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South Dakota House Bill 1217 signed into law
March 22, 2011 3:28 PM   Subscribe

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard has signed into law bill 1217 [pdf], which requires a three-day waiting period and mandatory counseling from a "pregnancy help center" before a woman may obtain an abortion.

The law provides for several requirements:
Section 3: No abortion may be scheduled until a licensed physician has personally met with the woman (referred to throughout the bill as "the pregnant mother"), and the schedule must be at least 72 hours after the completion of this appointment.
Section 3.1: The physician must obtain the age of the father of the fetus ("unborn child" in the bill) and determine if the age difference is creating undue coercion
Section 3.3.a: The woman must have a consultation at a "pregnancy help center"

Section 5 defines "pregnancy help center". The requirements to meet this definition include that it "routinely consults with women for the purpose of helping them keep their relationship with their unborn children" (5.1) and "they do not now refer pregnant women for abortions, and have not referred any pregnant women for an abortion at any time in the three years immediately preceding" (5.4). They are permitted to interview the woman about whether or not she is being coerced, but may not discuss religious beliefs (Section 6).

The ACLU of South Dakota says they will immediately file a lawsuit. The attorney general has already issued a statement [pdf] that they believe the law passes under the Casey standard as defined by Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
posted by 0xFCAF (347 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
For an amazing discussion and many thoughtful comments, see this most recent meTa. Starts out kind of GRAR but doesn't stay that way.
posted by rtha at 3:31 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sigh. Good thing I just decided to switch to monthly Planned Parenthood donations (thanks klangklangston and nadawi for the tip) -- they're going to need cash to fight this ridiculousness.
posted by palomar at 3:33 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


You need to wait longer to have an abortion than to buy a handgun. No state counseling is required in the event of your desire to own a lethal weapon, and you may carry it openly without a permit. Just saying, pro-lifers.
posted by Errant at 3:37 PM on March 22, 2011 [68 favorites]


helping them keep their relationship with their unborn children

By calling fetuses unborn children, the desired outcome from laws like these — ultimately eliminating right of choice — is more or less self-evident. I hope the ACLU prevails for the sake of women's rights in South Dakota, as well as the larger US.

To me, this gets to the heart of the current Metatalk discussion on this issue. Because we allow into the discussion the premise that women have to explain their reasons for wanting a medical procedure, it makes it easier for religious political ideologues to chip away at individual rights.

All you do is start with the idea that women are getting abortions because they are irresponsible, for example. Humoring this idea, calling it acceptable, allows religious crazies to set off a set of paper-cut-like laws like this that slice away rights here and there like little dominoes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:37 PM on March 22, 2011 [24 favorites]


This "law" is merely the legislative equivalent of the Scarlet Letter.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 3:38 PM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Not a snarky question -- how many women are coerced into abortions, as opposed to agonizing over the concept and finally choosing it after long personal deliberation?

I've only known two women who have had abortions (that I know about), and both of them said it was not something they went into without a lot of personal soul searching. (Both of them also said it was one of the hardest, wisest decisions they ever made in their lives and they'd choose it again if they found themselves in similar circumstances.)
posted by hippybear at 3:38 PM on March 22, 2011


Next up with Dennis Daugaard, removing "rape" as a legal definition, and banning the use of condom and birth control pills.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 3:41 PM on March 22, 2011


New Law Requires Women To Name Baby, Paint Nursery Before Getting Abortion
posted by Rhaomi at 3:41 PM on March 22, 2011 [40 favorites]


I would really like to see a legal challenge on the basis that this doesn't apply to nulliparous women, since the term "mother" is reserved for those with born children (hence the phrase "mother-to-be"). If legislators want to use rhetoric like that, they should have to stand by it.
posted by 0xFCAF at 3:42 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Stranger recently ran an article on the kind of pregnancy help centers that women in South Dakota are now forced to go to before obtaining an abortion. (Around here they're called crisis pregnancy centers.)

I am very, very bitter about the fact that the Pregnancy Center Accountability Bill died in legislature just a couple of weeks ago.
posted by palomar at 3:43 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Assholes.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 3:44 PM on March 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


Here's some irony... My wife (a middle school teacher) just left to attend a meeting at the local high school. The focus of the meeting (aimed at parents) is how to prevent youth suicide. We've had a rash of them recently in our village, kids seem to be unable to cope with the pressures of dwindling resources, divorced or single parents, parents on unemployment, families who have lost their homes, and so on and so on. Our state is forcing the poor and middle class into further economic dispare while they give money hand over fist to corporations and the rich...

So, I just have to cringe as I read that this fucking idiot in the middle of america's wasteland has found a way to make things even harder on those that have little resources... hell, it's easier to starve the poor into non-existence if they have more mouths to feed..

I honestly believe that somewhere, some damned right wing think-tank has actually voiced that thought...
posted by tomswift at 3:45 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


And at the same time, the (U.S.) House wants to give money to so-called crisis pregnancy centers so they can buy ultrasound equipment. Sigh.
posted by immlass at 3:48 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think what makes me angriest about this is that I'm not even confident the current U.S. Supreme Court will find this law unconstitutional. And that seems surreal.

Nthing thanks to klangklangston for persuading me, as of yesterday, to start making monthly contributions to Planned Parenthood.
posted by bearwife at 3:50 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I guess the obvious alternative is infanticide. Yay, you win, Government of South Dakota.
posted by GuyZero at 3:50 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, this is a special kind of viciousness.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:51 PM on March 22, 2011


immlass: And at the same time, the (U.S.) House wants to give money to so-called crisis pregnancy centers so they can buy ultrasound equipment. Sigh.

Worse: The (U.S.) House looking to de-fund Planned Parenthood.
Despite the fact that Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and others have tried to encourage all GOPers to refuse to approve a spending plan that doesn’t have certain social riders, such as the amendment to defund Planned Parenthood, the bill passed with 55 House Republicans voting against and 85 Democrats voting for it.
Fuck.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:52 PM on March 22, 2011


All you do is start with the idea that women are getting abortions because they are irresponsible, for example. Humoring this idea, calling it acceptable, allows religious crazies

Love the respectful discussion! Is everyone who opposes abortion on philosophical grounds a religious crazy?

to set off a set of paper-cut-like laws like this that slice away rights here and there like little dominoes.

The Supreme Court has said that there is a right to an abortion. It hasn't said that it's an absolute right for which there cannot be any restrictions (see handguns, freedom of speech, religion, etc.). If you see it as an absolute right, you're the one who wants to change the constitution.
posted by Jahaza at 3:53 PM on March 22, 2011


The people who pass this kind of legislation are very much encouraged to take a chunk of American desert and secede immediately. I will personally pay the postage on the nation's collective urine so they don't get too parched.
posted by artof.mulata at 3:54 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Link to donate to the ACLU.
posted by foxy_hedgehog at 3:55 PM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Is everyone who opposes abortion on philosophical grounds a religious crazy?

No, definitely not. But I sure do wonder about the mental wellness of the people that just enacted this law.
posted by palomar at 3:58 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Nthing thanks to klangklangston for persuading me, as of yesterday, to start making monthly contributions to Planned Parenthood.

Yep, me too.
posted by gaspode at 3:59 PM on March 22, 2011


Could we get a new law? Any state or federal lawmakers who draft or sponsor bills that restrict or curtail a woman's right to choose in any way must watch Alien within the 24 hours immediately preceding the initial filing.

Or would the metaphor be lost on them?
posted by kipmanley at 3:59 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is everyone who opposes abortion on philosophical grounds a religious crazy?

Maybe not a religious crazy....more likely a sexist crazy. The two viewpoints do very often go hand in hand, to be fair.
posted by Go Banana at 4:00 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Employment in the U.S. is either dropping or, at best, stagnant. A resurgent GOP is passing laws (abstinence only, no abortion, no contraception education, etc.), which will, over time, cause the U.S. to experience a rising birthrate.

So, if things don't improve, twenty years from now we're going to have a large, angry and unemployed population of youths with access to our nation's very large public stockpile of firearms.

Do the Republicans realize they are setting us up for Egypt II? Do they realize they are selling tickets to their own executions?
posted by Avenger at 4:00 PM on March 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


If you see it as an absolute right, you're the one who wants to change the constitution.

Fine. Then I want to change the Constitution. As has been much discussed in the meTa I linked to, either I have autonomy over my body, or I don't. This law, and others like it, and those that put such restrictions (and in such confusing language) on late-term abortions that doctors are afraid to perform them, mean that my autonomy over my very body is seriously encroached upon. Liberty? Not hardly.
posted by rtha at 4:00 PM on March 22, 2011 [32 favorites]


It should be an absolute right.

We have no need to know what a woman's reasons are for not wanting an unborn child.
No one needs to be forced by the state to reveal that kind of information.

If the state were more prepared to handle the raising of unwanted children instead of allowing them to languish in the hell of foster homes and orphanages then perhaps there could be some other measure taken. We as a society do not look out after those kids.

If there was a 2nd part to that bill that made it mandatory that those who signed this law and all those who support it would have to personally raise the kids who are born under it's aegis then I'd laugh and support it, too.

Actually that's a lie. There are too many instances of horror that I can imagine without even trying where I'd never want to see a woman forced to carry a fetus.
posted by artof.mulata at 4:01 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


As has been much discussed in the meTa I linked to, either I have autonomy over my body, or I don't.

We have lots of limitations on personal autonomy over ones body. Most of them are not controversial.
posted by Jahaza at 4:02 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


"either I have autonomy over my body, or I don't."

Why do you think you deserve consequence-free control of your body?
posted by oddman at 4:02 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


As Rachel Maddow is fond of pointing out, the people who pass this kind of legislation are Big Big Government believers. So big that the government will monitor EVERY pregnancy in the US from the point of conception to the point of delivery.

And then drop everyone involved like a poisoned hot potato.
posted by hippybear at 4:03 PM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


I should have linked this in the post: Guttmacher institute: The Impact of State Mandatory Counseling and Waiting Period Laws on Abortion: A Literature Review.
* As of January 2009, 24 states require that women must receive counseling with certain state-specified information and then wait, usually for 24 hours, before an abortion can be performed.
* A literature search identified 12 studies of the impact of mandatory counseling and waiting period laws.
* The clearest documented impact was obtained from analyses of Mississippi’s mandatory counseling and waiting period law, which requires an additional in-person visit before the procedure. Following enforcement of the law, abortion rates fell, the number of women going out of state for an abortion rose and the proportion of second-trimester abortions increased.
* Waiting period laws that allow mandatory counseling to be delivered over the Internet or by mail or telephone appear to impose relatively little cost on patients, and neither the waiting period requirement nor the mandatory counseling has a measurable impact on reproductive outcomes, other than to postpone the timing of some abortions.
* Some studies found large impacts of these laws on infant and child health, as well as on suicide rates. However, these findings are implausible, given the small or undocumented increase in unintended childbearing associated with the laws and the limited data on infant
and child well-being.
* Many studies of mandatory counseling and waiting period statutes have limitations, including incomplete data and inadequate controls for factors other than the imposition of the law.
* Future research should aim for straightforward designs. Researchers should strive for transparency by showing prelaw trends in outcomes among those who were exposed and unexposed to the laws. They also should clearly discuss expected outcomes, statistical power and the plausibility of their findings
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:03 PM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Why do you think you deserve consequence-free control of your body?

The consequence should be that I have to carry a pregnancy to term? In order to guarantee that I don't try to hurt myself or the fetus I'm unwillingly carrying, should I be locked up to ensure I don't?
posted by rtha at 4:05 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Let me put it in less vague terms. Do I, under the umbrella of having the right to do with my body as I please, have the right to infect myself with some extremely contagious, ultimately fatal, disease?
posted by oddman at 4:05 PM on March 22, 2011


On waiting periods: Buying a handgun and ending an unwanted pregnancy are not equivalent.
posted by artof.mulata at 4:05 PM on March 22, 2011


Serious question: can someone who has studied this explain where the constitutional case will probably be? Mandatory delay laws are constitutional after all, but I'm not sure about the three day time duration, or the tons of other stuff in here. Is there likely a single element in this that will cause the challenge. For instance, the obligation to actively collect information as in goto a Particular kind of pregnancy clinic would appear to be a challenge - especially for SD which is not dense enough to support a lot of specialty health care clinics, so maybe this could be an undue burden? Or is it more likely combinations of many things?
posted by scunning at 4:06 PM on March 22, 2011


you shouldn't have the right to purchase small pox, but you do have the right to fuck without a condom. So yeah.
posted by artof.mulata at 4:06 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Do I, under the umbrella of having the right to do with my body as I please, have the right to infect myself with some extremely contagious, ultimately fatal, disease?

Let me introduce you to the world of bugchasing.
posted by hippybear at 4:07 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Do I, under the umbrella of having the right to do with my body as I please, have the right to infect myself with some extremely contagious, ultimately fatal, disease?

Can you show me the law that prevents this activity? Because last time I checked people were still getting, like, HIV and stuff.
posted by palomar at 4:07 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is there likely a single element in this that will cause the challenge. For instance, the obligation to actively collect information as in goto a Particular kind of pregnancy clinic would appear to be a challenge - especially for SD which is not dense enough to support a lot of specialty health care clinics, so maybe this could be an undue burden? Or is it more likely combinations of many things?

I'd guess at some point it crosses the right to privacy established by Roe v Wade, but I don't have a legal mind, so I couldn't possibly give you real analysis.
posted by hippybear at 4:08 PM on March 22, 2011


Why do you think you deserve consequence-free control of your body?

Indeed! Women who have sex must suffer the consequences, which is what policies like this are all about. Looks like it's time again to review this chart.
posted by lalex at 4:09 PM on March 22, 2011 [39 favorites]


Do the Republicans realize they are setting us up for Egypt II? Do they realize they are selling tickets to their own executions?

Short-term satisfaction trumps long-term anything, apparently. (Except of course that for a lot of these legislators, their idea of Heaven is the only long-term eventuality that matters.)
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:09 PM on March 22, 2011


Do I, under the umbrella of having the right to do with my body as I please, have the right to infect myself with some extremely contagious, ultimately fatal, disease?

If you're prepared to accept the consequences if your reckless act harms others, sure. The thing about abortion is that it doesn't harm anybody else, since fetuses are not people.

On waiting periods: Buying a handgun and ending an unwanted pregnancy are not equivalent.

The purpose of the gun purchase waiting period is two-fold: to provide time to conduct a background check and to deter people from doing anything rash. Arguably the same motivations are present here, except that whereas guns can be used to kill other people, an abortion does not.

I'd guess at some point it crosses the right to privacy established by Roe v Wade, but I don't have a legal mind, so I couldn't possibly give you real analysis.

Yes, I suspect one of the arguments will be that requiring a woman to consult a 'pregnancy help center' violates the right to keep medical decisions private between the patient and her doctor.
posted by jedicus at 4:10 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Let me put it in less vague terms. Do I, under the umbrella of having the right to do with my body as I please, have the right to infect myself with some extremely contagious, ultimately fatal, disease?

Yes? As far as I know, there's no law preventing you from intentionally acquiring a disease. Spreading it is another matter.

Pregnancy isn't contagious, FYI.
posted by rtha at 4:12 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


And oddman: again - the "consequence" I should "suffer" should be to carry a pregnancy to term? Is that your argument?
posted by rtha at 4:13 PM on March 22, 2011


Let me put it in less vague terms. Do I, under the umbrella of having the right to do with my body as I please, have the right to infect myself with some extremely contagious, ultimately fatal, disease?

Yes, everyone is free to contract HIV if they wish.

That is how seriously we take personal autonomy in this country.
posted by Avenger at 4:15 PM on March 22, 2011


rtha, you know that's not the argument. Don't be obtuse.
posted by Jahaza at 4:15 PM on March 22, 2011


I wonder how different abortion laws would be if the men who impregnate the women had to "suffer" the "consequences" of being forced to pay top dollar rates for raising the child to the age of 18.
posted by hippybear at 4:16 PM on March 22, 2011 [25 favorites]


You need to wait longer to have an abortion than to buy a handgun. No state counseling is required in the event of your desire to own a lethal weapon, and you may carry it openly without a permit.

Obviously. Pregnant women need some way to defend themselves from all the godless heathens who want to forcibly abort their babies.
posted by tumid dahlia at 4:18 PM on March 22, 2011


I wonder how different abortion laws would be if the men who impregnate the women had to "suffer" the "consequences" of being forced to pay top dollar rates for raising the child to the age of 18.

They are. South Dakota has child support laws.
posted by Jahaza at 4:18 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


rtha, you know that's not the argument. Don't be obtuse.

Then explain it to me, in very small words. If I become pregnant when I don't want to be pregnant - because birth control failed, or I said okay even without a condom when I should have said no, or whatever - the response from oddman was that I must want "consequence-free control" of my body.

So I'm asking: what are the consequences I should pay, if that is not the case?
posted by rtha at 4:20 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


> rtha, you know that's not the argument. Don't be obtuse.

I guess I am obtuse, because I have no idea what the "infect myself with a disease" comparison is supposed to imply. Could you please explain it?
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:20 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


They are. South Dakota has child support laws.

Jahaza, you know that's not the argument. Don't be so obtuse.
posted by lalex at 4:20 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Jahaza, so does California, which is where I was born. And somehow my father managed to skate away without paying a dime of child support, despite being ordered to by a judge.

I'm sure he's the only man who's ever done that, though.
posted by palomar at 4:20 PM on March 22, 2011 [22 favorites]


Possibly more to the point, if you do contract a highly contagious and possibly fatal disease, doctors will treat you without you having to wait three days or them asking you if you're sure you don't want to keep this organism, honestly, you'll love it in time, it's a little miracle of a virus, it'll change your life.
posted by Errant at 4:21 PM on March 22, 2011 [30 favorites]


I'm sure he's the only man who's ever done that, though.

Hey, my dad too! So that's two of us. Bet we're the only ones, though.
posted by rtha at 4:23 PM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I liked the part where we compared having a baby to having a tumor. I don't care what side of the argument you're on when you go in that direction it just stops making sense.
posted by tomswift at 4:25 PM on March 22, 2011


I wonder how different abortion laws would be if the men who impregnate the women had to "suffer" the "consequences" of being forced to pay top dollar rates for raising the child to the age of 18.

They are. South Dakota has child support laws.


South Dakota has child support laws, yes. But they hardly call for top dollar rates of support from the male parent.

And I know enough about "deadbeat dads" to know that the men seldom suffer the same consequences as the women when it comes to pregnancy and children.
posted by hippybear at 4:25 PM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I guess I am obtuse, because I have no idea what the "infect myself with a disease" comparison is supposed to imply. Could you please explain it?

It's the first step in an argument establishing that as a society, we don't believe that there is an absolute right to autonomy over one's own body as rtha suggested we should.

Jahaza, so does California, which is where I was born. And somehow my father managed to skate away without paying a dime of child support, despite being ordered to by a judge.

A woman can do the same thing.

Possibly more to the point, if you do contract a highly contagious and possibly fatal disease, doctors will treat you without you having to wait three days or them asking you if you're sure you don't want to keep this organism, honestly, you'll love it in time, it's a little miracle of a virus, it'll change your life.

Pregnancy is not a disease.
posted by Jahaza at 4:26 PM on March 22, 2011


South Dakota has child support laws, yes. But they hardly call for top dollar rates of support from the male parent.

And women are forced to pay top dollar to support their children by which South Dakota law?
posted by Jahaza at 4:27 PM on March 22, 2011


Hey, my dad too! So that's two of us. Bet we're the only ones, though.

Hey, what if it's the same guy?! I mean, what are the odds that more than one man would dodge out on his law-mandated duties?
posted by palomar at 4:29 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


They are. South Dakota has child support laws.

Nicely evaded! Hippybear's actual question was not whether South Dakota has child support laws. Every state does. He asked:

wonder how different abortion laws would be if the men who impregnate the women had to "suffer" the "consequences" of being forced to pay top dollar rates for raising the child to the age of 18.

I will lay heavy odds that South Dakota, like all the other states, has 1) pitifully low child support levels; and 2) major challenges in enforcing said child support laws.

It would sure be nice if the people so interested in counseling pregnant women and making them wait and dictating what should happen in their medical visits were as concerned with providing for ample, assured child support for all children, fully and vigorously enforced by the state, not to mention child care for working moms, fully funded school systems in poor areas, and free excellent university education for all. While we're at it, sure would love to see some attention to universal sex education in the schools, and freely available contraception.
posted by bearwife at 4:32 PM on March 22, 2011 [23 favorites]


Let me put it in less vague terms. Do I, under the umbrella of having the right to do with my body as I please, have the right to infect myself with some extremely contagious, ultimately fatal, disease?

Well, that's kind of an odd example, because no-one does this. Two better ones might be "Do I have the right to dangerous pursuits, like horse riding or boxing?" and "Do I have the right to drive without a seatbelt on?". And you'll notice that we're not terribly consistent as a society: it's case by case. But generally, yes, you do get to do stuff that'll damage your body.

Why is abortion so different? Because it's about ownership of women and reproduction, which is naturally very very important to us. So we feel differently - it's not a reason thing, it's a gut thing. We don't think about baby-making the same we think about disease, or horse-riding, or driving with a seatbelt on. Thinking about things that are not reproduction is pointless when thinking about reproduction. It's categorically different.

So who gets to own and control reproduction? I say "the pregnant woman." I don't really see how it can be clearer than that, or how you can step away from that position without making women second-class people. Which of course, you CAN do, and most human cultures have done in history, but I think is an absolute wrong.
posted by alasdair at 4:32 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Pregnancy is not a disease.

That's not what my mama said.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:32 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


A woman can do the same thing.

Okay, you've totally lost me. I have no idea what point, if any, you're trying to make here.
posted by palomar at 4:34 PM on March 22, 2011


Fuck you, South Dakota.
posted by agregoli at 4:35 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Do I, under the umbrella of having the right to do with my body as I please, have the right to infect myself with some extremely contagious, ultimately fatal, disease?

Children should be a welcomed choice, not a punishment. If you disagree, I don't really want you around my kids.

I don't think you disagree with that. I think you know that we're allowed to smoke cigarettes and that doesn't mean we don't deserve treatment for lung cancer. Children are not the same thing, so let's not talk about them like they are.

It's about whether a fetus is a person, isn't it? It's about whether or not an abortion is a death. I think a lot of pro-choicers ignore this aspect of the conversation, and I think that's unfortunate.

I'm pro-choice. I think it is a death, and I also think that's okay. I think my friends' dead fetuses are worth my friends' lives and my friends' future ability to have chosen, welcomed children.

Ban abortions, and we go back to the days when the hospitals in Chicago had entire wings filled with women dying of botched abortions. That's where pro-life gets you.
posted by heatherann at 4:36 PM on March 22, 2011 [20 favorites]


palomar - could be! Though my dad never lived in California, so hmmm...

Pregnancy is not a disease.

oddman seemed to think so. Glad you don't agree. It does, however, carry life-threatening risk to the pregnant woman, so there's that. I'm also unaware of any law that requires a parent of either sex to risk their life for their toddler, or teenager, though undoubtably many would. Perhaps you think there should be such a law?
posted by rtha at 4:36 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


> It's the first step in an argument establishing that as a society, we don't believe that there is an absolute right to autonomy over one's own body

Okay. So now that we've established that yes, in fact you are allowed to infect yourself with a disease, how does that apply?
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:36 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yikes, who writes this stuff. In case anyone missed it:

Any woman who undergoes an abortion, or her survivors, where there has been an intentional, knowing, or negligent failure to comply with the provisions of sections 3 and 4 of this Act may bring a civil action, and obtain a civil penalty in the amount of ten thousand dollars, plus reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, jointly and severally from the physician who performed the abortion and the abortion facility where the abortion was performed.

posted by phaedon at 4:38 PM on March 22, 2011


oddman seemed to think so.

Uh, no he didn't. He was making a point about limitations on personal autonomy.
posted by Jahaza at 4:38 PM on March 22, 2011


Why do you think you deserve consequence-free control of your body?

Getting an abortion is a consequence. It's an unpleasant expensive medical procedure.

Try another argument, please. One closer to what I suspect you actually mean.
posted by FfejL at 4:39 PM on March 22, 2011 [30 favorites]


I liked the part where we compared having a baby to having a tumor. I don't care what side of the argument you're on when you go in that direction it just stops making sense.

tomswift, you might find this viewpoint distasteful, and you have the right to feel that way. But here's the thing: I really, really, really, REALLY don't want kids. Not ever. And while I've taken great pains to ensure that I don't have kids, having an accident is always a possibility. And if that happens, my mind is not going to magically flip over and think, "Oh goodness, a baby! Suddenly my mind has completely changed about my wants and desires for my life now that some cells are growing in my uterus!" No. Most likely, if I find myself pregnant despite all my efforts to prevent such a thing from happening, I will look upon the growth in my uterus as just that: a growth, that needs to be removed.

To me, an unwanted pregnancy is just as dire a medical issue as cancer. I'm sorry that that upsets you, but I suspect I'm far from the only woman here who might feel this way.
posted by palomar at 4:41 PM on March 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


Okay. So now that we've established that yes, in fact you are allowed to infect yourself with a disease, how does that apply?

Well, it wasn't my example.

The point is not about the example. Laws against suicide, or against drug use, or a bunch of other things are also examples of the fact that we limit people's personal autonomy all the time.
posted by Jahaza at 4:41 PM on March 22, 2011


Pregnancy is not a disease.

I concur, but since I'm not the one who brought up disease as an analogy in this discussion, I don't feel especially responsible for it. Odd that you didn't raise this objection before, though. Maybe you didn't see it, it's a fast-moving thread.
posted by Errant at 4:43 PM on March 22, 2011


I concur, but since I'm not the one who brought up disease as an analogy in this discussion, I don't feel especially responsible for it. Odd that you didn't raise this objection before, though. Maybe you didn't see it, it's a fast-moving thread.

Again: Oddman didn't analogize abortion with disease. You did.
posted by Jahaza at 4:47 PM on March 22, 2011


Yes, I did. Abortion =/= pregnancy. But you know that.
posted by Errant at 4:49 PM on March 22, 2011


Fucking primitives. You'd think SD was somewhere east of Kryzygystan, not right in the fucking middle of what's supposedly a civilized modern society.

I read today that religion is headed for extinction in nine countries. I didn't read the article: it sounds like hyperbole and I hate to get my hopes up. Can't happen soon enough, IMO.

Pro-lifers are fucking evil.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:50 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I don't know where one would find totally accurate figures for this, but I assume that the majority of abortions are sought by women who are not being coerced or otherwise manipulated. So heart of this legislation certainly seems to be to dissuade women from acquiring an abortion, or to make it inconvenient to do so in a timely manner. But just curious, if one was going to try to legislate to protect women against coercion, what would such a law look like?

(Note that I am one of them pro-choice absolutists and fully support any and all women's rights to abort at any time for any reason. I'm just wondering what protective legislation that was actually in good faith would look like.)
posted by hegemone at 4:50 PM on March 22, 2011


So heart of this legislation certainly seems to be to dissuade women from acquiring an abortion, or to make it inconvenient to do so in a timely manner.

Based on everything I've heard about this legislation, the heart of it seems to be to push women into traveling out of South Dakota for a day or two when they need abortion services.
posted by hippybear at 4:52 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Here's the thing: if you believe that life begins at conception (as I do), then you are free to avoid abortions (as I have).

But why the hell do I have the right do dictate what someone else does? Moreover, what right do I have to interject my beliefs into their medical decisions?

This why I never am okay with any restrictions on abortion. My uterus, my decision.

I had a good male friend who knocked his girlfriend up, she got an abortion despite his objections, and he was devastated. Dude stopped having sex for like three or four years. In his twenties. I felt bad for him. But even he didn't think he should have had a legal say. "It was her body," was what he always said.

I always find it really telling when someone is okay with a rape victim having an abortion. If abortion is murder, then it's okay to kill people who were conceived via rape? Of course not. The "rape exception" attitude reveals a lot- it's not about saving fetuses, it's about controlling women.

Abortion sucks, and it should be legal. Birth control, be contraception or abortion, is, IMNSHO, the single greatest invention of humanity. The alternative is infanticide, orphan trains, knitting needles and sepsis.
posted by Leta at 4:53 PM on March 22, 2011 [52 favorites]


It's insulting as hell to assume that women haven't thought about their abortion before going to get one. It's wrong to send them to centers that are known for their misinformation and outright lies about fetal development, to places that EXCELL at coercing women through guilt and shame. Disgusting and wrong.

And these are the "mildest" of insults/harms. I don't want children for many reasons, but I would be terrified to be pregnant in this country, even if I had a wanted pregnancy. It's not SAFE to be a pregnant woman in America.
posted by agregoli at 4:54 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Laws against suicide, or against drug use, or a bunch of other things are also examples of the fact that we limit people's personal autonomy all the time.

I challenge you to find a current state statute criminalizing suicide, or a state where the laws on the books against assisted suicide have actually been enforced in recent memory against anyone save a guy who begged for it, Jack Kevorkian.

And the laws about drugs generally criminalize drug possession or manufacturing or dealing, or doing something else that could endanger others while on drugs, like driving under the influence -- not simply using drugs. Moreover, the drug warriors would assert that drug crimes actually do harm other people who have already been born.

I am not disagreeing that people are limited from exercising bodily autonomy to harm others -- as the point where harm to others (who have already been born) begins is traditionally recognized as where the right to bodily autonomy starts.

But the only way to construe abortion as harmful to others and hence equivalent to other personal behaviors that are unlawful is to construe the rights of a life that has not yet been born as pre-eminent over the person carrying that life, the pregnant woman. Me, I think the rights of the pregnant woman trump, every single time.
posted by bearwife at 4:54 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Women can "skate away" from pregnancy? Unwanted pregnancy is not a disease? The fuck? If I could actually avoid unwanted pregnancy by paying "top dollar" I would, and I would also prefer to have any number of diseases. Do you actually know any facts about what carrying a child to term does to the human body? What the permanent effects can be? What the risk of death still is?

Limitations of bodily autonomy ARE controversial, by the way.

I'm using a lot of energy on not typing the angry words I am thinking.
posted by prefpara at 4:55 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


fail -- sorry, where the right to bodily autonomy stops.
posted by bearwife at 4:55 PM on March 22, 2011


the heart of it seems to be to push women into traveling out of South Dakota for a day or two when they need abortion services.

Indeed. Provided they have time/money/childcare to do so or that they're lucky enough to live right on a state border. Fucking SD...
posted by hegemone at 4:56 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It would sure be nice if the people so interested in counseling pregnant women and making them wait and dictating what should happen in their medical visits were as concerned with providing for ample, assured child support for all children, fully and vigorously enforced by the state, not to mention child care for working moms, fully funded school systems in poor areas, and free excellent university education for all.

I don't think "providing for" is in the handbook of these people. Punishment and restriction, that's pretty much it.
posted by pinky at 4:57 PM on March 22, 2011


There are limits on bodily autonomy in this country, but there ought not to be. Being pro-choice has made me see this very clearly. A lot of people don't get why I think legalizing assisted suicide, prostitution, and drugs would bolster the pro-choice cause, but I think it's pretty obvious.

If someone wants to start an organization that tries to talk women into carrying crisis pregnancies to term, hey, go for it. Just don't try to legislate away my right to decide for myself.
posted by Leta at 4:58 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hold on, I'm confused; I was told the Right wanted less government.
posted by rain at 4:58 PM on March 22, 2011 [16 favorites]


The "rape exception" attitude reveals a lot- it's not about saving fetuses, it's about controlling women.

I agree that it does seem like the prevailing attitude reflected in abortion laws (nearly always created by men) is that women who get pregnant and don't want the child are harlots who should be publicly displayed for the term of their pregnancy, and if they are unwilling or unable to put the child up for adoption (a choice which anecdotally can be devastating, from what I've read), then they should be saddled with the raising of the child with as little support as possible by the state who says they should be forced to carry the child or the father of that child.

Which seems odd to me, based on the basic meme within our culture which says that men are randy bastards who are always going to be seeking out "the strange" regardless of any current relationship commitments they may have, and they should be allowed to do so with impunity because that's just how men are.

It's unfathomable and sickening to me, this duplicity. And I don't grok why more people don't see this at the core of laws such as this.
posted by hippybear at 4:59 PM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Huh, that's interesting.

""Complications associated with abortion," any adverse physical, psychological, or emotional reaction, for which there is a statistical association with abortion, such that there is a less than five percent probability that the statistical association is due to sampling error."

Do I have this right? The physician can deem a woman unsuitable for an abortion procedure if they deem the woman might feel bad about it at some point?
posted by Errant at 5:01 PM on March 22, 2011


I liked the part where we compared having a baby to having a tumor. I don't care what side of the argument you're on when you go in that direction it just stops making sense.

Howso? At the point we're talking about, the fetus IS far closer to being a tumor (if a benign one, most of the time) than it is to being an infant. The main difference between an embryo and a dermoid cyst is that the embryo has the potential to be more.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:01 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Life Panel. Coined it.
posted by phaedon at 5:02 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, the irony.
posted by Leta at 5:08 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


. . . how many abortion clinics are in South Dakota? There are only two Planned Parenthoods, and one of them only does 'abortion referral', not 'abortion services'/
posted by dinty_moore at 5:08 PM on March 22, 2011


I guess I can't figure out why there are a large group of men who loathe women so much. I mean, ten to one they were the same ones talking about "latex allergies" and how if they couldn't stick it in it would permanently hurt them and oh, I really love you, blah blah blah.
posted by maxwelton at 5:10 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


maxwelton, I sometimes wonder if the root of much misogyny in men is from having a mother that wasn't prepared or wanted to be one. And round and round it goes.
posted by agregoli at 5:14 PM on March 22, 2011


Wow, blaming misogyny on women. That's... creative.
posted by GuyZero at 5:16 PM on March 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


Employment in the U.S. is either dropping or, at best, stagnant. A resurgent GOP is passing laws (abstinence only, no abortion, no contraception education, etc.), which will, over time, cause the U.S. to experience a rising birthrate.

Do the Republicans realize they are setting us up for Egypt II? Do they realize they are selling tickets to their own executions?


That is, I believe, the long-term goal - to raise domestic birthrates. Employment levels are complex, and it would be a mistake to assume they will only stay steady or fall; consider that the US economy has absorbed a great many women into the workforce over the last few generations, and over the medium-long term (2020+) may actually face a labor shortage.

The Republicans who are ideologically committed to this idea are not worried about future armies of unemployed youth and could probably cook up a variety of short-term 'solutions' to such a problem. What they are worried about is the virtual certainty that their electoral base is getting older and shrinking: within a few years, 'white people' will be a plurality instead of a majority, and Latino voters (the next-largest and fastest growing demographic group) are not voting Republican - in large part because of ongoing GOP hostility to loosening immigration policy.

Of course, a logical person would see this as a good reason to make the party more responsive to Latino concerns by promoting comprehensive immigration reform; this was one of George W. Bush's few pragmatic policies, and would dovetail neatly with the slightly conservative leanings of many Latinos and other first-generation immigrants. but the hard-right ideologues in the GOP are not logical or pragmatic people; and having alienated most demographic groups outside their base, are now between a rock and hard place. Latinos and other groups are increasingly unlikely to vote GOP, but anyone in the GOP who talks of a more relaxed immigration policy will enrage lot of ultraconservative white voters. For politicians in cities this is not such a big deal, but for anyone who answers to predominantly rural voters, it's political suicide.

For a few decades now, GOP electoral strategists have pointed to maps of electoral results and exclaimed at how red they are, and thus how like Reagan's re-election in 1984, and how this must prove the USA is fundamentally conservative. Of course this is complete BS because while cities look much smaller on a map than the low-density country that surround them, land does not vote. All the maps show is that rural voters trend conservative. If you weight them by population in some fashion this is obvious, but by pretending geography = demographics, party activists can suggest there's a large silent majority of conservatives and focus their efforts on getting independent voters to accept GOP policy as the will of mainstream America. Thus the endless talk of homeland, heartland, huntin', fishin', praries and anything else harking back to pre-industrial America. Hence all the cowboy hats and horses and ranch imagery.

In short, the GOP has drifted so far to the right in the pursuit of rural conservative votes that engineering a rise in the rural birth rate is the only strategy that's left. A pragmatic commitment to immigration reform would split the party in two, and even if the illegal immigration issue vanished tomorrow, they would still be on the wrong side of demographic trends. Not only are there far more Democratic voters in cities, it is a lot easier and cheaper for Democrats to canvass at election time because their voters are clustered together instead of being spread out.
posted by anigbrowl at 5:16 PM on March 22, 2011 [15 favorites]


I didn't blame anyone for anything. It was an idle wonderment. I can't figure it out either, why some men hate women SO much. The mind grasps everywhere.
posted by agregoli at 5:17 PM on March 22, 2011


I can't figure out why there are a large group of men who loathe women so much

I think some men are just jealous that only women can ever experience the miracle of abortion.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:24 PM on March 22, 2011 [20 favorites]


Well, in fairness people blame mothers for all kinds of stuff. There was a school of thought that attributed autism to "icy, withdrawn" mothers. Or homosexuality to an over-close attachment to the mother instead of the father.

Personally, I don't think these people hate women. They like votes and they think people will vote for them when they enact these laws. They'd vote to make church attendance and tithing mandatory if they could get away with it. It's nothing more complicated than the tyranny of a very thin majority.
posted by GuyZero at 5:24 PM on March 22, 2011


Another day, another set of legislators staking a claim to my uterus. It's getting crowded in there.
posted by emjaybee at 5:27 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'd like to see every last woman in South Dakota permanently leave the state in protest. 2nd class citizens, eh? I'm sure the economy can survive quite nicely without them then.
posted by Space Kitty at 5:27 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm home from work now, and I'm still interested, Jahaza, on what exactly you think the consequence of an unwanted pregnancy should be. The only thing I can think of is that the woman should be forced to carry the pregnancy to term. Is that correct?
posted by rtha at 5:35 PM on March 22, 2011


That is, I believe, the long-term goal - to raise domestic birthrates.

What?

In short, the GOP has drifted so far to the right in the pursuit of rural conservative votes that engineering a rise in the rural birth rate is the only strategy that's left.

This argument is self-contradictory. If they've "drifted so far to the right" then they true believe in the pro-life cause and their long-term goal is to stop abortion, not to raise the birth rate.

If their long-term goal is just to stay in power and not ideological, then they could just renounce their pro-life position, which would make it a lot easier to win elections and is a lot easier to accomplish than using legislation to raise domestic birth rates.
posted by Jahaza at 5:35 PM on March 22, 2011


i don't think it's fair to blame these laws all on men. i grew up in a very devout household. the people who usually spent all their energies trying to stop the baby killing were women. they quoted the stats, made the posters, arranged the trip to the clinic, baked the muffins for the volunteers, and seemed to have a creepy attachment to babies that weren't there's - like they were trying to replace some sadness in their lives. sure, men are overrepresented in the governance of the country, but it's not like only men inform their decisions. it's still misogyny and a hatred of sex and the morality police - but it's not just the scrotum toters who have that view.

we'd hope that our own gender would understand all the areas that poverty and education and youth combine, that they'd have empathy for women in impossible situations, just doing the best they can. sadly, that empathy is reserved for a fetus that they'll stop caring about as soon as its screaming face hits air.
posted by nadawi at 5:36 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


But that kind has the "bootstraps" mentality...and that too, blames women. Where does the blaming come from?
posted by agregoli at 5:38 PM on March 22, 2011


scrotum toters

Don't you mean scrotum taters?

/derail
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:38 PM on March 22, 2011


Personally, I think people over-think this.

There is a large group of people that thinks shooting a baby in the face with a .45 is the same as having an abortion.

There is another group of people that doesn't believe that.

The real issue is whether group one gets to tell group two how to live their lives. But the fundamental belief isn't so crazy far-fetched.
posted by GuyZero at 5:40 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only thing I can think of is that the woman should be forced to carry the pregnancy to term. Is that correct?

I find "forced to carry the pregnancy to term" an unnatural way of speaking, but I believe abortion should not be legal.
posted by Jahaza at 5:41 PM on March 22, 2011


I find "forced to carry the pregnancy to term" an unnatural way of speaking, but I believe abortion should not be legal.

You prefer the term "enslaved," perhaps?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:42 PM on March 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


Why is that an unnatural way of speaking? It's exactly what it means. Forced to carry to term. I would feel forced, if I were pregnant, and could not obtain an abortion, for I never want kids, and am terrified of being pregnant. Under certain circumstances, I could see myself committing suicide if I could not have an abortion.
posted by agregoli at 5:43 PM on March 22, 2011 [13 favorites]


And what should society do with women who have illegal abortions?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 5:43 PM on March 22, 2011


You prefer the term "enslaved," perhaps?

Why, do you prefer that term?

When we prohibit somethng, the "forced to do x" construction, where x is the opposite is generally a marker of opposition to the prohibition.

Bloomberg bans trans-fat: "Forced to not eat trans-fats" would suggest that you're implying a liberty based argument against the thing in question, so the Mayor and the health commissioner wouldn't put it that way.
posted by Jahaza at 5:45 PM on March 22, 2011


the people who usually spent all their energies trying to stop the baby killing were women.

Policing the decisions of other women helps reassure women who may doubt their life choices, particularly about the centrality of career vs. parenting, that they did the right thing. If you're interested in these issues, I recommend Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood by Kristin Luker.
posted by immlass at 5:46 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I find "forced to carry the pregnancy to term" an unnatural way of speaking, but I believe abortion should not be legal.

But if you had your way, should I end up pregnant despite very much not wanting to be, I would literally be forced to carry it to term.

Actually, what would happen is that I would throw myself down a flight of stairs, or pay someone to kick me in the abdomen until I miscarried. If that failed, I would have to seek out an illegal abortion provider, which would endanger my health and my life. But hey, using the word "force" is unnatural. Of course.
posted by palomar at 5:46 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


we could all argue with Jahaza while they continue to just talk in circles or maybe we can have something positive come about from this thread. let's gather some links, shall we? both as potential homes for charity donations or resources to pass around as we encounter women in need in our own lives.

i'll start.

here's the link for South Dakota Access For Every Woman.

they cover more than SD. go to the root URL you can find more states.
posted by nadawi at 5:46 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


And what should society do with women who have illegal abortions?

I'm not sure.
posted by Jahaza at 5:47 PM on March 22, 2011


> The Supreme Court has said that there is a right to an abortion. It hasn't said that it's an absolute right for which there cannot be any restrictions (see handguns, freedom of speech, religion, etc.). If you see it as an absolute right, you're the one who wants to change the constitution.

If I have more right to own an manufactured lethal weapon I've never needed and would need training to use than I have the right to own control over what happens to my own body, that rights structure is fundamentally flawed.
posted by nicebookrack at 5:47 PM on March 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Pregnancy is not a disease.

Vomiting, nausea, weight gain, mood swings, abdominal swelling,.....no negative signs and symptoms there.
posted by anniecat at 5:48 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to mention preeclampsia, gestational diabetes...
posted by palomar at 5:49 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find "forced to carry the pregnancy to term" an unnatural way of speaking,

How else would you phrase it? If I am pregnant and don't want to be, but am prevented from ending the pregnancy, then what should I call that?

There is a large group of people that thinks shooting a baby in the face with a .45 is the same as having an abortion.

I really don't know that I buy this. I'm sure there are some people who feel this way, but I think that if they were the majority, we wouldn't have laws that make shooting a five-year-old in the face more difficult, we'd have laws that make shooting that five-year-old a capital crime. Since that's not happening, I can only think that it's really not about abortion=baby-murder. It's about control.
posted by rtha at 5:50 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I believe abortion should not be legal.

Ever? Would you make an exception for the mother's health? Rape? Incest?
posted by prefpara at 5:50 PM on March 22, 2011


Vomiting, nausea, weight gain, mood swings, abdominal swelling,.....no negative signs and symptoms there.

And no abnormal condition and hence no disease. Getting stabbed would also cause negative signs and symptoms, but is also not a disease.
posted by Jahaza at 5:51 PM on March 22, 2011


I'm not sure.

That's kinda scary.

The abillity to, you know, cover the bases before you enact laws is a sign of responsible legislation.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:51 PM on March 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Ever? Would you make an exception for the mother's health? Rape? Incest?

No.
posted by Jahaza at 5:51 PM on March 22, 2011


Yeah, not looking to get stabbed either, pal.
posted by palomar at 5:51 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm not sure.


Then you haven't given your position enough thought to make it worth considering. You do realize that if we adopted your plan society would have to do something with the women who broke your proposed law, right?
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 5:52 PM on March 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


That's kinda scary.

The abillity to, you know, cover the bases before you enact laws is a sign of responsible legislation.


When the courts allow the states to pass laws banning abortion the issue can be worked out. Until then it's theoretical.
posted by Jahaza at 5:52 PM on March 22, 2011


So...you wouldn't let a woman have an abortion even if the pregnancy would kill her? Permanently disable her? I find that hard to believe. Maybe I just don't want to believe it.
posted by agregoli at 5:52 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not in the case of the mother's health? Damn. You're a cold one.
posted by palomar at 5:52 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Interesting point at Tapped: "Like all 'waiting period' regulations, the law is based on the inherently sexist assumptions that Anthony Kennedy made explicit in his infamous Carhart II opinion: Namely, that women who choose to have an abortion must be acting irrationally and need to be coerced into reconsidering."
posted by homunculus at 5:53 PM on March 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Helpless orphan trapped in a state without a social safety net > alive woman, possibly retaining the capacity to birth wanted children later.

Duh, winning.
posted by prefpara at 5:54 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Tumor? Nah. Wanted or unwanted, it's a parasite.
posted by galadriel at 5:54 PM on March 22, 2011


I can only think that it's really not about abortion=baby-murder. It's about control.

So I've seen this analysis and while on one level I agree, I think that a lot of voters are not particularly sophisticated and politicians don't really care much about nuance. Abortion is bad, ergo outlaw it. oh, we can't outlaw it, ok, make it really inconvenient.

it's the same thing with taxes. People who want lower taxes aren't exactly public policy experts. They're just simpletons who think it will result in free money.
posted by GuyZero at 5:55 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Not in the case of the mother's health? Damn. You're a cold one.

Not every situation is fixable and you can't do wrong that good may result.

(My computer's battery is about to be drained, so I will disappear shortly I'm afraid.)
posted by Jahaza at 5:55 PM on March 22, 2011


I'm going to respond to Jahaza because while many of us vehemently disagree with him/her, he/she is attempting to have a conversation.

Jahaza: at least you are consistent.

Here's the question: In a world where women are not allowed to have safe and legal abortions, and in which something or other happens to the women who do have abortions (other than punctured uteri, blood infections, death, etc), how will you prevent women from getting unsafe and illegal abortions? It's been happening for all of recorded history.

Many of us who are pro-choice believe that abortion is a very bad thing. However, a safe and legal abortion is much better than a Dr. Pepper bottle or pennyroyal tea or a good punch to the stomach.
posted by freshwater at 5:56 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


And what should society do with women who have illegal abortions?

Hold closed casket funerals.
posted by nicebookrack at 5:56 PM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


prefpara - there' s also the part where a lot of women who have abortions already have kids, so leaving children motherless is preferential to aborting.
posted by nadawi at 5:56 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


When the courts allow the states to pass laws banning abortion the issue can be worked out. Until then it's theoretical.

No, it isn't. If, legally (and morally), a two-month-old fetus is exactly the same as a five-year-old child who walks and talks and goes to school, then you can only - logically - conclude that a woman who aborts the fetus, and the health care professional who assists her (if any) or any other person who does, would be guilty of murder in the exact same way as the woman who hires a hit man to kill her five-year-old.
posted by rtha at 5:57 PM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


nadawi, I was thinking in terms of a world where abortion was illegal, so it didn't occur to me to think about people caring about and valuing the life of the woman. Brain fart!
posted by prefpara at 5:58 PM on March 22, 2011


Well, Jahaza, at least you're consistent. You're also taking a stand that uses the conflation of fetus with baby as justification for making my body state property.

Where do you draw the line? What if I drink a lot and miscarry? Am I committing manslaughter? If I fall down the stairs is it accidental manslaughter? Do I need to submit to monthly testing of my uterine tissues to verify I have not recently been pregnant? While pregnant should I be locked up in case something befalls the fetus? But then I won't know I'm pregnant for a few weeks, maybe, even a few months; better lock me up all the time. Maybe an ankle bracelet that transmits my position, vitals, and uterine state at all times to a central monitoring station would be more cost effective.

Because that's where this goes. In Virginia, they've pretty much already tried to go there.
posted by emjaybee at 5:58 PM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


just to recap, you believe that a woman who has been raped and impregnated as a result should have no recourse but to bring that child to term but you also insist that the word "forced" not be used.

and when asked about cases of the mother's help you back up your "no" with "not every situation is fixable and you can't do wrong that good may result." not every situation is fixable, so fuck 'em, those endangered women can swing for all you care.

i couldn't help but notice that you're kind of a really terrible human being.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:59 PM on March 22, 2011 [23 favorites]


Not every situation is fixable and you can't do wrong that good may result.

What good results from a mother AND a potential fetus dying? Why not try to save the mother? There are many situations where this happens, it's not theoretical. Your position is definitely not one that respects life.
posted by agregoli at 6:00 PM on March 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


So my take on why they don't charge women who get abortions the same way they charge women who put out a contract on their infants is that politicians simply don't give a shit about logical consistency. They're perfectly happy to treat the exact same situation differently based on some incidental circumstances. Hey, you run a dry cleaning business? Pay tax rate A. You run an auto plant? Than pay no taxes! And take this free land!

But I am beginning to repeat myself. Again, these laws are written by people for who logic does not exist.
posted by GuyZero at 6:00 PM on March 22, 2011


Jahaza:

I fully support your right to hold the position you do. It's when you make the point that your opinion must carry over to everyone else that we part company.

I wish abortions were safe, legal and rare.

To even think that an abortion to save a mother is "doing wrong that good may result" is an idea I will never get behind.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 6:02 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Jahaza is not consistent.

As far as I can tell, the logic is:
1. abortion is wrong (presumably because it takes a human life)
2. we can never do such wrong things, even to obtain a good outcome

This logic would preclude us from doing, for example, the following:
1. killing in self-defense
2. killing in defense of others
3. fighting with the Allies in WW2

I seriously doubt that Jahaza would actually support the outlawing of self defense.

This isn't about a consistent stance, it's just the same old.
posted by prefpara at 6:03 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


You will never get a straight answer from an anti-choice advocate on the punishment issue because the trap is so obvious. Anything less than LWOP/Death and they'll have to admit that abortion isn't really murder. If they're consistent they're stuck advocating locking women who get abortions up for the rest of their lives. Or executing them if they're willing to be uncommonly honest.

Most people would rather say "it should be illegal" without thinking that statement through even a little bit.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 6:03 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


nicebookrack, that link broke my heart.
posted by bewilderbeast at 6:04 PM on March 22, 2011


emjaybee - sadly, you're not far off. it was the first thing i thought about a few years ago with the CDC and pre-pregnant.
posted by nadawi at 6:05 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mothers are really just old babies. If a baby kills its mother during childbirth, would we then have to put it to death?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:05 PM on March 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


Guys, lay off Jahaza a bit. Cognitive dissonance from being raised a certain way and taught essentially illogical positions (or at least ones that are not fully thought through) at an age when you lack the ability to think logically for yourself is not generally best addressed by forcefully ramming reason down that someone's throat.

Why, yes, I am doing my best to provide the benefit of the doubt. Why do you ask?
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:06 PM on March 22, 2011


I'm not ramming reason down his throat! It's actually an ovipositor. I'm trying to set up a road test for his beliefs.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:07 PM on March 22, 2011


I believe willful ignorance should not be legalized, even in the case of having reason rammed down your throat.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:12 PM on March 22, 2011



Michele G. Curtis, Shelley Overholt, Michael P. Hopkins - Glass' Office Gynecology ISBN: 0781742501

Completely updated and reformatted for greater practicality, Glass' Office Gynecology, Sixth Edition guides practitioners through the full range of clinical problems in the ambulatory care of women. It offers tips for examination, laboratory testing, diagnostic procedures, treatment, counseling, and follow-up and addresses specific concerns in the care of pediatric, adolescent, perimenopausal, and postmenopausal patients.
This edition has new chapters on surgical and medical abortion, lifestyle modification counseling, primary management of common psychiatric disorders, and complementary and alternative medicine.
posted by mikelieman at 6:12 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think it's great that Jahaza is participating -- he/she is remaining civil and asking and answering questions. There is a benefit to understanding, and I don't expect to change Jahaza's mind, but there is value in broadening your perceptions. I think there are some pieces of the puzzle that he/she hasn't thought through yet, but he/she is making an effort to keep up the dialogue.
posted by freshwater at 6:13 PM on March 22, 2011


"your" -- "your own and others'"
posted by freshwater at 6:13 PM on March 22, 2011


DoctorFedora, I think we are showing lots of restraint, or at least, I am certainly restraining the large amounts of cursing I would like to do.
posted by emjaybee at 6:14 PM on March 22, 2011


> Not every situation is fixable and you can't do wrong that good may result.

Philosophical questions aside, I think most people's objection to this line of argument is that you lack any special qualifications to distinguish good from evil. Most likely, you derive this from a religious belief, but if so then you're essentially asserting that your belief is objectively true because, well, you think it is. I'm sure you can see the circular argument here; while you don't need to be able to articulate it any farther in terms of choosing your own conduct, if you wish a law to govern others then it's up to you to say why they should put up with it - at least, until divine intervention settles the question for everyone at once.

Me, I'm not thrilled about abortion but I don't see any evidence of such a thing as a soul. The closest thing that we do know about for certain is the brain, and pregnancy is fairly advanced before an embryo develops any brain tissue at all. So if I were asked to legislate from the hip, and my goal were to minimize possible (but not fully predictable) suffering, then I'd probably set a threshold around the time when a fetus might be capable of experiencing pain and suffering. Prior to that, there's no question of separate personality any more than the reflex in your knee makes your lower legs separate people.

It's not that this standard is right; many people would disagree, and the above is only how I would begin thinking about the question if I had to. but at least it's based on something specific, given our current level of knowledge. Your 'always wrong' approach seems completely arbitrary, and I can't imagine why you would expect anyone to rely on such a standard or use it as a basis for policy.

> Tumor? Nah. Wanted or unwanted, it's a parasite.

This is just as unscientific and foolish as opposite extreme. Parasitical organisms are by definition of a different species; by your criteria, your brain is a parasitical freeloader upon your reproductive organs. You may feel that way in regard to your own life, which is entirely your affair, but if you can't understand how alienating such statements are to most parents then perhaps you should work on your communications skills. At best, this sounds neurotic; at worst, amoral. You are not helping the cause of reproductive freedom with such remarks.
posted by anigbrowl at 6:17 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


My mom and her first cousin are as close as sisters. She's my first cousin once removed but I still call her Aunt S.

Neither my mom nor Aunt S grew up with grandmas. It's something that they both mourn, especially now that they themselves are grandmas. The one they had in common, the one I'm named for, died when my grandpa was seven. My mom's mom died young of diabetes. Aunt S's maternal grandma died, at age 52, in 1954, from an illegal abortion. She was Anishinaabe, and Aunt S's mom got shipped off to boarding school, and my Aunt S really grieves for the link to her culture that she never got to explore.

Abortion sucks, okay? It's always sad, even when it's the best thing. But to equate the loss of a fetus or an embryo with a loss that is still felt, hard, fifty plus years later? That's offensive to me in almost every way.

If abortion is made illegal, I guarantee you that my ass will be nursing school, learning everything I can about how to it safely, cheaply and under the radar. Because I don't like abortion very much, but I really dislike women dying before their time.
posted by Leta at 6:19 PM on March 22, 2011 [31 favorites]


by your criteria, your brain is a parasitical freeloader upon your reproductive organs

And how!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:19 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm trying very hard to restrain myself given that Jahaza has said that he wishes I would die (rather than an embryo/fetus die). Or rather that it is better that we both die (since its not like the embryo/fetus is going to survive my death) than that I live and the embryo/fetus die. That is what he has said.

I don't know how your average man reacts when someone says they should die, but I, and a lot of other women, don't like it very much.

Besides the obvious implication that I offer no other value to the world, for instance as a scientist and a teacher and a lover and a friend and an aunt and a human being, that all I really offer to the world is as an incubator, besides all that, he also seems to not care that I actually like being alive and would prefer not to die.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:20 PM on March 22, 2011 [30 favorites]


calling a fetus in my womb a tumor or a parasite (or the fetus in the womb of a woman who wants to abort) is not calling your children, your fetus, your grandkids, those cute kids at the park, and those darlings on the disney channel that. i hope every single one of those kids is wanted, loved, adored, and cared for. that's one of the many reasons i support no-questions-asked access to abortion, to ensure that the babies born are babies wanted.
posted by nadawi at 6:23 PM on March 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Jahaza,

My religious beliefs say that terminating a pregnancy before the quickening isn't immoral.

Those beliefs are protected from government intrusion specifically by the first amendment.

Why would you advocate restricting others' religious freedom because of your personal beliefs, religious or secular?
posted by mikelieman at 6:24 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Thank you hydropsyche. That's what I wanted to say. It's really shocking to be told that it would be better that you, a grown woman with people who love her, should die, so that an unknown person who hasn't lived yet, should live.
posted by agregoli at 6:26 PM on March 22, 2011


Parasitical organisms are by definition of a different species

Hmm.

I direct you to "parasitic twins," among other uses of "parasite."
posted by galadriel at 6:28 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jesus, some people live in a nasty twisted world.
posted by maxwelton at 6:43 PM on March 22, 2011


There are many possible usages, but if your aim is to persuade the public then the popularity of different usages matters. If you would like members of the public to stand behind or demonstrate for your reproductive freedom, it's worth remembering that most people see their relationship with their children in more positive terms, and tend to react poorly to people who seem to denigrating that relationship.
posted by anigbrowl at 6:44 PM on March 22, 2011


If abortion is murder, then it's okay to kill people who were conceived via rape? Of course not. The "rape exception" attitude reveals a lot- it's not about saving fetuses, it's about controlling women.

I don't believe for a second that if pro-lifers thought they could get away with getting rid of the rape exception they would give it a second thought. In my opinion that's probably the case for a lot of the "If they really thought that a fetus was a person" gotchas. They probably would also seek to bring legal charges against abortion providers and abortion seekers.

One thing that interests me about the abortion debate is the repeated references to lack of support for existing children. I get why it's brought up, but how is it really all that relevant? I'm firmly pro-choice. I'm also firmly anti-murder. I don't think people should be killing each other. I believe that people who commit murder should be punished. At the same time, I do virtually nothing to prevent the death or alleviate the conditions of the living myself. I guess it's different in that no one's having an argument about whether murder is morally wrong. Because if there was such an argument you could say stuff like, "If you really cared about people's lives, why are you buying products from sweatshops/driving a car/supporting the US military complex?"

The relevant question to me seems to be more along the lines of: If abortion is murder, then why the fuck are you just blogging/protesting/complaining about it? If I thought people were being murdered in my neighbourhood willy-nilly without legal repercussions I would hope I'd do a lot more than that.

On the flip side of that, we certainly don't want more domestic terrorism so maybe we shouldn't ask.
posted by ODiV at 6:50 PM on March 22, 2011


"doing wrong that good may result"

Saving the life of a woman who is loved, who contributes to society, who would be leaving a bereaved family behind, is a bad thing?!

I actually think I might have to throw up now. My god. I'm not a praying person, Jahaza, but I might have to say a prayer for you tonight. Because if anyone ever needed prayers said for them, it is you.

This is just sickening.
posted by palomar at 6:51 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


well the short answer is doctors are killed and clinics are bombed.
posted by Shit Parade at 6:52 PM on March 22, 2011


well the short answer is doctors are killed and clinics are bombed.
posted by Shit Parade at 11:52 AM on March 23 [+] [!]


Eponypressing?
posted by DoctorFedora at 6:53 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


the reason why the "but you don't care about the kids once they're born" comes up so often is because this sort of legislation doesn't happen in a vacuum. when the platform is lessening access to abortion and reduce the funding for welfare, family planning clinics, and DHS programs - well - it's hard to believe them when they say they're trying to save babies, that they care about life after birth.
posted by nadawi at 6:59 PM on March 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


The relevant question to me seems to be more along the lines of: If abortion is murder, then why the fuck are you just blogging/protesting/complaining about it?

They don't really believe abortion is murder. It's just useful bluster.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 7:00 PM on March 22, 2011


If abortion is made illegal, I guarantee you that my ass will be nursing school, learning everything I can about how to it safely, cheaply and under the radar. Because I don't like abortion very much, but I really dislike women dying before their time.

This is one of the sanest remarks I've ever heard made in connection with this issue. Thank you.

Now THAT is what Jesus would do.
posted by Casimir at 7:02 PM on March 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


OMG. I'm shaking. Do you guys know how scary crisis pregnancy centers are? The large portion of them will push adoption and claim that "open adoption makes it wonderful!"

Needless to say they don't mention that some large portion of adoptees HATE their first parents passionately--- that many women get visits and then the visits suddenly stop and they are left completely devastated. They don't mention that some women wait years to meet their adoptees only to fnd it turns out terribly and the adoptee hates them.

they don't mention that many women will be so broken they can't even handle a reunion when it comes.

They don't mention that every study on first mothers finds nearly universally they have lifelong grief of varying degrees-- something NOT FOUND IN STUDIES ON ABORTION

They also literally listen to women say "I don't want to give up my baby" and then tell them, "Well remember your plan, you just need to hear the benefits of open adoption more"

The women say, "I don't feel like I have the finances to raise a child, but I really want and love MY baby with all my heart."

"Oh it's ok, open adoption will make that all better"

My sister was adopted in South dakota--- she called our mother her "egg donor" up to her 20's. Shouldn't women be informed their children might NOT appreciate the "selfless act of love" that translates to many kids as "Bitch you left me?"

There are shitloads of articles on the terrifying practices of crisis pregnancy centers and adoption agency counseling but I can't even go there because I am literally shaking in my boots. Ok- shoes.


I recognize that some women will simply be coerced into parenting
AS IF WE NEED MORE PARENTS WHO AREN'T READY TO BE PARENTS OR JUST DON'T FUCKING WANT TO DO IT WHO WILL BE WITHOUT RESOURCES OR SUPPORT TO DO A GOOD JOB EVEN IF THEY WANT TO.

but that is NOT the goal of these people. If you look at what they are pushing for in social policy they are willing to spend millions on coercion of women into adoption---- further more they have done some really fucked up studies on women who relinquished in order to find out what broke them. How do we convince them to place without them realizing they were brainwashed? They literally research this stuff. I'll come back with some links when I can breath again.

FUCK.
posted by xarnop at 7:13 PM on March 22, 2011 [12 favorites]


well - it's hard to believe them when they say they're trying to save babies, that they care about life after birth.

I maintain that a *LOT* of this stuff is cover for wanting all those (white, preferably!) babies to be given up for adoption to the hordes of Loving Christian Families who are just dying to snap them up. There really is a baby shortage when it comes to healthy (preferably white!) infants up for adoption. Few potential adopters are interested in the damaged (how they see them) older offspring that come with baggage and behavioral problems and health issues that already exist and are failed by the system.

Seriously I think this is a big part of it. Imagine every legislator has like ten families wanting to adopt aborted babies (if they weren't aborted, mind you) mailing and emailing and calling all the time... FOR THE CHILDRUUUUN!!!

Giving support to low-income mothers with medical expenses, day care, welfare, etc, would damage the goal of the maximum number of babies in the adoption pipeline.

These people care nothing for the mother. Their only concern is that she produce, at all costs, a fresh new baby that someone can take away.
posted by marble at 7:18 PM on March 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Adoptive parents have money. We adoptees and first moms get published in Huffpo. LOL --- i.e we don't have a voice. We have a movement (Adoptee rights day San Antonio!) but so many adoptees hate their first parents that the only people left to fight the CPC's and adoption agencies are the broken fucked up first moms who are often so emotionally wrought after the experience they can't even write about it and when they do an onslought of adoptive parents turns up ready to burst out "Well slut you should have kept your legs closed--- I got my baby and I refuse to feel guilty about what happened to you because it was your own fault!"

In general, "birthmothers" who open their mouths about the unfairness of this system are viewed with mistrust, dislike, fear, and judgement. After all, there must be something wrong with her or she wouldn't have gotten herself pregnant or let people take her child.

WOW, if only the women being coerced to give up their children were told what society will REALLY think about them if they give up their children.

All that hatred and they wouldn't recieve it from some people if they kept. It makes no sense. I want to put down some links because there are some really good articles about these issues but it will mean searching through a bunch of things--- when I get to it I would appreciate anyone who is willing to read a few of them.

For now, this is long but it's REALLY FUCKING IMPORTANT. It's about the NCFAs unethical practices with title x and coercive advertising. She just changed it to all caps which is a little harder to read but if you can get through it, it's what we will be in for if they get their way.

(If anyone would like a summary I'd be happy to pull out the important parts and make is shorter.)

The guttmacher insitute has a much easier to read document on how unethically the "infant adoption awareness act" (PAID FOR WITH YOUR TAX DOLLARS) has been handled:
""The trainer promoted tactics and techniques for attempting to persuade the client to choose adoption by (1) discouraging abortion as a viable option, (2) overly promoting adoption, (3) highlighting the difficulties [the] child will encounter if [a woman] should choose to raise it herself, and (4) encouraging counselor opinions in scenarios by having the counselor choose for the client the best option."
posted by xarnop at 7:38 PM on March 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


I maintain that a *LOT* of this stuff is cover for wanting all those (white, preferably!) babies to be given up for adoption...

Historian Rickie Solinger agrees with you, and does a great in-depth analysis of this in her book Beggars and Choosers
posted by clarknova at 7:39 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


And I should add, pregnant women as unwilling baby donors used to be the norm in this country. The Maternity Home was (and still is) the business end of the abortion taboo.
posted by clarknova at 7:52 PM on March 22, 2011 [5 favorites]



Do the Republicans realize they are setting us up for Egypt II? Do they realize they are selling tickets to their own executions?

After corporate ceos republicans are the most short sighted folk I know of.
posted by notreally at 7:59 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wish abortions were safe, legal and rare.

I don't give a damn how frequently or infrequent abortions are, except that I think every woman who wants one should have access to get one. I hate that 'rare' bit of the quote - it makes it seem like people accept the frame that of course abortion is a terrible thing and it's so sad. Well, getting my wisdom teeth out was unpleasant, but I don't go around talking about how I wished wisdom tooth extraction was rare. Because if it has to be done, it has to be done.

And if I or anyone I loved needed an abortion I would do what was necessary to ensure that they got one, whatever I had to do to make that happen. And I wouldn't feel even the tiniest qualm. As I have said before, blastocysts don't have little mobiles and pacifiers in there.

All this hullabaloo over god-damned tiny wads of tissue. But we can't let sluts get away with having sex. There have to be consequences!
posted by winna at 7:59 PM on March 22, 2011 [11 favorites]


I wish abortions were safe, legal and free.
posted by clarknova at 8:10 PM on March 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


I was riffing over this the other night there among my family; my wife was spouting literal fox news talking points (unprompted) about planned parenthood while we were watching "The Natural"

Long story short, I cannot fathom the insane lengths conservatives will go to to punish people for having sex.

They might as well install cameras in every bedroom next to the "This is not big government interfering with your life" sign they will make "law"

yikes.
posted by NiteMayr at 8:10 PM on March 22, 2011


I don't give a damn how frequently or infrequent abortions are, except that I think every woman who wants one should have access to get one. I hate that 'rare' bit of the quote - it makes it seem like people accept the frame that of course abortion is a terrible thing and it's so sad.

Amen.

I am 30 years old. I have had 3 abortions. That's right. THREE. One at 16, one at 19, and one at 28. Two of them were first trimester, and one was second. I'm not going to tell you the circumstances behind all of them, or try to convince anyone that it was the right thing to do, or go on at length about what a difficult decision it was to make. You know why? Because it's none of your goddamn business, that's why. All you need to know is that I was pregnant, did not want to be, and was lucky enough to get the procedures done safely and legally.

I'm sure there are some of you out there reading this who think I must be quite promiscuous, and I'm sure there are even more of you who think I'm very irresponsible, or that I'm one of these mythical women who use abortion as birth control and have a blase attitude about it. Think whatever you want... since you aren't privy to the details of my personal life, your assumptions aren't likely to be correct.

So I ask anyone advocating that abortion be "rare"... exactly how many abortions are "too many"? Just how "rare" should it be? How do you- without knowing anything about the medical histories or lives of the women seeking an abortion- make that decision?
posted by MiaWallace at 8:42 PM on March 22, 2011 [41 favorites]


I'll just leave this here:

Back Up Your Birth Control is a long-running campaign to spread awareness of emergency contraception (the "morning-after pill"). More info about EC and places to find it in the U.S. here.

March 30 is BUYBC's National Day of Action, on which date they're encouraging people to go out and get EC, to have it waiting on hand when you or someone you know needs it ASAP. They're asking the internet to spread the word and are looking for volunteer bloggers.

They're also taking submissions of someecard-style EC E-Cards, which are frankly hilarious. So far this one's my favorite.
posted by nicebookrack at 8:45 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's some irony... My wife (a middle school teacher) just left to attend a meeting at the local high school. The focus of the meeting (aimed at parents) is how to prevent youth suicide. We've had a rash of them recently in our village...

Not unrelated. Pregnancy is one of the most significant risk factors for teen suicide. About one in four girls who commits suicide reportedly was pregnant, or thought she was. Teenage women who are pregnant or mothers are seven times more likely to commit suicide than other teenagers.
posted by Miko at 9:00 PM on March 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


nadawi: Yeah, I suppose not bringing that up would be having the debate on their terms. I keep trying to imagine how I would feel if I believed that a fetus was a person. And if I do that then the Republican party would have a hard time justifying keeping murder illegal of people making under $250k a year.
posted by ODiV at 9:17 PM on March 22, 2011


That's interesting Miko. It does also go on to say, "Professor John Ermisch at the institute of social and economic research at Essex University and Dr Roger Ingham, director of the centre of sexual health at Southampton University – found that comparing teenage mothers with other girls with similarly deprived social-economic profiles, bad school experiences and low educational aspirations, the difference in their respective life chances was negligible.[79]

Teenage Motherhood may actually make economic sense for young women with less money, some research suggests. For instance, long-term studies by Duke economist V. Joseph Hotz and colleagues, published in 2005, found that by age 35, former teen moms had earned more in income, paid more in taxes, were substantially less likely to live in poverty and collected less in public assistance than similarly poor women who waited until their 20s to have babies. Women who became mothers in their teens — freed from child-raising duties by their late 20s and early 30s to pursue employment while poorer women who waited to become moms were still stuck at home watching their young children — wound up paying more in taxes than they had collected in welfare"

Just to say, I personally support programs that identify what exactly the risk factors are (such as: "One study suggested that adolescent mothers are less likely to stimulate their infant through affectionate behaviors such as touch, smiling, and verbal communication, or to be sensitive and accepting toward his or her needs.[82] Another found that those who had more social support were less likely to show anger toward their children or to rely upon punishment.[84]"

And then provide realistic programs to address the need for social support, guidance, mentoring, community involvement, and parenting support to help teen moms that (of their own personal choosing) want to continue the pregnancy and parent.

I am AGAINST anyone talking a teen into doing this EVER. However if a teen, or young poor mother, chooses to parent, I'd want them to know I believe in them and I want them to have access to the support they need to be an amazing, consistant, nurturing mother and give their child the world.
posted by xarnop at 9:23 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


What logical knots people tie themselves into when they really really want to believe that sex has no consequences....
posted by philokalia at 9:41 PM on March 22, 2011


Has anyone in this thread said that they believe sex has no consequences?
posted by hippybear at 9:45 PM on March 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


What logical knots people tie themselves into when they really really want to believe that sex has no consequences....

First, nobody has said that, or anything resembling that in this thread.

Second, the only people who seem invested in ensuring that sex has "consequences" are the people who want to make the law require women to carry babies to term. I note that there is no serious movement afoot to overturn Zablocki v. Redhail.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 9:46 PM on March 22, 2011


(Philokalia- from the same article mentioned above, some 10-20% of teen pregnancies are the result of rape.

"A University of Chicago study of youth transitioning out of foster care in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin found that nearly half of the females had been pregnant by age 19. The Utah Department of Human Services found that girls who had left the foster care system between 1999 and 2004 had a birth rate nearly 3 times the rate for girls in the general population"

"A UK study found that 70% of women who gave birth in their teens had experienced adolescent domestic violence.[47] Similar results have been found in studies in the United States. A Washington State study found 70% of teenage mothers had been beaten by their boyfriends, 51% had experienced attempts of birth control sabotage within the last year, and 21% experienced school or work sabotage.[43]"

"Up to 70 percent of women who gave birth in their teens were molested as young girls; by contrast, 25 percent for women who did not give birth as teens were molested."

"Men over age 25 fathered twice as many children of teenage mothers than boys under age 18, and men over age 20 fathered five times as many children of junior high school-aged girls as did junior high school-aged boys. A 1992 Washington state study of 535 adolescent mothers found that 62 percent of the mothers had a history of being raped or sexual molested by men whose ages averaged 27 years."

Wow it sounds like these teens who are getting pregnant are just your average happy carefree people who have great lives and "just don't care about the consequences" doesn't it? Or not.



Also interestingly: "When the family environment does not include adverse childhood experiences, becoming pregnant as an adolescent does not appear to raise the likelihood of long-term, negative psychosocial consequences." So the adolescents facing these "consequences" were basically already facing the consequences of having hard lives.
posted by xarnop at 9:53 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


"And what should society do with women who have illegal abortions?"

I'm not sure.
posted by Jahaza at 5:47 PM


Don't you think it behooves you, as a responsible citizen, to figure that out?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:22 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


What logical knots people tie themselves into when they really really want to believe that sex has no consequences....

Wait, you mean "negative" consequences, right? I'm assuming you're not talking about post-orgasm smiles, cuddling, and a satisfied libido.

Anyhoo, your comment is highly revealing in that you seem to think that for something pleasurable, we should expect something painful; or else that sex is something only some people deserve, the ones who meet your criteria (married, straight, willing to breed like a Duggar, or whatever).

So let me spell this out; sex is just sex. It is a pleasurable, and among consenting adults, legal activity. It tends to have a few risks, like pregnancy and STDs, that can be avoided by access to education, birth control, and condoms. Much as driving your car to work has a few risks, like dying in accidents, that can be avoided by using seat belts, driving sober, and not being one of those morons who cuts people off.

Unless someone is religious, it does not have a religious component; and whether they are or not, it is certainly not a matter for the government to have an opinion about, so long as everyone is adult and consenting.

All of which seems pretty damn simple to me, much simpler than trying to fabricate reasons for restricting, and worse, punishing people for sex that have any relevance to the rights of citizens of a secular democracy.
posted by emjaybee at 10:23 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


And what should society do with women who have illegal abortions?

The only good answer is "Give them tax-supported medical examinations and treatment if necessary. Then let them know they can use the free clinic in the future."

If you have another answer the only place I want to hear you say it is from behind the barbed wire of a reeducation camp.

And then never again.
posted by clarknova at 10:50 PM on March 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Forcing a woman to remain pregnant against her wishes is the most depraved rape of her body and soul.

Anti-choice is sociopathic. To think it is right to do that to someone—to force them to grow something inside themselves—that is seriously twisted shit. Let's force women who don't bear children to grow replacement hamburgers!

It's time for civilized people to shut down the crazy, mean fuckers who want wars and babies.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:56 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


To think it is right to do that to someone—to force them to grow something inside themselves—that is seriously twisted shit.

In high school one Sunday at church youth group, with the new, young, cool-guy youth minister, he shared with us all the important anecdote of how his younger sister had once been raped and it was very sad. But he and his parents sat with her and explained how they would raise the baby for her if she got pregnant, because abortion is wrong, and what a blessing it was when she didn't get pregnant after all.

I never went back to church youth group.
posted by nicebookrack at 11:17 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know why it still surprises me to see so much legislation in the US that is, at its core, religious in nature. As a believing Muslim, I am incredibly uncomfortable with abortion. I would like to think that it's a choice I would never make myself. At the same time, laws like this one just strike me as utterly wrong because:

a) who ever really knows how one will react to a given set of circumstances? (so that's about me personally);

but more importantly,

b) how on earth does a country whose constitution bars the State from making laws with respect to religion justify passing so many laws that only have weight if you are buying into a specific religious moral framework?

Given how varied the views on when life starts are, even within particular religions (at the moment of conception? At the 'quickening'? At the time when the fetus would be viable outside the mother's womb?), not even a religious state has any business legislating with respect to abortion, let alone a secular one.

Incidentally, I've seen many people comment to the effect that no opinions are going to be changed on this issue by the discussion on Metafilter. But I don't think that's true. I know that mine have. Granted I was never rabidly anti-abortion-rights, but my views about abortion legislation have become much clearer and more firmly pro-choice because of the discussion here. So it's a discussion worth continuing, I think.
posted by bardophile at 11:49 PM on March 22, 2011 [21 favorites]


"Well, getting my wisdom teeth out was unpleasant, but I don't go around talking about how I wished wisdom tooth extraction was rare. Because if it has to be done, it has to be done."

I have no problem saying that abortions should be rare; I have no problem saying that wisdom-tooth extraction should be rare. That doesn't mean that it shouldn't be done, just that abortion usually the result of several things failing, and I'd like those things to stop failing, and I'd like to remind folks who are against abortions that fixing those other failures — of sex-ed, of contraceptives, of poverty, of whatever — should be treated as the solution to the "problem" of abortion. I think root canals should be safe, legal and rare too.
posted by klangklangston at 11:50 PM on March 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I view anti-choice support and legislation in exactly the same way as I view rape: You want to violate me; not just my body, but also my mind. To you, I am not a person with rights and self-determination, I am a body to be used for your own ends, and if it results in pain, trauma, or death to me, you don't care, because I'm an object with only one function, and that function will be decided by you, as violently as necessary. The aftermath is not your concern; my plans for myself, my choices, my agency, and my well-being are all completely irrelevant to you. The only things that concern you are my sexual organs, my pain and humiliation, and your power and control. You are driven by hate and sadism and excited by suffering, yet you strive to convince yourself that I deserve it, that I made you do it.

To yourself, you are like a God.
posted by taz at 12:16 AM on March 23, 2011 [11 favorites]


And I'm really glad to hear about all you folks donating to Planned Parenthood. Like I mentioned to someone else here, there have been a couple of people who I've been really close to who have had Planned make a huge positive difference in their lives, and I support them pretty whole heartedly.

Plus, I heard that if just five more of you donate, I get a free abortion. Which is nice.
posted by klangklangston at 12:35 AM on March 23, 2011 [8 favorites]


As mentioned earlier in the thread, there are only two places to get an abortion in all of South Dakota, which means 76% of women there don't live in a county where they can obtain what should be basic medical care, and if they need to, now they have to make a long weekend trip out of it. I've never wanted to open a free motel more.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 3:06 AM on March 23, 2011


If the SPCA Were Anti-Choice

Dear offenders: Out of ignorance, accident, or intent you've behaved in a way that we find irresponsible toward animals, so for your punishment we will force you to adopt a dog. Yes, sorry. You don't like dogs? You don't have enough room for a dog? You're allergic to dogs? You don't have time to spend with a dog? You live beside an interstate and have no fence? Your landlord doesn't allow dogs? You have a cat that's terrified of dogs? Your boyfriend killed your last dog? You already have five dogs? You have PTSD from a dog attack? You can't afford food and vet care? You're Michael Vick?

Too bad. Not our problem. We insist you face consequences for acting so irresponsibly!

Perhaps now you'll learn to be a good animal lovers, like us.
posted by taz at 3:48 AM on March 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


I don't think you have to be religious to feel like a tiny little blob of person could have meaning or experience it's existance. As humans, we tend to think human life is pretty much the awesomest of all, (which is pretty normal for a social species) and further more baby humans? Well they get more precious and more delicate and more capable of eliciting protective and nurturing responses in adult humans the younger they get--- so it would make sense that humans would extend these nurturing protective feelings into the womb. Given that we will go to ridiculous and life threatening lengths to reproduce and protect the offspring, I think those feelings seem pretty basic and understandable. I think they are stuck in religion because of our natural tendency to feel such feelings, not that we have such feelings because of religion.

(Although as with all things it because a circular affect.)

I'm very sympathetic to women who feel connected to a fetus and I hard time hanging out in places that call anyone who cares about a fetus "fetus fetishists". All that being said, I will do anything in my power to make sure that abortion is accessible. Most of those maternal feelings toward a fetus are more about the mother than the actual experience of the fetus--- however that are natural feelings probably with correlating hormonal and neurological changes, and I would defend a woman who wants to parent and try to get her resources to address her needs--- as I would do everything in my power to get a woman a quick, safe, abortion if she feels comfortable with it.

So long as the woman feels comfortable with abortion I think it's the most humane and statistically least risky outcome to the woman physically and psychologically.

I would rather see the spirits of the unborn go back into the universe and get reborn in more favorable conditions than fall into the hands of the people who push her to give birth just to provide them with a child. (But I'm also a sap for little blobs of "spirit". Like I said I respect a womans right to decide how she feels completely and totally and will fight eternally to make her preferred option accessible, abortion, parenting--- and if she truly wants to be rid of the child but is determined to give birth, adoption. But I mean really, if you have no attachment to it, it just seems so much more humane for every one to terminate. )

I grew up with the mantra, "She wanted to keep you. But she didn't have the resources or support."

So my question is, why didn't all you people with money, you who claim to have been working "to help her" give her resources and support? If she wanted me, why didn't you help her keep me?

No matter how you slice it I hate adoption personally. (though I respect it's legal existance). Either the mother wanted the child but she was without resource or support to parent or she beleived she wasn't good enough to parent (In which case we should HELP HER PARENT)----- or she DIDN'T want the child, which is the only way it seems ethical to me--- and yet what kid wants to grow up knowing "Well your adoption was perfectly ethical because your first mom didn't want you at all, she was really happy and relieved to be rid of you."

Um, yeah I would like to live with that. I'm so grateful she didn't get the abortion. Um... yeah.
posted by xarnop at 6:10 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


As someone currently carrying a very much wanted fetus ... I am more pro-choice than ever.

Man, pregnancy is hard fucking work. I've just spent the last three months feeling nauseous every single waking hour of the day. Add to that all sorts of weird pains, exhaustion and swelling, not to mention the hormonal shifts, the sore boobs, the insomnia and the headaches.

Oh and for the first trimester there's the pretty much constant expectation, every day, that you're going to have a miscarriage, because miscarriage rates are so high. So there's the mental stress as well (not to mention the risks of birth defects and other complications...) Plus worrying about what sort of mother I'll be, what sort of world I'm bringing a child into, whether we can afford to have this baby, how I'll fit in work and exercise and being a human with being a mother.

And I'm having a nice, normal, low-risk pregnancy.

I have five months left to go and then I get to go through a long, dangerous and painful experience known as giving birth. And it probably won't kill me (maternal death rate in Australia is around 8 per 100,000, or four times the normal death rate) it could leave me with all sorts of health problems which may last for the rest of my life. And there's still a small but non-negligible chance my baby will die at birth (around 5 in 1000 live births).

The idea of someone forcing someone to do this, someone who really doesn't want to be pregnant, is barbaric.

And for all my whinging, I am over the moon about my baby. I can't wait to meet him or her. I've never wanted anything as much in my life.
posted by jasperella at 6:43 AM on March 23, 2011 [9 favorites]


Why would you advocate restricting others' religious freedom because of your personal beliefs, religious or secular?

We do this all the time. Certain people hold religious beliefs that we don't allow them to carry out. Some of them hold the belief that no one should be allowed to have any religious freedom. As a result, it's always a question of where to draw the line, not whether to allow restrictions of absolute religious freedom.

You do realize that if we adopted your plan society would have to do something with the women who broke your proposed law, right?

A law banning surgical and medical abortions could make perfoming the procedure or administering the drugs illegal and punishable without inflicting criminal penalties on the woman on whom the procedure was performed.

Don't you think it behooves you, as a responsible citizen, to figure that out?

As long as the courts are practically guaranteed to strike down laws banning abortion, it's, as I said, moot. Just like five fresh fish not being expected to present a legislative plan for "shut[ting] down the crazy, mean fuckers who want wars and babies."

There are lots of problems in society and working to correct them in a gradual way doesn't require having immediate solutions to all aspects of every one.
posted by Jahaza at 6:48 AM on March 23, 2011


As long as the courts are practically guaranteed to strike down laws banning abortion, it's, as I said, moot.

....This very FPP is about a law that was not struck down. There is no longer a "guarantee" that the courts will "strike down laws banning abortion."

It's getting to not be moot any more. I can only assume you welcome this scenario, otherwise you wouldn't be arguing in favor of it.

Therefore, it behooves you to start figuring this out, before the tide turns all the way and there's no longer any time to get the plan in place.

....Good luck with that, by the way.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:53 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


....This very FPP is about a law that was not struck down.

In all fairness, this FPP is about a law which was created within the past few days. There hasn't even been a remote chance for a court case to be brought which could lead to it being struck down because it probably hasn't even been published and therefore made active law yet.
posted by hippybear at 7:00 AM on March 23, 2011


Without criminal penalties? But why? If she broke a law that says you don't get to kill your toddler, she'd go to prison. Why should the killing of a fetus be different?
posted by rtha at 7:09 AM on March 23, 2011


No matter how you slice it I hate adoption personally. (though I respect it's legal existance). Either the mother wanted the child but she was without resource or support to parent or she beleived she wasn't good enough to parent (In which case we should HELP HER PARENT)----- or she DIDN'T want the child, which is the only way it seems ethical to me--- and yet what kid wants to grow up knowing "Well your adoption was perfectly ethical because your first mom didn't want you at all, she was really happy and relieved to be rid of you."

Um, yeah I would like to live with that. I'm so grateful she didn't get the abortion. Um... yeah.


I read your comment with fascination, because you seem to be angry about being adopted? Or something? I don't know enough about your circumstances, so I may be reading too much into what you wrote.

See, I was born in early 1968, and was adopted at 10 days old. Based on the timing of my birth, I figure I was probably some young woman's spring break fling right before the Summer Of Love. I know basically nothing about my genetic parents, and haven't tried to find out because I don't feel it'd be right to impose myself into the life or lives of someone who closed this particular chapter many decades ago. (I do have a letter on file with my birth state's agency that tracks such things which says that if my birth parents ever want to find me, they can do so.)

I don't know if my birth mother was happy and relieved to be rid of me. I've read enough accounts written by women who have given up children for adoption who were really scarred by the whole experience to not believe that to be necessarily true. I do know that, as an infant adoption, I was never in her care, and before I was two weeks old I was taken home by a wonderful pair of people who really wanted children of their own but could not have them for medical reasons.

I've always known I am adopted, and there has never been any question in my mind that the people who raised me are my parents. I mean, I'd perhaps like to have a bit of a genetic / medical history about my birth parents, but that's about it. My mom and dad are my mom and dad, the people I've known since before I can remember. And the loving home I grew up in, the opportunities I was afforded, the life I live now... I owe my parents a lot of gratitude and honor for how they did with me.

I guess I never really interpreted my adoption as being rejected by someone. I've always viewed it as being WANTED by someone. Wanted by two people who waited not a short amount of time between beginning the process to adopt and finally having me show up. I'm not sure how long, but I think it was at least a couple of years.

I guess what I find disturbing at the base of what you've written is that you seem to close by saying that you perhaps wish you'd been aborted rather than have grown up as an adopted child? That just feels like one of the bleakest things I've read on MetaFilter, and I wish I could give you a hug and help you feel wanted and welcome in the world.
posted by hippybear at 7:16 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't think you have to be religious to feel like a tiny little blob of person could have meaning or experience it's existance.

xarnop: I agree. But it's unlikely that one can believe that those feelings are important enough to extend to legislating what other people do except from a sense that one's feelings are based in some kind of divine authority. I don't think we actually disagree here, just clarifying a trivial point.
posted by bardophile at 7:16 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Without criminal penalties? But why? If she broke a law that says you don't get to kill your toddler, she'd go to prison. Why should the killing of a fetus be different?

Because it's not politically expedient... yet.
posted by ODiV at 7:49 AM on March 23, 2011


No matter how you slice it I hate adoption personally. (though I respect it's legal existance). Either the mother wanted the child but she was without resource or support to parent or she beleived she wasn't good enough to parent (In which case we should HELP HER PARENT)----- or she DIDN'T want the child, which is the only way it seems ethical to me--- and yet what kid wants to grow up knowing "Well your adoption was perfectly ethical because your first mom didn't want you at all, she was really happy and relieved to be rid of you."

xarnop, I'm so sorry that your experience with adoption has been so awful. I just want to provide a different view for a second, though, about why adoption is still a good option for some situations.

I was an unwanted child. My mother has told me that when she got pregnant with me, she figured she could trap my father into marrying her and "taking care of her". (Her words.) She didn't really bargain on him turning out to be an abusive fuckhead, and when he knocked her to the ground one day she decided to leave for good. I was born a few days later, and she wanted to give me up. But her mom and stepdad talked her into keeping me. To make a very long, painful, and TMI-level personal story short, things didn't work out, to an extreme degree. I was raised by a single, at times quite resentful grandparent, and I was reminded often that, while loved, I was a burden and an ingrate.

If I could have a magic wand, I would fix it so that I had been adopted by a couple that actually wanted a child. There have been times in my life where I would have given literally anything, just to have a mom and a dad who loved and wanted me, even if they didn't give birth to me.

So while I completely, totally sympathize with your story, and the story of other adoptions like yours, I have to disagree with the stance that adoption is a bad thing. The adoption system in this country needs a serious overhaul, for certain. As well as the foster care system. But that's another discussion. Maybe someone should start an FPP on adoption issues so we can really hash it out there.
posted by palomar at 8:14 AM on March 23, 2011


No, I was absolutely wanted, by my firstmother. I am close with her and she is so completely broken it is devestating to witness. I absolutely support adoption of children who are born to women that don't want them.

I do not support failing to help women who want to parent access supports to do so succesfully.

The pain that my mother has gone through is not acceptable to me. I know many adoptees who are apathetic to the pain of their firstmothers, and I know many who are not.

It is not ok with me that some 30,000 dollars was paid by my adoptive parents and none of that was offered to my mother to keep me.

She called her mother and begged to take me home after my birth. She had no where to go with me. I feel that the workers who stood by and watched her sob hysterically for days before she was released without so much as attempting to put together a plan for her to be able to keep me are evil human beings. I feel that the adoption workers who make their livilihood taking children from mothers who are sobbing and saying, "I just love my baby, I don't want to give them up but I just want them to have a better life"

without doing everything in their power to CHANGE the circumstances leading to the necessity of the relinquishment are evil. I can forgive human evil, particularly when it exists due to true ignorance. I know the people doing this believe this level of pain is "a necessary evil". But it's still so wrong what I'm seeing happen.
posted by xarnop at 8:25 AM on March 23, 2011 [6 favorites]


If you'd like to get an up close and personal view of what adoption is like, I would suggest reading the blogs of women who blog through their pregnancy and into their open adoption experience.

If you would like to die a little bit inside.

You could start here:
"I don’t think I’ll ever be at peace or “happy” with my situation, per say, but I do realize how blessed I am. I will always cry, I will be “lonely” without her, and every time I leave, I miss her little mischievous self, her laughter, funny attitude, and her loving and innocent spirit. My eyes are filled up with tears behind them and I have a knot in my throat as I write this. I will miss her every day and I always will. She’s my little angel, my miracle, and the only reason I get up in the morning.

Don’t get me wrong, I still want her back and I don’t want to give up trying. I would take her back in a heartbeat. I really would. Sometimes I think I want to get pregnant again, but that won’t be solving anything, only make Callie resentful. I could do it, though. I’d be a good mom. Many circumstances have changed. It makes me sad because nobody stopped me when they all knew this would happen and I had a lot of influence from the outside.

This is the norm. In the best case these women are "happy" their children have better lives even though they will always cry, feel lonely and wake up in the morning thinking about the child they can't have.

That's a good thing?

I mean no child deserves to be unwanted or abused and at that point the child's needs trump the mothers. So yes there are circumstances in which the mother has to rot in hell so the child can be saved from her actions.

But getten pregnant without resources is not a cirumstance under which I believe a woman deserves this special form of hell. If CPS are to offer counseling--- we are going to see a push toward the wonderful solution of open adoption.

All I'm saying is, keep your eyes open to what this actually does to women and under which circumstances we believe they deserve this kind of pain.
posted by xarnop at 8:49 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, CPCs. If CPS is offering counseling than there might be troubles that require an adoption situation. I don't tackle foster care issues though because I'm not as knowledgable. It's a tangled situation as well, and less directly related to the abortion debate although still related.
posted by xarnop at 8:51 AM on March 23, 2011


But getten pregnant without resources is not a cirumstance under which I believe a woman deserves this special form of hell.

And thus the need for safe and legal and low-cost abortion services.

Aside from a Chick Tract and maybe one article from a very conservative evangelical magazine, I haven't encountered too many testimonials about women who are devastated by having an abortion. But I've read plenty of accounts of women who have been nearly ruined by giving up a child.
posted by hippybear at 9:03 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


You do realize that if we adopted your plan society would have to do something with the women who broke your proposed law, right?

A law banning surgical and medical abortions could make perfoming the procedure or administering the drugs illegal and punishable without inflicting criminal penalties on the woman on whom the procedure was performed.


So sanction the providers instead? This reads to me as a veiled endorsement of a return to back-alley abortion. We already know the horrific consequences that has.
Did you read The Student's Story linked above?

I'm waiting with bated breath for the likely rejoinder equating abortion, if outlawed, with other forms of illegal self harm. What'll it be? Crack cocaine? Suicide?
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:07 AM on March 23, 2011


[Folks - bringing people's profile information over to MeFi is not at all okay. If you need to talk generally about these things that's okay but bringing links over here crosses a line. Please try to make your comments without outing people. Contact me if you need more explanation about why we do this.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:30 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


hippybear: not that this has any bearing on my personal opposition to such legislation, but I actually know two women whose lives have been devastated by having an abortion, even twenty and fifty years after the fact, respectively.
posted by bardophile at 9:36 AM on March 23, 2011


A law banning surgical and medical abortions could make perfoming the procedure or administering the drugs illegal and punishable without inflicting criminal penalties on the woman on whom the procedure was performed.

But see, this reveals the fundamental conceit of this stance; that women are not people. Because we hold people responsible for their actions. Although this seems like a warm-fuzzy approach to banning abortion, one that makes anti-abortion types more comfortable, it in fact seeks to establish in law the idea that women are not owners of their bodies or persons who act; they are passive pawns in a game between these (mythical) evil doctors who want to make them have abortions and the state which wants to save them from themselves.

What they aren't, in your view, are people who, possessed of fully functioning brains, make decisions regarding their bodies and their lives, and then act on those decisions with the assistance of medical professionals.

You've already taken the step of declaring a fetus' existence more important than the mental or physical well-being of the woman who carries it; you are fine with condemning a woman to carry her rapist's baby, even in the situation of incest; you have already said her very survival being threatened is not a good enough reason to abort; why do you balk at the idea of putting her in jail? Or even making the act of abortion a capital crime deserving of death in those states that have a death penalty?

I am going to venture that the reason that you, and many other anti-abortion activists, balk at this step is because it forces you to deal with the real, unpleasant consequences of your views. Because if you just prosecute doctors, you can comfort yourself with visions of women, saved by the state from their own strangely unmotherlike impulses, giving up their babies to happy childless couples or even discovering a love of motherhood. But if you say "put women in jail" a much grimmer picture presents itself, of shackled women, some pregnant, rotting in jail for the crime of trying to end a pregnancy, torn away from their families and robbed of a future.

But the truth is, you might as well go ahead and embrace that picture, because if I don't own my body, I'm already in jail, I'm already not a full person in this society.
posted by emjaybee at 9:41 AM on March 23, 2011 [20 favorites]


This reads to me as a veiled endorsement of a return to back-alley abortion.

That's like saying that gun laws are a veiled endorsement of illegal gun ownership. The "back-alley abortion" is prohibited by a law prohibiting abortion.

We already know the horrific consequences that has.

Indeed we do. But people who are opposed to abortion think that the consequences of legal abortion are worse. I note that in "The Student's Story" having an abortion was itself a felony, part of the reason for the problems that resulted and something I haven't suggested.
posted by Jahaza at 9:41 AM on March 23, 2011


Jahaza, do you think violence in self-defense should be legal?
posted by prefpara at 9:44 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


But people who are opposed to abortion think that the consequences of legal abortion are worse. I note that in "The Student's Story" having an abortion was itself a felony, part of the reason for the problems that resulted and something I haven't suggested.

The student in question in the "student's story" was going to be getting an abortion whether it was legal or not. If it had been legal, she would have lived. Since it was illegal, her only recourse was to get it illegally, and she died.

How can the woman in the story surviving be the "worse" outcome?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:45 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


But see, this reveals the fundamental conceit of this stance; that women are not people. Because we hold people responsible for their actions. Although this seems like a warm-fuzzy approach to banning abortion, one that makes anti-abortion types more comfortable, it in fact seeks to establish in law the idea that women are not owners of their bodies or persons who act; they are passive pawns in a game between these (mythical) evil doctors who want to make them have abortions and the state which wants to save them from themselves.

Since the law would apply equally to male doctors and female doctors, it's clear that it doesn't reflect a view that doesn't hold women responsible for their actions, since if it did, then female doctors would be exempted.

You've already taken the step of declaring a fetus' existence more important than the mental or physical well-being of the woman who carries it;

No I haven't. They're equally important.

why do you balk at the idea of putting her in jail?

Because it seems to be counterproductive from the point of view of preventing abortions. We occasionally forgoe legal punishment of immoral acts so as to ammeliorate the consequences of those acts, for example "safe surrender" laws or gun buyback programs.

Jahaza, do you think violence in self-defense should be legal?

Yes, but under more limited circumstances than are often permitted in the U.S. E.g. I think you have a moral duty to retreat, which Texas does not require for a self defense defense from homicide charges.

Defense from an agressor allows one to use such force as is neccesary to repel the agression, but not more and the death of the agressor can't be intended (this is a standard double effect argument).
posted by Jahaza at 9:52 AM on March 23, 2011


But the truth is, you might as well go ahead and embrace that picture, because if I don't own my body, I'm already in jail, I'm already not a full person in this society.

As we've been discussing since the beginning of the thread, society limits what we do with our bodies in numerous ways.
posted by Jahaza at 9:53 AM on March 23, 2011


OK Jahaza, so you think that there are circumstances in which the law should permit me to kill a human being when that human being threatens my life.

Unless it's a fetus.
posted by prefpara at 9:54 AM on March 23, 2011 [7 favorites]



That's like saying that gun laws are a veiled endorsement of illegal gun ownership. The "back-alley abortion" is prohibited by a law prohibiting abortion.

No, it's not. The needs recognized by property rights are not the same as the needs recognized by medical rights.


Indeed we do. But people who are opposed to abortion think that the consequences of legal abortion are worse. I note that in "The Student's Story" having an abortion was itself a felony, part of the reason for the problems that resulted and something I haven't suggested.

The result of making legal and safe abortions unavailable will be that those who choose to obtain them will have to obtain them illegally. Who is criminalized doesn't change that result. Arguably, criminalizing the providers would have an even worse effect in terms of access to safe (if illegal) procedures. This may not displease advocates of such a policy (who might view this as 'more efficacious' rather than 'worse.') This also makes it more palatable to the wider political constituency, as criminalizing the pregnant woman seems more obviously draconian.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:54 AM on March 23, 2011


"hippybear: not that this has any bearing on my personal opposition to such legislation, but I actually know two women whose lives have been devastated by having an abortion, even twenty and fifty years after the fact, respectively."

I have known such women too. I don't think this should ever be whitewashed over, because it happens for some people; and accurate information on the mental health affects of abortion, parenting, or adoption after a crisis pregnancy is important research.

However doing good research for the intent of making sure quality research on possible affects is available to women--- is different than making their reproductive choices illegal. Currently there has been very little research done on women who have relinquished in comparison with literally THOUSANDS of studies many of which high quality studies done on the various potential affects of abortion on physical and mental health. Adoption deserves the same scrutiny if it is to be proposed by the government as the "solution" to abortion.
posted by xarnop at 10:00 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]



We do this all the time. Certain people hold religious beliefs that we don't allow them to carry out.


You just have a problem when it's YOUR beliefs about abortion which the Supreme Court rejects?
posted by mikelieman at 10:00 AM on March 23, 2011


No I haven't. They're equally important.

You said you wouldn't support abortion even for the health of the woman, even if she would die during childbirth. So, are you saying they're equally important, but ties go to the fetus?

Simple question. In a case where it's the life of the woman, or the life of the fetus, which one do you think should live? This isn't hypothetical - these cases happen.
posted by mrgoat at 10:01 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Since the law would apply equally to male doctors and female doctors, it's clear that it doesn't reflect a view that doesn't hold women responsible for their actions, since if it did, then female doctors would be exempted.

But the woman who hired the doctors to kill the fetus would be, in your view, exempt from criminal prosecution. A woman who hires someone to kill her five-year-old is not exempt. In order to prevent more mothers from murdering their already-born children - if criminal prosecution would be counterproductive - shouldn't we exempt them from criminal prosecution when they do?

Some actions are classified as crimes and are punishable by law not just to discourage people from doing those things but to punish them for doing so.

Why should killing a baby or child be a crime punishable by prison but killing a fetus should not? Your thinking on this has been very unclear to me.
posted by rtha at 10:02 AM on March 23, 2011


As we've been discussing since the beginning of the thread, society limits what we do with our bodies in numerous ways.

You keep repeating this. What is it that you think it proves? Society limits your personal freedom in numerous ways. Does that mean that it is free to impose any limit it sees fit?
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:02 AM on March 23, 2011


jahaza, are you still contemplating my own question? If you are, that's fair.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:09 AM on March 23, 2011


OK Jahaza, so you think that there are circumstances in which the law should permit me to kill a human being when that human being threatens my life.

Unless it's a fetus.


My position is that you can't directly intend to kill a human being when you use force against them in self-defense. Since abortion is the intentional direct killing of a human being it can't be legitimate self-defense. There are cases where it is moral to harm a pregnant woman's child incidentally and without intent to do so, for example removing an ectopic pregnancy, using radiation to treat a woman's cancer, etc.

Simple question. In a case where it's the life of the woman, or the life of the fetus, which one do you think should live? This isn't hypothetical - these cases happen.

The question is underdetermined. It depends on what actions are required to save the life of one or the other.

Why should killing a baby or child be a crime punishable by prison but killing a fetus should not?

I already gave a possible reason. But I don't have a definitive position on this question, as I've said from when someone first asked me about it.

Does that mean that it is free to impose any limit it sees fit?

No, but it means that it's not a sufficient argument to say that it's a limitation on personal autonomy and therefore wrong.

You just have a problem when it's YOUR beliefs about abortion which the Supreme Court rejects?

No, because I'm not complaining that it's a limitation on religious freedom to reject prohibitions on abortion.
posted by Jahaza at 10:10 AM on March 23, 2011


rtha--The idea, so far as I can tell, is that if the pregnant mother is criminally sanctioned then proponents of a ban are faced with the "punishing women for sex" problem, which cannot in practice be separated from punishing women for abortion. So let's just cut the problem off at the knees, with the providers, and let sepsis take care of those who are foolish enough to seek the procedure from unlicensed practitioners, or those willing to become felons.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:11 AM on March 23, 2011


This discussion is making me feel like I need to re-read The Cider House Rules.
posted by hippybear at 10:14 AM on March 23, 2011


No, because I'm not complaining that it's a limitation on religious freedom to reject prohibitions on abortion.

Yet you *are* complaining that the US Supreme Court rejected your "Life begins at conception" and "The gestating have special privileges" beliefs nigh on 40 years ago...
posted by mikelieman at 10:15 AM on March 23, 2011


I think she's saying that the statement, "Either I can control my body or I can't" is answered by, you can't in some ways.

There is not a fundamental right to limitless freedom with out bodies--- according to the law. Our actions affect others. Things that we do with our bodies that affect other humans can be controlled with laws.

Whether or not a fetus constitutes a person warrenting the control of the woman's body is the question. And rape excemptions to me are very telling. If "it" deserves to live, then rape doesn't justify it's murder.

Which proves that people are prone to change up their beliefs depending on how much they think the woman is at fault- and NOT how much they believe the fetus is a being that can feel and thus deserves protection.

I think we should protect all beings that can feel. I don't think the law can dictate that. We all have to eat and move which involves killing bugs and small cellular organisms and plants for sure and then many people feel ok with killing animals but that's debatable--- but there is no way the law could have any place in telling us which small multicellular organisms we could kill or not because it would be insanity.

We all have to use our own moral codes to protect non human, or semi feeling humans (bugs, plants, animals, baby cows, little blob humans and vegetable on life supportish humans) from suffering in the best ways we know how and fit with our judgement.

So while I ultimately disagree with you Jahaza, I do agree with you that intruding on bodily autonomy is something that laws do; and thus isn't THE argument for abortion. Though there are many other compelling reasons to keep it legal, safe, and accessible.
posted by xarnop at 10:15 AM on March 23, 2011


How can the woman in the story surviving be the "worse" outcome?

Because it's never just about one case. It's about all the cases. If you believe fetuses are human beings who should not be killed, it's worse to have a society in which more than a million of them are killed each year, than a society in which a smaller number of people die because they sought illegal abortions.

(Yes, I realize that a serious study of the data would require accounting for legal abortions pre-Roe and also for changes in population size.)
posted by Jahaza at 10:15 AM on March 23, 2011


My position is that you can't directly intend to kill a human being when you use force against them in self-defense. Since abortion is the intentional direct killing of a human being it can't be legitimate self-defense.

Defense from an agressor allows one to use such force as is neccesary to repel the agression,

So wait, if the amount of force that "is necessary to repel the aggression" is by definition, enough to kill the aggressor, then the right to self-defense disappears? Why, exactly? Why should I be required to allow anyone to kill me?
posted by bardophile at 10:16 AM on March 23, 2011


Because it's never just about one case. It's about all the cases. If you believe fetuses are human beings who should not be killed, it's worse to have a society in which more than a million of them are killed each year, than a society in which a smaller number of people die because they sought illegal abortions.

But I'm not understanding how you're processing the data.

Assume a number of women who will absolutely pursue abortions, regardless of whether they are illegal or not. Let's say....you have a hundred of them. In all one hundred of these cases, the abortion is "successful," in that the pregnancy is terminated. This means you are guaranteed one hundred deaths.

Assume that if all those abortions are legal, that maybe one of the women dies because of complications (I acknowledge it does happen). That is one hundred and one deaths -- the one hundred unborn, and the one woman.

Now assume that abortion is illegal. Here the complications are greater than 1%. You still have the one hundred dead unborn, but you have a higher number of dead women. That is a greater total of death.

How is the latter situation preferable to the former, if it doesn't prevent any of the abortions and moreover results in more dead people?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:24 AM on March 23, 2011


EmpressCallipygos: I think the assumption instead is that for the hundred women who will absolutely pursue abortions, there are another x number who will be deterred by the illegality of it. So those unborn would be saved, minus the one or two women who would die due to complications during childbirth, since those, too, do happen.
posted by bardophile at 10:27 AM on March 23, 2011


I think the assumption instead is that for the hundred women who will absolutely pursue abortions, there are another x number who will be deterred by the illegality of it.

So the women who are going to get an abortion no matter what, and die, are "collateral damage." Yep, I was wondering if that's what Jahaza thought.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:30 AM on March 23, 2011


Since abortion is the intentional direct killing of a human being it can't be legitimate self-defense.

Intentionally direct killing of a human being without the mitigating circumstance of self-defense is generally considered to be homicide, and is criminally sanctioned.

Which makes your position re criminal sanctions for a woman who has an abortion (I already gave a possible reason. But I don't have a definitive position on this question, as I've said from when someone first asked me about it) illogical at best and dishonest at worst. No, wait: worst is the attitude that I see lurking behind the reason for not charging the woman who has an abortion, as was mentioned upthread: she is somehow lacking agency when she seeks the abortion, she has been duped, she is somehow not a competent person able to make her own decisions. That's definitely worse.
posted by rtha at 10:32 AM on March 23, 2011


There also isn't much point in discussing a hypothetical in which abortion is illegal and women get them anyway, since it's been established that the fellow seems to believe that deaths from illegal abortion are like deaths from illegal possession of firearms: not his problem and they should have known better!

And that's gonna do it for my contributions in this thread; past a certain point I just don't think it's a fruitful use of my time to try to engage reasonably a person who believes that abortion to save the life of the mother should be illegal. It's not like David Icke is eventually gonna say "Oh my shit, you're right, those people aren't reptilian aliens at all! Boy, is my face red."
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:35 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


CONSEQUENCES OF UNSAFE ABORTION

• Worldwide, an estimated five million women are hospitalized each year for treatment of abortion-related complications, such as hemorrhage and sepsis. [5]

• Complications due to unsafe abortion procedures account for an estimated 13% of maternal deaths worldwide, or 47,000 per year. [15]

• Almost all abortion-related deaths occur in developing countries. The highest number occur in Africa.

Additional consequences of unsafe abortion include loss of productivity, economic burden on public health systems, stigma and long-term health problems, such as infertility. [7]
posted by rtha at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Because it's never just about one case. It's about all the cases. If you believe fetuses are human beings who should not be killed, it's worse to have a society in which more than a million of them are killed each year, than a society in which a smaller number of people die because they sought illegal abortions.

The pro-life argument isn't really that utilitarian, in terms of maximizing the number of human beings brought into the world--otherwise we would favor saving the life of the mother, who could atone for her sins and go on to bring more children into the world.

I also have trouble believing that it's really about equating abortion to murder, and having such a devout respect for life, because of all of the infelicities that result--including being quite cavalier about sacrificing the lives of pregnant mothers, whether it is to a botched illegal abortion or a complication that would trigger abortion by necessity under today's regime.

Ultimately, I suspect that the position is at least in part based on abortion sharing the same fundamental transgression that contraception commits--contravention and undoing of God's will and acts (will, that a woman has become pregnant from sex, and creation in imparting a soul to the fetus.) I think that our public debate about "when life begins" is not had in honest terms, in that religious pro-lifers aren't really hard core biology nerds who really care about defining when a bunch of cells become a human being because they are so passionate about the science, but rather they know they can't make a legal argument based on a soul being present at the moment of conception. So when cells become a human life becomes a cutout for that position.
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:40 AM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]



The question is underdetermined. It depends on what actions are required to save the life of one or the other.


That's not an answer. And I think it you have determined where you stand, you just don't want to say it outright. I'll play along though: The actions required are: "abortion", or "not abortion". Abortion will abort the fetus, not abortion will kill the woman.

Still looking forward to a straight answer.
posted by mrgoat at 10:42 AM on March 23, 2011


If you believe fetuses are human beings who should not be killed, it's worse to have a society in which more than a million of them are killed each year,

Abortion rates are similar in countries where it's legal and countries where it's illegal, though it tends to be lower in countries where it's legal (generally because the level of education is higher, women have more rights, and sex education and contraception are easily and widely available). The difference is that fewer women die in countries where it is legal.

• Legal restrictions on abortion do not affect its incidence.
For example, the abortion rate is 29 in Africa, where abortion is illegal in many circumstances in most countries, and it is 28 in Europe, where abortion is generally permitted on broad grounds. The lowest rates in the world are in Western and Northern Europe, where abortion is accessible with few restrictions. [1]
posted by rtha at 10:44 AM on March 23, 2011 [7 favorites]


That's not an answer. And I think it you have determined where you stand, you just don't want to say it outright. I'll play along though: The actions required are: "abortion", or "not abortion". Abortion will abort the fetus, not abortion will kill the woman.

mrgoat, I'm not dodging your question, but giving you an oportunity to clarify it. Now that you have I can answer it. (Or something close to it.)

If the options are abortion (which directly kills the fetus) or the woman dying from some other cause (which is not the same as "not abortion" killing the woman), you can't do evil that good will result. As I wrote above, "Not every situation is fixable".

rtha, as snuffleupagus points out, ultimately mine is not a utilitarian position.
posted by Jahaza at 11:06 AM on March 23, 2011


aren't really hard core biology nerds who really care about defining when a bunch of cells become a human being because they are so passionate about the science, but rather they know they can't make a legal argument based on a soul being present at the moment of conception. So when cells become a human life becomes a cutout for that position.

It's a normative question that's outside the bounds of biology.
posted by Jahaza at 11:08 AM on March 23, 2011


Jahaza: so in the situation that mrgoat is talking about, you would privilege the life of the fetus over that of the mother? And you would force her, by law, to privilege the life of the fetus over her own?
posted by bardophile at 11:12 AM on March 23, 2011


"We do this all the time. Certain people hold religious beliefs that we don't allow them to carry out. Some of them hold the belief that no one should be allowed to have any religious freedom. As a result, it's always a question of where to draw the line, not whether to allow restrictions of absolute religious freedom."

That we do it is not a justification for it in positing further restrictions. This is a tu quoque error.

Further, we start with the presumption in this country that those restrictions are bad and must be justified. Generally, the line is drawn with regard to utilitarian considerations, but even that has a presumption of maximizing liberty over minimizing harm.

I have to say that I'm continually annoyed by people who want the benefits of living in a liberal society without supporting the liberal underpinnings that are necessary to guarantee those benefits.

(And this is leaving aside the unjustified presumptions underpinning your arguments regarding the beginning of life.)
posted by klangklangston at 11:15 AM on March 23, 2011


It's a normative question that's outside the bounds of biology.

OK, but it's a normative position based on what? It's not opposition to murder, per se, or even 'killing' as that would be the taking of human life--triggering the biological inquiry into when it begins, in the common case, and the balancing the priority of the saving fetus' life against the mothers in case of some complications. So, if we are willing to set aside that concern, then what moral principle is it that this position insists we comply with?

It seems to me that the answer is the divine command theory.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:18 AM on March 23, 2011


Jahaza is an extreme Kantian. He's leaving the railroad switch alone. I think if his beliefs are sincerely felt, he simply relates to people (and values human life) in a fundamentally different way from many of us. Certainly, differently from me. When the point of disagreement is that basic, I don't hold out any hope for a constructive outcome from argument or conversation.

What it comes down to is that Jahaza is willing to look into a woman's face and tell her that she must die because he has philosophical beliefs about the difference between action and inaction which allow him to sleep at night despite directly bringing about her death.
posted by prefpara at 11:19 AM on March 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


That we do it is not a justification for it in positing further restrictions. This is a tu quoque error.

Except that I haven't made it a justification for positing further restrictions, I've made it a rebuttal to an argument that we can't posit further restrictions because they would restrict religious freedom and we don't do that. But since we do do that, a better argument (like yours that there's a rebuttable presumption) is needed.
posted by Jahaza at 11:20 AM on March 23, 2011


Jahaza is an extreme Kantian. He's leaving the railroad switch alone.

What? No I'm not. I'm a Thomist. I'm throwing the switch, but not pushing the fat man.
posted by Jahaza at 11:26 AM on March 23, 2011


Jahaza: " What? No I'm not. I'm a Thomist."

Question answered, thanks.
posted by zarq at 11:29 AM on March 23, 2011


Jahaza: so in the situation that mrgoat is talking about, you would privilege the life of the fetus over that of the mother? And you would force her, by law, to privilege the life of the fetus over her own?

No, as I've written above, I don't privilige either's life. Their lives are equally worth preserving, but in preserving the life of either one, you can only use moral means. You can do things to preserve the life of one that indirectly kill the other, but you can't do things that directly kill the other.

For instance (as I wrote above), a woman can receive radiation therapy to cure cancer that indirectly kills her fetus/unborn child. She can also chose to not receive the radiation therapy allowing her child to live, but indirectly killing herself.
posted by Jahaza at 11:29 AM on March 23, 2011


My turn to "what?" you. The death train is heading for the woman. If you throw the switch, the train will run over her fetus instead. You're twiddling your thumbs.
posted by prefpara at 11:30 AM on March 23, 2011


mrgoat, I'm not dodging your question, but giving you an oportunity to clarify it.

Then I apologize if I have offended. I honestly thought the question was pretty clear.

If the options are abortion (which directly kills the fetus) or the woman dying from some other cause (which is not the same as "not abortion" killing the woman), you can't do evil that good will result. As I wrote above, "Not every situation is fixable".

Thank you for that, but I still feel like you're dodging the question. Should that woman get the abortion or not? I think it's fair, if you are going to expect me to be very specific in the question, that you be very specific in the answer, so I don't misunderstand you a second time.

I think you're saying something like "No, she should not, even though she would die. Also, it would not be a good outcome." Is that fair to say?

Because if it is, you have chosen to grant the fetus greater standing than the woman in this situation. Which is at odds with your previous statement, specifically that the fetus and the well being of the woman are equally important to you.
posted by mrgoat at 11:33 AM on March 23, 2011


My turn to "what?" you. The death train is heading for the woman. If you throw the switch, the train will run over her fetus instead. You're twiddling your thumbs.

Sorry, I thought you were referring to the trolley problem, in which, classically, the idea is that one throws the switch so that the train kills fewer people than it would otherwise. If you set it up so that there's one person in each side, there's no reason to throw the switch.
posted by Jahaza at 11:33 AM on March 23, 2011


And that's more or less where I have trouble sticking with the debate on its own terms: when pro-lifers confess that the actual belief system that underpins their position has little to no concern with the scientific and legal issues their lobbyists, advocates and spokespeople play upon to in the quest to impose their religion upon others.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:36 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Should that woman get the abortion or not?

No.

I think you're saying something like "No, she should not, even though she would die. Also, it would not be a good outcome." Is that fair to say?

Yes.

Because if it is, you have chosen to grant the fetus greater standing than the woman in this situation.

No, because "standing" has to do with not just the outcome of one case, but of all cases, in a case in which the killing was not direct, I wouldn't pick the fetus over the woman on the basis of one being a fetus and one being an adult.
posted by Jahaza at 11:37 AM on March 23, 2011


Sorry, I thought you were referring to the trolley problem, in which, classically, the idea is that one throws the switch so that the train kills fewer people than it would otherwise. If you set it up so that there's one person in each side, there's no reason to throw the switch.

But the situation you have been presented of an abortion to save my life, it doesn't have one person (as you've defined a person) on each side.

In the case of an abortion to save my life, the choice is between abortion, which ends the life of a fetus before it begins, or the deaths of both the pregnant woman (me) and the fetus I am carrying. That's one life versus two lives by your definitions, isn't it?

So shouldn't you throw the switch to save my life, knowing the fetus is going to die in either case?
posted by hydropsyche at 11:39 AM on March 23, 2011


For instance (as I wrote above), a woman can receive radiation therapy to cure cancer that indirectly kills her fetus/unborn child. She can also chose to not receive the radiation therapy allowing her child to live, but indirectly killing herself.

What would you do in the case of severe eclampsia with a pregnancy where there is a non-viable fetus? The only cure for the woman is to deliver the fetus. If you do not do that, both the woman AND the fetus will die.

What do you propose?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:42 AM on March 23, 2011


No, because "standing" has to do with not just the outcome of one case, but of all cases, in a case in which the killing was not direct, I wouldn't pick the fetus over the woman on the basis of one being a fetus and one being an adult.

But you've stated (unless I read incorrectly) that you would NEVER permit abortion, even for a woman with an immediately life-threatening complication. And the only justifications I can think of for this are the prioritization of the fetus due to its superior innocence, or a preference for inaction viewed as deference to the will of God--which sort of demystifies the latent meaning of the "actions have consequences" position.

That is NOT the position publicly taken by advocates of laws such as these.

On preview: what hydro and Empress said.
posted by snuffleupagus at 11:51 AM on March 23, 2011


Arizona Passes Anti-Abortion Bill To Send Doctors, Clinicians To Jail For Abortions Based On Race Or Gender
posted by homunculus at 11:55 AM on March 23, 2011


No, because "standing" has to do with not just the outcome of one case, but of all cases,

So, you will not evaluate the morality of individual situations? It would be wrong for one woman to get an abortion to save her life because it would be morally wrong for a lot of women to get abortions to save their lives? I don't really see where you're going with this statement.

I am also very curious as to how you answer hydropsyche and EmpressCallipygos's questions: Is it ok to abort if the mother and the fetus will die without one? What if the fetus is non-viable, and cannot ever live?

You already said upthread that you don't support an abortion in any circumstance, so I'm guessing your answer is "no, they shouldn't" but it would be nice to get as clear and understandable an answer those questions as you gave mine. I don't want to guess and put words in your mouth.
posted by mrgoat at 11:55 AM on March 23, 2011


Because it seems to be counterproductive from the point of view of preventing abortions.

Actually, making abortion illegal is not productive in terms of preventing abortions*; however, it is extremely productive in terms of increasing women's mortality through illegal ones.

But then, you've made it clear that you view your stance as morally right regardless of how many lives it ruins, children it leaves motherless, deaths it causes, or the fact that it effectively reduces one half of humanity to second-class citizens--because even if we don't have unlimited rights to our own bodies (which I dispute but that's another thread), your system still ensures men have more rights to their bodies than women do and enshrines that inequality as right and good.

*at least in part because it always seems to come with an attached restriction on contraception and sex education, betraying its patriarchal/conservative religious origins.
posted by emjaybee at 11:56 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only cure for the woman is to deliver the fetus.

Then you deliver the fetus. What you don't do is kill the fetus and then deliver it, because that is direct abortion. See, for instance, this discussion.
posted by Jahaza at 11:57 AM on March 23, 2011


St. Thomas recognized (primarily) circumstances and intention as the guiding principles of ethics.

As such, a blanket injunction against abortion is inconsistent with calling yourself a Thomist.

It is trivial to construct a Thomist approval of abortion, given that he was the progenitor of the Just War doctrine. I bet if you think about it for five minutes, you could do so.
posted by klangklangston at 11:59 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


(I'm pretty much done guys, just because there are other things to do.)
posted by Jahaza at 11:59 AM on March 23, 2011


Then you deliver the fetus. What you don't do is kill the fetus and then deliver it, because that is direct abortion.

Ah, I think I get what you're saying now. It strikes me as mighty, mighty fine hair-splitting, but I'm at least somewhat more comfortable with the distinction you're making.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:02 PM on March 23, 2011


(I'm pretty much done guys, just because there are other things to do.)

It must be so nice to be able to just walk away from this discussion, with your idealogical purity intact, knowing that your life will never be endangered by any of this.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:02 PM on March 23, 2011 [14 favorites]


My religious beliefs say that terminating a pregnancy before the quickening isn't immoral.

Does the fetus get the memories, too?
posted by adamdschneider at 12:05 PM on March 23, 2011


As such, a blanket injunction against abortion is inconsistent with calling yourself a Thomist.

Which is why there are no blanket prohibitions in Aquinas's writings... oh.

It is trivial to construct a Thomist approval of abortion, given that he was the progenitor of the Just War doctrine. I bet if you think about it for five minutes, you could do so.

Presumably the idea would be that the state could approve abortion, because it has the power of life and death. The problem with the argument is that that state power of killing is linked to the personal guilt of the person to be killed and unborn children don't have personal guilt (which departs from the teaching of Aquinas himself on original sin and personal guilt, but I feel comfortable in calling myself a Thomist without endorsing every jot and tittle of his writings.)
posted by Jahaza at 12:10 PM on March 23, 2011


No, because "standing" has to do with not just the outcome of one case, but of all cases, in a case in which the killing was not direct, I wouldn't pick the fetus over the woman on the basis of one being a fetus and one being an adult.

By declining to make a choice, you make a choice, and your failure to act leaves two deaths rather than one on your hands. I fail to see how that is a good. It's not even an absence of bad. It's a brutal, merciless, and inhumane thing.
posted by rtha at 12:13 PM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


By declining to make a choice, you make a choice, and your failure to act leaves two deaths rather than one on your hands. I fail to see how that is a good.

Because goodness and badness of acts isn't just about counting the number of deaths.
posted by Jahaza at 12:17 PM on March 23, 2011


it's not about religion! it's just about goodness or badness (or, evil, if you prefer)! the lack of forthrightness about this from one side of the issue drives me fucking insane.
posted by nadawi at 12:22 PM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I do think it's funny that Jahaza has, at the same time, a super narrow focus on the one mother and one fetus and does that math on a single case level (1 mom life = 1 fetus life), and claims that his view is correct in some zoomed-out, categorical imperative way. Except he gives absolutely no weight to the effects of his preferred policy on, e.g., the mortality rate for women, the status of women in society, the ability of women to work, and so on. The only thing that matters is keeping his hands clean. No direct fetus killing! And that, to him, is worth its weight in unutterable misery and indirect death and suffering. The suffering, of course, of others.
posted by prefpara at 12:23 PM on March 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


No, the goodness and badness of acts is also tied somewhat to the results. Also, I don't think aborting a fetus is killing a child. So I'll take no deaths over one any day, even if it requires performing a medical procedure.
posted by mrgoat at 12:25 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jahaza, assuming you are male, I really hope you're never in a position where you have to decide if the doctors will save your wife, or let her die in the hopes that her unborn fetus might live.

And if you make the choice it seems you would make, to let your wife die... yeah, I don't even know what to say about that. It seems pretty monstrous to me, to claim that it's okay if women die as long as no one touches that fetus.
posted by palomar at 12:26 PM on March 23, 2011


I don't understand why we care so much what Jahaza would do in cases that might be morally ambiguous to him/her. Jahaza doesn't believe in abortion for any reason, and believes that abortion should be illegal even if it results in no decrease in abortion and more deaths. Jahaza doesn't care about the net positive or negative in terms of real people as much as the religious/philosophical stance in regard to the question. Why argue with that? It's not up for debate.

What we are concerned with is if his/her religious views should be allowed to dictate our rights. If my religion says that you cannot drink water because it murders the water spirits, should drinking water become illegal? That is the question. Don't ask "what if I had to drink water or I would die?" Ask why my religion/philosophy should trump yours. Ask why my beliefs should dictate your beverage options.
posted by taz at 12:28 PM on March 23, 2011 [10 favorites]


Okay, so religious views are paramount.

We just need to revive the court of Ba‘al Hammon. Problem solved! Who is anyone to tell me that my religious convictions shouldn't have the weight of law?
posted by winna at 12:33 PM on March 23, 2011


Could you drink milk? Assuming the cows drank water...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:34 PM on March 23, 2011


"Presumably the idea would be that the state could approve abortion, because it has the power of life and death. The problem with the argument is that that state power of killing is linked to the personal guilt of the person to be killed and unborn children don't have personal guilt (which departs from the teaching of Aquinas himself on original sin and personal guilt, but I feel comfortable in calling myself a Thomist without endorsing every jot and tittle of his writings.)"

Actually, no, there's an even better argument that's a lot more basic: That in the circumstances it is necessary and that the intent is good, i.e. to save the life of the mother.

And, again, fundamentally your belief that fetuses are people isn't supportable. If you'd own up to that, you'd find that a lot of things that you believe follow from that belief are likewise unsupportable and should be discarded.
posted by klangklangston at 12:37 PM on March 23, 2011


Actually, no, there's an even better argument that's a lot more basic: That in the circumstances it is necessary and that the intent is good, i.e. to save the life of the mother.

Point me to an example of an argument in this form in Aquinas's works.
posted by Jahaza at 12:39 PM on March 23, 2011


"Who would not risk his soul, risks nothing."

-IRFH
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:41 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jahaza: Their lives are equally worth preserving, but in preserving the life of either one, you can only use moral means.

There you go, trying to impose your religious beliefs on other people under color of law.

Please stop that. Your religious beliefs were rejected by the US Supreme Court 40 years ago as insufficient cause for legislative actions in support of them.
posted by mikelieman at 12:49 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Me fail English?
posted by mikelieman at 12:52 PM on March 23, 2011


Just to get this Jahaza thing off the table, Thomas Aquinas, via Wikipedia:

"The desires to live and to procreate are counted by Thomas among those basic (natural) human values on which all human values are based. However, Thomas was vehemently opposed to non-procreative sexual activity. This lead him to view masturbation, oral sex, and even coitus interruptus, as being worse than incest and rape when the act itself is considered (apart from the abuse suffered by the violated party). He also objected to sexual positions other than the missionary position, on the assumption that they made conception more difficult."

All sex should be procreative according to Aquinas, and so, presumably, Jahaza... Abortion is the far, far end of the spectrum for him. Incest and rape is better than masturbation because at least those acts might end with a pregnancy.

So, really any sex that isn't intended to result in pregnancy is in violation of this philosophy, and should ideally also be illegal. Can we stop now?
posted by taz at 1:01 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Jahaza doesn't care about the net positive or negative in terms of real people as much as the religious/philosophical stance in regard to the question.

Yes, and I think this is a fundamentally inhumane position. When a religious or philosophical does anyone else have trouble typing that word? I know perfectly well how to spell it, but it tangles my fingers all to hell stance takes precedence over compassion or mercy for a person, that, to me, is an awful thing.
posted by rtha at 1:06 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


All sex should be procreative according to Aquinas, and so, presumably, Jahaza...

Thomism ≠ the opinions of Aquinas. I don't feel a particular need to rebut everything in Wikipedia or the way you play fast and loose with what is there.

When a religious or philosophical does ... stance takes precedence over compassion or mercy for a person, that, to me, is an awful thing.

This is circular, since it relies on an idea of "mercy for a person" which will itself be "religious or philosophical".
posted by Jahaza at 1:10 PM on March 23, 2011


It is an awful thing to me, too, rtha, but I don't care at all if Jahaza feels that way. It's when this stuff gets tangled up in law (pretty much always due to political expediency and/or greed, because that's what it's almost always really about, right?) that it concerns me.

This is circular, since it relies on an idea of "mercy for a person" which will itself be "religious or philosophical".

No. I didn't have to learn compassion or mercy; I never got a playbook. They came free in my emotion package.
posted by taz at 1:17 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Point me to an example of an argument in this form in Aquinas's works."

The doctrine of Just War, which is broader than simple self-defense. The question of authority is irrelevant, but those were the three principles upon which a war could be considered just. That's why I mentioned it.

Still dodging the argument about human beings beginning at conception, I notice.
posted by klangklangston at 1:18 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


The question of authority is irrelevant, but those were the three principles upon which a war could be considered just. That's why I mentioned it.

O.K. first of all, you only mentioned two priciples:

there's an even better argument that's a lot more basic: [1] That in the circumstances it is necessary and [2] that the intent is good, i.e. to save the life of the mother.

Second, this doesn't match the three principles that Aquinas sets forth for a just war. Not only is authority not "irrelavant", it's one of the three conditions:
"Article 1. Whether it is always sinful to wage war? ... I answer that, In order for a war to be just, three things are necessary. First, the authority of the sovereign by whose command the war is to be waged. ... Secondly, a just cause is required, namely that those who are attacked, should be attacked because they deserve it on account of some fault. ... Thirdly, it is necessary that the belligerents should have a rightful intention, so that they intend the advancement of good, or the avoidance of evil.
Still dodging the argument about human beings beginning at conception, I notice.

What's the question? You haven't asked one (indeed you specifically said you were leaving the issue aside.)
posted by Jahaza at 1:32 PM on March 23, 2011


"Second, this doesn't match the three principles that Aquinas sets forth for a just war. Not only is authority not "irrelavant", it's one of the three conditions:"

Authority is irrelevant in this case, as abortion is not a state policy. In the case of saving a mother, abortion clearly fits the second two criteria: The cause is just, namely that those killed (which does leave aside their being people), are causing harm or would cause harm, and that those causing the abortion are acting with rightful intention, that of saving the mother.

Aquinas's doctrine of just war is obviously broader than state authority, and is easily extensible to personal arguments of self defense.

"What's the question? You haven't asked one (indeed you specifically said you were leaving the issue aside.)"

I know that it can be overwhelming to deal with this many comments at once, but you'll note that I referred to it here. If that link doesn't work for you, you can also scroll up.

It's no more supportable than Aquinas's heliocentrism.
posted by klangklangston at 1:56 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm always confused by how both the fetus and the woman dying because of a lack of willingness to provide an abortion is a "better" or "morally superior" outcome than the woman surviving with an abortion. If you're honestly so pro-life that a pregnancy at any stage involves a life, wouldn't the loss of one "human" be better than two?

I mean, being morally superior isn't supposed to comfort loved ones who have to survive the loss of the woman, is it? Because I'd imagine that kind of comfort gets cold quickly.
posted by questionsandanchors at 2:06 PM on March 23, 2011


What you're describing is harm reduction which is the equivalent of amorality to those invested in their own dogma. But basically, yes.
posted by GuyZero at 2:13 PM on March 23, 2011


If I'm understanding Jahaza's argument correctly, it is that in the case of abortion there is an additional moral harm beside the deaths, that of the spiritual damage caused by directly causing injury or death. Injury and death can be accepted if they are indirect outcomes, but it is morally wrong to willfully inflict them, regardless of cause or service. So I think Jahaza is also concerned with the soul of the doctor, although I could be misreading that.
posted by Errant at 2:19 PM on March 23, 2011


I'm always confused by how both the fetus and the woman dying because of a lack of willingness to provide an abortion is a "better" or "morally superior" outcome than the woman surviving with an abortion. If you're honestly so pro-life that a pregnancy at any stage involves a life, wouldn't the loss of one "human" be better than two?

Yes, but if you simply fail to do anything and let nature take it's course (that being, a pregnancy that kills woman and fetus) then you can just blame it on God, and your hands are clean. You didn't kill that woman...God failed to save her, for his own ineffable reasons. Same for the fetus. So after the orderlies take the bodies away, the nurses tidy up the vacated bed, and the weeping relatives depart, you can whistle to yourself as you walk out of the hospital, knowing that you did God's will today and never attempted to hasten the inevitable death of a fetus to save the life of a woman.
posted by emjaybee at 2:40 PM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


It is an awful thing to me, too, rtha, but I don't care at all if Jahaza feels that way. It's when this stuff gets tangled up in law (pretty much always due to political expediency and/or greed, because that's what it's almost always really about, right?) that it concerns me.

Well, yeah, me too. I also care because Jahaza seems to be seriously unclear on the whole criminal charges thing, and I'm just not getting why. If fetus=child and deliberate killing of child=criminal charges, then I don't understand Jahaza's reluctance/inability to have thought about why a woman who has an abortion shouldn't be charged with a crime if abortion is illegal.

Jahaza believes that abortion is wrong and should not be legal. Someone who takes this position should consider what penalties should be brought for those who break the law.
posted by rtha at 2:42 PM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


This discussion is making me feel like I need to re-read The Cider House Rules.

This discussion is making me feel like I need to re-read The Handmaid's Tale.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:27 PM on March 23, 2011 [5 favorites]


Also, I'm still waiting for an adequate explanation from people on Jahaza's side as to why any state should make the rights of its citizens (pregnant women) take a back seat to non-citizens (fetuses).
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:29 PM on March 23, 2011


Thomas Aquinas may have had some theological relevance in the past, and maybe still within the Catholic Church, but I am sure you realize, Jahara, that he was a product of his times and, as such, hardly a role model for how to live one's life today.

I mean, the man was an anti-Semite (“Since the Jews are the slaves of the Church, she can dispose of their possessions”) and a misygnist ("As regards the individual nature, woman is defective and misbegotten, for the active power of the male seed tends to the production of a perfect likeness in the masculine sex; while the production of a woman comes from defect in the active power").

If you really were to follow his teachings, logically you should only argue against abortion if the fetus is a male, since women are, by their very nature, an aberration. Although I guess, if the pregnant woman and the child she is carrying are both female, we could write them both off.

Except Thomas Aquinas also said that, "Love takes up where knowledge leaves off," and “The highest manifestation of life consists in this: that a being governs its own actions. A thing which is always subject to the direction of another is somewhat of a dead thing.”

Which would suggest that beings should govern what happens to their bodies, and that includes women.

So, if you want the words of Thomas Aquinas, you should allow women to govern their own actions, and decide for themselves whether or not to get an abortion.
posted by misha at 6:49 PM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm so sorry for the typo: Jahaza, not Jahara!
posted by misha at 6:49 PM on March 23, 2011


The silly thing is, the more you put up these kinds of judgmental barriers in front of women, and remove access to civilized inventions such as the abortion pill, the more likely it is that abortions will happen later on in the pregnancy when the foetus is more fully developed.

What would they rather have - the easy removal of a cluster of cells or the stressful, invasive removal of a more fully developed foetus?
posted by Summer at 5:17 AM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


What would they rather have - the easy removal of a cluster of cells or the stressful, invasive removal of a more fully developed foetus?

Well, if their primary concern is to punish women for having sex, as it seems to be, it's probably the latter.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:10 AM on March 24, 2011


The silly thing is, the more you put up these kinds of judgmental barriers in front of women, and remove access to civilized inventions such as the abortion pill, the more likely it is that abortions will happen later on in the pregnancy when the foetus is more fully developed.

What would they rather have - the easy removal of a cluster of cells or the stressful, invasive removal of a more fully developed foetus?


Right, but as far as I can tell this doesn't matter to people who are concerned with the morality of abortion. It's not about saving lives, either the mother's OR the fetus's, really. It's about whether or not you are committing a sin. That whole "you can't do evil even for a good outcome" would, I think, come into play even if an abortion could save 100 lives, or 1000. There is no relative morality here. They would still not go for the abortion, because that would be a sin.

so it's possibly less "the fetus is more important than the mother" and more "my eternal soul is more important than any number of other people's lives".
posted by gaspode at 7:36 AM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


But are their immortal souls in danger because I have an abortion? Fine, die rather than have an abortion yourself, but why do they care if I don't want to do the same? Especially since they presumably think my immortal soul is already damned for various other reasons?

Although I am a Christian, my religion is so different from theirs that I can honestly say I don't know how theirs works, but surely there are lots of things that they think are going to send my soul to hell that are not currently against the law?
posted by hydropsyche at 9:44 AM on March 24, 2011


But are their immortal souls in danger because I have an abortion?

This is why I think that law should not be premised on religion or morality. Morality, wherever it comes from, is personal. Government should just maximize liberty and utility.
posted by prefpara at 9:49 AM on March 24, 2011


but why do they care if I don't want to do the same?

If you don't understand evangelicalism you're not a Christian, you're a Jew for Jesus.

Maybe in some cultural or ethnic sense you're Christian, but certainly not a religious one.
posted by clarknova at 9:57 AM on March 24, 2011


Oh, for the love of Pete.

It's one thing to vilify anti-choicers for being hypocrital zealots, like this woman Leslee Unruh. But doing shit like this just provides ammo to fuel the "liberals are so mean!" meme. So let's not do this shit.
posted by palomar at 10:00 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you don't understand evangelicalism you're not a Christian, you're a Jew for Jesus.

Maybe in some cultural or ethnic sense you're Christian, but certainly not a religious one.


I'm a deacon in the Presbyterian Church, USA and sing in the choir every Sunday. I volunteer with Habitat for Humanity and mentor local middle school kids. I have made many trips to the Gulf Coast to help with Katrina relief. I'm a professional biologist who teaches evolution. I also believe in a woman's right to medical privacy in her reproductive decisions and joyfully celebrate my gay friends marriages. I don't think any of those things (or anything else) puts my soul or anybody else's in danger.

Who the hell are you to judge my religion? Who the hell are you to judge my medical decisions?
posted by hydropsyche at 10:09 AM on March 24, 2011 [8 favorites]


Agreed, palomar; that's juvenile, dumb and embarrassing. But pretty much every time somebody links to something on that site it seems eye-rollingly stupid to me. Here's another jewel. The whole site seems like you got your 4Chan in my Gawker.
posted by taz at 10:28 AM on March 24, 2011


If you don't understand evangelicalism you're not a Christian, you're a Jew for Jesus. Maybe in some cultural or ethnic sense you're Christian, but certainly not a religious one.

Oh, God, do I have to sing my "Not All Christians Think Exactly The Same" aria again?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:32 AM on March 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


If you don't understand evangelicalism you're not a Christian, you're a Jew for Jesus.

Maybe in some cultural or ethnic sense you're Christian, but certainly not a religious one.


Which evangelicalism? What flavor? Following which tradition? And what do you mean by "understand"?

For instance, I believe I "understand" evangelicalism, and yet I am not a Christian (except culturally). And this might sound really really weird to you, but the friends I have who explicitly identify as Christian are not the evangelical kind; I'm sure they've heard of it and encountered it and perhaps even been evangelical at one time, so if that counts as "understanding," I guess then they get a pass from you as "real" Christians?

All snark aside, I'd really like to understand what it is you're trying to say. The last few comments indicate that it's less than clear.
posted by rtha at 11:47 AM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


For instance, I believe I "understand" evangelicalism, and yet I am not a Christian (except culturally). And this might sound really really weird to you, but the friends I have who explicitly identify as Christian are not the evangelical kind

You explicitly expressed astonishment over other Christians wanting to save save some souls. I guess that was just a rhetorical device, but obviously you don't agree with it. You may as well renounce the Nicene creed while you're at it.

And which Protestant Church, USA? There's like twenty of those. You're all schisim'd up. All babes in the woods. You think your faith is going to last without the tradition of proselytism? In another century will they be calling that Christianity? I don't think they'll be calling it anything at all.

But doing shit like this just provides ammo to fuel the "liberals are so mean!" meme. So let's not do this shit.

Screw that. I say get mean. They only bellow that crap because they know it's not true. If they really were afraid of mean liberals they could be brought to heel like they were under the Roosevelts. You think Teddy was nice? He and his base would have flossed their teeth with these people. Franklin would have snapped their legs off in the spokes of his chair. Modern liberals have been playing nice nice since the 70s and see where that's got us.
posted by clarknova at 12:12 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Er, "Presbyterian church", but the point remains. Wait. Is "Protestant Church, USA" the actual name of the denomination?
posted by clarknova at 12:14 PM on March 24, 2011


Thank you for not at all answering my question.

You explicitly expressed astonishment over other Christians wanting to save save some souls.

On preview: I believe you confused my comment with hydrosyche's.
posted by rtha at 12:18 PM on March 24, 2011


Screw that. I say get mean. They only bellow that crap because they know it's not true.

I really, really disagree with the idea that it's totally okay to rag on a person's physical appearance instead of their hypocrisy and flawed ideology. I mean, really, what is gained by calling a woman a troll? Nothing. Nothing at all. Defend it as a battle tactic if you want, but for me it's just pointless.
posted by palomar at 12:22 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah there's like three of you on this aren't there.

Well I'm sticking to my guns. If you don't think saving the souls of wrong-thinking strangers is required you can call yourself what you want, but you're no more Christians than I am The Pope of Jazz.
posted by clarknova at 12:23 PM on March 24, 2011


Well, if you think you have the power to declare who is or isn't a Christian, you obviously believe you're the Pope of something. My vote is Pope of Trollsville. Scooby-de-wop.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:26 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Presbyterian Church, USA For someone who is apparently an expert on who is and isn't a Christian, one would think you would have heard of one of the largest denominations in the country.

You explicitly expressed astonishment over other Christians wanting to save save some souls.

No, I really didn't. I expressed astonishment over the theory that preventing me from having an abortion would somehow save my soul. (Setting aside that that's not how salvation works in even fundamentalist Protestant churches.) As I said, there are many other things presumably wrong with me that would also condemn me to hell in the worldview of someone who would propose a sick and twisted law like the one in South Dakota. I don't think that if I don't have an abortion, but continue to be my gay-loving, evolution-teaching, mainline-protestanting, uterus-having-but-not-reproducing-self that they would think I was going to be saved just because I didn't have an abortion.

Finally, we are talking about a state law. In South Dakota. When did the government of South Dakota become involved in saving my soul?
posted by hydropsyche at 12:27 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hell now I've got a council vote. I'm definitely a Pope.


I mean, really, what is gained by calling a woman a troll?

Political points. Nasy words are effective. If well-reasoned rhetoric worked there'd be no hungry homeless, a whole-integer percent of our population wouldn't be behind bars, we'd have universal health care, and we wouldn't be having this discussion about whether abortion's a human right or not.

You know why they have nice things in Europe? Because when conservatives try to take them away the left calls them filthy pigdogs, pulls out the red flags, and gets scary.


When did the government of South Dakota become involved in saving my soul?

When it was hijacked by corporations and crazy Christians, apparently. Aren't you glad you aren't one of those.
posted by clarknova at 12:33 PM on March 24, 2011


Political points. Nasy words are effective.

That tactic does not seem to be working well for you here, at least when directed at people like hydrosyche, whom you have declared must not be a "real" Christian. Perhaps I am misunderstanding your definition of "effective."
posted by rtha at 12:44 PM on March 24, 2011


If you don't think saving the souls of wrong-thinking strangers is required you can call yourself what you want, but you're no more Christians than I am The Pope of Jazz.

Then how come Sister Sarah never told me that in Sunday School?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:47 PM on March 24, 2011


That tactic does not seem to be working well for you here

That's because I'm playing nice!

Then how come Sister Sarah never told me that in Sunday School?

She didn't have to tell you: she was doing it.
posted by clarknova at 12:54 PM on March 24, 2011


clarknova, I disagree. It may make for more interesting headlines and snipey articles on political blogs, but I don't think that slagging a person's physical appearance is actually good politics.

And as fun as it might be to believe, I don't really buy into the idea that "Europe gets things done" because they take potshots at each other. But it's a cute idea.
posted by palomar at 12:55 PM on March 24, 2011


Actually, yeah -- I just checked in with my former Euro-resident boyfriend and he's all, "Oh, that's hilarious. No, European politics aren't like that. That guy is bullshitting you."

So, sorry, clarknova, but I'm not buying into it.
posted by palomar at 12:59 PM on March 24, 2011


Okay, I'm going to give you one more chance to be serious about this, clarknova.

You said that all Christians are REQUIRED to "save souls" or else they are not Christians. When I asked why Sister Steven never told me that, what I meant was: "if Christians are required to save souls, surely i would have been told that in Sunday School. Yet I was not. Can you explain this?"

So that being the case, I don't understand what "she didn't have to tell you, she was doing it" even means.

So:

1) Can you explain why, if saving souls is a "requirement", why I was not told of this requirement in my Sunday School class?

2) Can you explain what "she didn't have to tell you, she was doing it" even means in the context of our discussion?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:17 PM on March 24, 2011


You know why they have nice things in Europe? Because when conservatives try to take them away the left calls them filthy pigdogs, pulls out the red flags, and gets scary.

Oh, you Americans are such comedians. Start talking about filthy pigdogs and most Europeans would peg you as a not-very-closeted Nazi. This is emphatically not why we have nice things in Europe.
posted by anigbrowl at 1:17 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think that slagging a person's physical appearance is actually good politics.

It works great for Limbaugh. It works great for his clones. They've been dishing out the ad-hominem bile for years and so far they're the winners.

I just checked in with my former Euro-resident boyfriend

And mine (opposite sex) disagrees. So do the French, Greeks, Spanish, Italians, Belgians, Slovenes, Portuguese and all the others who were striking and protesting last Spetember. They mock and deride and set shit on fire.

Maybe he's Swiss? From what I can tell they're a lot more genteel over there.
posted by clarknova at 1:19 PM on March 24, 2011


Wait, so your definition of evangelicalism, which you say I don't believe in, includes teaching Sunday School? I just taught our Adult Faith and Community Sunday School class a few weeks ago and I taught 3 year old Sunday School for years when I was in high school. Am I allowed to be a Christian-by-the-definition-of-an-arbitrary-Metafilter-member now?
posted by hydropsyche at 1:20 PM on March 24, 2011


Okay, nothing clarknova is saying makes any sense. I'm out.
posted by palomar at 1:23 PM on March 24, 2011


One of the tenants of Christianity is the doctrine of original sin. That's the whole point of Christ dying, yes? To redeem everyone from that?

Which is one of the reasons children are instructed in the faith at Sunday school. They need to accept and be redeemed too. Otherwise why teach them about it. So I take it back. You're very much proselytizing, and that makes you a Christian after all.
posted by clarknova at 1:29 PM on March 24, 2011


But are their immortal souls in danger because I have an abortion? Fine, die rather than have an abortion yourself, but why do they care if I don't want to do the same? Especially since they presumably think my immortal soul is already damned for various other reasons?

I think (and again, I'm only going from what I've picked up from some people with this belief, so this is just what I think!) that this is where the politics comes in. They obviously can't vote for anyone that is pro-choice because that would be outright approval of sin. And that's why Planned Parenthood has to be punished by removing a source of funding - because they are abortion providers, a small percentage of the time.

I think that there is very little "this world" application to it at all, for many people who think like this. I recall a previous mefi thread where it was pointed out again and again that countries with safe, legal abortion and good sex education had lower rates OF ABORTION (let alone women dying from botched backyard abortions) and that was still not good enough. Because the country was still approving of abortion. Thus was approving of sin.
posted by gaspode at 1:31 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think I'm joining palomar because I no longer understand what the hell clarknova is talking about.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 1:33 PM on March 24, 2011


You need to wait longer to have an abortion than to buy a handgun. No state counseling is required in the event of your desire to own a lethal weapon, and you may carry it openly without a permit. Just saying, pro-lifers.

posted by Errant at 6:37 PM on March 22



I wish I lived in South Dakota for one reason: so I could propose a mirror law for guns.

You must wait 72 hours, there is only one store licensed to sell guns in the state, and you are required to contact and visit a private agency, at their own expense, that's sponsored by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, who will then use every guilt trip possible to prevent you from owning a gun, including pictures of dead children killed by a family firearm and wartime surgical images (just so you know all the facts).
posted by magstheaxe at 2:00 PM on March 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


It works great for Limbaugh. It works great for his clones. They've been dishing out the ad-hominem bile for years and so far they're the winners.

Bullshit. Jean-Marie Le Pen has been dishing out his xenophobic bile for years too, getting crowds at FN rallies and so on. There's a bunch of far-right parties and professional demagogues in Europe, and at various times they get the political initiative...usually by leveraging the same offensive muscular populism that the Republicans lean on here. And as here, the far-right depends on (and panders to) a shrinking and ageing demographic base.

And mine (opposite sex) disagrees. So do the French, Greeks, Spanish, Italians, Belgians, Slovenes, Portuguese and all the others who were striking and protesting last Spetember. They mock and deride and set shit on fire.

And you think that's why they have nice things in Europe? OK. I guess it fits with your claim that all Christians are inveterate prosletyzers. Although I'm an atheist, this doesn't sound all that different from the suggestion that violent jihad is the defining characteristic of Islam. The antidote to crazy is not reverse crazy.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:07 PM on March 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


We have nice things in Europe because centuries of feudalism and rule by paternalistic aristocratic elites* has taught us a few things about the many taking rights/freedoms/resources from the few.

*and other complicated historical reasons, pertaining mainly to a cluster of fortunate Western European nations who all actually have very different approaches to most things despite the American myth of some unified 'European model'
posted by Summer at 3:07 PM on March 24, 2011


And you think that's why they have nice things in Europe? I sure do.
I guess it fits with your claim that all Christians are inveterate prosletyzers. It sure doesn't.

Look. There are some uncomfortable truths to European history. One is that the liberal democratic niceties taken for granted were built from the ashes of monarchies and plutocracies. Social support? Socialized medicine? Free secondary education? Marxists and Democratic Socialists and had to fight for every scrap of that before the second world war, and when the old order lay in smoking ruins they got their chance to make good. Before that it was mostly a Charles Dickens world.

You think Le Pen has been ineffective huh. You think his brutal racist crap didn't open up a space for Sarkozyian "reforms"? That's not how it works. Egregious attacks on the vulnerable make milder ones acceptable.

Where we disagree is I think vitriol against the weak is the problem, and you think vitriol itself is the problem. That spitting back at the powerful and the vested won't work because it doesn't feel good. It doesn't elevate the spirit. It doesn't ennoble the soul.

And while Liberals in the States have been turning the other cheek the right has been getting its rhetorical hands filthier and filthier, with stunning success. I want to know where this other majority is: the one that will vote for human rights if we just turn up the logic.

Like most silent majorities it doesn't exist.

Europe is sliding rightward at a glacial pace, but it's happening. Everywhere the basic rights are being chipped away, and the only thing that puts on the brakes is European willingness for mass protest and rousing speech. I'd argue that the incremental slide is possible because Europeans re getting too soft, too polite.


We have nice things in Europe because centuries of feudalism and rule by paternalistic aristocratic elites* has taught us a few things about the many taking rights/freedoms/resources from the few.

And you didn't teach those swine the lesson with civil tongues in your heads, did you.
posted by clarknova at 3:39 PM on March 24, 2011


clark, buddy? I think maybe you're having a different conversation than the rest of us.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:58 AM on March 25, 2011


I'll betcha anything this isn't a 2100 page bill! And moreover, I'll bet the legislators actually took time to read the damn thing!
posted by CountSpatula at 1:24 AM on March 27, 2011


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