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Abortion Pledge? Don’t Sign

June 23rd, 2011 at 6:20 pm | 78 Comments |

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Anti-abortion proponents from the Susan B. Anthony List have lobbied GOP presidential candidates to sign a pro-life pledge promising their commitment to the nomination of pro-life judges, the appointments of pro-life cabinet members, the advancement of pro-life legislation and the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Candidates Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, among others, have already signed the pledge while Mitt Romney, Herman Cain and Jon Huntsman refused.

But SBA List media spokesperson Ciara Matthews told FrumForum her organization will increasingly pressure hold-outs in the GOP pack to add their names to the pledge by warning them of  of a potential voter backash.

“There will be a good chunk of the populace that candidates aren’t going to be earning a vote from because of their decision not to sign the pledge,” she said. “So I certainly hope Romney will take a good look at that and see how detrimental that will be if doesn’t sign the pledge.”

Matthews said there has been a noticeable shift among voters on abortion in recent years, with a recent Gallup poll showing 51 percent of Americans identifying themselves as pro-life, while 42 percent remain pro-choice — the first time the former have been in the majority since the public opinion firm began surveying on the topic in 1995. In 2010, 44 percent of Americans considered themselves pro-life while 50 percent were pro-choice.

Fueled by growing anti-abortion sentiment, Matthews said the group’s supporters are becoming increasingly influential and expect candidates to stay true to their pro-life promise.

“The pro-life movement and the pro-life activists are some of the most engaged in the country, and if there were to be a Republican candidate elected president, who signs the pledge and for one reason or another decided to back out on the promise they made to those pro-life voters across the country, there would be a lot of very unhappy people,” she said.

The DC-based SBA List is also asking Americans to sign a “citizens’ pledge” on abortion — promising only to vote for a candidate who has signed the presidential anti-abortion pledge. The number almost reached 10,000 yesterday, after just five days of recruitment, and is continuing to increase rapidly. For every candidate who makes this promise, Romney, and others who refuse to sign, will lose one potential vote.

Out of Republicans and independents leaning to the right, 70 percent consider themselves pro-life –- a 10 percent increase from last year’s 60 percent. This indicates the GOP is shifting further away from the middle of the social spectrum which may cause pro-choice candidates to lose votes among the base during the upcoming primary season.

However, a recent poll shows that only 17 percent of Republicans consider social issues and moral values of greatest political importance to them. Instead, government spending is ranked as the most important issue for likely voters.

Besides, Romney and Huntsman are both personally pro-life -– they simply refuse to make a promise that includes very specific conditions they realistically may not be able to honor.

As governor of Utah, Huntsman, a lifelong pro-life supporter, signed various bills into law which restricted abortion. Romney vetoed attempts to expand abortion rights, even stopping an effort to allow Massachusetts women access to the morning-after pill without a prescription.

But SBA List’s media spokesperson said a stance against abortion is not enough for her group’s support.

“Huntsman has a promising pro-life record as governor. But being president of the United States is different than being governor of Utah,” said Matthews. “Voters shouldn’t have to guess where he stands. “We gave him a deadline of next Wednesday and encourage him to sign if he wants to clear up any doubt on those issues.”

However, some young Republican women deemed the pledge unreasonable and extreme, distracting candidates and voters from issues like the economy.

“I think the pledge is absolutely ridiculous,” said DC student Elena Leo, 20. “Someone’s views on abortion should have nothing to do with their appointments to the presidential cabinet, which fulfills a role that has absolutely nothing to do with being pro-life or pro-choice. I think it was very extreme for candidates to sign it.”

Many young moderate voters, who are socially liberal and fiscally conservative, are turned off by the far-right ideals of some of the candidates, and some, like Leo, are pro-choice.

“Personally, I would not vote for a candidate who signed such a pledge,” said Leo. “I also don’t think it’s a smart move for candidates to make those kinds of promises to certain lobbying groups so early on in the campaign.”

In comparison to the country’s debt crisis, the issue of abortion is small and undeserving of as much attention as the SBA List’s pledge is giving it, Leo said.

“The economic state of the country affects my life on a day-to-day basis much more than the issue of abortion,” she told FrumForum.

Kristina Fridman, 21, said the economy and foreign policy will be the deciding factors in who she chooses to vote for, even though her moral values cause her to support restrictions on abortion with exceptions for special circumstances like rape and incest.

“As someone who is Christian and Republican, I understand that there are questions of morality and that is why I am in support of some restrictions,” she said. “As far as the importance of the issue, I think that where a candidate stands on the economy and foreign policy are more important than where they stand on social issues.”

In the 1996 presidential race, Republican frontrunner Bob Dole refused to sign an anti-abortion pledge, while his socially conservative opponent, Pat Buchanan, did — and shocked the nation by winning early GOP caucuses. Pro-life voters had flocked to the event. But Buchanan eventually lost the nomination to Dole once the primary season got underway proper and a mix of Republican and independent voters with broader concerns began casting ballots.

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78 Comments so far ↓

  • Chekote

    They can take their pledge and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

  • Nanotek

    “pro-life” is the biggest lie going from these people … if they were, they’d fight to end wars, pollution, bad water supplies and pre-natal care everywhere.

    they aren’t for “babies” … they’re all about ending people’s reproductive freedom

    the young gop is catching on

    • Primrose

      I totally agree Nanotek. You can’t claim to be pro-life and make cuts in the WIC program.

      • Chris Balsz

        Sure we can. For one thing, the WIC pays people who can afford to buy food. For another, there’s good reasons not to make the government the sole provider of charitable services.

  • balconesfault

    Matthews said there has been a noticeable shift among voters on abortion in recent years, with a recent Gallup poll showing 51 percent of Americans identifying themselves as pro-life, while 42 percent remain pro-choice

    So important, it bears saying twice in the article, eh?

    But it’s also badly misleading.

    Consider the most recent polling: Gallup Poll. May 5-8, 2011
    “Do you think abortions should be legal under any circumstances, legal only under certain circumstances, or illegal in all circumstances?”
    Always legal: 27%
    Sometimes legal: 50%
    Always illegal: 22%

    Interestingly, this poll also asked the Pro-Choice/Pro-Life question, and while the 49% Pro-Choice to 45% Pro-Life number is interesting (those numbers will bounce around) … what is REALLY interesting is that it looks like a majority of voters who label themselves “Pro-Life” do not believe abortion should always be illegal.

    By and large, Americans are squishy on abortion. Most people don’t want to be called a “baby killer”, even by people who they consider borderline crazy. By the same token, most people don’t appreciate the concept that a woman’s decision to have an abortion should be between anyone but her and her husband and her doctor, and want to give a pretty wide latitude to the definition of “mother’s health” when a decision is made to balance the fetus and the mother.

    The SBA crowd is not interested in this squishiness. And as it becomes clear that their definition of “Pro-Life” is a lot more hardline than that of most who now self-label with that term, they and their pledge will begin to look more and more crazy. A declaration that prominent Republicans like Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, Senators Collins, Snowe, and Hutchison, Congressmen Charlie Bass and Rodney Frelinghuysen, and many others, would all be barred from appointments will be enough to make a candidate a focus of ridicule among everyone but the the really extreme 20%, and the media who continue to pay undue attention to them.

    If a candidate who takes this pledge is the GOP nominee, it will be as good a form of electoral suicide as the party can devise.

    • Primrose

      I think one of the underlying secrets is that more women believe in the right to bodily integrity than they let on. Plenty of women who think they would never have an abortion themselves, view the idea of forcing a pregnancy on a woman with deep and grave suspicion.

      And once women become mothers and understand just how much a child needs, they are even more ambivalent. On the one hand the thought of killing a potential child seems worse because you associate it with your own child but on the other bringing a child into the world without what it needs seems fairly horrific as well, for the same reason. You know there are plenty of times you just couldn’t rasie a child right, and plenty of men who shouldn’t be fathers, whatever biological pull they may have. j

      I don’t think life itself was ever enough of a reason for the average women, and certainly not the average mother. Much mawkish and sentimental talk is made of mothers but the truth is we are in our core, hardcore and ruthless decision makers.

      What women really want is to trust that the woman making this decision is paying attention (either way) but since the women are strangers, we can’t be sure, which is why when it is a friend or family member there is not nearly the same criticism as some anonymous girl.

      I think if the men and clerics would just stay out of this argument, we could fashion a working solution, that trusted but counseled, permitted but discouraged, and of course, made birth control easily accessible and not subject to the whims and religious taboos of strangers.

  • Watusie

    If you believe that a sacred life begins at conception then the way IVF is done should be abhorrent…so why isn’t the Republican Party demanding that the nation’s fertility clinics be shut down, immediately? Afterall, there is no equivalent to Roe vs. Wade standing in the way.

    • Grace

      I’m sure you know the answer, Watusie, but to answer your question: Because good pro-life couples with fertility issues would be harmed, and we can’t have that. Have we ever once seen these activists on the sidewalk in front of an IVF clinic or heard them call for IVF providers to be shut down (by a well-placed bullet, if necessary)? The destruction of zygotes produced by IVF is no different than an early-stage abortion. But apparently to the extremists those ‘wanted’ (?) zygotes are somehow different than the zygotes of an unwanted or dangerous pregnancy.

      Nanotek above also nails it. Few of the pro-life extremists also actively oppose the death penalty or war. Few support contraceptive instruction or availability. They’d have more credibility if they were for life ’causes’ across the board, but their overriding interest is in monitoring the nation’s uterii and shaming women. For them, ‘life’ ends at birth; after that, you’re on your own, baby!

  • SFTor1

    The common pattern is that pro-lifers care enormously for zygotes, and stop caring for babies once they are born.

    • balconesfault

      The common pattern is that pro-lifers care enormously for zygotes, and stop caring for babies once they are born.

      I disagree. I think that pro-lifers care for babies is exactly the same as their care for zygotes – they care that someone does not deliberately kill them.

      Now … a sizable number of pro-lifers stand in opposition to Medicaid, AFDC, CHIPs … pretty much anything where Government is involved in all the things that many young children in America are wholly dependent on to have substantial chance of growing up healthy, much less growing up at all.

      Then again … those same pro-lifers tend to be consistent in their opposition to government spending money on guaranteeing pregnant women have adequate nutrition, vitamins, safe housing, and pre-natal medical care, much less government funded delivery clinics.

  • valkayec

    Honestly, I have no sympathy for the pro-lifers. I consider them hypocrites at the very least.

    However, my opposition to signing their pledge has nothing to do with social values or what I think about abortion. My opposition stems from believing that no political official should sign a pledge of any kind to any special interest group. The only pledge they should sign is their oath of office.

    Can you imagine George Washington signing some special interest group’s pledge? Or Abe Lincoln? Or Dwight Eisenhower? These pledges are absurd and, in my opinion, wrong.

  • anniemargret

    It’s bizarre. To be ‘pro-life’ has to mean much, much more than these anti-abortion people. What they want actually is to have the federal government decide these terrible decisions that women have to make.

    And everyone here pretty much sums it up; that their ‘pro-life’ stance ends at birth. If one is going to be ‘pro-life’ you have mean it – war, smart-bombs on innocents, willing to pay taxes to help society’s innocent and needy, etc… but they don’t do they?

    What is even more galling to me is their stance – or lack thereof – on the use of contraception. It is not rocket science. If more people who are having sex used birth control, we would have less unwanted pregnancies and less abortions by far. That way abortion rates would fall dramatically, leaving most of them for extreme cases of hardship – and that decision should always remain away from the fed’s grasp.

    But there is no mention – ever – from the Christians within the GOP about contraception. It is as if they believe to mention it, or encourage it would increase sexuality among the young or irresponsible. It might – but at least we would not see 15 and 16 y/o girls getting pregnant, or ‘Dads” who took off at the first sign that his girlfriend got pregnant.

    This is as much common sense as it is anything else. So why doesn’t the GOP have it?

    • Primrose

      Not only that AnnieMargaret but they are defining more and more contraceptives, particularly the ones that work, as “abortion” And then claiming the right not to distribute them. I never did understand why they think they have any say over what I choose to do with my body. Can a Jewish butcher at Shop-Rite refuse to sell me pork? Can a jehovah’s witness nurse refuse a blood transfusion?

      It is all about controlling women’s bodies. They aren’t even trying to hide it anymore.

  • PatrickQuint

    balconesfault: “By and large, Americans are squishy on abortion. Most people don’t want to be called a “baby killer”, even by people who they consider borderline crazy.”

    I suspect that it’s not trying to avoid being *called* a baby killer so much as trying to avoid *feeling* like a baby killer. Attributing the stance to fear of social stigma alone doesn’t do the honest ethical qualms about abortion justice.

    Americans are squishy on the issue because it’s not clear-cut. The difference between a 42-week-old fetus and a newborn 42 weeks after conception is that one is on the inside of a uterine wall, which is a dubious reason to deprive a human of any and every right. Similarly, simply having human genes is a dubious reason to provide rights to an entity (for example my hand has human genes, but my hand doesn’t have a right to an attorney).

    If pro-life should mean pro-life in every possible expression, should pro-choice mean pro-choice in every other aspect of one’s politics? Should pro-choice people be pro-choice on heroin, for instance? Should they be pro-choice to driving under the influence? Should they be pro-choice when it comes to gun control? Should people be allowed to choose whether or not to put a “colored people need not apply” sign in the window of their business?

    Let’s be consistent in application of our demands for consistency.

    balconesfault: “If a candidate who takes this pledge is the GOP nominee, it will be as good a form of electoral suicide as the party can devise.”

    Au contraire, mon amie. The Ryan plan exists.

    • torourke

      Patrick:

      “Similarly, simply having human genes is a dubious reason to provide rights to an entity (for example my hand has human genes, but my hand doesn’t have a right to an attorney).”

      But hands don’t exist apart from the rest of the human person, which does have rights. Except for Thing from the Addams Family of course.

    • balconesfault

      I suspect that it’s not trying to avoid being *called* a baby killer so much as trying to avoid *feeling* like a baby killer

      I don’t think there’s any reason anyone would feel like a baby killer for supporting reproductive freedom. But they’re not really anxious to label themselves in a way that the fanatics would call them one.

      Americans are squishy on the issue because it’s not clear-cut.

      Agreed. That’s my basic point. In large part it’s a theological debate, particularly when people want to start giving protection to a multi-cell zygote.

  • Rabiner

    When they can logically argue that a stance on abortion will allow a Secretary of Commerce do their job better then I’ll gladly sign the pledge myself. Until then, this is beyond stupid.

  • Graychin

    Pledges circulated by single-issue advocates are destructive to good policy. Their circulators are bullies, and politicians who sign them are wimps.

    Chekote (first comment) said it best.

  • rbottoms

    Jobs, Iraq, Afghanistan, Weather Instability, Energy Shortages, Hunger…

    Ohh, shiny!!

  • Primrose

    “The difference between a 42-week-old fetus and a newborn 42 weeks after conception is that one is on the inside of a uterine wall, which is a dubious reason to deprive a human of any and every right.”

    It isn’t dubious at all Mr. Quint. Inside the uterine wall means it is inside another human being, who has the right to bodily integrity and the right to say what use their body will directed to.

    Since your user name has a decidedly male moniker, I assume you are male, so perhaps this seems like an idle philosophical question to you, but those whose bodies would actually be used , it is very, very real.

    As I’ve said before, the entire question is about bodily integrity. If there were a way to easily and cheaply do late transfer of embryos, so that a woman could simply donate the embryo and go on with her life, then abortion could be morally limited to cases of health and life of mother.

  • PatrickQuint

    balconesfault: “I don’t think there’s any reason anyone would feel like a baby killer for supporting reproductive freedom. But they’re not really anxious to label themselves in a way that the fanatics would call them one.”

    You’re ascribing your feelings to a very large demographic. Someone can feel like a baby-killer either because that’s what their conscience suggests or because of social pressure, but I can’t think of a reason other than concern for the baby as a reason to prevent abortion (at least early term, there are always risks to invasive procedures). Even among those who don’t think the way I do, the reason to avoid abortion is concern for the baby.

    balconesfault: “In large part it’s a theological debate, particularly when people want to start giving protection to a multi-cell zygote.”

    It’s not theological at all. Last I checked, the Bible says nothing on the matter. Christians as well as those of other faiths use an argument which can be composed in entirely secular terms, which is that the fetus (or zygote or embryo) is a person and therefore deserves human rights. It is an argument for human dignity and the fundamental intrinsic value of human life, which are values shared by the faithful and secular humanists. You can, of course, disagree with the argument without being a villain.

    Many use God as part of a justification of their position, which I find to be both a terrible strategy for convincing secular opponents and less than convincing (because as I said before it’s hard to find a Bible verse specifically addressing abortion).

    Primrose: “It isn’t dubious at all Mr. Quint. Inside the uterine wall means it is inside another human being, who has the right to bodily integrity and the right to say what use their body will directed to.”

    Human’s don’t have the right to do what they want with their own body. They have the right to do what they want with their own body *so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else*.

    That’s the difference that allows for laws against impaired driving. A woman is allowed to drive a car, to be sure, but once she does she is not allowed to do anything with or to her own body that would endanger the lives of other people. The bodily integrity argument goes nowhere so long as the fetus/embryo/zygote is considered to be deserving of rights. That’s why I think the critical discussion is over the rights (or lack thereof) possessed by the fetus/embryo/zygote.

    Yes, I am male. No, this does not seem like an idle philosophical question. It is no more idle for me than slavery and emancipation were idle philosophical topics for white people in 1860. I refuse to accept that I am barred from giving a dissenting opinion on the topic for wearing my genitals on the outside.

    • Watusie

      “Christians as well as those of other faiths use an argument which can be composed in entirely secular terms, which is that the fetus (or zygote or embryo) is a person and therefore deserves human rights.”

      At no point in human history has the zygote or embryo or fetus been considered a fully-fledged human with a fully-fledged set of rights. That is why we consider birth to be a BFD. The Constitution says you are a citizen if you are born here – not if you are conceived here.

      • Cforchange

        Thank you Watusie. The entire issue should be settled based upon citizenship rules not individual religious mandate. Only Catholics and made up evangelical religions venture and dwell here. How much of the deficit can be attributed to wasting so much grandstanding and hot air on this topic?

      • torourke

        Watusie,

        “At no point in human history has the zygote or embryo or fetus been considered a fully-fledged human with a fully-fledged set of rights.”

        This is really dumb. For most of human history, we had no clue about how babies developed in the womb–there was no knowledge of the zygote, embryo, and very little was known about the fetus (which nevertheless had legal protection going back to common law). How can humans give rights to entities that they know nothing about? But for most of American history, we did know enough about the fetus to give it the right to life, a right which it enjoyed in every state until 1967, and in most states until 1973. Given that the right to life is the only one a fetus could legitimately exercise, it’s the only one that matters.

        “That is why we consider birth to be a BFD. The Constitution says you are a citizen if you are born here – not if you are conceived here.”

        So because the Constitution doesn’t mention fetuses, then it follows that they have no right to life? This is arguing from silence and a complete non-sequitur. A pretty good indication of what Americans thought about fetuses and their moral standing is that at the time the 14th Amendment was ratified, every state in the country proscribed abortion. Blackmun tried to argue that the framers of the Constitution could not have intended fetuses to be regarded as persons for several reasons, and he failed miserably. Maybe that’s why his own law clerk, Edward Lazarus, wrote in 2002 that as a matter of constitutional interpretation, Roe “borders on the indefensible” and no abortion advocate has been able to come up with a convincing case that the ruling was a proper interpretation of the Constitution.

    • balconesfault

      Human’s don’t have the right to do what they want with their own body. They have the right to do what they want with their own body *so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else*.

      That’s the difference that allows for laws against impaired driving. A woman is allowed to drive a car, to be sure, but once she does she is not allowed to do anything with or to her own body that would endanger the lives of other people.

      You are making a common error – that government limiting someones ability to do something on a public roadway is expandable to all situations.

      There were a lot of people who made the same mistake during the debate over the HCR mandate, equating it to the requirement that people buy auto insurance. Except that you only need auto insurance to drive a car on a public roadway – you don’t need auto insurance to walk on the roadway, or be a passenger on a bus … or to drive around your own private property. You could go out to your local mall parking lot and drive all day long without auto insurance or even a drivers license, and never be at risk of getting a ticket.

      And for that matter – you could drive around said mall parking lot with a blood alcohol limit of .20, and certainly you could get a ticket for public intoxication or for public endangerment – but not for driving while drunk. If you have 20,000 acres in West Texas, you can drink while driving your pickup truck around it with no legal consequence (unless you hit someone).

      The point here is that we strictly circumscribe what rights government has to limit what you can do with your body, even if it poses a risk to others. For example, if you hit someone while driving drunk on your property the legal consequence isn’t driving while drunk, but negligent homicide. The law is penalizing the consequence, not the fact you drank a lot before/while you drove.

      I would be interested in seeing exactly what suite of rights you would like to ascribe to a zygote. It seems as if you are actually giving it some kind of super-rights which trump the rights of the mother, which is somewhat unique – particularly for a conservative. If someone were to squat on your land for months, would you give them greater rights than the property owner who wants them removed?

  • Chris Balsz

    I oppose racial discrimination in hiring.

    I have no idea where all the unemployed get jobs.

    I oppose racial discrimination in housing.

    I don’t know how to expand affordable housing.

    Am I a hypocrite for stopping one clear act that I consider really wrong, without having a total plan for all related social problems?

    • Watusie

      You are a hypocrite for claiming abortion is the single most important issue in the world, then supporting a party which does nothing to reduce the number of abortions when it has the power to do so, while raising money and grandstanding on the issue of abortion, all the while turning a blind eye to practices which are for all intents and purposes exactly the same as the thing they claim to be the greatest evil in our civilization.

      • Chris Balsz

        “You are a hypocrite for claiming abortion is the single most important issue in the world, then supporting a party which does nothing to reduce the number of abortions when it has the power to do so, while raising money and grandstanding on the issue of abortion, all the while turning a blind eye to practices which are for all intents and purposes exactly the same as the thing they claim to be the greatest evil in our civilization.”

        Actually quite a lot of us chastise the Republican Party for doing nothing on abortion. That is why there are things like this pledge, because “the base” gets the idea the GOP is lying about opposing it. I guess we know many of them are, like Mitt Romney. I have been told by Republican supporters like the blogger Dafydd ap Hugh that he is shocked I would think the GOP has a pro-life platform.

        As for ” turning a blind eye to practices which are for all intents and purposes exactly the same as the thing they claim to be the greatest evil in our civilization”, I’m Catholic and we do oppose most of that too. And then we’re accused of hypocrisy for promoting ideas most people will ignore.

        • Watusie

          “I’m Catholic and we do oppose most of that too.”

          What, exactly, is your definition of “oppose”? I cannot think of a single example of a Republican who enthusiastically uses abortion as a fund-raising tool and a wedge issue who has ever uttered a single syllable in opposition to IVF.

          I’ll say it again: Republicans complain that Roe v. Wade ties their hands. There is no equivalent protection for IVF. So why not address it first, if you are of the opinion that a sacred life/fully fledged citizen is created at the moment of conception?

  • Chris Balsz

    “What, exactly, is your definition of “oppose”?”

    Saying publicly we, ourselves, are against it. That counts as opposing it whether or not some politician also opposes it. Don’t forget you accused me, not just the party, of hypocrisy.

    “I’ll say it again: Republicans complain that Roe v. Wade ties their hands. There is no equivalent protection for IVF. So why not address it first, if you are of the opinion that a sacred life/fully fledged citizen is created at the moment of conception?”

    I don’t know that IVF is pushed as a solution to social problems, that everybody ought to pay for, and communities must provide, and teens can get without notifying parents, and no nurse or doctor has any right to decline. All that’s true of abortion, which is why it would come first.

    • Watusie

      So you believe that a sacred life/fully fledged citizen is created at the moment of conception, but you are happy to let IVF clinics keep on murdering innocents because no one is packaging it in a way that pushes your buttons. I think your post is the most perfect example of the lunacy of the Republican approach to the abortion issue I’ve ever seen.

      • Chris Balsz

        No, I oppose it. Such opposition is not as widely shared as opposition to abortion and doesn’t get as much traction. One reason is probably, in IVF a live-birth is a desired result, and in abortion, no birth is desired.

        Your advice is not offered to help us win a majority, but to dismiss us.
        Even if we did everything you suggest, you would still support abortion.

        • Watusie

          This is just more and more hypocrisy on your part. IVF is fine because “in IVF a live-birth is a desired result” – so never mind all the sacred lives/fully-fledged citizens frozen then discarded in the process. And never mind that IVF isn’t protected by a SC decision, and so could be presumably outlawed with stroke of a pen. Just content yourself with saying to yourself “well, I oppose that. I’m not going to do a damn thing about it and I’m going to vote for “pro-life” politicians who also aren’t going to do a damn thing about it”.

          But when it comes to abortion – well, that is a different case! A woman can’t have an abortion to save her own life because….well…because.

        • Chris Balsz

          “IVF is fine because “in IVF a live-birth is a desired result” – so never mind all the sacred lives/fully-fledged citizens frozen then discarded in the process. And never mind that IVF isn’t protected by a SC decision, and so could be presumably outlawed with stroke of a pen. Just content yourself with saying to yourself “well, I oppose that. I’m not going to do a damn thing about it and I’m going to vote for “pro-life” politicians who also aren’t going to do a damn thing about it”.”

          Wrong. I said I opposed it. And I said that opposition isn’t widely shared.
          As my explanation for why OTHER PEOPLE DISAGREE WITH ME, I mention the fact that IVF aims to produce a baby.
          Since my IVF views don’t have the same numbers then they aren’t going to be legislated as quickly.
          I am not bound by your view that I have to get everything enacted at the same time or FOAD.

          “But when it comes to abortion – well, that is a different case! A woman can’t have an abortion to save her own life because….well…because.”
          Doe v. Bolton says “Whether, in the words of the Georgia statute, “an abortion is necessary” is a professional judgment that the Georgia physician will be called upon to make routinely. We agree with the District Court, 319 F. Supp., at 1058, that the medical judgment may be exercised in the light of all factors – physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman’s age – relevant to the well-being of the patient. All these factors may relate to health.”

          That’s the current standard, not life or death.

  • Bagok

    “If you have 20,000 acres in West Texas, you can drink while driving your pickup truck around it with no legal consequence (unless you hit someone).”

    Apparently you can shoot someone in the face on private land in West Texas with no legal consequences (as long as the victim apologizes, of course). Sorry, off topic but still funny.

  • PatrickQuint

    balconesfault: “You are making a common error – that government limiting someones ability to do something on a public roadway is expandable to all situations.”

    No, the argument is that freedoms of one stop where the rights of another begin. That has application in impaired driving, but is by no means limited to it.

    balconesfault: “The point here is that we strictly circumscribe what rights government has to limit what you can do with your body, even if it poses a risk to others. For example, if you hit someone while driving drunk on your property the legal consequence isn’t driving while drunk, but negligent homicide. The law is penalizing the consequence, not the fact you drank a lot before/while you drove.”

    If it’s on your property, then it shouldn’t put others in danger. The principle I’m talking about, often used in law, allows you to do what you like so long as you don’t hurt anyone else. Driving drunk when nobody is around doesn’t put anyone else in danger, so that’s not the part that is a problem. This example doesn’t actually hurt my case any.

    balconesfault: “I would be interested in seeing exactly what suite of rights you would like to ascribe to a zygote. It seems as if you are actually giving it some kind of super-rights which trump the rights of the mother, which is somewhat unique – particularly for a conservative.”

    It’s understandable for you to make that leap in your interpretation of my comments, but you’ve found two of the places that set me apart from the demographic that believes all abortion should be illegal.

    First, I don’t ascribe rights to a zygote because I consider personhood to be a quality of the mind, rather than the body (that’s what I was getting at with the analogy of the hand). A human hand has muscle, bone, nerves, and is composed of living tissue that is human, but my hand has no rights in and of itself. My hand has value only in that it is the property of a mind. The ambiguity here is the difficulty of figuring out when a child actually gets to the point where it has a mind.

    Second, I don’t think that a child should have super-rights, only that the interests of the child be considered equal to those of the mother before the law. This strikes me as an argument for equality. So, a child could not be aborted for the convenience of the mother any more than the mother could be killed for the convenience of the child. In cases where the life of the mother is at risk, you have a situation where it is the responsibility of a health care provider to save as many lives as they can (a classic triage situation). If this means abortion is necessary for the mother can live, then I emphatically support the decision to do so. However, the child should not be killed if it can be saved. If given the choice between saving the child and saving the mother, the mother will have the better chance of long-term survival in almost every case and that should inform the decision of the doctor as relevant information should in any other triage situation.

    I’m happy to discuss with pro-life people and make these cases for why abortion should be legal in a number of cases. Indeed, I have done so.

    When I argued against the “it’s always a choice” position I said that you’ll have to make a case that the zygote/embryo/fetus should not have rights, and I meant it. Where I think you misjudged my position is that I am willing to make that argument with regard to zygotes at the very lest. I am unwilling to make that argument for a late-term fetus, which I do think should have all the rights afforded to a newborn, and should be treated with the same consideration as a newborn because in the only important regard, the mind, they are effectively* identical.

    *I say effectively because newborns will have some experience of the world that a fetus will not. I do see how this should be critical to discussion of a child’s rights.

    Watusie: “At no point in human history has the zygote or embryo or fetus been considered a fully-fledged human with a fully-fledged set of rights. That is why we consider birth to be a BFD. The Constitution says you are a citizen if you are born here – not if you are conceived here.”

    I recommend that you re-read Roe v Wade, where the Supreme Court goes through a number of historical cases where abortion has been banned, often after “quickening” of the fetus where it begins to move. Another case is the old Hypocratic Oath, which bans the use of a drug that will abort a fetus.

    Children have fewer rights than adults, such as when it comes to the right to vote. However, when it comes to matters of life and death children are offered the same protections as adults. The same legal protections are offered to those with mental disabilities, felons, and others people who lack certain rights commensurate with citizenship and lucid judgment.

    The Constitution often uses birth in connection with the rights of a citizen, and that’s what decided Roe v Wade. This is one of the areas where I disagree with the Constitution, because I do not find birth to be a rational place to make the distinction between what is a person and what is not as I mentioned above.

    • Chris Balsz

      The Endangered Species Act is never interpreted as if there was any confusion about where the life of a protected critter begins. Only Homo Sapiens is legally vulnerable.

      • LFC

        If you understood anything about the ESA, you’d know that it’s designed to prevent decline and foster an increase in endangered populations. In short, that might be the worst analogy I’ve ever heard.

        You mention your Catholicism as guiding your views and for personal guidance I have no problem with that, but Catholic teachings are also against pre-marital sex, contraception, morning after pills, homosexuality, and even masturbation. I personally don’t want to see laws driven by an ideology that is complete devoid of any understanding of human sexuality. It’s simply not expected to be a reasonable source of logic on the topic.

        • balconesfault

          What’s more, I’m pretty sure – for example – that an ESA suit has never been brought against an endangered raptor for kicking one of her eggs out of the nest.

        • Chris Balsz

          Right. The ESA recognizes that the life cycle of that species we call “bald eagle” is an unbroken chain.
          To pretend that organisms with bald eagle DNA, are not really bald eagles, would do real harm to bald eagles.
          But as you note, the law on bald eagles is about protecting bald eagles.
          The laws regarding human beings and their life cycle must have some other purpose.

        • Watusie

          As tortured as your logic in this comment is, it is even MORE ridiculous when you contemplate the exceptions that you yourself carved out in other comments for IVF.

    • Watusie

      “I recommend that you re-read Roe v Wade, where the Supreme Court goes through a number of historical cases where abortion has been banned, often after “quickening” of the fetus where it begins to move. Another case is the old Hypocratic Oath, which bans the use of a drug that will abort a fetus.”

      None of these are findings that a zygote or embryo or fetus been considered a fully-fledged human with a fully-fledged set of rights.

      Again: birth = BFD.

      “Children have fewer rights than adults, such as when it comes to the right to vote. However, when it comes to matters of life and death children are offered the same protections as adults.”

      What is the difference between a zygote or embryo or fetus and a child? Birth.

      “The Constitution often uses birth in connection with the rights of a citizen, and that’s what decided Roe v Wade. This is one of the areas where I disagree with the Constitution, because I do not find birth to be a rational place to make the distinction between what is a person and what is not as I mentioned above.”

      Then what is the rational place?

      • balconesfault

        Watusie Then what is the rational place?

        His rational place, apparently, is where the fetus has the ability to reason, and thus gains some measure of personhood.

        Patrick When I argued against the “it’s always a choice” position I said that you’ll have to make a case that the zygote/embryo/fetus should not have rights

        Sure. It’s easy. The zygote/embryo/fetus should not have rights that the state cannot protect without commadeering the body of a woman in order to guarantee those rights. You would not, for example, hold an organ match legally responsible for giving up a kidney to someone who would die without the transplant, would you?

        I believe that the point where the state has a right to interceed starts at that point where the state is willing to tell a woman that instead of aborting the fetus, she can undergo a state-funded pre-mature induced delivery, at which point the newborn baby becomes a ward of the state, and the woman is absolved of all legal rights and responsibilities having to do with the infant.

        That makes a much more pragmatic decision process than trying to divine sentience in utero. If the state wants to draw the line in the sand at 8 months, neo-natal care costs will probably be pretty managable. If the state wants to draw the line in the sand at 6 months, we’d better start looking for ways to pay for it in an era where we’re never allowed to raise taxes, because bubble-babies aren’t cheap.

        • Chris Balsz

          So if they found a way to harvest and nuture blastules into birth infants, there’d be a legal obligation to go that route?

        • balconesfault

          Hey man – it’s all what you’re willing to pay for …

      • LFC

        “This is one of the areas where I disagree with the Constitution, because I do not find birth to be a rational place to make the distinction between what is a person and what is not as I mentioned above.”

        Does that mean that a child conceived on U.S. soil should be eligible for citizenship?

        • balconesfault

          Does that mean that a child conceived on U.S. soil should be eligible for citizenship?

          Damn – what a boom to the IVF industry THAT law would be!

      • torourke

        Watusie,

        If birth is the BFD that you assert that it is, and if the Constitution only gives rights to people born in the U.S., then how do you account for Laci and Conner’s law? How do you account for the fact that over thirty-four states have laws establishing fetuses as victims of feticide or homicide in certain crimes?

        And if birth is really the point at which human beings magically become persons, then how consistent are you on this issue? Are you out there trying to overturn Laci and Conner’s law? If not, then why not? Do you press politicians to overturn this law? If not, then why not? I would be terribly, terribly disappointed if you did not hold yourself to the same ridiculous standards you demand pro-lifers uphold.

        • Watusie

          IF birth is a BFD? You are disputing that birth is a significant event?

          These are camel’s noses under the tent, enacted by Republicans grandstanding on a hot button issue. They probably aren’t constitutional, but will also probably never generate a test case to establish the issue. I don’t press politicians to overturn them because I’m not aware of them having any substantive impact of any sort whatsoever.

        • torourke

          You’re the one asserting that birth is such a BFD that it is the obvious place to draw a line between a mere member of the human species and a person with rights, so don’t play games by retreating to the notion that birth is just a significant event with no metaphysical or legal ramifications. And Scott Petersen himself was charged and convicted of murdering Conner Petersen. When the judge sentenced him to death, he specifically mentioned that Conner Petersen had never been able to draw a breath in explaining the gruesome nature of the murders (that would be plural) he had committed. Plenty of others have also been tried and convicted under these laws.

          Given your own view that fetuses have no rights at all, you must be enraged by these laws and the people who are convicted under them. So where’s the evidence of this outrage? Where’s the manning of the barricades to get these laws struck down as unconstitutional? Where’s the ACLU? Where are you?

          Why are you not trying to get the ACLU to sue the federal government to strike down Laci and Conner’s law as unconstitutional? I guess the only conclusion to draw is that by your own rubric you are a massive hypocrite. And your hypocrisy is exponentially greater given that you won’t abide by the same demands you make of others. You want pro-lifers to pursue politically quixotic ends that you are not willing to pursue yourself.

          Hoist by your own petard.

        • Watusie

          Yes, torourke, I hold to the quaint notion that birth is such a BFD that it is the obvious place to draw a line defining when a person is created. And so has pretty much everyone else for the whole of history. Or do you sing Happy Conception Day in your house, and celebrate Christmas in March?

          As for you thinking you are so clever: 1) ever heard of “ex post facto”? 2) aware that it is unconstitutional? 3)thought about the fact that therefore Connor’s law could not have had an impact of any sort whatsoever in the conviction and sentencing of Scott Petersen? 4) realize that I am right when I say this law is an inconsequential piece of grandstanding not worthy of any time and attention?

        • torourke

          “Yes, torourke, I hold to the quaint notion that birth is such a BFD that it is the obvious place to draw a line defining when a person is created. And so has pretty much everyone else for the whole of history. Or do you sing Happy Conception Day in your house, and celebrate Christmas in March?”

          Then you must be just dumbfounded to learn that for most of the history of Western Civilization, the complete opposite was the truth–that abortion was illegal going back to the common law, that abortion was illegal when the 14th amendment was ratified, that we still have state laws outlawing late-term abortion, that we have numerous state laws, and now a federal law, making the fetus a victim of a crime in certain circumstances. Don’t all of these people realize what a BFD birth is?

          You must be just flabbergasted at how many people don’t think that fetuses magically become persons with rights once they are born.

          “As for you thinking you are so clever: 1) ever heard of “ex post facto”? 2) aware that it is unconstitutional? 3)thought about the fact that therefore Connor’s law could not have had an impact of any sort whatsoever in the conviction and sentencing of Scott Petersen?”

          This is irrelevant given that the law that made his murdered son Conner the victim of a crime was passed in 1970. Don’t people in California realize what a BFD birth is?

          Why aren’t you agitating to have this law and the laws of many other states struck down as unconstitutional? It won’t help Scott Petersen, but just think of the murderers out there in the future who may be convicted of crimes under this unconstitutional outrage! Do it for them!

          “4) realize that I am right when I say this law is an inconsequential piece of grandstanding not worthy of any time and attention?”

          No I realize that not only are you amazingly ignorant, but that you have elevated the art of hypocrisy to truly dizzying heights, and that if you had any clue whatsoever, you would stop embarrassing yourself on this topic.

  • PatrickQuint

    Watusie: “None of these are findings that a zygote or embryo or fetus been considered a fully-fledged human with a fully-fledged set of rights.”

    A newborn also does not have a fully-fledged set of rights. The rights that it does not have are refused for more-or-less rational reasons.

    Watusie: “Then what is the rational place?”

    There isn’t necessarily one rational place. Where you draw the line depends on what reason you have for drawing it. If you want to draw it at the point where the fetus feels pain, then that makes some sense. Making the cutoff the point at which the developing person can form memories might also make some sense. If you want to draw the line at the ability to pass some test of reasoning, then a human might not be granted rights for years after birth. I’m open to suggestions.

    balconesfault: “The zygote/embryo/fetus should not have rights that the state cannot protect without commadeering the body of a woman in order to guarantee those rights. You would not, for example, hold an organ match legally responsible for giving up a kidney to someone who would die without the transplant, would you?”

    Kidneys don’t come back, leaving the donor permanently short a kidney. Usually, having a child is a process after which the mother can have a complete recovering, with all her parts still in place. A better example for you to use in future discussions would be bone marrow donation (invasive, quite painful, and usually something from which a person can fully recover).

    We already tax people to save the lives of others, even if that means the taxpayer then can’t afford the treatment it would take to keep them alive. In that sense the state already steals life from some people to give to others. If the government asked me to, say, donate blood I’d consider it a civic duty, much like jury duty or paying taxes.

    There is also the issue of a draft. I do think that a draft can be ethically and legally implemented, and that involves commandeering the entire body of citizens for purposes that could very easily get them killed.

    LFC: “Does that mean that a child conceived on U.S. soil should be eligible for citizenship?”

    No. Honestly, that doesn’t follow. Who gets to be a citizen has no special metaphysical connection to where they become a person, even if you think personhood does happen at conception. There isn’t even a special connection between citizenship and lineage unless The People say so.

    For instance, Robert Heinlein used a novel to propose a system where only people who have done military service were granted citizenship (on the theory that if you’re not willing to defend your fellow people, we don’t care what you think). Citizenship is very arbitrary in a number of ways.

    Whether it’s “born” or “conceived” doesn’t make much difference ethically. Birth is easier to prove, so for practical reasons I prefer that.

    • balconesfault

      Kidneys don’t come back, leaving the donor permanently short a kidney. Usually, having a child is a process after which the mother can have a complete recovering, with all her parts still in place. A better example for you to use in future discussions would be bone marrow donation (invasive, quite painful, and usually something from which a person can fully recover).

      You are being quite cavalier about the changes that childbirth brings to a woman’s body.

      That said then – should society be able to pass a law that would mandate a bone marrow donation?

      We already tax people to save the lives of others, even if that means the taxpayer then can’t afford the treatment it would take to keep them alive. In that sense the state already steals life from some people to give to others.

      I call bullshit here. I would bet it is impossible to come up with a case where someone paying taxes rendered them financially unable to afford life saving treatment.

      There is also the issue of a draft. I do think that a draft can be ethically and legally implemented, and that involves commandeering the entire body of citizens for purposes that could very easily get them killed.

      First of all – draftees are actually paid a wage by the government in return for their services. I’ll grant that it is not a free-market determined wage – but are you proposing then that a pregnant woman forced to carry a fetus to term is owed financial compensation for her service by the government?

      Second, by leaping from a case where the state reserves the right to draft people into service in order to defeat an existential threat to the nation … to a case where the state should reserve the right to draft people into a service that has nothing to do with our nation’s survival … is going over the cliff edge onto one helluva slippery slope.

  • Watusie

    “There isn’t necessarily one rational place.”

    Yes, there is. It is birth. That is the rational place. You just won’t admit it. The law likes bright lines. There is none brighter than birth.

    “Kidneys don’t come back, leaving the donor permanently short a kidney.”
    That is embarassingly evasive. The law cannot force me to do anything to save the life of another, not even something as relative simple as a blood donation. You want to change that?

    “We already tax people to save the lives of others, even if that means the taxpayer then can’t afford the treatment it would take to keep them alive. In that sense the state already steals life from some people to give to others.”
    Lord what hyperbolic bullshit. Money is not life. When I pay my employees every week I am not giving them life. When their landlords demand their rent they are not depriving them of life. And when people pay their taxes they are not having anything “stolen” from them, much less life. Embarrassing claptrap.

    “What If the government asked me to, say, donate blood I’d consider it a civic duty, much like jury duty or paying taxes.”
    Well, actually, you appear to think it is laying down your life, as you’ve just said in the previous passage.

    “Who gets to be a citizen has no special metaphysical connection to where they become a person”
    That is not what the Constitution says.

    “Whether it’s “born” or “conceived” doesn’t make much difference ethically. Birth is easier to prove, so for practical reasons I prefer that.”
    Finally, some progress! Can you see now why birth is a BFD and the obvious bright line for laws?

  • Watusie

    @torourke

    Let’s make this crystal clear: your position is that life begins at the moment of conception and therefore abortion is a monstrous evil. However, you aren’t interested in doing anything about IVF, which involves practices which would also be monstrously evil in your world view….if you were logically consistent. Which you are not. Because nobody rails against IVF in a way that pushes you buttons. So you go along with the grandstanding about banning abortion, which will never be effective because of Roe vs. Wade; you sit idly by on the issue of IVF which has no such protection. This demonstrates exactly what a tool you and all of your fellow travellers are.

    All of this blather about Connor’s Law is a red herring, and was designed to be so. I’m not worked up about it becasue it is inconsequential – you don’t fight grandstanding with grandstanding. Scott Peterson was convicted and sentenced without reference to Connor’s Law. And he would have been convicted and sentenced if that 1970 California law didn’t exist as well – because he murdered his wife.

    At no point does my stance require me to stand by idly while people are killed. But under your definitions you are standing idly by while “persons” are frozen then discarded. While at the same time you claim this is a monstrous evil that should define the political debate in this country. It is a hollow sham, and it is well past time that we were finished with your nonsense.

    • torourke

      Nice spin Watusie, but the reality is this. You’re wrong in asserting that pro-lifers in general don’t spend any energy on the issue of intentionally destroying human embryos, and wrong about me in particular, but even if you weren’t wrong, you argument would still be idiotic. You seem to think that because pro-lifers are not giving as much attention to the destruction of human embryos as they are to the destruction of fetuses, then they are being logically inconsistent, or even less than forthcoming about what they truly think. Yet you know damn well what the political realities concerning this issue are. In a country where the Supreme Court has invented a constitutional right to abortion on demand at virtually any stage of the pregnancy, pro-lifers spend the bulk of their time and energy on where they think they can make an actual difference. But when the issue of public funding of research that destroys human embryos becomes a hot topic, as it did during the Bush era, then they can make the case for why human embryos should be protected as well, or at least why their destruction should not receive federal funding. That is to say, pro-lifers, like any other interest group, spend most of their energies on issues where they think they can make a difference under the notion that politics is the art of the possible. That doesn’t mean that they don’t actually care about the destruction of human embryos, it simply means that spending any more time and energy on that issue than necessary would detract from efforts that may actually succeed–like banning late term abortions.

      Now here’s the thing, I strongly suspect that you understand the basic contours of what I just wrote above. You know what the political realities are surrounding the destruction of human embryos, and that outsized efforts to stop that practice would be futile in a country that allows late term abortion. Yet you don’t care. You think it’s incredibly clever to demand that pro-lifers push for politically quixotic measures so you can accuse them of inconsistency or hypocrisy. Yet you know full well what would happen if pro-lifers made an outsized effort to tackle the issue of left-over human embryos from IVF clinics. They would be blasted as extremists who were trying to interfere with companies that were trying to actually help create life. The headlines would write themselves, and people like you would only gleefully pile on. Would people like you actually stop and give credit to pro-lifers for trying to live up to your stupid and transparently disingenuous demands for logical consistency? No, and you know it. Your entire argument is a charade put forth in bad faith. Grandstanding is a good way to put.

      And so I gave you a taste of your own medicine, and your response was telling. You get all worked up about the alleged inconsistency of your interlocutors, while letting yourself off the hook under exactly the same circumstances. That is precisely the sort of response I expected from a disingenuous hypocrite such as yourself.

      Look, it’s clear that you think your overarching argument here is really powerful given the number of times you have deployed it, so let me break this to you gently Watusie, it isn’t.

    • torourke

      “At no point does my stance require me to stand by idly while people are killed.”

      I couldn’t let this one pass by without comment because the irony is just too delicious. Under your view, which is a view shared by a small group of extremists in this country, a pregnant woman assaulted on her way to the hospital to deliver her child in such a way that she lost her baby should not be able to press charges against her attacker for the death of her child. Now I know how much of a BFD you think birth is, but thankfully most of the rest of the country thinks that’s insane. So the legal ramifications of your truly irrational metaphysical views would in fact compel you to stand by idly while a person was killed. And not because of of any prudential reasons, but because those are your principles. Hooray for you.

  • PatrickQuint

    balconesfault: “You are being quite cavalier about the changes that childbirth brings to a woman’s body.”

    Okay, I think we can be pretty clear that women come out the process with all their organs. What loss in life expectancy do these changes entail.

    balconesfault: “I call bullshit here. I would bet it is impossible to come up with a case where someone paying taxes rendered them financially unable to afford life saving treatment.”

    The treatment only happens in another country, and the patient can’t pay. The drug isn’t covered by insurance, and the patient can’t pay. The person can’t afford insurance, sending them to ER when they need help and meaning they can’t afford the drugs they need.

    The poor still pay taxes, even if they’re below the cutoff for federal income tax.

    balconesfault: “First of all – draftees are actually paid a wage by the government in return for their services. I’ll grant that it is not a free-market determined wage – but are you proposing then that a pregnant woman forced to carry a fetus to term is owed financial compensation for her service by the government?”

    Sure. Let’s call it maternity leave.

    balconesfault: “Second, by leaping from a case where the state reserves the right to draft people into service in order to defeat an existential threat to the nation … to a case where the state should reserve the right to draft people into a service that has nothing to do with our nation’s survival … is going over the cliff edge onto one helluva slippery slope.”

    I call bullshit. Laws against abortion have been on the books before, and it hasn’t let to the legal apocalypse.

    Watusie: “It is birth. That is the rational place. You just won’t admit it. The law likes bright lines. There is none brighter than birth.”

    Repeating it doesn’t make it so. Birth is easy to determine, but that doesn’t make it the best place to determine personhood (let alone the only place).

    Watusie: “The law cannot force me to do anything to save the life of another, not even something as relative simple as a blood donation.”

    Yes it can. It can force you to donate to charity and it can draft you, among other less relevant cases. Pay attention.

    In case where the life of the mother is threatened by the child, I support the option for abortion. This means that a ban on abortion shouldn’t mean laying down one’s life for the state. Pay attention.

    “That is not what the Constitution says.”

    As I said before, I disagree with the Constitution on the matter of personhood and certainly do not consider it to be sacred scripture. Further, I also made it pretty clear that citizenship does not imply personhood, and personhood does not imply citizenship.

    If you’d like me to respond to these posts of yours, please keep up. balconesfault, if you think I missed anything important, feel free to make sense of it.

    • balconesfault

      Patrick Okay, I think we can be pretty clear that women come out the process with all their organs. What loss in life expectancy do these changes entail.

      The rate of death by childbirth in the US is 17 in 100,000. What is the rate of death due to donating a kidney?

  • Watusie

    Patrick, the law cannot force me to donate to charity. And it can draft me, but not to save the life of an individual, but to the defend the nation as whole.

    These things are so obvious I am astonished that I have to say them.

    You started out claiming that you were arguing from reason, not theology. So why are you now relying exclusively on irrational, logic-twisting fabrications?

    I am going to repeat again that birth is the logical bright line. Because it is the ONLY bright line we have. If you want to argue for some other marker, then the burden of proof is with you.

  • PatrickQuint

    balconesfault: “The rate of death by childbirth in the US is 17 in 100,000. What is the rate of death due to donating a kidney?”

    I didn’t ask for the death rate associated with childbirth. You claimed that I understated the effect that childbirth has on the mother after a birth. So, I offer again the chance for you to elaborate on the detrimental effects of successful childbirth on the mother.

    Incidentally, since you asked: “Serious complications occur with major surgery such as nephrectomy, and perioperative mortality has been reported in about 1 out of 3000 living donor nephrectomies [2].”

    [2] Najarian JS, Chavers BM, McHugh LE, Matas AJ. 20 years or more of follow‐up of living kidney donors. Lancet1992; 340:807–810

    I think it worth remembering that the mortality rate for an aborted child is, of course, roughly 1 in 1.

    Watusie: “Patrick, the law cannot force me to donate to charity.”

    The government taxes you to pay for Medicare, as well as food stamps and other staples of the social safety net (as well it should). That’s forced charity. Blindingly obvious forced charity. Some call it “wealth re-distribution” while forgetting that that’s precisely the point.

    You can choose to donate to a charity of your choice rather than the default government charity, which is where tax credits for charitable donations come from.

    Watusie: “And it can draft me, but not to save the life of an individual, but to the defend the nation as whole.”

    So nations are worth saving, but the people in it aren’t? I’m sure by that metric you’re cool with terrorism, so long as it attacks individuals and not the nation as a whole.

    A weak deflection, there. Governments can, have and and do force citizens to give and sometimes die for their neighbors, on threat of jail time.

  • PatrickQuint

    You know, I’d like to thank both of you for keeping this relatively civil. As far as I know, it’s rare for discussions of this kind to get so far into the substance of the debate. I hope you believe that I engage with you in good faith and with good intentions.

    I’ve was short with you this morning, Watusie. Likely shorter than you deserved. I’m sorry about that. I’m sure that you understand how passionate people can get on matters of life, death and human rights.

    Watusie: “I am going to repeat again that birth is the logical bright line. Because it is the ONLY bright line we have. If you want to argue for some other marker, then the burden of proof is with you.”

    We don’t have a bright line for a legal voting age, but that’s not a good case to go to a brighter line that has no relation to the issue at hand. Lines like like owning a house or being married are much brighter than merely age, but they’re not metrics for sound judgment at all. Similarly, birth might be bright line but it does not deserve to be related to personhood. A guess on a fuzzy line that is relevant is better than a nonsensical bright line that strips innocent human beings of dignity, recognition and indeed any value in society.

    • balconesfault

      A guess on a fuzzy line that is relevant is better than a nonsensical bright line that strips innocent human beings of dignity, recognition and indeed any value in society.

      I’m not sure how you assign “dignity” to a creature which must remain within the body of a host human being in order to survive.

  • Watusie

    Patrick, a “forced charity” is an oxymoron. And your continued elaboration on the draft is equally weak.

    N.B.: I’m ignoring your contemptible cheap shot about me being “cool with terrorism” because it really is just that stupid.

    You say “Governments can, have and and do force citizens to give and sometimes die for their neighbors, on threat of jail time.”

    Name a plausible instance. Note I said plausible. I’ve listened to stories from my family members about themselves and their friends and relatives being drafted to fight in Vietnam, Korea, WWII and WWI. In none of these instances were they doing so because of an imminent threat to the lives of any of their neighbors.

    Furthermore: you seem to not understand what “bright line” means. It means clearly defined, totally objective, and not dependent upon interpretation. So, when you say “Lines like like owning a house or being married are much brighter than merely age”, you are completely wrong. There is no brighter line than age. “Owning a house” = what does that mean? What constitutes a “house”? Does a trailer count? How about an RV? A tent pitched in a field that is completely off the grid? What constitutes “owning”? Equity? If so, how much? Are people who are upside-down on their mortgages “owners”? If you get married and sell your house in order to move into your spouse’s, and they don’t put your name on the title, are you then no longer an “owner”?

    Now, compare the complexity of that to: how old are you?

    There is a reason why the law likes bright lines. And there is no brighter line than being born.

    Birth. Its a BFD.

  • balconesfault

    I didn’t ask for the death rate associated with childbirth. You claimed that I understated the effect that childbirth has on the mother after a birth. So, I offer again the chance for you to elaborate on the detrimental effects of successful childbirth on the mother.

    Actually, what I said was “You are being quite cavalier about the changes that childbirth brings to a woman’s body.”

    I would say that mortality is a fairly serious outcome for the mother. And one that can occur even in the case of a “successful childbirth”.

    Anyway – if you want something more comprehensive – you can check the following list:

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

    stretch marks, loose skin, changes to breasts, varicose veins
    permanent weight gain or redistribution
    abdominal and vaginal muscle weakness
    pelvic floor disorder (occurring in as many as 35% of middle-aged former child-bearers and 50% of elderly former child-bearers, associated with urinary and rectal incontinence, discomfort and reduced quality of life)
    scarring from episiotomy or c-section
    increased proclivity for hemmorhoids
    loss of dental and bone calcium (cavities and osteoporosis)

    Occasional complications and side effects:

    hyperemesis gravidarum
    temporary and permanent injury to back
    severe scarring requiring later surgery (especially after additional pregnancies)
    dropped (prolapsed) uterus (especially after additional pregnancies, and other pelvic floor weaknesses — 11% of women, including cystocele, rectocele, and enterocele)
    pre-eclampsia (edema and hypertension, the most common complication of pregnancy, associated with eclampsia, and affecting 7 – 10% of pregnancies)
    eclampsia (convulsions, coma during pregnancy or labor, high risk of death)
    gestational diabetes
    placenta previa
    anemia (which can be life-threatening)
    thrombocytopenic purpura
    embolism (blood clots)
    diastasis recti, also torn abdominal muscles
    mitral valve stenosis (most common cardiac complication)
    serious infection and disease (e.g. increased risk of tuberculosis)
    hormonal imbalance
    ectopic pregnancy (risk of death)
    broken bones (ribcage, “tail bone”)
    hemorrhage

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

    • Rockerbabe

      Your list is quite extensive and about sums up the issues that can and often do go wrong in any given pregnancy. All one has to do is accompany a pregnant friend to any high-risk pregnancy clinic or perinatologist’s office and one will get their eyes opened very quickly. Pregnancy is not for the faint of heart nor the heartless. I will gladly take any woman’s life over that of a pregnancy; if she lives, she can continue to be the person she wants and needs to be and maybe there will be another more successful pregnancy in her future, if that is what SHE desires.

      • balconesfault

        Right … it’s not like any of these concerns, individually, are that high a risk. It’s a question of whether society has a right to impose on woman the burden of accepting those cumulative risks for the incubation of a potentially unwanted fetus.

        I’m the father of two wonderful kids, age 21 and 18. I’ve very glad we had them. That said, when the oldest was around 6 months, my wife suffered a severe infection and required hospital care, then for months reduced activity and contraction suppressants to keep my son inside her. Had at any time her health been at serious risk, it would have been a painful decision … but not a difficult one.

        That said, my wife also already had her graduate degree, and a few years in the workforce establishing her professional credentials, before our first child came along. This proved invaluable, because it established her value with her employers and she was able to transition to working part time when she returned to work a few months later, keeping that status up pretty much until our youngest was in her late HS years. This gave her the ability to “have her cake and eat it”, in a sense – to only put the kids in daycare 2 or 3 days a week when they were infants, and to leave work early everyday once they reached preschool so they never needed extended care hours.

        An 18 year old who gets pregnant, or a 21 year old even, has little of these advantages. Pregnancy does dictate what she can and can’t do in life to a degree that except in the case of the most extraordinary women (and there are those, and they make great stories – but a policy based on them being the norm is doomed to disaster) her choices will become extremely limited. Even just getting pregnant and putting the baby up for adoption can sidetrack a woman at a critical point in what is an increasingly competitive career track for someone who wants more gainful employment than WalMart checker or McDonalds counter help.

        So you can call the decision not to carry a fetus to term simply a convenience. I feel unqualified to dictate to a woman whether an abortion is a convenience or a necessity for her life at that time. And until the baby can breathe outside the woman’s womb – it doesn’t get a vote.

  • Rockerbabe

    Abortion laws are not about babies; they are about power and control. The elected power of a few most male legislatures and governors are men, who decide to control the lives of women on an extremely personal level, irrespective of the Constitutional right to their own body intergrity.

    Abortion laws are designed to keep women “in their place”, wherever that is. Abortion laws are designed for force women into childbearing, irrespective of the situation they find themselves in or the health risks they bear. It is a gross denial and disrespect of their rights as human beings and a violation of their 13the amendment rights to avoid slavery [the classic definition of forcing someone to do something they do not want to do on behalf of another entity and for which there is no renumeration or consent].

    Abortion laws are all about making women into 3rd class citizens; behind men and the fetus. he desire is for women to not be educated, not be competing in the workplace, not out trying to improve their miserable domestic lives, not out demanding a fair share of the profit from their labor, competing for resources in sports, etc. The SBA group is just a group of Judas women who would sell out anyone for any reason they deem their right. It is disrespectful, but not unexpected. These SBA women only see other women, just a men do, as something to control, to own and to exercist power over for their selfish ends. Signing a pledge means little; it also means a lot of us will definitely NOT be voting republican in 2012.

    Any person who votes republican, be they a woman or a man, or even a corporation, ought to have their collective heads examined. The war on women has to stop and getting the GOP out of office is the only way that is going to happen.

  • balconesfault

    The war on women has to stop and getting the GOP out of office is the only way that is going to happen.

    I suspect you’re being overly optimistic here.

    But I would say that the only way the war will stop is if the extremism of the anti-abortion movement is always brought front and center, and people realize that voting for a politician who embraces the anti-abortion movement means embracing extremism.

    And I don’t just mean extremism in the sense of shooting doctors in their kitchens or churches, or blowing up clinics, or posting billboards declaring that some woman has had an abortion.

    I mean the fundamental extremism of a position that as you note, places a woman’s body into servitude of a fetus during the gestational period.

    I mean the fundamental extremism of most anti-abortion activists (we can at least leave Patrick off this list) that holds that our major pharmaceutical corporations who manufacture and market the pill are willing participants in baby killing, along with the doctors who prescribe the pill (which does terminate many many pregnancies via its abortifactant properties) and the women who take them.

    The anti-abortion movement embraces a mindset that is far closer to the Taliban than to the enlightened men who founded this country and wrote the Constitution. Any politician who embraces the movement should be given the same amount of respect as if he frequented witch doctors.

  • PatrickQuint

    balconesfault: “It’s a question of whether society has a right to impose on woman the burden of accepting those cumulative risks for the incubation of a potentially unwanted fetus.”

    It’s more of a question of whether a woman should be allowed to actively take an innocent human life to avoid those risks.

    If you’re on a boat in the Arctic Ocean and you refuse to rescue people in lifeboats, that’s your prerogative. If you’re on the Arctic Ocean and you throw someone overboard and leave them to die, that’s murder. You’re arguing that abortion is like refusing to rescue. I contend that it’s like throwing them off the lifeboat.

    Watusie: “N.B.: I’m ignoring your contemptible cheap shot about me being “cool with terrorism” because it really is just that stupid.”

    You’re not ignoring it. Right there you called it stupid and a cheap shot.

    You said that drafts are different from pro-life laws because pro-life laws protect individuals, where a draft is there to protect a nation. That seems ridiculous, because nations are made up of people, and an attack on one is an attack on all. Assault isn’t just the aggressor’s business. Nor is it a matter between the aggressor and the victim. When one private citizen infringes upon the rights of another, it is the entire nation’s business.

    Watusie: “I’ve listened to stories from my family members about themselves and their friends and relatives being drafted to fight in Vietnam, Korea, WWII and WWI. In none of these instances were they doing so because of an imminent threat to the lives of any of their neighbors.”

    So if I have this line of reasoning straight, no draft at all is about defending one’s neighbors because that doesn’t line up with the experience of veterans you’ve met. Have you met any WWII veteran draftees from England?

    Watusie: “There is a reason why the law likes bright lines. And there is no brighter line than being born.”

    It’s a very bright line. However, it doesn’t deserve to be relevant.

    For instance, presence or absence of male genitals is another very bright line. We shouldn’t use this bright line for determining whether or not a human has rights, because genitals shouldn’t have anything to do with personhood. Neither should birth. Owning title to land is also a very bright line (either you can produce the document for court or you can’t). Land ownership also deserves nothing to do with whether or not a human has rights.

    You keep talking about how bright the line is. What I’m contesting is not the brightness of the line, but why the line should matter.

    Rockerbabe: “Abortion laws are not about babies; they are about power and control.”

    I haven’t ascribed any immoral motives to you or others who hold your philosophical position on the matter. I have conducted a civil debate in good faith, without accusing my opponents of monstrous intent. I don’t think it’s too much to ask for you to reciprocate.

    I used to take a hard pro-choice stance. It was a woman who moderated my opinion on the issue.

    • Rockerbabe

      Abortion laws have always been about controlling women and what they do. It seems “everyone” is always so concerned about women’s sexual identity and her activity or lack there off. As if it were anyone else’s concern. Laws do have a moral motive; always have. In American parlence, I do believe it is called the “golden rule” or the Ten commandments. The Constitution also holds a number of moral teaching and beliefs, such as the right to speak freely, the right to believe in or not, whatever religion one fancies, the right to participate in the government of one’s choosing, the right to associate freely, the right to vote, etc.

      The citizenry at large also has the right to domestic tranquility, the right to pursue liberty, freedom and happiness. The 13th amendment forbids slavery or the forcing of one person to service another against their will; I do believe forced childbearing is a form of slavery.

      As for “innocent babies’ lives”; we all takes our chances, but forcing an already born human woman into serving a fetus against her will has nothing to do with babies. It has to do with making her do someone else’s bidding. Sort of like [which is illegal], making another person give a pint of their blood to “save” another person, against their wishes, or forcing one person to take on surgical risks so another can get off dialysis and get an ill-gotten kidney. Our Constitution does not force anyone to come to the aid of another for any reason. Hell, we cannot even force men or republicans to serve in the armed forces to fight not one, but two wars they insisted on waging. So why should women be forced to carry a pregnancy to term against her will? Are women not on equal par with men in the body integrity area, do we not get the same consitituional right as men?

      And, why are YOU so hell-bent on giving the fetus rights over the women; a fetus that has no constitutional standing at all? I think you need to rethink your argument.

  • balconesfault

    I contend that it’s like throwing them off the lifeboat.

    The person in the lifeboat is not functionally a parasite. The fetus is.

    I am not making an argument of refusing to rescue. I am making an argument that the woman has the right to decide what grows inside her body. You are arguing that this right should be stripped from her. She alone has the right to decide whether the risks involved in a pregnancy – and even the inconveniences – are something she wants to assume.

    The state can guarantee rights to a newborn baby, because the state can impose a reasonable moral obligation for a woman to give a newborn baby up for adoption rather than cause its death by commission or omission.

    I have already offered a reasonable pathway for when the state has a right to dictate that a woman may not abort a fetus – at the point when the state is ready to pay for an induced delivery, and to take possession and responsibility of the newborn baby at whatever gestational stage it’s at. You have ignored that pathway, and I’m curious as to why.

    For instance, presence or absence of male genitals is another very bright line. We shouldn’t use this bright line for determining whether or not a human has rights, because genitals shouldn’t have anything to do with personhood. Neither should birth.

    This is where we will continue to differ. You have in fact made no compelling argument why a creature which is wholly dependent on being inside a human being deserves rights which trump those of the host.

  • Watusie

    PatrickQuint, are you by any chance a college sophomore? You certainly “argue” like one. I don’t have time for any more of you illogical, twisty tedium. Because I’m going to a friends birthday party. Not his conception party. Not his quickening party. Not his male genitals party. His birthday party. Because birth is a BFD. I just don’t have today for the foolish quibbles of someone who says it isn’t.