Can you handle two polls in a day?

Here’s another one. A few Australian political leaders are taking a cue from the Americans and following a piecemeal approach to destroy abortion rights. You know how this works: the majority of the population favors those rights (and gay rights, and marijuana decriminialization, and so many other reasonable positions), so the haters get into office and start nibbling around the edges. They start choking off funding here and there, they throw money at propaganda, they make it increasingly difficult to get a basic medical procedure, and before you know it, abortion doctors are marginalized, people who get abortions are treated as pariahs, and public opinion starts to shift, because ignorance is a fairly potent lobbying group.

So the Australians have been doing the same thing. At least some people are noticing and beginning to speak up.

Should abortion laws be tightened using federal government legislation as flagged by Senator John Madigan?

Yes 43%

No 54%

Not sure 3%

There was one other little bit that I wanted to comment on.

On Wednesday, Senator Madigan will introduce a motion in the Senate aimed at stopping the public funding of abortions that are used purely to select boys or girls.

He told my colleague Lenore Taylor that he had ”seen data that abortion on the basis of gender selection is happening overseas and that means it is likely to be happening here”.

This may be an unpopular opinion, but if we’re going to be consistent and regard fetuses as undeserving of the rights of full adult humans, and if we’re going to respect the woman’s right to choose her own reproductive future, we can’t be in the business of telling women what good reasons they’re allowed to use. Elective abortions to select the sex of their child are perfectly reasonable, rational decisions. They should be allowed, and we shouldn’t be horrified if women elect to do them.

There is a problem that many people devalue girls so much that they could skew the sex ratio. But that’s a completely different issue — the institutionalizing of patriarchal values — and it isn’t addressed by dictating the choices women may make with their own bodies.

I also find it ironic that it is the same people who unthinkingly promote those patriarchal values who are horrified that they lead to women opting to abort more female fetuses. I’m not impressed that you insist on the right of girls to be brought to term so you can treat them as disposable once they reach reproductive age.

Comments

  1. flemming says

    Elective abortions to select the sex of their child are perfectly reasonable, rational decisions. They should be allowed, and we shouldn’t be horrified if women elect to do them.

    I am horrified that anyone would get an abortion for this reason. But I still think they should be allowed to. You are right it can be a perfectly rational decision, but if your best reason for aborting is that you don’t want a child of a specific sex then I really wonder why you would want to be a parent at all. I mean what will you do if the child you do end up having is transgender?

    Sorry didn’t mean to derail the otherwise valid point of the blogpost.

  2. markr1957 says

    I will always vote against ANY restriction of the rights of women to control their own bodies.

  3. says

    @flemming 3:

    I am horrified that anyone would get an abortion for this reason.

    The first child of one of my best friends from college is a severely autistic boy. She and her husband had wanted more children, and now they were especially concerned that their son have siblings to help see to his care when they pass away. In consultation with doctors, it was determined that their female offspring would be significantly less likely to manifest autism — and they acted accordingly. Their son now has female siblings.

    Are you still horrified?

    Abortions for any reason should be nobody’s fucken business.

  4. flemming says

    @irisvanderpluym

    No i’m not horrified about that situation. But I would argue that the reason was more then simply the gender of the child, which was my point.

    And I agree that it is nobodies business. And I’m glad that I’ve lived most of my life (just moved to Norway) in the Netherlands where that is the norm. But I can still be horrified when I hears things that are none of my business I just don’t try to force my mindset onto others.

  5. Jack Krebs says

    That’s a very interesting point – the issue with aborting just because of the gender of the child is caused by the devaluing of women, which is the big issue here. Well said.

  6. says

    @flemming 8:

    “But I would argue that the reason was more then simply the gender of the child” – unless one just fancies one sex or the other, there’s always alterior motives. If would argue that the most common reason to abort a foetus of a certain sex in the western world (by western parents) is the risk (or even certainty) that a child with that sex will have a severe genetic defect.

  7. dianne says

    There is a problem that many people devalue girls so much that they could skew the sex ratio. But that’s a completely different issue — the institutionalizing of patriarchal values — and it isn’t addressed by dictating the choices women may make with their own bodies.

    Exactly. Making women MORE helpless is unlikely to convince anyone wanting a child who will be successful that having a girl is a good choice. It’s something that supporters of the patriarchy can do that makes them feel enlightened and non-sexist while at the same time increasing their power over women. Win-win for the patriarchy.

  8. Michael says

    (I know I’m probably going to open up a can of worms with this one)

    Regarding abortion for sex selection, I have to wonder if it is completely the woman’s choice, as opposed to being pressured to by her husband, family, or culture. Unless there are ulterior motives, as noted by other commentators, the long-term psychological effects on the mother for having to undergo an abortion (particularly for a ‘trivial’ reason) are considerable. A factor to consider if it isn’t entirely her choice.

    That being said, as China is finding out by allowing sex selection, this creates a shortage of girls, which results in more demand, and hopefully an increase in the value of girls by society in the long-term.

  9. The Mellow Monkey says

    Michael

    Regarding abortion for sex selection, I have to wonder if it is completely the woman’s choice, as opposed to being pressured to by her husband, family, or culture.

    If it’s okay to force a pregnant person to give birth because xe might be making hir choices based in part on hir culture, then it’s okay to force every pregnant person to give birth because they are all making their choices based in part on culture.

    Matters of actual criminal coercion or threat from a partner or family members are different, but must first be proven to exist. To go around actively searching for it in every instance (or, more likely, in people who have been racially profiled) is a grotesque invasion of privacy.

    Attacking the cultural ideas behind this devaluation of daughters allows people to make their own choices about their own bodies, without having their privacy infringed.

  10. Maureen Brian says

    Michael @ 13,

    I want a citation for these long-term psychological effects of abortion, trivial or otherwise, and any thoughts you may have on the long-term psychological effects of a life-time of being treated as somewhat less than fully human.

  11. dianne says

    Regarding abortion for sex selection, I have to wonder if it is completely the woman’s choice, as opposed to being pressured to by her husband, family, or culture.

    What are the chances that the pregnancy was entirely her choice? There is good evidence that abusers routinely sabotage birth control and otherwise manipulate their victims into becoming pregnant to increase the abuser’s control over the victim. Why this tender concern about whether she is being forced into an abortion but no apparent interest into whether she’s being forced into a pregnancy?

    the long-term psychological effects on the mother for having to undergo an abortion (particularly for a ‘trivial’ reason) are considerable.

    Actually, they’re not. The better controlled studies tend to show few ill effects from elective abortion and most of those seen are generally considered secondary effects, i.e. occur because people tell women that they should feel horrible rather than because the abortion makes them feel horrible.

  12. says

    I’m generally of the opinion that if you wish for anything but a healthy child (and sex CAN play a significant role in that) you shouldn’t have children anyway because you’ve got the wrong attitude anyway.
    Having said that, what good would it do if those women who want (or yes, who are even coerced into an abortion) an abortion because the fetus is female are forced to carry to term?
    The result would be a baby girl nobody wants.
    The result would be more pregnancies (I have never heard anybody of the “oh those women don’t do it out of their free will” crowd being concerned about women being coerced into yet another pregnancy to produce a male heir), more unwanted girls until the precious little prince is born.
    Can anybody tell me exactly why I should oppose sex-selective abortions again?

  13. Shplane, Spess Alium says

    Were I a crueler person, I would say “Sure, so long as you sterilize them when you’re done because they don’t deserve any sort of kid.”

    But then, I’ve always thought that rearing a child should be a privilege that one earns, and that most people aren’t capable of earning it. That may just be the abuse talking, though.

  14. glodson says

    The better controlled studies tend to show few ill effects from elective abortion and most of those seen are generally considered secondary effects, i.e. occur because people tell women that they should feel horrible rather than because the abortion makes them feel horrible.

    And in comparison, women who are denied access to abortion tend to fare worse off. Source.

    If you look at all this data together, a new picture emerges of abortion and how the state might want to handle it. To prevent women from having to rely on public assistance, abortions should be made more widely available. In addition, there is strong evidence that making abortions available will allow women to be healthier, with brighter economic outlooks. By turning women away when they seek abortions, we risk keeping both women and their children in poverty — and, possibly, in harm’s way from domestic violence.

    Specific to this line of thought, the psychological effect:

    In other words, the Turnaway Study found no indication that there were lasting, harmful negative emotions associated with getting an abortion. The only emotional difference between the two groups at one year was that the turnaways were more stressed. They were more likely to say that they felt like they had more to do than they could get done.

    None of this translated into clinical depression. “Abortion and depression don’t seem directly linked,” Foster said. “We’ll continue to follow these women for five years, though. So we might find something else down the line.”

    There’s no apparent difference at this point between women who got the abortions and women who were turned away. Of course, this might change over time as the more stressed group might develop depression, or other psychological problems. That group was the group of women who were turned away.

    If one is concerned about the well-being of women, allowing elective access to abortion is the most sensible and rational course of action. This is not even considering the fact that a woman should have, at the very least, autonomy over her own body.

    As said by others, the sex selection objection thrown out is a red herring. If that is a problem, that has a root cause unrelated to abortion. And I have doubts that this is even a problem, in that I’ve not seen any evidence that there is a widespread push of men pressuring women into aborting a pregnancy over the sex of the fetus.

  15. says

    Personally, I’d like to see data that proves that sex-selective abortions are the problem Madigan and his supporters say it is. There’s similar hand-wringing going on in Canada, but the article used to back up the call for legislation that would prohibit sex-selective abortions did not (to my recollection, it’s been a few months since I read it) actually cite any data, and struck me as rather racist in the way it singled out certain ethnic communities.

    Let’s see the numbers.

  16. says

    Giliell:

    I’m confused. Aren’t we supposed to be afraid of BROWN PEOPLE 11!!!! reproducing too much?
    Shouldn’t we therefore be pro brown-people abortions?

    Ah, but you’re not thinking like a wingnut.
    •Abortion = genocide! (Yes, this argument has been used in the US to explain why abortion is bad for women of color)
    •We need to protect racial minorities and women from themselves!

    So, yes. You’re right that conservatives are afraid of SCARY BROWN PEOPLE!!! having more kids than white people, but they want to take abortion access and birth control away from everyone†.

    †Except, of course, for themselves or their wives/daughters. Because that’s different.

  17. Caveat Imperator says

    My first response to this question is the same as my response to the opposition to late-term abortions: do people in the West actually do this, or is this a solution in search of a problem? Laws like this curb behavior that is likely rare in the United States and Europe, and has perfectly justifiable reasons as well (say, if the parents’ families have a history of hemophilia or other sex-linked diseases, as irisvanderpluym mentioned above.)
     
    In countries like India, where sex-selective abortions are more common, outlawing it will just lead to sex-selective infanticide and illegal abortions, and certainly won’t do anything to solve the pervasive sexism that make sex-selective abortions common in the first place.

  18. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Hey, Audley – good to see you round. I have to say, though, I disagree with:

    •Abortion = genocide! (Yes, this argument has been used in the US to explain why abortion is bad for women of color)
    •We need to protect racial minorities and women from themselves!

    No, no, no.

    The US has been indifferent to Genocide time and again. There’s not one instance in US history of an intervention whose purpose and effect were both to stop brown people from killing brown people.

    I really think you’re missing the point, from the perspective of a nation with enough nukes to poison the earth’s land against mammalian life for decades if not centuries:

    Genocide is mass, rampant destruction of a single one of US by the rare/occasional one of THEM. Firebombing of Tokyo? Nothing to do with genocide. Mass slaughter in Rwanda, Congo, Burundi? Nothing to do with genocide. The ongoing denial of resources to the people of the indigenous nations of North America? Watching folk die of disease and starvation for a couple hundred years? Rounding up the remainders and teaching them only in the language of some northern European language? That’s no effort to eliminate a people as a distinct group with its own culture! Next you’ll be saying that the US was founded on genocide just because we removed entire villages and cultures from Africa and chained the survivors on white folks’ farms until they had forgotten their own languages and religions!!!

    Ah, but the first bombing of the WTC in 1993? 6 people died – the THEM was exterminating OUR way of life!!!*

    Even worse – my niece left our church 3 years ago & I just found out that she had an abortion 5 years ago? ZOMG – the GENOCIDE is HERE!!!!!!

    Genocide: people keep using that word. It rarely means just what the speaker thinks it means…

    ===============
    * For clarity, I think it’s been well established that some in al Queda have advocated indiscriminate killing of US citizens until US culture becomes what al Queda considers acceptable. That is an effort at genocide. And the 9/11 attacks did kill large numbers – if they had been able to repeat that, it would have moved from a mass slaughter attempting genocide to an actual threat of genocide. However, regardless of how much a small number might *want* to commit genocide, the evidence was extremely thin in the 90s that there was actually a threat that the nation of the US was going to somehow die as a result of a combo of massive population loss and cultural control of the survivors.

    And when I say extremely thin, I’m speaking of something less than the evidence that an adorable brit invented a rocket and had a picnic on the moon with his wensleydale-loving, human companion.

  19. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Y’know, that post came out all wrong: I wasn’t disagreeing with you, Audley, I was carrying your post’s point further into ugly absurdity… and then somehow I lost the mood. Don’t know why.

    Anyway, didn’t want you to think it was an attack on you for not sufficiently appreciating genocide or some such. It was just poor writing from someone who agrees with you.

  20. Crip Dyke, MQ, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    2 of every 3 black children are killed by abortion. This stunning figure highlights the success of the eugenics movement against the black community.

    For particularly small values of “children”.

    fFs, I’m cynical today.

  21. dianne says

    2 of every 3 black children are killed by abortion. This stunning figure highlights the success of the eugenics movement against the black community.

    And if they “save” black “children” from abortion, that gives them a free pass to not worry about actual black children dying of leukemia, sickle cell disease, drive by shootings, premature birth, and all the other things that are contributing to a higher mortality in black children than in children of other races, right?

  22. dianne says

    Out of curiosity and to make sure I could back up the statement I made above, I looked up childhood mortality. One source I found here shows childhood mortality in the US. Two interesting things I found: One, the ratio of mortality for black versus white children has been quite variable over time, but favors whites more during the 1980s and early 2000s. Almost as though a bad economy hurt poor people more than wealthy people (figure 1). Two, childhood mortality is highest in the states with the strictest abortion laws (figure 11). Yep, love of fetal life apparently prevents you from caring about the already born.

  23. thumper1990 says

    @dianne

    Yep, love of fetal life apparently prevents you from caring about the already born.

    You mean the two are negatively correlated!? Colour me shocked. Shocked, I say!

  24. says

    Dianne,
    Those kids should pull themselves up by their bootstraps!

    That two out of three number is bugging the hell out of me. The overall abortion rate is 227 abortions per 1000 live births (2009, according to the CDC. I’ll post a link when I get to a real computer), but I can’t find a breakdown by race and I don’t trust anti-choicers not to be hella racist.

  25. says

    Okay, here we go, the CDC information I mention above:

    A total of 784,507 abortions were reported to CDC for 2009. Of these abortions, 772,630 (98.5%) were from the 45 reporting areas that provided data every year during 2000–2009. Among these same 45 reporting areas, the abortion rate for 2009 was 15.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 227 abortions per 1,000 live births.

    Abortion Surveillance

  26. says

    My comment got eated, somehow.
    Anyway, here are the CDC numbers I mentioned above:

    A total of 784,507 abortions were reported to CDC for 2009. Of these abortions, 772,630 (98.5%) were from the 45 reporting areas that provided data every year during 2000–2009. Among these same 45 reporting areas, the abortion rate for 2009 was 15.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 227 abortions per 1,000 live births.

    Abortion Surveillance

  27. says

    WTF?

    Okay, that’s two comments down the rabbit hole. One more time before I give up. Here. CDC numbers.

    A total of 784,507 abortions were reported to CDC for 2009. Of these abortions, 772,630 (98.5%) were from the 45 reporting areas that provided data every year during 2000–2009. Among these same 45 reporting areas, the abortion rate for 2009 was 15.1 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44 years, and the abortion ratio was 227 abortions per 1,000 live births

    http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6108a1.htm?s_cid=ss6108a1_w

  28. says

    Senator Madigan’s bill to ban abortions performed for gender selection is merely an attempt to curtail women’s selfish desire to avoid giving birth to children with genetic defects. Everyone knows suffering brings children closer to God, so why would any monster want to stop children from getting closer to God?

  29. says

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: banning sex-selective abortions is just as stupid as banning the burqa.

    “Hey, ladies! We’re concerned that someone else is making your decisions for you–the WRONG decisions! So we’re doing to make your decisions for you. But we’ll make the RIGHT decisions.”

    That’s not how you protect women’s autonomy and women’s rights.

  30. stevem says

    re 41:

    Exactly. Like them saying “Men often attack women to steal the bracelets they wear, so women – wearing bracelets is now illegal. Yeah, stealing (and attacking) is itself illegal already, but criminals are willing to break the law, so let’s just get rid of the target of the crime. So; no target, no crime”

  31. stevem says

    re 42:

    but I meant “…women – it is now illegal for women to wear bracelts, because men like to steal the bracelets you where. …”

  32. stevem says

    re 43:

    [wish we could edit these after posting...]

    shoulda been “wear”, not “where”, in that previous “correction”.

  33. Ichthyic says

    He told my colleague Lenore Taylor that he had ”seen data that abortion on the basis of gender selection is happening overseas and that means it is likely to be happening here”.

    odd that we had a discussion about the prevalence of this particular trojan horse in the other thread on abortion just yesterday.

    because yes, this entire gender-based abortion thing is nothing more than a trojan horse. anyone taking it seriously should carefully examine exactly how and where gender-based abortions even occur, and WHO is supporting using this as a wedge against bodily autonomy rights.

    don’t be fooled, this is an EASY trojan horse to spot.

  34. loopsyel says

    What we really need is a way to make males exclusively produce sperm with only one kind of sex chromosome. No abortion needed (for sexual selection, anyway), and no need to bypass copulation! Everybody wins! (assuming it’s not so costly or painful…)

  35. llbguy says

    Nah, no gender selection. It’s a reasonable limit on the right of abortion, just like defamation or hate speech is a reasonable limit on free speech. The problem is enforcing it. People won’t always give the true reason why they are aborting, after all…

  36. says

    Eight or so years ago, when I tried to dig up data on sex-selective abortion in the U.S., the best information I could find suggested the existence of a distinct bias toward keeping female fetuses and eliminating males. (I wasn’t very happy with the sources, which were already old at the time, so I’m not going to try to dig them out again.) The data sources on the reasons for the bias were even worse, but hinted that attempts to avoid x-linked disease was not the whole of it. In the U.S. (and Australia, I’d guess) people sometimes want girls for one of the same reasons Indians want boys: belief that that will improve their chances of being cared for in old age. Such considerations obviously does not reflect the overall value given the sexes in the two societies. Madigan’s argument is mistaken in the premises, I think.

  37. glodson says

    Nah, no gender selection. It’s a reasonable limit on the right of abortion, just like defamation or hate speech is a reasonable limit on free speech. The problem is enforcing it. People won’t always give the true reason why they are aborting, after all…

    Enlighten me. What are the reasonable limits on the right of a woman to autonomy over her body?

  38. Colin J says

    On Wednesday, Senator Madigan will introduce a motion in the Senate aimed at stopping the public funding of abortions that are used purely to select boys or girls.

    He told my colleague Lenore Taylor that he had ”seen data that abortion on the basis of gender selection is happening overseas and that means it is likely to be happening here”.

    So Senator Madigan admits that he has NO evidence that this is an issue in Australia. Or even that it is happening at all.

    How do you place restrictions on sex selection abortions without requiring people to give a reason for having an abortion? And when someone gives a reason, how do you know they aren’t lying?

    You can’t ban abortions for sex selection without banning all abortions that don’t have a clear medical reason. Maybe you can stretch it to cases of rape or incest, if you’re feeling particularly generous. That’s what Madigan wants, the lying fuck.

  39. says

    llbguy @48:

    The problem is enforcing it. People won’t always give the true reason why they are aborting, after all…

    The “problem” is not enforcing it. The problem is that doucheweasels think they should get to sit in judgment of a woman’s “true reason” for having an abortion, when the only reason necessary is that she wants to end a pregnancy.

  40. throwaway, promised freezed peach, all we got was the pit says

    The poll must have been bombed hard at the end (or rigged) because the final tally is 49% to 49%.

    Ilbis consider this strategy: they are mandating mandatory ultrasounds. With other tests it’s possible to learn the sex of the fetus in as little as I think 3 weeks. Now, once the woman is given that information, and she still decides to abort the fetus, it could be argued her rationale was because the fetus was [sex]. This isn’t a protection of anything except the right to make access to abortion more trouble, fraught with more loopholes, more expensive… It’s like others have said, it’s a trojan horse. Hopefully now you see why.

  41. throwaway, promised freezed peach, all we got was the pit says

    the right For clarity. Apologies for making that seem like its a right to be an obstructionist fuckbrained asshole.

  42. throwaway, promised freezed peach, all we got was the pit says

    Apologies for 3 post but another correction Ilbguy not Ilbis… I had Idris Elba on my mind for some reason =D

  43. llbguy says

    Hey, someone had to take up the contrary position. But I think removing all limits is a fairly extreme position. Hence the analogy with freedom of speech. Just as speech shouldn’t be used to harrass or defame people, neither should abortion be used for untoward goals. Slapping down conservatives for nibbling around the edges of these issues is one thing, but (and at the risk of getting a slope of some slipperiness) opening the doors for designer babies is another.

    But it can use more nuance. Sure, having concerns over autism is different than simple “preference.” Yet I don’t see autism itself being determinative of the issue. Just like I don’t see Tourette’s sufferers having no special protection when it comes to saying involuntary “hateful” things. It just all depends

    I doubt this will make progress. But if someone does want to continue talking about it, I would be interested in hearing the take on why free speech should be limited, and not abortion.

  44. Galactic Fork says

    I doubt this will make progress. But if someone does want to continue talking about it, I would be interested in hearing the take on why free speech should be limited, and not abortion.

    Well… One is forcing a woman to go through a roughly 9 month potentially dangerous medical condition she doesn’t want to go through. You can probably figure out which one that is.

  45. vaiyt says

    @Ilbguy:
    Your “reasonable” restriction is anything but.

    Simply put, restricting just sex-selecting abortions is unenforceable because the woman can simply lie about her true motives. Therefore, we’d either have to:
    - disallow abortions unless the woman proves that she is NOT going to sex-select.
    - have other people probe and investigate the woman’s motives.

    Putting something like that in place only makes ALL women seeking abortions go through more hoops. It can easily be abused. It puts women’s bodily autonomy at the whim of strangers. This is not reasonable.

  46. John Morales says

    llbguy:

    But if someone does want to continue talking about it, I would be interested in hearing the take on why free speech should be limited, and not abortion.

    They’re different things; free speech applies to the commons, abortion to one’s own person.

    (Also, free speech is inevitably limited by its consequences)

  47. vaiyt says

    @Ilbguy:

    But I think removing all limits is a fairly extreme position.

    Well, if you think women having the same rights as everyone else is an “extreme position”, I’m afraid you have barely looked into the rabbit hole yet.

    Just as speech shouldn’t be used to harrass or defame people, neither should abortion be used for untoward goals.

    WHAT untoward goals? Choosing when to have children? Doing what they want with their bodies?

    Slapping down conservatives for nibbling around the edges of these issues is one thing, but (and at the risk of getting a slope of some slipperiness) opening the doors for designer babies is another.

    Do you think closing the doors to designer babies is so important that women should be treated like cattle to prevent it?

    But it can use more nuance.

    Oh, “nuance”, the shibboleth of the fence-sitter. No, trying to argue if women should cease to be treated as people in some circumstances is not “nuance”. Compromising on the rights of others is not “nuance”.

    Trying to find the middle between lunacy and sense only makes you half mad, not “nuanced”.

    But if someone does want to continue talking about it, I would be interested in hearing the take on why free speech should be limited, and not abortion.

    The two issues aren’t even fucking remotely linked. First, “free speech” is not, and never was the right to say whatever you want without having to deal with the consequences. Second, speech doesn’t involve a 9-month, potentially dangerous condition or having another being use up your organs for their benefit. Third, hate speech does demonstrable harm to full, independent people and their rights, whereas sex-selective abortions do not.

  48. mythbri says

    There is no acceptable restriction on decisions I make about my own body. I’m not a person with bodily autonomy only 99.95% of the time. I’m a person with bodily autonomy 100% of the time.

  49. says

    llbguy @ 58:

    Hey, someone had to take up the contrary position.

    No, not really.

    But I think removing all limits is a fairly extreme position.

    You think so, huh. That’s nice. When you are faced with an unwanted pregnancy, that’s the only time what you think about it has any relevance whatsoever to this issue.

    Hence the analogy with freedom of speech. Just as speech shouldn’t be used to harrass or defame people, neither should abortion be used for untoward goals.

    That analogy is laughably stupid, for reasons too obvious to waste any time on. The only goal of abortion is ending an unwanted pregnancy. There is, of course, nothing whatsoever “untoward” about that.

    Slapping down conservatives for nibbling around the edges of these issues is one thing, but (and at the risk of getting a slope of some slipperiness) opening the doors for designer babies is another.

    Well then it’s a good thing no one’s talking about designer babies.

    But it can use more nuance.

    Yes, because the very idea of bodily autonomy as a human right requires so much nuance. That’s why everyone agrees that I can harvest llbguy’s blood or a kidney — against llbguy’s will — to keep another human alive. It’s a nuanced position.

    Sure, having concerns over autism is different than simple “preference.” Yet I don’t see autism itself being determinative of the issue.

    When you have an unwanted pregnancy your opinion on “determinative” issues will be relevant to your decisions. (Jeezus, I think I just channeled Nerd.)

    Just like I don’t see Tourette’s sufferers having no special protection when it comes to saying involuntary “hateful” things. It just all depends

    ZOMG WTF.

    I doubt this will make progress.

    Whatever “this” is, progress sure ain’t it.

    But if someone does want to continue talking about it, I would be interested in hearing the take on why free speech should be limited, and not abortion.

    Pretty sure no one wants to continue talking about it, at least not with a cavalier, ignorant, empathy-deficient fool — especially one who emits the distinct aroma of libertarian misogyny. But for those playing along at home: restrictions on free speech generally do not result in the death, infertility, maiming, poverty, and suffering of women.

    Idiot.

  50. says

    Slightly OT, but throwaway @55, where do you get your 3 week figure from? I’m hardly an expert, but that sounds way too early to me.
    Wikipedia suggests 7 weeks is the earliest you’ll get a reliable answer. (I also had no idea you could determine this with a maternal blood sample, by analyzing the small amount of fetal DNA found in it. Wow.)

    Of course, even if sex could be determined as soon as pregnancy is confirmed, that’s no grounds whatsoever for limits on abortion, for all the reasons already stated; especially for a “problem” that is not even documented to exist in this country.

  51. says

    Hey, someone had to take up the contrary position.

    “Hey guys, slavery is awesome. What’s the problem? I’m just taking up the contrary position!”

    If you didn’t notice, State Legislatures and Congressional Representatives are “taking up the contrary position.” The anti-women position is VERY well represented, thanks, there’s no need for you to take up the cause unless you LIKE promoting oppression of women.

  52. Dabu says

    But I think removing all limits is a fairly extreme position. Hence the analogy with freedom of speech. Just as speech shouldn’t be used to harrass or defame people, neither should abortion be used for untoward goals.

    A pregnant woman wakes up and decides she doesn’t want to incubate the growing life form within her any longer. What’s one good reason for refusing her wish? Her desire not to raise a baby of the fetus’s sex isn’t it. Maintaining an even male-female ratio by forcing women to bear children they don’t want is a terrible solution, and I don’t see opposing it as extreme.

    Untoward goals? You mean like, lots of chanting in a dark room with guttering red candles and a big sharp knife? Have you been reading Jack Chick again?

  53. Shplane, Spess Alium says

    @thumper1990

    Oh, no, I wasn’t saying anything about “eugenics”. What I was saying had absolutely nothing to do with genetics, or, at least, very little. I was simply stating that many-to-most (Depending on how misanthropic I feel on a given day) people are not psychologically capable of caring for children, and will probably abuse the fuck out of them. Most people shouldn’t have children because most people will treat those children like shit, or just generally not care for them properly.

    I don’t care about who breeds. I care about who raises children.

  54. throwaway, promised freezed peach, all we got was the pit says

    Slightly OT, but throwaway @55, where do you get your 3 week figure from? I’m hardly an expert, but that sounds way too early to me.
    Wikipedia suggests 7 weeks is the earliest you’ll get a reliable answer. (I also had no idea you could determine this with a maternal blood sample, by analyzing the small amount of fetal DNA found in it. Wow.)

    I remember reading it recently, one of the random ‘facts’ quickly absorbed but not fully stored. It’s possible I misremembered the numbers (which I tend to do with 3 and 7 frequently, also, I confuse orange and green – my beautiful mind!)

  55. caekslice says

    I doubt anybody need be terribly worried about restrictive abortion laws in Australia. The public mood here is overwhelmingly pro-abortion rights, and it’s legal in all states and territories with only two exceptions: New South Wales and Queensland.

    I don’t know anything about NSW but I can comment on Queensland. Abortion is technically illegal here, but goes on without any legal interference. Except, that is, until about 2 years ago when a young couple was charged with procuring an abortion using RU486 – the first time in 111 years of the law being on the books that anybody had ever been charged.

    Interestingly, if you look at the prosecutions case, they actually went out of their way to lose; it’s clear the prosecution never actually wanted to win. I’m guessing the whole incident came about due to a single conservative policeman deciding to force his political views on a state in which abortion has always been de facto legal. Put simply, the law makes the administration of a “noxious substance” for the purposes of procuring an abortion illegal. However, that’s “noxious” to the mother, not the foetus. Case dismissed. It’s likely to be another 111 years before a similar case appears again.

    More reading here if anybody’s interested: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-10-15/crown-kicks-own-goal-in-qld-abortion-trial/2298608

  56. Koshka says

    I am yet to understand why some people here are so against sex selective abortion. It seems to come down to them feeling icky.

    Please explain. Why are you so horrified about it? What great problem will it cause to society even it was common?

    And if I may add another reason that sex selective abortion may occur is when a mother has had a child die. They may want another of the same sex to fill their loss a little or they want one of the opposite sex so they don’t see hir as a ‘replacement’.

  57. Koshka says

    caekslice,
    The case you refer to was not simply a blip on Queensland abortion rights. As well as dragging a young couple through the courts for some time, it also made doctors in Queensland scared to perform abortion for fear of criminal prosecution. The option at the time was to go interstate for abortion. Almost certainly at the time some women did not have a proper choice. This case was in fact a loss for abortion rights in Queensland. The law still stands and individuals can still fuck with other people’s lives again in the future.

  58. says

    I doubt anybody need be terribly worried about restrictive abortion laws in Australia.

    You mean, apart from the couple charged with abortion, sure.
    Apart from women who need one who know pretty well that they could be charged as well.
    Apart from doctors who are now afraid to perform abortions.
    So, nothing to worry about…

  59. thumper1990 says

    @schplane

    Morning :)

    Yeah, my use of the word eugenic-y was tongue-in-cheek and was related to your comment;

    “Sure, so long as you sterilize them when you’re done because they don’t deserve any sort of kid.”

    I was just saying that I can totally see where you’re coming from and, when in one of my darker moods after watching a particularly bad portion of BBC News, I would probably start calling for tests before allowing people to procreate, my assumption being that if they have the child they would be the ones bringing it up, which was obviously wrong because adoption exists. Basically it was hypothetical and not meant to be taken seriously, much like yours.

  60. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Latest & highly suspicious figures (which incidentally wouldn’t cut’n’paste properly) :

    Poll : Should abortion laws be tightened using federal government legislation as flagged by Senator John Madigan?

    Yes = 49%
    No = 49 %

    Unsure = 2%

    Poll closed 28 Feb, 2013

    Disclaimer : These polls are not scientific and reflect the opinion only of visitors who have chosen to participate.

    Especially suspicious considering this :

    http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3688053.htm

    item on how someone rigged a news poll or two which I stumbled across the other day..

    PS. Sorry folks, I haven’t read the comments yet on this thread or elsewhere & I haven’t forgotten & will get to the ongoing thunderdome discussion later. May or may not be tonight depending.

  61. John Morales says

    [meta]

    StevoR, interesting, informative, suggestive… and apposite.

    (Something PZ recognised long ago, this pointless polling)

  62. Ichthyic says

    Hey, someone had to take up the contrary position.

    I really want you to explain why.

    seriously.

    why does there NEED to be a demented fuckwit position based on past bigotry and sexisms?

    why do YOU feel a need to provide “balance” to an issue that doesn’t need it?

    WHY?

  63. Ichthyic says

    I doubt this will make progress.

    …but you just had to be a fuckwit and continue onwards anyway?

    why?

  64. Ichthyic says

    I am yet to understand why some people here are so against sex selective abortion. It seems to come down to them feeling icky.

    personally, I could give a fuck what a couple cooperatively decides they want for their family.

    that’s what family planning is all about.

    but the problem is, this practice is commonly associated with males FORCING their partners to have a certain sex child, or it is the result of a history of such practices within a patriarchal culture that favors male children as heirs.

    so, there you have it. That’s why sex selective abortions are typically a problem. It’s not the issue of whether a woman gets to decide, it’s whether a woman gets to FREELY decide.

    because, that’s what it has always been about, freedom for individuals to make their own, informed, choices about their own bodies and their own reproduction.

  65. Ichthyic says

    ..it’s also exactly why it’s so fucking anger inducing to see these forced-birther fuckwits using this issue as a trojan horse.

  66. Ichthyic says

    …and I seriously doubt most here actually DO have a problem with people making truly free choices about what sex child to bring into their world.

  67. says

    Ichthyic

    but the problem is, this practice is commonly associated with males FORCING their partners to have a certain sex child, or it is the result of a history of such practices within a patriarchal culture that favors male children as heirs.

    Yes, and that’s the exact same problem however way you turn it. If it’s not achieved via sex-selective abortion, it’s achieved via large families. If we assume taht in a case a woman doesn’t have much say over the matter of the abortion, it is also safe to assume that she doesn’t have much say over the matter of a pregnancy. But nobody screams out over the fact that women are forced into pregnancies, risk their lives, ruin their bodies, are shamed and blamed time after time again and who produce lots of unwanted girls along the way. Nothing gets better if the sex-selective abortions are targeted without changing the culture that favours males. And if we change the culture that favours males, the problem of sex-selective abortions solves itself.

  68. wolja says

    #9 said That’s a very interesting point – the issue with aborting just because of the gender of the child is caused by the devaluing of women, which is the big issue here. Well said.

    If this was being bought up in a country where abortions to select sex were a topic of discussion and dissent then perhaps you’d have a point.

    This old white conservative crank, sorry christian would just add to the tautology, has stolen an idea from the fundie wankers elsewhere and thought to try and start the erosion of women’s rights in Australia.

    If, as unfortunately seems likely, the conservatives get in in September and need this slugs vote for balance of power this will happen. The conservatives are running to catch up to the bile that can truly reflect the bile of Tea Partiers everywhere

  69. llbguy says

    Hey, llbguy, why do you hate babies so much that you want them to be born to a mother who would actually rather see them dead?

    I don’t think anyone wants that. You could give it up for adoption. I think some might say that adopted people get hurt when they find out their true mother didn’t love them, so there is that aspect of potential harm. But I think many also wouldn’t like the news “hey, we killed three of your sisters until you arrived, you special little boy!”

    They’re different things; free speech applies to the commons, abortion to one’s own person.

    interesting. can you elaborate further? I can see that selective abortion would affect the commons if you end up with more males than females, and a LOT of sexually frustrated males as a result. Isn’t this happening in China?

  70. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You could give it up for adoption.

    Why? Why not abort? Who the fuck gave you permission to make a decision for somebody else? Who the fuck are you to think you have something to say in the decision between the woman and her doctor? Where is your humility and humanity? I see your ego rearing its ugly head.

  71. Dabu says

    and a LOT of sexually frustrated males as a result

    The apex of suck, without a doubt. *nods sagely*

  72. says

    The way we (in India) attempt to deal with the issue of “sex-selective abortions” is to tackle the first part of that term — i.e. the sex selection.

    So while abortion is legal, it is illegal to determine the sex of the foetus. Doctors are barred from doing so, and have to go through a certain amount of contortions to ensure they don’t accidentally reveal the foetus’ sex. (like ensure that the ultrasound image only shows certain angles etc.)

    India has a massive sex-ratio problem, and it is not practically feasible to just wish away a deep-seated cultural malaise. Hence this legislative approach paired with the usual education drives, awareness campaigns.