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"To expand the definition of justifiable homicide"
February 15, 2011 6:00 AM   Subscribe

Despite the recent outrage over Congressional attempts to "redefine rape" for the purpose of abortion funding, South Dakota's legislature has stepped the controversy up even further: a party-line panel has sent to the floor for a full vote HB 1171 - "An Act to expand the definition of justifiable homicide to provide for the protection of certain unborn children." Mother Jones considers the legal potential: "This could make it legal to kill doctors who perform abortions."
posted by XQUZYPHYR (279 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
Well duh, that's the whole point of the legislation.
posted by aramaic at 6:06 AM on February 15, 2011


Jesus fucking Christ South Dakota. some of us are trying NOT to live in fucking Saudi. Assholes.
posted by paisley henosis at 6:07 AM on February 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


When are they going to propose legislation that would jail a woman seeking an abortion on the grounds of attempted murder? Because if it's really murder, then there's no difference between trying to kill a five-year-old kindergartner and trying to kill a five-week-old fetus. In fact, in states with the death penalty, then that should probably apply, right? It would be pre-meditated homicide, after all.

But it's not. This is about control of women's bodies, and it's about scoring political points.
posted by rtha at 6:07 AM on February 15, 2011 [27 favorites]


"certain" unborn children? Like white ones or what?
posted by DU at 6:13 AM on February 15, 2011 [27 favorites]


Look at these assholes.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 6:14 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


When are they going to propose legislation that would jail a woman seeking an abortion on the grounds of attempted murder?

Such a law would directly conflict with Roe, which upholds a woman's right to seek an abortion. The trick with this SD bill is, of course, that Roe doesn't directly address the legal standing of anyone who provides abortion services.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:15 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Next up: an amendment making it justifiable homicide to kill anyone who attempts to destroy an unmade omelet, endangering supermarket bag boys across the state.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:15 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


When are they going to propose legislation that would jail a woman seeking an abortion on the grounds of attempted murder?

They would if they could.
posted by smackfu at 6:15 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is not real. REallly? I mean really WHAT THE FUCK? I seriously can't believe they would create a law like this. I am genuinely in disbelief. You know I was really sad when I had to dunk all those cute little paramecium I bonded with under the microscope into some bleach, but it seems like this bill should protect them too. I should have been offed for doing such a thing.

So I hear, gonnorhea has adapted to contain human DNA so if it's cells that have human DNA that need to be protected than surely we should also karate chop doctors who treat gonhorrea.

WHAT THE FUCK. I think I'm going to spontaneously combust.

Dude, I mean seriously, I love the paramecium of the world and the shrimp and algae and the cute little egg and sperm and all that---- but seriously if you think all life should be protected then...

DON'T CREATE LEGISLATION ALLOWING MURDER.

I had no idea this was really something people believed in. I am so sheltered with all my liberal friends in a liberal city I really genuinely wouldn't have thought there was systemic desire to approve murder over abortion. That makes no sense. None.

Why don't they protect the little shrimps? Why do the shrimps not matter? What about the cute little baby cows? What about the little chickens, and poor little tuna just swimming around..... If there is any possibility of convincing people that a little blob of cells without a nervous system deserves protection then really we would have to legislate protecting cells. Or all life or something. And we would all die because we couldn't eat.

What about the sweet potatoes and the carrots and the little sprouts on my sandwich? Surely these living creatures can feel when they are snuffed out and they must be protected!

Even the most insane arguments against abortion DO NOT JUSTIFY KILLING PEOPLE OVER IT. Dousche bags.
posted by xarnop at 6:16 AM on February 15, 2011 [13 favorites]


When are they going to propose legislation that would jail a woman seeking an abortion on the grounds of attempted murder?

Many states already have laws in place that allow for charging a women with homicide for criminally negligent acts that kill their own fetus. However Roe v Wade overrides acts like that in that it says women have the right to get an abortion.

That's why the "repealing Roe will just bring it back to the states" argument is enormous bullshit. There are dozens if not hundreds of state laws already in place that will immediately make abortion on the level of homicide if Roe is overturned.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:17 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not like one crackpot wrote this mess, either. There are many sponsors. What a terrible thing to propose. I am also confused about how this jives with the "all life is precious" argument.
posted by theredpen at 6:23 AM on February 15, 2011


Even the most insane arguments against abortion DO NOT JUSTIFY KILLING PEOPLE OVER IT.

I argue the opposite. If abortion truly is murder, then killing an abortion doctor would be like killing Josef Mengele. Many unpleasant ideas flow from the idea that abortion would be murder, including the culpability of the would-be mother herself and the irrelevancy of rape or incest as a factor in allowing abortion. However, the abortion debate is not truly about stopping murder - it is a culture battle with women's bodies as pawns to be controlled. As such, only a tiny minority of pro-lifers carry their beliefs to the logical conclusion.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:25 AM on February 15, 2011 [22 favorites]


I had no idea this was really something people believed in. I am so sheltered with all my liberal friends in a liberal city I really genuinely wouldn't have thought there was systemic desire to approve murder over abortion. That makes no sense. None.

Not my words, but.

"Q: What do you call a group responsible for 8 murders, 17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, and 3 kidnappings, 173 arsons, 91 attempted bombings or arsons, 619 bomb threats, 1630 incidents of trespassing, 1264 incidents of vandalism, and 100 chemical "stink bomb" attacks, all of them organised and supported by said same group, in pursuit of a ideological goal that they hope to accomplish by terrorising their victims into submission, ongoing for more than 30 years?

A: Pro-life.
posted by kafziel at 6:26 AM on February 15, 2011 [149 favorites]


DON'T CREATE LEGISLATION ALLOWING MURDER.

As a very slight point of order, there are a number of laws on the books in a lot of places allowing murder. That's not new.
posted by jscott at 6:27 AM on February 15, 2011


But it's not. This is about control of women's bodies, and it's about scoring political points.

See, I think this view is mistaken (I mean the part about scoring political points not the part about controlling women's bodies), and I think this is the deadly mistake that a lot of us liberal-leaning types have been making for far too long now.

For these folks, this is not at all about "scoring political points" anymore (though many of them were led to their extreme positions by political calculators like the old school Republican establishment who were mainly just playing politics). They're deadly serious.

They mean to impose their incoherent, nominally right wing ideology on the rest of us by whatever means necessary. They don't have the best interests of America at heart because they do not believe in American ideals as we've historically understood them. They are much more dangerous and ill-intentioned than many of us have been comfortable facing, and the scary part is, we've basically let them get their hands on many of the rudders of power now because we haven't taken them seriously enough.

Even this far into the game, we're still not really fighting back.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:28 AM on February 15, 2011 [32 favorites]


They mean to impose their incoherent, nominally right wing ideology on the rest of us by whatever means necessary.

This is kind of ironic since these laws only exist because Roe v Wade was imposed on these states where the majority does not support it. If the Constitution had different limits and abortion was a state-level issue, it would be banned in quite a few states like South Dakota.
posted by smackfu at 6:30 AM on February 15, 2011


"If abortion truly is murder, then killing an abortion doctor would be like killing Josef Mengele."

A majority of Republicans voted against the Violence Against Women Act, opposed or skipped out on voting to provide equal pay to women, gutted the Family and Medical Leave Act, and have voted against providing reproductive and other healthcare and education to young women.

This latest assault by the American right-wing is just another piece of a larger campaign to whittle away women's rights.

Whatever dishonesty they make up, however they rationalize it, it's not about Mengele or Nazism or any of that kind of Beckian nonsense. Their actions put lie to all of that. It's all about making it okay to treat women like subhumans, like property.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:31 AM on February 15, 2011 [17 favorites]


As a very slight point of order, there are a number of laws on the books in a lot of places allowing murder.

Murder is, by definition, illegal. This bill is a statutory justification defense for the killing of abortion providers.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:31 AM on February 15, 2011


How is it taboo to call these fucks "the American Taliban"?

That's what they are, and us on ther other side need to start saying so, before they break out the burqas and AK47s.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:33 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm tired of "conservatives."
posted by Bummus at 6:35 AM on February 15, 2011


Okay, fess up, /b/. You've infiltrated South Dakota in an attempt to troll us, right?
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:46 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


"it is a culture battle with women's bodies as pawns to be controlled."

I grew up with all pro-lifers--- and I believe you that this is how a large portion of pro-lifers feel about it; but I have actually had a lot of conversations with people who genuinely believe there is a sacred being that deserves to live from the moment of conception.

If that were true, if there were a "soul" and there were emotions and feeling and all these things within then it would make sense to protect the babies.

I think at least some portion of the crazed anti-abortion movement is people who BELIEVE they need desperately to protect babies who are being murdered.

Really, if 6 months old babies were being murdered, their behavior would make at least some sense, right? Wouldn't you want to protect 6 month old babies? What you're seeing is people who are tapping into that primal part of human beings that want to protect babies and arousing the kind of passion that, really, we all should feel to protect children.

At least some of these people really believe that babies are being murdered.

Some are just crazy zealots and I have no idea about the inner workings of such people, who unfortunately must be in much greater numbers than I thought : (
posted by xarnop at 6:46 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm going to introduce legislation to redefine "South Dakota" as part of some other nation.
posted by theredpen at 6:48 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "pro-life" people want to "expand the definition of justifiable homicide"? What if a baby is trying to kill another baby?
posted by fuq at 6:50 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is why you have so many states. So you can leave them to live in better ones.
posted by srboisvert at 6:51 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I think at least some portion of the crazed anti-abortion movement is people who BELIEVE they need desperately to protect babies who are being murdered.

I think at least some portion of the crazed anti-abortion movement are misogynist pigs who BELIEVE they need desperately to control women's minds and bodies at all cost.
posted by Xurando at 6:52 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking of the Taliban, what if right now, we could invoke some of the compassion some of us wish we had/did use when thinking about the insane violence from the Taliban---

and use that to understand what is going on with these insane violent pro-lifers? (Although with the new legislation theyre going to need to come up with a new name)
posted by xarnop at 6:52 AM on February 15, 2011


However misguided proposing laws that criminalize abortion may be, I don't think you can categorically say that every. single. one. (or even a majority) of the stridently anti-abortion class is some right wing patriarchal misogynist out to unwind feminism all the way back to the days of wives as chattel-property. You may not want to acknowledge it, but there are some very strong well-though and moralistic reasons to be opposed to abortion in a black-or-white way. I won't list any because each one has a counter-point and, I think, that's what makes it such a difficult issue. Believing abortion should be criminal is not the same as believing we should stone adulterers. Also, pro-abortion is NOT the same as pro-women's rights, IMHO. I, myself, am pro-choice, but I think this false equivalency does more damage to the movement than good. You are always going to run into this impasse--people who believe abortion is or is the same as murder will argue that they are pro-human rights, ie, the rights of the unborn fetus.
posted by gagglezoomer at 6:54 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Read the amendments as linked: " 22-16-35. Homicide is justifiableifcommitted by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person"
1. Masters? Mistresses?
2. Re: "certain persons", note that according to the letter of the law you must have a relationship with the person being defended. Can't just be a random man on the street.
3. Therefore, it is also legal for a "husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person" of an abortion Dr. to kill that doctor's anticipated murderer.

What a hot fundie mess.
posted by boo_radley at 6:56 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I know this is brought up every time, but surely legalizing murder will call into question the term "Pro-Life," right?
posted by almostmanda at 6:57 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


If that were true, if there were a "soul" and there were emotions and feeling and all these things within then it would make sense to protect the babies.

If that were true, it would also make sense to spend untold billions of dollars every year saving the ~70 million children who die in miscarriages ever year. That's an order of magnitude more children than die of malnutrition every year, for example, and it's also considerably more than the number of abortions performed ever year.

And that's just miscarriage. Something like 75% of fertilized eggs fail to implant in the first place. Under a strict 'life begins at conception' rule, that means another ~630 million deaths every year.

If life really begins at conception, then abortion is just a drop in the bucket compared to the almost incalculable loss of life resulting from natural causes. If anti-choice extremists had the courage of their convictions they'd be working around the clock to raise money for women's health. But rather than work towards the positive goal of saving wanted children, they work toward punishing women and ensuring the births of more unwanted children.

Nevermind, of course, that criminalizing abortion doesn't actually significantly reduce its incidence, it just increases the complications.
posted by jedicus at 6:57 AM on February 15, 2011 [68 favorites]


In the United States we are constitutionally guaranteed an inalienable right to life that can only be abrogated in rare cases after due legal processes have been carried out.

That's why we criminalize vigilante justice and mob violence.

This measure strikes at the very foundations of our nation. These people are not conservatives, they are seditionists.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:58 AM on February 15, 2011 [17 favorites]


What if a baby is trying to kill another baby?

Doesn't that occasionally happen with twins in the womb?

I'm no big fan of babies. So, I say, make them defend their actions in court, in front of a jury of their peers. Since they're not citizens before they're born, we could declare them enemy combatants and force them to prove themselves innocent.

Baby Gitmo. The only way to keep America safe from baby killers.
posted by pokermonk at 6:59 AM on February 15, 2011 [17 favorites]


What if a baby is trying to kill another baby?

Yeah, what about those situations where, like, there are twins and one twin absorbs the other twin in utero? Is it justifiable to abort the "murdering" twin as punishment for its heinous crimes?
posted by backseatpilot at 6:59 AM on February 15, 2011


damnit!
posted by backseatpilot at 6:59 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nevermind, of course, that criminalizing abortion doesn't actually significantly reduce its incidence, it just increases the complications.

And by its very nature, would require massive intrusion into people's personal lives and effectively the creation of a surveillance state to track and monitor all potential pregnancies if we meant to achieve any kind of real enforcement. Otherwise, people will just keep their pregnancies secret and induce miscarriage like they've always done throughout history.

Literally, the only way to realistically have any impact on abortion rates through criminalization would be to dismantle the republic and replace it with a police state that constantly monitors women for pregnancy. Unfortunately, some of these fanatics would probably be just fine with that.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:02 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also: "hoghoused"? That's a hell of a phrase, South Dakota.
posted by boo_radley at 7:03 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, pro-abortion is NOT the same as pro-women's rights, IMHO.

Support for abortion rights (which is not the same as "pro-abortion", whatever that might be--I hate that phrase because it's meaningless) is not necessarily causally connected with support for other rights for women, nor is being anti-abortion-rights necessarily causally connected with being against other rights for women. At the same time, the questions of whether (uncontrolled/unplanned) pregnancy is central to a woman's life and whether everything else a woman does must be secondary to that are generally so central to the worldviews involved that support for or opposition to abortion rights is a good predictive factor for how supportive an individual is for women's rights generally.
posted by immlass at 7:07 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Literally, the only way to realistically have any impact on abortion rates through criminalization would be to dismantle the republic and replace it with a police state that constantly monitors women for pregnancy.

Providing free, easily accessible, dependable birth control to anyone who needs it would significantly cut abortion rates. If anyone ever doubts that the pro-life movement is really about controlling women, read that sentence again, and think about how many of them consider that a viable solution.
posted by almostmanda at 7:08 AM on February 15, 2011 [38 favorites]


"If anti-choice extremists had the courage of their convictions they'd be working around the clock to raise money for women's health."

I absolutely agree with you here. Somewhere along the way, this message of caring about human beings seems to have become meaningless.

However I want to point this out as it's something that I find upsetting. I've worked in social work settings and the people who reliably and dedicatedly volunteered their time were nearly all religious. I'm not saying they are part of the fundamental movements, but they were all church goers. I was in charge of trying to find more volunteers and there was just no interest from non-religious people in helping homeless young adults.

This made me sad and disappointed because I've had so many passionate conversations with liberals about the virtues of helping our fellow human beings.

The only program here in our city for women who are parenting children born in unplanned pregnancy is a religious organization. That makes me sad. There actually are some religious people who DO dedicate their lives to charity work--- albeit with their religion often used at the forefront.

Anyone who is anti-abortion should absolutely dedicate themselves to address all the needs of women who face unplanned pregnancy-- and support all things that would contriibute to her not getting pregnant in the first place.

The fundamentalist perspective that people should "pull themselves up from their bootstraps" and no one deserves assistance isn't just a religious person thing. It seems to be a pretty common belief system. And it's at the core of refusing to assist women who are poor, for any reason.

This isn't specifically aimed at "controlling women". It's more about "not giving a shit about poor people" and wanting to punish people for their transgressions that made them poor, or pregnant, or ill.
posted by xarnop at 7:19 AM on February 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


In additionally horrifying news, a subcommittee in the Republican-controlled Iowa House passed a bill yesterday declaring that life begins at conception. Planned Parenthood says this could be a direct challenge to Roe if it passes.

Whether it'll make it through the full legislature remains to be seen, of course, as the Iowa Senate is controlled by Democrats and is less insane right now.
posted by atlatl at 7:19 AM on February 15, 2011


I think that the soul is a big part of it, like xarnop said above.
It's pretty ridiculous to say that a blastocyst is a person unless it has a soul. Then it makes plenty of sense.

It also explains jedicus's point about miscarriage, I think. If the fetus dies "for natural reasons" it was God's will, and while it is certainly sad, it's all part of an ineffable plan.

Of course, the laws can't explicitly be about the soul of the fetus, so there is the same tension and cognitive dissonance that surrounds gay marriage. Believers go looking for secular (scientific, jurisprudential, medical, etc) reasons to codify a law that is fundamentally driven by a religious conclusion.
posted by Richard Daly at 7:25 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


If life really begins at conception, then abortion is just a drop in the bucket compared to the almost incalculable loss of life resulting from natural causes.

I am told that is part of God's plan, and the Lord works in mysterious ways. Ah.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:34 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jinks.
posted by Richard Daly at 7:37 AM on February 15, 2011


If life really begins at conception, then abortion is just a drop in the bucket compared to the almost incalculable loss of life resulting from natural causes.

And so it is clear: they should legalize the right to kill God in the defense of all those babies-to-be. I mean, that IS why we keep spending so much on the military, right? Operation Blessed Nimrod, here we go!
posted by yeloson at 7:37 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Exactly, Richard Daly. And where all this seems to be leading from where I sit is that some of the true fanatics basically want to establish theocratic rule, and some of the more calculating political elites are eager to encourage them along those lines because they would love to use the opportunity to consolidate their grip on political power (as in other theocratic, authoritarian nations, like Saudi Arabia, and Iran, whose rigidly hierarchical power structures they are eager to import).

That's why these elements have been encouraging Christian heresies that emphasize subservience and obedience to God, holding that our worldly political and economic leaders are divinely chosen: They're promoting a return to the popular belief in the divine right of kings (though not in so many words) quite literally to protect their economic fiefdoms. That's also why so many of the extremely wealthy have recently started running for elected office throughout the nation.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:37 AM on February 15, 2011


Sperm have souls. Each one is a potential life that must be protected, trillions of God's little children were murdered by socks, showers and hotel sheets just in the last week!

I'm starting an online petition demanding that South Dakota Republicans define masturbation as murder.
posted by T.D. Strange at 7:37 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


correction: "...that emphasize subservience and obedience to God worldly authority dressed up as obedience to God
posted by saulgoodman at 7:39 AM on February 15, 2011


I had no idea this was really something people believed in. I am so sheltered with all my liberal friends in a liberal city I really genuinely wouldn't have thought there was systemic desire to approve murder over abortion. That makes no sense. None.

Well, then this bill has done a tiny smidgen of good, if it woke you up. Much as I hope the astonishing number of bills targeting not only abortion, but contraception, women's health, and programs fighting violence against women wake up other liberal but sheltered types to the fact that women are being attacked, en masse, by Republicans. They have declared all out war on us, on our rights, on our freedom.

And I don't care, anymore, about people who sincerely want to save babies, because they have decided that the way to do so is not to fix things that actually kill babies (lack of healthcare, malnutrition, pollution) but to declare women's reproductive organs, and, by extension, her whole person, state property.

I don't care what people's motivations are if the end result of their actions is that women become chattel. If my every decision must be governed by the potential effects it will have on a potential fetus, in order to avoid criminal charges, then I am no longer free. A woman's reproductive years last from about age 12 to age 50; is every woman to become the property of the state for that period of her life? Because that's what's being proposed.
posted by emjaybee at 7:42 AM on February 15, 2011 [51 favorites]


Wow.

Reposting a comment from the Iowa article (yes, a comment in an online paper that is actually worth reading):
"Even if we delineate that personal rights begin at conception, how does that particular life get to hijack someone else's body and organs against their will? We don't even grant that right to fully developed, autonomous humans regardless of how long since they were born. If any human being doesn't want to give the use of their bodies to others, we don't force them to."
posted by caution live frogs at 7:43 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm going to share something that I hope might be helpful for people who don't understand how anti-abortion people could believe what they do.

My mother got pregnant when she was 15. And then again when she was 17. She "chose life" because she felt that myself and my sister were beings with souls. She chose to give us to middle class christian homes and not be allowed to see either of us until adulthood so that we could have better than her.

She has suffered unspeakable horrific pain over this.

She didn't bring us into the world and go through the suffering she has endured "in order to control women's bodies".

She just wanted us to be.

I think the disconnect in understanding between these two factions goes both ways. Not all pro-life people would be ok with these laws. Not all pro-choice people are ok with infanticide moments after birth as are some pro-choicers. This is really grey and really difficult.

Believing that the other side, whichever one your on, doesn't have any validity at all, or that the people on it have no humanness, is part of the obstacle that is turning this, quite literally into a battle.

I really don't think that the larger portion of pro-life voters realize how fucked up their voting choices could make this country. I don't know how to reach them with reason, but I think the starting point is that if we begin with "Fuck you, you are trying to control women's bodies and you are part of a conspiracy to make religion rule the country and you are part of the evil partiarchy dominating the world"

-- you probably WON'T reach them. Because despite faulty logic, the larger portion of these people aren't INTENTIONALLY being anti-choice for these reasons. They just believe little fertilized eggs have souls and must be protected. The people in power may have sinister motives but they are getting their power from a lot of sheep.
posted by xarnop at 7:44 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


That's a GREAT idea!
posted by Shike at 7:45 AM on February 15, 2011


I'm going to share something that I hope might be helpful for people who don't understand how anti-abortion people could believe what they do.

My mother got pregnant when she was 15. And then again when she was 17. She "chose life" because she felt that myself and my sister were beings with souls. She chose to give us to middle class christian homes and not be allowed to see either of us until adulthood so that we could have better than her.

She has suffered unspeakable horrific pain over this.

She didn't bring us into the world and go through the suffering she has endured "in order to control women's bodies".

She just wanted us to be.


I think where a lot of the problems start is not when individuals avoid abortions for themselves. This is perfectly reasonable. The problem starts when said individuals, as a group, seek to legislate their moral position and thus impose it on others who disagree with it. No one is doubting the sincerity of someone who chooses to carry despite a reduced quality of life.
posted by odinsdream at 7:48 AM on February 15, 2011 [13 favorites]


Every single time I see more crap like this, I remind myself of the old saw about how "The Internet sees censorship as an error, and routes around it."

While this isn't censorship per-se, I think the underlying principle of decentralized information storage as a tool to offset oppression is valid. There are resources out there, and you can't suppress them.

Sometimes though, it can be like hunting for easter eggs.
posted by mikelieman at 7:49 AM on February 15, 2011


"Even if we delineate that personal rights begin at conception, how does that particular life get to hijack someone else's body and organs against their will?

I believe the argument goes that the woman chose to become pregnant, and she then becomes the caretaker for the life growing inside. She submits to the needs of the baby. This is why, until recently, the pro-life crowd has begrudgingly accepted rape-or-health-of-the-mother exceptions. Now, even those exceptions are being rolled-back in many statehouses.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:50 AM on February 15, 2011


Of course, T.D. Strange, every sperm is sacred!
posted by zoinks at 7:50 AM on February 15, 2011


"Fuck you, you are trying to control women's bodies and you are part of a conspiracy to make religion rule the country and you are part of the evil partiarchy dominating the world"

I don't think I accused pro-lifers generally of being anything more than pawns. That might seem condescending to you, but it's true. Their best motives are being manipulated for the political gain of others (who don't really share those motives at all in many cases). I'm not talking about the people here, but the politicians who recklessly encourage them to their most extreme.

And it's called a political strategy, not a conspiracy. Or aren't calculated political strategies allowed to exist as legitimate objects of examination anymore?
posted by saulgoodman at 7:51 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


They just believe little fertilized eggs have souls and must be protected.

Which, in the judeo-christian tradition, they don't get until the 'moment of quickening', right?
posted by mikelieman at 7:51 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


xarnop, the only answer I could give your mom is that of course she should have the right to do what she did; no woman should ever be forced to have an abortion. She was true to her beliefs; good for her.

But by extension, no woman should be forced to experience the same pain as she did, by law, anymore than they should be forced to convert to her religion.
posted by emjaybee at 7:51 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


They just believe little fertilized eggs have souls and must be protected.

Which is why they oppose the Violence Against Women Act, oppose equal pay for women, oppose the Family and Medical Leave Act, and oppose reproductive and other healthcare and education for young women. Because fertilized eggs have souls.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:52 AM on February 15, 2011 [16 favorites]


"I think where a lot of the problems start is not when individuals avoid abortions for themselves. This is perfectly reasonable. The problem starts when said individuals, as a group, seek to legislate their moral position and thus impose it on others who disagree with it. No one is doubting the sincerity of someone who chooses to carry despite a reduced quality of life."

I agree, but my mother was pro-life for a long time, and her convinctions were not tied to "controlling women's bodies" or to "supporting the partiarcy" or to "declare war on women"

Her convinctions were based in a sincere belief that she had connected with her embryo on a soul level, which is something that even some non-religious people believe in.

Having conversations with her about the problems of dictating that such a soul exists when we don't have any scientific proof of that DID reach my mother. She is now pro-choice on a legal level but pro-life on a moral level.
posted by xarnop at 7:53 AM on February 15, 2011


BP: "They" don't necessarily. The Republicans use the issue of abortion (among other issues) to create coalitions of different right-leaning interests via the old "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" shtick. It just so happens that misogynists are also more than willing to join any coalition that sticks it to women's rights.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:56 AM on February 15, 2011


xarnop,

Thanks for sharing that.

As someone who struggled himself with his decision to support or oppose the right to abortion, I always find it helpful to remember that I didn't sit one down day and debate with myself, "Well, am I a slut-shaming woman-hating fundie or am I a progressive humanitarian?" It was a much more difficult conclusion for me, and every day my resolve grows stronger than legal, safe and universally available abortion is critical as a last-resort alternative to an unwanted pregnancy. It wasn't like one day I decided to stop being a a religious zealot.

I think some the biggest straw men in the abortion debate, though, are making abortion analogies to other situations, like prison, or miscarriage, or health care, to take some examples from up this thread. Abortion stands on it's own. Let's be clear about what we are talking about here. We are talking about terminating a pregnancy that, if given only a few more months, would likely develop into a viable fetus capable of surviving in this world. That's a BIG deal, and when you dehumanize the other side as having no legitimate points, you're trivializing what abortion is.
posted by gagglezoomer at 7:56 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ultimately, from a woman's perspective, however, it's always legitimate to say that abortion law is about controlling women's bodies--because in practical effect, regardless of intent, it is.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:57 AM on February 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


I agree, but my mother was pro-life for a long time, and her convinctions were not tied to "controlling women's bodies" or to "supporting the partiarcy" or to "declare war on women"

Her convinctions were based in a sincere belief that she had connected with her embryo on a soul level, which is something that even some non-religious people believe in.


Choosing not to have an abortion is not a pro-life stance. It is, in fact, the "choice" part of "pro-choice" - your mother having the freedom to choose for herself whether or not to give birth. Dictating that nobody should be allowed to choose to have an abortion is the pro-life stance, and that demand is about controlling womens' bodies.
posted by kafziel at 7:59 AM on February 15, 2011 [27 favorites]


Which, in the judeo-christian tradition, they don't get until the 'moment of quickening', right?

It's complicated. Suffice to say that there is no one traditional answer but that the modern 'life begins at conception / abortion is murder' view is actually pretty modern.
posted by jedicus at 7:59 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"But by extension, no woman should be forced to experience the same pain as she did, by law, anymore than they should be forced to convert to her religion."

I agree with you here as well. The point of bringing this up is that a portion, and I think a large portion of pro-life people I know don't understand that they are using faulty logic.

I fucking hate adoption and I hate how it's destroyed my mother and I hate the weight of her suffering that I carry in my being.

I hate the responsability of being given a "better life" at the expense of her destruction and not ever being able to live up to the kind of life I would have to live to justify such destruction of another human for my existence.

I wouldn't recommend adoption to anyone, ever. I do however understand my mothers desire to bring me into the world, and I lamment that most people are opposed to better services for single parents out of fear that better services automatically will mean more leaking of their money will fund lazy, non-working drug using welfare moms.

However I wanted to bring the humanity of the other side here.

So that perhaps, unlike them, we could demonstrate capacity to see the humanness of the other side.
posted by xarnop at 7:59 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


We are talking about terminating a pregnancy that, if given only a few more months, would likely develop into a viable fetus capable of surviving in this world. That's a BIG deal, and when you dehumanize the other side as having no legitimate points, you're trivializing what abortion is.

I disagree. As I said before, like it or not, this is what we're really talking about, regardless of which side you take.

The only way to implement and enforce any effective legal constraints on abortion rights that aren't hopelessly doomed to noncompliance is for the state to closely monitor women for signs of pregnancy. That's not a set of legal conditions a democracy can tolerate.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:00 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm just saying, I know a lot of pro-life people who have no desire to hurt women, or convert the nation to a religious theocracy, or wage war on women.

Saying things like this dimishing our ability to get to the root of the faulty logic being used.
posted by xarnop at 8:01 AM on February 15, 2011


Which, in the judeo-christian tradition, they don't get until the 'moment of quickening', right?
I don't think there's a "Judeo-Christian" tradition on this issue. Seriously, folks: Jews are not just Jesus-less Christians. Jewish teachings on fetal life aren't the same as Christian ones.
posted by craichead at 8:04 AM on February 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Republicans are terrorists. The lack of an ounce of remorse or responsibility over the Giffords murders proves that, their willingness to look the other way when right wing militia groups break the law proves that, their willingness to promote violence against women proves that, their willingness to promote violence against illegal immigrants proves that, their willingness to circumvent the Constitution and torture individuals proves that.

It's time Americans started treated Republicans as a terrorist organization.
posted by any major dude at 8:05 AM on February 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


I'm just saying, I know a lot of pro-life people who have no desire to hurt women, or convert the nation to a religious theocracy, or wage war on women.

Of course! You might be surprised to know I used to lean pro-life myself at one point in time. Then this happened and this happened and the whole issue stopped being theoretical for me.

Also I worked extensively in state government under the Bush admin in Florida and have gotten close, firsthand glimpses of how these political types actually operate--not everyone gets to see the levers of power being worked first hand, so they don't really have any frame of reference for understanding intuitively how these things work.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:07 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I agree, but my mother was pro-life for a long time, and her convinctions were not tied to "controlling women's bodies" or to "supporting the partiarcy" or to "declare war on women"

Her convinctions were based in a sincere belief that she had connected with her embryo on a soul level, which is something that even some non-religious people believe in.

Having conversations with her about the problems of dictating that such a soul exists when we don't have any scientific proof of that DID reach my mother. She is now pro-choice on a legal level but pro-life on a moral level.


Thank you for sharing your story, but it's really unclear what point you're trying to make. Are you suggesting that there are pro-choice people who would have somehow wanted to force your mother to have an abortion? This is obviously not the case. As kafziel just mentioned, "Choosing not to have an abortion is not a pro-life stance."

I'd like for the pro-choice side to make this more clear, but it really seems obvious to me. Please let me know what you're getting at that I'm missing.
posted by odinsdream at 8:10 AM on February 15, 2011


"It's time Americans started treated Republicans as a terrorist organization."

In the interest of preventing civil war in the event we adopt this attitude-- it seems relevant to bring up that perhaps the "war are terror" isn't the way to address the terrorism in our country.

If we wage war on this terrorist group-- we become them. Right? Shouldn't we instead show them how it should be done?

(But how SHOULD it be done?)

"Also I worked extensively in state government under the Bush admin in Florida and have gotten close, firsthand glimpses of how these political types actually operate--not everyone gets to see the levers of power being worked first hand, so they don't really have any frame of reference for understanding intuitively how these things work."

I think your experience should show you--- we probably CAN reach a lot of these people. The problem as that people don't believe a lot of thise evil shit is happening until they see it. And when the left tries to expose these evil people for what they are, the pro-lifers only hear "oh the prochoicers are creating propaganda"
posted by xarnop at 8:11 AM on February 15, 2011



Her convinctions were based in a sincere belief that she had connected with her embryo on a soul level, which is something that even some non-religious people believe in.


Just to further discuss, since your mother believed this, she made the right choice for herself to carry to term. Why is it a jump to suggest that this should, in fact, remain a personal choice?
posted by odinsdream at 8:12 AM on February 15, 2011


"Thank you for sharing your story, but it's really unclear what point you're trying to make. Are you suggesting that there are pro-choice people who would have somehow wanted to force your mother to have an abortion? This is obviously not the case. As kafziel just mentioned, "Choosing not to have an abortion is not a pro-life stance."


My point in sharing that is that there is a lot of sentiment that all pro-lifers are insane people who have no compassion for others and no reasons for their beliefs and that they simply not even worth trying to converse with because they are incapable of logic.

Perhaps they aren't getting their logical fallacies because it's really hard to hear someone when they are telling you you are an evil woman hating mysogenist and you know you aren't.
posted by xarnop at 8:14 AM on February 15, 2011


Shouldn't we instead show them how it should be done?

Ordinarily, I'd agree, but you're assuming they want to learn how it should be done, instead of recognizing they are not interested in that. Showing them how it should be done means playing by the rules and assuming the good faith of opponents that are extraordinarily skillful at subverting the rules and that are not acting in good faith.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:14 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jewish teachings on fetal life aren't the same as Christian ones.

Well, that's true. But doesn't that say something about the newer, variant Christian ideas? And don't the traditional Jewish beliefs render abortion a protected religious matter?
posted by mikelieman at 8:15 AM on February 15, 2011


"Why is it a jump to suggest that this should, in fact, remain a personal choice?"

It absolutely should remain a personal choice.

I am pro-choice, and I am trying to tell you that you may have misguided notions of what the force behind the pro-life movement really is. Yes at the top end of it there are evil people lusting for power--- but politics has always had such people.

the reason they are able to manipluate so many people into being pro-life is that there are reasons OTHER THAN mysogeny than people have pro-life leanings.
posted by xarnop at 8:16 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Republicans: We love the unborn, but we hate actual people!

I, personally, think abortion in most cases is probably very bad karma - but it's not my right to make that decision. I do, however, have huuuuge problems with a group of people who systematically demand that the children be willed into existence - no matter what shitty circumstances surround the event - and then spend the rest of their time removing every shred of social safety net there is to support the mothers and children.

Fuck these people. ( If men got pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament, BTW.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:16 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


xanop, I should say: I used to be "pro-life", I used to consider an embryo as equivalent to a baby. I am not against the uses of compassion and understanding to reach out to those who are as misinformed as I was.

However, right now? I am being attacked, in a very specific way, by these laws. I am at risk of losing my personal liberty, of having my personhood erased in favor of a fetus who, like Schroedinger's cat, may or may not exist at any given point in my life.

I do not have time to argue, one-on-one with every well-meaning "pro-lifer" who has so failed to educate themselves on this subject that they have made it past young adulthood without questioning these assumptions. Feel free to take on that role if you wish, but in the meantime, I am going to call out oppression as oppression, regardless of whose feelings get hurt. We are not having a nice teatime discussion here; we are determining the right of every woman in the U.S. to remain a full human being. You will have to excuse me if I think that's more important. Nice people need to question why so many of us fear what they propose; if they are truly nice, they, like your mom, will figure it out.
posted by emjaybee at 8:17 AM on February 15, 2011 [21 favorites]


"Ordinarily, I'd agree, but you're assuming they want to learn how it should be done, instead of recognizing they are not interested in that. Showing them how it should be done means playing by the rules and assuming the good faith of opponents that are extraordinarily skillful at subverting the rules and that are not acting in good faith."

So, I just have to ask, you feel the same about our war on other terrorist organizations? Which is totally understandable and you might be right. I just had to ask.
posted by xarnop at 8:18 AM on February 15, 2011


If they're really Christians, when are we going to see "turn the other cheek" legislation?
posted by Grumpy old geek at 8:21 AM on February 15, 2011


Well, no. I support the model of opposition recently on such spectacular display in Egypt. IMO we need to be forceful and uncompromising, but not violent, in advancing these kinds of causes.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:24 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


You want to reduce abortions, increase social services. Make sure everyone has access to birth control, medical care, safe schools/care for children, wages that people can actually live on, education and good jobs to get out of the poverty cycle in the first damn place.

That would reduce it by a hell of a lot. This isn't reducing abortion. This is turning a child into an unwanted consequence, and when that happens, people will die, accidentally or on purpose, to avoid it. It's been happening since before we could write it down.

They know all of this perfectly well. They just don't care. To that set, if a woman dies of a botched abortion, she deserved it. And that's a fucking sick way to view half of humanity.
posted by cmyk at 8:24 AM on February 15, 2011 [10 favorites]


"Well, no. I support the model of opposition recently on such spectacular display in Egypt. IMO we need to be forceful and uncompromising, but not violent, in advancing these kinds of causes."

I'm down with that.
posted by xarnop at 8:27 AM on February 15, 2011


Xarnop,

I appreciate what you've shared, and as others have said, your mother's decision is a perfectly reasonable and loving thing to do and in a compassionate society should be supported. I know of no liberal or conservative who would argue otherwise.

I think it is absolutely true that this is a difficult, highly nuanced issue, one that Americans can't do well. Hell Metafilter doesn't do it well. This is why I stay out of these discussions, generally. And this thread really didn't start off as a discussion of whether abortions are peachy or not. It was a post about whether killing someone who provided abortions is justifiable or not. Yeah, I think there are a lot of people who fall somewhere between the extremes on what they are comfortable with, but you do not see pro-choice people introducing legislation like this. Where are the pro-lifers who think abortion is distasteful but might be the best option is *some* crazy imaginable circumstances? Yeah, maybe there's a few out there, but these are not people who identify with the pro-life movement (nor would they be welcome in the movement). Pro-choice people, literally by definition, understand that life is a series of compromises that exist in grey areas, and sometimes those decisions are difficult. Anti-abortion people, at least the ones participating in the discussion and holding the reins of power in government simply do not allow that there is any ambiguity over this issue.

Yeah, I too would like to see a more nuanced discussion. I would, as a generally pro-choice person, like to say there is something unsettling about abortion and it isn't a positive choice for many people and how can we support them. I would like some of the pro-life people to be comfortable saying, "Hey we could cut way way down on the number of dead soul-fetuses if we made birth control and sex education more freely available." The discussion is way too polarized now and it saddens me legislation like this proposed will just further drive the polarization and take us further away from a national consensus.

And also, when you make statements like this:

Not all pro-choice people are ok with infanticide moments after birth as are some pro-choicers

You're not advancing the cause of reason.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:27 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not all pro-choice people are ok with infanticide moments after birth as are some pro-choicers.

The mask comes off.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:28 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


If these people are really interested in saving the lives of anyone with a soul, then they would support universal health care which would save many more lives.
The "all life is precious" argument is pure bullshit.
posted by rocket88 at 8:29 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Could these extreme Republicans get much more disgusting?
posted by FilmJulie at 8:29 AM on February 15, 2011


I am pro-choice, and I am trying to tell you that you may have misguided notions of what the force behind the pro-life movement really is. Yes at the top end of it there are evil people lusting for power--- but politics has always had such people.

Perhaps what I'm missing is the relevancy. What I mean is, it doesn't really matter to me (as a pro-choice person) whether someone individually is pro-life, and refuses to have an abortion themselves, ever.

The issue arises when those people seek to legislate based on their reasoning, thus imposing their belief system on others.

If someone isn't seeking to take political action based on their morality, we literally have nothing to talk about.
posted by odinsdream at 8:31 AM on February 15, 2011


That is something I've seen and it did worry me. I doubt that's prevailent as all--- but pro-life people use that all the time in their discussions, so it's worth mentioning that this is not the majority of pro-choicers--- so I would imagine.

"I would like some of the pro-life people to be comfortable saying, "Hey we could cut way way down on the number of dead soul-fetuses if we made birth control and sex education more freely available." The discussion is way too polarized now and it saddens me legislation like this proposed will just further drive the polarization and take us further away from a national consensus."

I know, it's really hard. I understand why people shy away from talking about it, because it's so hard. But as we are apparently on the verge of a civil war over this, I think it would be good to have those discussions. Maybe? (
posted by xarnop at 8:32 AM on February 15, 2011


Could these extreme Republicans get much more disgusting?

Sure. Just read Atwood for insight into their playbook.
posted by mikelieman at 8:34 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I am saying that at that time--- my mothers belief that life was so sacred that she should go throught that kind of horrific suffering for my existence did make her feel protective of other embryo/fetuses as well.

If you passionately believe that a fetus has feelings, and a soul, and is worth going through horrific suffering in order to protect and give life to--- that is part of why many people project these feelings onto the fetuses of others.

That root sentiment is not about mysogeny.
posted by xarnop at 8:35 AM on February 15, 2011


I think it would be good to have those discussions. Maybe?

They are literally trying to push through a bill that would make it legal to murder abortion providers. I don't think they're interested in your discussion.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:35 AM on February 15, 2011


Why stop there. We need to save the children that haven't been conceived yet, and pass the bill on to the living.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:36 AM on February 15, 2011


If you passionately believe that a fetus has feelings, and a soul, and is worth going through horrific suffering in order to protect and give life to--- that is part of why many people project these feelings onto the fetuses of others.

That root sentiment is not about mysogeny.


That may be. But when a bunch of men start telling me that I am not allowed to have control over what happens to my own body, because it is female, then it sure as hell becomes misogynist. They're assuming they know better than I how I should live my life, and if I don't do it perfectly according to their rules I'll be shamed, mocked, humiliated, ostracized.

You see how that works? Hell, good intentions, paving, etc.
posted by cmyk at 8:38 AM on February 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


Huh. I never knew cmyk was a lady. Learn something new every day.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:40 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


: (

Quite honestly I'm terrified that this bill is on the table. And you may be right, perhaps we are beyond the point that the two sides can reach each other.

That is horrifying. What do we do? There has to be something we can do, we can't just sit here and do nothing will a bill allowing doctors to be killed for performing abortions goes through? Right? Or is that all we can do?
posted by xarnop at 8:40 AM on February 15, 2011


Perhaps they aren't getting their logical fallacies because it's really hard to hear someone when they are telling you you are an evil woman hating mysogenist and you know you aren't.

See, I think this is really the root of the problem. Thinking you're not a misogynist isn't the same as not being one. Regardless of anyone's motivations for being "pro-life", the fact remains that taking this stance means espousing a belief system that is by definition hopelessly misogynistic whether one chooses to realize it or not. You can choose to focus on the "baby-loving" aspect of it, but that doesn't make the woman-hating part any less real. Either you believe woman have the right to determine what happens to their own bodies, or you believe that they are chattel. It really is that simple.
posted by Go Banana at 8:40 AM on February 15, 2011 [8 favorites]


So, would this also, perhaps, make a plea of justifiable homicide for any pregnant woman to murder pretty much anyone in the state of South Dakota, so long as she can claim the victim had an intent to harm her baby? Any relative of a pregnant woman could kill someone, so long as they could claim that the person was about to attack the woman? What about a woman who may *claim* to be pregnant as a defense to murder?
posted by sadiehawkinstein at 8:42 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am saying that at that time--- my mothers belief that life was so sacred that she should go throught that kind of horrific suffering for my existence did make her feel protective of other embryo/fetuses as well.

If you passionately believe that a fetus has feelings, and a soul, and is worth going through horrific suffering in order to protect and give life to--- that is part of why many people project these feelings onto the fetuses of others.

That root sentiment is not about mysogeny.


Ok, let's just take this part really, really slowly, because the intersection between your mother's personal beliefs and her actions regarding others is where this issue tips between the two sides. It's unreasonable, no matter how sincere and well-meaning your mother's belief, for her to demand that another woman be forced through pregnancy.

Right up until that moment, there's literally no problem. At exactly the moment when personal opinions and beliefs extend into edicts and demands for others is where trouble begins.
posted by odinsdream at 8:42 AM on February 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


She is now pro-choice on a legal level but pro-life on a moral level.

Nthing that this is PRO CHOICE. It doesn't matter whether you'd have an abortion or not; if you wouldn't keep a(nother) woman from having an abortion and/or force her to have one, you are pro-choice and pro-abortion-RIGHTS.
posted by immlass at 8:43 AM on February 15, 2011 [8 favorites]




It should not matter (in a legal sense) what you or I think about what she wants to do with her body. That's really all there is to it. The goal isn't to achieve mutual understanding, it's to achieve a condition under which women control their own reproduction.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:44 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I make little distinction between abortion and infanticide, but then again, I am fully in support of a woman's right to do both. Does this make me a crazy person? Maybe I just hate babies.
posted by tehloki at 8:45 AM on February 15, 2011


"the American Taliban"

There is a lot I see as wrong with the pro-life movement, but trying to pass legislation to justify homicide to protect fetuses as a dog-whistle for killing doctors is beyond shameless.

Fuck these guys. Seriously. They are no better than the Taliban.
posted by quin at 8:46 AM on February 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


I honestly think some people may have trouble with this because they don't recognize the difference between "I wish the world was this way" and "I want my government to legislate this behaviour." It's a failure of civic understanding that leads people to be unable to understand how a personal choice can actually exist outside of a legal framework.
posted by odinsdream at 8:49 AM on February 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


"At exactly the moment when personal opinions and beliefs extend into edicts and demands for others is where trouble begins."

Right but think about how passionate you would be about protecting a new born baby that you saw someone trying to kill.

That's the force that we're seeing in a lot of these people. I WOULD fight someone who was trying to kill a new born. I would in fact most likely put my life at risk to protect a new born someone was trying to kill.

The logic may be wrong, in that a fetus is not experiencing life in the way that a new born is, but the reason these passions are so strong is that some of these pro-life people are coming at this with the force they would come at trying to save a new born from death.

The logic IS as fucked up and wrong. I still don't think the root force of this is intentionally mysogenistic--- but I DO agree the end result is mysogenistic.

I would also do anything in my power to save women from losing children to adoption. In fact I do, I try to save them and I can't. I just watch them say they will be fine after giving up their children and then watch their blogs as they become anorexic and start drinking into oblivion and talking about how they wish they could die but adoption is so beautiful and it was the right thing!!!

Sigh. This is all so mother fucking horrifically sad.

I wish there were more that I could do, all I can think to do is come up with ways the two sides could understand each other and all of this could end. But maybe even that wouldn't help and maybe is not possible.

So I'll just sit here and think how fucking horrible this is.
posted by xarnop at 8:51 AM on February 15, 2011


The problem with democracy is that half the population can enslave the other half...
posted by nickrussell at 8:52 AM on February 15, 2011


There was a state rep in Virginia a few years ago who introduced a bill that would have required women who had had a miscarriage to report that miscarriage to the police.

There was an outcry; letters were written, mocking blog posts were posted, and he apparently received some bloody tampons in the mail. He withdrew the bill.

It's curious to me that the anti-abortion movement frames this issue in part as a personal responsibility/accepting the consequences of your actions kind of thing, as though the child is a punishment.

And it isn't about saving babies. If it were, we'd have the kind of sex education and free availability of birth control (especially for teens) as they do in many European countries, where the abortion rates are much, much lower.
posted by rtha at 8:52 AM on February 15, 2011


Does this make me a crazy person?

Yes. Because abortion is equal to "controlling what happens to your body" and infanticide is "murdering a baby." There is absolutely no nuance or granularity to these assertions.

Seriously, let's call a spade a spade here. Voluntary abortion means terminating a life because you do not for whatever reason you may have want to continue the pregnancy. I support that choice. I don't really think it needs to be framed as "I do what I want with my body." We all have a vested interest in human reproduction, women and men, just women more so.
posted by gagglezoomer at 8:54 AM on February 15, 2011




I make little distinction between abortion and infanticide, but then again, I am fully in support of a woman's right to do both. Does this make me a crazy person? Maybe I just hate babies.


I tried so hard not to touch this.
Look at it like this:

An unborn fetus can't realistically be removed from the mother without harming it. It's an issue of the woman's body, and the woman's rights.

A newly born baby can be given to a surrogate mother. At this point, it becomes about the rights of the baby and the baby's family, not just the mother.

On that level it's a very real, and very pragmatic distinction, that has nothing to do with the relative value of the life of the baby versus the life of the fetus.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:58 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


On that level it's a very real, and very pragmatic distinction, that has nothing to do with the relative value of the life of the baby versus the life of the fetus.

I think he was making a joke.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:59 AM on February 15, 2011


That root sentiment is not about mysogeny.[sic]

No? Then why don't any of these people apply that "root sentiment" anywhere else? Do they support extensive sex education in schools? Do they support free and easy access to birth control? Do they support increasing public financial support for single mothers? Do they support universal public health care?
If not, then it's all about controlling pregnant women.
posted by rocket88 at 9:01 AM on February 15, 2011 [6 favorites]



I think he was making a joke.

I never know what to assume anymore.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:01 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Seriously, let's call a spade a spade here. Voluntary abortion means terminating a life because you do not for whatever reason you may have want to continue the pregnancy.

Lots of people would disagree with you that a fetus is actually 'a life,' though. Shoot, in some cultures a child isn't given a name and isn't considered to be fully human until a few weeks or months post-birth.

Basically, the worse infant mortality and miscarriage are in a culture, the less likely the culture is to consider fetuses and even very young infants to be alive or fully human. It's a coping mechanism, and it underscores that there's no innate human understanding that fetuses and infants are people.

In the industrialized world we have made great strides in preventing both miscarriage and infant mortality, and we have fewer children on average. I believe our obsession over the value of fetal and infant life is a direct result of that and not a reflection of some universal human value system or belief.
posted by jedicus at 9:02 AM on February 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


We don't have the ability to do whatever we want with our bodies. Laws exist to prevent us from hurting other people.

The issue that some people have is that they believe a fetus is a human that deserves protection. It's not a "create an arbitrary law to hurt women"---- although on a political level it may be.

On the level of people who believe the government should protect embryo/fetuses from I think there is a lot of genuine sentiment that there is a human there who deserves protection. Not "there is no being there that deserves protection and we should just control women to be assholes"

The argument "Your laws can't tell me what I can and can't do" just doesn't make any sense. Laws exist to tell us what we can and can't do.
posted by xarnop at 9:02 AM on February 15, 2011


(LOL ideally laws exist for that purpose, I know they really exist to protect the have's from the have not's and all)
posted by xarnop at 9:03 AM on February 15, 2011


Why don't they protect the little shrimps? Why do the shrimps not matter?

This argument is specious and I cringe whenever I hear it. A little shrimp is not a potential person. Neither is a paramecium, barring another billion years of natural selection.

It is important to keep in mind that a fetus - regardless of what you may believe regarding its humanity - is a potential person. It will not develop into a shrimp or a cow or a tree. Given a healthy environment and a chance to thrive, it will someday become a human being. In very much the same sense that a 40 year old man on death row is a potential 65 year old man playing with his grandchildren.

I am a fierce advocate of choice but I really wish we'd do away with this business of comparing fetuses to egg yolks. A seed is not a rose, an acorn is not an oak tree and an embryo is not a human - but there is potential humanity bound up in that embryo and it deserves to be addressed and taken into account. Back to your regularly scheduled grar.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:04 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's funny. My go-to response to pro-lifers lately has been, "Murdered any pediatricians lately?"

Of course, it was intended to be an offensive and insulting statement, not a reflection of policy. Live and learn.
posted by stet at 9:06 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


We don't have the ability to do whatever we want with our bodies. Laws exist to prevent us from hurting other people.

Please explain how the one sentence relates to the other.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:09 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Laws exist to tell us what we can and can't do.

Well, it's more like "Laws exist to tell us what punishment we can expect if we get caught and prosecuted for violating them"...

Free Will is a bitch.
posted by mikelieman at 9:12 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Not all pro-choice people are ok with infanticide moments after birth as are some pro-choicers.

I don't know anyone who is OK with this, and this kind of language is part of the problem in the ongoing "debate."
posted by Mister_A at 9:13 AM on February 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


Interesting theory. The Constitution (as interpreted by the supreme court) grants women the right to an abortion. So do an end run around that by removing the state's legal protection for abortion providers.

I think this would violate the equal protection clause.

And of course it's mind-bogglingly reprehensible as well, but everyone has already pointed that out.
posted by delmoi at 9:14 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is important to keep in mind that a fetus - regardless of what you may believe regarding its humanity - is a potential person.

I don't think that anyone has forgotten that (although it might seem like some people have). Pro-choice people are perfectly capable of getting pregnant and bonding with the fetus at an early stage. Heck, my wife is thre months pregnant and we are both firmly pro-choice and are already getting all mushy about the Lurglet.

An 18 year old is a potential 21 year old, but an 18 year old can't buy alcohol. A fetus is a potential human being, but it is not a human being and, as such, it does not automatically deserve the same rights as a human being. I believe that it does have some rights (animals are not humans and I believe that animals have rights), but that's a different matter.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 9:15 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It is important to keep in mind that a fetus - regardless of what you may believe regarding its humanity - is a potential person

Bear in mind that that argument only applies to a normal fetus. Many fetuses will, even given a healthy environment, spontaneously abort, be stillborn, or inevitably die shortly after being born.
posted by jedicus at 9:16 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not a "create an arbitrary law to hurt women"---- although on a political level it may be.

No other level matters when we're talking about legislation. The original opinions and their driving morality have absolutely no bearing once legislation forcing people to endure pregnancy is enacted. The result is always the same: misogyny.
posted by odinsdream at 9:17 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


The argument "Your laws can't tell me what I can and can't do" just doesn't make any sense. Laws exist to tell us what we can and can't do.

Again, you are spewing nonsense.

On the one hand, no one has ever proposed a law requiring a woman to abort.

On the other, no law can ever prevent a woman from having aborting. Any number of herbs, teas, self-injuries, or mental stresses will terminate a pregnancy. It is literally impossible to prevent a determined woman from aborting.

You seem deeply confused about the differences between choice and coercion, between law and actual behavior, between cause and effect.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:18 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Lots of people would disagree with you that a fetus is actually 'a life,' though. Shoot, in some cultures a child isn't given a name and isn't considered to be fully human until a few weeks or months post-birth.

Some cultures kill female and disabled infants. The world is a fucked up place. I try to come to my own conclusions about how things should be.
posted by gagglezoomer at 9:18 AM on February 15, 2011


AGreed, it's brought up often by prolifers who percieve pro-choicers that way. It would be a good myth for prolifers to see debunked.

"Then why don't any of these people apply that "root sentiment" anywhere else? Do they support extensive sex education in schools? Do they support free and easy access to birth control? Do they support increasing public financial support for single mothers? Do they support universal public health care?"

I absolutely agree, they don't care and they're fucking evil. My mother wanted to keep me, she didn't want to give me up. But she didn't have anywhere to go with me. They had invited her to stay in their maternity home where she was cared for for free and encouraged not to work or save up money in order to keep me.

so that when she gave birth and she wanted to keep me there was no car to drive away with me in. There was no where to go. And they said that if she wanted to keep me she needed to give them thousands of dollars for staying there which they knew she didn't have.

And then they sold me for a shitload of money to middle class people.

It's fucking evil.

I just think at the root of evil are human beings, and if we can try to understand what is at the root of evil behavior we might go farther in preventing it.

I could be wrong.
posted by xarnop at 9:19 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


I see a lot of bumper stickers that say "It's a child, not a choice", or more like "IT IS A CHILD, NOT A CHOICE" all yelly-like, and I've finally found what I want as rebuttal: "She's a woman, not just a womb."
posted by notsnot at 9:20 AM on February 15, 2011 [9 favorites]


And the people working in those places? they watch the women howl. They watch the screams. They know how it destroys women to lose children this way. they are fucking monsters. But they have a warped belief system that guides them to believe that women deserve this--- that they don't deserve better resources to enable them to parent.
posted by xarnop at 9:22 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bear in mind that that argument only applies to a normal fetus.

"Normal" fetuses do not usually make it to term. Most fertilizations, blastocysts, and zygotes end up expelled. Actually making it to birth is the exception, not the rule. (A point I think you made earlier.)
posted by five fresh fish at 9:23 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


jesus christ, xarnop.
posted by boo_radley at 9:23 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


(or access to birth control and sex education, or access to abortion....)

It's seriously fucked up. I don't know how to fix it, and probably wrongly I always think the place to start is with compassion and understanding.

This could just be a personal flaw and very likely is.
posted by xarnop at 9:25 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


An unborn fetus can't realistically be removed from the mother without harming it. It's an issue of the woman's body, and the woman's rights.

I think this framing cuts to the heart of the problem - if you believe that the unborn foetus is fully human, it isn't just about the woman's body any more. Think of it like this: if a woman suddenly had a 2-year old child surgically attached to her stomach, such that she couldn't have it removed without the child dying, is the decision whether to remove it solely to do with her? I'd guess you'd say "no", because that child is definitely a human who has rights of its own.

Artificial though that situation may be, in the eyes of someone who believes that the foetus is fully human it is directly morally equivalent to the decision of whether to abort the foetus.

Feel free to argue that the equivalency is wrong because the foetus isn't fully human - just please realise that although a lot of people have no interest in restricting the rights of women to do what they want with their bodies, they would argue that an unborn foetus isn't a part of that body, and therefore the woman should not have a choice (or should have significantly less choice) over what happens to it.

(Also, this...

"I would like some of the pro-life people to be comfortable saying, "Hey we could cut way way down on the number of dead soul-fetuses if we made birth control and sex education more freely available."

...is right on the money.)

(Also also, regardless of your general position on abortion rights, making it legal to kill abortion providers? Seriously, what the hell?)
posted by ZsigE at 9:28 AM on February 15, 2011


I would have more understanding of the typical pro-lifer if he or she understood that pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion. I would never get an abortion. But I would also not legislate that particular choice as mandatory. There are no plans to introduce legislation requiring abortions. Because that would be crazy. Yet here we are with this foolishness in South Dakota.
posted by theredpen at 9:29 AM on February 15, 2011


I don't get what the effect of this would be with regard to abortion doctors. Doesn't justifiable homicide require an imminence of homicide, a "I had no ability or time to contact the authorities" scenario?

I mean, even if I had unearthed a plot to kill a five-year-old tomorrow at 2pm, I couldn't just go over there and blow up the supposed perpetrator, or even show up tomorrow at 2pm and blow up the perpetrator. I would be required to call the cops. Failure to do that would (?) void my claim of "I had no choice," no?

In what abortion doctor-killing scenario would this defense work? (Barring, of course, pro-life juries who don't care what the law says)
posted by ctmf at 9:30 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


they would argue that an unborn foetus isn't a part of that body,

My protected religious beliefs say otherwise.

And since there's a separation of Church and State, shouldn't that remove abortion from the realm of legislation?
posted by mikelieman at 9:31 AM on February 15, 2011


xarnop,

you know, I sit here and have these (ultimately meaningless) intellectual debates on metafilter, and I say some provocative stuff intentionally to keep things going... but... jesus christ, how can people operate that way? that evilly, that cold-heartedly and then go to sleep at night? It is fucking evil. Intellectual curiosity about the reasons we feel a certain way and that, whatever that is, are two really different things, I think.
posted by gagglezoomer at 9:31 AM on February 15, 2011


Some cultures kill female and disabled infants. The world is a fucked up place. I try to come to my own conclusions about how things should be.

You said "Seriously, let's call a spade a spade here" as though there were an intuitive, obvious, universal definition of "a life" that everyone can agree on. I was only pointing out that that is not the case, so if you want to argue that terminating a pregnancy is ending a life, then you're going to have to come up with a rigorous definition of "a life" rather than appealing to a non-existent universally (or even commonly) accepted definition.
posted by jedicus at 9:37 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


This might be a good time to mention that you can donate funds to help women pay for abortion when they can't afford it. I've been a monthly donor for a couple of years now; it's cheaper in the short term ($15/month) and provides them more money in the long term.
posted by cereselle at 9:37 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


just please realise that although a lot of people have no interest in restricting the rights of women to do what they want with their bodies, they would argue that an unborn foetus isn't a part of that body, and therefore the woman should not have a choice (or should have significantly less choice) over what happens to it.

A person who believes this is not only factually wrong, but willfully ignorant of how basic biology works. This view of the world is so warped, so disconnected from reality, any engagement with it would be a charity.
posted by odinsdream at 9:40 AM on February 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


So, with that logic, if a mother and 3 year old child were stranded on an island and there were no other subsitute caregiver available and the child was dependant on her and annoying her--- she could legally kill the child?

I'm just trying to expand on how far we want to go with that logic?
posted by xarnop at 9:44 AM on February 15, 2011


I wish my embryo weren't a part of my body; I've been craving beer for weeks. I'm sick of my nasty pre-natal vitamins.

However, my embryo is completely dependent on me and not anywhere near a completely developed, independent organism.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:45 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


But babies aren't completely developed, independant organisms either. I am pro-choice, but I'm not sure the state incomplete development should be the basis of being pro-choice.
posted by xarnop at 9:47 AM on February 15, 2011


I mean, hypothetically, let's say I consider sex with a prostitute to be rape. The law says it's not rape, but I really, truly believe it is. So I call the cops, but they tell me it's not rape. I tell them where there's going to be prostitution and they don't have the resources or prioritize it highly enough to send anyone over.

So *I* show up, with an AR-15, bust in a blow away the john, just as he's about to stick it in.

THAT's not justifiable homicide, right? Preventing a rape from occurring? Of course not.

I think the justifiable homicide defense would need some help from the act being prevented actually being legal to work, in addition to requiring the would-be defender to let the authorities handle it if possible. This is just political grandstanding. Or "no practical effect, but one step closer"-ism.
posted by ctmf at 9:48 AM on February 15, 2011


A person who believes this is not only factually wrong, but willfully ignorant of how basic biology works.

If you're going at the question "what constitutes 'a human'?" from a purely biological standpoint, then sure (cf. the young rope-rider's above definition of "a completely developed, independent organism"). That doesn't necessarily mean that the biological standpoint is the only valid way to look at that question - I'd have thought there were valid philosophical viewpoints to consider, for example, and those won't be as clear-cut.
posted by ZsigE at 9:50 AM on February 15, 2011


They are in the sense that anyone can take care of an infant and a new mother can take a sauna, have surgery, take chemotherapy, eat listeria, get rubella, drink 12 cups of coffee, or get bombed with little to no ill effect on the baby.

If anyone wants to babysit my embryo, I will pay you hundreds of dollars! I'd really like a decent night's sleep.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:52 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


In my anatomy class it's being taught that humans aren't fully developed until around thirty.

Something about "not fully developed" making it not a human doesn't seem scientifically sound.
posted by xarnop at 9:52 AM on February 15, 2011


Would it be justifiable homicide if I shot someone who was about to shoot an abortion provider? What if I had knowledge before the event that they were going to kill an abortion provider - if I called the police in South Dakota to tell them this, would they have to arrest the guy?
posted by rtha at 9:52 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


How about "developed enough for me to do whatever I want to without making holes in its brain or ears or spinal cord?" That's probably closer to a person than the little heart chamber with a tail that's swimming around my uterus.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:57 AM on February 15, 2011


ZsigE wrote: "I think this framing cuts to the heart of the problem - if you believe that the unborn foetus is fully human, it isn't just about the woman's body any more. Think of it like this: if a woman suddenly had a 2-year old child surgically attached to her stomach, such that she couldn't have it removed without the child dying, is the decision whether to remove it solely to do with her? I'd guess you'd say "no", because that child is definitely a human who has rights of its own."

Is this two year old receiving its only sustenance from the woman in question? Is it entirely dependent on her survival for its survival? If so, the answer is yes, it is the woman's choice and only the woman's choice.

Showing my work: It is obviously a person's own choice whether they eat or drink. It's not up to me to force them to do so or not do so. The woman choosing to not eat or drink would eventually lead to her death, and therefore the death of the mystically attached child. Ergo, it would be reasonable for her to have the child removed without also requiring her to commit suicide.
posted by wierdo at 9:59 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Something about "not fully developed" making it not a human doesn't seem scientifically sound.

It's not just that it isn't "fully developed"; it literally cannot survive independently. That's not the same thing as saying it isn't fully developed. There's even a medical term for it: viability. Also, more often than not, the embryo won't make it to full term anyway.

So it literally isn't even possible to say the embryo would have resulted in a human life before a certain point in its biological development. You don't see that as changing the moral calculus in the slightest?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:00 AM on February 15, 2011


Thank you for sharing your story, but it's really unclear what point you're trying to make. Are you suggesting that there are pro-choice people who would have somehow wanted to force your mother to have an abortion?

No, she was suggesting that there were pro-life people who are NOT thus because of wacked-out religioius brainwashing is all.

Similarly, there are pro-choice people who still believe that even so, the practice of abortion is itself an immoral act. A friend is thus -- he firmly believes that it should be up to a woman and her doctor as to whether she gets an abortion and why, but he just as firmly believes that if she does, she and God have got some follow-up work they gotta do together (and not in the "she's going to Hell" sense, either, more confession-and-penance, as the situation warrants; I asked him about cases where it's pregnancy-by-rape, and he said "well, there ARE venial sins...")

I've long felt that our discussions on this issue get so clouded because we are actually talking about two completely different things --

a) our own personal opinions about the practice of abortion itself, and
b) whether the government should institute a single legislation of that act that is meant to cover everyone.

Too often, we confuse both these issues. And that's how I think we are overlooking the fact that the majority of us is more in agreement on the issue than we think -- we think that the choice should be up to the individual, but we also feel vaguely icky about abortion itself. I feel exactly that way -- to wit, I firmly believe that abortion on demand should be legal throughout the first trimester and partway into the second, but I'm more comfortable with taking the viability of the unborn child into consideration later in the pregnancy. (My "abortion is immoral" friend pointed out that this actually made HIM more lenient than me.) To my surprise, I've had discussions with people who called themselves "pro-life" who believed the exact same thing, and were incredulous when I told them that their belief that the government should butt out made them "pro-choice".

The only way out of this mess, I feel, is to separate the two discussions -- the practice itself, and the question of government involvement in it.

I know this is brought up every time, but surely legalizing murder will call into question the term "Pro-Life," right?

I have a feeling that by "legalizing murder," the article was referring more to making abortion a crime that could be punishable by using the Death Penalty as opposed to giving people carte blanche to shoot abortion doctors.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:04 AM on February 15, 2011


But then with that issue of dependency delivering the right to end a life--- what about people living in mental hospitals? What about orphans living in orphanages?

Should the government have the legal right to terminate such people due to their complete dependency if the government decides it doesn't want to care for such people?
posted by xarnop at 10:04 AM on February 15, 2011


That is, how can anyone justify morally or legally allowing someone's execution for supposedly threatening a human life when you can't possibly meet the minimal legal standard of proving there was even a victim?

This is the surest route to madness I have ever seen. Every simple miscarriage would come under a cloud of suspicion, with neighbor turning on neighbor to accuse each other of murder.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:05 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would love to see the reptilian twisting that goes on in the brain of a person that can seriously claim that government-run social programs to help people are overreach but government-sponsored approval of murder isn't, at the same time.

maybe it's a virus? maybe it's curable?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:05 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is obviously a person's own choice whether they eat or drink. It's not up to me to force them to do so or not do so. The woman choosing to not eat or drink would eventually lead to her death, and therefore the death of the mystically attached child. Ergo, it would be reasonable for her to have the child removed without also requiring her to commit suicide.

Hmm...I may be misunderstanding your logic here (apologies if I am), but isn't this equivalent to saying "because I can't force the woman to keep the child alive if she will die, I can't force her to keep the child alive if she will live"? Because that doesn't seem to follow.
posted by ZsigE at 10:06 AM on February 15, 2011


ZsigE, your two-year old example that's nothing more than a twist on the concert violinist question used in basic philosophy and bioethics. You're just making an emotional appeal to 'helpless child' on top of it.

Interestingly, most people come out on the other side of it: it would be a kind and very generous act of goodwill, but you would not be morally obligated to share your body with another person, even if that person is an established living human making great contributions to society.

But then with that issue of dependency delivering the right to end a life--- what about people living in mental hospitals? What about orphans living in orphanages?

Should the government have the legal right to terminate such people due to their complete dependency if the government decides it doesn't want to care for such people?


xarnop, those are hardly the same issues at all. I refer you to the difference between having the moral obligation to accept being physically linked to another person, and society as a whole providing support/care for a person with general serious medical needs.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 10:09 AM on February 15, 2011


I have a feeling that by "legalizing murder," the article was referring more to making abortion a crime

No, Empress. You're still thinking we live in a sane world.

The actual title of the bill itself is "An Act to expand the definition of justifiable homicide to provide for the protection of certain unborn children." There's no ambiguity about the intent at all, not that it matters.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:09 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


xarnop: I would also do anything in my power to save women from losing children to adoption.

I don't know you, and I'm trying very hard not to just throw raw emotion at you, but adoption is how my family was built so I can only take deep offense to this statement. I'm truly sorry that you had a negative experience, and I hope you heal. But these words are extremely painful to me. Also, I fail to see how removing the adoption option is any different on a basic level than removing the option to abort. I mean, really?

In any event, I wanted to post this to at least serve as a small counterpoint to your comment.

I'm not saying adoption is easy, to be sure, but it is definitely something that is overlooked in conversations about family-building in this country. But you advocate taking away that option - you say, "In fact I do, I try to save [children from being adopted] and I can't." Do you realize how much this sounds exactly like an argument someone who wants to shoot an abortion doctor would use? They're just trying to "save" these children, after all.

Painful. Painful. Painful.
posted by hijinx at 10:11 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I recognize they are very different issues--- but on the issue of "no one should be forced to care for a completely dependant being"

I think they are relevant
posted by xarnop at 10:11 AM on February 15, 2011


And the language of the bill specifically describes circumstances when "murder" is justified.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:11 AM on February 15, 2011


Abortion is already a crime in South Dakota, as much as they can make it.
22-16-4. Homicide as murder in the first degree. Homicide is murder in the first degree :
(1) If perpetrated without authority of law and with a premeditated design to effect the death of the person killed or of any other human being, including an unborn child;
As soon as that "without authority of law" doesn't let Roe protect the doctors, bam. In the slam.
posted by ctmf at 10:13 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


But maybe I'm mistaking this for a thread about a specific piece of morally repugnant and fundamentally antisocial proposed legislation.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:14 AM on February 15, 2011


"Also, I fail to see how removing the adoption option is any different on a basic level than removing the option to abort."

I never said removing options. I only want to PROVIDE the option to succesfully parent. If you talk with adoption counselors they very often say, "Most women don't want to place, they would prefer their circumstances were different so that they could parent their child."

I only wish to expand options, not remove options. If succesful parenting isn't an option for a woman then she is really only left with adoption or abortion.

I want to change that feeling of lack of power to succesfully parent. Are you an adoptee, or an adoptive parent?

For both adoptees and adoptive parents, it is indeed very unsettling to read research and personaly stories about how it effects women to lose a child to adoption.
posted by xarnop at 10:15 AM on February 15, 2011


I hadn't seen the concert violinist example before, but you're right, it is equivalent. As it happens, I'd come down on the side of saying that disconnecting from the violinist is not the morally right choice. (And that whoever connected you to him in the first place is some kind of monster, but that's introducing all kinds of other variables into the mix.)

So I'll modify my original assertion to the following: It is possibly to be pro-life and not want to restrict what women can do with their bodies, iff the following are true:
- You consider human life to begin at conception, and
- You would consider disconnecting from the violinist in that example to be the immoral option, because you do have a moral responsibility to a human who is dependent on you for survival.
posted by ZsigE at 10:16 AM on February 15, 2011




Why are we still talking philosophy about disconnecting ourselves from violinists in a thread about a piece of legislation that explicitly aims to make it legal to "murder" abortion doctors?
posted by saulgoodman at 10:22 AM on February 15, 2011 [7 favorites]


The argument "Your laws can't tell me what I can and can't do" just doesn't make any sense. Laws exist to tell us what we can and can't do.

I disagree. Philosophy (religion, morals, values, etc.) tells me what I can and can't do. Laws exist to rectify conflicting philosophies.
posted by scelerat at 10:23 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


"I'm not saying adoption is easy, to be sure, but it is definitely something that is overlooked in conversations about family-building in this country."

Also I find it interesting that you read the story of what happened to my mother and instead of thinking what most compassionate people without a link to adoption would think, "God that sounds awful"

your first concern is that you hope that MORE women will go through this, for the sake of other people's family buidling.

Are you aware that that's disturbing that instead of concern for a woman who lost her child and has been fucked up by it every sense, your first concern is to make sure that adoption is "still encouraged" in the community?
posted by xarnop at 10:25 AM on February 15, 2011


xarnop: I never said removing options.

Fair enough, and I apologize. But that's how I interpreted this:

I would also do anything in my power to save women from losing children to adoption.

"Losing" is definitely the word that got me bad. But I understand where you're coming from. And I do agree with you about parenting being promoted as an option, too. The fact of the matter is that the deck is stacked against so, so many people that they are rarely given a fair shake. Again, I agree.

And I'm an adoptive parent, btw. (In advance of our adoption, I read a ton of stuff, talked with adoptees and other adoptive parents, attended panels with birthparents, etc. in order to help prepare.)
posted by hijinx at 10:25 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


saulgoodman: "Why are we still talking philosophy about disconnecting ourselves from violinists in a thread about a piece of legislation that explicitly aims to make it legal to "murder" abortion doctors?"

I agree.

This isn't likely to pass, right? Obviously it is notable even if not -- I'm just curious. So much crazy. Has there been any response from a Democrat? I thought the House measure on rape was pretty bad -- looks like they're willing to go a lot worse.
posted by theredpen at 10:25 AM on February 15, 2011


"(In advance of our adoption, I read a ton of stuff, talked with adoptees and other adoptive parents, attended panels with birthparents, etc. in order to help prepare.)"

You might notice that most birthparents (I use first parent as many first parents feel the word "birthmother" relegates a woman to a role as an incubator) who believe adoption was the best thing, pressume that they did not deserve better resources to succesfully parent. That's a basic premise within adoption. It's the best thing because there aren't adequate resources.

It may be true that there are inadequate resources---- but that to me is a great tragedy that is more worthy of social concern than promoting that MORE women choose adoption and accept the horrific consequences of that when they simultaneously say they would prefer to parent if they could give their child a good life.
posted by xarnop at 10:30 AM on February 15, 2011


Section 2. That § 22-16-35 be amended to read as follows:

22-16-35. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person, if there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony, or to do some great personal injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished.


All right, wait. Looking a little more carefully at the language of the bill, it looks to me like the intention is not nearly as clear-cut as the Mother Jones article makes it out to be. The article (and the bill title) had me convinced this was more literally directed at abortion providers than it is.

While I agree that this bill is bad news, because of the potential for misapplication by activist judges on the right to excuse assaults on abortion providers, it's worth clarifying that this isn't exactly what the language of the bill says. And the bill sponsors are denying that intention, according to my wife.

The really telling thing is the inclusion of "mistress" in the language.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:32 AM on February 15, 2011


Also there's a certain ethically dilemma with paying some 20,000(or 50,000) dollars for a white newborn whose mother wishes she could parent if she had better resources and not offering any of that money to her to assist her with parenting.

Not saying you participated in this dynamic, but it really is troubling.

There is a pressumption that if a woman gets herself pregnant and feels that it's a being and wants it to live--- then she has a moral obligation to provide a family for someone else; instead of being given appropriate resources to succesfully parent.

If that isn't anti-woman I don't know what is.
posted by xarnop at 10:33 AM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


I still stand by my earlier comments, though.
posted by saulgoodman at 10:33 AM on February 15, 2011


Would it be justifiable homicide if I shot someone who was about to shoot an abortion provider? What if I had knowledge before the event that they were going to kill an abortion provider - if I called the police in South Dakota to tell them this, would they have to arrest the guy?

I think the next logical step in this chain of thought is that if you kill someone who may move to enact legislation motivating people to kill doctors, it's justifiable homicide. Hell, if you murder someone who might VOTE for the party that pushes forth this legislation, that's justifiable too! They're just as culpable as the killers themselves! In fact, since there's a precedent out to just make shit up in the legislation, I'd say this opens up justifiable homicide for any violence targeting conservatives, since they're trying to MURDER AMERICA! That's how this game works, right?
posted by FatherDagon at 10:34 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have seen if happen very often that the right is punishing her for the sin of having sex and the left is punishing her for the sin of choosing to give birth.

There is often no one on her side.
posted by xarnop at 10:35 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


...and the left is punishing her for the sin of choosing to give birth.


Could you explain this a little better?

Also,

And then they sold me for a shitload of money to middle class people.

Could you also explain this a little better? Adopted kids are sold? Wha?
posted by chugg at 10:44 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Umm, xarnop, wtf are you on about? You seem to be completely mischaracterizing the left... Or using a cartoonish version you've been told exists. Seems to me leftists are all about providing resources to people to provide good education and health and all that good stuff (we like to call it, at the very least "welfare" and sometimes even things like "living wages" or something else). We may not have it perfect, and maybe there are some weird radical haters out there (perhaps, the fringe anti-children folks) but I don't see how "the left" is anti-child in any way.

Isn't it the right pushing for adoption as an alternative to abortion? How is that the left's fault? Sure we would say that if a woman isn't able to care for a child, and she doesn't feel she can, then she should have the right to give it up for adoption, but I think "the left" would much rather she be able to raise the child on her own if she so chooses and give her as much social support as possible.
posted by symbioid at 10:46 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


If anything, isn't the left's push for social welfare and public education largely about helping her raise kid if she so chooses?
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:46 AM on February 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


Adoption agencies and private adoption attornies tend to charge around 10,000 to 60,000 dollars.

And yes, prices tend to go by race and disability status.
posted by xarnop at 10:46 AM on February 15, 2011


ZsigE wrote: "Hmm...I may be misunderstanding your logic here (apologies if I am), but isn't this equivalent to saying "because I can't force the woman to keep the child alive if she will die, I can't force her to keep the child alive if she will live"? Because that doesn't seem to follow."

No, it's "I can't force the woman to live, which is necessary to the survival of the appendage-child." Having made that judgement, I can't then turn around and say the woman must keep the appendage-child attached if she wants to live. If it's OK for her to kill the appendage-child by killing herself, it follows (to me) that she should be able to kill it by having it removed surgically.

xarnop wrote: "I recognize they are very different issues--- but on the issue of "no one should be forced to care for a completely dependant being""

No individual is forced to care for the mentally ill. A person can choose not to take the job.

And "the left is punishing her for the sin of choosing to give birth"?!

WTF, we're the ones who want to expand the social safety net, in part to give women the resources necessary to raise children if that's what they choose to do!
posted by wierdo at 10:46 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


the left is punishing her for the sin of choosing to give birth

Yeah, maybe we have two different definitions of "left," because it's not the democrats / liberals who vote in favor of gutting family services, welfare, welfare-to-work programs, and other institutions that would make it easier for a woman to choose to become a mother.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:47 AM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Operation Blessed Nimrod

If it's not already there, that should be added to the sockpuppet naming thread in MetaTalk.
posted by JaredSeth at 10:48 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Adoption agencies and private adoption attornies tend to charge around 10,000 to 60,000 dollars.

And yes, prices tend to go by race and disability status.


See now that's fucked up right there. Is this everywhere or just in the US?
posted by chugg at 10:51 AM on February 15, 2011


To elaborate, I don't like kids much and I think too many people who shouldn't have kids have them. Nonetheless, I still think we should make it easier on parents. We should be providing them with day care, paid time off, and whatever other help they need to raise their kids.

France has got it right on this one.
posted by wierdo at 10:51 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


If it's OK for her to kill the appendage-child by killing herself, it follows (to me) that she should be able to kill it by having it removed surgically.

OK. I still disagree with your conclusion, but I can at least see where you're coming from. Anyway, as per saulgoodman, this is getting so far from the point of this post that it can't be seen with powerful binoculars, so I'll bow out now.
posted by ZsigE at 10:52 AM on February 15, 2011


Agreed, I shouldn't have used the word left. I think I have had a lot of conversations with fiscally conservative liberals which has impacting how I percieve liberals view the issue.
posted by xarnop at 10:53 AM on February 15, 2011


Chugg-- priecescales of course vary by country. Domestic adoption is pricey and therefore a lot more adoptive parents are looking to international adoption to fulfill family building. I don't do as much research on the complicated issues within that so I can't tale you about price scales but it's often cheaper than adopting a newborn white infant.

Meanwhile shitloads of older foster kids never get adopted, and a lot of these moms placing newborns actually wanted to parent but didn't believe they were good enough.

I'm not anti-adoption by any means, I am anti-exploitation of a woman in a vulnerable position for the acquisition of her child--- and making thousands of dollars off doing that while not specifically addressing the obstacles she facing to successful parenting.
posted by xarnop at 10:58 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thanks. I will agree with you on this.
posted by chugg at 11:03 AM on February 15, 2011


fiscally conservative liberals

Um?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:03 AM on February 15, 2011


I had more nuanced and intelligent things to say, but I'm pissed and they just aren't coming out right.

Hey, Representatives Jensen, Bolin, Brunner, Greenfield, Haggar, Hansen (Jon), Hickey, Hoffman, Hubbel, Kopp, Magstadt, Miller, Nelson (Stace), Olson (Betty), Rausch, Russell, Sly, Steele, Stricherz, Van Gerpen, Venner, Verchio, and Willadsen and Senators Kraus, Fryslie, Lederman, and Maher

FUCK YOU. You are truly horrible people. There isn't a Hell deep enough or hot enough for you, but go there anyway.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:07 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


fiscally conservative liberals

Um?


Seems self explainatory... This is someone who believes we should bring home all the troops and close all the overseas bases to pay for a decent level of social welfare benefits.
posted by mikelieman at 11:08 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]



fiscally conservative liberals

Um?
Libertarians, perhaps?
posted by Karmakaze at 11:09 AM on February 15, 2011



fiscally conservative liberals

Um?

Libertarians, perhaps?


Socially liberal, fiscally conservative. Two different things. It's not all that uncommon.
posted by Stagger Lee at 11:12 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Socially liberal, fiscally conservative. Two different things. It's not all that uncommon.

I still wouldn't call a libertarian a liberal. That's how you get into slapfights.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 11:13 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just a quick note:

I believe the argument goes that the woman chose to become pregnant, and she then becomes the caretaker for the life growing inside. She submits to the needs of the baby.

Choosing to become pregnant and choosing only to have sex are two different things. Carry on.
posted by jokeefe at 11:14 AM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


If only there were a way to educate people on how to have sex and not get pregnant.
posted by mccarty.tim at 11:16 AM on February 15, 2011 [7 favorites]




If only there were a way to educate people on how to have sex and not get pregnant.

Yeah, but just watch people go apeshit when you suggest leaving a big basket of condoms unsupervised in a school...
posted by mikelieman at 11:19 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


It has been mentioned earlier, but it should be restated: remember all the debate we had a couple of weeks ago after Sen. Giffords was shot? About whether or not the right was actively creating a climate in which political violence becomes acceptable? Here's a fine example. It does not matter whether this bill passes or not- it is already working to further legitimize violence against abortion providers. To shift the framing of the debate, if you will. This is like Pius V issuing a bull stating that anyone who kills Elizabeth will not have committed a sin.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:25 AM on February 15, 2011 [11 favorites]


Here's another scenario for ya:
An attacker stabs a pregnant woman in the belly. The fetus dies, the woman survives. Is this assault? Or murder?
Or a little more realistic (there's gotta be some real-world precedence for this):
A boyfriend gets his girlfriend pregnant. He's not ready to be a father, but she decides the right thing to do is to carry it to term, maybe give it up for adoption. He slips her a drug that causes her to miscarry. She is devastated and decides to press charges. Is this murder? Or assault? (Or whatever crime it is to non-fatally poison somebody.)
Although I'm firmly pro-choice, in these cases I fully support the crimes being prosecuted as murder. This leads me to a weird conclusion: Whether or not the fetus is a protected "person" is solely up to the host mother. And while I'm ethically okay with this, it seems a strange thing to capture into law.
posted by LordSludge at 11:27 AM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Saulgoodman, the wording of this bill is really puzzling.
Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person, if there is reasonable ground to apprehend a design to commit a felony, or to do some great personal injury, and imminent danger of such design being accomplished.

First, "Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person in the lawful defense of such person.." The homicide has to be in defense, meaning before the felony or great personal injury. No "revenge" killings or after the fact killings are justifiable under the proposed law. If this is meant to target abortion providers, the homicide has to take place before the abortion to be justifiable.

Second, "by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person..." Only immediate the person under threat, family members of a person under threat, or "master, mistress, or servant" (maybe they mean to include employers/employees or maybe South Dakota is really BDSM friendly) of a person under threat are justified in committing homicide. Random people who hate abortion are not justified in committing homicide under that proposed law.

Finally, "and imminent danger of such design being accomplished." The danger has to be imminent under the law. Along with the lawful defense provision, this would mean that only imminent intervention by a person at hand could stop the felony or great personal harm. If there is enough time to call the police or file a restraining order, homicide is not justified. Incidentally, South Dakota requires women receive counseling and wait 24 hours before undergoing the procedure.

If the law is meant to target abortion providers, in order to be justifiable homicide under this language, an immediate family member or servant, would have to find out about the abortion before the abortion took place, but not so soon before that they could call the police or get a restraining order to stop it. I can't think of a non-abortion scenario where anyone might apprehend someone has a design to cause great personal injury to an unborn child and not the mother. South Dakota already has a law making the killing of an "unborn child" at any stage of pre-natal development is fetal homicide, manslaughter, or vehicular homicide. Meaning the law is unnecessary except for cases of imminent abortion. But, under the language of the proposed law I'm having equal trouble coming up with a scenario where some one would get off for killing an abortion provider. I suppose that some one could argue that if they were denied a restraining order the only way to prevent the abortion was to kill the provider, but no judge is going to excuse vigilantism in defiance for a court ruling.

Sorry for the long post, but my brain is hurting trying to work through the logic of this.
posted by chrisulonic at 11:29 AM on February 15, 2011


LordSludge wrote: "Although I'm firmly pro-choice, in these cases I fully support the crimes being prosecuted as murder."

I don't. Potential people can't be murdered. (borrowing from the idiot's playbook here, apologies): Is it murder to kill someone's dog? Reprehensible, sure, but not murder and it shouldn't be punished like it, either.
posted by wierdo at 11:34 AM on February 15, 2011


Sorry for the long post, but my brain is hurting trying to work through the logic of this.

That presumes the bills authors were logical in the first place. Which I think might be an unfounded claim.

It's like dealing with crazy people. Unless you yourself are insane, you cannot really understand the motivations of a crazy person. This is a good thing.
posted by mikelieman at 11:35 AM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]




Fiscal conservative, social liberal is a form of Republicanism common to New England. It is a group that differs from Libertarians in self-identification and probably on some policies as well.

Connecticut is a good example. Not known for sweeping social policies or permissive gun laws, but legalized gay marriage.
posted by zippy at 11:37 AM on February 15, 2011


Is it murder to kill someone's dog?

If we could express this issue in terms of property rights, I think we'd actually be able to make some progress.

Does a person own themselves? I would think that, since we have no chattel slavery where other people can own you, then by default we all own ourselves. Isn't that what "Freedom and Liberty" are?

If a woman creates a fetus, who owns the fetus?
posted by mikelieman at 11:38 AM on February 15, 2011


It's worth pointing out that this bill is really aimed at a very specific audience: the doctors Planned Parenthood already has to fly in because South Dakota doesn't have any available full time abortion providers. From the article:

Since 1994, there have been no providers in the state. Planned Parenthood flies a doctor in from out-of-state once a week to see patients at a Sioux Falls clinic. Women from the more remote parts of the large, rural state drive up to six hours to reach this lone clinic. And under state law women are then required to receive counseling and wait 24 hours before undergoing the procedure.

So this is not some abstract ideological self-defense thing; it's a further attempt to restrict access via a coded message, Sarah Palin crosshairs-style. It's the equivalent of staring over at the one remaining abortion provider the women of South Dakota ever have access to and making the finger-across-the-throat gesture. What doctor would want to work in a state where it's legal for someone to kill you for doing your job?
posted by albrecht at 11:38 AM on February 15, 2011 [18 favorites]


What doctor would want to work in a state where it's legal for someone to kill you for doing your job?

And isn't driving it underground really their goal. "Proper" women would never get an abortion. And this is a great way to ensure that they don't, whatever they think.
posted by mikelieman at 11:42 AM on February 15, 2011


...but my brain is hurting trying to work through the logic of this.

The angry cynic in me says that there isn't any point in trying to find logic, it isn't a law that is meant to be followed, it's a law meant to get the name "An act to expand the definition of justifiable homicide to provide for the protection of certain unborn children." on the books as a legitimate way to connect the phrases "Justifiable Homicide" and "Protect Unborn Children".

It's a dog whistle and it's meant to be heard by people who feel that whatever they imagine to be a "justified homicide" is a viable action to be taken in response to someone having an abortion.
posted by quin at 12:19 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


LordSludge: "Here's another scenario for ya:
An attacker stabs a pregnant woman in the belly. The fetus dies, the woman survives. Is this assault? Or murder?
Or a little more realistic (there's gotta be some real-world precedence for this):
A boyfriend gets his girlfriend pregnant. He's not ready to be a father, but she decides the right thing to do is to carry it to term, maybe give it up for adoption. He slips her a drug that causes her to miscarry. She is devastated and decides to press charges. Is this murder? Or assault? (Or whatever crime it is to non-fatally poison somebody.)
Although I'm firmly pro-choice, in these cases I fully support the crimes being prosecuted as murder. This leads me to a weird conclusion: Whether or not the fetus is a protected "person" is solely up to the host mother. And while I'm ethically okay with this, it seems a strange thing to capture into law.
"

Shroedingers fetus?
posted by symbioid at 12:51 PM on February 15, 2011


I think stoning is the right method of execution, if we're to follow the retrograde Muslim model.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:53 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


from http://thinkprogress.org/2011/02/15/five-ways-eradicate-choice/

UPDATE Since Mother Jones broke the story this morning, the GOP lawmaker behind the bill, state Rep. Phil Jensen (SD), has changed the bill to allow a "justifiable homicide" defense in cases of "self-defense." It no longer applies to fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, or husbands. Jensen describes what the law seeks to prevent: "Say an ex-boyfriend who happens to be father of a baby doesn't want to pay child support for the next 18 years, and he beats on his ex-girfriend's abdomen in trying to abort her baby. If she did kill him, it would be justified. She is resisting an effort to murder her unborn child."
posted by rebent at 12:55 PM on February 15, 2011


Well thank God for that, if true. But don't take your eye off the ball, either.
posted by saulgoodman at 1:05 PM on February 15, 2011


Wouldn't she be just as justified in shooting him for violently assaulting her?
posted by quin at 1:06 PM on February 15, 2011 [5 favorites]


Since Mother Jones broke the story this morning, the GOP lawmaker behind the bill, state Rep. Phil Jensen (SD), has changed the bill to allow a "justifiable homicide" defense in cases of "self-defense." It no longer applies to fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, or husbands. Jensen describes what the law seeks to prevent: "Say an ex-boyfriend who happens to be father of a baby doesn't want to pay child support for the next 18 years, and he beats on his ex-girfriend's abdomen in trying to abort her baby. If she did kill him, it would be justified. She is resisting an effort to murder her unborn child."

Cockroach scurrying 'cause the lights got turned on.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:08 PM on February 15, 2011 [17 favorites]


The interview with Jensen. I find him flippant and disingenuous, and troubling. Where is the sane, calm MSM debunking happening? Extra Credit: Can any lawyerly types explain why in the world Mistress and Master would be current-day legal language? It was my understanding that people are no longer chattel.
posted by Sweetdefenestration at 1:16 PM on February 15, 2011


yeah, unless I just completely snoozed through my obstetrics rotation, your boyfriend beating you badly enough to try and cause a miscarriage would fall under the category of "this can kill you". so; yeah, it's obvious what this law is actually all about. or is being beaten by your boyfriend not fall under a justifiable self-defense situation for women in south dakota?
posted by circle_b at 1:16 PM on February 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


circle_b: "yeah, unless I just completely snoozed through my obstetrics rotation, your boyfriend beating you badly enough to try and cause a miscarriage would fall under the category of "this can kill you". so; yeah, it's obvious what this law is actually all about. or is being beaten by your boyfriend not fall under a justifiable self-defense situation for women in south dakota?"

DING DING DING! We have a winner folks!
posted by symbioid at 1:22 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Asked whether he was conceding that the law could conceivably encourage such behavior, Jensen pushed back: "You could cross the street and get hit by a car. Could happen, couldn't it?"

I dunno, that sounds less like a logical argument to me than a threat. Nice guy.
posted by newdaddy at 1:28 PM on February 15, 2011 [4 favorites]


Can any lawyerly types explain why in the world Mistress and Master would be current-day legal language? It was my understanding that people are no longer chattel.

Wait until you see the next bill they plan to pass.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:31 PM on February 15, 2011


Sweetdefenestration: Extra Credit: Can any lawyerly types explain why in the world Mistress and Master would be current-day legal language? It was my understanding that people are no longer chattel.

You can just guess what else they'd like to roll back and let the States legislate themselves.
posted by paisley henosis at 1:57 PM on February 15, 2011


"Fiscally conservative liberals" I guess I just know a lot of people who lean liberal but hate welfare moms and social support for people who get themselves pregnant.

They tend to believe abortion is ok-- or rather that it's unethical NOT to get an abortion if the pregnant woman would need assistance to parent, and they mainly believe this because they don't want to support programs to enhance the well being of low income single moms and their kids.

They're fine with adoption being an option of course--- anything that doesn't put financial burden on taxpayers. I guess this is libertarianish?

Am I hanging out in the wrong places lol?

This whole situation is fucking wack. Yes even though now they've toned it back they absolutely ARE setting the stage for violence to be acceptable in politics. It's mother fucking scary as shit. I mean genuinely.

And yes if they really gave a shit, they would be fighting for universal healthcare, for support programs for low income families, for better access to complimentary health and therapy intervetions for kids and their families, for better sex education in school systems, for education specifically around things that prevent people from using birth control and condoms and doing research and creating programs that address those specific problems, programs that address the issues young girls face that put them at higher risk of having an unplanned pregnancy, being with an abusive or significantly older partner that is pressuring them to have unprotected sex...... etc....... etc ......etc.......

I guess I haven't been hanging with any "real" liberals so I lost hope that liberals were into fighting these battles.

I'm refreshed to see that.

I'm despondant that this bill was suggested though.

Fucking hell.
posted by xarnop at 2:03 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can any lawyerly types explain why in the world Mistress and Master would be current-day legal language?

Legal language evolves very slowly because precision is vital and it's often necessary to quote sources like old cases and statutes. So "master and servant" is still used in a lot of places, although the more modern "employer and employee" is slowly displacing it. There's a sensible legal writing reform movement led by Bryan Garner that, alas, is not making nearly as much progress as it should.
posted by jedicus at 2:20 PM on February 15, 2011


They tend to believe abortion is ok-- or rather that it's unethical NOT to get an abortion if the pregnant woman would need assistance to parent

Being pro-choice means a woman makes her own choices about her body. Even though believing it is unethical to NOT get an abortion is not a pro-life stance doesn't make it pro-choice stance either. Far from it.
posted by turaho at 2:39 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


22-16-35. Homicide is justifiable if committed by any person in the lawful defense of such person, or of his or her husband, wife, parent, child, master, mistress, or servant, or the unborn child of any such enumerated person"

Doesn't all that language pretty much limit the person you can defend as your family? (along with a loose definition of "family")

So... you can't kill somebody to save a stranger or mere friend..? That's kinda strange.

What about a friend with benefits?
posted by LordSludge at 2:44 PM on February 15, 2011


That was my argument! However their argument wasn't that she MUST have an abortion, but rather if she doesn't have the resources to parent, that's her deal--- and therefore she's being shitty if she brings a kid into the world to face poverty.

To which I think we need to make the well being of low income families a huge priority--- the solution isn't to harvest all the poor children and send them to the rich families, or encourage all women in unplanned pregnancies to have abortions to fix the problem of poverty---- it's to address the ways that poverty affects families and address those specific problems with research based support. And also, of course, to address the reasons people struggle to or don't priorities the use of birth control.

I'm not ok with being harvested from the poor to save me from "the terrible life of being with a poor single mother" when all the others were left behind.

And punishing the KIDS by refusing to help poor children in order to punish the mother can NOT be the solution.

Now if only the crazed right leaning people were here so I could convince them this is the solution and not murdering doctors.

............ I'm sure they would listen right?

(.........)
posted by xarnop at 2:54 PM on February 15, 2011


for people who get themselves pregnant

Just pointing out that this is the second time you have used that phrase in this thread... women don't get pregnant by themselves.

Also, I have never heard of a liberal who didn't support welfare for single mothers. Not sure where you met these folks.
posted by jokeefe at 3:06 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Am I hanging out in the wrong places lol?

rather that it's unethical NOT to get an abortion if the pregnant woman would need assistance to parent

However their argument wasn't that she MUST have an abortion, but rather if she doesn't have the resources to parent, that's her deal--- and therefore she's being shitty if she brings a kid into the world to face poverty.

Not sure where you met these folks.

Yeah, sounds like he/she found the college libertarians. My sympathies. Saying that it's "her deal" is wayyy too asshole-y for most people to even consider saying out loud—even if that's what they think.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 3:15 PM on February 15, 2011


I wrote above Fiscal conservative, social liberal is a form of Republicanism common to New England ...

Just to expand a bit, fiscal conservative in the original sense of 'make small changes, create new programs slowly and deliberately' rather than 'starve the beast, eliminate funding for social programs except for abstinence education' conservatism.

posted by zippy at 3:16 PM on February 15, 2011


xarnop, you are deeply confused and/or mistaken about the politics of the people you claim are liberals.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:34 PM on February 15, 2011 [6 favorites]


What exactly is your point in making that statement? If I was wrong in my understanding of their politics and that mentality is not a liberal view then that is awesome.

Is there something else you're trying to say with this?

I have fought passionately to try and bring this issue into public discourse and it doesn't fit in anywhere because no one cares. I pressumed that meant it was accross the political spectrum because I've been trying to get better programs for moms set up in my city for 8 years and IN FACT the only people running one right now is a religious pro-life orginization which really sucks for me because I'm not sure if I can stomach pretending to be religious in order to work for them.

You have no idea the heartache I have felt in discovering that even among the liberal community no one I have met yet seems to give a shit. that's fine I'll fight this battle by myself if I have to, but I'm not exactly sure what kind of jab you're trying to make toward me with that.
posted by xarnop at 4:17 PM on February 15, 2011


LOL shit this is an emotional topic for me so sorry if that wasn't meant to be a jab. : )
posted by xarnop at 4:24 PM on February 15, 2011


We are talking about terminating a pregnancy that, if given only a few more months, would likely develop into a viable fetus capable of surviving in this world. That's a BIG deal, and when you dehumanize the other side as having no legitimate points, you're trivializing what abortion is.

It also needs to be recognized by the anti-abortion side that a "few months" of pregnancy is also a big fucking deal for the woman. Her body is literally taken over by the needs of the fetus. To ensure a healthy baby at the end (whether she gives it up for adoption or keeps it or sells it to the circus or whatever), her life will change drastically.

She will gain weight. She will have to go to regular doctor's appointments, which if she has a job, can be very problematic to schedule. She will have to take time off of work for the birth and recovery no matter what, which often women can't financially afford to do even for a *planned* pregnancy. Her career may take a hit. If she's out of work and gets pregnant, she has almost no chance of being hired someplace new.

And if something goes *wrong?* Pregnancy complications can wreak havoc on the mother's life. She may end up on 20+ weeks of bed rest, which again, does a doozy on the whole "having a job" thing. She could develop problems such as Type 2 Diabetes that last beyond pregnancy. Even with an "easy" pregnancy, she may have to contend with nausea, insomnia, heartburn, fatigue, back pain, and any number of other normal "side effects" that are annoying at best and debilitating at worst.

It is not "oh, a few more months and BABY!" Pregnancy is HARD. WORK. To expect a woman to be literally colonized is indeed legislating control over her body.

I'm 36 weeks pregnant myself and pregnancy has absolutely made me more solidly pro-choice as I want this more than anything and I'm having an "easy" time and it's still just about the hardest thing I've ever had to do, and I haven't even given *birth* yet. No woman should ever be forced to carry to term, it's just flat out cruel.
posted by sonika at 4:45 PM on February 15, 2011 [16 favorites]


master, mistress

Maybe South Dakotan right-wing legislators plan to reintroduce slavery or (since South Dakota wasn't part of the Confederacy) at least debt bondage or indentured servitude.

They're already far past satire.
posted by bad grammar at 5:00 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I didn't see the comment about traditional (i.e. antiquated) legal language. Nonetheless it suggests the mentality of this kind of legislator.

A woman runs a small but not nonexistent risk of dying in childbirth or from severe complications of pregnancy. Preeclampsia and eclampsia, involving dangerously high blood pressure and seizures, are severe complications that can result in increased maternal mortality.

I agree that if we had a national health care system and effective preventative medicine, it would be easier for women to bring children to term.
posted by bad grammar at 5:16 PM on February 15, 2011


xarnop, I think the circles you hang out in probably have indeed given you an inaccurate and in some cases flat out wrong idea of what "liberal" means. Certainly compared to the common understanding of "liberal" most of us here at metafilter, or at least in these kinds of threads, have.

Your comments do remind me of something Norma McCorvey (author of I Am Roe) said. Sometime after that book's publication, she switched to the other side and still considers herself "pro-life." I got the impression, reading the book and subsequent interviews, that the "pro-life" camp gave her a strong, ongoing sense of community, belonging, and support. She suggests in the book that she never got that from the pro-choice side, that they gave her support around the abortion issue but otherwise dropped out of her life. Of course one couldn't have reasonably expected her lawyers to become her best buddies, but is this a gap that pro-choice faith communities have since recognized and filled?*

If you don't already know that many people on the pro-choice side advocate for broader-than-abortion pro-voice and reproductive justice approaches, the reproductive justice movement especially ought to be a place for you to find like-minded allies.


*I say "pro-choice faith communities" rather than "secular" because faith communities have a built-in infrastructure for ongoing (weekly, at least) checking in and support, whereas secular communities don't usually. I think. Actually I'm not very familiar with faith communities generally so somebody please correct me if I'm wrong. I know there are pro-choice religious organizations, but I never looked into whether their work extends to this broader kind of thing.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:21 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Apparently, one of the things that the Republicans in Congress want to put on the chopping block (in order to reduce! our! deficit!) is funding for infant formula for poor mothers. Also, funding for Head Start programs. And programs that help poor women not get pregnant if they don't want to be pregnant.

I was going to make a snarky quip but my snarkmeter just blew up.
posted by rtha at 5:22 PM on February 15, 2011


cybercoitus thank you for that. Renee of womanist musings has been the only woman who has offered me the most amazing support, in fact it brings tears to me right now. She has so many battles to fight and I know she was already fighting for reproductive justice before I talked with her but she has written a number of posts that were largely because of issues I talked with her about regarding adoption and reproductive justice.

The womanist movement seems to care more deeply about this issue than the feminist movement as everyone I have contacted in the feminist movement has kind of said, "Oh hmm" as they are focusing on keeping abortion legal (I understand this is a big and imortant issue so there's nothing wrong with that).

I am caucasion however so I just kind of watch. It seems a lot of the movement is about empowerment for women of color, so I don't want to bring my own need into that, but it brings tears to my eyes that anyone cares at all. there have been some researchers doing research on policy and first parent health who have been very responsive but their platform doesn't reach the general community, and really often reaches only a very few in the professional community, but I hope that will change.

Whatever you think of Renee's positions on a lot of things-- God I love that woman.

On filling that gap, that is exactly what I mean. There are some anti-choicers who DO find pregnant women in need and offer them support that no one else is. The end result of that is that if they are suggesting one option over another (and we know they will be anti-abortion by definition) the women may have a very powerful reason to be so pro-life and go out into the world to tell everyone how great prolifeness is because of the association they have with that support. The same goes for people OFFERING that support.

And their stories provide passionate tales for uncertain people to be swayed by. Hmmm.
posted by xarnop at 5:40 PM on February 15, 2011


And yes the fact that there is a weekly meeting offers volunteer collaboration and community efforts on the local level that we of non-churchiness don't seem to have.
posted by xarnop at 5:43 PM on February 15, 2011


It also needs to be recognized by the anti-abortion side that a "few months" of pregnancy is also a big fucking deal for the woman.

In addition to the issues you cite, the childbirth has a risk of death many times higher than that of first trimester abortion. So when a woman decides to bring her pregnancy to term, she literally is risking her life doing so. When we say a woman should carry her pregnancy to term, we need to recognize that we are asking her to risk her life to do so. And before you say the risk is "small", know that the risk is larger than many we spend billions trying to ameliorate.
posted by Mental Wimp at 6:00 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Have there been cases in South Dakota of pregnant women fighting off abdomen-attacking attackers and subsequently having to defend themselves against homicide charges?

I mean, is this a thing in South Dakota?
posted by zippy at 6:00 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


I mean, is this a thing in South Dakota?

As someone who grew up in that benighted state, what are "things" in SoDak would curl your hair. Wounded Knee on Pine Ridge, e.g. Not a bastion of liberalism, suffice it to say.
posted by Mental Wimp at 6:17 PM on February 15, 2011


My sister was born in south dakota and apparantly my cousins dad stabbed my sisters dad in the back numerous times.

There's a lot of poverty particularly in and around the Native communities (huh wonder why that is motherfucking european immagrants who fucked up a nation of people and now complain about imagration?)

The conditions there are pretty horrible. Crow creek where my sisters father was from is reportedly one of the poorest in the nation. My mothers family lived there and from the troubles she got into there was certainly plenty of crime to get into. I don't know that they created this law based on a real issue though.

"Crow Creek Sioux Tribe is consistently documented as one of the poorest Reservations in the Nation, with 78% of their members living below the poverty line."
posted by xarnop at 6:21 PM on February 15, 2011


I'm not asking about attacks on pregnant women, as unfortunate as that is, I'm asking about the proposed rationale behind this law, which it seems now, according to the politician proposing it, is to prevent pregnant women from being charged with homicide when acting in self defense.

Has that 'being charged with homicide after defending one's pregnant self' bit happened in South Dakota?
posted by zippy at 7:00 PM on February 15, 2011


xarnop, I have seem some of the dynamics you mention at play when I was going through infertility treatments and considering adoption. I was part of an on-line support group and while most people were supportive and kind when talking about the women who birthed their children, there was no shortage of birth mother bashing. I remember one thread where the OP described her child's birth mother as "white trash" and a as manipulative drama queen, because the birth mom was struggling with her decision to give her child up. She went on to say that she couldn't wait to finalize the adoption so that she could get the birth mother out of "her" baby's life. Watching others join in the bashing made me nauseated and turned me off of the process. I didn't want to build my family in a way that benefitted me while making someone else suffer. We considered adopting a child out of the foster care system but ultimately put it on the back burner when we discovered that my son is autistic.
posted by echolalia67 at 7:02 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's another scenario for ya:

An attacker stabs a pregnant woman in the belly. The fetus dies, the woman survives. Is this assault? Or murder?


There is an interesting case being heard by the State Court of Appeals here in North Carolina. Danna Broom was shot in the stomach by her husband when she was 26 months pregnant. In order to save the mother, doctors removed the baby girl. Lily lived 31 days on a ventilator before dying. Now the courts are trying to decide whether Lily can be considered a murder victim.
The state Supreme Court has said that to convict someone for murder under common law, the victim must be born alive, capable of living independently of his mother, and must have died from injuries suffered prior to birth.

The shotgun blast didn't touch her, it was the premature removal from her mother that killed her, however her father was convicted of her murder anyway and sentenced to life without parole. For shooting his wife, he received an additional 13 years. Robert Broom's lawyer is arguing that he should have never been convicted of Lily's homicide because the baby was not injured by the shotgun and she didn't live "independently" of her mother, she was on a ventilator.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 7:16 PM on February 15, 2011


echilalia, I read there too. --------USED TO--------

What truly broke my heart is when it came from liberal adoptive/potential adoptive parents.

I just couldn't believe what they had to say. A lot of my adoptee friends read their blogs and pick out the cruel things that are said and document them for posterities sake just to prove that we aren't making up how cruel the adoptive parent community can be toward first mothers, and by default how dismissive of the women who created us.

I've heard adoptive parents say directly to first mothers on the internet everything from, "Yeah well if you didn't want to lose a child to adoption you shouldn't have spread your legs." to "Anyone who considers adoption is obviously mentally unfit and the child deserves better anyway"

It goes on and on and on.

Meanwhile do you know what adoptive parents say to pregnant women considering adoption? It's barfalicious. "Oh we LOVE our birthmother, she gave us a gift and we honor her and appreciate her more than anything in the world"

You can see the same adoptive parent on a forum somewhere with adoptive parents bitching about how sad "her birthmother" is. "Jeeze she just keeps calling and crying and I'm just sick of it, I mean it's not my problem that she's so miserable she really needs to go get some counseling or something, and what's with always wanting visits? I'm so sick of this"

And all the other adoptive parents get on soothingly "Oh you just need to set boundaries. Be firm with her and tell her that she can only have a set number of visits and if she keeps calling you and crying she'll be cut off from seeing the child"

Meanwhile the considering pregnant girl loves all the attention she gets from adoptive parents and sometimes adoptees and more rarely first parents who are trying to tell themselves all the pain has a purpose.

They place and then suddenly every post on their blog is about sobbing and misery and confusion and ADOPTION IS BEAUTIFUL and they jsut want to die but they want to keep trying to exist for their adopted out child but they hurt so much.

And all the nice adoptive parents stop showing up, and occasionally come by to say, "Oh it's tuff hun, you just have to work through it, you did the right thing, think positive!"

Hah.

My heart broke when a liberal person that I admired and looked up to and worked passionately for human rights adopted and didn't even seem to think there was any possibility that the first mother might be devestated. This was an intuitive person in every other way and deeply compassionate and it just broke me to see that.

I totally support a woman's legal right to place a child to adoption---- but the information on how that will affect her is sparce and the little that's been done is a bit concerning (though I doubt ANY of the studies were done very well). Women have a right to know how parenting, abortion OR adoption will affect their bodies, mental health and emotional health to the best we can inform them.

No one wants to research birthmothers because they don't want the obvious results to turn up--- it fucks women up. But yet they are happy to do extravagant research on the terrible affects of abortion.

And even despite sparse research on adoption they manage to claim adoption will benefit women and abortion will traumatize them. We need better research from non-biased parties on both, so to make any claim that adoption is a better option for women is ridiculous at present.
posted by xarnop at 7:32 PM on February 15, 2011 [2 favorites]




I just had a spirited conversation with the bill's chief sponsor, State Representative Phil Jensen, and he defended the bill, arguing that it would not legalize the killing of abortion doctors.

"It would if abortion was illegal," he told me. "This code only deals with illegal acts. Abortion is legal in this country. This has nothing to do with abortion."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:33 AM on February 16, 2011


I have fought passionately to try and bring this issue into public discourse and it doesn't fit in anywhere because no one cares.

I understand this is an emotional topic for you. I appreciate your participation in this thread. I'd like to suggest that you're incorrect about this assessment. Plenty of people care deeply about this issue.
posted by odinsdream at 6:39 AM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


"It would if abortion was illegal," he told me. "This code only deals with illegal acts. Abortion is legal in this country. This has nothing to do with abortion."

But as others have pointed out, it would incidentally establish in law the principle that an unborn child can be considered a murder victim, which as I understand it is a new idea. Putting aside how we might feel about that particular question, it's clearly not the case that such a law wouldn't have potential legal implications for the legal status of abortion further down the line. It would represent a change in the law with the potential for longer term legal implications for abortion rights, and I'm absolutely certain these legislators understand that, since precisely these legal questions have been widely discussed in pro-/anti-choice circles for years now.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:08 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


"doesn't fit in anywhere because no one cares."

I realized after I wrote that that it was crappy thing to say. What if people do care, and that is a very rude thing to hurl out. It came out because I have to keep a wall up so that I can handle when the things people say when talking about this issue--- so I pressume everyone doesn't care and then anything that comes out in a conversation doesn't hurt.

I apologize for the jarring way that would come out for someone who did care.
posted by xarnop at 8:52 AM on February 16, 2011




jedicus: If life really begins at conception, then abortion is just a drop in the bucket compared to the almost incalculable loss of life resulting from natural causes. If anti-choice extremists had the courage of their convictions they'd be working around the clock to raise money for women's health.

Yeah, I don't know if I buy this reasoning. I, for instance, while pro-choice, am anti-infanticide. I'm sure that the murder of babies isn't a good thing and should be illegal. At the same time, I'm doing pretty much nothing (besides a small amount in charitable donations) to curb the death of infants through natural causes.

If there was a proposal to make infanticide legal, I feel I could safely oppose it, while continuing to do basically nothing to stem the amount of death of infants in the world and not be a hypocrite. You could say, "If you really cared about babies, why are you focusing on this proposed legalization instead of doing something which would have a much greater impact on the lives of babies?", but it still wouldn't make sense for society to allow the killing of babies, by law.
posted by ODiV at 10:13 AM on February 16, 2011


Here's something interesting. Pay women three thousand to give birth? I get that you're not willing to fund abortion because you're against abortion and all--- but I thought that you were opposed to big spending?

Suddenly money grows on trees? It would cost a fraction of that to fund abortion.

Further more, you're only willing to pay them money if they give the child up? If the point is that you want the "baby" to live, then why wouldn't you consider it a success if the mother chooses life and offer her financial assistance to successfully parent? Very few women want to carry a child in their womb for nine months and bond and love that being and go through the labor and then hand the baby over to someone else never to be mother again.

You want to take her baby and pay her off and pretend she's going to be fine after that? Oh no biggy, just carrying a being in your body for nine months and feeling the kicking and singing songs and reading stories and doing prenatal yoga and giving birth and holding a precious baby made out of your being and feeling the little hand wrap around your finger and the soft face nestle into your body and then having people walk away with that child never to hold and love that child again? To feel the milk come in and all the hormones that have kept mothers for thousands of years fighting tooth and nail to be with their child every moment, and feel that ache alive within you for every day of the rest of your life, to crumble and wish for death because surely if there were a God he would offer a merciful death. Surely.

No biggy. Clearly an hour long procedure that terminates a 4 week old blob of cells would be way more traumatizing to a woman. Way to go religious right, caring about human beings.


homunculus--- AWESOME more removal of programs that would prevent unplanned pregnancy to begin with !! Well that little bill would fix the lack of babies availabel for adoption problem. Reduce services for low income moms, reduce access to abortion, and reduce programs that would help women (AND IDEALLY MEN TOO) prevent pregnancies from happening.

I'm going to go barf now.
posted by xarnop at 11:45 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


xarnop, it goes even deeper. We're willing to pay because it gives a nice, middle class infertile couple a baby to love and nurture. We're not much interested in helping a poor, disadvantaged woman raise her child. That's SOCIALISM!!!1`!!`!
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:51 AM on February 16, 2011


We're also not much interested in loving and nurturing a 4 year old with special needs that floating around abusive foster homes.

If there are so many couples "in need" of children--- then wouldn't it make more sense to sort out our foster system and help make sure these kids get permament homes than to artificially create baby orphans because they are cuter and more satisfying for adoptive parents--- when those babies actually had loving non-abusive mothers that wanted them anyway?

We can't say that women in unplanned pregnancies are supposed to fill this need. That is wrong on so many levels. Surrogates are paid tens of thousands of dollars and they are paid that way for a reason--- putting yourself through that is hell on a womans body and emotions.

Not to mention, in an unplanned pregnancy that's not someone elses egg-- that's a child made by the mother. That bond means different things to different people--- but for most women, it means a hell of a lot to look into the eyes of being created from your body.

It's the kind of experience that changes peoples entire existance of being. And for a larger portion of humans--- it is a bond that continues to matter throughout life. Even if imperfectly, most of us love our children more than anything else in existence. Always. Even if a nice happy couple walks off with that child forever.
posted by xarnop at 1:17 PM on February 16, 2011 [2 favorites]


re: something that happened about halfway up the thread

I'm not joking, I really do support a mother's right to kill a baby that's already been born. I don't consider them sentient. I have no more empathy for them than I do a fetus. Or Blastocyst. Or Zygote. I am probably a crazy person and you should keep your babies away from me.
posted by tehloki at 2:59 PM on February 16, 2011


xarnop: The womanist movement seems to care more deeply about this issue

Yeah, that's the "women of color and poor women’s reproductive options and self-determination are restricted in so many ways beyond abortion" problem, which is invisible to those who have no need to know about it and wouldn't care to look into it even if they did. So it goes. Maybe there's a movement life-stage reason for it too, in that the fight for reproductive rights has been going on for over a century, in the US, Canada and Britain anyway, so it's well established. Reproductive justice is comparatively young and so is still fighting to have its existence acknowledged, often. (I don't read Womanist Musings regularly but what I have read, I liked.)

It seems a lot of the movement is about empowerment for women of color

Yes. And yet, I would have thought that the economic problems were common to low-income white women too. Bbut then, making common cause between such groups would probably be boobytrapped with the usual baggage around race and talking about race. Treading lightly through minefields, eh?

And yes the fact that there is a weekly meeting offers volunteer collaboration and community efforts on the local level that we of non-churchiness don't seem to have.

So I guess there aren't pro-choice faith orgs where you are, then? Or, they're strictly focused on choice and reproductive health, rather than the sort of weekly community building and bonding and general support stuff that characterizes some "pro lifer" (forced birther, really) outreach? Or they're just not structured in a way that facilitates that kind of collaboration and community building?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:17 PM on February 16, 2011


"So I guess there aren't pro-choice faith orgs where you are, then? Or, they're strictly focused on choice and reproductive health, rather than the sort of weekly community building and bonding and general support stuff that characterizes some "pro lifer" (forced birther, really) outreach? Or they're just not structured in a way that facilitates that kind of collaboration and community building?"

I don't know if there are pro-choice faith orgs actually. I'm not religious and I tried unitarian universalist church but after 10 years of catholic school, going into any church with pews and church songs even if they delete the word god just isn't my bag. : )

I might revisit that someday because so far as the community aspect it would be so nice. I think the part of town I live in impacts that I don't see community efforts of liberal folk as they are down south and I am stuck up north where there are sadly very few weirdos.

I have written like three other long responses to this and they just keep getting to long, lol.

I hope that a parellel movement about reproductive justice that extends to all races could happen some day.
posted by xarnop at 5:54 AM on February 17, 2011


pro-choice faith orgs

I hear you about having had it up to the eyeballs with churchiness, but just fyi,

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

The Religious Institute

Catholics for Choice

Sacred Choices (not useful in a concrete sense for your work, but !!! I'm going to have to spend a bunch of hours exploring the info this site has to offer so I'll be better equipped to argue my points)

Who knows, maybe one of these orgs has people in your neck of the woods who'd be interested in taking this kind of project on.

I am stuck up north where there are sadly very few weirdos

Well I am glad you're contributing your weirdo-ing here, where so many of us fellow weirdos hang out!
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 10:59 PM on February 17, 2011




Thanks, homunculus.

We need as many first-person experiences circulating as possible, to counter the forced-birther lie that most women choose abortion casually and whimsically. Good for Speier: "For you to stand on this floor and suggest that somehow this is a procedure that is either welcomed or done cavalierly or done without any thought, is preposterous."

Huffington Post has more detail:
"This was a wanted pregnancy, it was the second miscarriage I had had," she told HuffPost. "What they express doesn't come close to the experience that a woman goes through when she is losing a baby or when a pregnancy is terminated. It's a painful, gut-wrenching loss." . . .

After she told her story, Speier said many colleagues -- both male and female -- offered their support, some saying she put tears in their eyes. One Republican told her the amendment was inappropriate, she said, while Smith, whose remarks caused her to speak up, said nothing.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:36 PM on February 18, 2011


A Georgia state rep wants to ensure that women who have miscarriages report them to the proper authorities so that said miscarriages can be investigated (pdf):
197 Said title is further amended by revising subsection (a) of Code Section 31-10-18, relating
198 to registration of spontaneous fetal deaths, as follows:
199 "(a) A report of spontaneous fetal death for each spontaneous fetal death which occurs in
200 this state shall be filed with the local registrar of the county in which the delivery occurred
201 within 72 hours after such delivery in accordance with this Code section unless the place
202 of fetal death is unknown, in which case a fetal death certificate shall be filed in the county
203 in which the dead fetus was found within 72 hours after such occurrence.
They tried this in Virginia a few years ago. Apparently, many angry women sent the author of that bill tampons and pads. The bill was withdrawn.

People who don't know basic biology should not be allowed to introduce legislation.
posted by rtha at 9:18 AM on February 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Previously. Fucking hell.
posted by kafziel at 9:51 AM on February 21, 2011


People who don't know basic biology should not be allowed to introduce legislation.

This. The whole antiabortion movement is built on a basic misunderstanding of biology: that a clump of cells is morally equivalent to an autonomous human being. The proponents by and large dimly perceive the nature of fetal development to the extent they can't really think clearly about the moral implications of it. They focus on the fertilization event because that story is simple enough, at least in concept (no pun intended). Anything in between that and birth is a hazy concept with a baby setting up housekeeping in the womb and waiting until the doctor commands it to leave. The cartoonish quality of their thought about the moral balances at play reveal a pretty low stage of moral development, frankly.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:17 PM on February 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mental Wimp, I sort of wish you were right, but I don't think that's largely the case. I mean, yes, I'm sure there are those on the anti-choice side who fit that description, but in my experience the dedicated anti-choicers are quite well-versed on developmental milestones by the week. It's a powerful tool they use in their arsenal, whether picketing outside of clinics or just in casual conversation:

Anti-choicer: "So, how far along are you?"

Woman: "Um, ten weeks."

Anti-choicer: "Do you know that your baby's muscles are mostly finished developing? Your baby has eyes and a nose and a mouth! He or she already has fingerprints! They have fingers and toes! Isn't that miraculous???!?! So, what colors are you going to paint the nursery?"

Woman: "."
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:16 AM on February 22, 2011


shiu mai baby, I do believe they can spout those kinds of "facts" they are pumped full of by the national anti-choice literature. Essentially, they have laundry lists of anatomical features they consider cute, because they remind them of a baby. As far as having a fundamental understanding of ontogeny, though, they are really clueless. They don't say, because they don't know, that "The lungs are inadequately developed at this point to breathe on their own," or "the digestive system doesn't yet have the capability to process nourishment sufficient for life." These kinds of functional facts are antithetical to their political goals and, consequently, they are not pumped full of them. They barely know the concept of viability.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:14 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ok, definitely in agreement with you there. It's all about drawing a picture in the pregnant woman's mind equating the organism growing inside her with a fully-formed baby, rather than trying to understand the complexities of human fetal development.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:49 AM on February 22, 2011


I've often wondered how much our viewing of fetuses that are desired as "babies" contributes to the fetus=person culture that pro-lifers make use of. People who plan to take their pregnancies to term often talk about the fetuses with the same words they talk about actual children, at least where I live.
posted by ODiV at 11:17 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


People who plan to take their pregnancies to term often talk about the fetuses with the same words they talk about actual children, at least where I live.

It's pretty easy to do, and in part it's encouraged by the medical establishment. I refer to my unborn baby (and it's safe to call him "baby" at this point as I'm full term and cleared to give birth oh... any day now) alternately as "the baby" or "the fetus" but my doctor always calls him "the baby" and has done so since the 7 week ultrasound when he was still an embryo.

As someone who is fervently pro-choice, I've been very careful to make the distinction through the pregnancy that he's a proto-baby, not the same thing at all as an actual outside-the-womb-sucking-air baby. While we have a name for him, we only use it in reference to him in future tense such as "Oh, when Schmoopy is born" and so on. When referring to him in the present, it's just "the baby" or "the fetus."

Pregnancy is a really, really surreal time to be two people - or rather, one person and one proto-person - in one body, so for a lot of the women referring to the fetus as an actual baby helps reconcile the kind of mind-blowing that happens when you realize that the thing you just felt kicking your liver is somebody else.
posted by sonika at 11:25 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I fully expect to be doing the same thing if and when my wife and I are expecting.

I'm curious to know if there was a solid divide in the language we use to describe both fetuses and children, would that affect how some see the abortion issue? It's easy to dismiss the words we use as unimportant, but I don't think there's any doubt here on MetaFilter that they hold power.

Would it even be possible to have such a divide in language without a shift in culture first? It's an interesting question, to me anyway.
posted by ODiV at 11:35 AM on February 22, 2011


The language aspects of the debate are really fascinating to me. I was pregnant two years ago, and had some serious complications early on that put me at a very high risk for something going terribly wrong and/or miscarrying altogether. It wasn't until around 22 weeks in that the doctors were able to say definitively that, no, we had dodged a bullet and everything was most likely going to be just fine.

Up until that moment, though, I had to fight hard against that exact phenomenon y'all are talking about. I never referred to the fetus as a baby, I forbade my husband and immediate family/friends from giving me anything for mother's day (~19 weeks), I refused to use gendered pronouns or consider names or pick out stuff for the nursery. At 18 weeks I bought a diaper bag and felt profoundly guilty and terrified that I had just jinxed myself (yeah, I know). It was all one big elaborate defense mechanism that I forced myself to adhere to because I had to. I had to brace myself in case the worst thing happened.

And while it sucked to do that and not enjoy the first half of the pregnancy, I'm still glad I did. I wouldn't ever discourage any woman from thinking of her embryo/fetus as a baby, but from first-hand experience I can tell you that there are advantages to doing so, depending on your circumstances.
posted by shiu mai baby at 11:49 AM on February 22, 2011 [4 favorites]




Mental Wimp: They don't say, because they don't know, that "The lungs are inadequately developed at this point to breathe on their own," or "the digestive system doesn't yet have the capability to process nourishment sufficient for life."

I don't suppose you know of a site that outlines this kind of timeline, do you? My search just turns up articles that baby-fy the embryo, because their target audience is women with pregnancies that are both wanted, and devoid of the kind of problems shiu mai baby describes.

Too many forced-birther hits for me to want to keep looking right now. I suppose a medical textbook ought to have the information.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 7:46 PM on February 25, 2011


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