I knew the place was missing something

Our lack has been filled. Iris has opened a Freethoughtblogs Abbatoir.

Here, we perform extractions of lifesaving organs–whether people consent to them or not!

Don’t worry! The Abattoir does not harvest organs from just anyone, willy-nilly. That would be morally reprehensible, barbaric, and inhumane. You see, all of our involuntary organ donors meet one, and only one, very specific criteria: they would eagerly and happily force other people to donate lifesaving organs without the donor’s consent. And these donors do so with absolutely no regard for the harm this may cause, whether physically, psychologically or financially. Since all of The Abattoir’s donors feel so very strongly about this particular principle, it is only just and fair that they live by it!

She has a few photos of the place, I think prior to the actual opening. Once the site gets going, it’s going to be significantly less tidy, and things will get blood-drenched quickly.

Uh-oh. Do we have a Freethoughtblogs Laundry? No, we do not. Do we have a Freethoughtblogs Autoclave? Nope. I’m not in any hurry to open one, I think we can satisfy our donors with reassurances that it’s somewhat cleaner than a back alley.


  1. F.O. says

    Dunno. Feels like preaching to the choir.
    Won’t change the mind of pro-lifer and it’s too abstract for a fence-sitter.
    Makes you feel smart writing about it, and hey, in these shit times feeling good about anything is something to treasure, but still.. “meh”?
    It’s another “gotcha” argument and yes, it’s rationally sound, but will it leave its bubble and reach someone else’s? Will it actually lead to more bodily autonomy?

  2. Akira MacKenzie says

    Don’t worry! The Abattoir does not harvest organs from just anyone, willy-nilly. That would be morally reprehensible, barbaric, and inhumane.

    Awwwww. but it’s fun!

  3. Ariaflame, BSc, BF, PhD says

    So, F.O., got something better? Feel free to explain.

  4. birgerjohansson says

    They are working for The Company.
    Beware of what you find growing inside them.
    “They are coming through the ventilation ductsaaaarggh”
    (Shots fired, klaxons howling)

  5. Akira MacKenzie says

    @ 5

    Well, time to take off and nuke the entire site for orbit… AGAIN. It’s the only way… yadda yadda… You know the rest.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    Unfortunately all of USA seems infested. Ask the predators for help?

  7. JustaTech says

    The first thing this brought to mind was the opening bit for “The Galaxy Song” from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. The Galaxy song is great, but be aware that the opening bit is one of the more gross-out bits in the film (and that’s saying a lot, given the “wafer thin chocolate mint” piece).

  8. Rich Woods says

    If it’s of any help, I have experience in designing the interaction between conveyer belts and rotating knives.

  9. says

    I expected this from corpo rats, but not y’all. Unless you’re joking, in which case, carry on. I’ve been in some bad-weird head-spaces lately and I’m not processing… efficiently.

  10. billseymour says

    This thread, and the one on Iris’ blog, disgust me.  I cannot approve of torture no matter how vile the recipient is.

  11. JimB says

    To those that don’t understand…
    What is being presented is a riff on the argument that anybody that claims to be pro-life should be an organ donor. Voluntary or involuntary. I mean life is so precious that it deserves protection at conception. Then surely all Pro-Life activists would be an organ donor as one of their kidneys or a chunk of their liver might save an actual already born living breathing person.

    So maybe read PZ’s blurb again with the above in mind.

    And billseymour, there is no torture. The appropriate seditive would be used for the surgery.

  12. John Morales says

    JimB, I understand the intent perfectly, but since there are no organs actually being donated instead of co-opted, it’s not the same thing as being an organ donor.

    Miind you, I too considered addressing billseymour’s metaphoric literalism, but then I’m subject to a different form of it. It’s not a proper analogy, which would work for me.

  13. Rob Grigjanis says

    billseymour @12: It’s meant to be disgusting. It’s meant to illustrate the obscenity of the anti-abortion position. Many people are inured to the nonsense, having been exposed to it for so long. Sometimes a short sharp shock is necessary to expose hypocrisy. Do you have to approve of cannibalism to appreciate A Modest Proposal?

    John @15: Right, analogies are never exactly the same as the things they refer to. If they were, they wouldn’t be analogies. Early in my thinking about this, I considered the following situation: someone needs a kidney transplant. I am the only person with a match. Should I be obliged to donate one of my kidneys?

  14. John Morales says

    Rob, hopefully you’re not trying to go all Socratic on me.

    Yes, kidney transplants mean removing a kidney from one person and sewing it into another. Donor loses the kidney, recipient gains it.

    But — and here’s the thing — fetuses grow their own. Mothers keep theirs.

    I entirely share the sentiment that nobody should be forced to carry a pregnancy to the bitter end, but that’s not donating (i.e. losing) any organs.

    As for your specific question, of course not. But that has nothing to do with pregnancy.

  15. Rob Grigjanis says

    John @17: Carrying a pregnancy to term is donating your entire body for nine months, with risk to your life and health.

  16. John Morales says

    Fine, persevere with the silly false equivalence.

    (Pregnant women are disembodied, in your estimation. Got it)

  17. John Morales says

    Some metaphors work well within a particular demographic, but not-so-well in the wider world. cf. Pharyngula’s Dungeon.

    And I think I should note, just for you, Rob, that your apparently reflexive castigation of what you perceive to be overly broad antitheism should perhaps take into account the circumstances of this swing to anti-abortionism by means of long-term court-stacking.


  18. MadHatter says

    F.O. @1: While some of it is silly a “gotcha” like the list at the end of donors, the underlying argument is the one that needs to be made and hammered home. Because what anti-abortion laws do is force the donation of a woman’s body to another, and result in her death is too many cases.

    I’m actually really frustrated by people making this about the actual abortion, because in no other case do we currently require the donation of blood, tissues or organs by any living (or dead!) person! But because it’s women it’s ok. So I would like to see the fight made clearer with exactly this argument. And maybe even some “gotcha” legislation that we know wouldn’t pass, but would require blood/tissue/organ donation under any circumstances too. That might actually make some people stop and think.

  19. MadHatter says

    Also, as a general note John Morales…pregnancy and birth is one of the most dangerous health conditions any woman can undergo. You are literally donating all the organs in your body, and it has life-long effects on your body if you live through it. So this is a totally reasonable comparison.

  20. John Morales says


    You are literally donating all the organs in your body […] So this is a totally reasonable comparison.

    Clearly, you and I don’t share the same conception (heh) of ‘literally’.

  21. dianne says

    Just to note that any completed pregnancy brings irreversible changes to the body of the person who was pregnant. So I suppose you could make a case for the claim that it’s not donating organs, just loaning them, it’s a bit like renting out an apartment for free to a tenant that you know is going to trash the place, except that the “apartment” is your body.

  22. dianne says

    For all those who are shocked, just shocked, by the abbatoir, I have an alternative suggestion: People who cannot become pregnant (cis-men, trans-women, post-menopausal or otherwise infertile cis-women, nonbinary people without cycling ovaries are all eligible) who oppose abortion can register in a database. When over 50% of those qualified register, abortion becomes illegal. After that time, any time a person who can become pregnant does so, a person from the registry will be selected at random and matched to the pregnant person. The matched person will undergo every inconvenience, pain, and damage that the pregnant person does or the closest possible thing to it. For example, if the pregnant person gets pregnancy induced nausea, the matched person receives a nausea inducing medication at a dose that will have a similar effect. I suggest low dose cis-platinum, which would have the additional advantage of simulating the immunosuppression and kidney damage of pregnancy as well. If the pregnant person develops gestational diabetes, the matched person gets steroids to up their blood sugar to similar levels. And so on. If the pregnant person dies, the matched person is executed in a manner as close to the pregnant person’s death as possible. (As someone who only survived labor because there was an OB on hand, let me assure you that the execution will be horrific, but fair.) This is going far too easy on the matched person, but it would be a start on giving them some responsibility for their beliefs and actions.

  23. Kagehi says

    No analogy in this case is perfect, though perhaps the “closest” would be, say, requiring someone with a matching blood, and the use of some new medication that made such possible for up to 9 months, to donate use of their own kidneys as a “blood filter”, for anyone suffering kidney failure, while they wait for either a) death, or b) a donor kidney.

    That said, I think the more clear point is how the “party”, and often just the people in general, who appose abortion tend to also appose:

    Universal health care
    Minimum wage laws
    Housing for the poor
    School lunch programs
    Public education (with the either delusion/lie that, once public schools no longer exist they will still provide tax money to let poor people go to private schools)
    Treatments for trans people
    Birth control, in many cases
    Real sex education, instead of useless abstinence programs
    Police reform
    Court reform
    Actual rehabilitation programs, either for drugs, or crime
    -Every other thing that actually protects the “sanctity of life”, instead of just the sanctity of BIRTH.-

  24. dianne says

    Kagehi@26: It’s not even the sanctity of birth. Ask a so-called “pro-life” person how they feel about funding into ways to prevent miscarriage. They will almost inevitably dodge the question. I have never heard of any of the anti-abortion group lobbying for or even supporting increased funding for medical research into ways to prevent miscarriage or any other intervention that would improve fetal health. Also, they oppose allowing selective abortion that would save one twin after fetal demise of the other twin. Do you remember the “partial birth” thing a few years ago? I read the actual bill. It acknowledges that the technique that they were outlawing is the safest way to save the life of a fetus whose twin had died. And then went on to discuss how to outlaw it.

  25. raven says


    Louisiana legislators advance bill classifying abortion as homicide

    I didn’t even read it.

    Nothing new about this.
    Similar bills have been introduced in Texas and Idaho.

    If an embryo or fetus is a person, then abortion is first degree murder. The fundie xians are eagerly awaiting the first women to get life in prison or the death penalty.

    Texans who get abortions could face death penalty if
    https://www.texastribune.org › 2021/03/09 › texas-legis…

    Mar 9, 2021 — Under the bill filed Tuesday, women who receive an abortion and physicians who perform the procedure could be charged with assault or homicide, …

    So how many Red states will ultimately make abortion a felony as first degree murder? Probably all of them.
    They are in race to see who can be the most horrible people and most extreme christofascists.

  26. Deepak Shetty says

    @Rob Grigjanis @16

    someone needs a kidney transplant. I am the only person with a match. Should I be obliged to donate one of my kidneys

    Analogies need not be exact but the above isn’t a good one in the context of Abortion. It concedes 2 crucial things(implicitly) to the anti-abortionist
    a. That the fetus is a person who is able to , wants to, is capable of surviving except this one thing
    b. That there is a moral question – For e.g. a utilitarian may actually answer the above as “Yes , you are morally obligated – perhaps just not legally obligated”
    The analogy is more closer to What length I cut my hair , Whether I grow a moustache or not, Whether I go in for Chemo or not , Whether I have colonoscopy or not, Whether I choose to tattoo myself is my problem , maybe I consult with my loved ones or my doctor but in the end it has to be my body my choice . Vaccines are a good counter point but even then I dont see anyone demanding the Government force anyone.

  27. Rob Grigjanis says

    Deepak Shetty @29: I think you’re missing the point. If an anti-choicer answers “no, you shouldn’t be obliged to donate a kidney”, even if there is no doubt about the humanity of the recipient, the nonsense at the heart of their position is exposed. If they answer “yes, you should be obliged”, they’re opening a really nasty legal can of worms. I’m sure most would answer “no”.

    There are other arguments which address the ‘moral question’, but the most important question is the legal one.

  28. dianne says

    It could be argued that the potential kidney (or other organ/tissue) donor has a greater moral and should have a greater legal requirement to follow through with their donation for one reason: If you know that you are a match for someone, then you agreed to have your HLA typing done and the results shared with the potential recipient. No one gets drunk and accidentally signs up to be a marrow donor. Your pen can’t accidentally fail and sign your name on the consent to release information form. If you are a known match for someone, you made an implicit promise that you would donate. You intentionally, by multiple acts of will, allowed the person who is in need of organ/tissue to believe that you would donate. If any requirement for donation of body or body parts should be made, it should be there, not in the context of pregnancy, which can, and often is, accidental.

  29. Deepak Shetty says

    @Rob Grigjanis @30
    My comment is limited to the analogy and how these arguments and discussions are framed. A fetus isnt a person nor is there (necessarily) any morality at stake. Your analogy does come up quite a lot in philosophy without the abortion context (What would a virtue ethicist say ? What would a utilitarian say?)

    I don’t expect anti-abortionists to be consistent or logical. I fully expect them to be hypocritical and illogical in their answers
    Otherwise you’d see them to be in the forefront of advocating for contraception , government schemes for single parents , family friendly work policies , anti death penalty, supporting refugees etc.
    Im sure an anti-abortionist can find some hair to split to say why this is different (They could always refer to John Morales :) ).

  30. Kagehi says


    Oh, I know. I forgot to add a lot of things, like how they are almost all, “pro death penalty”, on top of everything else. There is nothing consistent with their idea of “protecting life”, and actually protecting anyone’s lives. All I can say is that it would be an exhaustive list, and I was posting in the last few minutes before leaving for work….