non-abortion birth control.

    If your life was literally, substantially in danger (like, not just normal pregnancy risk) then in the hypothetical case that embryos were people I probably would still favor abortion. And even under the hypothetical sentient-embryo case, (or a born infant) I think that the more developed identity, personality, and experience of an older child or an adult makes their life worth more than that of a infant. (although OTOH children are less likely to be willing or able to consent to risking their life.)

    You people are acting like gun/self defense nuts. Sure, your life is your life. But other people’s lives are their lives and you have to deal with the greater good, not just run on solipsism and What would the hypothetical sentient fetus say? I imagine it doesn’t like being trapped in the body of somebody who considers its entire life subordinate to their temporary autonomy. If you would have men put themselves in the unwilingly pregnant woman’s shoes, but not in the unwanted hypothetical sentient embryo’s shoes, you are still making a bad argument that gives the anti-choicers ammunition for their ridiculous views up to and including the claims that pro-choicers get off on killing teh baybeez. The fact that you deserve bodily autonomy does not mean you deserve to kill people to get it.

    Fortunately, nobody here is actually killing people. Just advocating killing hypothetical people in a way that ignores the greater good.

  426. im says

    “urder” requires a full-fledged person as a victim. See my comments above. Fetuses are not persons.

    Move to the next bingo-card square, and thank you.”

    I’m sorry. I was always talking about the violinist analogy argument or the hypothetical believed-in-by-anti-choicers fully sentient embryo.

  427. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    “malicious failure to use contraception”?

    Two possibilities:

    1. Man pokes hole in condom

    2. Bitchez lie about taking the pill

    Both are fucking stupid.

  428. says

    I don’t think that allowing murder to avoid that serves the greater good.

    Murder has a legal definition. And we don’t apply it in many cases that involve deliberate death-dealing, and in cases that occur a million times every day involving creatures much closer to sentience and more capable of suffering than a human fetus. And with proper education and access, abortion can be done early enough that we’re not even talking about a fetus, we’re talking about a clump of cells. The “person” you think is being murdered never existed. Never existed.

    Ever hear of the freaking DRAFT?

    Not only have I heard of it, I’m old enough to remember when my country had such a thing. We got rid of it after the Vietnam War ended, a war which saw hundreds of thousands of young people conscripted. About 58,000 came back in boxes. Real, full-fledged adult fucking people, with grieving parents, grieving friends. Fucking barbaric bullshit, it was, politicians sending kids to die in some jungle on the other side of the world to prop up a government that wasn’t any better than the one we were fighting.

  429. John Morales says

    im:

    What would the hypothetical sentient fetus say?

    Leaving aside that you confuse sentience for sapience, that you need to resort to such hypothetical suppositions demonstrates the speciousness of your case.

    (Care to speak about real women and real fetuses, rather than real women and hypothetical (imaginary) fetuses?)

  430. Tethys says

    2. Bitchez lie about taking the pill

    So that they can take advantage of the buy two-get the third one free coupons that they give out at the abortionplex?