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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. Amphiox says

    I’m still trying to figure out whether anyone ever implied otherwise, as michael seems to think.

    Other than michael himself?

    You got me there….

  2. Amphiox says

    (He’s more or less been projecting his own imperfect understanding of the concept onto the rest of us….)

  3. chris61 says

    This is for Noyd because they asked.

    #594 Noyd, I thought I explained Gosnell. Yes he killed them outside the womb because what he was doing was not, by definition, an abortion. Nonetheless he was ridding women of unwanted babies. He was capable of leaving them alive but that is NOT what these women wanted or they wouldn’t have gone to him in the first place. He gave them what they wanted and that presumably is why the complaints against him didn’t come from them. Nobody wanted to name it incompetent abortion because that would be politically uncomfortable given the political issues currently surrounded abortion in the USA. But if it was really murder, why weren’t they named as accomplices?

    Why might anyone assign greater moral good to anything? It’s a matter of opinion and not necessarily based on religion. That was all I was saying. If you want to know why I would consider forcing a fetus to be born rather than killing it to avoid having it suffer might be considered a greater moral good than I would say that by killing it you are removing the possibility of it experiencing joy and accomplishment and all the other positive human experiences that someone gave each and every one of us on this thread the opportunity to experience. Is that a religious argument? I would say it’s a philosophical argument. In any case, I personally don’t think that public policy on abortion should be a matter of justifying morally superior choices.

    I’m saying that there are no real comparisons to the relationship between a fetus and its mother and so I don’t see how a woman is justified to get rid of it based on bodily autonomy or the notion that is a parasite. A parasite is, as I’ve always understood it, one species living off another. A fetus isn’t another species nor is it an aggressor. Uniqueness matters because that’s why we’re talking about abortion in the first place.

    Valde was arguing that because a zygote can only reach gestation with the blood sweat and tears of another human being. I noted that is true past gestation all the way to adulthood and in many case beyond. You want to argue the difference being that after birth anyone can take over that role so that makes it different. Okay. It makes it different. Does that make it morally superior to kill a fetus in utero and preserve or at least attempt to preserve at all cost the life of a neonate? Why?

    The argument was being made that you can justify abortion because otherwise you are forcing a pregnant individual to risk their life to save another individual and I was just pointing out that you can turn that argument around and say that you can justify not allowing abortion because you are forcing a fetus to die to save potential harm to the mother. In case it hasn’t become clear to you I am not justifying forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term. I am pointing out there are arguments against it that do not require a religious perspective.

    #710 Noyd, In the USA very few fetuses survive abortion because many if not most of the time efforts are made to ensure they don’t. Death of the fetus is the whole purpose of the exercise. Google scholar search intrafetal injection digoxin for some literature. Use scholar because google itself will just give you a bunch of pro-life BS.

    #750 Noyd, That’s right we do talk about cancer that way and nobody objects because in general nobody sees any value to anyone or anything (either the person or the cancer) of leaving the cancer in place. There is a value to leaving a fetus in place. You don’t think that value outweighs the rights of the pregnant individual, again, that’s your opinion and you are entitled to it but I think it would be naïve at best to argue there was no difference between a tumor and a fetus.

  4. says

    Amphiox:

    (He’s more or less been projecting his own imperfect understanding of the concept onto the rest of us….)

    No, he’s been playing Humpty Dumpty: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

  5. Valde says

    I’m saying that there are no real comparisons to the relationship between a fetus and its mother and so I don’t see how a woman is justified to get rid of it based on bodily autonomy or the notion that is a parasite. A parasite is, as I’ve always understood it, one species living off another. A fetus isn’t another species nor is it an aggressor. Uniqueness matters because that’s why we’re talking about abortion in the first place.

    Special pleading on behalf of the fetus. No, the fetus is not technically a parasite, but, functionally, in some ways, at least in regards to how it takes bodily resources from the pregnant person, it behaves like a parasite.

    If you truly believe, as a *general principle* that the right to life overrides the right to bodily autonomy, you would want to enforce this in more situations – car accidents, criminal acts, parents donating tissue/organs to born children, and so on. But you ONLY want to apply it to the fetus. You want to deny women the right to bodily autonomy (and only women) and grant fetuses rights that no other person has, or that you think they should have. It’s a clean cut case of special pleading and it will not fly if you expect us to believe that you truly think the right to life always overrides bodily autonomy as a general principle.

    Valde was arguing that because a zygote can only reach gestation with the blood sweat and tears of another human being. I noted that is true past gestation all the way to adulthood and in many case beyond.

    Stop comparing in utero to ex utero. Yes, a born child can be given up for adoption. Furthermore, a born child is not living inside of you. It is irrelevant. A born child does not survive by taking sugar and iron from your blood, calcium from your bones and by suppressing your immune system.

    Abortion would NOT be an issue if every baby was delivered by a stork. IT WOULD NOT EXIST AS A THING, IN THAT CASE. Abortion is only an issue because the fetus LIVES INSIDE THE PREGNANT PERSON’S BODY, and pregnancy isn’t a fucking cakewalk.

    Get that through your thick skull, please.

  6. says

    chris61:

    The argument was being made that you can justify abortion because otherwise you are forcing a pregnant individual to risk their life to save another individual and I was just pointing out that you can turn that argument around and say that you can justify not allowing abortion because you are forcing a fetus to die to save potential harm to the mother

    That’s not the argument. The argument is:
    No one has the right to force a woman to carry a fetus to term against her wishes bc all women have the right of bodily autonomy which means they and they alone get to decide what happens to their body.

    And even if that was the argument, you didn’t turn it around. Turning it around would give us:
    you are forcing a fetus to risk their life to save another individual

    That you even managed to type out that utter nonsense doesn’t say good things about your understanding of logic.

  7. says

    chris61 @1003:
    Just when I thought you couldn’t say anything more odious, you top yourself.

    #594 Noyd, I thought I explained Gosnell. Yes he killed them outside the womb because what he was doing was not, by definition, an abortion. Nonetheless he was ridding women of unwanted babies. He was capable of leaving them alive but that is NOT what these women wanted or they wouldn’t have gone to him in the first place. He gave them what they wanted and that presumably is why the complaints against him didn’t come from them. Nobody wanted to name it incompetent abortion because that would be politically uncomfortable given the political issues currently surrounded abortion in the USA. But if it was really murder, why weren’t they named as accomplices?

    It was murder you jackass!
    Here’s the grand jury report:

    TRIGGER WARNING

    There was one small problem. The law requires a measurement of gestational age, usually done by an ultrasound. The ultrasound film would leave documentary proof that the abortion was illegal. Gosnell’s solution was simply to fudge the measurement process. Instead of hiring proper ultrasound technicians, he “trained” the staff himself, showing them how to aim the ultrasound probe at an angle to make the fetus look smaller. If one of his workers nonetheless recorded an ultrasound measurement that was too big, it would just be redone. Invariably these second ultrasounds would come in lower. In fact, almost every time a second ultrasound was taken, the gestational age would be recorded as precisely 24.5 weeks – slightly past the statutory cutoff. Apparently Gosnell thought he would get away with abortions that were just a little illegal. In reality, of course, most of these pregnancies were considerably more advanced.

    But the illegal abortion business also posed an additional dilemma. Babies that big are hard to get out. Gosnell’s approach, whenever possible, was to force full labor and delivery of premature infants on ill-informed women. The women would check in during the day, make payment, and take labor-inducing drugs. The doctor wouldn’t appear until evening, often 8:00, 9:00, or 10:00 p.m., and only then deal with any of the women who were ready to deliver. Many of them gave birth before he even got there. By maximizing the pain and danger for his patients, he minimized the work, and cost, for himself and his staff. The policy, in effect, was labor without labor.

    There remained, however, a final difficulty. When you perform late-term
    “abortions” by inducing labor, you get babies. Live, breathing, squirming babies. By 24 weeks, most babies born prematurely will survive if they receive appropriate medical care. But that was not what the Women’s Medical Society was about. Gosnell had a simple solution for the unwanted babies he delivered: he killed them. He didn’t call it that. He called it “ensuring fetal demise.” The way he ensured fetal demise was by
    sticking scissors into the back of the baby’s neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called
    that “snipping.

    These women went to Gosnell for abortions. Not for him to induce labor, deliver a live baby, and then kill the child.
    Go read the rest of the 281 page Grand Jury report before you continue talking about the Gosnell case you assclam.

  8. ajb47 says

    Inaji @1000 (I so wanted to type that as 10^3, being a former programmer)

    Turns out is was chris61 that came back to try more arguments that say women are less than human. Who knew?

  9. chris61 says

    Okay. No more comments from me about abortion. I understand they aren’t appreciated.

  10. Valde says

    @chris61 #1009

    It’s a contentious issue. Doesn’t matter where you go, people are gonna get angry. Get used to it.

  11. says

    I noted that is true past gestation all the way to adulthood and in many case beyond.

    I see. So…where is it happening that right after birth, infants are being stuffed back into a uterus and living their whole lives out in utero?

    And what, exactly, is beyond adulthood? (No, you don’t get to say “middle age” or “old age” – those are a specifier of adulthood.)

    You are an idiot.

  12. says

    ajb47:

    Turns out is was chris61 that came back to try more arguments that say women are less than human. Who knew?

    One idiot is much like another. Although in this case, Chris61 wins the medal for serious stupidity.

  13. ajb47 says

    Valde @1005:

    No, the fetus is not technically a parasite, but, functionally, in some ways, at least in regards to how it takes bodily resources from the pregnant person, it behaves like a parasite.

    Well, from what I’ve found from google, a parasite is an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense (merriam-webster also has a definition not mentioning species). I’d agree that in most cases it’s different species, but that does not seem to be a necessary requirement.

  14. Valde says

    #1013 ajb47

    Well, from what I’ve found from google, a parasite is an organism that lives in or on another organism (its host) and benefits by deriving nutrients at the host’s expense (merriam-webster also has a definition not mentioning species). I’d agree that in most cases it’s different species, but that does not seem to be a necessary requirement.

    People always quibble over the species thing, so I stick with ‘functional’ as the best way to describe it.

    This is interesting, however:

    Further investigation revealed that placental NKB contained
    the molecule phosphocholine, which is used by the parasitic nematode
    worm to avoid attack by the immune system of the host in which it lives.

    During implantation, fetally derived cells (trophoblast) invade the
    maternal endometrium and remodel the endometrial spiral arteries into
    low-resistance vessels that are unable to constrict. This invasion has
    three consequences. First, the fetus gains direct access to its mother’s
    arterial blood. Therefore, a mother cannot reduce the nutrient content
    of blood reaching the placenta without reducing the nutrient supply to
    her own tissues. Second, the volume of blood reaching the placenta
    becomes largely independent of control by the local maternal
    vasculature. Third, the placenta is able to release hormones and other
    substances directly into the maternal circulation. Placental hormones,
    including human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) and human placental
    lactogen (hPL), are predicted to manipulate maternal physiology for
    fetal benefit.

    The host-parasite relationship during pregnancy is a fascinating
    interaction and research in this area will improve understanding of
    disease pathogenesis and the various consequences of the host immune
    response, being host-protective, parasite protective and contributing to
    disease pathology. Pregnancy poses an interesting problem for the
    immune system of the dam as she is essentially carrying a
    semi-allogeneic tissue graft (the foetus) without immunological
    rejection taking place.

    Another role for foetal transferrin receptors on trophoblasts could be
    to bind maternal transferrin at the materno-foetal interface, thus
    frustrating maternal immunosurveillance. This is similar to a mechahism
    used by schistosomes in the host-parasite relation where host proteins
    are bound by the parasite to escape immunological recognition.

    citations:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7081298.stm

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8115596?dopt=Citation

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17958926

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/37515

  15. says

    I only skimmed the stuff since yesterday, because this entire episode is destabilizing. As far as I can tell, all that happened is:

    1)a list that was part unethical violations of bodily autonomy and part situations which are not exceptions to bodily autonomy but situations in which the person is incapable of making/communicating a choice and thus it’s ethical, within an extremely narrow window and for lack of designated proxies, to err on the side of preservation/restoration of heath just long enough until the person in question becomes capable of making/communicating choices. Which did fuckall to show examples of ethical exceptions to bodily autonomy.

    2)an argument against bodily autonomy based on pure fiction, since you can’t have a mind without a brain, and a brain is a body. Which, by virtue of not applying to this universe, doesn’t apply to this universe.

    3)more confused whining about Gosnell, which still isn’t an argument against the Canadian method of dealing with late term abortions.

    anything I missed?

  16. says

    Valde, there’s also some medical and evolutionary biology literature showing that some features and functions of uteri are the result of an arms-race between the people with the uterus and the fetus inside (the former trying for self-preservation, the latter trying for more access to the tasty tasty nutrients). I’ve only a vague recollection of them, so no citations, but one was cited here on Pharyngula and I think was a hypothesis about menstruation.

  17. Amphiox says

    No, he’s been playing Humpty Dumpty: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

    And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, could not put his positions back together again….

  18. says

    oh, i guess i did miss one thing: chris not understanding how self-defense works, because chris doesn’t seem to know that a first aggressor can only claim self-defense if the initial “attack” has ended and the defender now becomes first aggressor in a new “attack”.

  19. Valde says

    @Jadehawk #1016

    I linked to it on this very thread the other day, I think. Here it is again:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/12/21/why-do-women-menstruate/

    A link to the study:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3528014/

    And there is also something called ‘genomic imprinting’ – this happens in animals, and is suspected of happening in humans – dad’s genes want a big healthy baby, even if it comes at the expense of the woman’s health.

  20. A. Noyd says

    chris61 (#1003)

    I thought I explained Gosnell. Yes he killed them outside the womb because what he was doing was not, by definition, an abortion. Nonetheless he was ridding women of unwanted babies. He was capable of leaving them alive but that is NOT what these women wanted or they wouldn’t have gone to him in the first place. … Nobody wanted to name it incompetent abortion because that would be politically uncomfortable given the political issues currently surrounded abortion in the USA.

    You’re just repeating your lies (abortion has to kill the fetus and Gosnell got in trouble for failing to do so), and now you’ve added two more lies (and some bad logic) to try to maintain those lies! The women went to him because they wanted to stop being pregnant and he was their only option. They did not specifically choose to have Gosnell do the job. And you do not know that, if offered the opportunity, the women would have turned down attempting to keep the fetuses alive. There are other explanations for why they didn’t report him themselves, such as the danger doing so would bring to themselves.

    You are also lying about there being any sort of political discomfort restraining those commenting on the case. Anti-abortionists wouldn’t use “incompetent abortion” because it implies there is such thing as “competent abortion” and their focus is the far more inflammatory goal of framing abortion as murder. But they were more than happy to use the case to enact more of their agenda.

    I would say that by killing it you are removing the possibility of it experiencing joy and accomplishment and all the other positive human experiences that someone gave each and every one of us on this thread the opportunity to experience.

    First, your framing is completely dishonest. One cannot “give” something when one is coerced, not the way you mean. I am not “giving” the mugger my wallet when the mugger has a knife at my throat. A woman is not “giving” opportunity to a child when she’s forbidden an abortion.

    Second, you are completely failing to explain rather than assume the superiority of your preference. I acknowledge that being born creates an opportunity for joy and accomplishment. That is not sufficient to explain greater moral good. You have to show how opportunity for good things outweighs a guarantee of suffering when the alternative exists to prevent any suffering. After all, an aborted fetus cannot feel regret at lost opportunities. It’s not even aware enough to realize, much less care, it’s alive. Other people will feel the regret. How is it moral to force things to be born and guarantee their suffering to prevent feelings of regret in others?

    Moreover, why is it moral to take the choice to force a thing to be born out of the hands of the woman sustaining it and give it to other people?

    I’m saying that there are no real comparisons to the relationship between a fetus and its mother and so I don’t see how a woman is justified to get rid of it based on bodily autonomy or the notion that is a parasite. … Uniqueness matters because that’s why we’re talking about abortion in the first place.

    *headdesk* That doesn’t explain anything. Why does the supposed uniqueness of the fetus and pregnant woman’s relationship mean it’s okay to keep the woman from ending that relationship. I, as a woman, do not give a flying fuck how unique a relationship I might have with a fetus. I do not want to have a fetus inside me any more than I want to host parasites. What about the uniqueness gives you the right to tell me I can’t abort? It seems like the uniqueness would mean you have less justification to interfere.

    I was just pointing out that you can turn that argument around and say that you can justify not allowing abortion because you are forcing a fetus to die to save potential harm to the mother.

    You aren’t turning it around, you’re making up a totally different argument. Our argument works because nobody has the right to force another person to use their body to keep another alive. Not children, not adults, not even biological parents of dying children. You want to give the fetus special rights that no one else has and take away women’s rights. Because of *handwave* uniqueness *handwave* and *handwave* opportunity *handwave* and other incoherent bullshit that doesn’t actually justify doing so.

    In the USA very few fetuses survive abortion because many if not most of the time efforts are made to ensure they don’t. Death of the fetus is the whole purpose of the exercise.

    I’m not talking about legal requirement. The goal of any abortion is removal of the embryo/fetus, not its death. (I know this because I’m unusual in that I consider the death a positive bonus. Other women consider it a negative consequence and would be much happier if the fetus could survive the process.) If we euthanize the fetus prior to removal, it’s as a means to a different end—generally preventing it from suffering when its chances of survival are poor or its quaity of life would be too low.

    There is a value to leaving a fetus in place.

    NOT TO THE WOMAN WHO WANTS IT REMOVED. You have not made a case for why your values should override hers.

    but I think it would be naïve at best to argue there was no difference between a tumor and a fetus.

    Good thing nobody said that.

  21. says

    Chris61:

    I would say that by killing it you are removing the possibility of it experiencing joy and accomplishment and all the other positive human experiences that someone gave each and every one of us on this thread the opportunity to experience.

    What makes you think that every woman who becomes pregnant views being a parent as a joy and a satisfactory way to feel accomplishment? And what on earth makes you think that every one of us in this thread were the recipients of such an attitude?

    What about the hundreds of thousands of children who are born into crushing, grinding poverty, to a woman who had no choice in the matter? What about the hundreds of thousands of children who are subjected to horrific abuse every day?

    For the record, I’m one of those poster people for abortion. My mother wanted one, but was afraid to die from a back alley abortion. So, I was birthed and had one hell of a fucked up life. The abuse, of which there were different kinds, was intense and unrelenting. I’ll be living with the effects of that abuse until I die. More than one life would have been much better for being able to obtain a safe termination.

    Where in the fuck do you get the idea that parenthood is this unmitigated bliss of positive humanity? You deserve one hell of a fuck off for that one, because a whole fucktonne of misery takes place inside families, and shows that you have no wish whatsoever to face reality.

    *Yes, I’m aware that parenthood can be a wonderful thing, as can childhood, but it is not some sort of automagical joy for a good many people, adult or child.

  22. A. Noyd says

    Inaji (#1022)

    Where in the fuck do you get the idea that parenthood is this unmitigated bliss of positive humanity?

    She’s talking about the fetus experiencing positive stuff. Or, rather, the person the fetus eventually becomes.

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

    Chris

    I would say that by killing it you are removing the possibility of it experiencing joy and accomplishment and all the other positive human experiences that someone gave each and every one of us on this thread the opportunity to experience.

    Fetus fetus fetus. Where is the woman’s possibility of experiencing joy and accomplishment?

    I would say that aborting the fetus (or murdering it cruelly, whichever you prefer) is letting the woman experience joy and accomplishments she wouldn’t if she kept an unwanted pregnancy. She doesn’t want that kid. Maybe it’s a really bad time – financially or concerning a shaky work contract that’s probably going to end the moment she shares the “happy” news with her boss. There goes that chance for accomplishment and joy.

    Since there can exist all kinds of reasons why women have abortions, I’m not going to list more examples.

    Just try to consider the woman, the person with thoughts, feelings. The one who actually has a life. Not a possible life, but a whole life going on that is being changed in a significant manner by something she doesn’t want.

    Fetus doesn’t have rights. It doesn’t have a right to a possible life at the expense of person carrying it experiencing negative change in her actual life.

  24. rq says

    But Beatriiiice, becoming a mother is every woman’s secret dream and source of complete happiness – all other problems will resolve themselves once she gives birth! The universe will provide! After all, what’s a few years of poverty against a baby’s sweet little giggle?

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

    Some of this fetal-rights stuff sounds like the argument that a god must exist because gods are amazing, and existence is amazing, so Jesus.

    Look, if a fetus has a right to exist because it has the potential to exist, then we need to birth every possible baby, even if we have to put all women in cages like chickens. Anything less than full-on fecundity is murder. And, we’d need to figure out how to make men bear children, and how to make goats bear human children, and machines …

    Nature, incidentally, doesn’t seem to give a rat’s about fetal rights. Where do you get this right from? You just made it up, and you want the world to agree with you. If you cannot define it clearly, with good boundaries, and strong justification, it is just your dumb-ass religion, and we don’t have to give a rat’s.

    Now, an adult woman is very clearly an existing human being, with all the rights of a human. Except, of course, that she is a woman, and that makes a lot of people consider her as not having rights—which is why abortion discussions turn on women’s rights.

  26. says

    Inaji

    No, he’s been playing Humpty Dumpty: “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.”

    Are you sure that was Humpty Dumpty? I thought it was Richard Dawkins….
    *sorry, couln’t resist*
    Jadehawk

    Valde, there’s also some medical and evolutionary biology literature showing that some features and functions of uteri are the result of an arms-race between the people with the uterus and the fetus inside (the former trying for self-preservation, the latter trying for more access to the tasty tasty nutrients). I’ve only a vague recollection of them, so no citations, but one was cited here on Pharyngula and I think was a hypothesis about menstruation.

    I remember that David had some fascinating information about how human zygotes/embryos/fetuses are especially agressive and “greedy” when compared to other species. The discussion came up when I mentioned that we saw a goat give birth to twins and that I felt cheated by evolution.

    +++
    I’m wondering, how is a fetus different and special from, say, a tapeworm? I mean, sure, I risked becoming pregnant when I had sex, but I also risked contracting a tapeworm when I ate something with its eggs? Sure, I used contraception and washed the fruit, but still, I knew there was a risk. Don’t I have a responsibility for the poor tapeworm that can only exist within my gut?

    A.Noyd

    She’s talking about the fetus experiencing positive stuff. Or, rather, the person the fetus eventually becomes.

    She seems to have lived a pretty sheltered experience.
    I can’t claim to be an abortion poster person, I was a planned pregnancy but damn do I wish my parents had gone to the cinema instead…

  27. maddog1129 says

    @ Giliell #1027

    I can’t claim to be an abortion poster person, I was a planned pregnancy but damn do I wish my parents had gone to the cinema instead…

    Yes. The anti-abortion crowd seem to think that they have 100% agreement from everyone who became a born person that from our own point of view our lives are so wonderful, and our selfish interests are so overriding, that we would insist that our parents owe that life to us. ‘Tain’t necessarily so. I’ve always, or at least for a long time, felt that it would have been just as well for me to have never been born, and if I had been in a position to be consulted about it, not-being would have been fine with me.

  28. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    So I see, not being content with denying women rights, chris61 has stepped up to gaslighting everyone whose life hasn’t been 100% unmitigated unicorns and rainbows. I hate people.

  29. says

    @chris61 #1003

    Does that make it morally superior to kill a fetus in utero and preserve or at least attempt to preserve at all cost the life of a neonate? Why?

    Because it turns out that “at all costs” might end up costing us quite a bit. For example, it would mean violating the bodily autonomy of women. Since the right to bodily autonomy is affirmed in every other case and for all other people, that means you’re essentially reducing woman to less than human status or granting fetuses rights that no other human being has.

    Say, I have the strangest feeling of deja vu.

    The argument was being made that you can justify abortion because otherwise you are forcing a pregnant individual to risk their life to save another individual and I was just pointing out that you can turn that argument around and say that you can justify not allowing abortion because you are forcing a fetus to die to save potential harm to the mother. In case it hasn’t become clear to you I am not justifying forcing a woman to carry a fetus to term. I am pointing out there are arguments against it that do not require a religious perspective.

    Except you’ve conveniently left out the bit about bodily autonomy. You know that bit that we’ve been discussing the entire thread? You had to ignore that in order to make your point.

    It’s one thing to be a disgusting liar. It’s another to lie so blatantly, without even the slightest attempt to hide it. Are you really this stupid or were you just hoping we were?

    In the USA very few fetuses survive abortion because many if not most of the time efforts are made to ensure they don’t.

    Actually, it’s because most of the time abortions are performed before viability. Nothing has to be done to kill the fetus because it simply isn’t capable of surviving on its own. According to the CDC, 98.8% of abortions were performed before 20 weeks. The majority of those (65.9%) were performed before 8 weeks.

    It’s a rare occurrence for a late term fetus to be aborted and naturally, it’s often the result of some medical condition that wasn’t apparent earlier, so there’s no way around it. To pretend that fetuses are routinely killed is simply another fat load of steaming crap.

    There is a value to leaving a fetus in place.

    Just as there’s value in harvesting your organs without your permission. Like we’ve pointe out a dozen times already and you’ve consistently ignored.

    Round and round, we go again.

    but I think it would be naïve at best to argue there was no difference between a tumor and a fetus.

    Oh for the love of FUCK! We’re not arguing that abortion is okay because the fetus is the same as a tumor. We’re arguing that abortion is okay because the woman has a right to bodily autonomy.

    Inaji (#694) referenced a tumor, pointing out a single point of equivalence: That neither a tumor or a fetus has the right to lay claim to a woman’s body.
    You then (#741)apparently thought that this made a tumor and a fetus equivalent in all matters and started arguing that.

    It might help if you started actually reading other people’s comments. It’s certainly something you haven’t tried before.

    @chris61 #1009

    Okay. No more comments from me about abortion. I understand they aren’t appreciated.

    It’s not your comments, as such. It’s your dishonest bullshit.

  30. says

    A. Noyd:

    She’s talking about the fetus experiencing positive stuff. Or, rather, the person the fetus eventually becomes.

    Yes, I know. I’m pretty godsdamned sick and tired of Chris61 nattering on about fetuses as though they exist in a vacuum. They don’t. If a woman is prevented from obtaining a termination, that fetus, rather than being perfectly spherical, will be birthed to a living, breathing woman, and it will be birthed into an enviroment of some sort.

    Pretending that it’s all positivity and joy and bliss is fucking bullshit, and the resultant effects of a forced birth affect more than Chris61′s perfectly spherical fetus.

  31. says

    @amphiox

    “(He’s more or less been projecting his own imperfect understanding of the concept onto the rest of us….)”

    No. Our disagreement is about what the content of bodily autonomy is and/or should be. I have read a fair amount of Philosophy of action and several different versions of what is and is not included into the concept. I’m less familiar with the how the term is used in feminist contexts but from reading some Okin it seems to be about the same. Usually, autonomy is purely a formal concept related to be self-directed action. Where bodily autonomy is self-directed actions that occur to your body. This is extremely slight in its content and it is unflexable because of that.

    Now, the version of the concept I was attacking as this, again from wiki:

    “the inviolability of the physical body and emphasizes the importance of personal autonomy and the self-determination of human beings over their own bodies.”

    I take this to mean that there can never, for any reason, be any interference with another person’s body without first obtaining their expressed consent. I take it this way because I read “inviolability” strictly. Something is not “inviolable” if there are authorized exceptions to interfering with it. I don’t care what we call this. I’ve been calling it bodily autonomy and it is the conception I am most familiar with.

    I have posted this definition a few times now and I have explained why I read it this way before.

    If the concept is read in this way, then yes a parent should not be able to (ethically) force a kid (by stipulation for the example who is unable to make the decision for herself) to get a bad kidney removed, in that the kidney is a) part of the kid’s a body, and b) it being a forced action it cannot be a self-directed action. I find that to be an intolerable conclusion, regardless of what we call this concept.

    Now, it may be the case that we were talking past each other (and/or I was strawmanning) and what you mean by bodily autonomy is not:

    “the inviolability of the physical body and emphasizes the importance of personal autonomy and the self-determination of human beings over their own bodies.”

    Or if there is some reason “inviolability” should not be read strictly, I’m all ears.

    But I don’t think it is sufficient answer to my counter examples to bring up informed consent (a related but different set of considerations) as a dodge to fulfilling the requirement I was attacking.

    It very well might the case that we should think of bodily autonomy in terms of informed consent, but that is obliviously different then thinking the body is inviolable.

  32. says

    Michael:
    You need to read up on bodily autonomy. Informed consent is indeed part and parcel. Parents, as the guardians of children are supposed to make decisions in the best interests of their children until such time as they can make decisions for themselves.

  33. Amphiox says

    MKM, your 1032 is basically word salad, you know?

    For REAL LIFE, PRACTICAL considerations, bodily autonomy and informed consent are irrevocably linked. Sure one can separate them intellectually, but that is akin to talking about angels dancing on the heads of pins.

    Informed consent is what ENFORCES the right to bodily autonomy in real life. And a right that is not enforced, even if granted on paper or in philosophy, does not exist.

    Your attempt to separate bodily autonomy from informed consent is frankly offensive, since it demonstrates that while you are happy talking about rights in an intellectual sense, you have no interest in what it takes to actually enforce them in reality and make them actually mean something to real people.

  34. Amphiox says

    If the concept is read in this way, then yes a parent should not be able to (ethically) force a kid (by stipulation for the example who is unable to make the decision for herself)

    IF the child is unable to make the decision for herself, then it is non-sensical to even talk about “force”. The parent consents on the child’s behalf, based on his or her best understanding of what the child WOULD HAVE AGREED TO if the child was actually able to make the decision. In that event there is no “forcing” involved at all.

    If the parent fails to make the decision based on his or her understanding of what the child would have agreed to if the child was actually able to make the decision, and yes it is unethical, and in fact some of those circumstances for removing custodial privileges from that parent.

    it being a forced action it cannot be a self-directed action.

    IF the child cannot make the decision for herself, the child cannot take a self-directed action regardless. Again, by definition, in this case the child is not capable of any self-directed action relative to that specific question, and again, the decision is made on the child’s behalf by a surrogate who is obligated to choose, to the best of his or her ability, what the child most likely WOULD HAVE CHOSEN IF THE CHILD COULD HAVE CHOSEN.

    I find that to be an intolerable conclusion, regardless of what we call this concept.

    You can find it whatever way you want. But if the child cannot choose for herself, then NOT REMOVING THE KIDNEY is also a “forced” action, only instead it is forcing the child to KEEP the bad kidney. If the child cannot make her own decision, or provide her own consent, then ANYTHING done or not done to that child would be a violation in your view, since the child has not consented to ANY OF THOSE THINGS. If all the available options are intolerable (to you, not to the rest of us), one might as well choose the one that has the best chance of keeping the child alive.

  35. says

    michael kellymiecielica #1032

    I take this to mean that there can never, for any reason, be any interference with another person’s body without first obtaining their expressed consent. I take it this way because I read “inviolability” strictly.

    And clearly, such a reading is idiotic. That would e.g. rule out self-defense or doing emergency medical procedures on people who are unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate their consent.

    If the concept is read in this way, then yes a parent should not be able to (ethically) force a kid (by stipulation for the example who is unable to make the decision for herself) to get a bad kidney removed, in that the kidney is a) part of the kid’s a body, and b) it being a forced action it cannot be a self-directed action. I find that to be an intolerable conclusion, regardless of what we call this concept.

    Indeed, an intolerable conclusion. That might give you a clue that some of your premises are off. So, instead of then throwing the concept of bodily autonomy out the window, maybe you should consider if maybe the problem lies with your understanding of it.

    It very well might the case that we should think of bodily autonomy in terms of informed consent, but that is obliviously different then thinking the body is inviolable.

    You’re clearly quite hung up on this word “inviolable”. Maybe you should just drop that for a while. It’s clearly resulting in your complete inability to actually deal with the real-world issues at hand.

  36. rq says

    So my bodily autonomy is a philosophical concept and has no bearing whatsoever on the reality that I have a right to do with my body as I please.
    Thank you, michael, I feel like a real person now!

    (Regarding kids, yes, I make health decisions on their behalf. Because I am their legal guardian (one of), and as such am entitled to make decisions in their best interests until they reach an age or maturity where they are capable of deciding for themselves. Yes, I’m following along with their development, and at least two of them are already aware of the benefits of vaccinations, and undergo them willingly (though with some trepidation). Third one’s still pre-linguistic, but I’m sure he’ll catch on eventually as well. If any one of them needed a kidney, we’d discuss it with them, but I’d still make the decision in the end, with the understanding that it’s best for them. And they would understand it, too, hopefully, and no doubt they’d agree, but the final decision would still be mine, until they are of an age or maturity to make that decision for themselves, without my assistance. That may seem like forcing to you, but they’re informed in the process and simply aren’t of an age to be recognized legally as decision-makers.)

  37. says

    #506 I wouldn’t expect a woman who was the victim of rape to continue a pregnancy if she chose not to because the ‘special relationship’ between a woman and her fetus includes the conditions under which the pregnancy occurred.

    And now the truth comes out. Whores who have sex willingly need to be punished with a baby!