Is this taking so-called morality too far?
May 9, 2002 1:52 PM   Subscribe

Is this taking so-called morality too far? The Kyoto agreement's one thing ... but this? More here
posted by johnny7 (64 comments total)
 
My favorite part: "...his preferred method of disease control, abstinence..."

Works really well in Africa by the way. Just say no. Read a book instead.
posted by matteo at 2:07 PM on May 9, 2002


I mean, really did we expect any different?
posted by patrickje at 2:09 PM on May 9, 2002


I noticed that too, matteo, but I was struck more by the words that were missing: "sexually transmitted".

Or are we to infer that Bush believes abstinence provides protection against, for instance, atherosclerosis?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:10 PM on May 9, 2002


Is this taking so-called morality too far?

No. It's taking immorality about as far as it can go. The Bushers are a sick lot.
posted by caraig at 2:13 PM on May 9, 2002


The mind reels. This isn't any new position from Bush & Co., but I still froth at the mouth when I see it reported. How can anyone be so disconnected from reality? I would like to believe that he'll be born into his next life in a shanty in Tanzania, but I really think human is aiming a little high, reincarnation-wise.
posted by chino at 2:17 PM on May 9, 2002


Hey -- don't do the crime if you can't do the time. Abstinence may not be *fun,* but you can't argue that it doesn't prevent STDs.
posted by davidmsc at 2:18 PM on May 9, 2002


Some of you really need to get over the fact that the United States is governed by the American government and not the United Nations. There is no reason whatsoever the president should feel obligated to sign a declaration that is not consistent with his own political philosophy.
posted by ljromanoff at 2:21 PM on May 9, 2002


That was helpful davidmsc, thanks.
posted by vbfg at 2:22 PM on May 9, 2002


i was listening to a bit about this on NPR (i am not usually an NPR listener however). prior to a woman from an organization called Human Rights Watch discussing issues, Tommy Thompson delivered a short speech regarding the current issues and agendas of the United States. the treaty was not mentioned by mr. thompson.

the woman from the HRW mentioned that the treaty is worded in a manner that individual nations may draft their own interpretation of "reproductive health services." so countries must enable themselves to cover, or not to cover, abortion with this treaty.

this whole mess seems ironic to me. the US is one of a few nations executing prisoners (i believe iran and somalia?) in the treaty, while it is the only nation that has a problem concerning abortion. overall i find this sort of stuff embarassing, but what can you do when your country harbors a great many who i think are very insulated from the world and whose views seem to represent and favor that insulation?
posted by moz at 2:22 PM on May 9, 2002


Does anyone know why things like this aren't put up for a national vote?

Shouldn't the popular opinion be taken into account? Whatever the popular opinion is?

I'd feel better about Bush's position if I knew that the majority of his citizens backed him.
posted by o2b at 2:30 PM on May 9, 2002


Two more years. We're half-way there.
posted by borgle at 2:38 PM on May 9, 2002


In my opinion, regardless of your beliefs toward the abortion issue, killing fetuses is not and should not be considered a "health service" to be covered under governmental law or insurance benefits. It does absolutely nothing to promote the health of a fetus and, except in rare cases, does absolutely nothing to promote the health of the mother.

What abortion does do, however, is insulate parents from responsibility for the life they've created and the consequences of their actions. In a country where people successfully sue tobacco companies when they get cancer after smoking for 20 years, win million-dollar lawsuits after spilling coffee on themselves (while claiming they didn't realize it was hot), and blame school shootings on video games rather than negligent parenting, the desire to avoid any/all personal accountability is hardly surprising.
posted by Danelope at 2:46 PM on May 9, 2002


does absolutely nothing to promote the health of the mother.

perhaps Danelope is unclear on the "9 months" bit?
posted by mcsweetie at 2:49 PM on May 9, 2002


davidmsc:
Is sex a crime?
posted by yertledaturtle at 2:51 PM on May 9, 2002


perhaps Danelope is unclear on the "9 months" bit?

Oh, right. I'd forgotten that morning sickness is a crime punishable by death...
posted by Danelope at 2:52 PM on May 9, 2002


Some of you really need to get over the fact that the United States is governed by the American government and not the United Nations

Exactly, mr. Buchanan. And by the way, ZOG and the UN are sending all those Black Helicopters to take over America and pollute America's precious bodily fluids

Two more years. We're half-way there.


Then Gore or Lieberman will get beat again, and badly, worse than the 2000 Florida mess, because you don't fire the commander in chief when a war is raging, never happened in the last 100 years in America. The war against terror, we've learnt, will be "a long one".
W. can't run three times in a row in 2008, but there's always his dad.
posted by matteo at 2:54 PM on May 9, 2002


Does anyone know why things like this aren't put up for a national vote?

Remember 2000? Do you have any idea what would happen if we had a national election every time something like this came around? There's a reason we elect people to represent us.

Abstinence may not be *fun,* but you can't argue that it doesn't prevent STDs.

But this isn't all the treaty is about. It's also about other diseases and childhood dangers (like atherosclerosis, I suppose.) Basically, Bush is saying that if your beliefs don't match his, no aid for you.
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:57 PM on May 9, 2002


Exactly, mr. Buchanan. And by the way, ZOG and the UN are sending all those Black Helicopters to take over America and pollute America's precious bodily fluids

Uh, right. The part where I point out that we are, in fact, not ruled by the UN must mean I believe in some sort of conspiracy wherein we are actually ruled by the UN.

You are right about one thing, though, Bush will win in '04.
posted by ljromanoff at 3:00 PM on May 9, 2002


win million-dollar lawsuits after spilling coffee on themselves

At the risk of hijacking the thread, please consider the following.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:03 PM on May 9, 2002


Who cares? I'm a very liberal person and yet I want to start an organization called "liberals against black helicopters and blue helmets". According to their Q&A document this session is supposed to accomplish a "renewed commitment and a pledge for action in the next decade." They don't seem to even be trying to claim they're going to do anything.

I believe we'd be right to give more peaceful foreign aid and remove bullshit conservative mouth-breather restrictions, but I don't see what the UN has to do with this. I imagine that some percentage of our UN dues end up as foreign aid, but can anyone say if that is more or less significant than the aid we give directly?
posted by Wood at 3:08 PM on May 9, 2002


Here's another article on this from The Observer written a few days ago.
posted by homunculus at 3:12 PM on May 9, 2002


George Herbert Walker Bush: 92% popularity rate immediately after the Gulf War.

George Herbert Walker Bush: Two years later, defeated by Clinton. Forever in the history books as a one-termer.
posted by ed at 3:13 PM on May 9, 2002


Yeah, we should just support condoms, abortion and do-whatever-makes-you happy. Why should we have to make tough choices like abstinence? I know metafilter is a liberal hangout, but does everyone here think we should develop technology to save our livers so we can drink to excess, have artificial lungs so we can replace ours when we smoke for 30 years? Why don't people take a little responsibility for themselves? Everyone wants what's simple.

Now how many of you looked at what's in the proposal? I sure wouldn't vote for this if it were up as a national vote. It sounds great, but the reality is that the US does take care of its children, and has provisions in place for most if not all of the things in the proposal. In my opinion all this proposal does is give more leverage to poor nations to take more from us rather than take care of their own problems. To answer Yertle - no sex isn't a crime, but don't ask me to pay for your abortion when you decide you don't want children. As for a national vote, I say go for it - it won't pass. Here's a good analysis from Gallup. If you remove the rape/incest/life endangered bits (which are a tiny fraction of abortions), less that 30% of Americans support abortions.
posted by stormy at 3:14 PM on May 9, 2002


Morality my ass. More anti-abortion crap, maybe dubya doesn't realize its legal in the US. Isn't he supposed to represent others than those who paid for his election and his own born-again zealotry?

President George Bush is concerned the document commits countries to providing ''reproductive health services" to women, which may include abortion. He also believes the document supports condoms ahead of his preferred method of disease control, abstinence.
posted by skallas at 3:20 PM on May 9, 2002


As far as I can tell, all that has happened is that the US government has decided not to sign a declaration. Since when is refusing to sign a declaration (whatever the content) an issue of morality? It seems that, as of late, the US has had a policy of staying out of international treaties in general, and that is probably the main reason why the government refused to sign. Besides, refusing to sign a declaration does not mean that the government necessarily disagrees with the meat of the declaration, only that it does not wish to subject its policies to international scrutiny. Having said that, Bush’s stance on abortion and abstinence is no secret. If some of you wish to complain about that - fine, but that’s a separate issue.
posted by epimorph at 3:25 PM on May 9, 2002


George Herbert Walker Bush: Two years later, defeated by Clinton

I know, and Clinton was the only smart guy to understand that Bush was beatable because the economy sucked so bad (Gore stayed out instead, "family reasons", I know his kid was sick after a car accident, but don't want to look cynical here, so I won't elaborate) -- such political instincts. Despicable guy, but boy, wasn't Clinton smart. Anyway you can't compare the Gulf War and early Nineties recession to the current situation. The economy didn't suffer so bad because of 9/11, and the Osama menace is much bigger that the beaten Saddam of '92. Especially if, God forbid, there's another attack before the 2004 election

If you remove the rape/incest/life endangered bits (which are a tiny fraction of abortions), less that 30% of Americans support abortions.

Really? Then why Republicans didn't do something when they had full control of Congress? Do you really think that making abortion illegal would be real popular for the party? Like, all those women who actually vote having to go back to homemade abortions, trips to Mexico, fun stuff like that? Congress won't touch abortion rights, ever. And I'd be surprised if the Bush Supremes really kill Roe vs Wade
posted by matteo at 3:33 PM on May 9, 2002


america! where even the humblest drunken coked-up sportfucker can grow up to be president! don't do what i did kiddies, do what i say!
posted by quonsar at 3:36 PM on May 9, 2002


Having said that, Bush’s stance on abortion and abstinence is no secret.

Yes and no. During the elections Bush was not going against abortion and played the moderate card very well. Well enough to become president. Campaign promises, right?

Having Bush as the world leader and a substational voice in the UN is like having a Christian Scientist going over the proposal to elimiate smallpox in the 50s via world-wide vaccinations.

The real question, to me, is what is the UN/UNICEF/WHO's role when it comes to the US? Is it only to serve the US's interests or should the US look beyond its own borders when proposals like these come up? Regardless, you can't have it both ways. Many of those who support the US's disregard for the UN are the same ones that speak of the UN's impotence and irrelevance.
posted by skallas at 3:43 PM on May 9, 2002


As for Kyoto, just a quick refresher... It wasn't just the US who didn't want to ratify the treaty. The only country in the world that has ratified the Kyoto Treaty is Romania. They did it because they're exempt under the treaty anyways (just like China and India with their 2.5 billioin people). Oh, and don't forget that the original vote (1997) in the U.S. Senate, led by many prominent Democrats, voted 95-0 AGAINST ratification of the treaty. When Bush said he didn't wasn't going to support something that he knew wasn't going to pass, he wasn't kidding - it had a track record for failure.
posted by stormy at 3:44 PM on May 9, 2002


Two more years. We're half-way there.

Then Gore or Lieberman will get beat again, and badly


Are you willing to bet money on this Matteo? I'll bet $5 with you publically that the Bushies do not get reelected. I still have this, albeit illadvised, faith in the American public.
posted by Danf at 3:45 PM on May 9, 2002


I am all for people taking responsibility for themselves.

All children should be indentured before birth and be required to pay back a birth bond for the use of a womb for 9 months. Like Conservatives, I think the amount charged should be up to the mother and free of any government regulated maximums.

Or alternatively, all newborns could be immediately charged with rape. Or better yet how about "zero tolerance" for womb-jacking? That way we can be sure there will be no repeat offenders.

Those little buggers need to learn to think before deciding to be born.
posted by srboisvert at 3:46 PM on May 9, 2002


I could be completely wrong, but I don't think the refusal to sign this treaty has to do with abortion. I believe the real reason they won't sign the treaty is because of child labor laws in countries that export goods to us. If we sign this treaty, we might not be able to import goods from countries that do not follow treaty guidelines, which would hurt American corporations. I'm trying to think out of the usual "anti-abortion" blah blah bullshit that the administration usually puts forth. Is this possible?
posted by BlueTrain at 3:46 PM on May 9, 2002


epimorph: Bush's stance on abortion and abstinence is not a separate issue if it is his reason for not signing the declaration.

Regarding the notion that the US "does take care of its children":

Report on childhood poverty
http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/dept/nccp/ecp302.html

From "Low-Income Children, a Brief Demographic Profile"
http://cpmcnet.columbia.edu/dept/nccp/ycpf.html

The United States’ child poverty rate is substantially higher—often two-to-three times higher—than that of most other major Western industrialized nations.***

*** See: www.lisproject.org/keyfigures.htm for comparisons of child poverty among industrialized nations.


Childhoon poverty has a huge impact on future development. One could make the argument that allowing this many children to go hungry is not taking care of them.

I'm not saying that signing the declaration would necessarily improve conditions for children in this country, I'm saying we're doing a pretty piss poor job of taking care of them on our own.
posted by birgitte at 3:48 PM on May 9, 2002


(Danelope) win million-dollar lawsuits after spilling coffee on themselves

(DevilsAdvocate) At the risk of hijacking the thread, please consider the following [link]

The McD's lawsuit is one of those rhetorical indicators that lets you quickly find out how well-informed someone is.

Brainteaser: which parts of the following paragraph are not true?

"This woman bought a coffee to go at McD's and drove away. While driving, she spilled the hot coffee in her lap. Although she was not seriously injured, she promptly sued McD's for millions. Even though McD's had never been warned about their coffee temperature before, and keep it no hotter than other fast food restaurants, the $2.7 million award was upheld."

Answer: everything in the previous paragraph, except "bought a coffee" and "spilled it in her lap", is
false.

Sorry for the continued hijack.
posted by kurumi at 3:48 PM on May 9, 2002


There is absolutely no reason the US should support mandates by the UN that require taxpayers to pay for abortions. The abortion advocacy groups should start private, voluntary-contribution charities to provide abortions to those who can't afford them here and abroad, but public monies should never be used to pay for them. Just like public money should not be used to pay for facelifts. this is not a moral issue with me but a practical one (although I have many moral reservations and uncertainties about abortion). I don't think the practice should be banned, but I also don't think it is the most useful way to spend public funds. I would rather any public monies earmarked for abortion be used instead for STD prevention education, and the care of children who are already with us who need it.

Perhaps Breeders need to learn to wear rubbers and take the pill when they screw. Or turn to homosexuality to satisfy those urgent sexual impulses. We'd all be a lot better off.
posted by evanizer at 3:55 PM on May 9, 2002


"And I'm proud to be an Amerrrrrrrrrrican......"
posted by solistrato at 3:58 PM on May 9, 2002


Bluetrain: There doesn't seem to be anything in the declaration regarding enforcement - just that there will be international reviews of how everyone is doing.

The problem isn't that the US wouldn't be able to import goods, but if conditions for working children improve - as happened in the US after the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire - prices will go up.
posted by birgitte at 3:59 PM on May 9, 2002


"Breeders"?

evanizer, I am so disappointed.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:03 PM on May 9, 2002


This conversation is what makes me really appreciate you americans, thank god most of you think straight, I just wish more of your thinking was represented by the elected majority. Minus the bluetrain wannabe's.
posted by bittennails at 4:24 PM on May 9, 2002


Apologies, crash. I was being hyperbolic, and forgot the sarcasm tags. Too much coffee. Some of my best friends are breeders! Hell, all the men I've dated are breeders! :-)

And since I'm slinging around dated homosexualist rhetoric, I might as well say: bittennails, I never think straight.

Gack. I'm going to take a nap before I paste a Queernation bumpersticker on my Land Rover.
posted by evanizer at 4:29 PM on May 9, 2002


but the reality is that the US does take care of its children

Tell that to the millions of US children and their parents that don't have healthcare.
posted by mathowie at 4:35 PM on May 9, 2002


Did not mean it in that sense, evanizer, but I think you know that.
posted by bittennails at 4:35 PM on May 9, 2002


but the reality is that the US does take care of its children

Tell that to the millions of US children and their parents that don't have healthcare.


So now this is about nationalized healthcare? We have cracks on the floor, but the foundation is solid. This country was based upon individual freedoms, not collective rationalizations like taking from the rich and giving to the poor, just because they can afford to lose a little extra cash.
posted by BlueTrain at 4:42 PM on May 9, 2002


not collective rationalizations like taking from the rich and giving to the poor, just because they can afford to lose a little extra cash

Bluetrain, meet the IRS. IRS, meet Bluetrain.
posted by cell divide at 4:44 PM on May 9, 2002


I know metafilter is a liberal hangout, but

Hey wow, you're right! If you just disregard the half of the threads that are conservative, this is a liberal hangout!
posted by badstone at 5:39 PM on May 9, 2002


I know metafilter is a liberal hangout, but

Hey wow, you're right! If you just disregard the half of the threads that are conservative, this is a liberal hangout!


That wouldn't take very long as they are a tiny minority of the total.

Are you willing to bet money on this Matteo? I'll bet $5 with you publically that the Bushies do not get reelected. I still have this, albeit illadvised, faith in the American public.

Well, if he isn't, I certainly am.
posted by ljromanoff at 5:49 PM on May 9, 2002


Tell that to the millions of US children and their parents that don't have healthcare.

mathowie, that's an un-american statement.
Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of Metafilter? :)

I know metafilter is a liberal hangout, but

We should invade Metafilter and convert them to Christianity


I'll bet $5 with you publically that the Bushies do not get reelected


I said that Gore and/or Lieberman will get creamed by W., not that Bush will be certainly reelected (tho I can't really see a viable Democrat who can raise the funds and look tough and build a coalition, and the clock is ticking, man)
I can bet 5 bucks on the Gore/Lieberman thing if you want. They'll lose again, this time both popular and electoral vote if the Democrats are so desperate that they'll nominate one or both of them again
posted by matteo at 5:57 PM on May 9, 2002


Minus the bluetrain wannabe's.

Got an email regarding this comment, to clarify, it was a dig at Bluetrain, not at folks who may agree with him. I am kind of sure he got it, no one else needs to. Could not resist, Bluetrain, you are welcome to respond, in this case, either way, if you care.
posted by bittennails at 7:10 PM on May 9, 2002


So apparently any UN conference that does not have the US sign their declaration is meaningless now? Really, why is it so important to all these other countries and "world leaders" that the US agrees to sign this thing?
posted by smackfu at 7:23 PM on May 9, 2002


It is difficult to run the "united nations" without the participation of "Rome." Make sense?
posted by bittennails at 7:29 PM on May 9, 2002


Morality? What? Morality? *looks around* Didn't the majority of Metafilter discount the belief in any sort of underlining absolute morality long ago? Isn't this all "relative" and arbitrary?
posted by aaronshaf at 10:25 PM on May 9, 2002


Isn't this all "relative" and arbitrary?

Relative? Yes. Arbitrary? No. What's your point?
posted by BlueTrain at 10:40 PM on May 9, 2002


um, what do abortions have to do with aids?
posted by delmoi at 1:06 AM on May 10, 2002


does everyone here think we should develop technology to save our livers so we can drink to excess, have artificial lungs so we can replace ours when we smoke for 30 years?

I dunno about everyone else, but this sounds great to me...
posted by syzygy at 2:51 AM on May 10, 2002


voted 95-0 AGAINST ratification of the treaty.

it wasn't a vote against ratification. it was a resolution stating specific conditions under which the treaty wouldn't be ratified:

"Declares that the United States should not be a signatory to any protocol to, or other agreement regarding, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change of 1992, at negotiations in Kyoto in December 1997 or thereafter which would: (1) mandate new commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for the Annex 1 Parties, unless the protocol or other agreement also mandates new specific scheduled commitments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas emissions for Developing Country Parties within the same compliance period; or (2) result in serious harm to the U.S. economy.

Calls for any such protocol or other agreement which would require the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification to be accompanied by: (1) a detailed explanation of any legislation or regulatory actions that may be required to implement it; and (2) an analysis of the detailed financial costs which would be incurred by, and other impacts on, the U.S. economy. "

it's a piece of fluff that says 'we won't ratify if it will hurt our economy!' of course the Senate voted overwhelmingly for it.
posted by tolkhan at 5:56 AM on May 10, 2002


Regardless, you can't have it both ways. Many of those who support the US's disregard for the UN are the same ones that speak of the UN's impotence and irrelevance.

These aren't contradictory. UN-skeptics think the US should disregard the UN *because* the organization is corrupt, irrelevant, impotent, etc. and no amount of US involvement is likely to change that.
posted by straight at 6:45 AM on May 10, 2002


Now how many of you looked at what's in the proposal? I sure wouldn't vote for this

i have. what do you find so objectionable?

but the reality is that the US … has provisions in place for most if not all of the things in the proposal

i think the idea is to improve the lot of children on a global scale. heck, one of the goals is to certify the eradication of polio. it'd be in the US's interests to help Poornationia wipe it out.
posted by tolkhan at 7:25 AM on May 10, 2002


Hey wow, you're right! If you just disregard the half of the threads that are conservative, this is a liberal hangout!

That wouldn't take very long as they are a tiny minority of the total.


Ah, that's how dubya won! In the zany alternate universe of Republicans, a "tiny minority" equals "half"!
posted by badstone at 9:15 AM on May 10, 2002



Hey wow, you're right! If you just disregard the half of the threads that are conservative, this is a liberal hangout!

That wouldn't take very long as they are a tiny minority of the total.

Ah, that's how dubya won! In the zany alternate universe of Republicans, a "tiny minority" equals "half"!


Were you educated in a public school or something? Saying I should "disregard half of the threads that are conservative" doesn't mean that half of all the threads are conservative. Perhaps only 10% of the threads are conservative, in which case I would be disregarding 5%.
posted by ljromanoff at 9:19 AM on May 10, 2002


The statement was ambiguous, the intended message was clear however. Instead if insulting people, and the idea of public education, possibly you could just state your points.
posted by rhyax at 12:15 PM on May 10, 2002


Re: abortion, this from today's nyt:

"Since in some countries abortion is one of a range of basic health services while in others it is against the law, language from previous conferences contained no proscriptions against it, holding only that in countries where the service is legal, it ought to be safe.

"During the negotiations over wording, American officials have pressed for specificity — demanding, for instance, that the term "reproductive health services" be annotated to exclude abortion. In this they are joined by the Vatican, as well as several Islamic nations, from Iran to Pakistan. On the opposing side are delegates representing the European Union, as well as countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia."


I think this goes a lot further than simply saying we won't support abortion.
posted by homunculus at 1:43 PM on May 10, 2002


less that 30% of Americans support abortions.
Applying your method of interpretating that same report, only 17% are against abortions.

disregard half of the threads
disregard half -- disregard the half...lightning -- lightning bug
posted by joaquim at 2:14 PM on May 10, 2002


"Interpretating"? Hmmm, I got a little disorientated there.
posted by joaquim at 2:15 PM on May 10, 2002


The statement was ambiguous, the intended message was clear however.

And yet the statement was so amusingly ambiguous. As for the intended message, I think "absurd" would be a better description than "clear."
posted by ljromanoff at 3:50 PM on May 10, 2002


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