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There’s a secular argument for wearing underpants on your head. So?

Sarah Moglia points out that David Silverman has been saying some weird things recently.

Yesterday, an article was published about atheists at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference). Featured prominently in the article was Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists. In it, Dave was quoted as saying, “I will admit there is a secular argument against abortion. You can’t deny that it’s there, and it’s maybe not as clean cut as school prayer, right to die, and gay marriage.” Is that so?

I’m trying to figure out what this ‘secular argument’ actually is; he didn’t say. I have encountered anti-choice people tabling at an atheist convention, and they couldn’t say either — I got the impression these were actually religious people trying to evangelize to the atheists with a pretense, and they stood out oddly from the rest of the crowd…rather like an atheist shilling at CPAC. So speak up, Dave, tell us what these secular arguments are.

I’m also wary because in my business we’ve run into folks peddling religious bullshit under the guise of being secular before: we call them intelligent design creationists. No one is fooled. Similarly, the anti-choicers who claim to be making a rational secular argument are easy to see through, since they ultimately always rely on some magical perspective on the embryo.

But here’s the bottom line: it is not enough to make a purely secular argument. It has to also be a good argument, unless atheism is to become a smokescreen for nonsense, to be accepted purely because of its godless label. And then atheism might as well just be another religion.

Comments

  1. Al Dente says

    I’ve seen the secular argument against abortion. It’s the “what about the baybeez?” spiel.

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    Al Dente @ # 1: It’s the “what about the baybeez?” spiel.

    The category confusion of fetus=baby spiel, or the factual failure of impending depopulation spiel?

  3. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Not “weird things,” PZ. Assholish things. Right wing things. Things you hate things. Like highlighting how he owns guns, and how “the democrats are too liberal for me.”

    Things that you’d probably call out more strongly were it someone else.

  4. Cuttlefish says

    The arguments in favor of a pro-life position, in my experience, nearly always ignore the mass of tissue surrounding the “preborn child”… that is to say, the woman. In my experience (it is, of course, limited), there are no pro-life arguments that recognize any life but that of the embryo.

  5. robro says

    Perhaps it’s the “to get into CPAC, I needed to say something as lame as the speakers” spiel. A lot of dumb stuff comes out at that event. Every environment needs it’s bottom feeders and in politics, that’s Republicans.

  6. ChasCPeterson says

    I’m trying to figure out what this ‘secular argument’ actually is

    Far be it from me to put words in Dave Silverman’s mouth, but I’m going to guess that it involves the attachment of value to the idea of a potential human being.
    I see that folks are already lining up to offer straw versions to snark at and ridicule, but there are defensible positions in between “mudering God’s baby children” and “just scraping out a parasitic cell-clump”. And some of these non-religious ethical positions can acknowledge the importance of women’s bodily autonomy without simplifying the issue all the way to just that.
    I am not personally espousing or defending such positions, but they do exist, and they’re held by thoughtful, ethical, secular people who do not, in my opinion, deserve the bullshit ideological piling-on they’re probably going to get here.

  7. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    I have never seen or heard an anti-abortion argument or stance, that wasn’t offered by deeply-religious people, and unsupported by the scriptures of their religion. Religious people have come down on the side of being anti-abortion, and they cannot justify their case, nor admit that it is, at bottom, anti-woman.

    The only argument that I see is whether they started out as anti-woman, or just don’t care that they are. The delusion probably doesn’t matter.

    I cannot think of a good secular case against abortion, or even a bad one. Avoiding offending the religious is not a case.

  8. Sven says

    But here’s the bottom line: it is not enough to make a purely secular argument. It has to also be a good argument

    You hit the nail on the head. Sure there’s a “secular argument” against abortion, it’s just a really dumb one.

  9. chrislawson says

    I’ve met one person who was a self-identified atheist who also expressed an anti-abortion position. It wasn’t an appropriate setting for me to question him further, but it was essentially based on the idea that a foetus should be considered a fully human entity. I wish I’d had the opportunity to press him about where along the timeline of single diploid cell to independently-living organism he thought the cutoff for full autonomous humanity should be, and why. I do get the feeling that if there was a serious risk to the mother’s life he would have been all in favour of an abortion, but I didn’t get to ask specifically.

    I guess what I’m saying is that there *are* some secular anti-abortionists…but they’re overwhelmingly rare. I’ve certainly never been shown an argument, religious or secular, against abortion that I have found even remotely persuasive. The closest I’ve seen is a complaint that some women repeatedly use abortion as their main line of contraception — which even if you don’t have a moral problem with abortion is still a bad thing from the point of view of both the woman’s health and health resourcing — but even there the best approach is good sex education and easy access to cheap, effective contraception.

  10. scottshan says

    Wait really? I’m an athiest and morally uncomfortable with late term abortions in some cases. Do people think an 8.5 month abortion should be just fine? (other than of course the health of the mother) I mean it is a fully viable healthy child at that point. But a 2 month old embryo is also obvioulsy not a child.

    Some where in between there should be an area where it gets morally dicy. Am I alone in saying that? I’m not saying I want to throw women in cages for any abortion but I can still think some small subset of cases could be morally wrong.

  11. Sastra says

    There are pro-life humanists. Perhaps the most famous is progressive civil libertarian Nat Hentoff, who — like PZ — writes occasional op-eds for Free Inquiry.

    I do not find his arguments convincing, but he can’t be said to be deeply or secretly religious (unless you define “religion” both broadly and pejoratively. His views probably provide the best case against abortion and are at least worth examining and debating. I certainly disagree with him on this issue, but would not classify Nat Hentoff as trivial.

  12. says

    Do people think an 8.5 month abortion should be just fine?

    Isn’t that pretty much just called a “birth”?

    And really, are there any cases of a mother opting to (or wanting to) terminate her pregnancy less than a month before due date that didn’t involve some kind of catastrophic health crisis?

    Does this even happen?

  13. A. Noyd says

    @ChasCPeterson (#6)
    Except, some way of devaluing women’s bodily (and moral) autonomy is necessary to turn the valuing of “a potential human being” into an anti-abortion position. By itself, it’s not a value inconsistent with being in favor of abortion. I want to keep from bringing “a potential human being” into the world in part because potential human beings are also potentially miserable human beings. If other people want to take that risk, that’s on them, but they shouldn’t get to take it using my body and my genes.

  14. carlie says

    I’m an athiest and morally uncomfortable with late term abortions in some cases. Do people think an 8.5 month abortion should be just fine? (other than of course the health of the mother) I mean it is a fully viable healthy child at that point.

    The problem is that you’re arguing against a strawfetus. The goal of an abortion is to stop the fetus from gestating inside of the woman it’s currently in, and with the minimal amount of physical damage to the woman. For an 8.5 month fetus, the way that goal is achieved is a c-section. And, in fact, in that case that “the health of the mother” is the overriding concern, that’s exactly what would happen. The 8.5 month abortions that happen aren’t for the health of the mother, they’re because something has gone horribly, tragically wrong with the fetus and it is nonviable, or destined for a very short and excruciatingly painful life. If that’s the position you want to argue, you’ll get a huge amount of pushback from people who are none to happy that you’re using an extreme case that never happens as a way to limit abortions at earlier times that actually need to happen.

  15. unity says

    I think the key question here is what Silverman means by ‘against abortion’.

    If he means ‘against abortion full stop’ then a secular argument would rely on taking the view that life begins with conception and that the moral prohibition against terminating a life is a Kantian imperative – not a position I personally find convincing but it is at least a secular one.

    If he means ‘against abortion is certain circumstances’ then we’re into very different territory. As a pregnancy approaches term the moral and ethical questions raised by abortion become much more complex and there is on the whole very little public sympathy for the absolutist view that abortion should be permitted at any point up to birth.

    Quite what the figures are in the US I don’t know but in the UK it’s about 3-4% and I can’t imagine that the US will deviate too much from that figure – and by comparison, public support for wholesale prohibition runs at around 9% in the UK but once you start breaking it down to specific issues like time limits, etc. thing become more complicated and fragmented.

    Now if that’s what Silverman has in mind then there are indeed numerous secular arguments for and against abortion in particular circumstances and plenty of lively and interesting debate surrounding those arguments, which is an entirely healthy state of affairs and a sign that us secularist take questions of morality and ethics very seriously – far more so, in many cases, than a lot of religionists.

  16. profpedant says

    The secular argument against abortion is simple and comes in two forms. The more relevant form is if the pregnant woman asserts “I do not want to have an abortion”. The subsidiary form (subsidiary because the argument matters only if the pregnant woman asserts that it matters) is “I want you to not have an abortion”. Clear, simple, and indicative of why abortion is referred to as a ‘choice’. And that is about it.

  17. anteprepro says

    Here, additional context, if needed to head off possible future derails. These are the two paragraphs that precede the part quoted in PZ’s quote:

    “I came with the message that Christianity and conservatism are not inextricably linked,” he told me, “and that social conservatives are holding down the real conservatives — social conservatism isn’t real conservatism, it’s actually big government, it’s theocracy. I’m talking about gay rights, right to die, abortion rights –”

    Hold on, I said, I think the Right to Life guys who have a booth here, and have had every year since CPAC started, would disagree that they’re not real conservatives.

    So David Silverman doesn’t hold high esteem for “social conservatives”. He does not seem to actively oppose abortion. He does, when pressed though, throw abortion under the bus, in saying it isn’t as clear cut as other issues.

    As noted, just because there is a secular argument doesn’t mean that those secular arguments are worth shit. In a thread about libertarians, someone mentioned a libertarian group that was against abortion for “secular reasons”. The argument? That when a sperm fertilizes an egg, it is fully human. Yeah. “Secular” doesn’t mean nuanced, logical, or scientifically-literate. And, honestly, a lot of religious love to disguise their religious biases in secular terms. So who gives a shit whether it is or is not in the secular realm? Bullshit is bullshit.

  18. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    Scottshan, you used the word “child” when describing a 8.5 month fetus. It, if outside the woman, would be a baby. Using overly-advanced terms for fetuses is a common anti-abortion trick. Don’t do it.

    And don’t call it a fully-functioning healthy child. It is a premature baby, needing much care, even more care than a newborn. Seriously, don’t do that.

    The worth of, and terms for, a developing fetus is entirely up to the woman. If she regards it as the greatest event in her life, that is her decision. She can protect her body, as is her right. The same holds for her choice to abort the pregnancy. It is her decision.

    I do not regard a late-term abortion as trivial, myself, but it is not my decision. I do respect a woman’s right to make her own decision, and I don’t think many folks regard late-term abortion as trivial, either. I do realize that very few late-term abortions will happen if early abortions are made easy and rational.

    Until a woman has given birth, it is entirely up to her. If you don’t like what she wants to do, offer her alternatives, but never, ever use force or law or bad arguments. Do not lie about what is happening, and please do not use the loaded language of the people who oppose her. She is a fully-functioning human being—a fetus is not.

  19. says

    Chas #6

    And some of these non-religious ethical positions can acknowledge the importance of women’s bodily autonomy without simplifying the issue all the way to just that.

    There aren’t, and indeed cannot be, such positions, barring the extreme case of holding that no-one has medical bodily autonomy and anyone with donatable organs or tissues can have them seized the moment a compatible recipient is in need. All such arguments run up against the famous violinist case.
    Sastra #11
    That’s the standard force-birther spiel with the God edited out; I’m not seeing the significant difference.

  20. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Do people think an 8.5 month abortion should be just fine? (other than of course the health of the mother) I mean it is a fully viable healthy child at that point. But a 2 month old embryo is also obvioulsy not a child.

    Do you really think you have a point, since it is obvious you haven’t checked statistics? The abortions past thirty weeks are invariably due to fetal deformity or the health of the woman. And there is the option of what NASA, if a main engine during a shuttle launch failed beyond a certain point in the launch, called “abort to orbit”, where they may be lower than expected orbit, and not able to fulfill the mission, but the crew can safely return in a very controlled manner. Same thing occurs with a viable fetus. It simply comes into the world earlier than would be normal. Why anybody thinks after 8.5 months a woman decides on a whim to abort the fetus is beyond rational comprehension. And no doctor would carry out the orders.

  21. mildlymagnificent says

    I’ve come across a very few atheist women who are against abortion. They seem to be entirely consumed by the guilt they feel about the fact that they previously considered abortion, and then decided against it, for a pregnancy that resulted in a much-loved child.

    They’re really not up to arguing on the merits of the health or bodily autonomy of the mother nor the “my beautiful child” status of a blastocyst. They seem also to have lived in a bit of a health “bubble” that they’ve never known anyone with an ectopic or other disastrous pregnancy as well as the middle class comfort “bubble” of a fairly high family income, a stable marriage and a comfortable home. The regret and guilt they feel about the horror of considering aborting a pregnancy that resulted in a healthy child who’s now grown into a healthy adult is probably the worst thing that has ever happened to them. They’re blind to anything else.

  22. anteprepro says

    Quite what the figures are in the US I don’t know but in the UK it’s about 3-4% and I can’t imagine that the US will deviate too much from that figure – and by comparison, public support for wholesale prohibition runs at around 9% in the UK but once you start breaking it down to specific issues like time limits, etc. thing become more complicated and fragmented.

    Ahahahaha. You have no idea what the debate even is in the U.S. do you then? God damn, I need to move out of this fucking hell hole and into somewhere civilized like where you live.

    Most recent data:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx

    Legal under any circumstance: 26%
    Legal under most circumstances: 13%
    Legal only in a few circumstances: 38%
    Legal under no circumstances: 20%

    In addition: 49% of Americans think abortion is morally wrong.

    Opposition to abortion by trimester:
    1st trimester: 31%
    2nd trimester: 64%
    3rd trimester: 80%

  23. says

    One secular argument against abortion is that there are many childless couples who would love to adopt, but not enough babies being put up for adoption. Women considering abortion should be encouraged to seriously consider putting the baby up for adoption instead.

    This would also reduce the need for childless couples to look overseas for children from developing countries, with all the issues associated with that.

    This is not a moral argument against abortion, but a social argument.

  24. corwyn says

    As you so aptly demonstrate here, BOTH sides of the argument are so hopelessly mired in dogma, they miss the one and only important question in the whole issue. They both start be pre-supposing that their answer to that question is the only right one. All rationality is tossed out the window before the argument even starts. Sad.

  25. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    One secular argument against abortion is that there are many childless couples who would love to adopt, but not enough babies being put up for adoption.

    Why should anybody trying to remove a parasite from their body care about what strangers think? It isn’t an argument. Any cogent argument makes the woman not pregnant when it is convenient to her. If a couple wants wave some money at her for a live birth, then it isn’t a problem.

  26. anteprepro says

    One secular argument against abortion is that there are many childless couples who would love to adopt, but not enough babies being put up for adoption. Women considering abortion should be encouraged to seriously consider putting the baby up for adoption instead.

    The issue is that those childless couples won’t accept children. There are plenty of children without permanent families in the foster care system, but they don’t mean shit, because everyone wants A BABEE. It’s only a good argument if that is what the woman wants to do. If that’s her Choice. Otherwise, it is a shit reason to go through pregnancy and childbirth, and shit reason to add to population growth because you think abortion is too squicky.

  27. anteprepro says

    BOTH sides of the argument are so hopelessly mired in dogma, they miss the one and only important question in the whole issue.

    And that one important question is what, oh Enlightened Neutral One?

  28. anteprepro says

    shit reason to add to population growth because you think abortion is too squicky.

    For clarity, that “you” was supposed to be a general, hypothetical “you”, not accusing Stephen Minhinnick of feeling that way.

  29. woozy says

    Um, the secular arguments against abortion are exactly the same as the religious arguments against abortion. There’s absolutely nothing religious about saying “abortion is murder” so that’s a secular argument. In fact the strictly religious arguments, that somehow god and the bible dislike abortion, are rather tenuous. There’s honestly nothing in the bible or religious tradition about abortion at all.

    Or we buying into the idea that secularism is amoral so all moral arguments are somehow religious arguments. If we are, then let’s *stop*. Now!

  30. anteprepro says

    Um, the secular arguments against abortion are exactly the same as the religious arguments against abortion. There’s absolutely nothing religious about saying “abortion is murder” so that’s a secular argument.

    I seem to recall that the “human from fertilization” assumption had to do with ensoulment originally, and then they started defending the idea using pseudoscientific reasoning. I could be wrong there, and it again shows just how irrelevant the distinction between religious and secular arguments are, in regards to politics.

  31. A. Noyd says

    Stephen Minhinnick (#23)

    Women considering abortion should be encouraged to seriously consider putting the baby up for adoption instead.

    I’ll let others tear apart the rest of your idiocy. But this?

    You think women don’t naturally consider all the options? You think women aren’t already pressured that way? I’ve never been pregnant, but I’ve still thought about it. More seriously than I’m guessing you ever could, you patronizing jackass.

  32. barbara4 says

    It seems to me that there is a secular argument against abortion (except when the woman’s life or health is threatened, or when the fetus is so damaged that one would allow it to be euthanized if it had been born in a country where euthanasia of babies is allowed). I myself think that abortion should be legal and readily available for all women early in pregnancy, and in a smaller set of circumstances later in pregnancy. But it’s hard to draw the lines.

    An anti-abortionist, secular argument that seems reasonable as far as it goes: Humans have a right to life. Adult humans, male and female, black and white and other races, gay or straight, of any religion, have a right to life. (Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, in fact.) Children have a right to live. Babies have a right to live. Physically and mentally damaged people have a right to live. Almost-born fetuses have a right to live; there’s no real difference between the almost born fetus and the just-born baby. And since there’s no real difference between a fetus on one day and on the day before, and that lack of difference from one day to the next is true throughout gestation, the right to live goes back to conception, the time when an individual, a genetically unique individual is formed. I envy the simplicity and clarity of this argument. Unfortunately, reality is more complex and less clear.

    Myself, I think that all living things have a right to life, including broccoli and sheep (which may be stupider than broccoli). I also think that we have rights to pursue our well-being and our lives in ways that cause us to kill (directly or indirectly) some other living beings who have their own rights to live. (I am not a vegetarian!) At conception, the fertilized egg is a cell. A cell with no more complexity or ability to think than an amoeba or my own skin cells, even though it has the potential to become human like the readers of this comment. Even at that point, this cells has a right to life, but no more so than the plants and animals that I eat each day. Through development, the embryo and later fetus increases in complexity and potential day by day, small though the daily change is, and its rights also increase.

    Meanwhile, the woman involved has not only the right to life but the right to pursue her well being, her happiness as she understands it. That right may conflict with the rights of the embryo or, later, fetus. I think that the woman’s right to choose trumps the embryo’s right to live early in development but that gradually the fetus’s rights increase to the point that they can be trumped only by the woman’s right to live and remain healthy. This is not simple and it’s not clear — there is no one day you can point to where the woman’s right to choose ends. But it seems to me to match reality better than any argument against all abortion.

  33. cuervocuero says

    #28. If you want to take a fetus to term for nine months and have someone adopt the resultant baby, you go for it.

    Just remember, in that nine month period, you will need healthcare, financial support, nutritional support, emotional support.

    You may not be able to work, you may be bedridden for months, your body may break down in permanent ways, fallen to a great many conditions that come with pregnancy, including fatal ones. Who has your back? The state? Your family? Who carries the costs? Who dictates the terms of the support? What regulations will you have to follow?

    Your education and life choices will be drastically different to you not being pregnant. Do you already have birthed, growing, dependent children to support? Alternately, do you have a teenage child who you will encourage to carry a fetus to term?

    When you birth the resulting baby (if you make it full term without having a natural abortion aka miscarriage that can also debilitate and even kill you), if it has physical, mental, or both, disabilities, will you still see this massive list of adopters willing to line up at your door? What if you deliver prematurely? Every week early is another complication. Is your healthcare going to cover the costs of the extra medical attention and acute care required, perhaps for both of you?

    Are you going to give the baby to …what again? A government adoption agency? Private? Dropping the new baby off in a swinging panel in a church or hospital wall? Will you think about the child being abused in some way in the hands of the adopters? Do you want the child to find you years from now?

    Encouraged…such a lovely feel good word. So…vague and hand wavey.

  34. anteprepro says

    That was elegantly put, barbara4. You painted a nuanced picture of reality, and how even the “pro-life” arguments conflict with such nuance, very succinctly.

  35. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Almost-born fetuses have a right to live; there’s no real difference between the almost born fetus and the just-born baby.

    Stop lying to your self, then stop lying to us. Irreversible changes at birth: Here. Not close to the same.

  36. anteprepro says

    Stop lying to your self, then stop lying to us. Irreversible changes at birth: Here. Not close to the same.

    I almost had the same reaction. Read her post further in, Nerd.

  37. Amphiox says

    One secular argument against abortion is that there are many childless couples who would love to adopt, but not enough babies being put up for adoption.

    There are many people suffering from kidney failure, and not enough kidneys being donated.

    Is that a secular argument for forcible extraction of kidneys from people against their will?

  38. Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally says

    Apparently, there’s a whole website dedicated to secular pro-life belief–http://www.secularprolife.org/#!abortion/cimp

    And yep, it’s pretty gross:

    The overwhelming majority of pregnancies occur as a result of consensual sex. It is unjust to deny an
    unborn child’s right to life in favor of a bodily autonomy right that could have been vindicated earlier,
    and without violence, through the practice of abstinence or contraception.

    It is also worth noting that bodily autonomy is essentially an after-the-fact rationalization; women do not
    actually have abortions in order to preserve their bodily autonomy. Research has consistently shown
    that women have abortions primarily for socio-economic reasons. The idea of a woman aborting
    because she feels that she’s been “invaded by an alien parasite” is pure political rhetoric.

    There’s also a “pro-woman” section of their website. Go figure :/

  39. sqlrob says

    @barbara4, #32

    I think that the woman’s right to choose trumps the embryo’s right to live early in development but that gradually the fetus’s rights increase to the point that they can be trumped only by the woman’s right to live and remain healthy

    I used to view things that way as well, but I can’t convince myself that it’s right anymore. Let’s grant that at some arbitrary point (not birth) the fetus’ rights supersede that of the woman. You’ve got one human controlling another without their permission. How is that not slavery? If you can still justify it, why is forced organ donation not ethical? How do the arguments against that not apply to unwanted pregnancy?

  40. anteprepro says

    Cyrano’s quotes:

    The overwhelming majority of pregnancies occur as a result of consensual sex.

    Gross is right. This pretty much all I needed to see to know that whatever following would be pretty fucking disgusting.

    The idea of a woman aborting
    because she feels that she’s been “invaded by an alien parasite” is pure political rhetoric.

    Being accused of “pure political rhetoric” from an anti-choicer is the height of irony. I don’t think there is a way to make irony meters explode any harder than that.

  41. says

    I just did a speech about how poorly argued secular anti-choice positions are. Most of their arguments are nearly indistinguishable from religious anti-choice arguments too. It really sounds like gatekeeping to say that school prayer, gay marriage, and right to die are clear cut secular arguments. I am tired of people wasting so much of the secular movement’s forward momentum trying to keep women’s issues out unless it is anti-Islam misogyny.

    Why can’t they see the war on women in America is largely related to our Christian patriarchal culture?

  42. Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally says

    How dare you treat your syphilis? Didn’t you have consensual sex? Don’t you know that syphilis IS A LIVING THING? If you consented to sex, you consented to syphilis, right????

  43. A. Noyd says

    barbara4 (#32)

    That right may conflict with the rights of the embryo or, later, fetus. I think that the woman’s right to choose trumps the embryo’s right to live early in development but that gradually the fetus’s rights increase to the point that they can be trumped only by the woman’s right to live and remain healthy.

    Does the right to life include the right to compel the use of another person’s organs to survive?

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Cyranothe2nd (#39)

    women do not actually have abortions in order to preserve their bodily autonomy.

    This is a category error and strawman. If women are compelled to use our bodies a certain way, by definition, we lack bodily autonomy. It’s not the abortion itself but the ability to choose one that preserves our bodily autonomy.

  44. Amphiox says

    I think that the woman’s right to choose trumps the embryo’s right to live early in development but that gradually the fetus’s rights increase to the point that they can be trumped only by the woman’s right to live and remain healthy. This is not simple and it’s not clear — there is no one day you can point to where the woman’s right to choose ends. But it seems to me to match reality better than any argument against all abortion.

    The point where a fetus’ right to life can arguably be said to approach equality with the woman’s right to bodily autonomy is the point where if the fetus were removed from the woman’s body, it has a reasonably good chance of surviving on its own without massive technological intervention.

    And that point happens to roughly coincide with the Third Trimester, around 30 weeks gestation.

    BUT, in real life, that point, with a healthy fetus, is also the point when induced birth is a viable method of terminating a pregnancy, and abortion CEASES to be the medically indicated procedure. Induced birth satisfies both the woman’s right to bodily autonomy AND the fetus’ right to become a baby. So, in reality, the “point of inflection” you describe where there are conflicting rights does not actually exist, except for in a tiny minority of exceptional circumstances.

    Induced birth followed by putting the new baby up for adoption solves the ethical dilemma, satisfying both party’s rights. All it would require to implement it is a universal access healthcare system and a strong foster-care system.

    The only abortions in the third trimester that are not instances of medicolegal malpractice are those where the fetus is damaged and unable to survive after birth anyways (in which case the fetus does not have a right to a life it can never actually successfully live, and there is no ethical conflict), or where the woman’s life is in imminent danger and induced birth is not feasible for whatever reason, in which case it is not the woman’s right to bodily autonomy that trumps the fetus’ right to life, but the woman’s right to life. (And it should be noted that there are cases where a woman makes the informed choice to waive her own right to life for the sake of her child (very commonly a wanted child), and instruct her medical caregivers to focus on saving her baby, while accepting a high risk of potential death for herself.)

  45. Valde says

    Secular arguments against abortion can be found at Secular Pro-Life Perspectives. Just google it. However, upon closer inspection, it will be obvious that most of the arguments presented are simply religious arguments with ‘personhood’ being a stand in for ‘ensoulment’ – and the argument that humans are so intrinsically valuable that every zygote is a baby worth saving.

    They are also fond of the ‘responsibility objection’ which states that if you put an innocent person in harm’s way, you must be obligated to save that life. However, they ONLY want to apply this rule in the case of pregnancy – not car accidents, not criminal acts, etc. ONLY pregnancy. Because pregnancy is ‘unique’.

    And they are also fond of denying the harm that pregnancy does to a woman’s body. They will say that pregnancy is natural, and therefore, not harmful.

  46. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    I’m a guy, one who has put off some medical procedures a bit too long, sometimes. Also, I have never lived with a woman who was going through a pregnancy, so I don’t know as much about being pregnant as even some other guys know. But, as slack and ignorant as I am, I cannot imagine any woman casually putting off an abortion for 8.5 months, then deciding to go ahead and get one, casually.

    It just doesn’t compute. But it seems to, to the Christian right. Are they insane? Or do they just believe that women are insane? Or do they know even less than I do about being pregnant?

  47. hjhornbeck says

    lilandra@42:

    I just did a speech about how poorly argued secular anti-choice positions are. Most of their arguments are nearly indistinguishable from religious anti-choice arguments too.

    I presume that was for the Southern California Secular Humanism Conference, as per this blog entry? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter, will it be published online, at all?

  48. Pteryxx says

    (Y’all are on fire, so I’ll just refer back to this 2012 comment by dianne, and then this comment by Eris in the same thread. These discussions have been had before.)

    dianne:

    >But if a woman wanted a, say seven month old healthy fetus removed, most physicians would be compelled ethically to preform induction of labour, and not an abortion.

    Actually, I can think of at least two circumstances in which abortion would be the more ethical alternative, possibly three, without trying too hard.

    Scenario 1: The fetus is healthy but the mother is sick. Labor and delivery are stressful. So is c-section. A D and E or D and X is less so and may be the only way to save a very ill woman.

    A variant on this scenario is obstructed labor in a place where a c-section is impossible or will kill the woman. A sort of D & E procedure is used to save women in obstructed labor in places like Somalia.

    Scenario 2: The fetus is “healthy”–as long as it’s a fetus–but will die at or shortly after birth. This may be stretching the point-maybe the original poster will say, “Duh! That’s not a healthy fetus!” but some “pro-lifers” claim that you ought to force the woman to go through the stress of labor when it’s all hopeless.

    Eris:

    I don’t know how to deal with the fact that the wellbeing of a hypothetical third trimester fetus occupies more space in people’s heads than the welfare of women does. I’ve never even seen one real life example of this hypothetical third trimester fetus, but I’ve seen all kinds of examples of women truly dying in real life because of a lack of access to abortion, or of women who would have died if the pro-life community had their way. I don’t know how to deal with the fact that I’m in real danger, but I warrant less attention than imaginary fetus.

  49. hjhornbeck says

    As for my thoughts, I defer to my comment made over at SkepChick. As they don’t allow linking to specific comments, I’ll serve some copy-pasta:

    Ooo, one of my favorite subjects!
    The best secular argument I know of comes from Don Marquis, via “Why Abortion is Immoral“. His argument can be summarized as follows:
    1. Murder is held to be wrong because it deprives someone of a “future like ours,” a future with conscious experience.
    2. Abortion deprives a fetus of a possible future like ours.
    3. Ergo, abortion is the moral equivalent of murder.
    …. There’s a lot wrong there. For one thing, abortion is better analogized as a rights conflict, in this case the right of the mother to bodily autonomy verses the right of the fetus to a possible future life. As we rank bodily autonomy above right to life, we must permit abortion even if we think it is the moral equivalent of murder. Marquis never considers this objection.
    On top of that, murder is better thought of as a form of theft: X possessed consciousness, X was deprived of their continued enjoyment of that possession by external action, ergo that external action was immoral. Someone who was born and persists in a vegitative state, with no hope of future consciousness, is not murdered if their life is ended. Even if we instead know that vegitative state could be reversed in five months, we are still not depriving the person of continued enjoyment, which means ending their life should not be considered murder. Likewise, a fetus that never posssess consciousness will never know what potential future it is losing, ergo abortion does not deprive it of anything.
    Third, the argument ignores quality-of-life issues. Should a lifetime of pain and suffering be perferred over no lifetime at all? How about a lifetime of poverty and neglect? Marquis does not consider this, his “future like ours” is presumed to always be a net-positive over non-existence.
    So there are secular anti-choice arguments. I don’t think they’re very persuasive, though.

  50. ajb47 says

    If only there were some way nature or human biology or physiology could tell us when a fetus is ready to become a person.

    Oh, wait…

    (And thank you carlie @48. I had been thinking along the lines of woman’s health earlier but could not find a phrasing I liked. Yours is great.)

  51. Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally says

    A Noyd @ 44

    The quoted section is not mine–I was quoting a pro-life secular website. I agree that their ideas are completely ridiculous.

  52. woozy says

    I seem to recall that the “human from fertilization” assumption had to do with ensoulment originally, and then they started defending the idea using pseudoscientific reasoning. I could be wrong there, and it again shows just how irrelevant the distinction between religious and secular arguments are, in regards to politics.

    You might be right. My personal impression was that the “human from conception” was always a conceit for certainty and wasn’t necessarily religious but became so as a religious framework gives a sense of comfort and certainty. My point is just that although religious comfort and certitude is a compelling component to the anti-abortion movement their basic argument, embryos are people and killing them is wrong, isn’t necessarily a religious and non-secular one. … Although they do find dressing it in the moral certainty of religion to be compelling as it gives a cultural comfort and a level of certainty that works for their camp demographics… Okay, scratch that. My actual point was that creating a false dichotomy that this is a secular vs. religious issue is misleading and dishonest. The antis know how to manipulate the religious sentiment and the right to make such a distinction work for them but I fear if we pro-choicers and seculars fall for it, it’s likely to squirm away and bite us. We aren’t simply anti-pro-life and anti-pro-life secular/anti-religious framing just isn’t going to work for us.

    PZ is right. It doesn’t matter if an argument is secular or religious. It matters if it is good. I’m just a little surprise he claims not to know what a (presumably bad) secular argument would be. “Abortion is murder” is a tired but consistent (and arguably bad) one and we are deluding ourselves if we pretend it requires a religious “soul formation” component.

  53. Valde says

    http://blog.secularprolife.org/2014/01/the-argument-from-identity.html

    P1: I am either identical to the fetus that was in my mother’s womb or I am not identical to it.
    P2: If I am not identical to the fetus, then the fetus is either dead or still alive but separate from me.
    P3: If the fetus is dead, then it died by gaining an ability that was in its programming to develop.
    P4: But things don’t die because they gain an ability that is in one’s programming to develop.
    C1 (from 3 and 4): Therefore, the fetus is not dead.
    P4: If the fetus is alive but separate from me, then either a) Two numerically different things occupy the same place at the same time, or b) I am not my body but my fetus is.
    P5: A violates a plausible law of physics, and B entails absurd consequences, such as rape being merely a property crime and not a crime against a person.
    C2 (from 4 and 5): Therefore, the fetus cannot be alive but separate from me.
    P6: If the fetus is not dead, and if the fetus cannot be alive but separate from me, then I am the same thing as the fetus.
    P7: If I am the same thing as the fetus, then the fetus has a right to life (since I have a right to life essentially).
    C3 (from 6 and 7): Therefore, the fetus has a right to life.

    ———————

    First off, a zygote is a blueprint, not a tiny person.

    Secondly, the zygote/embryo/fetus will give rise to a person, but are not in fact that person. They are the same entity, just as much as a tree is the same entity as all of the potential gnomes you can carve out of it. However, it does not follow that the tree is identical to the carved gnome that it has the potential to become.

  54. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Wait…we need to justify our reasons for wearing underwear on our heads?

    Dammit.

  55. brucegee1962 says

    The core of all this debate lies in the fact that we have no societally agreed-upon definition of what a human being consists of. As others have said in this thread, most secularists would say that a fertilized egg or a blastocyst would not meet the standard, while a just-born baby does meet the standard. So sometime between conception and the drawing of the first breath, a collection of cells become a human — but when, exactly? The question is important, not just from a philosophical point of view, or in terms of some kind of magical ensoulment, but from a very real legal standpoint (for instance, in a case where a mother survives an assault but the fetus does not, and the prosecutor has to decide whether or not murder has been committed).

    Cases could be made for a kind of “threshold of viability” being that time, when the fetus can survive outside the mother; a problem with that definition is that in that case, advances in neonatology make the age constantly younger. You could argue that the arrival of personhood coincides with the moment of birth and the cutting of the umbilical cord; however, that leaves many people uneasy. The actual working definition we have seems to be the end of the first trimester, but that’s the most arbitrary of all.

    For me, the definition that would make the most sense from a scientific point of view would be if we defined the beginning of life the same way we define its end: by the presence of brain waves. That would be around 20 weeks, I believe. I doubt that definition would be acceptable to either side in our current debate, though.

  56. A. Noyd says

    Valde (#47)

    They are also fond of the ‘responsibility objection’ which states that if you put an innocent person in harm’s way, you must be obligated to save that life.

    What a weird definition of harm they must be using. What is harm without the experience of it? There is far greater harm in living—even in living a mostly enjoyable life—than in dying before you’re aware to experience it. Abortion does the most to remove an “innocent” from harm’s way.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    @Cyranothe2nd (#54)
    I know, that’s why I double blockquoted it. I should have made it more clear I wasn’t addressing you, though. Sorry.

  57. abusedbypenguins says

    A uterus, empty or occupied is the business of no one but the person who possesses that uterus.

  58. Valde says

    If anyone is interested, this person has a done a pretty thorough job of debunking the religious and secular arguments against abortion. He has some novel ways of looking at things. If you scroll to the bottom and look at the comments, there are numerous links to information about pregnancy, fetal development and so on:

    http://fightforsense.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/manyargs/

  59. Pteryxx says

    2012 comment from simonsays about that secularprolife group.

    This is what their group’s leader said in the lifesitenews article that was written about their participation at the AA conference (emphasis mine):

    The pro-choice view has become a default for atheists, because nobody is reaching out to them,” the group’s president, Kelsey Hazzard, told LifeSiteNews.com

    The fact that group leader Ms. Hazzard uses the term “them” to refer to atheists would indicate that at the very least she does not identify with non-believers. This is consistent with what we’ve seen from her in previous statement.

    Namely: by her own admission 1) she stated in 2010 that is a Christian who had 2) grown “frustrated” with the situation that “Abortion proponents, not to mention the media, have seized on our pervasive Christian religiosity with delight” and was 3) previously a member of a Catholic student group.

  60. Cyranothe2nd, there's no such thing as a moderate ally says

    A Noyd @ 59–no worries. I didn’t catch the double quotes. :)

  61. Valde says

    #62

    Clinton Wilcox, one of the main writers for Secular Pro Life perspectives, is a Christian. What a surprise, but most of his arguments are religious in nature.

  62. ema says

    Do people think an 8.5 month abortion should be just fine? (other than of course the health of the mother) I mean it is a fully viable healthy child at that point.

    If your question is “Do people think an 8 1/2 mo elective abortion should be just fine?”, the answer is you’re confusing propaganda with reality. There’s no such thing as an elective 8 1/2 termination.

    Also, a preemie and a healthy child are not one and the same. And viability tells you nothing about health/survivability. All it tells you is, given x adverse maternal/fetal condition, is delivery an option.

    Almost-born fetuses have a right to live; there’s no real difference between the almost born fetus and the just-born baby. … But it seems to me to match reality better than any argument against all abortion.

    This position has no relationship with reality. Forget [a]lmost-born fetuses. A fetus descending through the birth canal is nothing like a neonate. You have to have delivery in order to effect the changes needed for circulation, breathing, etc.

  63. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Stephen Minhinnick,
    That argument is bullshit. First, it is not anyone else’s job to be a walking womb to provide others with the child they want, regardless of what the human being who is experiencing the unwanted pregnancy wants. Also, there are so many children in foster and group homes who desperately want and need permanent homes that states will pay you to adopt them. In my state factors for special needs adoptions can include factors like: not being white, having siblings, having ADD or dyslexia, being older than 6, having trouble attaching to a new family because you’ve been passed around foster homes for years etc. There are plenty of unwanted children and teens in the US. We don;t need more of them. We need fewer of them. The system is strained to the breaking point.

  64. says

    anteprepro (26) wrote “The issue is that those childless couples won’t accept children.” How do you know? You’ve been childless, is that right? Many childless couples do take in foster children, but most foster children are not available to adopt.

    “It’s only a good argument if that is what the woman wants to do. If that’s her Choice.” Yes. That’s why I used the word “encouraged”, not “compelled”.

    “you [general, hypothetical “you”] think abortion is too squicky” – No, the reason I gave was the number of childless couples looking for children to adopt. Nothing to do with squickiness.

    A. Noyd (31) wrote “I’ll let others tear apart the rest of your idiocy.” No, you go ahead, don’t hold back.

    “I’ve never been pregnant, but I’ve still thought about it. More seriously than I’m guessing you ever could, you patronizing jackass.” Way too aggressive there – I never insulted you! I am not talking about legislating away the right to an abortion, in fact I 100% support a woman’s right to choose. But, as one of the 1 in 6 couples who have had trouble having kids I can assure you I HAVE thought about it. As deeply as it is possible to think about anything in life. You really have to have experienced what it is like before you can judge. It is like experiencing a death in the family every month. So don’t call me a patronizing jackass!

    I understand that abortion is a hot-button topic, especially in the U.S., but don’t assume I sit on one extreme or the other. I can see several sides, and childlessness is one of them. Luckily I now have two wonderful sons (not adopted), but I still remember what it was like. So I offer childlessness as a valid secular reason that exists – in general, not absolute terms – against abortions.

    You might want work on developing your compassion a bit more, before reacting in such fury and insult.

  65. Valde says

    #67 there are over 100k kids in the foster care system in the USA right now. There are also thousands of disabled children that no one wants. Hospital wards are full of them, because parents either don’t want or cannot afford to care for a severely disabled child. And black babies go for 10-20k less than white babies, because most people want white male babies. If you’ve been having problems adopting it’s because you’ve set your sights too high.

  66. Pteryxx says

    So sometime between conception and the drawing of the first breath, a collection of cells become a human — but when, exactly? The question is important…

    -_-

    When is a woman’s health/life in danger from pregnancy? When there is a 90% chance of something going really wrong? 80%? 50%? 20%? 1%? What if we don’t know the percent? What if it’s between 1% and 80%, but we don’t know where? Just when exactly do we allow women to decide for themselves if the risk is great enough?

    Or if we’re talking about the fetus, just how sure do we have to be that something is wrong with the fetus, or that the fetus will die? Do we tell women they can’t have an abortion when the fetus has a 50% chance of dying and/or having some kind of serious defect? 90%? 10%? I hope you get the idea.

    Where do you want to legally mandate that it isn’t the woman’s decision, but the decision of a legislator who will not be impacted at all by the outcome of the decision?

    Because we’re talking about denying people medical care and/or sending them to jail. This is serious stuff.

    Comment by Eristae

  67. ButchKitties says

    @Valde I think their argument from identity uses the word fetus intentionally. If it had used zygote, then monozygotic twins would throw a big wrench in it. The person and the zygote would exist separately.

  68. ema says

    So I offer childlessness as a valid secular reason that exists – in general, not absolute terms – against abortions.

    How does being affected by X medical problem constitute a valid reason against Y safe and effective medical procedure?

  69. anat says

    Stephen Minhinnick, if you think a couple waiting to adopt should get to tell a woman she can’t have an abortion because some months later they want the future baby then you are supporting slavery. How dare that couple decide what happens with the woman’s body?

  70. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Stephen,
    I’m aware of that, but your smarm is noted. Are you actually going to puff up and get offended when you are the one nonchalantly discussing situations in which it might be moral to treat me as if I had no rights to my own body? How very, very shitty of you.
    I have not fostered or adopted anywhere else. I can only speak to the situation here. Perhaps you should have specified then since we’re talking about the opinions of the president of American Atheists and his political ties here in the US. Meanwhile, you ignored my points. Do you really think that other countries suffer from a lack of unwanted children and is that a thing you really think there should be more of? Whereever you are from, people there as here can hire a surrogate if they want a child. There is no moral reason to force women to provide offspring for you against their will as if they were livestock.

  71. A. Noyd says

    Stephen Minhinnick (#67)

    Way too aggressive there – I never insulted you!

    Yes, you did insult me. You implied that I lack the ability to think for myself on an issue as important as whether or not to go through with a pregnancy. You also implied that I would be selfish to choose an abortion. Your position itself is insulting to anyone with a womb.

    But, as one of the 1 in 6 couples who have had trouble having kids I can assure you I HAVE thought about it. As deeply as it is possible to think about anything in life.

    Unless you are a transman, you have never been driven by real possibility to think about what you would do with your body if you faced a choice between keeping or ending a pregnancy. You’ve never had to worry about making sure you had the ability to carry out your decision. No, you’ve thought about how much you want a child at someone else’s expense, which is not the same thing at all.

    It sucks, I’m sure, if you want children and can’t have them. Really. But that doesn’t mean you get to assume that women seek abortions thoughtlessly and need to be pestered more than we already are to give strangers a say in what we do with our bodies. That’s self-serving bullshit that insults women and does us actual harm in places like certain US states where abortion access is being restricted not through legislating away the right all at once, but by making the “encouragement” you talk about mandatory.

    You might want work on developing your compassion a bit more, before reacting in such fury and insult.

    Fuck. You.

  72. rorschach says

    Sorry, but when I read that Raw Story piece yesterday my problem was not with Dave’s rather insipid abortion argument, but with this:

    He describes himself as a “fiscally conservative” voter who “owns several guns. I’m a strong supporter of the military. I think fiscal responsibility is very important. I see that as pretty conservative. And I have my serious suspicions about Obama. I don’t like that he’s spying on us. I don’t like we’ve got drones killing people…” In the final analysis, “the Democrats are too liberal for me,” he says.

    Essentially, he seems to be complaining that religion is ruining his gun fondling and fucking poor people over fun.
    Let’s just say that once again I’m not impressed, and that I would not recommend giving money to the organisation Dave Silverman leads.

  73. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    Carlie, thanks for the links to the dangers of pregnancy. I have written elsewhere about the problems of childbirth in human evolution, but hadn’t thought about how pregnancy is affected. My thoughts …

    Pregnant humans are carrying incredibly huge babies while walking upright, and haven’t really adapted to either.

    I can’t find ratios of mother to baby weights for many species, but panda babies are as little as one-thousandth of the mother’s weight, while humans can get close to one-tenth. We are trying to get big brains delivered, and giving up body development to get them. We have social support before and after birth, and means of care for helpless women and babies. Having as large a baby as possible is what shapes us—we don’t run from cheetahs, we have big-headed babies.

    So, evolutionarily speaking, pregnancy and childbirth isn’t natural and easy, it is the hardest thing we do. It is as much a killer as a prowling leopard is, and until modern times, everyone knew that.

    Walking upright came before big brains, but we still aren’t really used to it. We hurt, we stumble, we wear shoes.

    So lugging around a big fetus while walking upright is crazy time. It doesn’t hang from a horizontal spine, it squishes the bladder and piles onto the rectum. It makes pregnancy a pain and a danger, and it can kill.

    Pregnancy is not easy or natural, and it is not something women ignore for 8.5 months while they decide how they feel about abortion.

  74. Amphiox says

    Cases could be made for a kind of “threshold of viability” being that time, when the fetus can survive outside the mother; a problem with that definition is that in that case, advances in neonatology make the age constantly younger.

    I don’t really see the age changing as a problem, though.

    It boils down to advances in neonatology making the age at which induced birth is possible younger. But the moment induced birth becomes physiologically of equal risk to the woman as an abortion procedure, the abortion debate simply vanishes. Induced birth becomes the procedure of choice, which satisfies the woman’s right to bodily autonomy and preserves the fetus/turns it into a baby.

    The ethical issue then becomes equal access to the induced birth technology.

    The right to bodily autonomy is about what’s inside the uterus. Once it is outside the uterus, the woman’s right to bodily autonomy no longer applies. Those who focus on the status of the fetus and what happens to the fetus are making a category error. It is not about the fetus. It is about the woman. The destruction of the fetus is simply the currently unavoidable secondary consequence of the main issue of the woman’s right to autonomy over her own body. Abortion, broadly and definitionally, is the termination of the pregnancy, the removal of the products of conception from the uterus. Whether the fetus can be kept alive after it’s removal from the uterus is a separate and unrelated issue entirely.

    Yes. That’s why I used the word “encouraged”, not “compelled”.

    But the abortion question is NOT about “encouraged”. The abortion question is about “compelled.” The debate is about legally allowing or not allowing abortion. That is compulsion. Encouragement, one way or another, is irrelevant to the issue.

    Jackie, all dressed in black – I don’t live in the U.S. Not everyone does who uses the internet – the internet is funny like that.

    Name the country that is not the US where the political opinions concerning abortion expressed in the CPAC conference are actually relevant.

    You are attempting to participate in a debate whose context is abortion IN THE US.

    It is irrelevant where you actually live. If you want to participate in this debate, you don’t get to dismiss someone’s valid argument against you pertaining to conditions to the US by flippantly saying “oh, I don’t live in the US, so the it can’t apply to the argument I made.”

  75. Amphiox says

    It is not for nothing that until the advent of modern medicine, childbirth was THE number one cause of mortality among women of childbearing age.

    The physiological stress that a NORMAL pregnancy puts on a woman is equal to or greater than that of a malignant tumor. By the end of a NORMAL pregnancy, it is equivalent to that of a malignant tumor that has grown to 20lbs in mass.

    Every pregnancy, even a “normal” one, threatens a woman’s life.

    There are still many places in the world where the risk of death or disability from a “normal” pregnancy is greater than the risk of a police officer being shot on the job, or a nine-month tour of duty in the military in a war zone.

  76. says

    Stephen Minhinnick

    Yes. That’s why I used the word “encouraged”

    The current price of that ‘encouragement’ is US$30-50,000, over and above necessary medical care, and on my view is considerably underpriced at that rate. That’s about what’s currently paid to someone who carries a pregnancy to term on behalf of another party, and as I said it should really be a fair piece more than that yet. And, at some hypothetical future time when there are, in fact, more potential parents wanting to adopt but unable to procreate than there are children up for adoption, it is not impossible that an argument could be made that the state should pay a considerable sum to women willing to carry a pregnancy on behalf of these parent, but frankly the likelihood of the stated condition obtaining in the foreseeable future is basically nil, so I don’t really see any point in wanking about what the argument might hypothetically be.

  77. A. Noyd says

    @Jackie (#80)
    Most of the time I’m glad we can’t embed gifs here. But most of them aren’t as perfect as that one, either.

  78. Anri says

    For those not understanding birth as a dividing line:

    Find a fencepost. Hold it in your hand. This is an object not inside your body. Now ram it up your ass. This is an object inside your body.
    Do you find the difference either indistinct or arbitrary?

  79. Rey Fox says

    I don’t consider it “extreme” to let women control their reproduction.

  80. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    A.Noyd,
    Thank you. Every time I’m told to be nice to people who don’t recognize my humanity in the hopes of making an “ally” I hear, “Don’t you want to be a part of Gary’s vision?”

    No. No, I do not want to be a part of Gary’s vision. I want to burn Gary’s vision to the ground and dance in the ashes.

  81. Galactic Fork says

    It just doesn’t compute. But it seems to, to the Christian right. Are they insane? Or do they just believe that women are insane? Or do they know even less than I do about being pregnant?

    They believe women are not capable of making decisions about their own bodies. So they trot out the 8.5 month abortion idea to show the slippery slope into chaos we’ll have if women get to make said decisions. Look at that all male panel on female contraception a while back.

  82. says

    Stephen Minhinnick

    One secular argument against abortion is that there are many childless couples who would love to adopt, but not enough babies being put up for adoption. Women considering abortion should be encouraged to seriously consider putting the baby up for adoption instead.

    This would also reduce the need for childless couples to look overseas for children from developing countries, with all the issues associated with that.

    This is not a moral argument against abortion, but a social argument.

    It’s essentially the idea to turn women (usually poor women) into baby factories for wealthy people.
    There is no shortage of children to adopt. There’s a shortage of healthy white babies.
    What’s in there for the pregnant woman? Health risks, social disapprovement (don’t think that women who give their children up for adoption are praised) and a life-time full of consequences.

    anteprepro (26) wrote “The issue is that those childless couples won’t accept children.” How do you know? You’ve been childless, is that right? Many childless couples do take in foster children, but most foster children are not available to adopt.

    Even in countries where that is actually true, like Germany, many of the children are up for permanent foster care and after a few years NO court will ever return custody to the parents unless the foster parents screw up royally themselves. Only you can never pretend that these are your bio-children because the bio parents will always be in your life. OTOH the government pays you money for this.

    barbara 4

    Almost-born fetuses have a right to live

    What on earth is an almost born fetus? When it has crowned? Or when the head is out?

    And since there’s no real difference between a fetus on one day and on the day before

    You mean except for breathing, using their own kidneys, liver, digestive system, being outside of the woman, no longer depending on the very heartbeat of another person?
    I can tell you from experience that there are very big differences for the woman involved between one day before birth and one day after it.

    I think that the woman’s right to choose trumps the embryo’s right to live early in development but that gradually the fetus’s rights increase to the point that they can be trumped only by the woman’s right to live and remain healthy

    How about my right to remain mentally healthy? Because I’m pretty sure that being forced to host an fetus for X days against my will, being aware of it for every minute of my waking time would pretty much damage that mental health severely.

    +++
    Secular arguments against abortion I’ve heard are usually:
    -She had sex, so she should bear the consequences*
    -Bäbeeeeez!
    -She had sex, so she should bear the consequences**
    -Adoption!
    -She had sex, she should bear the consequences
    -It’s a continuum and I’m going to dismiss the one actual clear-cut point that we have which is birth
    -She had sex, she should bear the consequences
    -There aren’t enough healthy white babies for us to adopt
    -She had sex, she should bear the consequences
    -The straw-abortion of a healthy, almost-term fetus because the woman has suddenly decided she’d like to go clubbing at the weekend
    -She had sex, she shoudl bear the consequences
    -I don’t know anything about pregnancy, HELLP, Potter syndrome, childbirth, ectopic pregnancies, post-partum depression, but I held a baby once and handed them back to their loving mother when they cried/pooped.

    *Fuck them for thinking of children as “consequences”
    **Quite often combined with the idea that men shouldn’t have to pay child-support for the offspring of their one-night stand, because consequences are for women only

  83. microraptor says

    How about my right to remain mentally healthy? Because I’m pretty sure that being forced to host an fetus for X days against my will, being aware of it for every minute of my waking time would pretty much damage that mental health severely.

    Aren’t the magical pregnancy hormones that make you automatically love your Bäbeeeeez! supposed to magically take care of all that? Because Bäbeeeeez!

    Or something like that?

  84. Galactic Fork says

    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    You mean except for breathing, using their own kidneys, liver, digestive system, being outside of the woman, no longer depending on the very heartbeat of another person?

    Bah, that’s all just a change in the environment. Nobody cares about the environment. I don’t ask the earth if I can breathe its atmosphere. Why should a baby ask to use your heart?

    -She had sex, she should bear the consequences

    This always comes up when you remind them that women have rights. If they think of it like a punishment, they can convince themselves it’s OK to take rights away.

  85. cuervocuero says

    What Lilandra said. x 100.

    Simply filing off the serial numbers of a religious argument doesn’t erase the social artifacts inciting a person to still refuse to look at actual evidence and employ empathy for the woman already living and breathing versus a proto-almost-might if it’s lucky-really lucky-someday be a starting human.

    To the compromiser that talked about brainwaves…didn’t PZ already talk about jello giving off brainwaves? and cells in a petrie dish having a ‘heartbeat’?

    But hey, you’ve got to love it when conservative outreach works so well, it really puts sunshine on atheism being a start, not an end.

  86. unity says

    Ahahahaha. You have no idea what the debate even is in the U.S. do you then? God damn, I need to move out of this fucking hell hole and into somewhere civilized like where you live.

    Most recent data:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/1576/abortion.aspx

    Legal under any circumstance: 26%
    Legal under most circumstances: 13%
    Legal only in a few circumstances: 38%
    Legal under no circumstances: 20%

    Hmm, now that is interesting.

    I wasn’t aware that the polling ran so high on support for abortion under any circumstance in the US, although I do note that when you frame the question in terms of specific trimesters then unqualified support for third trimester abortions runs to only 14% with another 4 % offering qualified support – http://www.gallup.com/poll/160058/majority-americans-support-roe-wade-decision.aspx – so how you ask the question would appear to make a fairly sizeable difference.

    Polls conducted in the UK tend to ask specifically about support for abortion “up to birth” rather than framing the question in terms of legality ‘under any circumstances’ or by reference to specific trimesters so that may account for at least some of the difference between the UK and US figures.

    TBH, most of what I know of the US debate in detail tends to revolve around the tactics and arguments that our own anti-abortion lobby have been trying to import from the US, so it’s that side of things I’m most familiar with.

  87. Dana Hunter says

    I’ve written a post on this topic that will go up Tuesday, but it pretty much says the same thing as Giliell at #87: there’s a huge difference between before and after. No one has the right to tell a pregnant person they must remain so. Not at any point (excepting perhaps during actual birth). That’s for the pregnant person to decide.

    Those of you who would chip away at a person’s right to stop being pregnant when and if they choose can fuck right off.

  88. Dana Hunter says

    Forgot to ask: Giliell, would you mind me making part of your comment into a guest post?

  89. unity says

    One secular argument against abortion is that there are many childless couples who would love to adopt, but not enough babies being put up for adoption. Women considering abortion should be encouraged to seriously consider putting the baby up for adoption instead.

    This would also reduce the need for childless couples to look overseas for children from developing countries, with all the issues associated with that.

    This is not a moral argument against abortion, but a social argument.

    Leaving aside the ‘baby factories’ issue, which is certainly relevant from an ethical standpoint, I wonder if you’re aware of the evidence regarding high rates of psychiatric sequelae in women who have voluntarily given up newborn children for adoption?

    Although the research evidence is rather limited in this area, which doesn’t anything like enough attention, the few studies that have been conducted, particularly in Australia, tend to show that rate of long term mental health problems in such women are broadly comparable to those found in rape survivors. Contrary to the view promoted by the anti-abortion lobby and, indeed, by the vast majority of adoption agencies, giving up a child for adoption is anything but a cost-free option.

  90. vaiyt says

    But, as one of the 1 in 6 couples who have had trouble having kids I can assure you I HAVE thought about it. As deeply as it is possible to think about anything in life.

    And your fucking solution is to think you’re entitled to force women to have babies for your benefit? Think harder, motherfucker.

  91. rq says

    So many highlights in this post. Especially the ones about how pregnancy permanently affects a woman’s health, regardless of whether she keeps the resulting baby or not.
    Loved this by Menyambal:

    Pregnancy is not easy or natural, and it is not something women ignore for 8.5 months while they decide how they feel about abortion.

    And cuervocuero‘s comment @33.
    And just generally all the people who recognize women as fully autonomous and thinking humans on this thread. Thank you.

    I’m still wearing my underpants on my head, though. No secular or religious arguments can take that away from me.

  92. says

    Sven (#8) –

    Sure there’s a “secular argument” against abortion, it’s just a really dumb one.

    Anti-abortion positions can be about legality but can also be about personal responsibility. Being squeamish about the idea of having an abortion, not wanting to go through the emotion involved with the decision, is not “dumb”, as long as it’s limited one’s own life and not dictating what others do.

    Choosing to keep one’s pants on or use contraception to prevent and avoid pregnancy doesn’t violate women’s rights in the slightest. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to abortion.

  93. microraptor says

    Anti-abortion arguments are never about personal responsibility. They’re always about dictating what others can’t do.

  94. Bicarbonate is back says

    Well, because someone was posting from abroad and someone else told them to do their homework about abortion in the U.S. I consulted the Wikipedia article on abortion in the U.S. Looks like you’d have to be a lawyer to figure out if you can get a legal abortion and then there’s the question of access.

    In France it’s really cut and dried. Abortion is legal in the first trimester, period. That’s 12 weeks. That’s a very short time to discover that you’re pregnant, decide what to do and then, if you want an abortion, to make the arrangements for it. But there is 100% access to healthcare and coverage for this so most women who choose abortion manage to get it done before the 12-week cut off point. I do not know about the law when the 12-weeks have passed and the pregnancy is a threat to a woman’s life or when the fetus is not viable anyway.

    This is pretty well accepted by all sectors of society but there are challenges to this coming from France’s religious right. They import the American anti-abortion rhetoric that was so carefully developed in think tanks. The result of this is that there are fewer and fewer places where you can get an abortion, so there is a waiting list and it makes it harder to get it done before the 12 weeks are over.

    All that said, it is possible to get an illegal abortion that is hushed up in a hospital under exceptional circumstances. I had a friend, pregnant at 14, past the 12-week cut-off point. The baby was her father’s. She was admitted to a children’s hospital and the medical staff was willing to risk losing their licenses to help her get the abortion.

  95. says

    bicarbonate
    Is it 12 weeks by usual counting (starting 2 weeks before you actually become pregnant because date of last period is usually known as opposed to date of fertilization) or 12 weeks of actual gestation?
    Because in Germany I could get an illegal-but-not-prosecuted abortion until 12 weeks of actual gestation.
    And what about other excemptions? Germany has very few actually legal abortions, but health of the woman, rape, incest and “psychosocial”, meaning it would put an undue burden on the woman are the defined cases, with the last one usually being the rule invoked when the fetus is badly damaged (because due to history you can’t say a woman can abort because the baby would be disabled) and they can be carried out after 12 weeks.

  96. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Giliell,

    But you have to get that abortion approved by a council of doctors or just the one caring for you?

    I’m not sure about all the cut-offs here, but at some point you have to get a council approval for abortion. A person I know was informed she was carrying a severely malformed fetus, went in front of the council which suddenly discovered her fetus was fine and in perfect health.
    Some time before she was due, she miscarried.
    I’m very skeptical about findings of that council.

  97. Maureen Brian says

    Stephen Minhinnick,

    Don’t blame us because getting a shiny new baby to your exact specification is difficult. This is not shopping on Amazon and, as others have stressed, wherever you may be there is no shortage of children and babies even who really need someone to give them a home, even to give a toss whether they’ve had anything to eat today. And I’m not talking about going abroad – in your own country.

    Instead of blaming us, blame all those people who took your neat “solution” and turned it into an abusive racket. Blame the deal between the Franco regime and the Catholic church whose theft of babies on “moral grounds” long outlived the Generalissimo himself. Blame Pinochet in Chile who locked up trades unionists and the wives of trades unionists until they delivered, at which point their infants were stolen and given as prizes to those sufficiently supportive of the coup. Blame Ireland.

    Sorry if that’s harsh but I don’t like people whose underlying assumption boils down to the idea that, somehow, they have rights over another person – whether that’s a pregnant woman or a baby. And recognise that all this “encourage” stuff is a euphemism.
    Capisce?

  98. carlie says

    The best I’ll offer to Stephen is perhaps he means “against abortion” in the sense of against a specific individual choosing it, and doesn’t realize that in this context it means against it being legal at all.

    That said, anyone who wants to argue that women should be forced or coerced to give birth because someone else might want their baby needs to read The girls who went away: the hidden history of women who surrendered children for adoption in the decades before Roe v. Wade.

  99. carlie says

    Also, to echo what others have said – my college roommate’s parents adopted 5 kids in about a 6 year period in the mid-90s. Wasn’t hard at all. Of course, some of them were slightly older than newborn. And two of them had some health issues. And all of them were black. But if the important thing is having a child to love and raise, that shouldn’t make any difference, right?

  100. carlie says

    From the other side, I think it’s awful that so many states have made surrogacy illegal. Sure, go ahead and restrict abortion and tell women they have to give up a child for adoption. But for god’s sake, don’t let women choose themselves who the birth parents will be, or let them benefit financially at all from the experience! I don’t understand the disconnect. If black market is the problem fine, make financial transactions illegal, but to say “we’ll force you into a situation where if you become pregnant, your only option is to have it and give the baby up, but we refuse to allow you to do it on purpose for a specific person”? Makes no sense.

  101. Maureen Brian says

    Carlie,

    You are so much calmer and more reasonable than I!

    Through the magic of google I may have identified Stephen. If I am right then he lives in a developed country with good systems of governance. Although it works with a slightly elderly Adoption Act, other factors have impacted to bring its adoption rate down – apart from changes to birth control technology and better understanding of pregnancy (from which we all benefit) the legal concept of illegitimacy was abolished, abortion is legal, social and economic changes mean more pregnant women can keep their babies – if that’s what they want to do!

    So there are fewer babies to adopt, less resort to adoption as ‘the solution’ and a society which is very good and getting better at recognising that different people live in different ways. (Also I have a neice just up the road from him who had great difficulty getting pregnant – she managed it at last – but for whom adoption was too much of a long-shot ever to be considered.)

  102. says

    @Stephen Minhinnick

    I understand that abortion is a hot-button topic, especially in the U.S., but don’t assume I sit on one extreme or the other. I can see several sides, and childlessness is one of them. Luckily I now have two wonderful sons (not adopted), but I still remember what it was like. So I offer childlessness as a valid secular reason that exists – in general, not absolute terms – against abortions.

    Seems to me that you’ve completely missed the point, then. We’re not talking about whether legitimate, secular reason for not having an abortion exist. Of people can have secular reasons for not having an abortion, such as wanting the child.

    That’s not the issue. The subject under discussion is whether women should be allowed to make that decision for herself or not.

    This is not a theoretical issue, not even a “hot-button” one. It’s a very real fact that there are people in America (yes, this discussion is about American politics, deal with it) who want to ban all abortions. It’s a fact that there are places where, for all practical purposes, people can’t get abortions. Women’s lives are in danger and their basic humanity is being questioned.

    When you then waltz in here and want the discussion to be all about how much you want to have kids available for adoption and you ignore the actual point being discussed, it’s not really that surprising that people get a little ticked off, is it? If you want to discuss adoption policies, there are better ways to do it than to derail a thread on abortion.

  103. says

    So I offer childlessness as a valid secular reason that exists – in general, not absolute terms – against abortions.

    I have field of cotton that needs pickin’. I offer MY NEEDS as a valid secular reason that others should be enslaved to meet them.

  104. says

    I live in New Zealand. Adoption is not easy here and there are not nearly as many babies available to adopt as potential parents who want to adopt. Authorities encourage “open adoption” which is means the birth parents can maintain regular contact with their genetic offspring. And they try to adopt babies into families of the same culture as the birth-parents.

    Surrogacy is not big here, unless you can find a family member or friend to step in. The consenting parties involved are not allowed to profit from the deal, although costs are covered. This is to avoid creating a baby-market which would be unethical.

    Although abortion is restricted in NZ it is legal in special circumstances – including risk to the mental health of the mother which is broadly interpreted. Please understand I did not mean to imply that women should be compelled to adopt instead of abort. Or that there should be any coercion. It is always the mother’s choice – I support that 100%. I thought I made that clear.

    My only point was that adoption was one secular argument that stands as an alternative to abortion. Not as an argument against all abortions. Just as another option.

    If you have too many non-adopted children in the U.S. languishing in foster care, then you have different issues to us. I didn’t know that.

    Please read what I actually wrote, rather that reacting to what you think I wrote. In both principle and practice I support your point of view. Just recognise that this topic is not completely two-sided. There is a third viewpoint, that of childless couples who view any abortion with great sadness.

  105. says

    “I’m trying to figure out what this ‘secular argument’ actually is; he didn’t say.”

    Ok, maybe I missed the point. You are talking about absolute secular reasons why all abortions should be make illegal. I agree there isn’t one.

  106. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    There is a third viewpoint, that of childless couples who view any abortion with great sadness.

    So what? What does that have to do with women’s right to abortion? What does that have to do with this conversation?

    Nothing. Nothing at all. And it’s outrageously offensive that you’d even suggest that someone else’s sad fee fees about not having babies is even appropriate to remark on in this context.

  107. ragdish says

    Would eugenic or gender abortions (as practiced in India) not be valid secular ant-choice arguments for restriction in those circumstances? I would have reservations supporting those misogynists who feel it’s OK to necrose XX “pack of cells”. Granted, Silverman was not arguing about this. But I would think I’m preaching to the choir on this one.

  108. jefrir says

    Stephen Minhinnick

    This is to avoid creating a baby-market which would be unethical.

    So, you can see why a baby-market would be problematic, but you see no problem with a situation in which women are expected to give the use of their bodies for months in order to provide babies for random strangers, and without even receiving compensation? You are sounding incredibly entitled in this thread – fuck of with your feeling sad about a stranger aborting; you have no rights to her body or to her fetus.

    All of these arguments seem to have the base assumption that women are totally stupid and uninformed. Too stupid to realise that adoption is an option. Too stupid to make rational choices about contraception. Stupid enough to stay pregnant for 8 months when they don’t want a child.
    For fucks sake, give us a bit of credit.

  109. says

    Would eugenic or gender abortions (as practiced in India) not be valid secular ant-choice arguments for restriction in those circumstances? I would have reservations supporting those misogynists who feel it’s OK to necrose XX “pack of cells”. Granted, Silverman was not arguing about this. But I would think I’m preaching to the choir on this one.

    Banning abortions isn’t going to change the economic and cultural pressures to abort non-male pregnancies.

  110. jefrir says

    ragdish

    Would eugenic or gender abortions (as practiced in India) not be valid secular ant-choice arguments for restriction in those circumstances? I would have reservations supporting those misogynists who feel it’s OK to necrose XX “pack of cells”.

    It’s a symptom, not a cause. You won’t solve it by banning abortions, but you can improve matters by working on improving the status of women so that aborting female fetuses is no longer seen as desirable. And frankly, I’m okay with not having little girls being raised by people who think being female is a good reason for having an abortion.
    There is a problem where women are being compelled to have such abortions against there will, but where that’s the case, that should be the problem that’s dealt with, not the reasons for the abortion. Again, the basic principle that women should control their own bodies.

  111. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Stephen Minhinnick

    there are not nearly as many babies available to adopt as potential parents who want to adopt.

    That’s great!
    Women aren’t delivering babies they don’t want or do want but can’t keep for reasons.

    I’m sorry that you and your partner are suffering because you can’t have a child, but don’t you see how horrible it reads that you lament the fact there aren’t more unwanted babies so that people who want to adopt could pick one for themselves?

  112. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Stephen Minhinnick

    There is a third viewpoint, that of childless couples who view any abortion with great sadness.

    There are lonely people who view the celibate with great sadness. Is this an argument that the celibate should fuck them?

    Somebody else’s sadness has jack shit to do with my bodily autonomy.

  113. anteprepro says

    Please read what I actually wrote, rather that reacting to what you think I wrote.

    Please quit being such a smug asshole about everything. You admit that you were wrong: you didn’t know that argument against abortion meant argument against EVERY abortion, and you didn’t know that in the country that this debate is about, we certainly don’t need any more parentless children to appease the demands of childless adults.

    “Please read what I actually wrote” indeed.

  114. anteprepro says

    In general, the ethics seems to be skewed anyway:

    Poor, poor childless couples on one hand trump the mother’s health risks during pregnancy and childbirth, and trump the risk of having yet another parentless child that might not actually be adopted anyway (though maybe that can be guaranteed in New Zealand, it isn’t so much here in Amurkka).

    And the fact is, the adoption is angle is brought up in the abortion debate CONSTANTLY. And in Amurkka, women are pressured or shamed into bringing a pregnancy in order to give it up for adoption, because abortion is so stigmatized by our excessive amount of mindless wingnuts who don’t know fucking shit (and who probably hypocritically turn a blind eye on the subject when it suits their needs).

  115. says

    Would eugenic or gender abortions (as practiced in India) not be valid secular ant-choice arguments for restriction in those circumstances?

    No. The fact that you’ve put in common liberal values instead of common conservative values as your justification doesn’t really change the argument. It still amounts forcing women to be walking incubators because you personally disapprove of their reasons for aborting.

    Just because I’m uncomfortable with the reasons for why a person has an abortion doesn’t mean I have the right to stop them. My opinion is based in the bodily autonomy argument. As such, it’s my position that any woman has the right to have an abortion (i.e. a termination of pregnancy, which does not necessarily imply killing the fetus) at any time, for any reason. This holds even if that reason is a horrible one, founded in bigotry or other nastiness.

    One thing that is important to emphasize is that it’s possible for a person to have a right to do something which is unethical and that not all unethical things should be banned by law. Aborting a child because you don’t like the gender is (in my opinion) a really horrible reason for having an abortion. However, rights are rights. They don’t disappear just because people make bad decisions.

    People have a right to make medical decisions for themselves. If we make an exception whenever they make a decision we don’t like, then there’s not much of a right left, is there? That would be the equivalent of saying that people have a right to vote, unless they vote for a candidate you don’t agree with. Sort of undermines the whole point of voting, doesn’t it?

  116. says

    Aborting a child because you don’t like the gender is (in my opinion) a really horrible reason for having an abortion.

    To be clear, this should not be taken as condemnation for people who, for various social or economic reasons, are forced into sex-selective abortions. That’s a whole other issue.

  117. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I can see several sides, and childlessness is one of them.

    Nope, Utterly and totally irrelevant to any rational abortion debate. But typical of the irrelevancies they bring into the abortion debates. It is all about them, not the pregnant woman, who is the only thing that counts.

  118. David Marjanović says

    So, evolutionarily speaking, pregnancy and childbirth isn’t natural and easy, it is the hardest thing we do. It is as much a killer as a prowling leopard is, and until modern times, everyone knew that.

    Yep. My great-grandmother died that way.

    *Fuck them for thinking of children as “consequences”

    I’m immediately reminded of the Book of Job.

  119. carlie says

    Stephen – so it is a matter of you not understanding what the phrase means in this context.

    I did not mean to imply that women should be compelled to adopt instead of abort. Or that there should be any coercion. It is always the mother’s choice – I support that 100%. I thought I made that clear.

    No, you didn’t. Where do you think that you did? Not snarky, I honestly didn’t see that anywhere.

    My only point was that adoption was one secular argument that stands as an alternative to abortion. Not as an argument against all abortions. Just as another option.

    But that’s not how Silverman meant it, that’s not how anyone talking in an abortion debate means it, that’s not what it means here. “Argument against abortion” is always shorthand for “argument against the legality of abortion” in these discussions, at least the ones originating in the US.

  120. garnetstar says

    Matt Dillahunty had a debate with another atheist, on this topic (pro v. antichoice)–I think it must be somewhere on You Tube. At the end of the debate, Matt was still asking that question: what is your argument against abortion? I couldn’t figure it out either.

  121. Athywren says

    I think there can be good, secular anti-abortion arguments… it’s just that they start with 100% effective contraception methods and no rape, and end with a 0% rate of complications in pregnancies. That is, it requires living in a fantasy world, or, if we’re very lucky, some point in the future, presuming that homeopaths don’t run rampant across the world and destroy our medical facilities in the name of magic.

    I mean, sure, there’s the whole “do you really think it’s ok to slaughter innocent little children, already practising for this Christmas’s rendition of Little Donkey on the day before her birth!??!??!?!” argument, but that already kinda is covered by law and not really what’s being debated anywhere by anyone, is it? As far as I’m aware, the only time such a late term abortion is considered is when there are serious complications which threaten the life of the mother, hence the stories of women dying needlessly in places which outlaw abortions entirely. (Although, ask certain MRA types and you’ll find that those deaths weren’t needless, because some men are unjustly imprisoned, which makes it all ok.)

    I honestly don’t have a problem with saying that I’d like to see a world without abortions, it’s just that I’d like to see that world happen because they’re never needed for any reason, rather than because they’re outlawed.

  122. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    anteprepro @ 120

    (though maybe that can be guaranteed in New Zealand, it isn’t so much here in Amurkka).

    And even if the situation in New Zealand is different, it’s still a terrible viewpoint IMO.

    While my heart breaks for all the pain the unhappily childless have to deal with, I’m uncomfortable with any argument that puts the desires of prospective adoptive parents first. Adoption should exist to provide families for children that already exist. The fact that it brings happiness to people who want children is wonderful, but the desires of those adults should always come second. As soon as you start putting the desires of prospective adoptive parents before the needs of others, you’ve just commodified children and everyone capable of gestating.

    If there is a child in need of a home and you can provide it, awesome! If you can come to an agreement with a person who wants to carry a pregnancy and have you raise the resulting child, excellent! But if you’re telling other people go through the dangers and heartbreaks of unwanted pregnancies so that there are more babies in a pool for you to choose from, that’s a nightmarish example of objectification.

  123. says

    Stephen @67:

    You might want work on developing your compassion a bit more, before reacting in such fury and insult.

    You’re advocating a position that states pregnant women considering an abortion should take into account the desires of other people..

    Perhaps it is you who ought to work on developing your compassion a bit more.

  124. says

    Stephen:

    Just recognise that this topic is not completely two-sided. There is a third viewpoint, that of childless couples who view any abortion with great sadness.

    I wasn’t aware that pregnant women should take into account the desires of others when making decisions about their personal health was a third viewpoint.

  125. woozy says

    First off, a zygote is a blueprint, not a tiny person.

    Secondly, the zygote/embryo/fetus will give rise to a person, but are not in fact that person.

    By that reasoning a baby is only a blueprint for a child and a child is only a blueprint for an adult. (And, ha!, an adult is only a blueprint for a corpse!)

    I, personally, have felt when I try to argue why a fetus isn’t a person that all I’m doing is trying to convince myself. So I usually don’t bother to avoid inflamatory language and, in fact, adopt it just to temper myself: Abortion is killing something in a stage of human life– how do I feel about that? Well, not really all that badly, truth to tell. I’ll explain why if anyone gives a shit but I kind of doubt anyone does.

    Likewise, a fetus that never posssess consciousness will never know what potential future it is losing, ergo abortion does not deprive it of anything.

    I pretty much agree with this but it’s very cold and isn’t likely to win any converts.

    But it’s still an absolute on/off switch argument and I don’t think reality ever has on/off absolute switches. It’s just that in issues that appear to be about life and death we feel most uncomfortable when we can’t grope at the switches in the dark.

    In general, an abortion is a woman seeking to end and avoid a pregnancy and terminate a fetus. It simply isn’t a tragedy (usually, there are no absolutes) and it isn’t immoral . Maybe it’s icky and unpleasant and maybe it isn’t; that’s really just one’s opinion. In any event, any attempts to restrict it would be invasive and a violation of rights. So… well, that’s that, then. I’m pro-abortion, I guess. Glad to get that figured out.

  126. Kroos Control says

    I think I agree with Silverman. I think there is a secular argument against abortion.
    Abortion is a tricky moral issue but would seem to me immoral to kill an unborn baby for the same reasons it is to kills an adult

  127. woozy says

    I wasn’t aware that pregnant women should take into account the desires of others when making decisions about their personal health was a third viewpoint.

    Well… when you buy a new flatscreen T.V. taking into account that there are starving families in the world whose lives could be saved with the money is a third viewpoint. There’s always a third viewpoint, and a fourth, and a fifth…

  128. Valde says

    #133

    And it would be within your rights to kill an adult if they were assaulting your body the way a prenate assaults a woman. The adult is not living inside your body, so thus, abortion would not be an issue.

  129. mbrysonb says

    It seems the latest philosophical effort along these lines assumes there is some potential individual human who would exist except for the abortion and who is therefore harmed. Aside from the fact that this has a lot of further implications about potential individuals (a line of response that gets tangled with the counter-claim that, for instance, a fertile woman using birth control doesn’t prevent the existence of a particular individual), it also runs into the dubiousness of claims about the rights of potential persons (even if they are determinate possible individuals) and the question whether the existence of an individual organism at some time really implies the unique/ specified individuality of the potential person that organism would develop into. I don’t identify myself, as a person, with the organism that now constitutes me. Hence my belief that, if I were to develop advanced Alzheimer’s or suffer some other drastic brain injury that left ‘a person’ (in some reasonable but generous sense) behind, but no memory or persistence of my aims and values, I, as a person, would no longer exist at all..

  130. brianpansky says

    @133
    Kroos Control

    Abortion is a tricky moral issue but would seem to me immoral to kill an unborn baby for the same reasons it is to kills an adult

    it looks like a giant “fetus = person” equivocation and i’m not sure it mentions the invaded person being fed off of at all.

    but it tries to say this isn’t what it is doing:

    Observe that nothing is said here about whether I was a person when I was a fetus. This is irrelevant. Whether I was a person then or not, killing me would have the same victim and greater harm as killing me now.

    in other words, the “me” being described is not a person.

    it’s incoherent.

  131. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    woozy @ 134

    Well… when you buy a new flatscreen T.V. taking into account that there are starving families in the world whose lives could be saved with the money is a third viewpoint.

    That’s a beautiful illustration of the kind of the commodification I was talking about @ 129.

    Your pregnant body = like a TV!

    Sad prospective adoptive parents = like starving families. :'(

    The hypothetical child that could result from a pregnancy = like sweet, sweet life-saving cash.

  132. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Abortion is a tricky moral issue but would seem to me immoral to kill an unborn baby for the same reasons it is to kills an adult

    Ah, so no exceptions for rape victims or thirteen-year-olds?

    How about medically necessary abortions? Or does that count as self-defense?

  133. Athywren says

    @ Kroos Control, 133
    Even if we do grant that a foetus is fully human with a full suite of human rights, even if we grant that it’s conscious and sentient and likes to play the drums on the weekends, until the ability to use another person as life support against their will becomes a human right, then a foetus doesn’t have the right to use a woman’s body without her consent.
    I’ll admit, I like being alive and I think it would suck if my mother had decided to have an abortion, but I never had the right to use her body as life support. She allowed me to do so, and for that I am grateful, but if she had not consented to allow me to use her this way, she would have been within her rights, and I without mine.

  134. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Abortion is a tricky moral issue but would seem to me immoral to kill an unborn baby

    Sorry, religious presuppositional fuckwittery. There is no such thing a an unborn baby. Babies are born, and are breathing. A fetus isn’t born, and leaches from the woman. Why you think your fuckwitted “unborn baby” is anything other than bullshit shows you don’t understand reality.

  135. says

    Abortion is a tricky moral issue but would seem to me immoral to kill an unborn baby for the same reasons it is to kills an adult

    No, I’m not reading a ten page essay just because you can’t be bothered to explain your position. Make your own argument for once.

    Furthermore, from a quick scan it appears to be an argument from personhood, which doesn’t address my position at all. My position is that the right to abortion is a function of the status of the mother, not the fetus.

    A woman is a human being, with human rights, which include the right to bodily autonomy. The right to bodily autonomy includes the right to refuse other people the use of your organs and the right to defend such a decision if they do not willingly comply.

    That’s what an abortion is; forcing the fetus to stop using the woman’s organs. The right to an abortion therefore relies entirely on the woman’s rights. The possibly personhood or rights of the fetus simply do no enter into it.

    No adult has the right to do what a fetus does without the permission of the person whose organs it is. Why does a fetus have such a right?

  136. Kroos Control says

    @Nerd of Redhead

    So according to your view-

    A few minutes before birth-
    Its not a baby! We can kill it!

    A few minutes after it has finished crawling out the birth canal-
    Its a baby! We can’t kill it.

    Is there any point during the period before birth you would consider it immoral to kill the foetus/baby?
    Honest question

  137. says

    The core of all this debate lies in the fact that we have no societally agreed-upon definition of what a human being consists of.

    Yes: far too many people don’t believe that women are human beings.

  138. says

    A few minutes before birth-
    Its not a baby! We can kill it!

    What is this fascination you people have with killing fetuses? The rest of us are perfectly capable of understanding that a pregnancy can be artificially terminated and still leave the (now born) baby alive.

    Why is this such a difficult concept to grasp?

  139. Athywren says

    @Kroos Control, 144

    So according to your view-

    A few minutes before birth-
    Its not a baby! We can kill it!

    A few minutes after it has finished crawling out the birth canal-
    Its a baby! We can’t kill it.

    Thanks for demonstrating that my, admittedly exaggerated, anti-abortion argument quote wasn’t a strawman.
    Anyway, if you read the post you’re replying to, you’ll see that it deals with the fallacy of claiming that a foetus is a baby (it’s basically an appeal to emotion) and says nothing about when it’s ok to viciously butcher it for our own entertainment.

  140. anat says

    Kroos Control, it doesn’t matter if the fetus is a person or not. It resides in someone else’s body, it impacts on that person’s immediate and long-term health and well-being. The pregnant person decides. End of story.

  141. says

    Kroos – eventually medical technology will advance to the point that we can gestate zygotes entirely outside the body of a woman.

    At the point, the question of abortion will be moot. We will be able to remove a zygote from the body of a woman who has decided she does not want to carry it to term and gestate it long enough for it to become an organism that can exist in the atmosphere without leaching nutrients from another organism’s bloodstream.

    For the moment, though, removing a zygote from a woman’s body dooms it to death.

    In both cases, the point is not to kill the zygote. The point is not to force a woman to gestate it if she doesn’t want to.

    Exactly how much time have you spent research artificial uteruses? Do you know of any pro-life organizations raising money for research into the same?

    That’s what I thought.

  142. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    A few minutes before birth-

    Is a few minutes before birth. Your fuckwitted presuppositional arguments don’t work here, as the bodily autonomy of the woman is paramount. Whereas, you must provide evidence that your alleged baby is a baby, and is more of a complete human being with the full rights thereof than the woman. You must do so without debasing the woman to a slave.

  143. carlie says

    Kroos – have you ever encountered the famous violinist analogy?

    There is a world-famous violinist who is about to die of kidney failure. Your kidneys are the only ones that are a perfect match. You get accosted from behind, someone knocks you out, and when you come to, you find yourself in a hospital bed connected to the violinist, filtering his blood, and getting prepped for an eventual kidney transplant. Should you be forced to give your kidney to that violinist to save his life? If you do not, he will die, and you will have killed him. Nope, you wouldn’t have just “let him die”; you are already attached, and so you would have to go through an action of removing yourself, which is generally the point at which philosophers agree you have gone from “letting” something happen to being the agent of causing something to happen. Should you be legally allowed to say no and remove yourself from that situation?

  144. ChasCPeterson says

    No adult has the right to do what a fetus does without the permission of the person whose organs it is. Why does a fetus have such a right?

    False equivalence, would be the argument. If a society granted a fetus that right, it would presumably be because it’s a fetus, not an adult, not even a ‘person’. Rights can obviously be granted or not based on any lines that can be drawn, even arbitrary ones.

  145. carlie says

    False equivalence, would be the argument. If a society granted a fetus that right, it would presumably be because it’s a fetus, not an adult, not even a ‘person’. Rights can obviously be granted or not based on any lines that can be drawn, even arbitrary ones.

    But then they’re undercutting their own argument that “it’s murder because a fetus is a person”. Either it’s equivalent to a person or it isn’t; they can’t have it both ways.

  146. says

    Should you be legally allowed to say no and remove yourself from that situation?

    @Kroos Controls
    Note the exact question. It’s not whether you’d personally agree to donate your kidney. It’s whether you should be forced to “donate” the kidney, even over your strenuous objections and possibly face murder charges if you do manage to free yourself.

  147. ChasCPeterson says

    leaching nutrients from another organism’s bloodstream

    Love the rhetoric. If only we packaged all the necessary nutrients up in an egg we wouldn’t have this horrible parasite problem. Oh but wait; egg components are also leached from another organism’s bloodstream. All foods derived from animals were leached from a bloodstream at some point.

    the point is not to kill the zygote.

    And yet a zygote is killed nevertheless. As another bit of rhetoric goes, intent is not fucking magic.
    Of course, maybe there’s nothing wrong with killing zygotes.

  148. Athywren says

    @ChasCPeterson, 153

    If a society granted a fetus that right, it would presumably be because it’s a fetus, not an adult, not even a ‘person’. Rights can obviously be granted or not based on any lines that can be drawn, even arbitrary ones.

    If we allow a foetus the right to violate another person’s rights, by what reasoning do we not allow the same rights to all other humans? The only line of reasoning that’s coming to mind is the naturalistic fallacy….. which is a fallacy.

  149. says

    @Chas
    You’re missing my point. The anti-abortion crowd is constantly arguing that the fetus is the equivalent of an adult human being, with the same rights. My point is that if this is the case, then why are they also arguing for more rights to fetuses than to adults?

    If they really want to argue that the fetus should have more rights than an adult human being, that’s fine, but then they should really stop arguing the exact opposite.

  150. nutella says

    The personhood/ensoulment at conception argument is often presented as a traditional religious position that has been accepted by religious (or at least Christian) people forever.

    Not true. It’s quite recent.

    I was fascinated to read about Princess Charlotte, then the only legitimate grandchild of George III of England, who died shortly after giving birth to a full-term baby born dead. The country went into mourning for 2 weeks and gave a state funeral for Charlotte but none for the baby. His body was simply tucked into his mother’s coffin. Why?

    Because the baby had never been alive, had never been a person, had never had a soul. In Christian England in 1817, live birth was the point where a fetus became a person.

  151. Kroos Control says

    I see a lot of people making an argument that the unborn baby will affect the health and well-being of the woman and if the woman has the right to kill the baby because she had bodily autonomy . Basically she can kill the baby because the baby is using her body for support and she has a right to bodily autonomy.

    I don’t know. I feel like this argument is counter-intuitive because it assumes the mother has no moral obligation to support her unborn child ,and that her right to bodily autonomy includes the right to kill the unborn baby .
    For example if there was a reluctant father who refused to support his child with child support payments, must people would say the father has a obligation to support his offspring.
    (Not saying the situations are analgous , its just an illustration).

  152. ChasCPeterson says

    What WOULD be the reasoning for granting that special right to fetuses that no adult human beings enjoy, Chas?

    Unlike an adult, a fetus has zero choice or agency. It’s possible to construct an internally consistent and coherent ethical framework that takes that fact into account. As I pointed out way up at the top of the thread, it’s possible to think that potential human-beinghood is a concept that deserves ethical value.

    Disclaimer: I am playing Vulcan and just picking at sloppy thinking here. My personal opinions are pretty much in line with everybody else’s here: 100% pro-choice, giving trumping priority to a woman’s bodily autonomy.
    nevertheless, I acknowledge that there are other ways of thinking about the issue that are reasonable, coherent, and secular and don;t deserve simplistic Nerd-style flooshing. that’s all.
    I’ll stop.

  153. says

    Would eugenic or gender abortions (as practiced in India) not be valid secular ant-choice arguments for restriction in those circumstances?

    Think about the consequences for a moment.
    Especially in the cases of unwanted baby girls we know the consequences: infanticide, killing the pregnant woman, letting girls starve, making sure they have deadly accidents…
    Whenever there is somebody who has an abortion for what you think to be a really bad reason, be glad that woman has an abortion instead of being in charge of a pregnancy, childbirth and a baby.

    Stephen

    My only point was that adoption was one secular argument that stands as an alternative to abortion. Not as an argument against all abortions. Just as another option.

    No. Adoption is an alternative to being a parent. It’s not an alternative to being pregnant and childbirth. I guess you never experienced any, but let me tell you: you would need brute force to make me go through those things again. Not for the most wonderful friends in the world, not for family members, not for kind strangers, not for money. I will never voluntarily become and remain pregnant again.

    You might want work on developing your compassion a bit more, before reacting in such fury and insult

    How about a bit of compassion for women who see dudes discussing the circumstances under which they can be compelled to slavery every other week?

    +++
    mbrysonb

    It seems the latest philosophical effort along these lines assumes there is some potential individual human who would exist except for the abortion and who is therefore harmed.

    Yeah, there’s this funny thing: While I quite enjoy being alive right now, I also think it would have been much better if I had never existed in the first place. So far nobody was able to convince me why not existing would have been so terrible…

    +++
    Kroos

    Is there any point during the period before birth you would consider it immoral to kill the foetus/baby?
    Honest question

    I don’t believe your “honest”, but I’ll answer:
    You can’t kill a baby before birth. Literally not possible. A fetus, yes, you can kill that, but your premise is flawed: Except in the rare cases of serious malfromations, abortion is about not being pregnant, not about killing the fetus as such. So, at a certain point, we have a different term for abortion: birth.
    Is there any point at which you consider women to be less than human beings who can be forced into making their bodies avaible for the use of others?

    +++
    Ahhh, Chas needing to demonstrate his intellectual superiority and Vulcan-logic for the benefit of the women folks whose bodies are at stake. Wouldn’t have been a real thread about those issues without it.

  154. says

    Love the rhetoric. If only we packaged all the necessary nutrients up in an egg we wouldn’t have this horrible parasite problem. Oh but wait; egg components are also leached from another organism’s bloodstream. All foods derived from animals were leached from a bloodstream at some point.

    The difference between requiring a constant flow of blood between your circulatory system and another organism’s circulatory system, and eating.

    So helpful to point out that eating is sort of technically if you get really pedantic about it “leaching nutrients” etc.

    And yet a zygote is killed nevertheless. As another bit of rhetoric goes, intent is not fucking magic.
    Of course, maybe there’s nothing wrong with killing zygotes.

    There isn’t anything wrong with killing a zygote, but it still isn’t the point of an abortion. The point of an abortion is to move the zygote from inside my body to the outside. Once it’s outside, and it’s possible for the zygote to live, and someone else is willing to take care of it, then that person can go right ahead.

    Fucking dipshit.

  155. says

    Disclaimer: I am playing Vulcan

    Translation: being a callous harmful asshole.

    Fuck you. For once could you just not do this? in, like, ONE SINGLE THREAD that involves MY fucking humans rights and NOT YOURS?

  156. Kroos Control says

    @nerd of Redhead

    Is a few minutes before birth

    How far back before birth do you have to go before it is permisible to kill the baby/foetus ?: On your view?

  157. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    False equivalence, would be the argument. If a society granted a fetus that right, it would presumably be because it’s a fetus, not an adult, not even a ‘person’. Rights can obviously be granted or not based on any lines that can be drawn, even arbitrary ones.

    Yes obviously. However we’re not talking about legalized rights, we’re talking about ethical and moral rights. What gives the fetus more “worth” than the woman carrying it? What claim does the fetus have to greater rights than the woman?

  158. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    How far back before birth do you have to go before it is permisible to kill the baby/foetus ?: On your view?

    Since the medical profession will induce birth if the fetus is viable, your question is bullshit. Which is you understood reality, you wouldn’t even ask. I don’t play your games. Now you dance, and prove with conclusive evidence, not your opinion, that the fetus is more of a human and has more rights than the woman carrying it.

  159. Athywren says

    @ChasCPeterson, 163

    Unlike an adult, a fetus has zero choice or agency. It’s possible to construct an internally consistent and coherent ethical framework that takes that fact into account. As I pointed out way up at the top of the thread, it’s possible to think that potential human-beinghood is a concept that deserves ethical value.

    So, if the violinist of the argument were in a coma, and hooking you up to them was not their plan, thus nullifying their choice and agency in the matter, there’s a rational and consistent argument that says that you should allow them to take your kidney?

  160. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    baby/foetus

    Still with fuckwitted and stupid oxymoron. Until you stop showing fuckwittery by using it, you can’t make a solid and congent argument.

  161. Athywren says

    @me, 172
    Or, rather, that you should be denied the right to refuse to donate your kidney.

  162. Kroos Control says

    the fetus is viable

    Are you saying its wrong to kill a foetus that is viable?

  163. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Unlike an adult, a fetus has zero choice or agency. It’s possible to construct an internally consistent and coherent ethical framework that takes that fact into account. As I pointed out way up at the top of the thread, it’s possible to think that potential human-beinghood is a concept that deserves ethical value.

    Even if one grants that potential human-beinghood as a concept that deserves ethical value, why should this potential being be given more rights than an already existing, feeling, thinking person with existing relationships?

    Koos

    The dividing line usually comes where the fetus is viable and has to include the costs of keeping the premature baby alive. Remember: abortion is a termination of a pregnancy. This can very much happen later in pregnancy while still keeping the fetus/now born baby alive.

  164. Athywren says

    @Kroos Control, 175

    Are you saying its wrong to kill a foetus that is viable?

    This is an irrelevant question – the abortion of a viable foetus is called “birth.”

  165. says

    @Kroos Control
    We don’t force parents to donate body parts to their children. If a child needs an organ, blood, bone marrow or whatever, we do not force parents to donate these things. Money, time and care, yes. Bodies, no. The normal, accepted standard on this issue is that parents are not required to donate the use of their bodies to their children, even if refusing to do so leads to the child’s death.

    What’s your argument that this one subject should be treated completely differently?

  166. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Are you saying its wrong to kill a foetus that is viable?

    They’re saying that once the baby is born and is viable, it is wrong to kill it. Unlike what misogynists believe, the reasons for killing a late-term fetus are almost without exception due to danger to the health of the woman (remember her? the one whose actual body is on the line here?) or because something went drastically wrong with the fetus.

    If you want to assert that women just get up one day at 8.5 months pregnant and decide “whelp, didn’t want this after all, better get an abortion” AND that that specific abortion would then have the purpose of killing the fetus, you’ll have to provide something to back that up.

  167. Pteryxx says

    Kroos:

    A few minutes after it has finished crawling out the birth canal-

    Babies don’t just hatch themselves into the delivery room while the woman’s off having a stroll with a nice book, you disingenuous wease. Sheesh.

  168. Kroos Control says

    @Gen

    I was just wondering here.
    I think everyone agrees baby=person who should not be killed
    But they say foetus= thing that can be killed.

    I was mostly trying to figure out to see if he thought there was a point where it stopped being a foetus and started being a baby.

  169. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Are you saying its wrong to kill a foetus that is viable?

    Try listening to what people are telling you. In other words, the facts. Which with your head up your presuppositional ass, you ignore.
    The facts are that post thirty weeks, if there is need to remove the fetus that is viable, birth is induced. What part of that statement do you have trouble understanding? This isn’t hypothetical bullshit, but reality.
    Abortion is cessation of pregnancy. Which often ends at birth.

  170. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    Does the right to life include the right to compel the use of another person’s organs to survive?

    That’s always been my argument for abortion rights: even if the fetus is a human being with full human rights, that doesn’t include the right to live inside someone else’s body without her consent (and that consent can be withdrawn at any time). But when I present that argument, a lot of people–including pro-choice people–are horrified. They have to deny the personhood of the fetus in order to support abortion.

    ************************************************

    Here’s what should be a Christian argument in favor of abortion:
    – Everyone who commits a sin–even just one–during their life will spend eternity in Hell, unless they accept Jesus as their savior. (This is what I’ve been told by fundamentalists of my acquaintance. I would guess there are other versions of Christianity which would differ, but let’s go with this one.)
    – No matter how you raise your child, there’s a chance that (s)he won’t accept Jesus.
    Everybody sins sometimes, except those who are below the age of reason; God doesn’t blame babies and small children for their actions.
    – Therefore, the only way to guarantee that your child won’t spend eternity in Hell is to kill him/her before (s)he has a chance to sin. What better way than to abort?

  171. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    I was mostly trying to figure out to see if he thought there was a point where it stopped being a foetus and started being a baby.

    Of course there is. It’s called “birth”. This can include all kinds of birth, including premature birth and c-section.

  172. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I was mostly trying to figure out to see if he thought there was a point where it stopped being a foetus and started being a baby.

    Easy, if you had been paying attention to what people say. Prebirth, fetus, post birth, baby, Anything else is you being stupid.

  173. Galactic Fork says

    Unlike an adult, a fetus has zero choice or agency. It’s possible to construct an internally consistent and coherent ethical framework that takes that fact into account. As I pointed out way up at the top of the thread, it’s possible to think that potential human-beinghood is a concept that deserves ethical value.

    Disclaimer: I am playing Vulcan and just picking at sloppy thinking here. My personal opinions are pretty much in line with everybody else’s here: 100% pro-choice, giving trumping priority to a woman’s bodily autonomy.
    nevertheless, I acknowledge that there are other ways of thinking about the issue that are reasonable, coherent, and secular and don;t deserve simplistic Nerd-style flooshing. that’s all.
    I’ll stop.

    It’s interesting the “reasonable, coherent and secular” ways of thinking never bring up the woman involved. You can’t grant a special right to a fetus without taking rights away from the woman.

  174. says

    As long as the organism is inside my body, without my consent, I can take any and all measures to remove it, up to and including killing it.

    Once it’s outside my body, it’s no longer violating my body, and killing it would be wrong since it’s not impinging on my bodily autonomy.

    In the third trimester, it’s often possible to remove the fetus without killing it, at which point it is born and thus becomes a baby, and it’s wrong to kill babies.

    Kroos is hyper-focused on the fetus. Kroos wants to ignore the fact that my body is housing the fetus.

    Typical Forced Birth Brigade.

    Do you think I should have gone to jail for killing the zygote that implanted in my uterus a few years ago, Kroos? Or, like so many Forced-Birthers, do you think I am a mental midget who isn’t capable of moral reasoning and can’t be held responsible for my own actions, and thus you would rather imprison the doctor who followed my request and assisted me in killing it?

  175. says

    LykeX

    We don’t force parents to donate body parts to their children. If a child needs an organ, blood, bone marrow or whatever, we do not force parents to donate these things. Money, time and care, yes. Bodies, no.

    Indeed.
    My youngest is lacking a kidney. Now, so far that is not a problem because you can live a healthy, happy life with just one kidney. Still, she could need one later in life. Her father, whose genes are responsible for the lack of kidney, has two working kidneys. Still, while a kidney donation carries about the same risk as carrying a pregnancy to term, nobody would ever force him to do so. He could let his daughter suffer and die. His daughter who is very much an actual person right now, with a personality, hopes, dreams and interests.
    BTW, when we learned that there was a problem with her kidneys and that in the worst case the fetus might be doomed (no kidneys = Potter syndrome, not compatible with life) I was well into my second trimester, by the time we had clarity (thankfully in the “everything looks fine direction”) I was late into the second trimester, an abortion would probably have taken place at the start of the third trimester.
    Women who have late second trimester or third trimester abortions are usually women who would very much like to remain pregnant and have a baby. Their pregnancies have gone terribly wrong and either the fetus is horribly malformed or the pregnancy is literally killing them.

  176. says

    Kroos, why are you ignoring my question?

    Don’t take it personally. Kroos ignores lots of people.

    I think everyone agrees baby=person who should not be killed
    But they say foetus= thing that can be killed.

    No, what people are saying is that keeping something alive, at the expense of another person’s bodily autonomy is not okay. Fetus, baby, adult; it doesn’t matter.

    Nobody gets to use another person’s organs without their permission. Anyone has the right to terminate such a connection between themselves and anyone else, for any reason at all. If this results in the other person dying, too bad.

    The consequences can never justify violating a person’s bodily rights. Just as we all agree is the case in every other situation involving people using other people’s bodies.

  177. ButchKitties says

    I don’t know. I feel like this argument is counter-intuitive because it assumes the mother has no moral obligation to support her unborn child ,and that her right to bodily autonomy includes the right to kill the unborn baby .
    For example if there was a reluctant father who refused to support his child with child support payments, must people would say the father has a obligation to support his offspring.
    (Not saying the situations are analgous , its just an illustration).

    Every time a parent has sued to try to compel an organ or tissue donation to save their child’s life, whether it’s bone marrow from the child’s father or a kidney from a sibling, that parent has lost in court and the child died, and bioethicists commenting on the case agreed that the courts made the right call.

  178. carlie says

    And Giliell’s example, encapsulated by LykeX, is why Chas’ argument about how we are required to do different things for people at differing life stages doesn’t work. You can try and construct it as “you don’t have to financially support your adult children, but you have to financially support your minor children, therefore it’s ok to require even more support for fetuses”, but the fact is that there is absolutely no other instance in which we require a human to give up their bodily autonomy for another human, no matter what their genetic relationship is or no matter what their moral obligation seems to be. We can criticize a man who refuses to give his child a kidney, we can ostracize him, we can call him names on the internet and on tv and we can refuse to give him a job if we’re an employer, but we cannot convict him of breaking any laws, because there are no laws that prevent his decision to not donate his kidney to his child. We, as societies, have drawn that bright shining line of bodily autonomy so firmly that we can’t even take organs from dead people without huge amounts of consent documentation. It is only in this one single instance that people suddenly say it can be required.

  179. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    For example if there was a reluctant father who refused to support his child with child support payments, must people would say the father has a obligation to support his offspring.

    This equally applies to mothers, you know. Once the child is born, depending on who the custodial parent is, the other parent, regardless of gender, needs to pay child support because that child is now a living, feeling, thinking human with wants and needs and rights to be protected.

    I’m not impressed with equating forced carrying a pregnancy to term, which includes severe danger to the health and future of the woman doing it, and child support payments.

  180. ButchKitties says

    Sorry, correction: there are exceptions where children have lived, but it’s never because the courts ruled in favor of forced donation. It’s because at some point the parties being sued voluntarily changed their minds, and the suits were dropped.

  181. Kroos Control says

    @carlie

    I think some of the stuff was in my previous post but the way I see it
    1) I did not chose to give the violinist the kidney disease in the same way (in most cases) many people chose to engage in sexual acts that result in the foetus/baby.
    2) People seem to have moral obligations to their offspring that they don’t have to strangers
    3)not sure if disconnecting myself from life support would be akin to dismembering or poisoning a foetus/unborn child

    Interesting analogy though. I like it.

  182. carlie says

    So if you want to say that yes, this one single time is the only time we can override bodily autonomy to require a woman to give hers up for the sake of a fetus, you have to be able to explain what makes this case different from all of the others. It can’t be because she’s the parent; it’s already been made clear that parents are not forced to donate their bodies to their own children. It can’t be because fetuses are needy; people in need of organ transplants die every day. It can’t be because it’s “easy”; taking organs from a dead person is the easiest thing in the world and we don’t let that just happen. It can’t be because it’s “only” a few months of servitude; we don’t require temporary body donation in any other case, and the physical costs of pregnancy can be lifelong.

    So what is it down to?

  183. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    1) I did not chose to give the violinist the kidney disease in the same way (in most cases) many people chose to engage in sexual acts that result in the foetus/baby.

    DING DING DING.

    Sluts chose to have sex so they deserve to be punished with a child.

    Here’s a question for you: What if you DID cause the violinist to need the kidney? You were driving one night, made an accident and hit him with your car. Would it be ok to do it then, without your consent? I mean, you know that going out driving can cause you to kill or maim people, so you should be punished like this, right?

  184. carlie says

    Kroos, thank you for answering.

    many people chose to engage in sexual acts that result in the foetus/baby.

    Just to be clear you understand the conclusions of your statement: you are saying that pregnancy leading to a baby is an appropriate punishment for sex, and that it is ok to have a punishment visited solely upon the female half of the couple who engaged in it.

  185. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Also, won’t someone think of the child who is serving as punishment? Isn’t it better to then just die before birth, before knowing anything about what’s going on, before being aware of anything?

    Because let me tell you, that’s what I would have chosen if I had the choice. Instead, I served as “punishment”.

  186. ButchKitties says

    There are many reasons to consent to sex that have nothing to do with procreation.

    There is only one reason to sign a bone marrow donation consent form: to consent to donate bone marrow. And yet I can still back out of the donation after signing all of the paperwork consenting to the procedure, even if it means the intended recipient will die.

    So why is sex irrevocable consent to pregnancy when signed contracts agreeing to donate bone marrow are not binding?

  187. Athywren says

    @Kroos Control, 197

    1) I did not chose to give the violinist the kidney disease in the same way (in most cases) many people chose to engage in sexual acts that result in the foetus/baby.

    But you did choose to be where you were when you were knocked unconscious, before being hooked up to the violinist, didn’t you? Hmm? Why on earth would you leave the house if you didn’t want to have to give your kidney to a violinist?

    3)not sure if disconnecting myself from life support would be akin to dismembering or poisoning a foetus/unborn child

    Disconnecting yourself from life support results in the violinist’s death. Aborting the foetus results in the foetus’ death. Akin.

  188. Kroos Control says

    I never said it was a punishment? You might consider having a child a punishment , but I don’t necessarily think it is so and some people might differ.

  189. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I never said it was a punishment?

    You didn’t have to say, your reality is you deem it a punishment. Then try to pretend without evidence everything is hunky-dory afterwards. Nothing but bullshit on your part.

  190. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    Kroos Control @ 204

    You might consider having a child a punishment , but I don’t necessarily think it is so and some people might differ.

    What do you consider it in a situation where someone is literally forced to do something? You’re not saying that people should have children if they want them. You’re saying that having sex means a woman can be forced to have a child. How do you characterize such a denial of choice?

  191. says

    Kroos Control #204

    I never said it was a punishment

    In which case, why raise “natural consequences” at all? Plenty of activities have natural consequences which medicine and technology are used to mitigate. Unless you wish to argue that, for instance, sports-injuries shouldn’t be treated, natural consequences are not an argument against abortion, unless you presuppose that it’s immoral.

  192. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I suspect KC thinks non-procreative sex is immoral, as is birth control.

  193. carlie says

    Unless you wish to argue that, for instance, sports-injuries shouldn’t be treated, natural consequences are not an argument against abortion, unless you presuppose that it’s immoral.

    Exactly. Fine, switch from punishment to “natural consequences”. Why do we get to use medicine to help us escape from all natural consequences except this one? You made the choice to play soccer when it was muddy out, you just live with that torn ACL. Why should that person get to escape his natural consequences?

  194. mbrysonb says

    Kroos: The argument from a woman’s right to control her body implies a full-term fetus could be removed if a woman demanded it (unlikely except in the horrific circumstances characteristic of late-term abortions, and never acknowledged by the hate-mongers who love to talk about such cases as if they were cases of idle ‘baby killing’ instead of removing dead or anacepahlic fetuses, or responses to immediate threats to the mother’s life). But that doesn’t imply a right to kill it: if it’s viable, a reasonable response would be to induce labour or perform a caesarean (no procedure to remove the fetus would be non-invasive for the mother, of course).

  195. Pteryxx says

    I never said it was a punishment?

    ^ what all the quick folks said.

    And really, calling pregnancy and labor a God-given honor-bound duty that defines womanhood (religious) or a neutral consequence of women being insufficient sex gatekeepers (secular) doesn’t make the women that die of it any less dead, y’know.

  196. Kroos Control says

    Well they don’t have to kill a baby to fix your ACL!
    There are lots of risk associated with sex medicine can fix/alleviate , such as STDs. But none involve killing unborn children.

  197. carlie says

    And if it’s some kind of consequences you want, just the fact of the pregnancy itself is a consequence. Have you, Kroos, ever gone through a pregnancy scare? I am making a bit of a leap in assuming you’re male, but even guys get worried when their girlfriends miss a period. Do you have any idea what kind of sheer terror it is to slowly realize you might be pregnant, to have to wait a few more days until you can be sure, to feel the bile rising in your throat at the same rate the urine is wicking its way up the stick past the color band? Do you know how complicated it is in most places in the US to try to schedule an appointment at a doctor’s or clinic, and then to schedule the legally-mandated followup before you can get the procedure, to get through all the hoops of legal requirements and hope like mad that you can get it all accomplished before the arbitrarily-decided-by-your-state-legislators deadline hits? To have to walk past protesters, to suffer through all the cramping and nausea and try not to even let on that you’re not feeling well for fear of being criticized on the street and at work and by your family? It’s not like scheduling a haircut.

  198. carlie says

    <blockquoteWell they don’t have to kill a baby to fix your ACL!

    We’ve already gone over this – you don’t get to use the “but someone will die” reason, because there are all other sorts of situations in which someone else will die if they don’t get your organs and we don’t force those to happen.

  199. says

    Carlie and I:

    Unless you wish to argue that, for instance, sports-injuries shouldn’t be treated, natural consequences are not an argument against abortion, unless you presuppose that it’s immoral.
    [emphasis added]

    Kroos Control:

    Well they don’t have to kill a baby to fix your ACL!

    Ker-ching!

  200. Athywren says

    But none involve killing unborn children.

    None of them involve killing unborn university professors or prime ministers either. Nor do any of them involve unborn centuries dead corpses.

  201. says

    I did not chose to give the violinist the kidney disease in the same way (in most cases) many people chose to engage in sexual acts that result in the foetus/baby.

    So, in general terms, if a person engages in an activity, knowing that it might lead to X, that person automatically voids all rights in relation to X?

    Because as long as the rights remain, you’re just flapping your lips. We’ve already established that even life and death doesn’t trump bodily autonomy and that this is a generally accepted principle.

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

    @Kroos Kontrol:

    There are lots of risk associated with sex medicine can fix/alleviate , such as STDs. But none involve killing unborn children.

    If we’re even going to define a fetus (or an embryo, or a blastocyst…) as an unborn child, this is still false.

    Flat out false. Some risks associated with “sex medicine” – which I can’t imagine doesn’t include medical care of a pregnant person related to that pregnancy – can only be alleviated by ending the pregnancy. Sometimes this results in a premature birth where the new baby survives for some short period of time, sometimes surviving long periods but with injuries/disabilities, sometimes winning the jackpot and surviving healthy. But there are also times where ending the pregnancy results in or necessitates the immediate end of any life in a fetus.

    Your statement is wrong.

    W. R. O. N. G.

    We respect people more here when they admit the limits of their knowledge than when they make shit up that isn’t true.

  203. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But none involve killing unborn children.

    Still sounding stupidly religious with this oxymoron. It it a fetus until born. Period, end of story, and your inability to grasp that fact says everything you say about abortion can be dismissed as presuppsitional bullshit. Want to be taken seriously? Lose the anti-choice talking points, and discuss reality.

  204. Athywren says

    But none involve killing unborn children.

    But here’s the thing, outlawing abortion does involve killing unborn pregnant women. Especially if we consider these half-second before birth abortions that you’ve been obsessing over which – when the real world equivalent of those abortions occur, it’s because it almost certainly will kill the mother and the unborn discoverer of the cure for cancer, or because the unborn uniter of the world and harbinger of world peace is already dead in her womb.

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

    @Athywren, 203:

    Why on earth would you leave the house if you didn’t want to have to give your kidney to a violinist?

    I ♥ you.

  206. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    So we’re back to full circle “unborn baybee”. Kroos, we literally JUST discussed this. Really now. Why shouldn’t she kill the “unborn baby” again when it’s inside of her body and she doesn’t want it there?

  207. gog says

    @Kroos Control #197

    (in most cases) many people chose to engage in sexual acts that result in the foetus/baby.

    What you’re saying here is that sexual activity automatically confers the responsibility care for resultant children, even in the event of multiple contraceptive failure. Is that what you’re getting at, or am I missing something?

  208. jefrir says

    Kroos Control

    the fetus is viable

    Are you saying its wrong to kill a foetus that is viable?

    Once again we have the assumption that women are totally fucking stupid.
    No one is aborting viable fetuses for the hell of it. If a woman doesn’t want to be pregnant, she will have an abortion as soon as possible. If she is considering an abortion at a point where viability is the remotest possibility, either something has gone very wrong with the pregnancy or she has been prevented from obtaining an abortion earlier. And those are problems, but not ones that would be relieved by placing further restrictions on abortion.
    All this nonsense about whether 5 minutes before the birth makes a difference is irrelevant bollocks, because that never happens in the real world.
    And yeah, babies don’t crawl out of the birth canal. They are pushed by their mothers, generally accompanied by a lot of effort and pain, and sometimes by permanent disability. You seem determined to erase the role of women in pregnancy and birth.

  209. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    What you’re saying here is that sexual activity automatically confers the responsibility care for resultant children, even in the event of multiple contraceptive failure. Is that what you’re getting at, or am I missing something?

    Kroos, I’d like to echo this question and request you to answer my question in 199. I’ll even copy that for you:

    Here’s a question for you: What if you DID cause the violinist to need the kidney? You were driving one night, made an accident and hit him with your car. Would it be ok to do it then, without your consent? I mean, you know that going out driving can cause you to kill or maim people, so you should be punished like this, right?

  210. Valde says

    @Kroos

    The right to life does not include the positive right to use another person’s body as life support. It does not also include the right to assault that person to preserve your life (the pain of childbirth, if induced by other means, would be classified as torture by the UN)

    You bring up the ‘responsibility objection’ as if it were true – that we deny people a right, not only to their bodily autonomy, but that we literally use their bodies as life support if they put another human in harm’s way. If this were true, everyone who has ever hurt another – accidental or intentional – would have their organs, blood and tissue forcibly removed to preserve the life of the person they injured. We do not even take kidneys from criminals who have stabbed someone in the kidney.

    So what you are, in effect saying, kroos, is that female sexuality is a crime worse than mortally wounding someone. You are saying that women, and only women, must pay, with their lives and health on the line, for having sex. And if a woman dies from the pregnancy that you would prevent her from terminating – you are in effect saying that the death penalty is appropriate punishment for a woman who chose to have sex.

    Tell us Kroos, do you offer a rape exception?

  211. Maureen Brian says

    It is not a surprise to learn that the Supreme Court of Canada disagrees with Kroos Control on whether an agreement to have sex is by definition an agreement to become pregnant.

    A woman agreed to have sex with a man on condition that she did not become pregnant. He sabotaged the condoms she had bought, without consulting her, and a lower court found him guilty of sexual assault. The Supreme Court has just upheld his conviction.

    I suspect we will come back to this story more than once in the years ahead.

    http://ca.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idCABREA2610D20140307

  212. says

    And yeah, babies don’t crawl out of the birth canal. They are pushed by their mothers, generally accompanied by a lot of effort and pain, and sometimes by permanent disability. You seem determined to erase the role of women in pregnancy and birth.

    On that note, search around for vaginal tearing in relation to delivery. When I learned about that, I got a whole new respect for just how hard childbirth really is. I knew it was nasty business, but daaaaaaaaaamn!

  213. carlie says

    Hal – and that is perfectly fine. Nobody is saying that keeping abortion legal means everyone has to choose to do it all the time (then there would be no “choice” in “pro-choice”).

  214. says

    That’s the great thing about choice; you also get to not have an abortion, if that’s what you want.

  215. gog says

    @Giliell #226:

    The doctor examining your broken bone was also a stakeholder in a major dairy conglomerate. Why would an orthopedist also have such a financial interest in milk? I’ll tell you, why: calcium makes for strong bones! He’s trying to put himself out of business. Anyhow, they spent a little too much time on your case and weren’t keeping track of the commodities markets. I guess there was a glut of milk production in the intervening time between the doctoring and dairy-keeping-track-of–

    Nevermind. That was starting to get absurd.

  216. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Hal – and that is perfectly fine. Nobody is saying that keeping abortion legal means everyone has to choose to do it all the time (then there would be no “choice” in “pro-choice”).

    Exactly. If you don’t like abortion, I and I imagine anyone else would certainly never ever wish for you to be forced to have one, the way some people seem to relish in forcing women to gestate and birth children.

  217. Valde says

    This is a list that I have compiled about the health effects of pregnancy, for ignoramuses who think that because pregnancy is ‘natural’ that it is necessarily ‘healthy’ and ‘always good':

    Pregnancy and health:

    “That means each year in the U.S., about 700 women die of pregnancy-related complications and 52,000 experience emergencies such as acute renal failure, shock, respiratory
    distress, aneurysms and heart surgery. An additional 34,000 barely avoid death.”

    Data modeling suggesting 21/100,000 US maternal mortality rate

    In 2004/2005, 1.7 million women per year suffered adverse health effects

    http://search.worldbank.org/data?qterm=us%20maternal%20mortality%20rate&language=EN

    http://www.amnestyusa.org/our-work/campaigns/demand-dignity/maternal-health-is-a-human-right/maternal-health-in-the-us

    http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/why-are-so-many-u-s-women-dying-during-childbirth/article_dd916b4b-38f0-5bae-ba42-ddee636e4cf4.html

    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2010/dec/10/torn-apart-by-childbirth

    http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-buzz/opera-singer-suing-hospital-episiotomy-left-her-severe-162302400.html

    Normal, frequent or expectable temporary side effects of pregnancy:

    exhaustion (weariness common from first weeks)
    altered appetite and senses of taste and smell
    nausea and vomiting (50% of women, first trimester)
    heartburn and indigestion
    constipation
    weight gain
    dizziness and light-headedness
    bloating, swelling, fluid retention
    hemmorhoids
    abdominal cramps
    yeast infections
    congested, bloody nose
    acne and mild skin disorders
    skin discoloration (chloasma, face and abdomen)
    mild to severe backache and strain
    increased headaches
    difficulty sleeping, and discomfort while sleeping
    increased urination and incontinence
    bleeding gums
    pica
    breast pain and discharge
    swelling of joints, leg cramps, joint pain
    difficulty sitting, standing in later pregnancy
    inability to take regular medications
    shortness of breath
    higher blood pressure
    hair loss
    tendency to anemia
    curtailment of ability to participate in some sports and activities
    infection including from serious and potentially fatal disease
    (pregnant women are immune suppressed compared with non-pregnant women, and are more susceptible to fungal and certain other diseases)
    extreme pain on delivery
    hormonal mood changes, including normal post-partum depression
    continued post-partum exhaustion and recovery period (exacerbated if a c-section — major surgery — is required, sometimes taking up to a full year to fully recover)

    Normal, expectable, or frequent PERMANENT side effects of pregnancy:

    stretch marks (worse in younger women)
    loose skin
    permanent weight gain or redistribution
    abdominal and vaginal muscle weakness
    pelvic floor disorder (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life — aka prolapsed utuerus, the malady sometimes badly fixed by the transvaginal mesh)
    changes to breasts
    varicose veins
    scarring from episiotomy or c-section
    other permanent aesthetic changes to the body (all of these are downplayed by women, because the culture values youth and beauty)
    increased proclivity for hemmorhoids
    loss of dental and bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)
    higher lifetime risk of developing Altzheimer’s
    newer research indicates microchimeric cells, other bi-directional exchanges of DNA, chromosomes, and other bodily material between fetus and mother (including with “unrelated” gestational surrogates)

    Occasional complications and side effects:

    complications of episiotomy
    spousal/partner abuse
    hyperemesis gravidarum
    temporary and permanent injury to back
    severe scarring requiring later surgery
    (especially after additional pregnancies)
    dropped (prolapsed) uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other pelvic floor weaknesses — 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele, and enterocele)
    pre-eclampsia (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated with eclampsia, and affecting 7 – 10% of pregnancies)
    eclampsia (convulsions, coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)
    gestational diabetes
    placenta previa
    anemia (which can be life-threatening)
    thrombocytopenic purpura
    severe cramping
    embolism (blood clots)
    medical disability requiring full bed rest (frequently ordered during part of many pregnancies varying from days to months for health of either mother or baby)
    diastasis recti, also torn abdominal muscles
    mitral valve stenosis (most common cardiac complication)
    serious infection and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)
    hormonal imbalance
    ectopic pregnancy (risk of death)
    broken bones (ribcage, “tail bone”)
    hemorrhage and
    numerous other complications of delivery
    refractory gastroesophageal reflux disease
    aggravation of pre-pregnancy diseases and conditions (e.g. epilepsy is present in .5% of pregnant women, and the pregnancy alters drug metabolism and treatment prospects all the while it increases the number and frequency of seizures)
    severe post-partum depression and psychosis
    research now indicates a possible link between ovarian cancer and female fertility treatments, including “egg harvesting” from infertile women and donors
    research also now indicates correlations between lower breast cancer survival rates and proximity in time to onset of cancer of last pregnancy
    research also indicates a correlation between having six or more pregnancies and a risk of coronary and cardiovascular disease

    Less common (but serious) complications:

    peripartum cardiomyopathy
    cardiopulmonary arrest
    magnesium toxicity
    severe hypoxemia/acidosis
    massive embolism
    increased intracranial pressure, brainstem infarction
    molar pregnancy, gestational trophoblastic disease
    (like a pregnancy-induced cancer)
    malignant arrhythmia
    circulatory collapse
    placental abruption
    obstetric fistula

    More permanent side effects:

    future infertility
    permanent disability
    death.

  218. spectator says

    Kroos – have you ever encountered the famous violinist analogy?

    There is a world-famous violinist who is about to die of kidney failure. Your kidneys are the only ones that are a perfect match. You get accosted from behind, someone knocks you out, and when you come to, you find yourself in a hospital bed connected to the violinist, filtering his blood, and getting prepped for an eventual kidney transplant. Should you be forced to give your kidney to that violinist to save his life? If you do not, he will die, and you will have killed him. Nope, you wouldn’t have just “let him die”; you are already attached, and so you would have to go through an action of removing yourself, which is generally the point at which philosophers agree you have gone from “letting” something happen to being the agent of causing something to happen. Should you be legally allowed to say no and remove yourself from that situation?

    Fetus = world-famous violinist=human being=person OR analogy FAILS
    And the violinist would only need to use your kidney temporarily OR analogy FAILS
    Is the violinist your direct-blood relative?
    Plus you know how babies are made and voluntarily accepted sperm being placed in your vaginal canal. Unless we’re talking rape, which is a red herring in the pro-abort camp.
    But you are all so hateful, it’s probably for the best. Every baby deserves love which I don’t believe some people are capable of. Esp seeing how you all punched down so hard on the grieving childless couple. How dare he suggest that adoption as option C!
    If baby’s had guns they wouldn’t be aborted! amirite?

  219. gog says

    Plus you know how babies are made and voluntarily accepted sperm being placed in your vaginal canal. Unless we’re talking rape, which is a red herring in the pro-abort camp.

    The body has a way of shutting that whole thing down, you know.

  220. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    But you are all so hateful, it’s probably for the best. Every baby deserves love which I don’t believe some people are capable of. Esp seeing how you all punched down so hard on the grieving childless couple. How dare he suggest that adoption as option C!

    No, how dare he demand adoption by forcing a woman to carry a baby to term against her wishes and bodily autonomy. He is the hateful one, forcing other people to do his bidding.

    If baby’s had guns they wouldn’t be aborted! amirite?

    If you had a point, it was lost in your lack of cogency expressed during your inane and unevidnced screed.

  221. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    If baby’s had guns they wouldn’t be aborted! amirite?

    Since babies are already born, and hence can’t be aborted, your whole statement is a non-sequitur. Typical of sloganistic religionism.

  222. Rey Fox says

    But a zygote literally is a a blueprint.

    No, it’s not literally a blueprint.

  223. carlie says

    Fetus = world-famous violinist=human being=person OR analogy FAILS

    EXACTLY! I’m so glad you’re seeing sense in this. So fetuses aren’t people, then! So glad we cleared this up.

    And the violinist would only need to use your kidney temporarily OR analogy FAILS

    Nope. Some pregnancy effects are forever, up to and including death. See the list the amazing Valde provided at #237.

    Is the violinist your direct-blood relative?

    Doesn’t matter – if you’d read the thread, you’d know that courts don’t even compel parents to sacrifice organs for their own children.

    Plus you know how babies are made and voluntarily accepted sperm being placed in your vaginal canal.

    Did you read ButchKitties at #202 regarding bone marrow? You can sign a legally binding document that says you will donate marrow and then still back out and say no. Why should sex be more legally binding than something that is, by very definition, legally binding?

  224. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Kroos,
    Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy. If you get an STD from sex, you have the right to treat that STD and not consider the sex you consented to to be consent to having an unwanted disease. Even though that STD is a living thing, it has no right to your body, nor does any other living thing.
    Of course an unwanted forced pregnancy is punishment. If you think unwanted pregnancy is such a gift, then you’ve clearly never been pregnant. I have and I chose to stay that way and be a mom. Never, ever again. I love my bio-daughter, but pregnancy was horrible, painful, dehumanizing (having strangers putting their hands up you, shove things in your cervix and routinely monitoring your pee, weight, etc is not fun), physically scared my entire body and ended in my being cut open after 20 + hours of painful labor during which time I was forced to use drugs I did not want to have in my body. (You cannot have a C-section on medicaid until you’ve been pumped full of Pitocin to make you contractions harder, even if your cervix is not dilating. It hurts. Alot.) My pregnancy was a healthy one. Other women have had it far worse. Don;t tell me what a gift pregnancy is. It’s hard as hell when you want it. It’s torture if you don’t.

    There is no such thing as an “unborn child”.

    …and I’m skimming at this point. Has Kroos answered the question about organ harvesting yet?

    Chas, the devils do not need anymore advocates and we all know that you think your superior logics trump women’s humanity. We do not need a reminder. I for one have had my fill of reminders that you like to look for reasons why we shouldn’t be trusted to make choices about our own bodies or to be believed when we say we’ve been raped. We’re all crystal clear on that. You can stop now.

  225. Valde says

    @spectator @238

    So if a surrogate is carrying a prenate that is not related to her, she can terminate it right? Because it is not a blood relative?

    And you appear to be saying that the right to life only applies in the case of blood relations. So, you find it morally and ethically acceptable to simply ‘let people die’ if you are unrelated?

    And no, adoption is not an option if the pregnant person does not wish to be pregnant.

    Furthermore, pregnancy can and often does permanently change a woman’s body. It is also far more dangerous than simply organ donation. But, the analogy still works if, say, you are hooked up to the violinist for 10 months and forced to let that person use your body as life support for that time. At risk to your health and even your life.

  226. Valde says

    #242 Rey Fox

    A blastocyst is nothing more than a clump of cells, each of them a tiny snippet of DNA surrounded by a cytoplasm. It is, in fact, a genetic blueprint. It is not a tiny person that just needs to ‘grow bigger’ with ”time’ and ‘nutrients’

    The homunculus theory of human development was abandoned long ago.

  227. says

    Spectator:

    Every baby deserves love which I don’t believe some people are capable of.

    Goodness me. Y’know, if you were just a smidge brighter, you might be able to follow up on that conclusion of yours.

  228. vaiyt says

    I never said it was a punishment?

    You want to force women to carry children to term because they had sex, and you specifically cite “responsibility”. As if having sex was something that warranted voiding a woman’s personhood and making them risk their lives. That’s punishment.

  229. carlie says

    Every baby deserves love which I don’t believe some people are capable of.

    Goodness me. Y’know, if you were just a smidge brighter, you might be able to follow up on that conclusion of yours.

    Well, spectator only means the cute little perfect white ones that other people would be all lined up to adopt.

  230. Valde says

    @gog

    The worst thing is, this forced birther just had to choose an overtly sexualized Disney image of Pocahontas.

  231. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    ..and the vomiting, vomiting and more vomiting, painful labial swelling, ankles swollen to the size of softballs, pain that makes walking miserable due to the loosening of ligaments, months of constipation, incontinence, breast pain and swelling…just..no.

    We romanticize pregnancy and pretend it’s no big deal to suffer through and endure because the female bodied do it.

    People make pregnancy the exception in which a person can be forced to donate their body to another because it happens to the female bodied and society still does not see us as fully human. That’s what the “What if a woman just decides to terminate a pregnancy for shits and giggles a day before her due date, huh? What then?” is about. It’s about believing that women cannot be trusted with equal rights. The “But she she fucked, so she can be forced to give birth” is about believing we don’t deserve them in the first place.

    There is not one rational, moral argument for forced birth. There are plenty of misogynistic justifications. If secular = misogynist, then secularism is pointless. It does not matter if my rights are disregarded because of Jesus or Allah or if they are disregarded because of non-religious based misogyny. The result is the same and just as immoral.

  232. Valde says

    Here is a very very good argument in favour of bodily autonomy. By a libertarian no less. But, his logic is sound:

    http://praxeology.net/RTL-Abortion.htm

    The best parts:

    1) One might try to show this by appealing to the fact that the process of childbirth is (a) life-threatening, and (b) extremely painful.41 (If the pain involved in childbirth were induced by other means, it would generally be recognized as a form of torture, and a nation that required women to undergo it would be found in violation of Article V of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.)42 As things stand, then, abortion is not disproportionate to the seriousness of the threat it counteracts, and so is not a wrongful boundary-invasion; we surely have a right to kill in order to avoid being tortured. (It might be objected that killing can never be a proportionate response to any threat short of death. But our concern is with proportionality in moral seriousness, not proportionality in physical effect; to claim that defensive killing can be morally proportionate only to a threat of death is to assume, between aggressive force and defensive force, a moral symmetry difficult to square with [20].) But what if medical science eventually renders childbirth safe and painless? Should abortion still be permitted under those circumstances? A robust defense of (2) should strive to vindicate the right to abortion in general, without relying on historically continent facts about the level of advancement of medical technology. In what follows I thus forgo any appeal to the risk or painfulness of childbirth.

    2) A woman is clearly justified in killing a rapist in self-defense (assuming no lesser measures would be successful). Rape is one of the most profound and traumatizing assaults on one’s personhood that it is possible to inflict; so killing is not a disproportionate response to the seriousness of rape. But a rape need not involve physical injury or pain; if the rape victim is intimidated into failing to resist, then in purely physical terms a rape may be indistinguishable from normal, consensual intercourse. Rape need not be violent in any overt sense.43 Yet it is a rape for all that; for [188] any sexual use of another person’s body without that person’s consent is a rape. What gives a woman the right to kill as rapist in self-defense, then, is not that he threatens her with pain or injury, but that he uses her body in the most deeply intimate and personal way, without her consent (even if she originally consented, then changed her mind). And it is precisely this same fact that gives Miriam the right to kill her unwanted fetus Joshua: not that he threatens her with pain or injury, but that he uses her body44 in the most deeply intimate and personal way, without her consent(even if she originally consented).45 Hence abortion is not a disproportionate response to the seriousness of the boundary-violation it counteracts. My argument for abortion rights may be expressed, then, by the following syllogism:

    (a) One has the right to kill in self-defense if the threat is sufficiently serious.

    (b) The threat posed by an unwanted fetus is sufficiently serious.

    (c) Therefore, one has the right to kill an unwanted fetus in self-defense.

    My analogy between fetuses and rapists will strike many opponents of abortion rights as absurd. Doesn’t this analogy ignore a vitally important difference – namely, that the fetus is innocent? The fetus did not choose to violate its mother’s boundaries; the violation occurred as a result of natural processes over which the fetus, in the nature of the case, could have no control (since these are the same natural processes that produced it).

    Yes, this is of course an important difference; but it is not important in the relevant way. An unwanted fetus is an innocent threat, but is a threat nonetheless.46 A boundary-violation does not cease to be a boundary-violation just because the boundary-violator was acting involuntarily; nor does such involuntariness transform a profoundly personal intrusion into a minor inconvenience. Proposition (20) therefore licenses the killing of innocent threats in self-defense.47 To be sure, considerations of the threat’s innocence or guilt may legitimately affect judgments of the moral [189] proportionality of the response. But when the threat is as personal and intrusive as an unwanted pregnancy, it is difficult to see how the innocence of the fetus could make enough of a difference to justify forcing the mother to quietly endure nine months of what is tantamount to rape. Analogously , even if someone has been involuntarily hypnotized into becoming a literal rapist, his victim still has the right to kill him in self-defense.

    Objection: Not if she’s the one who deliberately hypnotized him. Reply: Yes, even then, I think. A woman never has an obligation – or at any rate, never has an enforceable obligation48 – to let herself be raped. That’s moral bedrock if anything is. The notion of an enforceable obligation to let one’s body be used by a rapist is a moral obscenity; and the same holds for the notion of an enforceable obligation to let one’s body be used as an incubator by a fetus, even if the mother is responsible for the fetus’s presence there in the first place

  233. A. Noyd says

    Stephen Minhinnick (#110)

    Surrogacy is not big here, unless you can find a family member or friend to step in. The consenting parties involved are not allowed to profit from the deal, although costs are covered.

    The fact that women aren’t leaping at the chance to play surrogate should be a big fucking clue to you what it means for us to go through with a pregnancy. It should tell you about our awareness of the risks and physical and emotional costs that aren’t covered. Yet, you’re looking at pregnant women and seeing not the women themselves, already capable of making informed choices, but opportunites for people like yourself to get a baby. You want to try emotionally blackmailing those women, like that would be easier when they’re already pregnant. Call it “encouragement” all you want, emotional blackmail is what it really is.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    ChasCPeterson (#163)

    Disclaimer: I am playing Vulcan and just picking at sloppy thinking here.

    And doing a terrible job at it, since you’re ignoring a rather lot of context. You’re not doing logic better when you make up different anti-abortion arguments than ones people are responding to with their “sloppy thinking.”

  234. Rey Fox says

    Your sarcasm and humour meters need calibrating. ;)

    No sarcasm and humor there, just the bitterness of a “literally” curmudgeon.

  235. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Spectator,
    My aunt just donated her kidney to an friend. She was back at work within the month. I do not want to down play the amazing thing she did or the courage it took to do, but there are pregnancies that are more dangerous and leave more lasting damage than an organ donation does. No one should have to donate their body against their will, ever. Not even sluts who dare to have sex with men. >.<

  236. Valde says

    #259

    [quote]The fact that women aren’t leaping at the chance to play surrogate should be a big fucking clue to you what it means for us to go through with a pregnancy. [/blockquote]

    I often ask forced birthers, the women who say that pregnancy is a) a minor inconvenience b) the child can always be given up for adoption c) the gift of life is the best gift to give – I ask them why they are not lining up to gestate the excess IVF embryos that will be *incinerated*. They usually come up with a lame response, something along the lines of 1) not the right time in my life, don’t have the ability to do it blah blah (yeah, so why would you force pregnancy on a woman when it isn’t the right time for her???) 2) parents have an obligation to their offspring, since ‘snowflake babies’ are of no relation to me, it is acceptable to not offer a helping womb and let ‘em die from freezer burn!

  237. gog says

    But she she fucked, so she can be forced to give birth

    This argument is not only the most pointlessly vindictive one, but it also hits a bit close to home at the moment. Contraceptives fail. It’s worrysome, particularly for me and my girlfriend both being twenty-somethings that have barely established some semblance of a career and on-solid-footing financial independence. The decision for us to have a child is frankly, nobody’s business.

    Oh, but we chose to have sex! We accepted the risk! We reserve the right to mitigate that risk.

  238. nich says

    if you get an STD from sex, you have the right to treat that STD and not consider the sex you consented to to be consent to having an unwanted disease.

    If only the world’s dominant religion was Jainism:

    “Doc, I’ve got a bad case of pubic lice. The itching is killing me! Can you give me some relief?”

    “I’m sorry, sir. The pubic lice surviving in your crotch are living things that have RIGHTS. You CHOSE to engage in behavior that allowed them to colonize your short hairs. Now you just have to deal with it until the lice leave your curlies NATURALLY. Pubic lice abortion is murder!”

  239. says

    Maybe you could introduce some kind of predator to your genitals, one which would eat the lice. That would be acceptable, right? You’re not directly killing them, so you’re safe.

    Bats eat insects, right? Maybe they’d eat lice, too? I think we’ve got a treatment. Bothered by pubic lice? stuff a bat down your pants.

  240. vaiyt says

    Disclaimer: I am playing Vulcan and just picking at sloppy thinking here.

    You’re think the personhood of women is just a little game worth playing Captain Contrarian over. Then you have the gall to turn around and ask for Nerd to be banned.

  241. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Nich,
    I had one 20 something man explain to me that STDs are nothing like pregnancies because women’s bodies are just made to get pregnant from piv sex. I explained that his body was made to catch the clap from piv sex. But I was wrong because women’s bodies are supposed to get pregnant and his body isn’t supposed to catch crotch crud. 0.o You can’t argue with someone like that because they don’t see a woman as another person with a will of her own. They see women as objects that are to be used for certain things. Brooms are for sweeping. Cars are for driving. Pleasing boners and making babies is what women are for. Suggesting anything else is just trying to deny the natural order of things. They think it’s shocking or funny when women think we’re people.

  242. nich says

    Plus you know how babies are made and voluntarily accepted sperm being placed in your vaginal canal.

    Funnily, the argument above means that about the only person in the “history” of the planet who would qualify for an abortion by that insane standard is Mary of all people:

    “Hey Doc, get it out surgically, or you’re REALLY going to fuck up a lot of Catholic dogma.”

    “Well, render unto Caesarean as they say…”

    “Not funny, Doc.”

  243. A. Noyd says

    LykeX (#266)

    Bothered by pubic lice? stuff a bat down your pants.

    Better yet: PANTY MARMOSETS!

  244. carlie says

    Hm, I wonder if there is an expiration date on the “you chose to have sex, so you have to deal with being pregnant” consequence? Because I’m seeing a mashup between that and Valde’s questions about snowflake babies. If you have sex once, ever, and that means pregnancy is something you have to be ready for, AND those little embryos deserve life, then the answer is clear: all fundies, upon getting married and past their wedding night, must report for mandatory snowflake embryo implantation. That’s only proper as the consequence for having sex.

  245. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    *starts humming “I Knew and Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”*

  246. Amphiox says

    For example if there was a reluctant father who refused to support his child with child support payments, must people would say the father has a obligation to support his offspring.

    Said obligation is financial. But bodily autonomy trumps such obligations every time. No father as an obligation to donate a kidney to his offspring. Or in fact even to donate something as “simple” as blood.

  247. Amphiox says

    Well they don’t have to kill a baby to fix your ACL!

    And neither do they have to kill a baby to terminate an unwanted pregnancy.

    An embryo is not a baby. End of story.

  248. Valde says

    Does anyone have an example where a parent has actually let their kid die rather than donate an organ? Because whenever I bring up forced organ donations for your own kids, pro-liars like to say ‘no parent would ever ever refuse to donate an organ to their child, therefore your question is invalid’

    I would like to present them with an actual example of where a parent valued their bodily autonomy over the life of their born child.

  249. gog says

    I would like to present them with an actual example of where a parent valued their bodily autonomy over the life of their born child.

    The inevitable response is “No True Scotsman…”

  250. Amphiox says

    I never said it was a punishment?

    RESPONSIBILITY, by definition is a burden that an individual CHOOSES of their own free will to assume.

    A burden that is IMPOSED upon an individual by outside forces against the individual’s will is, again by DEFINITION, a PUNISHMENT.

    Your transparently dishonest attempt to conflate the two fools no one here.

    For a woman to choose to commit the time and resources to obtain an abortion, and submit herself to the risk that accompanies the abortion procedure (as risk accompanies ALL medical procedures) IS taking responsibility for the unwanted pregnancy.

  251. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Does anyone have an example where a parent has actually let their kid die rather than donate an organ? Because whenever I bring up forced organ donations for your own kids, pro-liars like to say ‘no parent would ever ever refuse to donate an organ to their child, therefore your question is invalid’

    I always wonder, what if the parent is already compromised in some way? What if the organ donation would kill them, like if they already have only one kidney, or are severely immunocompromised or something like that. Does the expectation stand if the parent could/would die? Because I don’t have to draw a picture to draw the relation to pregnancy here.

  252. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    No father as an obligation to donate a kidney to his offspring. Or in fact even to donate something as “simple” as blood.

    Based on what someone said above (this thread has gotten so long I can’t find that post), that has been tested and upheld in court for the case of kidneys and other organs. Has there ever been a similar court case involving blood donation? (To be analogous, there would have to be something so unusual about the child’s blood that no suitable donor other than the parent could be found.)

  253. Amphiox says

    How dare he suggest that adoption as option C!

    You see, cupcake, he did not “suggest” that it was an “option”.

    He implied it was an argument AGAINST abortion rights. But abortion rights is about having the CHOICE to have an abortion, which already includes the choice NOT to have an abortion.

    Nothing presented as an argument AGAINST abortion rights is about options of any kind. If you talk an option C then you automatically concede that abortion is option A or B, and that is in FAVOR of abortion rights.

    So, again, he did NOT “suggest an option”. He implied that the needs of childless couples who wish to adopt were a secular argument AGAINST abortion rights. In other words pregnant women should be COMPELLED to carry their pregnancies to term, so that their fetuses could be turned into babies for OTHER people to adopt.

    He argued in favor of turning a woman into a THING. An incubator for a baby that someone else wants to adopt.

    He deserved every iota of the disdain he received for suggesting such an evil thing.

  254. ChasCPeterson says

    You’re think the personhood of women is just a little game worth playing Captain Contrarian over.

    Fuck you.
    I just think that ideas are worth thinking about and discussing, whatever they are, and that unquestioned adherence to Correct Doctrine is lazy and boring.
    I’ve never questioned the “personhood” of women, ever. That you think I have means you don;t read and think so good.

    Then you have the gall to turn around and ask for Nerd to be banned.

    I did what, now?
    You are confused.

  255. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    It does not matter if it has never been done. The point is that it cannot be forced. We cannot even harvest needed parts from the dead without prior consent. We are arguing with people who think a corpse has more rights than living women do, yet want to pretend they have the moral high ground.

  256. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Just fuck off, Chas. My humanity is not an interesting thought experiment and it is not up for debate.

  257. Amphiox says

    Are you saying its wrong to kill a foetus that is viable?

    It is really funny how KC barges into this thread with this line of questioning, when the whole issue had already been discussed in exquisite detail, vis-a-vis induced birth and third trimester abortion, etc, by many people already.

    As if he does not possess the level of intellectual honesty required to actually read, even a little bit, of the thread before thinking himself qualified to comment in an intelligent and informed fashion.

  258. Valde says

    #279

    Why force a stranger to give up an organ/blood/bone marrow to save your child when it should be *your* responsiblity to save them? (if you’re a match). The same argument can be used if you cause a car accident – why take tissue from a stranger, when you personally should be held responsible?

    And the case is McFall vs. Shimp

    http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~ras2777/judpol/mcfall.html

    The guy who needed the bone marrow died.

  259. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    It’s so lazy and boring to assume my body belongs to me. It’s just doctrine to be questioned. It is so much more important that Chas gets to be properly entertained than it is for all the female bodied people on this thread not to have to take friendly fire from him…again.

    What. An. Asshole.

  260. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Then you have the gall to turn around and ask for Nerd to be banned.

    Let’s not go there, or make it point of contention.

  261. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    I’ve never questioned the “personhood” of women, ever. That you think I have means you don;t read and think so good.

    Because we all know that, if you didn’t explicitly use the phrase “I question your personhood” you didn’t question anyone’s personhood. What was that you were saying about sloppy thinking, shithead?

  262. ekwhite says

    Amphiox @284. I would not describe anyone who thinks a baby crawls out of a birth canal as intelligent.

  263. lostintime says

    The rhetoric can be misleading in this debate, for example the assertion that a fetus has the potential to ‘become human’ and that humans necessarily have a right to life. A fetus is human though – what else could it be? The way I would answer pro-life arguments is to grab the nettle and say that being human in itself isn’t what’s relevant. When it comes to the wrongness of killing personhood is crucial, and fetuses lack any claim to being persons. A woman’s bodily autonomy and right to choose is also paramount, so that pretty much settles it for me.

  264. carlie says

    Hm- and what about cases wherein a parent forbids a life-saving transplant for their child, even when an organ is available? *coughJehovahsWitnessescough*

  265. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Gen @ 201,
    Me too.
    The truth is, they do not care about the people that are the result of forced birth, so long as the sluts get punished with babies. Gotta keep ‘em in their place. Else they’ll start thinking they can have opinions, sexual freedom, run companies, run for office, sit on the furniture…it’s just chaos.

  266. says

    Chas #281

    I just think that ideas are worth thinking about and discussing, whatever they are, and that unquestioned adherence to Correct Doctrine is lazy and boring.

    Would you like to be a little more specific, and point out those who you feel are merely mouthing PC “Correct Doctrine”?

    You do have reason to suppose that this is happening, yes?

    (And since when did boringness have any bearing on how good or bad an argument being presented is?)

  267. carlie says

    and that unquestioned adherence to Correct Doctrine is lazy and boring.

    What is Correct Doctrine, and who do you think is adhering to it in an unquestioned way?

  268. Nick Gotts says

    I just think that ideas are worth thinking about and discussing, whatever they are, and that unquestioned adherence to Correct Doctrine is lazy and boring. – ChasCPeterson@281

    Ah. So, for example, you think the idea that slavery is the natural state of black people, and they ought to be returned to it, is worth thinking about and discussing, and unquestioned adherence to the view that it was a monstrous evil is lazy and boring.

  269. says

    ChasCPeterson #281

    I just think that ideas are worth thinking about and discussing,

    Then do it, asshole. Don’t just mutter about how there might be some argument there that you wish people would address, if you think there’s a valid argument (hint:you’re wrong) then present and defend it or shut the fuck up about it.

  270. says

    Yes, perhaps Chas could enlighten us about the very interesting and relevant fact that technically, all organisms who can’t photosynthesize are leaching nutrients from another organism. That’s SO helpful for understanding the distinction between fetuses (who must leach nutrients via a shared circulatory system) and babies (who can leach nutrients by, you know, eating.

    Thank goodness Chas was around to point out that particular bit of sloppy thinking. Everything leaches nutrients! How silly of me.

  271. Gregory Greenwood says

    It never ceases to amaze (and depress) me that there are so many people who seem to object so vehemently to the notion that women are actually human beings, and that as such have just as much right to bodily autonomy as any bloke.

    The convoluted, pseudo-logical attempts to argue that somehow pregnancy changes this, and it is totes OK to declare that a foetus has rights in a woman’s flesh (and that this is in no way a form of procreative slavery), would almost be funny in their intellectual dishonesty and general incompetence if it wasn’t for the fact that arguments just like this (and which are just as fascile and stupid) are being used to deny women access to abortion services every day, and that as a result women are suffering permenant preventable injury and dying entirely preventable deaths every single day.

    Just how many women’s corpses do this arseholes want to use to build their temple of the all important foetus? How much blood and suffering will it take before they stop and consider that maybe, just maybe, sacrificing actual, conscious women with dreams and aspirations on the already all too bloody altar of preserving at all costs a non-conscious (and not even viable) foetal cell mass is not ethical?

    What am I saying – these jerks don’t care about the lives of women at all. Anything that lets them punish women for having sex, and thereby exert control over women’s lives, is just fine by them, and damn the butcher’s bill.

    It is only the ninth of the month, and I am already in danger of using up my monthly quota for despising our species.

  272. carlie says

    It’s funny how people never sit around having grand thought experiments about what if we made organ donation on death obligatory, or what if we made organ donation required when you reach a certain age like in this book, or whether people ought to be legally required to donate blood to others. It’s just a discussion, you know? Really interesting to probe into ideas of bodies and autonomy and such.

    And yet, nobody does that. Funny how that concept of it being an interesting thought experiment to be forced to donate body parts only comes up when women and babeez are the subject.

    And by “funny” I mean “infuriating”.

  273. cuervocuero says

    @266 and @270. Those are secular arguments against wearing your underpants on your head. It would give pubic lice a chance to evolve into becoming head lice.

    As for all the male bodied pro-forced birth champs out there. No prob. If you’re for carrying a fetus to term, I expect you to line up for a zygote transplant, from a female bodied person who doesn’t want to be pregnant to your abdominal cavity.

    I’ve read allllll sorts of literature that says a genetically male body can support human zygote development to term and that the bodily systems will start changing to accommodate the cute lil bunbun’s needs. And a Ceasarian will take care of birthing once the ‘unborn baby’ gives those handy dandy strong signals that it’s ready to breathe, eat, excrete, on its own.

    If something goes non-vital with the fetus in-situ, no problem there either, it’ll be *just like* an ACL surgery to get that solved

    And in all situations, within a day you’ll be walking around, hale and hearty, like you were never pregnant in the first place.

    Honest.

  274. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    Valde @285:

    Why force a stranger to give up an organ/blood/bone marrow to save your child when it should be *your* responsiblity to save them? (if you’re a match). The same argument can be used if you cause a car accident – why take tissue from a stranger, when you personally should be held responsible?

    And the case is McFall vs. Shimp

    http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~ras2777/judpol/mcfall.html

    The issue isn’t whether you can force a stranger to donate; it’s whether you can refuse to donate in a case where there’s no other alternative and your child will die if you don’t. Based on the case you cited, the answer is yes, you can. However, I was hoping to find a case involving a parent and child (strongest obligation) and blood rather than bone marrow donation (least violation of bodily autonomy). If bodily autonomy were upheld in a case like that, it would be a real trump card for the pro-choice side.

  275. ChasCPeterson says

    *shrug*
    Sally, where do you think breast-milk comes from? Surprise! It’s “leached” directly from mom’s circulatory system. You can shove your sarcasm.
    Nick, nice of you to drop by and offer your snipes as usual. Obviously some ideas deserve more thought and discussion than others. If you actually think that the concept of ethical value for human fetuses is in the same league as that of racism-motivated slavery, then I’m just going to have to disagree with you. But so what else is new.
    The rest of y’all can just bite me. Why is it sop terrifying to think about an alternative perspective on what to a lot of people is a far more complex issue than can be covered by your conventional nostrums?
    I’ll repeat: I agree with your opinion. I simply can’t condone the righteous sanctimony and obnoxious snark with which you dismiss (some) alternative ones. Look at the OP: abortion, in which something is irrefutably killed, whatever you want to call it, is equivocated with wearing underpants on your head. Sorry, that’s offensively facile to me. And I don’t mind saying so. Nor do I give a rat’s ass what you think of me for saying so.
    So have nice days.

  276. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sally, where do you think breast-milk comes from? Surprise! It’s “leached” directly from mom’s circulatory system. You can shove your sarcasm.

    Doesn’t a woman usually breast feed voluntarily? So, what is your argument, since ours is compulsion versus voluntary?

    Why is it sop terrifying to think about an alternative perspective on what to a lot of people is a far more complex issue than can be covered by your conventional nostrums?

    And your complexity is where?

    in which something is irrefutably killed,

    Not always, as we have shown above multiple times. And when it is killed, it isn’t viable. So, What Is Your Problem?

  277. Kroos Control says

    @spectator 238

    I lol’d at babies with guns. Your post was funny and you made some good points.

    @Gen

    What if you DID cause the violinist to need the kidney? You were driving one night, made an accident and hit him with your car. Would it be ok to do it then, without your consent? I mean, you know that going out driving can cause you to kill or maim people, so you should be punished like this, right?

    tbh I think if I was engaging in risky behaviours like reckless driving that endangered him. And I was morally responsible for his condition, I think I would have a moral responsibility to keep him alive , even if it meant giving up some of my bodily autonomy.

    I don’t think this directly captures the situation with abortion
    vis-a-vis the factor I was pointing out earlier about parents having an obligation to their offspring. The fact that the natural place to be for the unborn child is the womb and the unborn child has his whole life ahead of him and I’m not sure if not choosing to donate a kidney is analgous to dismembering a foetus/baby. But it is analagous in some key aspects.

  278. says

    Chas
    Asserting that there are complex arguments isn’t the same as presenting them. Since you believe they exist, put up or shut up. You’ve made the same level of contribution to this thread as Kroos Control and Stephen Minhinnick, and are being as obnoxious as well.

  279. zmidponk says

    Look at the OP: abortion, in which something is irrefutably killed, whatever you want to call it, is equivocated with wearing underpants on your head.

    I just had an itchy arm, so I scratched it. During this process, some particles of skin were scratched off. This caused them to die. I have just committed an act where something is irrefutably killed, namely a few skin cells. The argument against abortion on the basis that ‘something is irrefutably killed’ is also an argument against scratching an itchy arm. That is why it’s equated with using underwear as hats.

  280. carlie says

    Why is it sop terrifying to think about an alternative perspective on what to a lot of people is a far more complex issue than can be covered by your conventional nostrums?

    Why do you think we haven’t already done so and found it wanting? I used to be a fundamentalist, Chas. I know every single anti-abortion argument, because at one time I completely believed them. I had one of those fucking fetus-feet lapel pins, for crying out loud. I came by my current position through years of exploration and looking for every loophole possible to keep my “but babeez” position. Couldn’t do it. So it’s really insulting for someone like you to lecture me on how complex of an issue it is, and how unthinking you believe my position to be. It’s a simple position, but that doesn’t mean it’s an unsound or unexamined one.

  281. says

    Chas

    Why is it sop terrifying to think about an alternative perspective on what to a lot of people is a far more complex issue than can be covered by your conventional nostrums?

    Then present an alternative perspective.

    “Conventional nostrums,” “Correct Doctrine.” Why don’t you just quit tiptoeing around it and say “political correctness”? You know you’ll feel better for getting it off your chest.

  282. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I think I would have a moral responsibility to keep him alive , even if it meant giving up some of my bodily autonomy.

    Which is why we don’t trust what you think. Pure subjectivism at work.

    I was pointing out earlier about parents having an obligation to their offspring.

    Evidence the limits of their obligation. They are not required to take the electric chair in place of their offsrping the serial killer, for example. Vaguery is for sophists. Precision is required here. What exactly are the parents responsible for….

  283. carlie says

    Plus, I’d like to know how the pro-choice opinions being expressed here are “unthinking”. I’ve seen laws referred to, studies and sets of data and court cases linked to, and analogies and explanations. Where I’ve seen nothing much is from the “but it’s a baby” and “but she should have to” brigade.

  284. says

    Wow, I would never have guessed that breast milk consists of nutrients leached directly from the breastfeeding mother’s bloodstream. I feel wonderfully chastened now. Thanks, Chas, for setting me straight. Man, your contributions to this discussion really have been invaluable.

  285. carlie says

    I think I would have a moral responsibility to keep him alive , even if it meant giving up some of my bodily autonomy.

    But would you agree with having a law that required you to, regardless of how much responsibility you personally felt?

  286. carlie says

    Also, as mentioned recently on Skepchick, “I think that’s icky” isn’t a secular argument against abortion. It’s just saying “I’m a secular person and these are my feelings”.

    If by “secular argument,” you mean “a belief based on personal feelings,” then, sure, there’s a secular argument against abortion. There could be a “secular” argument against puppies, in that case. If you’re using “secular” to mean “a logical, science-based, or rational” belief, then no, there is no “secular argument” against abortion. The supposed “secular arguments” against abortion are rooted in misogyny, a lack of understanding of science, and religious overtones.

  287. HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr says

    I’d like to know exactly what the “sluts deserve slavery” antis think about ectopic pregnancies. I mean, it’s an unborn fetus! (The same way I’m an undead person. No, wait, I’m just a person with a lot of eyeliner.) Won’t somebody stand up for the completely unviable collections of cells that will inevitably kill the woman around them without abortion access?

  288. says

    @Kroos Control

    tbh I think if I was engaging in risky behaviours like reckless driving that endangered him

    What if you weren’t being reckless, but just driving? What if you took normal, reasonable precautions, but an accident still happened and now the guys needs a kidney?

    Sex isn’t a particularly reckless behavior. It’s quite normal and people still get pregnant, despite taking precautions. Stop trying to dodge that fact.

    And I was morally responsible for his condition, I think I would have a moral responsibility to keep him alive , even if it meant giving up some of my bodily autonomy.

    You’re not being asked about your moral obligation. You’re not being asked if you’d feel responsible or if you’d agree to donate a kidney.

    You’re being asked about your legal obligation. You’re being asked if you should be compelled by law, against your strongest objections, to give up the kidney. We’re asking if you’d support a law that would send police officers to your door to put you in handcuffs and deliver you to the hospital, where you’d be sedated and wake up with a missing kidney.

    Stop looking for loopholes and just answer, already.

  289. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @303 Chas

    I simply can’t condone the righteous sanctimony and obnoxious snark with which you dismiss (some) alternative ones.

    Such as?

    You sound like Fox Fucking News. “Some people think .”

    You know what I can’t condone? Pompous shitheads who waffle on and on about all the subtle, nuanced, persuasive arguments that exist for a position while simultaneously being either unable or unwilling to actually make any of them while also simultaneously lamenting that everyone is so sanctimoniously dismissive of them while also admitting that they don’t actually even disagree with what anyone is saying and are just here to toy around with the idea that maybe women aren’t quite human enough after all to decide what happens to their own bodies. Just for funsies. Fuck you.

  290. kalirren says

    I’m an atheist, and I’ve always believed in post-viability fetal personhood. My reason for this is personal – I was that fetus once upon a time, and my mother had an orange-sized tumor in her uterus at the same time as I was growing in there. My family was also poor at the time, and my mother took a great risk. If a benefactor hadn’t paid for my mother’s health insurance, covering the complicated surgery that both delivered me and excised the tumor, I would definitely have been aborted to reduce the risk of complications.

    It’s always been my adult opinion that if the federal government, or a State, wants to protect fetuses like I was, they’ve got that same bill to foot. They would have to pay for premature delivery ICU care for all viable fetuses, even the unwanted ones. No pro-lifer ever wants their taxpayer money to go towards footing that bill; even I think that’s a high price to pay.

    In my opinion, no fundamental right to life can be claimed on a fetus’s behalf before viability. Before viability, a fetus clearly has a contingent right to life, and no contingent right is fundamental. If you want to use fetal personhood to argue “against abortion” before viability, I think you’ve got to find something else.

    In fact, even presupposing fetal personhood, the strongest secular argument for obliging women to carry pregnancies that I’ve ever been able to find fails rather spectacularly to argue against access to abortion services:

    If a fetus is a person, and that fetus is in medical need of its mother’s physiological support, then a woman’s maintenance of a pregnancy is akin to an active provision of medical aid. Under this framework, an argument may exist under some States’ laws that once consent is given, it cannot be withdrawn.

    As I remember it from my law classes in high school, under Michigan law, for instance, once you start giving aid to a victim, you cannot stop rendering aid or leave the scene unless you are relieved by someone more qualified, or your own safety is at risk. Furthermore, if you start giving aid to a victim despite a known risk to your own safety, you cannot stop rendering that aid due to that same risk if the victim may be dependent upon your aid. You cannot back out of assuming risks that you have already assumed.

    If fetal personhood is assumed (which would have to be done by State constitutional amendment) and this first-aid-like framework is applicable (two very big premises!), then a woman who knowingly assumes the risks of pregnancy would be obliged to carry her pregnancy through at least to viability, at which point her pregnancy could be terminated by induced birth. The questions would then become, (1) at what point does a woman “start” giving that aid, and (2) at what point can she be inferred to have assumed that risk?

    Here the analogy starts breaking down. The issue (1) is murky because with the exception of IVF, the mother’s body begins providing the medical aid before the mother herself ever knows about it. (2) is similarly problematic; it’s hard to argue from facts that a woman has assumed the risks of a process she finds out about after it starts.

    Now, if I were a State dictator, my personal answers would be (1) a positive pregnancy test battery, or quickening, whichever was sooner; and (2) not having sought abortion after the time of (1) for a period of time two to three times greater than the average time it requires to get an abortion in that State. That would be my first, lazy attempt at being reasonable.

    And behold: already it follows from this toy-model framework that making abortions more available would support the enforcement of fetal personhood rights, by making it more clear when people were being irresponsible. Quicker access = more responsibility on part of the mother = more dignity for the fetus.

    So it’s much as PZ said. It doesn’t just have to be a secular argument. It has to be a good one. Even if fetuses were viewed by the law as persons in distress, the bar to clear the woman’s right to personal autonomy is still very high, and the ready availability of abortions can only serve to clarify the legal matter.

    Kroos: I would be very careful in claiming that the womb is the “natural place to be for the unborn child”. You’re assuming that the desired product of a pregnancy is a living baby, with its whole life ahead of it. What if that’s not the goal? A woman might choose to undertake only the early stages of a pregnancy with the understanding that the embryo be removed for its stem cells to be harvested, especially if she were paid for her participation in the process, or if that embryonic stem cell culture were necessary for her own medical treatment. The law ought to be able to handle that.

  291. Amphiox says

    And I was morally responsible for his condition, I think I would have a moral responsibility to keep him alive , even if it meant giving up some of my bodily autonomy.

    Stop weaseling and answer the question.

    Should the STATE COMPEL you to give up a kidney, regardless of what you think your moral responsibilities are.

    Yes or no?

    (The right to OFFER one’s kidney as a living donor if one so chooses, in this or any other circumstance, ALREADY exists.)

  292. says

    @Kroos Control
    To address those last “points” you made:

    I don’t think this directly captures the situation with abortion vis-a-vis the factor I was pointing out earlier about parents having an obligation to their offspring.

    Already addressed. Parents do not have any legal obligation to allow children the use of their organs, even if the kid will die without them.

    The fact that the natural place to be for the unborn child is the womb…

    Really? An argument from nature? How does the naturalness of a fetus in a womb mean that women suddenly no longer have the same rights as everyone else?

    …and the unborn child has his whole life ahead of him…

    How is this anything but a blatant emotional appeal? Born children also have their lives ahead of them, yet we don’t violate other people’s bodies for their sake, even to save their lives.

    … and I’m not sure if not choosing to donate a kidney is analgous to dismembering a foetus/baby. But it is analagous in some key aspects.

    It’s analogous in all relevant respects. It’s the same with regard to the imposition on the other person, the rights involved and the outcome if the donation is refused.

    Please stop the hand-waving and start actually dealing with what other people are saying. I know that’s going to require a complete change in your approach to conversation, but give it a shot.

  293. Valde says

    #302

    The issue isn’t whether you can force a stranger to donate; it’s whether you can refuse to donate in a case where there’s no other alternative and your child will die if you don’t. Based on the case you cited, the answer is yes, you can

    I was talking about situations where people say ‘you can’t be legally obligated to help someone that you injured in a car accident because other donors exist’ – the problem with this, why should someone else have to give up a kidney to fix a problem that you created. (this is to address the oft repeated ‘it is morally and ethically acceptable to just let someone die unless you are pregnant meme used by anti-abortionists)

    @Kroos Control

    You keep talking about responsibility for offspring. Ok. then answer these questions. Should fathers be legally required to donate blood/tissue/organs during and after the pregnancy (should fetal life be threatened during gestation, and the baby need your bone marrow or something).

    Yes or no?

    And, your argument also breaks down, because you are basically saying that a surrogate can have an abortion at any time – because she is not carrying her own offspring.

    #318 kalirren

    As I remember it from my law classes in high school, under Michigan law, for instance, once you start giving aid to a victim, you cannot stop rendering aid or leave the scene unless you are relieved by someone more qualified, or your own safety is at risk. Furthermore, if you start giving aid to a victim despite a known risk to your own safety, you cannot stop rendering that aid due to that same risk if the victim may be dependent upon your aid. You cannot back out of assuming risks that you have already assumed.

    There is a little thing called minimally decent samaritan. We do not require people to risk life and limb, and to continually risk life and limb, to save another. Who would prosecute you because you ran out of the burning building mid-rescue because you just couldn’t do it? Pregnancy is not a case of ‘minimally decent samaritan’ – it is an invasive use of someone’s body. It is above and beyond what we require of people to do to save another. Your argument is basically ‘biology is destiny’ – she has already ‘volunteered’ for pregnancy because she had teh dirty sex, therefore, she should be required to continue to risk life and limb, because, in this unique case, she volunteered for it…by being born with a uterus. Your example here would also result in rape victims being forced to gestate every pregnancy – because rape victims also ‘volunteer’ for pregnancy by virtue of being fertile!

    And Chas C Petersen’s breastfeeding example fails, because breastfeeding = minimally decent samaritan. There is no life and limb at risk. But, one could refuse to breastfeed a newborn if they were in danger of starvation and needed very single calorie of their own to survive, yes.

  294. anat says

    ChasCPeterson, breastfeeding is irrelevant: Plenty of infants survive without being breastfed at all, or by being fed the breastmilk of someone other than their mother. Formula feeding as a substitute for breastfeeding is more adequate as a substitute than early delivery is to carrying a fetus to term.

    As to why is it terrifying to think of an alternative perspective – well, because we are speaking of our own lives and freedoms or those of people close to us. And there are plenty who are willing to take those away based on faulty reasoning such as yours.

  295. says

    And there are plenty who are willing to take those away based on faulty reasoning such as yours.

    Hahaha, as if Chas would take ownership of any reasoning he’s presented in this thread. No, his only argument is just that there are some wonderfully nuanced and complex arguments that we should consider and we’re awfully dismissive and snarky even though it’s our bodies and rights on the line. Chas doesn’t think abortion should be illegal. He’s just here to point out how “sloppy” it is to characterize the way a fetus gets its nutrients as being in a different category from how a baby gets its nutrients. He’s pro-choice, but he is also an asshole, and it amuses him to toy with the emotions of the people who actually care about these issues.

  296. A. Noyd says

    Kroos Control (#305)

    The fact that the natural place to be for the unborn child is the womb

    Except for all those times (~2%) when nature sticks the embryo/fetus outside the womb.

    the unborn child is the womb and the unborn child has his whole life ahead of him

    And if I’ve decided that it’s worse to risk the child having a miserable life? What then? Am I obligated to sacrifice my body and risk its misery because your values are different from mine?

    Saying that I’m responsible for the consequences of sex is one argument. Saying that how I deal with those consequences has to fall in line with what you think is right is a different argument. Stop pretending to make the first when you’re actually making the second.

  297. Valde says

    Furthermore, a born child accepts *gifts* to survive. A prenate simply *takes* big difference. A baby is dependent on the kind will of others. A prenate is not – in fact, from what I have read, through something called genomic imprinting – it is in the fetus best ‘interests’ to grow as big and healthy as possible – even if it is at the expense of the woman’s wellbeing. From the ‘perspective’ of the father’s genes – a big healthy baby will ensure that his genes make it into the next generation – so if the woman’s health is negatively affected, so what – the one time reproduction for the male outweighs any health risks put upon the female. Basically, it is a fetal-maternal arms race, where nature does in fact pit fetus against mother.

    And I will link to an old article of PZ on this very subject, why women menstruate (to protect their bodies from greedy embryos):

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/21/why-do-women-menstruate/

  298. Amphiox says

    and I’m not sure if not choosing to donate a kidney is analgous to dismembering a foetus/baby.

    Translation: I have no answer for this, so I need to think up some excuse to ignore it. Because the one thing I cannot allow myself to do is be honest enough to admit that my arguments are wrong.

  299. Amphiox says

    Also, that “dismembering a foetus/baby” is another example of KC’s presuppositional intellectual dishonesty.

    Aside from the obvious superposition of foetus/baby together, there is also the “dismembering”, which is a reference to the procedure most common in LATE term abortions – the kind that we’ve already discussed long ago as being exceptionally rare and done only in desperate situations where induced birth is not possible.

  300. carlie says

    Translation: I have no answer for this, so I need to think up some excuse to ignore it. Because the one thing I cannot allow myself to do is be honest enough to admit that my arguments are wrong.

    Also: it seems more gross, so despite the fact that the end result is the same, I’m still against it. Argumentum ad nausauem.

  301. Amphiox says

    the unborn child is the womb and the unborn child has his whole life ahead of him

    So does the woman. The difference is we don’t actually know of if the embryo will make it all the way through gestation (only 2% of human conceptions actually do), so we don’t even know if the embryo is going to have a human life.

    But we KNOW the woman does have such a human life.

  302. Valde says

    #327
    I like to ask anti-abortionists if they would accept abortion if every abortion was performed through c-section. Of course, they still refuse. So, the dismembering argument is clearly just an appeal to emotion. Furthermore, in the USA at least, there is an ‘Infant Born Alive Act’ – basically, it is illegal, from what I understand, to remove a living fetus and leave it to die. Which would mean that even performing a c-section to remove a blastocyst would be MURDER

  303. carlie says

    Aside from the obvious superposition of foetus/baby together, there is also the “dismembering”, which is a reference to the procedure most common in LATE term abortions – the kind that we’ve already discussed long ago as being exceptionally rare and done only in desperate situations where induced birth is not possible.

    Not to mention that perhaps we could be coming up with other methods of abortion if it were something that was treated like any other normal medical procedure, with lots of subjects and research and whatnot.

  304. A. Noyd says

    Amphiox (#327)

    Also, that “dismembering a foetus/baby” is another example of KC’s presuppositional intellectual dishonesty.

    Yeah, thanks for pointing that out. I’d like to add that nature, which Kroos Control seems so fond of appealing to, has no problem with mothers dismembering babies. Actual babies. Ever watched mother cats or rats eat their own newborn offspring? Yum yum.

  305. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist) says

    and the unborn child has his whole life ahead of him

    Interesting, that.

    [Waves at Inaji]

    and…

    Ha! I missed that little bit of unsurprising nuance.

  306. says

    Not to mention that perhaps we could be coming up with other methods of abortion if it were something that was treated like any other normal medical procedure, with lots of subjects and research and whatnot.

    Just wait until we get teleportation figure out and we have to seriously discuss whether teleporting a fetus out of a womb alive constitutes an abortion or a birth.

  307. Rasmus says

    I believe the actual most common secular argument for restricting access to abortion goes something like this, although I’ve never heard anyone make the whole argument explicitly…

    1. The country has a right to receive new citizens at replacement rate to replenish the workforce and use as cannon fodder.
    2. Children are the foundation of the family and the family is the foundation of society.
    3. Nooo, no immigrants! They’re brown and muslimy, how could they ever adapt to our culture?
    4. Here’s a fair societal contract: you give birth to between two and four children, we give you a monthly government handout per child.
    5. If we could cut the abortion rate by X number of abortions per year we would have almost that many more new citizens per year, so no abortions for you unless you’re dying.
    6. Consider your uterus drafted.
    7. Oh, come on you want children anyway. It’s natural for women to want children.

  308. loopyj says

    Yes, there are secular (i.e., not having to do with any theism) arguments against a woman’s right to bodily autonomy. But they’re all bad arguments. Secular doesn’t automatically mean rational or non-discriminatory or not misogynistic.

  309. Valde says

    #336

    Rasmus

    Another secular argument is: “Men can be drafted to go to war, therefore, it is only fair to draft every uterus”

    And another one: “Only women are allowed to escape the consequences of their actions (by procuring abortions). Everyone else has to accept responsibility for their actions – so why do women get a right that no one else has? Special treatment for sluts who spread ‘em!!!”

  310. ButchKitties says

    Curran v Bosze: a father of three wants hid youngest sons (whom he does not have custody of) tested to see if they could be bone marrow donors for his dying 12 year old. Their mother refused, courts sided with the mother. Sue Argabright sued her sons father to compel him to donate bone marrow. Bioethicists observing the case all said the same thing, that forcing the donation would be the wrong decision and set a horrible precedent. Fortunately for the kid, the father had a change of heart and volunteered, and the suit was dropped.

    A judge in Washington refused to order a C-section to increase the survival chances for the fetus at the expense of the woman’s health. In the decision, the judge wrote that since he couldn’t force a mother to give a kidney to an already born child, he didn’t see what grounds he had to force someone to undergo a C-section.

  311. ButchKitties says

    I know I have at least one more case study of a mother suing a noncustodial father for tissue type testing (they really sue for testing, not the donation), and she lost, but it is old enough that I’m having trouble finding it online and my paper copy is buried in a moving box somewhere in my basement. My Boolean-fu is failing me tonight.

    Compelled organ donation suits were background when my Women & Law class in college covered forced C-sections. I can’t remember a lick the of German that IU made me take, but I can’t forget some of the horrific shit I saw or read in that class, no matter how much I’d like to sometimes.

  312. sqlrob says

    @Amphiox, #329

    So does the woman. The difference is we don’t actually know of if the embryo will make it all the way through gestation (only 2% of human conceptions actually do)

    Do you have a source for that? I’ve always heard 50-80% non-viability.

  313. Pierce R. Butler says

    woozy @ # 29: There’s honestly nothing in the bible or religious tradition about abortion at all.

    Read your bible more carefully (if you can stand it). F’rinstance, Exodus 21:22 –

    If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

    Involuntary abortion is a property crime in this case.

    Numbers 5:27 seems to be a recipe for how a priest can magically induce abortions for pregnancies caused by adultery (unless you can come up with another translation for the euphemism “… and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot …”).

    Plus all that “slay them all, young and old!” schtick Yahweh was so fond of.

  314. Amphiox says

    re 341;

    My understanding was the 50-80% rate was for embryos that have already successfully implanted, but does not include the zygotes that fail to successfully implant.

  315. sqlrob says

    @Amphiox, #343

    My understanding was the 50-80% rate was for embryos that have already successfully implanted, but does not include the zygotes that fail to successfully implant

    That 2% still seems awfully low. That means over a year of trying, there’s a 22% chance of getting pregnant (assuming single egg release and independent causes for failures). If that 50-80% is after that, that means only a 10% or less chance of having a fully viable pregnancy for a year of trying. Am I amiss in thinking that’s low? Does that reflect the real numbers? After a touch of googling, that seems lower than the numbers from just condom failures.

  316. woozy says

    woozy @ # 29: There’s honestly nothing in the bible or religious tradition about abortion at all.

    Read your bible more carefully (if you can stand it). F’rinstance, Exodus 21:22 –

    If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart from her, and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

    Involuntary abortion is a property crime in this case.

    That’s a third party causing a miscarriage against the will of …. er, the husband of the woman (which is as close to the woman’s interests as the patriarchy gets, sigh…) which is an *entirely* different matter from terminating one’s own pregnancy.

    Numbers 5:27 seems to be a recipe for how a priest can magically induce abortions for pregnancies caused by adultery (unless you can come up with another translation for the euphemism “… and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot …”).

    Yeah, forgot about that one. But that’s really evidence that the bible is just fine with abortion, isn’t it?

    Anyway…. I might have overspoke. I dismissed the whole “a soul magically implants itself at conception” quasi-religious argument as a comfort-zone tactic rather than an argument in itself. But I still believe the dichotomy of supposedly secular vs. religious arguments is more obfuscation than any actual difference in arguments. If we ignore party band wagon jumping (secularist are liberals and liberals are pro-choice while religists are conservatives and conservatives are pro-life) and guilt-shaming (which bible thumpers love to do) any actual arguments pro or con are pretty much independent of religion. You can word it in weird ways but the basic anti-abortion argument is “abortion is murder” and that’s neither secular nor religious (or it could be either). It seems convoluted to assume weird “well, secular arguments are about government and laws and rights while religious arguments are about moral absolutes” rationals to separate the arguments.
    What’s the point? Bad arguments are bad arguments.

  317. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    There are perfectly sensible, secular reasons for feeling “:(” about abortions. There are none for attempting to prohibit them.

    *gets a drink, starts reading*

  318. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    One secular argument against abortion is that there are many childless couples who would love to adopt, but not enough babies being put up for adoption. Women considering abortion should be encouraged to seriously consider putting the baby up for adoption instead.

    In a similar vein, I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy Child well Nursed is at a year Old, a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome Food, whether Stewed, Roasted, Baked, or Boyled, and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a Fricasie, or Ragoust…

  319. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    The “Christianity has always been against abortion, all abortion, full stop” is bogus anyway.

    Until the nineteenth century or thereabouts, until quickening (i.e. the fetus beginning to move, around 18 or 20 weeks) the fetus was considered to be an extension of the woman’s body and not anything of much consequence (other than potentiality). This, IIRC, is still the attitude held by most of Judaism. If a woman miscarried prior to quickening, it was treated culturally as equivalent to a (delayed) menstruation. Miscarriages post-quickening were treated quite differently – occupying a level similar to that (but still less than) of a born child dying.

    Theology dictated that the reason a fetus began to move independently was because it was ensouled – before then it did not have a soul and was not a “person” in any sense whatsoever.

    Midwives and healers passing out potions and whatnot to “help a woman’s period come” was seen as exactly that – helping a woman whose womb had gotten “plugged.” It was not seen as an abortion. These potions (if they did anything) would do things like promote contractions or breakdown of the endometrium, which, if the pregnancy is only a few weeks along, would be sufficient in most cases – no need for someone to go in and help evacuate the uterus.

    Later-term abortions were dangerous, due to the lack of aseptic technique and antibiotics. A woman who needed an abortion where someone had to insert implements to evacuate the uterus was taking her life into her hands – and if she lived, she might be left sterile. For this reason, very few women went that route, and abortion was rare.

    Things started to change, gradually, as abortion got safer and less likely to end in death or sterility. This happened to coincide with the appearance of the women’s rights movements, and suddenly Christianity “discovered” that the fetus was a person much earlier, and thus abortion needed to be banned at all stages. For example in 1837, British law was modified to ban abortion at all stages of pregnancy – previous law had only banned it post-quickening.

    Personally, I do not think “women demanding rights” and “oops, we gotta regulate women’s babymaking” happened to coincide coincidentally.

  320. Pierce R. Butler says

    woozy @ # 347: … the bible is just fine with abortion, isn’t it?

    The bible is just fine with, or rabidly against, almost everything. I was only reacting to your statement that it says nothing about interrupting pregnancies (a topic I got a lot of practice on during years of clinic-escort volunteering).

    I also produced a lot of incoherent mouth-flapping by quoting Jesus in Luke 23:29 –

    For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.

  321. Athywren says

    @spectator, 238

    But you are all so hateful, it’s probably for the best. Every baby deserves love which I don’t believe some people are capable of. Esp seeing how you all punched down so hard on the grieving childless couple. How dare he suggest that adoption as option C!
    If baby’s had guns they wouldn’t be aborted! amirite?

    You want to talk about hate? He thinks that adoption is an argument against abortion. He’s arguing that women should be denied the right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term (yes, forcing you to do so is denying you the right to choose to do so) because he wants to adopt a baby. This, while there are countless children who have grown beyond the baby stage who would very much benefit from adoption. Children who he has disregarded, as they do not fit his preference. He would add to an already oversaturated adoption population in order to satisfy his own preferences. He would increase the overall level of suffering in the world, both in forcing unwilling mothers to carry to term, and in increasing the number of unwanted children living without families, waiting for adoption, all for his own pleasure. Yes, I do hate that. I am a terrible, terrible monster.

    @ChasCPeterson, 303

    The rest of y’all can just bite me. Why is it sop terrifying to think about an alternative perspective on what to a lot of people is a far more complex issue than can be covered by your conventional nostrums?

    An alternative perspective to women having rights over their own bodies? Yeah, that’s kinda disturbing. Why? Because humans have rights over their own bodies – it’s one of those human rights thingies – which is why you can’t take organs from a corpse if that corpse didn’t consent to it while in human mode. So, if women don’t have rights over their own bodies, then they’re not really classified as human anymore, and that bothers me. In part, this is because it would mean that every sexual encounter I’ve ever had counts as bestiality, but mostly because it’s pretty much the dictionary definition of dehumanising.
    I do so love this idea that nobody but you has actually bothered to think about it though, that’s very logical and backed up by evidence. Clearly, thou art a rational god.

  322. Athywren says

    @HappiestSadist, 315

    I’d like to know exactly what the “sluts deserve slavery” antis think about ectopic pregnancies. I mean, it’s an unborn fetus! (The same way I’m an undead person. No, wait, I’m just a person with a lot of eyeliner.) Won’t somebody stand up for the completely unviable collections of cells that will inevitably kill the woman around them without abortion access?

    Oh! Oh! I remember having this conversation with youtube Christian #68214… possibly Yokeup, or one of the other ups, I fail at memory.
    The answer is to pray. You never know, it might move!

  323. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I feel like this argument is counter-intuitive

    What the fuck is it with people who use “that’s counter-intuitive” as if it were a legitimate, substantive objection?

  324. chigau (違う) says

    Azkyroth #355
    re: counter-intuitive
    I think it might be because Jiminy Cricket intuition comes from God.
    So if you go counter to it, you will BURN!!

  325. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Disclaimer: I am playing Vulcan and just picking at sloppy thinking here.

    This is an aggravating circumstance, not a mitigating one.

    How far back before birth do you have to go before it is permisible to kill the baby/foetus ?: On your view?

    It is never wrong to remove a fetus from the body of a person who does not want it there.

  326. A. Noyd says

    Athywren (#353)

    which is why you can’t take organs from a corpse if that corpse didn’t consent to it while in human mode.

    This is not true in all places. In some countries, consent is presumed, and you have to opt out before death. Personally, I think that’s much more sensible.

  327. microraptor says

    What the fuck is it with people who use “that’s counter-intuitive” as if it were a legitimate, substantive objection?

    Well, because they’re such paragons of logic and intelligence, if something is counter-intuitive to them it’s automatically a bad argument and should be completely rejected, of course.

    You know, so they don’t have to bother thinking up a rebuttal.

  328. Athywren says

    @A Noyd, 359

    This is not true in all places. In some countries, consent is presumed, and you have to opt out before death. Personally, I think that’s much more sensible.

    Massively disagreed, consent should never be presumed, even if it does make things simpler… but fair point on the inaccuracy.
    That’s why we can’t take organs from living people without their consent.
    :\
    That is so much less shocking a statement. Boo. My appeal to emotion! You sunk it! You monster!

  329. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    the unborn child has his whole life ahead of him

    Something tells me that wasn’t an accident.

  330. A. Noyd says

    Athywren (#361)

    Massively disagreed, consent should never be presumed, even if it does make things simpler…

    But why not presume it if a) the person is now dead, and b) they had an opportunity to say no when they were alive? I don’t think people should get to be selfish with their future corpse’s organs without putting a minimum of effort into it. A corpse’s interests are not the same as any living person’s.

    My appeal to emotion! You sunk it!

    Not really. If rights for corpses don’t derive automatically from human rights, that means that in many places people go out of their way to give corpses more rights than living women. (Except for places like Texas where people go out of our way to give corpses more rights and then take them away again for brain-dead pregnant women on life support.)

  331. says

    Athywren

    Because humans have rights over their own bodies – it’s one of those human rights thingies – which is why you can’t take organs from a corpse if that corpse didn’t consent to it while in human mode.

    Corpses haven’t got rights; or rather, I am aware of no convincing argument for why dead people should have any rights. Incidentally, that goes for inheritance too; there are probably valid reasons for laws that allow for some inheritance of property, but the alleged rights of the former owner aren’t any of them.

  332. Amphiox says

    Corpses haven’t got rights; or rather, I am aware of no convincing argument for why dead people should have any rights.

    Well, the existing legal frameworks for the countries I am familiar with do give rights to Corpses. That’s why there can be estates which can own property, be sued, etc.

    However, in this case it isn’t so much the rights or lack of for the corpse, it is the rights of the person that the corpse once was to have a say on what happens to his or her body in the future.

  333. says

    However, in this case it isn’t so much the rights or lack of for the corpse, it is the rights of the person that the corpse once was to have a say on what happens to his or her body in the future.

    Doesn’t opt-out address that, however? If it’s a big enough deal to you, you sign a form (like an organ donor might sign today) and no one touches your corpse.

  334. says

    Sally, where do you think breast-milk comes from? Surprise! It’s “leached” directly from mom’s circulatory system. You can shove your sarcasm.

    OMFG
    Now Chas enlightens us with his superior knowledge on breastfeeding.
    Silly me, I always thought that milk was beamed into my tits by space aliens!
    No, seriously, who would expect women who have done both, gestating and breastfeeding to be aware of the differences between the two, noticably the side effects, position of the other organism and possibilities to hand over said organism to another person…
    No, Chas, breast milk is not leached from the “mom’s organism”. It’s leached from the organism of a woman who has given birth. Who actually drinks the milk is really, really, really irrelevant. And you talk about sloppy thinking.

    Why is it sop terrifying to think about an alternative perspective on what to a lot of people is a far more complex issue than can be covered by your conventional nostrums?

    Really, women, what is so terrifying about dudes talking about whether you should have bodily autonomy or not? Hey,what’s a little reproductive slavery for nine month and possible death among rationalists, right?

    kalliren

    The questions would then become, (1) at what point does a woman “start” giving that aid, and (2) at what point can she be inferred to have assumed that risk?

    1) Women don’t start giving aid.
    2) Pregnant women are ALWAYS at risk of serious complications
    Yes, I know, you were a fetus, so was I, but you were not you, unless you think that you is nothing but your genes.

    ++++
    Kroos

    …and the unborn child has his whole life ahead of him…

    I guess abortion is OK then in case of female fetuses….

    +++
    Valde

    Pregnancy is not a case of ‘minimally decent samaritan’ – it is an invasive use of someone’s body.

    It’s more like somebody grabbing you in the water because they can’t swim and holding on to you whether you can bring both people to shore or not.

  335. PatrickG says

    @ Dallilama:

    Corpses haven’t got rights; or rather, I am aware of no convincing argument for why dead people should have any rights.

    I’ll schedule your corpse for a Mormon baptism in absentia. No problems with that, right? :)

    More seriously, if you’ve provided for your body to be donated to medical science, for your organs to be donated to specified programs/donors, or even to have your body disposed of according to your wishes, how do you expect your wishes to be honored? Are these not situations indicating “convincing argument”? Or do you plan to sell your body to a third party under bond penalty, or some such?

    @ Nathaniel Frein:

    Numerous studies show that opt-out programs are remarkably ineffective at capturing people’s wishes. This is particularly true for sensitive subjects such as end-of-life care directives, living wills, post-death directives, etc. Information on this is easily accessible.

    @ The Horde*, on the original topic: I rarely comment here anymore (too much to do, and I’m never at keyboard when these threads are “live”), but I did want to express my appreciation to all the people who continue to engage with ridiculous arguments. I really enjoy that I can read a thread like this (on a subject so often thrashed into the ground) and continue to be exposed to new ideas and sources of information.**

    Cheers to all of ya!

    * With the exception of Chas. For fuck’s sake!

    ** That list of medical problems deriving from pregnancy was damn rude, though. Like I need more items on my list of things to look up. :)

  336. PatrickG says

    Correction, @ Dalillama. Sorry for messing up your ‘nym, the i’s and the l’s blend together to some degree on this screen. :)

  337. vaiyt says

    I just think that ideas are worth thinking about and discussing, whatever they are, and that unquestioned adherence to Correct Doctrine is lazy and boring.

    Well, I think that you’re a pretentious asshole. Fuck you right back.

    Lazy and boring, huh? So boring to defend that women are people and have the right to their bodies! Good thing we have Chas, the Great, to enliven the discussion by pretending to be a supporter of women being forcibly turned into walking incubators! As if there weren’t enough of those around!

  338. says

    Why is it sop terrifying to think about an alternative perspective on what to a lot of people is a far more complex issue than can be covered by your conventional nostrums?

    1)Do you need to have the difference between “think about” and “discuss publicly” explained to you?

    2)Yeah, what could possibly be terrifying about discussions that have the very real possibility to lead to having my basic human rights curtailed?

    3)Sorry-not-sorry that not considering women’s human rights up for debate bores you.

  339. Athywren says

    @Dalillama, 364

    Corpses haven’t got rights; or rather, I am aware of no convincing argument for why dead people should have any rights.

    So would you say that the case alluded to by A Noyd @363 (the braindead woman kept physically alive in order to gestate a foetus) was acceptable?
    If not, why not? If it’s her partner’s rights, how did he attain the right to an opinion in the matter, unless a person’s body, and the associated rights, are things that can be distributed according to that person’s will, or defaulting to next of kin where not expressed?

  340. consciousness razor says

    Uhh…. some clarity needed. Corpses aren’t braindead or even mostly dead. They’re just dead. Obviously. So you could be asking a further question about something unrelated, but it seems like you’re trying to point out an inconsistency.

    A whole lot of issues packed together there. I suppose there’s no “right to die” legislation to speak of, so it can’t exactly be assumed that it was the family’s choice to keep the person alive (because of the pregnancy or for any other reason). Basically, it’s just a big mess, but I think I’d go with “acceptable” without knowing more.

  341. Louis says

    Whilst I have the ever odious Chas muted, I’ve seen enough quotes to be vaguely interested.

    I just think that ideas are worth thinking about and discussing, whatever they are, and that unquestioned adherence to Correct Doctrine is lazy and boring.

    I’d agree that ideas are worth think about and discussing. Sincerely, no snark or sarcasm. Even terrifying or unpleasant ones. I’ll even agree that discussing things in a dispassionate way, if possible, is a great idea. I’ll go even further and say that where things are really in doubt, this attempt at (perhaps without success) being objective is a standard to strive for. I’ll even agree that in certain environments/fora it’s worth being deliberately contrarian to stimulate ideas and challenge comfortable agreement.

    Not really sure how it applies to the subject of abortion HERE though. Nor am I sure how it applies here at Pharyngula in general. Here’s why:

    1) Not many of us spend our time debating the truly irrelevant and minority claims that exist as if they were meaningful alternatives to demonstrable reality. Flat earthers, whilst funny and occasionally in need of a slap, don’t make many headlines. The factual, intellectual debate about abortion was “won” a long time ago. The ethical debate was “won” a long time ago. Insofar as the ever-reviving hydra can ever be beaten. We’re down the rabbit hole, the fat lady has sung, we’ve cashed in our chips. Shit be over.

    Tragically, the work of reminding/educating people about that will never be done. Women, and their allies, will for all eternity have to fight the cultural misogyny underpinning anti-abortion ideals to some degree. It’s very unlikely to be a fight that is ever 100% finished. See: flat earthers. Those clowns still exist. Some people you just cannot reach. This is not because the ideas of pro-abortion, pro-choice, pro- women’s bodily autonomy people are flawed or somehow in factual or ethical (given shared ethics) question. It’s because old allies die, new neutrals are born, some old enemies educate some new neutrals and the fight begins again. Old enemies die too, and the extent of the fight is in part determined by how many new neutrals are educated to be allies. To put it extremely crudely.

    New research hasn’t suddenly come in that demonstrates women aren’t people (or the earth is flat)! We’re not breaking new factual or ethical ground here. The persistence of a conflict over abortion does not in any way demonstrate, nor rest upon, the existence of a working anti-abortion intellectual or ethical argument. The fact that it’s an intellectually and ethically settled position equally doesn’t imply that it is socially or politically settled. Opponents of women’s rights exist.

    So on that basis, all of Chas’ sound and fury currently signifies nothing. Without explaining the vaunted “alternative perspective” that’s not covered by “conventional nostrums” we have nothing to act upon. There’s no intelligible proposition to work with and, to quote Big T-Jeff (Jefferson’s preferred rap moniker):

    Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them.

    Now I’m not going to DARE to disagree with Flashmaster TJ on this one.

    TL;DR version: The debate, such as it is, over abortion is settled intellectually and ethically, for all but those people who have very fringe ethics (I’d argue that the ethics of most anti-abortionists were hypocritical and not coherent. They share more with pro-abortion ethics than they care to realise. In other words, the claimed ethical stance of most anti-abortionists is not coherent within their actual ethical framework). It’s not settled socially/politically which is a very different thing.

    2) WHERE is this debate happening and WHY? This particular instance of the endless anti-woman wrangle over abortion is happening on a public comments thread on a blog known to occasionally get horrendous anti-woman infections from other parts of the web. I’m pretty sure that right in the middle of combating the anti-woman assertions of forced birthers (see examples right in this thread) it’s not a great time to whip out one’s wing backed chair and stroke one’s beard whilst pontificating on the fringe philosophical niceties. The Lord (That would be PZ, naturally. I wonder if a Slymer reads this he will realise I’m joking?) knows I’ve been guilty of this one myself a time or two. {Shame}

    It MIGHT be useful if this thread had taken that lovely turn and an actual serious, secular anti-abortion argument (as opposed to a de-godded religious one) had been advanced. I actually think I saw one up thread, but it got debunked fast. If this thread were a civil (a very specific type of civil where generosity abounds), very careful, intellectual discussion where all the participants were safe in the knowledge that it was purely a forum for bouncing ideas around and all were willing to engage in that activity, it might be a good idea. Isn’t it obvious that that is not the case?

    I’ll say something that’s possibly going to be unpopular, possibly not, who knows. I think those fora SHOULD exist. I think a load of people (whatever their composition) sitting about debating the intellectual minutiae about the most controversial of ideas (and otherwise) is a very good thing. I don’t for one second think Pharyngula (or very many places in the world, let alone the web) is that place. That’s not a criticism, it’s simply a matter of knowing the environment/audience.

    For example, we here have pontificated on Woody Allen’s guilt recently. We’re perfectly within our rights to do so, it’s a perfectly good thing for us to do and it has little to no consequences for Mr Allen. We can argue back and forth ad nauseum and Mr Allen’s status as a free man will be challenged in no way at all. Okay, Woody is but one person, not ~51% of all persons, so the analogy doesn’t map perfectly (nor is it intended to), but there could easily be consequences for readers of the pontifications who have suffered the rarest of rare things, a genuinely false accusation. My point is simply because a thing is controversial or potentially harmful to someone it does not follow that debating it, in and of itself, is wrong or to be verboten (or any other such thing. It’s independent, orthogonal).

    That said, again context is king. Charging into a haven for rape victims (for example) who’ve had abortions and wanking on about the philosophical niceties of a secular argument against abortion is not the best choice one can make (UNDERSTATEMENT!!!!). It’s yet another case of just because one CAN do a thing it does not follow that in any particular circumstance one SHOULD. Again, if this thread had panned out nicely into a carefully executed intellectual discussion there might be more weight on the “YES” platter than the “NO” platter. But it didn’t. Ergo, that set of philosophical niceties remains less than fulsomely appropriate for this specific thread. That’s not a universal pronouncement, but a local, context dependent one.

    I mourn (SEE MY SAD FACE. MY IMPORTANT MAN FEEFEES HAVE BEEN HURT. IT’S ALL ABOUT MEEEE) the loss of an opportunity for a high fallutin’ intellectual to and fro. I like them. I’m genuinely not being sarcastic. Part of the reason I make jokes etc is because a) I have a compulsion, it’s a disease, seriously, and b) it’s pretty hard to take most subjects (not this one incidentally) seriously in an environment that is more about argument as an act than a process. Again, not a criticism, just a recognition that one place cannot be all things to all people. Pharyngula serves a useful, educational, interesting, positive purpose. But I think that none of us are fooled into thinking it is often the intellectual pinnacle of discussion, nor would we (necessarily) want it to be. It is good at what it does and is. No apology for it need be made.

    TL;DR version: Whilst intellectual debate of the philosophical niceties and detail of even fraught and dangerous issues is not a bad thing in and of itself, there really is a time and a place for it. I question heavily the appropriate nature of Pharyngula as one of those places for a discussion of that nature that impinges on women’s rights.

    3) Channels. We have lots of them. My TV groans under the weight of available media. Guess what I do if I don’t like the channel? I write myriad letters of complaint detailing how much better the channel used to be in the old days. I berate the programme makers and executives for not making the channel to my needs. I absolutely never create my own content, lobby for a new channel or in any way try to create a channel that caters more to my specific desires.

    Oh wait. No I don’t. I press a button and find something more to my liking. Hmmmmm could there be a lesson there?

    4)

    Why is it sop terrifying to think about an alternative perspective on what to a lot of people is a far more complex issue than can be covered by your conventional nostrums?

    It isn’t. Thanks for playing.

    Louis

    P.S. TL;DR of this whole thing: What Jadehawk said shorter and better.

  342. carlie says

    Louis – I (heart) you.

    Re: your comments about fora – I agree, but as I noted somethefuckwhere above, I’m vastly annoyed that it only takes place within the context of women and pregnancy. I linked to a book that explores a similar concept of bodily autonomy with regard to being generally useful to others, and I’d love to have some armchair conversations about the meaning of life and obligations to humanity and whatnot. That would be really interesting. But nobody every wants to do that. They only want to talk about abortion. I’ve never, never seen anyone talk about, say, the “thoughtful, ethical positions” held by “well-meaning people” who “really have a point” about why we shouldn’t harvest organs from cadavers. Nope. All the intellectual masturbation about bodily autonomy and how and when we should be able to violate it only takes place within the confines of the case of a woman getting pregnant.

  343. Louis says

    Carlie,

    Re: your comments about fora – I agree, but as I noted somethefuckwhere above, I’m vastly annoyed that it only takes place within the context of women and pregnancy.

    Yes. Sorry. I should have emphasised (or even properly mentioned) this. It is a bit interesting* that the majority of the public calls for “intellectual discussion of the philosophical niceties” etc come when it’s women’s bodies on the line. I forgot to stick this important fact in. It’s too often a derailing tactic.

    My mistake for forgetting this. As much as I was a combination of vaguely serious, seriously vague and mightily taking the piss out of Chas (never a bad thing IMO), I was genuinely trying to grant the serious elements of his complaints. I.e. that the much vaunted intellectual discussion by well meaning, informed people is a good thing. Obviously even good things can be misused.

    Louis

    *We all know the definition of interesting I’m using, right? ;-)

  344. Louis says

    Oh, and I can fuck up html tags too it seems. The first two lines are Carlie’s.

    Louis

  345. Maureen Brian says

    So shouldn’t we say, loud and clear, that anyone who seeks to cast doubt on whether women are human or have the full complement of human rights all the time – even if it’s ‘cos he’s not very bright or it’s in furtherance of mental gymnastics known only to him – has a duty to tell us what the fuck he thinks women are?

    That would be up front and would include you, Chas. it is an old, old trick to make your interlocutor spend time trying to discern what your argument is or whether you understand it yourself. It simply confirms that those who use this trick have no idea what they’re talking about. And something about empty vessels and noise.

  346. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Chas decided to explain to the lady-folk how breastfeeding is totes the same as pregnancy? That’s a relief. Having actually experienced both, I found them to be quite different. Silly ladybrains! Good thing someone sorted that out for me.

    Ass.

  347. Athywren says

    @consciousness razor, 373

    Uhh…. some clarity needed. Corpses aren’t braindead or even mostly dead. They’re just dead. Obviously. So you could be asking a further question about something unrelated, but it seems like you’re trying to point out an inconsistency.

    Braindead is dead. Unless rights are carried along with haemoglobin in the blood, there’s no point in drawing a distinction, in terms of discussions of rights, between a braindead body on life support and a corpse in the ground. I’ll grant you that there are differences, some very significant differences, but if a dead person has no rights, then a dead person has no rights – doesn’t matter if there’s blood flowing or not.

  348. ChasCPeterson says

    Chas decided to explain to the lady-folk how breastfeeding is totes the same as pregnancy?

    great googly-moogly, that’s stupid.
    Seriously. If that’s the level of reading comprehension of which you’re capable, you ought to step away from your keyboard and, I don’t know, watch some more TV instead.

    Maureen, I can’t discern what you’re on about. Surely, Shirley, people here know me well enough by now to know that if I want to make an argument I’ll just make it, in the style of ‘here’s what I think’. If instead I choose to phrase it as ‘it’s also possible to think coherently about it this other way, and some people do’ then that‘s what I mean. Subterfuge and subtlety are not really my thing.

    How about this: we all just forget I said anything, I go exercise my eye-rolling muscles elsewhere, and you-all go back to swappin’ slogans of the One True Opinion. Win-win.

  349. says

    Jackie
    That’s because you and I are using our fallible human female experiences. We’re arguing from nothing but annectodata which are also spoiled by our silly emotions. If you and I think that there was a substantial qualitative difference between those situations, we must be mistaken! The fact that my tits didn’t have to be within the same room as the baby 24/7? Irrelevant! That I could leave the baby with someone else (and an independent foodsource) instead of carrying her to work? Pfff! That, had I been killed in a car accident on my way to work, the kid would still have survived at her grandma’s? Mere details!

  350. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Chas,
    Yeah Chas, I’m the stupid one who should step away from the keyboard instead of digging deeper and deeper into the hole I’ve made for myself. Yep, me. Not you. Heavens no. We’re all wrong and you are soooo very smart and not at all pointless, antagonistic and completely without perspective. Keep telling yourself that. You’ll turn this boring old discussion about my rights to my body into something more entertaining any second now. You are so fucking edgy and logical. We really appreciate your “courage” when it comes to using female bodies as a thought experiment. Just keep plugging away with all of your genius insight. You aren’t being a tedious, loathsome one man clusterfuck at all.
    More TV? WTF?

    I really wish you’d GTFO and stay out. I’m sick of your shit.

  351. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Chas, people know you well enough to know that you believe your interest in debating their fundamental rights to autonomy is more important to you than their actual interest. Or their interest in having just one conversation where their rights aren’t up for debate. In one of the few places they can reasonably expect to have those rights assented to and unquestioned.

    People know that you’re a selfish asshole. That’s why they don’t like you.

  352. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    The only true fact, not opinion, but fucking fact is that my body is never, ever anyone else’s and there are no circumstances in which I should be forced into reproductive slavery. I always have the right to decide what happens to my body, even if I do not posses a male body.

    Don’t like that? Want to question it just because you find questioning my agency more fun that recognizing it? Don’t like being called out when you want to use me life as a source of amusement? Too fucking bad.

  353. anteprepro says

    I go exercise my eye-rolling muscles elsewhere, and you-all go back to swappin’ slogans of the One True Opinion.

    Go fuck yourself, you smug,sanctimonious asshole. You have added nothing here. Your ridiculous desire to play Devil’s Advocate simply because we aren’t taking the Sophisticated Arguments of anti-choice ideologues seriously enough is just simply baffling.

  354. anteprepro says

    And I also note that Kroos is exactly as fair-minded and insightful with their anti-choice fauxlosophy as with their apologetics for apologists.

  355. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    Surely, Shirley, people here know me well enough by now to know that if I want to make an argument I’ll just make it, in the style of ‘here’s what I think’. If instead I choose to phrase it as ‘it’s also possible to think coherently about it this other way, and some people do’ then that‘s what I mean. Subterfuge and subtlety are not really my thing.

    It’s funny that you take digs at other people’s reading comprehension and then say shit like this. Are you actually laboring under the delusion that any of us thought you were here for any reason other than to be a vacuous, contrarian piece of shit for your own amusement?

    It’s mind blowing how self unaware one has to be to announce that they’re rolling their eyes at the assertion that someone’s humanity is not an appropriate topic for your masturbatory thought experiment and still manage to be indignant that people find you repulsive.

  356. Louis says

    How about this: we all just forget I said anything, I go exercise my eye-rolling muscles elsewhere, and you-all go back to swappin’ slogans of the One True Opinion. Win-win.

    Well you have been terribly oppressed…

    If instead I choose to phrase it as ‘it’s also possible to think coherently about it this other way, and some people do’ then that‘s what I mean.

    BEHOLD! THE GREAT ARGUMENT!!!

    Reel at its details!

    Swoon at the sophistication!

    Wince at the weasel words!

    Fall over and have a special experience at the vagueness!

    Louis

    P.S. I have had a little (imperfect) look for this vaunted secular anti-abortion argument that is consistent, coherent with a person’s expressed ethics and not a reworded religious argument without a bit of god hiding. I confess to not having found it. All the ones I have found either remove women’s agency at some point, raise an unborn baby (or foetus, call it what you want, I’m not squeamish about this stuff) to the same moral/experiential equivalent as an adult woman, infantilises an adult woman, or calls for “pregnancy as punishment” for adult women. All the viability slippery slopes and what have you seem to be window dressing. These arguments all fail the “coherence” test. In no other arena do many of the arguers try to (for example) claim a woman’s agency is suspect simply by virtue of her being a woman. At the very least these arguments involve one special plead.

  357. says

    I thought Chas already understood that people generally despise him because he always pulls exactly the sort of shit he’s been pulling in this thread. But he doesn’t care because, basically, he’s just a nice person. So, yeah, it’s kind of baffling that he’s indignant about it.

  358. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    It is so telling of his ignorance that he thinks we’ve never heard this tripe before. Right now, over at Skepchick the same, “I’m pro-choice, but everything should be open for debate” shit is being trotted out in the comment section. I’m sick of hearing, “I’m not a misogynist forced-birther, but just one more time, shouldn’t we debate whether or not you’re REALLY fully human and should be allowed to decide what happens to your body, just to be intellectual about this? Maybe there is some convoluted way to explain away your rights if we really try.”

    Fuck that noise. I’m not tolerating it. I shouldn’t be expected to.

  359. says

    Jackie

    It is so telling of his ignorance that he thinks we’ve never heard this tripe before.

    It’s not ignorance since it happens every. single. time.
    Reproductive rights and rape related threads.
    I think the technical term is “being an asshole”.

  360. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    I simply can not find Chas’s supposed sophistimacated convincing arguments anywhere on this thread. Care to share what you think they may be, Chas?

    The secular “argument” I often see is
    1. The fetus is helpless and innocent
    2. The woman is responsible for putting it there

    therfore
    The woman must protect it? The woman is obliged to nurse it into its potential? Something like that, which boils down to “the woman must carry it to term and give birth to it”.

  361. ChasCPeterson says

    *shrug*
    whatever. I’ve offered to shut up, but these many snarkily misguided-to-idiotic responses can only mean that you-all don’t want that. Am I a chew-toy? A troll? That’s droll. Chew me.

    For the record, I have not advocated any arguments of pro-choice ideologues. FFS. I have merely acknowledged the existence of adamantly pro-choice people who nevertheless are capable of the slightest bit of nuance beyond one-dimensional slogans. I’m sorry that you think that makes me not a nice person and the rest of the vitriol.

    Ashley Miller is over on the other Silverman thread saying the exact same thing; I trust you’ll all be castigating her in the same manner shortly.

  362. anteprepro says

    And of course the same shit is happening all over again in the Dave Silverman thread, with yet another group whining about cutting the anti-choice brigade some slack. Give me a fucking break. The abortion issue has “room for debate” and is “unsettled” and is not “clear cut” only insofar as people aren’t paying fucking attention . I see it as very similar to the religion debate: people would say reasonable people could disagree there too, but that’s only because the “reasonable people” on the religious side are misinformed or uninformed . And the others are fucking ridiculous ideologues who are obviously biased, use and believe in absurd fucking arguments for their positions, and sway the “reasonable people” with the nicey-nice. Fucking fuck.

  363. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    I have merely acknowledged the existence of adamantly pro-choice people who nevertheless are capable of the slightest bit of nuance beyond one-dimensional slogans.

    Yes, you’ve acknowledged the existence of pro-choice people who are willing to consider the angle that women aren’t quite human and are somehow still dismayed that anyone might have a problem with that. You poor, poor thing.

  364. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    The *shrug*s ad that extra bit of douchebaggery that really let’s us know how insignificant our rights are to you, Chas. Thanks for going the extra mile to make that clear.

  365. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Ah yes. Chas is acting like a superior ass, bravely being the only true rational and dissenter from the One True Truth while the rest of us practice sloppy thinking and appeals to emotions and whatever.

    It must be a day ending in y.

    What about the absolute position that women deserve full bodily autonomy in all circumstances bothers you so much that you want to have a “nuanced” discussion about it?

  366. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Our responses to you aren’t what make you no different from a troll, Chas. No, I don’t want to chew on you. I really do not need one more wannabe, Vulcan, mansplaining asshole to defend my equality to. I’m all full up on those, not that you give a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut. I really do want you to take yourself out of this thread. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind never smelling your smug stink in these parts again.

    Stick the flounce, cupcake. Go…fly…be above it all, you daring gadfly.

  367. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @Chas

    RE: Ashley Miller in the other thread…

    If you don’t see a difference between Ashley’s assertion that some people identify as pro-life and pro-choice at the same time and your assertion that it’s possible to rationally defend the position of being anti-choice…

    …there are just no words for how fucking obtuse you are.

  368. Athywren says

    @ChasCPeterson, 396

    I’ve offered to shut up, but these many snarkily misguided-to-idiotic responses can only mean that you-all don’t want that. Am I a chew-toy? A troll? That’s droll. Chew me.

    Do you honestly believe that’s how the conversation has gone? Because, no.
    Let me give you a semi-outsider’s view:

    You: “Hey, let’s just ignore the fact that I claimed that there are deep and important arguments in favour of dehumanising an entire half of the human population, or the fact that I conveniently failed to provide the argument, or any evidence of it, all while claiming to be on your side – just intellectually superior. Let’s also accept that I’ve won, ‘cuz y’all’re sheeple.”
    Everyone else: “Seriously though, that’s incredibly obnoxious.”
    You: “See? Proving my point. Sheeple!”

    I’m just saying, you’re not Spock in this picture.

  369. Louis says

    Oh noes! My slightly mocking attempt to deal with Chas’ devastating point that “shit can be discussed, yo” (never mocked or actually disagreed with) and his other earth shattering point that “pro-lifers aren’t all sloganeering dimwits” (never mentioned or disagreed with) has been ignored. Why!!? WHAAAYYYYY!????

    It must be because I’m a man.

    WILL THE OPPRESSION NEVER END???

    Louis

    P.S. Anyone see a serious, coherent, genuinely secular anti abortion argument around here? I do wish all these people who tell me it exists would point to one.

  370. vaiyt says

    For the record, I have not advocated any arguments of pro-choice ideologues. FFS. I have merely acknowledged the existence of adamantly pro-choice people who nevertheless are capable of the slightest bit of nuance beyond one-dimensional slogans. I’m sorry that you think that makes me not a nice person and the rest of the vitriol.

    Chas, you’ve been around for a long time, you know we’ve seen this song and dance before.

    You already pulled the playing Devil’s Advocate, Golden Mean, flounce and notpology cards. If you claim it’s a social experiment or beg to be banned, we have a troll bingo.

  371. says

    Am I a chew-toy? A troll? That’s droll

    Um, no. I think we already established that you’re simply an asshole. I.e. a person severely lacking in empathy. You’ve never contested this, why are you pretending people are calling you anything but that?

  372. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    P.S. Anyone see a serious, coherent, genuinely secular anti abortion argument around here? I do wish all these people who tell me it exists would point to one.

    I explained the only truly secular anti-choice argument I’ve encountered thus far just a wee bit upthread. Well now I feel all ignored and stuff *pouts* *cries*

  373. Louis says

    By the way, the fact that all of you have failed to acknowledge me as your supreme better and utterly failed at sending suitable tributes means you are all perpetrators of TEH GROOPTHINK*. Naughty sheeple. Naughty.

    Louis

    *Not to be confused with TEH GROOPSECKS which is A Good Thing.

  374. ledasmom says

    ChasCPeterson @ 396:

    I have merely acknowledged the existence of adamantly pro-choice people who nevertheless are capable of the slightest bit of nuance beyond one-dimensional slogans.

    Oh, I think I see how we’re misunderstanding each other, then. You are taking pro-choice ideas as some sort of rhetorical gambit, and I am taking them as what protects my existence.
    Warning: Unpleasant pregnancy/delivery occurrences to follow.
    For the love of lunch, I couldn’t walk without pain for days after having either child; could not piss without pain; could not sit upright without an ice pack between my legs; after my second pregnancy, became dangerously anemic and had to have a D&C for retained placenta; during the third pregnancy, was perpetually exhausted, no boon when one is caring for a young child; during the delivery of the first pregnancy, had a vacuum-assist delivery, including episiotomy cut without any numbing whatsoever. These are not, you understand, what are normally spoken of as the risks of pregnancy. These are the normals of pregnancy. These are the things that aren’t even worth mentioning, and pretty much every person I know who’s had a child can tell you of similar things.
    So, please, if you must dabble in the niceties of argument, can you not do so with regard to some more theoretical issue? This, see, this is not theoretical.

  375. Maureen Brian says

    Chas,

    You go ahead and play all the games you want but just note that you don’t impress us.

    Thing is, this is not a game. This is a subject which has been studied and discussed for over a century. We now have have a gazillion times more knowledge than we had at the outset. It is perfectly possible to arrive at a rational, knowledge-based and secular position on the subject. Differences in both personality and experience mean that there will be nuances to the basic position – it is not a Communist Manifesto type of thing though I note here that the CM is better written than your meanderings.

    So we have already a rational and secular approach to the subject. In opposition to that we have people whose position is based on supernatural creatures, half-understood writings from centuries ago already translated and edited dozens of times. Oh, and ickiness. As far as I can see “ickniness” is not a rational, knowledge-based or secular concept. It is an emotional reaction to one’s own ignorance.

    And while you witter on women and foetuses are dying because of laws based on just those – ickiness and ignorance.

    You claim that there is a secular argument against abortion. If it exists where is it? Why are you not graciously sharing the fruits of your enlightenment with a waiting world. I’ll tell you why, Chas, because it does not exist.

    Several blogs including this one have given adequate space for this alternate argument to be set forth and what have we seen? Half-baked ideas which can be shot down with a single fact, religious ideas which we all recognise immediately with the direct mention of god taken out – on the assumption that we won’t notice. Not a single idea which stood up to a moment’s scrutiny!

    And now you feel peeved, do you? Well tough, matey, because I am angry with you that you could treat my survival as the board upon which to play obscurantist games. You may have noticed that others are angry with you and with good cause.

    Now piss off and play with yourself somewhere else.

  376. Louis says

    Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk,

    Don’t feel ignored, I did read it, sorry, I should have said. It’s not good enough. Chas has been claiming there’s a COHERENT argument. Which I’ve, perhaps wrongly, taken to mean an argument that is logical in form, flows logically and without contradiction from the general ethical precepts the person espousing it hold to, and is without any glaring logical fallacy. I haven’t seen any of those.

    What do I win? ;-)

    Louis

  377. says

    P.S. Anyone see a serious, coherent, genuinely secular anti abortion argument around here? I do wish all these people who tell me it exists would point to one.

    Chas did make a brief attempt at an argument about agency (at #163). It received a response (from Athywren at #172), which he never addressed.

  378. Amphiox says

    The secular “argument” I often see is
    1. The fetus is helpless and innocent
    2. The woman is responsible for putting it there

    Number 1 is an interesting one, because it jives with my personal experience. When I was young and pretty naive and just getting into liberalism, I started out anti-choice. Many of the young nascent liberals I associated with were also nebulously anti-choice. (None of us really knew anything about abortion in detail at the time). I have no idea whether this personal experience is generalizable in any way.

    And it was mostly because of 1, as well as the liberal tendency to want to protect the helpless and weak from exploitation by the strong, and what is more helpless, more weak, more voiceless, more in need of protection, than a fetus?

    A little life experience disabused me of this type of reasoning fairly quickly.

  379. says

    Amphiox 365

    Well, the existing legal frameworks for the countries I am familiar with do give rights to Corpses.

    I know; that’s why I amended my statement. As I said, while many jurisdictions do grant rights to corpses, I find the arguments for why to be unconvincing.

    , it is the rights of the person that the corpse once was to have a say on what happens to his or her body in the future.

    Yes. I see no particualr reason why they should get a say, though, as they’re not around to object to it anymore.

    Patrick G

    I’ll schedule your corpse for a Mormon baptism in absentia. No problems with that, right? :)

    I won’t be around to complain, although my survivors might object to the family name appearing on their rolls.

    More seriously, if you’ve provided for your body to be donated to medical science, for your organs to be donated to specified programs/donors, or even to have your body disposed of according to your wishes, how do you expect your wishes to be honored? Are these not situations indicating “convincing argument”?

    I do not find it convincing. The bolded part is pretty questionable already, there are a lot of possible funeral/disposal customs that are already prohibited for one reason or another (the more legitimate ones having to do with public health). As for the first two, I hold that they ought to have first claim on any useful bits of everyone’s remains, and let any surviving family decide what to do with the leftovers.

    Athywren 372

    If not, why not? If it’s her partner’s rights, how did he attain the right to an opinion in the matter, unless a person’s body, and the associated rights, are things that can be distributed according to that person’s will, or defaulting to next of kin where not expressed?

    The case of someone who is metabolically active but braindead is a somewhat separate one. That is not a corpse in the ordinarily accepted sense of the word. Making medical decisions on behalf of someone not able to do so on their own behalf at that time is commonly vested in the legal next of kin, usually an individual designated by that person while they were in a position to decide. DNR orders and Right to Die are the same type of thing; that’s a decision made by a living person about their living body (admittedly the decision to have it stop doing so.).
    consciousness razor 373

    I suppose there’s no “right to die” legislation to speak of, so it can’t exactly be assumed that it was the family’s choice to keep the person alive (because of the pregnancy or for any other reason). Basically, it’s just a big mess, but I think I’d go with “acceptable” without knowing more.

    The woman in question had expressed a preference to not be kept on life-support if brain dead, before becoming so. Her husband tried to honor that wish, but Texas law prohibits taking a pregnant person off life support.

  380. Amphiox says

    Doesn’t opt-out address that, however? If it’s a big enough deal to you, you sign a form (like an organ donor might sign today) and no one touches your corpse.

    It does, but it also creates an exception to the general rule for most things concerning personal autonomy, which is to default to the negative. Active consent is obtained to do anything active to you. In the absence of active consent, the default automatically goes to leaving the status quo unchanged, ie doing nothing.

  381. Athywren says

    I don’t know about coherent or lacking in logical fallacies, but I do like this little one:
    “How would your child feel, knowing that he could’ve been aborted?” (Because all unborn babbies are manbabbies)
    I mostly like it because of the way it can be rephrased – “How would your child feel, knowing that you consciously, freely, without legal coercion, simply because you wanted them, chose to carry to term?” or its opposite, “How would your child feel, knowing that you had no choice but to carry them to term, despite your vehement wish not to do so?” – so… uh, basically, I like it because it’s a pro-choice argument if you so much as sniff at it.

  382. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    “How would your child feel, knowing that he could’ve been aborted?”

    I would have preferred to be aborted, akshually, over being someone’s punishment. True story, being someone’s punishment generally doesn’t end well for any of the involved parties, especially the oh so preshush babbies, who grow up into oh so resented kids.

    Yep, I agree. It’s can be turned into pro-choice one easily. Plus, arguing from existential dread is kind of weak and sad.

  383. Athywren says

    @Dalillama, 415

    The case of someone who is metabolically active but braindead is a somewhat separate one. That is not a corpse in the ordinarily accepted sense of the word. Making medical decisions on behalf of someone not able to do so on their own behalf at that time is commonly vested in the legal next of kin, usually an individual designated by that person while they were in a position to decide. DNR orders and Right to Die are the same type of thing; that’s a decision made by a living person about their living body (admittedly the decision to have it stop doing so.).

    I fail to see how there’s a difference in terms of rights. A person who is braindead is not temporarily incapable of making medical decisions and in need of another person to make the important decisions for them. It’s not a coma, it is, with our current level of medical technology, a permanent state. The brain is dead, the person is dead, all that remains is the body, it’s just that it’s still warm and being kept that way. So, unless we’re just talking past each other with different definitions of braindead, or unless rights come and go with body heat or circulation, I don’t see why there should be a difference between the two cases.

  384. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    I’d like to clarify one small point. Several people have brought up the hazards of pregnancy in great detail, but the case for abortion rights doesn’t depend on these, does it? That is, even if it could be guaranteed that her pregnancy would be risk free and entail no more discomfort than carrying the extra weight around, she’d still have every right to abort for any reason she chose, correct? I think so; does anyone disagree?

  385. Rey Fox says

    Plus, arguing from existential dread is kind of weak and sad.

    That’s funny, because I’m pretty sure I’ve seen “If I had been aborted, the world would be deprived of ME!” twice in the last couple of days.

  386. says

    Athtwren #419
    Metabolic activity is a pretty solid threshold, on my view, but braindead is a perfectly acceptable one too. In that case, the law should default to pulling the plug once it’s clear that they’re beyond recovery, barring compelling reason to do otherwise (for instance, it might be worth maintaining metabolic activity for a while to keep the organs in transplantable condition). The Texas law in question that required keeping her on life support is still a bad one, though. I can see an argument for using the resources to keep organs functional that can be used to keep actual humans alive, but hypothetical humans also fall into the category of not really having rights, so there’s no problem there.

  387. Valde says

    #421 Rex

    It is still a boundary violation, even if it does not necessarily harm physically. Forcing someone to work on behalf of another is essentially slavery, if not simply a form of indentured servitude. And remember that a rapist can do great harm to his victim without physically injuring them. There is also the right to privacy and the right to make medical decisions free from interference.

    To give personhood to fetuses would necessarily render women non-persons. Women would become property of the state, essentially. A mere delivery service for fetuses.

  388. Rex Little, Giant Douchweasel says

    To give personhood to fetuses would necessarily render women non-persons.

    Not unless personhood includes the right to live inside another person’s body without her consent. I (#184) and others (#141 for example) say it doesn’t, and I didn’t notice anyone engaging that point to disagree.

  389. Amphiox says

    It’s not a coma, it is, with our current level of medical technology, a permanent state. The brain is dead, the person is dead, all that remains is the body, it’s just that it’s still warm and being kept that way.

    One practical issue here is that, with our current level of medical technology, we cannot diagnose brain death (on the definition that it is truly 100% irreversible and permanent) with perfect accuracy (and in fact we don’t even fully know how accurate we can get, yet).

  390. ChasCPeterson says

    it happens every. single. time.
    Reproductive rights and rape related threads.

    Tell you what, Giliell, let’s make a deal.
    For my part, I will attempt to find and link to five (5) “rape-related” threads in which I either did not comment at all or agreed with the general consensus. If I cannot do that then I will admit once and for all that I am a total asshole and swear never again to darken any threads on topics of your choosing.
    For your part, you will attempt to find and link only one (1) “reproductive rights” thread in which I…did whatever the fuck it is that you think I did here. If you cannot do that, then you will apologize for just making shit up.
    Do we have a deal?

    I simply can not find Chas’s supposed sophistimacated convincing arguments anywhere on this thread. Care to share what you think they may be, Chas?

    What I can’t find is anywhere I claimed that such arguments were “sophistimicated”, “convincing” or “mine”; in fact I have explicitly denied the latter several times to no avail.
    And I shared what I thought they might be in my very firwt comment: that it’s possible for a secular humanist to believe that a human fetus is due some ethical consideration, solely on the basis of being a potential human being. That’s it.
    So, yeah, the rest of your comment about helplessness, innocence, and women’s responsibility and obligation is straw. A bit of reading comprehension would have saved you some time there.

    you’ve acknowledged the existence of pro-choice people who are willing to consider the angle that women aren’t quite human

    I have not. Not in any words nor in implication.

    What about the absolute position that women deserve full bodily autonomy in all circumstances bothers you so much that you want to have a “nuanced” discussion about it?

    It doesn’t bother me at all, and I don’t want such a discussion. I was addressing the OP, which is what happens in these blog comment sections.

    If you don’t see a difference between Ashley’s assertion that some people identify as pro-life and pro-choice at the same time and your assertion that it’s possible to rationally defend the position of being anti-choice…

    My what? I have never asserted any such thing. Learn to read.
    That it is possible to be 100% pro-choice and at the same time “against abortion” is in fact exactly what I have been asserting, and I’m certain it’s what Silverman was saying too. And Miller.

    You…claimed that there are deep and important arguments in favour of dehumanising an entire half of the human population

    This is freaking nutty. Quote me.

    You go ahead and play all the games you want

    I’m not playing any games, Maureen. I am addressing PZ’s OP in an honest fashion according to my own thoughts.

    I note here that the [Communist Manifesto] is better written than your meanderings.

    The fact that Marx and Engels wrote better prose than my blog comments is an excellent point indeed!

    I am angry with you that you could treat my survival as the board upon which to play obscurantist games.

    That’s a very rational response to my attempting to clarify to PZ why Silverman’s words were perhaps different from wanting wearing underwear on your head, in direct response to the OP.
    What exactly do you imagine I have tried to obscure (he asks, channeling Morales)?

    I’d be very happy to be done here.

  391. Maureen Brian says

    Rex Little @ 421,

    Not, it’s not the main plank of the argument but it is a perfectly good illustration of why the intrusion on privacy of a forced pregnancy is not a mere philosophical point. It is not a square marked on a misogyny bingo card.

    Some of us tell these tales because in our time we have had to patiently explain to too many people who came at us saying “yes but you got over it ” or “yes but you came to no harm” or “yes but they were acting in your interest” – as Greta Christina once illustrated beautifully there is no space for “yes but” in a discussion of women’s rights.

    So here’s another one for you. This is about a wanted pregnancy where everything went beautifully and to plan. The end result of my one completed pregnancy is 44 this month – she’s grey-haired, middle-aged, settled into a solid relationship and a solid management job. And I’m still dealing with the minor medical problem that pregnancy left me with – it’s not life-threatening, it can be very annoying and I have to deal with it every day. Let’s call that a minimum cost pregnancy and as you see there are many worse.

    Talking about the reality of pregnancy and childbirth is a way of informing anyone we might be speaking to – whether of the original sin or of the flying stork tendency – that we expect them to find out what they’re talking about before they begin their analysis of the situation. I’m still working towards the day when sex education in schools covers these things. Aren’t you?

  392. says

    Chas

    And I shared what I thought they might be in my very firwt comment: that it’s possible for a secular humanist to believe that a human fetus is due some ethical consideration, solely on the basis of being a potential human being.

    We’re aware of these arguments. They’re shit. They do not hold water. They have been repeatedly dismantled, some in this very thread. They are not good arguments which is why no one here takes them seriously, except apparently you for some reason. You keep insisting that they haven’t been considered, ignoring the fact that they have been considered, debunked, and then rejected. So, if you think there are good argument that this hasn’t been done to, fucking state them already.

  393. rowanvt says

    I’d be very happy to be done here

    Really? Because I have this amazingly simple answer for you:

    Close this tab. Don’t come back to the thread. Do that, and you’ll not have to see or be annoyed by anything the others are saying here. It’s a really really easy thing and it totally works, I promise!

  394. says

    It does, but it also creates an exception to the general rule for most things concerning personal autonomy, which is to default to the negative. Active consent is obtained to do anything active to you. In the absence of active consent, the default automatically goes to leaving the status quo unchanged, ie doing nothing.

    How does a corpse maintain personal autonomy?

  395. rowanvt says

    How does a corpse maintain personal autonomy?

    I’m going to rot my own way and you can’t stop me!

    *brought to you by Rowan not having nearly enough sleep*

  396. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    That it is possible to be 100% pro-choice and at the same time “against abortion” is in fact exactly what I have been asserting, and I’m certain it’s what Silverman was saying too.

    If that is what you’ve been trying to say, you need to take some ESL classes before you attempt to communicate with other human beings any further because you’ve said nothing in this thread that bears any resemblance to that until this sentence. “A fetus deserves some ethical consideration” is not an equivalent sentiment to “you can be pro-choice and against abortion at the same time.”

  397. A. Noyd says

    ChasCPeterson (#427)

    I’d be very happy to be done here.

    Then GO BE DONE. No one is forcing you to keep coming back.

  398. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    RE: my 434

    That was very Anglocentric of me…I should have said “communicate with other English speaking people.”

    My bad.

  399. says

    Chas
    Yes, of course you’re right, I did NOT perform a careful scientific analysis of the data. I also plead guilty to having used the rethoric device of hyperbole. There sure must be a thread or five about rape or reproductive rights where you weren’t a total ass. There are probably also some unkicked puppies in the world

  400. says

    @Chas
    I think at least part of the problem here is that you’re not having the same conversation that everyone else is. E.g.

    it’s possible for a secular humanist to believe that a human fetus is due some ethical consideration, solely on the basis of being a potential human being.

    So what? Either these ethical considerations are proposed as being sufficient to limit the rights of women or they’re not. If they are, it’s a bad argument, for the many reasons that have been gone over during this thread. If they aren’t, it’s simply irrelevant for the discussion being had here.

    If you really just want to say that it’s possible for people to have some ethical points with regard to fetuses, while still completely affirming the rights of women to choose for themselves, then you’re simply not addressing the subject of this thread.

    When Silverman talks about “secular argument against abortion” he’s not talking about arguments for why a person might personally refrain from having an abortion. That’s not what he’s being asked about and we all know that. He’s talking about arguments for banning abortion.

    As a result, when you start talking about arguments for ethical considerations of fetuses, it’s interpreted in that context, and in this context, that’s an argument for abridging the basic human rights of women.

  401. carlie says

    Chas – I agree with you a lot of the time. I know that doesn’t mean anything, but I offer it as evidence that I get what you’re saying more often than not. It’s just that on these threads, you really do step in it. It might be helpful just to identify that on this topic, whatever you mean to say never comes off the way you mean it to. Doesn’t really matter why, it just never goes well, so this is the one topic that it might be good to not participate in.

  402. Gen, Uppity Ingrate and Ilk says

    Chas

    So, yeah, the rest of your comment about helplessness, innocence, and women’s responsibility and obligation is straw. A bit of reading comprehension would have saved you some time there.

    Maybe some reading comprehension would save you some time too, since I in no way implied nor meant that these were your arguments. I made it clear that that is the argument I encounter that can be classified as “secular”.

    It doesn’t bother me at all, and I don’t want such a discussion

    Wait, what? So you didn’t say the following, then, in comment 281?

    I just think that ideas are worth thinking about and discussing, whatever they are, and that unquestioned adherence to Correct Doctrine is lazy and boring

    Or are you now going to say you didn’t mean *you* wanted to actually discuss it, but someone *else* should, to gratify you?

    I really do not see the point of saying “hey, there could be some argument over your basic right not to be a slave, but I’m not going to mention what it is. But it exists and should carry some weight and be worth discussing (and I may not even really want to discuss it myself, you should do that too)” and then being shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, when the people whose humanity is up for argument don’t receive that well.

  403. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    It’s hard being Chas y’all. #SkeptismTM #Rational #Obective

  404. cuervocuero says

    Wayyyy down the thread now but I’ll scribble this in anyway.

    When social power systems deny uterus owners the right to their own decisions, their own acceptance or rejection of risk and biological hazards, and makes high-handed morality of forced reproductive suffering, who benefits?

    In every human community, Political groups test their control of populaces by ‘gaslighting’ and moving goalposts all over Hell’s half-acre when it comes to reproductive rights for uterus owners. Dan Barker has discussed the the political gains to be made by those who can enforce which humans have or don’t have control of the primal pleasure of sex and its potential.

    When the ‘wrong’ woman carries to term and produces a baby (or eight babies), there is censure and punishment and denial of community support. When the ‘wrong’ woman aborts an unwanted pregnancy, there is censure and punishment and denial of community support. Uterus owners are punished for lack of political power, with pronouncement of immorality, irresponsibility, infantility, and criminality lethally swirled into the mix to justify the abuse.

    It’s a Kafkaesque maze of dictated moral behaviours intended to make people anxious, submissive and fearful of taking one wrong step from an obedience that can-never-be-perfect-enough to meet the approval of those who have set the artificial bounds and will *change* the bounds on an incoherent dime to preserve their control.

    Least Harm is a practical measure. But it isn’t accurate when reality is erased from the weighting in favour of ‘what if’. The forced-pregnancy movement seems to acknowledge uterus owners only when dishonest ‘evidence’ can be waved to show that Least Harm is continuing with each and every pregnancy, or to accuse economically deprived ‘libertines’ of immorality and irresponsibility. That’s not concern for life so much as a show of dominance.

    Distanced, intellectual discourse on the nuances of forcing pregnancy for Least Harm to aid a potential entity don’t strike me as intellectual, so much as sophistic rhetorical appeal to emotion in favour of a Platonic Ideal Baby, while blithely ignoring the actual, existing, fully developed Imperfect Living Animal uterus owner whose tetrapod mammal primate biology switches on Radically Imperfect Systemic Changes to play evolutionary roulette .

    Here’s my intellectual discourse. Uterus owners controlling their reproduction without coercive interference and supported by decent medical access, improve their personal lives, their families, and their communities. The evidence is there to be seen, it’s solid, it’s practical, it’s merciful, it’s empathetic, it’s *rational*. Society is only as healthy as the disadvantaged in it. You can build up or you can punch down. Frankly, it takes more effort to punch down and I’m reliably informed life favours energy conservation.

  405. Valde says

    The forced-pregnancy movement seems to acknowledge uterus owners only when dishonest ‘evidence’ can be waved to show that Least Harm is continuing with each and every pregnancy, or to accuse economically deprived ‘libertines’ of immorality and irresponsibility

    I love when they say that ONLY 63 women per year have died *directly* from pregnancy, therefore, pregnancy does no harm. When they won’t offer a ‘health’ exception – only a life/death exception. When they argue that pregnancy itself does not cause harm, that the ‘pre-existing conditions’ are to blame. And when they pull out the bullshit that pregnancy 1) cures cancer 2) cures auto-immune diseases 3) the fetus notices that mommy is ill so it releases stem cells to cure her 4) cures diabetes

    All of the above I have read on LAN, and Secular Pro-Life Perspectives.

  406. kalirren says

    #321 Valde:

    I think the answer in Michigan is actually yes, you -can- be found culpable and liable if you tell someone in a burning building that you will rescue them by entering the building, and upon entering the building, find it too difficult to proceed, and you never inform them of that fact and they are subsequently harmed. What matters, if I recall correctly, is whether they may reasonably be depending upon your actions. In the case of a pregnancy, there’s no element of communication involved. The fetus just is dependent, period. We’re used to thinking of that dependency working against the fetus, but if the State is a fetal personhood state, that instead works against the mother.

    Thanks for introducing me to the concept of the “minimally decent Samaritan”; I’d never heard of it before. There is no duty to rescue in Michigan: MI law does not require even a trained medical professional, if they’re off duty, to be even a “minimally decent Samaritan” and give a Heimlich to someone who is known to be choking on the street. That’s a very succinct argument for why abortion should be legal in Michigan, even if fetal personhood were to be recognized. The fact that a zygote has the ability to implant does not create any duty on part of its mother. A woman must have at least one choice.

    But while the zygote cannot create a duty, the woman can assume a duty. That raises the related question: “Once you have chosen to undertake the pregnancy to viability, under what circumstances do you have the right to change your mind?” Once a woman has made her first choice, should she have a n-th?

    I think many people confuse this moral question with the question of if you should have the first choice at all, and at least to me, those two questions are meaningfully different. Saying that you don’t have the first choice at all ‘because it’s already implanted, hahaha,’… that IS ‘biology is destiny’, but that’s not my position. My position is rather that once a woman has knowingly undertaken to carry a pregnancy to viability of her own free will, a contingent right to life has indeed been created, and to then choose to withdraw that aid without cause, without any appreciable change in the risk profile that was accepted when the pregnancy was first undertaken, is wrong. Not illegal, but wrong nonetheless, and sad when it happens. And ultimately, only she knows, so legally, it’s completely unenforceable, and I accept that there is nothing to be done about that. It’s barely even worth judging. Hence the phrasing, “If I were a State dictator…” which presumes quite a different relationship between law and liberty.

    I don’t see why a rape victim would be forced to gestate. I’d already acknowledged that the only arguments that would support the assertion that a woman has chosen to undertake a pregnancy to viability are arguments from silence or inaction. A woman undoubtedly has the right of initial refusal to carry the pregnancy, and if that woman were under duress, and was unable to exercise that right, the argument from inaction that would oblige her to gestate would be void.

    #367 Giliell

    1) Women don’t start giving aid.
    2) Pregnant women are ALWAYS at risk of serious complications

    (1) If you’re just saying “nuh-uh,” well, if you don’t believe in fetal personhood, then there’s only one person, and you don’t have to find any way of defining the relationship of the gestating mother to the gestated thing. That’s fine for you, and consistent. But are you going to propose a different way of looking at it, or are you going to argue that fetal personhood is inherently not a secular position? From a perspective assuming fetal personhood, a woman can certainly say, “I don’t care if it’s a person, it’s also a leech and it has no right to use me, I want it out” and that would be the end of it, but if she allows it to further use her after becoming aware of its existence and situation, then yes, she has started giving it aid, and other moral considerations enter.

    (2) Sure, I never denied pregnancy was risky in many ways. That’s why we’re comparing this to a rescue in a dangerous situation in the first place. And even in such situations, known risks are treated differently from unknown or emergent risks, legally and morally. Pregnancy is full of both, especially for first-time mothers and mothers who have borne many children. There’s a lot of leeway to be given to the mother in this respect. Again, the structure of this argument shows just how high the bar is, even if/when duty is present, for a fetal person’s interest to compel the mother to do anything at all.

    Yes, I know, you were a fetus, so was I, but you were not you, unless you think that you is nothing but your genes.

    Oh, you -are- trying to argue that fetal personhood is inherently non-secular. Let me give you my best. My consciousness has always been associated with my current body, and not with any other. Therefore, there is no reason why I should hesitate to identify myself with my own past body, even before birth – it’s not as if my consciousness magically entered my body when I was delivered. Therefore, fetal personhood past quickening, the first clear demonstration of autonomous action, should be the secular default position. It’s just that the right to life is contingent, not fundamental, at that early stage. What are the weaknesses in this reasoning?

  407. says

    kalliren

    Oh, you -are- trying to argue that fetal personhood is inherently non-secular. Let me give you my best. My consciousness has always been associated with my current body, and not with any other. Therefore, there is no reason why I should hesitate to identify myself with my own past body, even before birth – it’s not as if my consciousness magically entered my body when I was delivered.

    Uhm, no. I don’t care about fetal personhood. I already believe in my own personhood and that people are not required to let other people use their bodies.
    No, while there’s a consistent development from the zygote to the current you, you are not the cygote. You are also not the 6 yo you once were. You are the sum of your biology plus everything that happened ever since. If you had been adopted you would be a different person today. If you had lost a limb due to a horrible accident when you were 15 you would be a different person today. Your current ideas, feelings, views are not those of the child you once were, therefore it makes no sense to project those ideas onto a fetus.
    Do you also understand that “quickening” is a really not specific term and that “independent movement” can happen in dead fish?

  408. rowanvt says

    My consciousness is not the same as when I was an infant, or a 5 year, or as a 13 year old. My ‘self’ settled into its current mode around 19/20, a little over a decade ago and I have since not gone under any radical cognitive changes. When I look at a photo of 5 year old me I think “that *was* me” not “that *IS* me”, and there is a fundamental difference. While it’s still the same DNA, there are significant changes, mental and physical that have since occurred. I’m significantly taller, and my features are different and far plainer. My hair is a different color, my shoulders broader, my bones thicker proportionally. I understand much now that was beyond me then. Me-as-child is like how I used to view the past lives I once believed in. “This is me now, and that was me then, but it was a different me, not this me.”

  409. rowanvt says

    Regarding independent movement… I had a snake die, and continue to ‘move’ for 12 hours. You could see that the heart had stopped beating (it had an enlarged heart and several other congenital problems that led to demise after pipping) but the snake would respond to physical stimuli for those 12 hours. It was creepy as hell.

  410. says

    kalliren #445

    But while the zygote cannot create a duty, the woman can assume a duty. That raises the related question: “Once you have chosen to undertake the pregnancy to viability, under what circumstances do you have the right to change your mind?” Once a woman has made her first choice, should she have a n-th?

    Yes. People are allowed to change their minds. I’m not sure why this should be considered a difficult question.

  411. Valde says

    An anencephalic fetus is capable of ‘independent’ movement and it doesn’t have a frontal brain/cerebral cortex. The ‘autonomous’ movement you talk about post-viability originates from the brainstem. The fetus is anaesthetized and sedated while in the womb.

  412. says

    That raises the related question: “Once you have chosen to undertake the pregnancy to viability, under what circumstances do you have the right to change your mind?”

    Whichever circumstances you find personally sufficient.

    Once a woman has made her first choice, should she have a n-th?

    Why not? Has the fetus lost anything in her not aborting it right away? Has any damage been done by the intervening time? Has the basics of the situation changed in such a way as to override her right to her own body?

    Seems to me that this is a situation that requires the ongoing consent of the woman. If at any point she withdraws consent, that’s it. I don’t see how the initial decision to have the child revokes her rights.

    Moreover, aren’t we getting into fairly theoretical territory here? I mean, how often does a woman decide to have a child and then suddenly change her mind without any change in the situation? Does anyone ever actually do that?

    Seems to me that if a woman wants a baby, but then suddenly decides to have an abortion halfway through the pregnancy, it’s probably because something has drastically changed the situation. Why else do you think she would change her mind?

  413. says

    “Once you have chosen to undertake the pregnancy to viability, under what circumstances do you have the right to change your mind?”

    Is it just me, or does this sound disgustingly close to “Once you have started having sex, under what circumstances do you have the right to change your mind?”

  414. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    kalirren,
    The answer is that this never stops being my body. Not ever.

    I said up thread and I’ll day again: What you are suggesting is that women cannot be trusted with equal rights. Trying to winnow away our bodily autonomy for looking for some reason why are bodies need to policed and why there might be some excuse for forcing unwanted pregnancy and birth on a woman is transparent.

  415. says

    It’s not just you. I’ll grant that if we assume the personhood of the fetus, the situations are not entirely equivalent (i.e. nobody dies if a woman refuses sex), but it still gets a bit too close for comfort.

  416. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    I’d say it gets very close. If we’re worried about potential human beings and that makes forced birth OK, why not forced conception? Won’t anyone think of the precious little babies that women are stubbornly refusing to conceive? Every egg has the potential to be a person. Every tampon is a tragedy. How would your child feel if you told them you almost couldn’t be bothered to even conceive him?

  417. chris61 says

    I think if you believe there are non-religious reasons for opposing killing human beings there are non-religious reasons for opposing abortion, at least under some circumstances. Because no matter how you cut it abortion kills a human being (or fetus or embryo or whatever you want to call it). Pregnancy may be dangerous to women but it doesn’t come with a 100% fatality rate.

  418. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    If a fetus is an “unborn child” isn’t an egg and unfertilized child?

    I know you are referring to rape, but as rape can be forced conception and as abusers do force conception on their victims, they seem related to me.

    When people actively look for something a woman can do or wear that removes her right to decide what happens to her body, it should be automatically appalling. But even people who understand that consenting to sex with one man once does not mean consenting to all men ever will still believe that consent to sex is consent to pregnancy and birth. They are sure that sometimes, for some reason women can be used against their will.

  419. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    You believe wrong, Chris. A fetus is not a person. I am. Even if a fetus were a person, no one has the right to use my body against my will.

  420. says

    @chris61
    Apparently you missed the fact that you’re not the first person posting a comment here. If you go back to the beginning and read up on the discussion so far, you might look like less of an idiot.

    Also, your comment is actually in breach of the rules for commenting, both in your failure to read previous comments and in the fact that you’re making an argument that has already been addressed.

  421. says

    Pregnancy may be dangerous to women but it doesn’t come with a 100% fatality rate.

    Neither does organ donation, but we still don’t compel people to do that; not even if another person’s life is at stake; not even if the prospective donor is the reason for the other person’s life being at stake; not even if the other person is the prospective donor’s child; not even if the prospective donor has previously expressed willingness to donate, but has now changed their mind.

  422. Valde says

    #457

    I think if you believe there are non-religious reasons for opposing killing human beings there are non-religious reasons for opposing abortion, at least under some circumstances. Because no matter how you cut it abortion kills a human being (or fetus or embryo or whatever you want to call it). Pregnancy may be dangerous to women but it doesn’t come with a 100% fatality rate.

    Torturing you harms you. But, you can’t stop me, because my life > your right not to be tortured. Yes, indeed. The physical harm you suffer can’t compare to the harm you will do to the person who is torturing you should you kill them in self-defense. Killing your torturer is always 100% fatal for the torturer. Killing you torturer *always* kills a human being.

  423. chris61 says

    #460 Your complaint is with evolution not with me.
    #457 That is very true. Also why we have investigations and sometimes trials to ascertain whether the harm done to the torturer outweighs the harm done to the torturee. This is probably also why so many people, including atheists, support legalized abortion but with restrictions.

  424. Valde says

    #460 Your complaint is with evolution not with me.

    Tell me why it is that humans seemingly have *no* problem overriding mindless biology in every circumstance BUT pregnancy? Why, when pregnancy and abortion are up for debate, that suddenly, it’s not the fault of the people who want to ban abortion, no, it’s the fault of *evolution* that made women the people who just happen to get pregnant. It’s a lame copout. You, I assume, believe that women should be forced to remain pregnant against their will, because, ‘evolution’. You’re just letting nature take it’s course right!

  425. carlie says

    rowanvt! Stop by the Lounge thread and let us know how the friendly snake breeding program is going.

    Valde, I don’t remember noticing you posting prior to this week, but I like the cut of your jib. I hope you stay around awhile.

  426. Valde says

    @carlie

    Thanks! Last time I posted here was a whole entire year ago. I know a lot more now than I did then:P

  427. chris61 says

    #462 Organ donation doesn’t come with a 100% fatality rate but neither does the failure of any one individual to agree to an organ donation 100% guarantee the death of another human being. Also failure to donate an organ is an act of omission, abortion is an act of commission and human beings, for whatever reason, generally have more problem with the latter than the former.

  428. Valde says

    #462 Organ donation doesn’t come with a 100% fatality rate but neither does the failure of any one individual to agree to an organ donation 100% guarantee the death of another human being. Also failure to donate an organ is an act of omission, abortion is an act of commission and human beings, for whatever reason, generally have more problem with the latter than the former.

    The general principle here, which you seem to be ignoring is that the PL side says: the right to life overrides the right to bodily autonomy. Period. Yet, you ONLY believe that this right to life overrides bodily autonomy in the case of abortion. In no other case do you believe that life overrides bodily autonomy. You think that it is morally and ethically acceptable to simply ‘let someone die’ rather than donate blood tissue or organs. You won’t even demand that prisoners and people who have been criminally negligent be forced to donate their bodies as life support to preserve life. No, your ‘life trumps bodily autonomy’ principle is only ever exercised when it comes to pregnancy. If you truly cared about ‘life’ you would not say that it is acceptable to simply let people who are in need of an organ die (and btw, people who need organs often wait years for said organ, and often there is only ever one donor. If you refuse to donate, they will likely die, which is what happened in Mcfall Vs Shimp).

    The fact is, the fetus dies because it cannot survive without the use of the woman’s body. It is incomplete and unformed. It is a mindless animal organism. The fetus dies for the same reason that you would let the person in need of your organ die – because without your body, it cannot survive. And to turn some of your ‘evolution’ weasel wording back on you – it is not the woman’s fault that an embryo with baerly formed organs cannot survive without the use of her body. The fact is, due to the very nature of pregnancy, the *only* way that the woman can escape harm is by removing the prenate from her body. And people have the right to self-defense.

    So, to review, you seem to think that 1) bodily autonomy overrides the right to life (except in the case of pregnancy 2) a prenate should have the right to use, and harm, another person – a right that no other human has.

    So, why the special rights for prenates, chris?

  429. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    death of another human being.

    Nope, you lie. Is it a bunch of cells in the process of becoming a human being. It isn’t one, and won’t be until it is born. Keep lying to yourself, but stop lying to use. We know better.

  430. Maureen Brian says

    Chris61,

    Do you have any rational or secular arguments for the nonsense you are spouting because the only ones I know are religious ones? As LykeX says, you’d have been better reading the thread first.

  431. says

    I have merely acknowledged the existence of adamantly pro-choice people who nevertheless are capable of the slightest bit of nuance beyond one-dimensional slogans.

    chaz finds our insistence that our basic human rights aren’t negotiable to be insufficiently nuanced and non-negotiable. oh. the. noes.

    That it is possible to be 100% pro-choice and at the same time “against abortion” is in fact exactly what I have been asserting, and I’m certain it’s what Silverman was saying too.

    a comment made at CPAC meant “you can be pro-choice and against abortion”? That’s fucking divorced from reality.

  432. says

    “How would your child feel, knowing that he could’ve been aborted?”

    That one’s always so inane. The “he” aside, I feel entirely fine about the fact that my mom could’ve aborted me. Because she didn’t; she CHOSE me, which feels pretty awesome.

  433. chris61 says

    #470
    According to Guttenmacher about 50% of US abortions occur between 7-12 weeks of pregnancy. By that age the embryo has a heart, it has limbs, it has eyes and a primitive neural system. The internal organs have started to develop. A tumor is a bunch of cells, a human embryo isn’t.

  434. Amphiox says

    According to Guttenmacher about 50% of US abortions occur between 7-12 weeks of pregnancy. By that age the embryo has a heart, it has limbs, it has eyes and a primitive neural system. The internal organs have started to develop.

    At that age, none of those organ systems are anywhere near developed enough to survive without parasitizing off the woman’s body.

    All else is irrelevant detail.

    A tumor is a bunch of cells, a human embryo isn’t.

    Yes it is.

  435. Maureen Brian says

    You are, chris61, on the blog of a research biologist, a blog which tends to attract, among others, the scientifically literate.

    You seem to determined to make a total prat of yourself. How about answering my question before you do?

  436. Amphiox says

    Because no matter how you cut it abortion kills a human being (or fetus or embryo or whatever you want to call it).

    No it doesn’t.

    An embryo is not a person.

    End of story.

  437. Valde says

    By that age the embryo has a heart, it has limbs, it has eyes and a primitive neural system. The internal organs have started to develop.

    What makes you a person is not in your heart, limbs, eyes or primitive neural system. It is in your mind, and an embryo at that stage has no mind.

  438. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Because no matter how you cut it abortion kills a human being (

    No fuckwit. Quit lying to real scientists. We know better. A better definition of a human being is one that is born. At least it is separate and meets all definitions of a human being. Unlike a fetus, previability, when almost all elective abortions are done. Those after 30 weeks are either early birth, or to remove a dead/dying fetus.

  439. chris61 says

    #471 If you believe that the notion that killing is wrong is a purely religious argument that only religious people hold then no, I don’t suppose I do. But if that is true I think I’ll be canceling my membership in the secular humanist society.

    #469 In fact some people do believe that organ donation should be mandatory. In any case I don’t believe an embryo/fetus has the right to harm a woman but I’m a bit conflicted about who decides what constitutes harm. If it’s left up to woman herself, well to me that’s starting to sound a bit like “stand your ground” laws.

  440. chris61 says

    #479 Funnily enough, I consider myself a ‘real’ scientist. What you are
    talking about isn’t ‘real’ science it’s rhetoric designed to support a position that difficult to justify otherwise. Defining a human being as one who is born is an arbitrary and convenient definition to support a pro-choice position. It’s also why late term abortions require killing the fetus before extracting from the uterus and why Kermit Gosnell got himself into so much trouble.

  441. A. Noyd says

    @chris61
    Being born comes with an eventual 100% fatality rate. It also comes with a near 100% guarantee of suffering at some point. Perhaps suffering a lot. Why are we not asking people to justify the act of bringing mortals capable of suffering into a world that will hurt and kill them? Why do we instead ask people to justify ending life before it can suffer or be aware of its own doom?

  442. Valde says

    If it’s left up to woman herself, well to me that’s starting to sound a bit like “stand your ground” laws.

    So women are incapable of deciding what amount of harm they can manage? Really?

    Here is an objective fact for you: every pregnancy ends in childbirth. If the pain of childbirth (or c-section) were induced by other means, it would be recognized as a form of torture and to force people to undergo it would be found in violation of Article V of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    Every single pregnancy can end in DEATH. This cannot be predicted. A perfectly ‘normal’ pregnancy can go from 0 to permanent injury/death overnight. A woman can bleed to death from a post partum hemorrhage AFTER birth – which, btw is the leading cause of death of pregnant women worldwide.

    What makes you think that you, or legislators, or anyone else, can decide how much risk a woman should take on? What makes your opinion about a woman’s medical condition more important than the woman who is, you know, actually living it? You really can’t empathize with women at all, can you?You have misplaced all of your concerns and empathy onto what is merely a mindless clump of cells – a potential person, yes, but not a person. You want women to risk life and limb for something that can’t even THINK.

  443. says

    But if that is true I think I’ll be canceling my membership in the secular humanist society.

    please do.

    If it’s left up to woman herself, well to me that’s starting to sound a bit like “stand your ground” laws.

    oh my dear, yes. Greatly increased risk of death and permanent bodily harm is totes the same as loud music.

  444. Maureen Brian says

    Stop and think for a minute, chris61.

    Like about 2% of the UK population I have psoriasis. It comes and goes in little patches and causes the generation of surplus skin cells. It feels itchy. I scratch it and the cells fall off. These are human cells.

    Am I guilty of murder? Of course not because those cells are no more capable of independent existence or of developing independently into a functioning being than a 12 week foetus is.

    Don’t you have a high school biology text about somewhere?

  445. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    You want women to risk life and limb for something that can’t even THINK.

    An utter and total presuppositonal misogynist. It hates women…

  446. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Chris #480 , You’re dishonesty and lack of good will are noted.

  447. Jackie, all dressed in black says

    Chris, you are comparing abortion to murder, which it is not. You’ve yet to recognize a woman’s right to decide what happens to her body.

    Yes, you should turn in your secular humanist card.

  448. Valde says

    Defining a human being as one who is born is an arbitrary and convenient definition to support a pro-choice position. It’s also why late term abortions require killing the fetus before extracting from the uterus and why Kermit Gosnell got himself into so much trouble.

    People are sentient. People are not mindless animal organisms A baby is a person because a baby is sentient, and is a viable autonomous being. An prenate (at least pre-viability) is nothing more than a mindless animal organism. It may never gain the capacity to think. It may never become an autonomous being. It only has the *potential* to do so. And potentiality is *not* actuality. You want to subjugate women, who are *actual* thinking beings, to an organism that only has potential. Why should potential override actual, chris? Again, we don’t let thinking people use other thinking person’s bodies as life support – so why on earth should a prenate have greater rights than the pregnant person?

    Furthermore, you are conflating human being with human. You are using human being as a synonym for person. “Being” means to exist, but, it is not used that way, and you are not using it that way. We don’t say ‘radish being’ or ‘rat being’, because they are not *people*. A prenate is human. A prenate is alive. But it is not a person, because personhood, for starters, requires a mind. A zygote doesn’t have a mind now, does it? Neither does an embryo. Only the primitive beginnings, which you yourself admitted to.

    So, why should a mindless potentiality have rights to use another person’s body THAT NO OTHER PERSON ON THIS EARTH HAS?

  449. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    It may never gain the capacity to think. It may never become an autonomous being. It only has the *potential* to do so.

    And a lot happens at birth, where one of the events (besides the fetus now outside the woman as a baby) is fetal hemoglobin is replaced by normal hemoglobin, turning the brain on with much higher oxygen levels. Don’t anti-choice fuckwits ever check reality????

  450. A. Noyd says

    chris61 (#481)

    It’s also why late term abortions require killing the fetus before extracting from the uterus and why Kermit Gosnell got himself into so much trouble.

    These are lies. Late term abortion doesn’t necessarily require the death of the fetus and Gosnell got in trouble for killing babies after they were removed from the uterus.

    Why are you lying, chris?

  451. chris61 says

    #489 What makes a baby more sentient than a fetus? Depending on how you chose to define sentience a fetus may be more sentient than someone in a deep coma and yet we don’t run around sanctioning the killing of human beings in comas.

    #485 The difference between your skin cells and a 12 week old fetus is that in5-6 months time the latter will most likely become capable of independent life, the former never will.

  452. Valde says

    What makes a baby more sentient than a fetus? Depending on how you chose to define sentience a fetus may be more sentient than someone in a deep coma and yet we don’t run around sanctioning the killing of human beings in comas.

    A person in a deep coma has the *capacity* for thought, but they are temporarily not using it. A pre-viability zygote/embryo does not have the capacity for sentience, and may never gain that capacity.

    Really, for a scientist, you should know better.

  453. says

    That it is possible to be 100% pro-choice and at the same time “against abortion” is in fact exactly what I have been asserting, and I’m certain it’s what Silverman was saying too. And Miller.

    and now that I’ve actually read what Ashley wrote, I find (not exactly to my surprise) that “100% pro-choice and at the same time ‘against abortion'” is a thoroughly inaccurate description of what Ashley said, since “people who self-identify pro-life who fall in the health of the mother, rape, gestational limit category” are not 100% pro choice, and people who are pro-choice but for whatever reason call themselves pro-life are not against abortion.

  454. chris61 says

    #489 To answer your last question – Because there is no equivalent relationship to that between a fetus and its mother.

    #491 Have you ever read about late term abortions? I’m not talking about the pro life nonsense, I’m talking about the scientific literature. Second term and later abortions require injections to stop the heart of the fetus before it’s extracted. Because if it’s born ‘alive’ in a lot of states doctors have to try to resuscitate it. Gosnell got in trouble because he was an incompetent abortionist. He should have gotten in trouble because he was guilty of gross medical malpractice against those women but no, he was charged with murdering babies. I think that says a lot about how conflicted American society is about abortion.

  455. Valde says

    #485 The difference between your skin cells and a 12 week old fetus is that in5-6 months time the latter will most likely become capable of independent life, the former never will.

    A skin cell has the potential to become a zygote. This is how the cloned sheep Dolly was created. “”The nucleus of a somatic cell is removed and kept, and the host’s egg cell nucleus is removed and discarded. Now we have a lone nucleus and an empty (or deprogrammed) egg cell. The lone nucleus is then fused with the ‘deprogrammed’ egg cell. After being inserted into the egg, the lone (somatic-cell) nucleus is reprogrammed by the host egg cell. The egg, now containing the somatic cell’s nucleus, is stimulated with a shock and will begin to divide. After many mitotic divisions, this single cell forms a blastocyst (an early stage embryo with about 100 cells) with almost identical DNA to the original organism. The technique of transferring a nucleus from a somatic cell into an egg that produced Dolly was an extension of experiments that had been ongoing for over 40 years. In the simplest terms, the technique used to produce Dolly the sheep – somatic-cell nuclear transplantation cloning – involves removing the nucleus of an egg and replacing it with the diploid nucleus of a somatic cell.””

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somatic-cell_nuclear_transfer

    A zygote won’t become a person on it’s own either. It needs help. It needs a uterus. That skin cell has the full complement of 46 chromosomes, and with some tinkering, can become an embryo. So, with a little help, both that skin cell and that zygote have the potential to become people.

    In fact, embryos have even been created using skin cells:

    http://genetics.thetech.org/original_news/news70

  456. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Second term and later abortions require injections to stop the heart of the fetus before it’s extracted. Because if it’s born ‘alive’ in a lot of states doctors have to try to resuscitate it.

    Why are you even mentioning this misogynist forced birther? It is irrelevant, and you know it. You can’t do anything right. What a mother fucking loser you are.

  457. Valde says

    #489 To answer your last question – Because there is no equivalent relationship to that between a fetus and its mother.

    So special rights for prenates based on 1) location 2) genetics

    Is that it?

    Tell me, would you also force a rape victim to give birth, because she has a ‘special relationship’ by virtue of having a fertilized embryo inside of her?

    Also, regarding #1, I assume this means that you believe that parents should be forced to donate their organs to their offspring, yes? Why should a prenate get special treatment simply because of *location*? Do born children not have the same right to use their parent’s bodies as life support as a prenate?

    As for #2, the genetics/offspring argument, then I suppose that surrogates should be allowed to abort at any stage since they are in no way related to the prenate, yes?

  458. John Horstman says

    I can’t tell me how happy it makes me to see you all deploying the (strong, absolute!) argument from bodily autonomy with such deft skill. After decades of watching the Right wing frame the discourse as a matter of ‘fetal personhood’ (though the term itself is relatively recent in mainstream discourse; the previous formulation was simply “right to life” before the counter-discourse started getting more nuanced), I’m overjoyed to see the affirmative claim that centers women’s rights (and conveniently dodges any armchair philosophizing about the nature of ‘personhood’) gaining such traction. Thank you all, especially Amphiox, Valde, LykeX, and SallyStrange! You made my night! :-)

    I mean, obviously this isn’t primarily about me and how much I enjoy seeing skilled ethical argumentation; it makes me happy because bodily autonomy is checkmate*, and this moral and legal basis provides a point from which to act not just in defense of the tenuous Roe v. Wade decision but to advocate for expanded rights to control our own reproduction (more specifically for persons capable of becoming pregnant to control their own bodies – I’m not included in that group, but I see it as a specific case of a universal right) and access to the technologies and medical care necessary to do so.

    *as you’ve so eloquently demonstrated: bodily autonomy forms the basis of literally everything we consider to be a human right, including the right to life itself – while we do go to some lengths to try to provide the necessities of life to a large portion of our populations, we’ve never had a true affirmative right to continue to exist, just the right to not have our life ended by the actions of others, something premised on the fact that to end another’s life violates zir bodily autonomy