Who wants to do a live chat about abortion on Saturday?


I thought the chat yesterday was productive and fun, and it was really good to share the screen with someone who would bring in new questions, and I’d like to do something along those same lines next weekend. I’m thinking I’d have some similar prepared remarks for the first half hour or so, followed by a free-for-all conversation.

My topic for this next event will be “A developmental biologist’s perspective on abortion”, but don’t you hate it when some dude starts hectoring the wimmin on the right way to think about their bodies? If I’m going to do this, I damn well give equal time to someone who could get or could have gotten pregnant, to give their perspective. I don’t mean someone who thinks abortions are Satan’s t-shirt gun — I’m not setting up a debate — but someone who can complement my abstract view with something more personal.

If you’re interested, email me and we can arrange it.

P.S. If you’ve never had a uterus or ovaries and think you have an informed take on the subject, I’ll consider including you, too — make your case in the email. But I will not have a panel of guys arguing on this subject.

Comments

  1. beezlebubby says

    Funny, the only comment I usually have about abortion is that anyone with a y chromosome should STHU. I will continue that practice in my own life :)

  2. chris61 says

    From a developmental biologists perspective, abortion kills a fetus thereby terminating its development. Pretty much end of story as far as I can see. From a moral/ ethical perspective of course there’s a lot more to say.

  3. Chris Capoccia says

    alternatively, if you don’t get volunteers, you could do overview of types of things that naturally go wrong during development resulting in miscarriage

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

    @chris:

    Developmental biologists have morals and ethics too. “A developmental biologist’s perspective on abortion” is the perspective of a person. Now, if someone proposed to share developmental biology’s perspective, then that would be a little weird for the reasons you raise.

    As for abortion, I think it’s a great topic. I worked closely with some NARAL & PP folks on a couple projects, and casually for several years in the late 90s, and lightly & sporadically thereafter. In the beginning I consistently met people who were surprised MtF trans persons might be interested enough in the issue of reproductive rights to invest the energy I did. I can’t count the times I explained how the entire political establishment seemed very invested in my genitals and what I did or didn’t do with them when interacting with my doctors and thus I felt not merely abstractly interested in reproductive rights for all but very specifically invested in preventing the government from interfering in the right of any person to have an abortion. They seemed to get it after that, and a few years later MtF folks showing up at NARAL meetings seemed unworthy of comment – which I took to mean that the basic argument spread and people at NARAL & PP had come to agree that we are all in this together.

    This is how the perspective of someone not capable of getting pregnant and with a specific experiential background can nonetheless enrich conversations about abortion. My perspective might be an MtF transsexual person’s perspective on abortion, but it’s not MtF transsexuality’s perspective on abortion. And as a human with my own experiences and my own insights, I could add something to local conversations even if MtF transsexuality as an isolated phenomenon appears to have nothing to do with abortion.

    None of this is to say that I know much about reproductive rights, however. I’m not the guest PZ is looking for. I’m just defending the idea of grounding one’s opinion on an abstract topic in the specific experiences of our lives.

  5. Paulino says

    Here in Brazil, it’s illegal but only poor women are actually denied access to safe abortion, as rich women can have their abortion in safer (but not by any means completely so) illegal clinics that operate in all major cities. It’s a tragedy.

    But, if the talk happens I have a question. The only pro-choice argument I don’t get, nor understood why it’s necessary, was comparing pregnancy to organ donation. It’s a sincere question, and I’m all pro-choice. If this is too obvious and uninteresting, please be patient with my ignorance and point me to the right direction here in the comments.

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

    I hope someone more knowledgeable than me comes along, Paulino, but my impression is that it’s an artifact of the politics of the United States. Individual freedom is stressed on the right wing, but abortion is mostly opposed. Opposition to abortion is also statistically more common among people AMAB.

    Efforts to expand support for abortion, then (or at least diminish opposition) have led to an emphasis on arguments that might appeal to US right wingers and especially those who were AMAB. Rather than directly discussing the female reproductive system then, reproductive rights activists sought out arguments to which men of the US right wing could relate. One famous instance of such an argument is the violinist objection. In Judith Jarvis Thomson’s famous concession arguendo to the right to life of a fetus, rather than forced kidney donation there is a connection forged between the circulatory systems of the reader with a famous, unconscious violinist suffering from a medium-term kidney ailment that will last for 9 months. (Dialysis is ignored for the purposes of this thought experiment.)

    From this beginning, the conversations have frequently expanded to discuss the related topic of compelled organ donation, but I think it all begins with an attempt to emphasize arguments to those which might affect right-leaning US men. In most other english-speaking countries in the world, abortion is not nearly so politicized as it is in the United States.

  7. npb596 says

    Good topic and good on you for wanting to incorporate the voices of women and others who can experience pregnancy.

  8. Paulino says

    @Crip Dyke:
    Ah ok, so it is “forced organ donation”, and it stresses the personal freedom aspect of this discussion, something that is supposedly valued by the right wing . Thanks.

    Here in Brazil it is very hard for an openly pro-choice politician to be elected for an executive position or the senate, there are a few representatives though, but not enough to pass any meaningful legislation. In fact there a bill that is going to limit the cases for legal abortion, that is soon to be voted. Accusations of being pro-choice is a favorite weapon of right wing politicians against progressive ones.

  9. says

    #3
    but moral/ethic point of view highly depends on developmental biology. You have to know what the fetus is before you can say if it is ethical to terminate pregnancy

    #1
    I don’t like this argument. If I should STHU about abortion then (1) all postmenopausal women should do the same (2) abortion is just a women thing and I am not responsible for anything connected to it.

    Perspective changes with a law in your country, In Poland you can terminate pregnancy up to 12 weeks but at least one of 3 conditions have to apply:
    (1) fetus has to be terminally ill or has a defect that makes normal life impossible
    (2) pregnancy is dangerous for mother’s health or life
    (3) pregnancy is an effect of a crime (pedophilia, rape, incest)
    However currently in polish parliament there are attempts to make the law more strict. And even without it, doctors often try to buy enough time, that even if those 3 cases it will be too late to terminate pregnancy legally.
    And yes, if unfortunately it will happen that my partner will get pregnant and the child will have a genetic defect it DOES affect me if she has a right to abortion or if she is forced to birth the baby. Unless you claim it is ok to leave your partner if your child is sick.

    Also it is an interesting thought experiment for me: who should decide about abortion.

    If a woman wants to terminate while man wants this baby, either we give the woman a right to decide about killing potential child of both of them or we give the man a right to use woman as an incubator. There is no middle ground here really because sooner or later we need to have a tiebreaker.

    what if we reverse the situation? Should woman have a right to decide for both of them to have a child or should a man be able to demand that woman will have an abortion, still a medical procedure?

    What if the prospective child has genetic defect that means it will require constant care till it dies or more likely parents die? Do we allow woman to decide if she wants to terminate or if she wants to devote her life to care for such baby – and is her decision binding for the father also? Or do we allow men to resign from parenting rights and to be able not to financially support the woman and child? But that’s opening completely different can of worms

    I do not really have perfect answers here. Everyone must answer for himself.

  10. cartomancer says

    Well I certainly have very little to contribute to this sort of discussion. In fact, I suspect that the vast majority of people living in countries where abortion is considered an entirely unremarkable part of the medical landscape are in the same boat. To us it’s a bit weird that there should be a discussion at all – as if “the morality of appendectomies” were a profitable topic for conversation.

    I mean, yes, obviously the nature of the conversation in places like the US is such that it’s worth rehearsing the progressive and humanistic arguments to contribute to changing public opinion. But I’m still slightly at a loss as to what we in places with a more enlightened approach can offer beyond the occasional “yes, it really does work much better over here”.

    I’m going to be in London with my brother, celebrating our birthday, next weekend anyway. So I won’t be able to participate.

  11. says

    Maciej Gorzkowski

    but moral/ethic point of view highly depends on developmental biology. You have to know what the fetus is before you can say if it is ethical to terminate pregnancy

    Why?
    Seriously, that’s a sincere question. It is happening within the body of another person. The ethical question must be centred around that person.

    If a woman wants to terminate while man wants this baby, either we give the woman a right to decide about killing potential child of both of them or we give the man a right to use woman as an incubator. There is no middle ground here really because sooner or later we need to have a tiebreaker.

    These scenarios are NOT equal.
    If a man would like to be a father but she has an abortion, his body is still 100% his. It is sad for him, and maybe he should look for another partner, but his body is still untouched.
    If a woman or another pregnant person wants an abortion and a man forces them to carry to term they are removing control over that person’s body from that person. They are inflicting great danger and pain on that person.
    You could equally argue that if a man wants to have sex and a woman doesn’t then we need to decide who gets their way because how can we know???

  12. The Mellow Monkey says

    It’s been a long time since I did any kind of public speaking and I worry I’d be a mess and not terribly useful for this, so I’ll have to think on whether to throw my hat in the ring. I’ve been involved on the activism side before and as somebody who is trying to get pregnant but not a woman, the topic of reproductive autonomy as it relates to gendered assumptions has been weighing particularly heavy on my mind.

    One issue is the odd intersection of transmisogyny and the invisibilization of AFAB trans/non-binary people. If someone points out that not all people who can get pregnant are women and not all women can get pregnant so we should use gender inclusive language, they are ignored and their request is used to demonize trans women. If AFAB trans/non-binary people are acknowledged, then it’s often in the context that if we’re truly trans and/or non-binary then we should be sterilized. I believe there should always be space for trans and/or non-binary voices on this, whether AMAB or AFAB, because our own bodily autonomy is constantly under assault and attacks against our rights are building blocks for attacks against the rights of cis women.

    It’s a bitter irony that a number of cis women I’ve spoken with who are pro-choice for themselves embrace forced sterilization of trans, non-binary, and intersex people. Throwing people under the bus can never improve equality. We’ve got to be in this together and watch out for one another.

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

    It’s a bitter irony that a number of cis women I’ve spoken with who are pro-choice for themselves embrace forced sterilization of trans, non-binary, and intersex people. Throwing people under the bus can never improve equality. We’ve got to be in this together and watch out for one another.

    Exactly.

    One issue is the odd intersection of transmisogyny and the invisibilization of AFAB trans/non-binary people.

    For Freuding sure.

    I actually wrote here on Pharyngula about Katha Pollit’s desire to invisiblize trans AFAB folks or folks otherwise not women and potentially able to become pregnant. It’s sad to see that she felt rhetorical convenience justified restricting trans* access to abortion, but fucking cissexism, y’know?

    In any case, I’d love to hear your perspectives. I hope that things work out such that that would be a good choice for you.

  14. chris61 says

    @ 10

    but moral/ethic point of view highly depends on developmental biology. You have to know what the fetus is before you can say if it is ethical to terminate pregnancy

    I disagree. What the fetus ‘is’ is pretty clear: it is an early stage in the life of a human being. Whether you think it is ethical to terminate pregnancy depends on whether you believe a fetus should have rights.

  15. chris61 says

    @5 Crip Dyke

    Developmental biologists have morals and ethics too. “A developmental biologist’s perspective on abortion” is the perspective of a person.

    Everyone has morals and ethics. PZ’s perspective is his perspective. But is being a developmental biologist any more relevant to that perspective than any other aspect of PZ and if not, why mention that one in particular? Why not an atheist’s perspective or a husband’s or father’s or grandfather’s perspective?

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

    @chris61:

    Why was the perspective NARAL employees cared about when speaking to me the perspective of an MtF trans person? Why not the perspective of a science museum employee or an anti-violence activist or a first cousin?

    It turns out that my trans perspective deeply informed my opinion on abortion and that it wasn’t accidental that my thoughts on abortion both grew and changed as I was coming out trans. There was a causation relationship between my desire to actively control my body and the social, legal, and political hurdles placed in my way and my newly developing perspective on abortion. The first two had a decided impact on the last.

    I suspect that PZ’s perspective has grown and/or changed as a result of his experiences studying, researching, teaching, and/or publicly communicating about developmental biology, but why not listen this weekend and get your answer?

  17. brucegee1962 says

    @13

    You have to know what the fetus is before you can say if it is ethical to terminate pregnancy

    Why?
    Seriously, that’s a sincere question. It is happening within the body of another person. The ethical question must be centred around that person.

    If we start with the premise “Human beings possess rights,” and also the premise “One human right is the right not to be killed,” then the pro-choice position needs to make one of the following two arguments:

    a) a fetus is not a human being, or
    b) a fetus is a special class of human which, due to being fully dependent upon another human, does not yet possess rights.

    I consider myself pro-choice, but position A makes me awfully uncomfortable, because it involves coming up with a definition of humanity which seems untenable from either direction. Anti-abortionists want to confer humanity upon undifferentiated globs of cells, which seems absurd; however, saying that a fetus becomes fully human and obtains rights the moment it’s surrounded by air instead of amniotic fluid also seems a bit like magical thinking to me. If I had to pinpoint a moment when humanity is achieved, I’d pick the moment when the cerebrum is fully formed, but apparently that doesn’t happen until around age 25, which seems a bit late.

    Anyway, I tend to rely more on argument b. I’ve seen this comparison for guys: you have a twin brother with a fatal disease, and only your blood or your organs will save him. But you can’t stand your twin brother, and you don’t care if he lives or dies. Should the state have the power to compel you to be strapped down and give him what he needs from your body?

    Unfortunately, that isn’t a perfect analogy, but it’s the best one I’ve seen.

  18. The Mellow Monkey says

    chris61:

    What the fetus ‘is’ is pretty clear: it is an early stage in the life of a human being. Whether you think it is ethical to terminate pregnancy depends on whether you believe a fetus should have rights.

    No. What you’re describing is a situation in which the alleged rights of the fetus must exist on two levels.

    From a developmental biology standpoint, we must first determine what the fetus is. If we determine that it is not comparable to a fully-developed human until birth, then the second half of the issue is moot. If we determine that at any point during gestation it could be comparable to a fully-developed human, then we move on to the second question for that particular point in gestation: Does something comparable to a fully-developed human have a right to use another person’s body?

    I reiterate, the anti-choice side needs both questions answered in the affirmative for their position to be valid:

    A) Should a fetus be considered a person with rights?
    B) Should a fetus be granted the right to use another person’s body?

    A “no” in either case means access to abortion shouldn’t be denied. My spouse has human rights, but can be kicked out of my vagina any time I like. A child has rights, but no one can be compelled to breastfeed a child. Affirming A does not mean that affirming B automatically follows. And as developmental biologists do not affirm A before viability, the argument for B as a broad declaration across all of gestation collapses before it begins.

  19. chris61 says

    From a developmental biology standpoint, we must first determine what the fetus is. If we determine that it is not comparable to a fully-developed human until birth, then the second half of the issue is moot.

    Choosing to grant rights to a child after birth but not before is a completely arbitrary position.

    Does something comparable to a fully-developed human have a right to use another person’s body?

    The fetus didn’t put itself in another persons body, the person (with the aid of a second person did that).

    My spouse has human rights, but can be kicked out of my vagina any time I like. A child has rights, but no one can be compelled to breastfeed a child..

    You can kick a husband out of your vagina but you can’t kill him. Ditto the child.

  20. anat says

    chris61, there is nothing arbitrary about permitting abortion while disallowing infanticide. If people are not allowed to use other people’s bodies without continued consent then pregnant people have the right to end their support of embryos or fetuses. We already have McFall v Shimp stating that people can’t be forced to donate bone marrow against their wishes. Why would continuing a pregnancy be any different?

  21. chris61 says

    @22 anat

    We already have McFall v Shimp stating that people can’t be forced to donate bone marrow against their wishes. Why would continuing a pregnancy be any different?

    Maybe because the potential donor was not responsible for their cousin’s anemia while except in cases of rape the pregnant person has responsibility for the fetus. Also because many people see a difference between failing to save a life (i.e. by donating bone marrow) and actively taking a life (i.e. abortion).

    @18 Crip Dyke

    but why not listen this weekend and get your answer?

    I probably will because I am curious.

  22. consciousness razor says

    Does something comparable to a fully-developed human have a right to use another person’s body?

    The fetus didn’t put itself in another persons body, the person (with the aid of a second person did that).

    How does this response seem relevant to you?

    Whether or not I have rights is logically independent from whether or not I “put myself” into a particular situation. I cannot make choices (or cause anything to happen) which would add or subtract from the collection of rights that I actually have. (That is distinct from those which are merely recognized or respected by states/organizations/individuals/etc. I can obviously affect how much others care about my rights, act to protect them, and so on…. Participation in a democratic political system is one sort of example.)

    If I could somehow put myself into such a situation, in which I used another person’s body in this way, it would not follow that I have a right to do so. There is no action I could take, of making it come about or whatever, which would imply that. Failing to take such an action also wouldn’t change anything relevant. If I’m simply incapable of doing anything one way or another about it, this does not suggest that the fair/just/morally-appropriate conclusion is that I have a right to be in that situation. You shouldn’t hold me responsible for being in it, of course, since it is out of my control. But that does not mean this situation must persist, as a matter of what my rights are. Other people are involved, and they have rights, which may or may not be satisfied, no matter what I was or wasn’t capable of doing about it.

  23. chris61 says

    Whether or not I have rights is logically independent from whether or not I “put myself” into a particular situation. I cannot make choices (or cause anything to happen) which would add or subtract from the collection of rights that I actually have.

    You’re dropped off at a house. Turns out the person who put you there did so without the consent of the homeowner. Do you deserve to be killed?

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

    You’re starving and are ransacking a house without permission of the homeowner. Does the homeowner lose the right to kick you off the property because you’re hungry? What if the homeowner knows you’ll die without food and there’s not another house within walking distance (especially not in your weakened condition)? NOW does the homeowner lose the right to kick you off the property?

  25. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Chris61, please show me, by standing across the street with me, with only a simple camera, the alleged “babies” being taken into abortion clinic to be killed. If you can’t show the the “babies”, in the arms of the women, how can you, in your presuppositional assholery, show with solid evidence that the alleged fetus even exists? You can’t, and you know that.
    You lose, as usual.

  26. dianne says

    (2) pregnancy is dangerous for mother’s health or life…
    However currently in polish parliament there are attempts to make the law more strict. And even without it, doctors often try to buy enough time,

    So basically Polish doctors and legislators are out to kill women for fun. Got it.

    By the way, Polish death camps, dood.

  27. dianne says

    @26: Especially if there is a chance that your eating the home owner’s food may result in their starving. And there is always that chance.

  28. chigau (違う) says

    The fetus didn’t put itself in another persons body, the person (with the aid of a second person did that).
    Since about a third of fertilised eggs end up as spontaneous abortions, that soul must have what it was getting into. It could have chosen to stay in heaven or opt-out early and try again.

  29. Saad says

    Of course chris61 would be anti-choice too. Internalized misogyny is pretty serious stuff.

  30. chris61 says

    @26 Crip Dyke

    You’re starving and are ransacking a house without permission of the homeowner. Does the homeowner lose the right to kick you off the property because you’re hungry? What if the homeowner knows you’ll die without food and there’s not another house within walking distance (especially not in your weakened condition)? NOW does the homeowner lose the right to kick you off the property?

    but with abortion you aren’t kicking someone off the property, you are killing them. Or at least consenting to have a doctor kill them. That’s the whole point. Not eviction (that might result in death) but killing. That’s why some people are uncomfortable with the concept.

    @29 dianne

    You’re talking about a possibility (the home owner might starve) versus a certainty (the fetus will die).

    @27 Nerd
    I have no idea what you are talking about. There’s a fetus (or an embryo) or the abortion doesn’t take place. It would be irresponsible for a doctor to perform an abortion without first confirming a pregnancy.

  31. dianne says

    Actually, abortion doesn’t necessarily kill the fetus or, more particularly, the embryo. It just induces evacuation of the uterus. The embryo dies due to lack of the proper environment…exactly like CripDyke’s analogy with the house.

  32. dianne says

    So Chris, up to 80% of fertilized eggs fail to implant or fail to divide after implantation. If you really believe that an embryo is a baby then 80% of babies are dying of natural causes. Are you really willing to ignore those deaths, count them for nothing, just because a few murders (manslaughters, acts of self defense, withdrawal of support for the terminally ill) occur once in a while? Just going to ignore that pandemic, are you?

  33. dianne says

    Re McFall vs Shimp, i would point out that the potential donor only knew he was a potential donor because he agreed-completely voluntarily and knowing that he might be called upon to give marrow-to be tested for a match. No one gets tested for marrow donation because they were drunk and careless or their protective equipment failed or they had a moment of overwhelming passion. It is a considered decision made by adults who know what they are getting into. Why aren’t they more responsible for the other person’s predicament (knowing that life saving treatment is being withheld from them because of another’s whim) than a pregnant person is for the fetus’ predicament?

  34. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    have no idea what you are talking about.

    Of course not. Either you are right or wrong. If you can’t tell that a baby is being taken into a an abortion clinic to be infantided then something else is happening.
    What I am saying is that you can’t even tell tell if a woman is pregnant, much less that a fetus was removed.
    You are totally and utterly stupid in your presuppositions.
    As I said, SHOW ME from across street the alleged babies being aborted. Or, you are deluding yourself to what is really happening. Woman going in, woman coming out, what “baby” is killed? If you can’t provide conclusive evidence that infanticide is happening what the fuck is your real problem? Your approval of the procedure is irrelevant, and your opinion is dismissed as irrelevant.

  35. chris61 says

    @31 Saad
    Actually, as I have stated on numerous occasions on this site, I am pro choice. I just don’t sugar-coat it by pretending it’s not about killing a human being.

    @30 chigau
    Of course, using that logic, since some children die from a variety of causes (cancers, accidents, etc.), doctors should just go around indiscriminately actively killing children who are in no danger of dying from cancer or accidents etc.

  36. dianne says

    Or suppose they were responsible for their cousin’s aplastic anemia. Say, someone deliberately or even accidentally exposed their cousin to benzene for years on end and they got aplastic anemia. As far as I know, it would be perfectly legal for that person to refuse to donate marrow to cure the disease that they caused. Is this wrong? Should we force people to make amends with their bodies if such a situation arises?

  37. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Chris61, doctors under HIPPA cannot by law talk about their patients to anybody not authorized. Why should anybody across the street know whether a woman is pregnant or not without somebody blabbing, and thaqtanybody but the woman herself is potentially criminal.
    Don’t presume anything based on criminal leaks.

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

    but with abortion you aren’t kicking someone off the property, you are killing them.

    Holy Freud – you mean that analogy was an actual analogy and not a restatement of the original problem?

    What’s next? Are you next going to tell me that:

    You’re dropped off at a house. Turns out the person who put you there did so without the consent of the homeowner.

    doesn’t describe the process of getting pregnant?

    The implications are … staggering.

  39. chigau (違う) says

    chris61 #38
    Of course, using that logic, since some children die from a variety of causes (cancers, accidents, etc.), doctors should just go around indiscriminately actively killing children who are in no danger of dying from cancer or accidents etc.
    umwat?
    I made a nonsensical comment about souls, how did you get to there?

  40. chris61 says

    @33 dianne
    Actually the abortion does kill the fetus. If the fetus is old enough that there is even the slightest chance that it might be born alive most abortion facilities will ensure it’s born dead by stopping its heart prior to ‘evacuation’. Otherwise the medical staff are left in the uncomfortable position of having to try everything to save a fetus that nobody wants.

    @37 Nerd
    Seriously, Nerd. What are you talking about?

  41. consciousness razor says

    Houses aren’t moral agents and don’t have rights. They are property. We’re not concerned that they would object to how they’re used or that they’ve had negative experiences, because they’re not sentient beings like people are.

    Women are people. They are not like a house. A person’s body is not property. Not only is another person’s body not your property, which you have no right to control; it’s the very same thing as that person. In short, for a variety of fundamentally important reasons, this is a very different situation than the one you describe.

    The proposition “women are morally obliged to reproduce” is false, and so is the proposition “women deciding not to reproduce is murder.” Your shit analogies do not give me any reason to think otherwise, chris61.

    And you still haven’t explained how your original response was supposed to be relevant. I can understand that you’d want to move on quickly to a different argument, if you see that it failed, not highlight that fact. But if you’d like to be taken seriously, you should spend more than a couple of minutes coming up with something that isn’t yet another total failure. Probably, if you had something better than tossing out nonsense and hoping at least some part of it will stick, you’d use decent arguments in the first place. I really have no idea how to fix it up for you, to turn it into something that’s approaching a reasonable argument. That would be the charitable thing to do, if it were possible, but I get the feeling it would be pointless to even try. Is that why you haven’t done so yourself?

  42. chris61 says

    @42 chigau

    I assumed you were saying that since spontaneous abortions occur all the time, clearly elective abortions are no biggy since they are just more of the same.

  43. chris61 says

    @44

    The proposition “women are morally obliged to reproduce” is false, and so is the proposition “women deciding not to reproduce is murder.”

    As I agree with both those statements, I have no idea what you are on about.

  44. chigau (違う) says

    chris61 #38
    Of course, using that logic, since some children die from a variety of causes (cancers, accidents, etc.), doctors should just go around indiscriminately actively killing children who are in no danger of dying from cancer or accidents etc.
    me #42
    I made a nonsensical comment about souls, how did you get to there?
    .
    chris61 #45
    I assumed you were saying that since spontaneous abortions occur all the time, clearly elective abortions are no biggy since they are just more of the same.
    .
    Too many for me. 明日ぬ。

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

    chris, you’re the one who proposes your reader – who is both mature enough and educated enough to pop on to the internet and digest your words – getting dropped off at a house is analogous to becoming pregnant and now you have no idea what folks are on about?

    Wow. That’s … that’s chutzpah right there. You do you, I guess.

  46. consciousness razor says

    As I agree with both those statements, I have no idea what you are on about.

    Take any of your comments above. All I can do is read those, not read your mind. What the fuck do you think you were arguing about? And whatever that may be, what purpose would it serve to leave me in the dark about it, even now?

  47. dianne says

    Chris, do you have any idea how often abortions occur after even the remotest chance of viability? Very rarely. Less than 1% of the time. When it does, it generally occurs because of fetal non-viability. Stopping the fetus’ heart is done for one of two reasons: to avoid unnecessary suffering (some of the malformations are painful) and to make the delivery easier. If a woman really did walk into a hospital saying, “I’m done with this pregnancy, I want out now!” when she was, say, 30 weeks pregnant, the solution (probably after a lot of asking “are you SURE?”) is delivery. No one gets or is doing abortions on full term fetuses just because they feel like it that day. It could happen, maybe it has happened–there are 7 billion people in the world and some of them are strange–but it’s nothing close to the typical abortion, which occurs in the first 8 weeks before the embryo is so much as recognizably human.

  48. dianne says

    Also, Chris, if 80% of one year olds died of some disease would you ignore those deaths? Would they not matter at all to you because infanticide happens occasionally? If you wouldn’t ignore the deaths of 80% of one year olds, tell me what action you’re taking on the problem of early pregnancy loss.

  49. chris61 says

    @ 49 & @ 50
    You’re right that getting dropped off at a house is a flawed analogy for a fetus finding itself in a uterus. There is no good analogy because pregnancy is a unique situation.

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

    Then why did you complain about my extension of your analogy?

  51. brucegee1962 says

    @dianne 51

    If a woman really did walk into a hospital saying, “I’m done with this pregnancy, I want out now!” when she was, say, 30 weeks pregnant, the solution (probably after a lot of asking “are you SURE?”) is delivery. No one gets or is doing abortions on full term fetuses just because they feel like it that day.

    So why is this? Seriously, why is that an 8-week abortion is completely morally neutral, but a 30-week abortion on a healthy fetus is a moral anathema (at least, I assume that part of the objections would be moral, as well as health-related). As I asked back in @19, is there something that happens at some point between 8 weeks and 30 weeks that bestows humanity and rights upon a fetus?

    In many ways, it would make the whole debate a lot easier if the pro-choice side could pick a particular milestone and say “This is where a clump of cells becomes a human being.” Personally, I think we should define the beginning of life the same way we define the end: by the presence or absence of brain activity. I’m just not sure which milestone we should use.

  52. OptimalCynic says

    AS A MAN I feel that my opinion is very important and should be heard.

    My opinion is that what a woman does with her body is her own business and what I think of it is irrelevant.

  53. garysturgess says

    brucegee1962@55: Most of the posters here (including me) use the body autonomy argument, which means it doesn’t matter whether or not a fetus is a human being or not; human beings do not have the right to use other human being’s bodies.

  54. chigau (違う) says

    Seriously, why is that an 8-week abortion is completely morally neutral, but a 30-week abortion on a healthy fetus is a moral anathema…
    .
    Because the quickening (ensoulification) happens at 16 weeks.

  55. dianne says

    @55: It’s not so much morally anathema as ridiculous. Pregnancy is physically hard. Anyone who does not want a pregnancy and has the chance to rid themselves of it will not wait until week 30 to do so. I actually don’t have any particular problem with making it a legal option, it’s just a pointless one.

    Brain activity seems a reasonable place to start, at least in terms of saying that a being with no brain activity is certainly not a human being with rights. Most experts seem to put “brain birth” at around 20 weeks or later. Some as late as 30. But since most abortions occur in the first 8 weeks of pregnancy and the vast majority occur before 14 weeks, when there is clearly no brain activity worth talking about (we withdraw care from people with more brain activity than a 15 week old fetus every day–sorry if that’s gross, but ti’s true) so the most conservative rational definition of when the fetus should receive any consideration puts only perhaps a few percent of abortions into question. Why do those abortions occur? Because something goes wrong with the pregnancy–a genetic defect identified late, a teratogenic problem, a known problem turns out worse than expected, the mother’s health is in danger, etc. If we allow people to make medical decisions for their sick children, including termination of care, shouldn’t we also allow them to make decisions for their sick fetuses?

    There’s also the problem of hypoxia. The uterus is a low oxygen environment. The cortex doesn’t work in low oxygen. So it is likely that part of the difference between a perfectly developed 40 week old fetus and a healthy term newborn is exposure to an oxygen rich environment. The fetus may know nothing and have no sentience because its brain has never been exposed to enough oxygen to allow any cortical neurons to activate. I’m not going to insist on this statement, though, since it’s far too far out of my area of expertise for me to be sure.

  56. dianne says

    I should also point out that at 30 weeks the simplest and probably safest way to end a pregnancy with no specific issues (normal fetus, healthy mother) is probably just to induce labor. There’s no reason to do an abortion if the patient wants to end their pregnancy then.

  57. Ichthyic says

    Of course chris61 would be anti-choice too. Internalized misogyny is pretty serious stuff.

    color me shocked.

    actually, what surprises me given the number of times he has trolled the comments section here… is why any of you ever bother giving him the time of day?

    he’s an intractable dolt.

  58. Ichthyic says

    I assumed you were saying that since spontaneous abortions occur all the time, clearly elective abortions are no biggy since they are just more of the same.

    that’s the problem with ignorance. it lets you assume a variety of ridiculous things.

    you.. are one ignorant motherfucker, Chris.

  59. Phrenomythic Productions says

    I felt more qualified to chime on last time’s discussion than this one, so of course I’ll pass. :-)

  60. Phrenomythic Productions says

    Also, at risk of stating the obvious: I don’t have a uterus…

  61. Allison says

    You know what’s missing in all this “debate”? The point of view of someone who has been in the position of trying to get an abortion, especially when they’re doing so because the alternative is worse.

    For instance, an awful lot of aboritions are sought because the (prospective) mother is just barely getting by and another child (or another pregnancy) would push her and her family over the edge. People who are on the edge of survival often have to choose between High Moral Principles(tm) and the reality of the world the way it is, and I think it’s the height of arrogance for us privileged folks to tell them which they have to choose. (Okay, there may be a few folks here who are or have been on the edge of survival, but I suspect most of us are rather comfortably off.)

    Discussions about morality by those who haven’t had to make the hard choices strike me as so much mental masturbation.

    BTW, I’m probably a little biased, since for much of my life I felt that the world — and I — would have been better off if my mother had had an abortion when she was pregnant with me. Sometimes life is not better than the alternative.

  62. opposablethumbs says

    Well, I’ve been in that situation – though not in the US, I am profoundly grateful to say. Now obviously I’m just one little data point among millions, but by way of illustration …

    I had an IUD (two different types at different times), which is generally regarded as one of the most reliable methods of contraception to date, and unsurprisingly thought I could rely on it. I got pregnant (twice), and with no hesitation or doubt whatsoever I had an abortion (twice) which I have never regretted for a second.

    About ten years later, I had kids (coincidentally twice). Pregnancy and childbirth are not risk-free, and they are burdensome and incredibly fucking painful respectively. Undergoing that by choice was bad enough; being forced to do it against your will is absolutely barbaric enslavement, no shadow of a doubt, and would imo qualify as torture. And that’s before we even start to consider the situation of there being an unwanted child. (hey, my kids owe their lives to my having been able to access abortion ten years earlier!)

    Of course a blastocyst/embryo/foetus is not a person, but I don’t think that even matters – personally I find the bodily autonomy argument a cogent one. How can a hypothetical someone have a right to your body, regardless of how that situation arose? Let a man first agree that it should be legal to force him against his will to donate a kidney, half a liver, some bone marrow or blood to his own son who will die without them (for the sake of argument) before he legislates to enslave me (and he’ll still be wrong).

    One’s body is one’s very self. May I say a very cordial fuck you to all those armchair philosophers playing ducks-and-drakes with women’s human rights and actual full humanity, together with any and all of the horses they could conceivably have ridden in on.

  63. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Chris61, what I am talking about is you from across the street from an abortion clinic cannot know the real status of the woman. You can’t even see the zygote/embryo/fetus if it exists at all. You don’t know, and shouldn’t know anything about the patient, according to HIPPA.
    You cannot show a crime is being committed. All you have is erroneous presuppositions.
    It took me five minutes of thinking when Roe v. Wade was announced to determine the truth; its none of my business what goes on between the woman and her doctor. What is your excuse for believing the forced birther lies and pretending you have any authority over the woman in question? What is your real problem?

  64. chris61 says

    Nerd
    I have no authority over anyone and I personally am pro-choice. But it concerns me that after almost 50 years of Roe v. Wade Americans are still pretty much divided on the issue of abortion. I think pro-choicers need to come up with a better argument in favor of it than a woman’s body autonomy because at least to date it doesn’t seem to have proved very persuasive.
    That’s my problem.

  65. says

    Chris61

    You’re dropped off at a house. Turns out the person who put you there did so without the consent of the homeowner. Do you deserve to be killed?

    That you are wrong is a given, but must you be so boringly and stupid?
    First of all, I am very sure I never put a fetus into my uterus. I am pretty sure that all the times it happened it was a result of biological processes happening, not of me putting something somewhere.
    Second, I gestated and birthed two children. I also bought a house. From experience I can tell you, these are very different things. A building is not a body. But to make your analogy a bit more realistic let’s add some factors:
    Somebody is in your house. You actually don’t want them there. As long as they are in your house, they will cause you pain and damage your body. They will only leave after either ripping your abdomen open or violently raping you for hours.
    Suddenly the whole thing looks different, doesn’t it?
    Yep, abortion ends a fetus’ existence. It generally does so at a stage when every chicken I ever ate had greater consciousness and ability to feel pain, so I’m not very worried about the fetus. And even if that weren’t the case, the already existing person on whose body the fetus relies would always have greater importance to me.

    Dianne!!!!!!
    Opposablethumbs!!!!!
    So good to see you!.

  66. embraceyourinnercrone says

    I can’t weigh in for anyone else but me but here goes( for the record I think any person capable of becoming pregnant should be allowed to decide for themselves if they want to continue the pregnancy or not, I think special circumstances apply for people who are possibly not able to understand the implications of pregnancy, there have been cases of 9 year old pregnant incest victims…):
    I have been pregnant 3 times all 3 by choice, the first ended in a very painful, scary miscarriage (a person’s bloodpressure should not be 60/40). The second time I had what is called a missed abortion in medical terms, what that means is that the 7 or 8 week embryo died in utero but was not expelled, I had a DandC at the hospital. The third time I carried the baby full term and delivered a healthy baby girl (waves to awesome daughter).

    Pregnancy is dangerous, birth is dangerous (even in first world countries with access to good medical care). I mourned the “potential” babies I lost, basically I was mourning the idea of what they might someday be like. The person carrying the pregnancy is the one taking all the risks and the one whose body is being used, they should ultimately have the final say in whether they want to continue any particular pregnancy.

    Somewhat related: @The Mellow Monkey mentioned in a comment up-thread that no one can be compelled to breastfeed a child, I beg to differ, the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative is being pushed HARD in many hospitals in the U.S., it makes breastfeeding rates more important than patient safety in many cases. Because it’s a great idea to put a baby in a bed with a person on narcotic painkillers who just had surgery.
    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.782.8367&rep=rep1&type=pdf

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/08/11/a-sleeping-mother-suffocated-her-newborn-in-the-maternity-ward-now-shes-suing-the-hospital/?utm_term=.7c16ae80eb4d

    “It was nearly midnight one Sunday in the summer of 2012 when Thompson, who had undergone a Caesarean section a few days earlier, was given a cocktail of narcotic painkillers and sleep aids.
    A nurse took the newborn to his mother for breast-feeding and put the child next to her in her hospital bed at Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Ore.An hour later, Thompson, “still drowsy and groggy,” realized that her son, Jacob, was not moving.” (and anyone who wants to say one should not have pain meds after giving birth can fuck right off)

    Whether one should have a C-section(I wish I could have gotten one in hindsight), whether one should breastfeed/combo feed/formula feed, whether one should get an abortion, are personal medical decisions.

  67. says

    *Is “person” versus “human being” significant?

    I’ve had no problem thinking of a conceptus to fetus as human but not a person. Conceptually you can have non-human persons.

    *Why does it matter either way? I’m unsure on why some people here have said we need to know what a fetus is. To me it’s irrelevant to if someone can have it removed. You could show me a tap dancing fetus and it still wouldn’t be enough to violate someone’s personal autonomy.

  68. What a Maroon, living up to the 'nym says

    Brony,

    “Human” can be used as both a modifier and a stand-alone noun; forced birthers use that fact to confuse the matter. The fetus is a human fetus, and therefore a human, they’ll say, but by that logic bread dough is bread, and human rights are humans.

    Any attempt to pinpoint when in the course of development the thing becomes a person is going to be arbitrary. I prefer the prototype approach to defining categories; essentially you first determine what characteristics a prototypical member of the category has, and then to the extent that an exemplar shares most of those characteristics, they may or may not be considered a member of that category. In that approach, most people will agree on central cases, but may disagree on the edge cases, where you distinguish between x and not-x.

    But I agree with you and others who say that the key issue for abortion is personal autonomy.

  69. says

    embraceyourinnercrone

    I mourned the “potential” babies I lost, basically I was mourning the idea of what they might someday be like.

    *waves* Been there, done that. Like with your second, my first pregnancy ended in a missed abortion and a D&C. The pain and the loss was all mine. I can see the kid I had after that miscarriage jumping on the trampoline right now. The thought alone of losing her is worse.

    A nurse took the newborn to his mother for breast-feeding and put the child next to her in her hospital bed at Adventist Medical Center in Portland, Ore.An hour later, Thompson, “still drowsy and groggy,” realized that her son, Jacob, was not moving.”

    Holy fuck I want to slap these people so hard. But hey, let’s remember that just recently we had a person here tell us that American women are hurtin g their babies because they’re too posh to breastfeed…

  70. embraceyourinnercrone says

    @Giliell – Kind of off topic but yeah, regarding the “too posh to breastfeed crap” , and the funny thing about all the pushing people to Exclusively Breastfeed for Six Months mantra, is that the larger and more well controlled Probit and Discordant Sibling studies don’t actually show many definable advantages to breastfeeding. Also many studies do not correct for socio-economic status, education level of parents, income level, etc so If you can afford, in the U.S. to stay home and breastfeed, take your kid to enrichment classes, you have a college degree, etc your kid may be healthier and appear smarter when taking tests, but I doubt it’s the breast milk that did it.

    And no one ever mentions the “perfect food” is deficient in both iron and Vitamin D. But let’s convince exhausted new parents that if one drop of formula passes their baby’s lips it will forever degrade their kids “virgin gut biome” and lower their kid’s IQ and “oh horrors” make their kid fat.

  71. dianne says

    Giliell! *Waves*

    There are two issues that need to be addressed for someone to be a consistent “pro-life” person:
    1. Bodily autonomy. A consistent believer in the “pro-life” stance would demand that every person who is qualified (i.e. has a working marrow and no transmissible diseases) would be tested for HLA haplogroup and, if anyone needed their marrow, required to donate. Also, that spare kidney is up for grabs and as for burying an intact body, forget it.
    2. The miscarriage pandemic. Either they’d have to demand that 80% or more of all medical research spending go into research into prevention of miscarriage or that no medical research be done at all. Because it’s ridiculous to spend billions on working out methods of treating rare cancers if 80% of babies are dying of some disease or diseases that we’re not even trying to find out how to treat.

  72. says

    Embraceyourinnercrone
    I don’t think it’s off topic, because it ties into the question at the centre of the debate: are the bodies of AFAB people their own or do they exist primarily for the benefit of others?
    Guilt tripping women and others for not breastfeeding is just another page in that book.
    Dianne
    But Chris got your first objection covered: those sl*tty women put tge fetus there by spreading their legs therefore it’s different or something.
    Funny enough that not even running somebody over on purpose doesn’t entitle the victim to an ounce of blood, but I guess there are reasons why that is different again.

  73. Saad says

    chris61, #38

    Actually, as I have stated on numerous occasions on this site, I am pro choice.

    We can check that easily. Oh yes, here we are.

    Your post #21

    You can kick a husband out of your vagina but you can’t kill him. Ditto the child.

    and post #25

    You’re dropped off at a house. Turns out the person who put you there did so without the consent of the homeowner. Do you deserve to be killed?

    show that you are not pro-choice.

    I mean fuck, put some effort into your bullshitting. At least contradict yourself in a different thread from years ago; not in the same damn thread a few hours apart.

  74. llyris says

    Allison @ 65 talked about the privilege of taking a moral high ground and how that doesn’t intersect with reality.

    I’ve been there. I’ve had 2 children through IVF, and even though we thought is was bordering on impossible, I got accidentally pregnant a couple of years later.
    The argument that I should keep my legs closed and stop being a slut rather falls down because I’m married and therefore I also supposedly have an obligation to have sex with my husband. Not that it was ever a reason, but people seem to like to punish women for sex.
    We thought about having another baby, but I was becoming so ill from the pregnancy that I couldn’t care for the children we already have. It was obvious to me, from the experience of previous pregnancies, that something was going very wrong. And that is why I chose to have a safe, legal, reasonably priced abortion at 9 weeks gestation. Apart from some weirdness, it was one of the nicest medical facilities I’ve been in. I was treated with dignity and humanity. The surgeon thought Odysseus was a bit heavy reading for the time I spent waiting. He was lovely. Of course I grieved for the ‘might have been’ scenarios. But I know I did the right thing for myself and my existing family. There were plenty of negative ‘might have been’s too.
    And I could, because where I live abortion is completely legal in the first 24 weeks, and legal for medical reasons at any time, whether it is because the mother is at risk or whether the fetus has severe deformity. It makes sense, 24 weeks is around the earliest a fetus is potentially viable outside the uterus. If it can’t possibly survive within it’s own body it isn’t a baby. In any case, most abortions are performed in the first trimester. People really do not decide one day, after they have known for 4 months, to go off and get an abortion. I think this is one of the problems with the abortion debate; the notion that women can’t be trusted with their own bodies.

  75. embraceyourinnercrone says

    This thread may be done but @llyris comment reminded me of this web site:

    https://www.myabortionmylife.org/read-stories

    People tell there own abortion stories. I never cared for the “abortion is a difficult decision” phrasing. Everyone’s situation is different and for quite a few it’s a simple procedure and not a difficult decision.

    A simple procedure provided a lot of un-needed barriers and procedures aren’t put in place to make it difficult to actually obtain an abortion.

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