March for Choice
April 26, 2004 12:04 AM   Subscribe

March for Choice - Estimates range from 500,000 to more than a million in attendance. With an all-star turnout and a lot of pink, it is one of the largest events to take place on the Mall in Washington D.C.; but how much of an impact will it have on history?
posted by bitpart (168 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
The Google link is my way of bypassing the Washington Posts registration. Here's a direct link.
posted by bitpart at 12:06 AM on April 26, 2004


I was there. It was cool. Whoopie Goldberg and Ani DeFranco (it that how you spell her name) spoke. There were lots of old and young feminists, and posters on the ground (most got picked up) etc. etc. etc. I got interviewed and got a cool bumper sticker and talked my friends out of smoking pot on the national mall (What The Fuck??). Posting from kinkos, out of time AAAAHH
posted by Tlogmer at 3:44 AM on April 26, 2004


Is this the pro-partial birth abortion crowd?

I think, defying the laws of physics (but not politics) this type of lesbian replete, bash Bush, celebrity-filled event actually scores points for the other side.

Any chance the abortion rights people might admit that abortion, other than to genuinely save the life of the mother, probably shouldn't be legal beyond the first trimester? How about some nuance; not all control on abortion is an evil republican plot? That's my position. And it's probably most decent people's.
posted by ParisParamus at 4:01 AM on April 26, 2004


Ed Asner was just there to pick up chicks.
posted by RavinDave at 4:39 AM on April 26, 2004


> I think, defying the laws of physics (but not politics) this type of lesbian
> replete, bash Bush, celebrity-filled event actually scores points for the other side.

Hush, PP. Let these folks stand up and show exactly who they are, as PETA does.
posted by jfuller at 4:45 AM on April 26, 2004


I think, defying the laws of physics (but not politics) this type of lesbian replete, bash Bush, celebrity-filled event actually scores points for the other side.

Funny. I think the type of stereotypical, nonsensical, and fearful response you usually give to things like this signify just how effective it had to have been.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:05 AM on April 26, 2004


I was in DC and left a day before this event--thank God--and a tour guy told me that when women protest and march, they are serious, have a cauwse they truly believe in. By contrast (he said) men go there to meet babes...So Asner not alone in this. Wil it make or be history?Onbly later years can tell us what history says. Not the present.
posted by Postroad at 6:36 AM on April 26, 2004


lesbian replete, bash Bush

Oh, I think the replete lesbians can think of better things to do with bush than bash it, my freind.
posted by jonmc at 6:38 AM on April 26, 2004


Sadly, Billy Joel crashed his car and Michael Jackson fired his lawyers, so I didn't see anything about this on the news this morning.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:41 AM on April 26, 2004


I really hate it when parents/grandparents/relatives/concerned citizens drag their young children to these events, on either side of the argument (I'm still not sure where I stand on this one).

As a youngin' I was forced to stand and march for the right to life, holding up signs with grotesque images of aborted babies on them. It's just not fair to impose these kinds of values on your kids before they can properly understand and deal with the ethics of the debate.

Case in point: http://ppfa.typepad.com/photos/march4/dsc01837_500.html

How can a parent fairly speak on behave of a child so young?
posted by Evstar at 6:59 AM on April 26, 2004


I like to think I'm reasonably up on current events, but I had no clue this was even taking place until after the fact. Am I the only one that missed it? Do I need to read better websites or do they need better PR?
posted by RavinDave at 7:08 AM on April 26, 2004


I was there and it was amazing. It was a huge, diverse crowd--lots of families, which probably bewildered the counter-protesters, who tried to paint the crowd (quite literally in one nutjob's case) as crazed lesbains who demand everyone get a "partial-birth" abortion.

men go there to meet babes...

I went there to support women's rights (and by extension, human rights), but hey, your tour guide probably knows my heart better than I do.
posted by turaho at 7:09 AM on April 26, 2004


Just know PP that all those "indecent" people...WON'T be voting for Bush! And those are just the people that were able to attend...
posted by SweetIceT at 7:11 AM on April 26, 2004


Evstar, it's what some folks call "parenting". Mind you, I'm not disagreeing with you.

ParisParamus, do George Bush and John Ashcroft share your position? Please correct me if I am wrong, but I thought they wanted to abolish abortion altogether.
posted by Eekacat at 7:14 AM on April 26, 2004


I was there, with my brother, mom, wife, and daughter. None of us is lesbian (though two of us like having sex with women).
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:17 AM on April 26, 2004


I was planning to go but plans fell through at the last minute... but a fair number of people I know got there. RavinDave, I think to some degree they count on word of mouth... they've had a website up for ages, but you'd have to know to go look at it, I guess. I live in a liberal area, so it's been talked about for months, but I'm pretty sure I first heard about it from a friend, not a news story or something.

Any chance the abortion rights people might admit that abortion, other than to genuinely save the life of the mother, probably shouldn't be legal beyond the first trimester? How about some nuance; not all control on abortion is an evil republican plot? That's my position. And it's probably most decent people's.

88% of abortions take place in the first trimester. No one wants to carry a baby for 6 months only to abort it. When that happens, you simply have to trust that the woman is capable of making the choice for herself, that something significant enough changed to cause her decision. If you won't trust that woman with a decision like this, how could you trust her with a child?

And the problem with compromise is that there is a strong anti-abortion movement in this country that really does want to abolish it altogether. They are currently using a chip-away tactic rather than calling for an all-out ban.

Personally, I have no problem with abortion in the second or even third trimester; I don't believe people take that decision lightly, and I don't believe an unborn fetus has any sort of meaningful experience, certainly not to the degree that animals we routinely kill do.

But you're right that there are people who have more moderate views, more like some of the european laws about abortion. And there just isn't really a place for them at anyone's table. They end up having to choose which is more important to them - that women can have an abortion in the first trimester, or that they can't have one at 6 months.
posted by mdn at 7:37 AM on April 26, 2004


RavinDave:

I found out through Air America.
posted by jpoulos at 7:48 AM on April 26, 2004


I went to a concert that weekend (where I heard Dan Bern for the first time and he blew me away) and heard Gloria Steinem make some interesting points during an evening that was mostly devoted to jokes and music.

She said that it was interesting that generally the same people who were in favor of abortion were also against the death penalty, and that the same people who were against abortion were often in favor of the death penalty. In both cases these positions seemed contradictory. The link she made there was that it was about who should have the power to make such decisions -- did we trust the state with this power?

She also made a link between people who were against the right to marriage for gays and people who were against birth control and/or abortion, and vice versa. And that here the connection seemed to have more to do with whether one was in favor of any sexual union that could not result in pregnancy and children.

I also rode into work in a cab this weekend with a legislator from California going to the march and an immigrant cab driver at the wheel. When the cab driver asked why the government was opposed to abortion, and was given the dual reasons of religion and a certain feeling that sometimes women might not know what was best for themselves and needed to be helped to the right decision, he was quite keen on the latter idea, and felt that women really couldn't make their own decisions. That just really kind of sucked.
posted by onlyconnect at 8:03 AM on April 26, 2004


"this type of lesbian replete ..."
I must assume that your use of this phrase was meant to be derisive and dismissive of the participants in yesterday's march (please correct me if I'm wrong about that). Paradoxically, you bring up what to me was one of the most empowering aspects of the march.

The feminist movement in the United States has had a long and often conflicted relationship with its gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender constituents. In part because of this history, one of the most touching parts of yesterday's march (which unfortunately I could not attend, but which I did watch from beginning to end on CNN) was the explicit connection made by both the speakers and the marchers between reproductive and sexual freedom.

As a lesbian who does not intend to reproduce biologically, I arguably have little stake in the current assault on reproductive freedom for women across the world. However, it has always been crystal clear to me that my involvement in the pro-choice movement is inevitable -- the right of every woman to be free to make reproductive choice is inextricably linked to my right to be free of governmental intrusion into my sexual choices.

What I found overwhelming watching those throngs of people was the very public recognition of this intersectionality -- that a woman's right to control her own body does not begin and end with her choices about child birth, but encompasses so many other choices she makes in the course of her life. And that, in my opinion, is why there were so many lesbians there (not to mention all the men I saw in the crowds).
posted by lassie at 8:08 AM on April 26, 2004 [1 favorite]


I was there (not a lesbian, although I'm flexible) and I thought there was plenty of nuance. Frankly, I'm not down with a lot of the "smash the state" types and I'm probably more centrist than most but we were all there to support Choice.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:18 AM on April 26, 2004


Karen Hughes has done ParisParamus one better and equates these persons with terrorists! So which talking point will be the official one?
posted by nofundy at 8:55 AM on April 26, 2004


Hush, PP. Let these folks stand up and show exactly who they are, as PETA does.

Hush, jfuller. Let PP stand up and show exactly who he is, as Pat Roberston does.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:58 AM on April 26, 2004


Let's get something straight. Pro-choice means nothing. You may choose chocolate instead of coffee, baseball instead of basketball and so on. What these people defend is actually murder, so it's more precise to call it a March for Murder. But murder is too vague as well; you may have to commit a murder in self-defense. This is a March for the Murder of Innocent Children. Hence, for the sake of precision, it is a March for Infanticide.

ps: I saw a few hours one of the most depressing pictures of all time. One of the pro-child murder advocates was dressed up as a prisoner and carrying a poster "I can hardly wait to have an abortion" or something like that. And she seemed to be actually pregnant (2-4 months I'd say). How can anyone be anxious to murder an unborn baby?
posted by 111 at 9:02 AM on April 26, 2004


"ParisParamus, do George Bush and John Ashcroft share your position? Please correct me if I am wrong, but I thought they wanted to abolish abortion altogether."

Maybe they do--that's not my position. But nor is mine that of the pro-choice camp, who seem to think that any control on abortion is unacceptable.

Just because simpletons take a position doesn't mean they're necessarily wrong; even stopped clocks are right twice daily.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:12 AM on April 26, 2004


So 111 is birth control pre-emptive murder?
posted by SweetIceT at 9:16 AM on April 26, 2004


So 111 is birth control pre-emptive murder?


SweetIceT, no. Murder is a fact. It's not hypothetical. Birth control and abortion are different issues and I'm sure you wouldn't want to derail the thread, which is about the march for the killing of innocent children.
posted by 111 at 9:23 AM on April 26, 2004


I was there and the simplistic way that both sides frame such a complex issue put me off. I really don't think that this is a black and white issue but both sides are so militant.

I agree with Evstar that the small children paraded around with signs and placards were very disturbing. I also spent some time listening to the pro-life 'jesus freaks' and it really amazed me just how uneducated and naive many of them were.
posted by batboy at 9:26 AM on April 26, 2004


111: do you have a link to that picture and confirmation that it was a pro-choice supporter? Because that sounds a lot like the kind of costumes some of the counter-protesters were wearing.
posted by turaho at 9:32 AM on April 26, 2004


I'm sure you wouldn't want to derail the thread, which is about the march for the killing of innocent children.

Wow.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:33 AM on April 26, 2004


batboy,

Political debate is often framed by extreme views that represent a minority of supporters. With abortion, the language allows you to believe that a couple has a choice to have sex and accept the consequences or that the woman has ultimate control over issues regarding pregnancy because the child grows in her body.

You may have an opinion that does not fit into either camp squarely. I know I do, but political arguments are aimed at the lowest common denominator.

For the most part, I find that what you do with your body is none of my business. The sole reason I'd vote for a pro-choice candidate over a pro-life candidate who are otherwise virtually the same is that abortion is an issue of privacy, not women's rights in my mind. Thanks for the roads, Uncle Sam, but stay out of everyones bedroom.
posted by sequential at 9:48 AM on April 26, 2004


Regardless of the suffix you attach after "Pro-", there's some good news to come out of the march: Ali G was there. Can a new season be far behind?
posted by herc at 10:23 AM on April 26, 2004


That was the most white people I've ever seen in DC. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by NortonDC at 10:26 AM on April 26, 2004


At the risk of sounding old and too cool, that appeared to be the biggest protest I've ever seen in DC. I volunteered at the Greenbelt Metro station where many of the buses came in from out of the area. It was great to see so much enthusiasm and so many young women. I was pretty wiped out after 5 hours of bus greeetings and didn't make it downtown.

Like every issue there are folks who are extreme on both sides and events like this tend to draw out the extremists. But all the arguing in the world (or here) isn't likely to change the minds of those with the most extreme positions. There's a great photo on the Washington Post site of an anti-abortion protestor with a sign that says "God Hates You." What religion is that? Can we all agree that man is no more representative of Christians than the most extreme protesters seen yesterday reperesent pro-choice participants?

Of course everyone would prefer that abortions are not ever needed, just as we'd all prefer that no tonsilectomies were ever needed. (Yes an abortion does have greater implications than a tonsilectomy.) But sometimes its the best choice for the individual, and its complicated, and it's not easy.

For those who believe abortion is a black and white issue of murder, I suspect they'll never get or accept the idea that abortion and all repoductive rights are complicated, personal choices that few take lightly. This protest and the fight to come is about preventing those people with the black and white view from making up the rules for everyone else.
posted by Red58 at 10:47 AM on April 26, 2004


"And the problem with compromise is that there is a strong anti-abortion movement in this country that really does want to abolish it altogether. They are currently using a chip-away tactic rather than calling for an all-out ban."

Change "abortion" to "gun" above and you succinctly capture the 2nd Amendment argument, no? So, how many of you "pro-choice" folks are also "pro-gun", or what is it you don't understand?
posted by Pressed Rat at 10:52 AM on April 26, 2004


Pro choice, pro second amendment enforcement (though I've never owned a firearm). Find a new tactic because any ol' libertarian tendency will really fluster that one. And I don't even think of myself as libertarian.
posted by NortonDC at 10:57 AM on April 26, 2004


not to derail the thread or anything.....
posted by Red58 at 10:57 AM on April 26, 2004


Pressed Ray's point is still a good one though. Most anti abortion activists are probably the same people that want to right to own assault rifles.
posted by chunking express at 11:05 AM on April 26, 2004


Change "abortion" to "gun" above and you succinctly capture the 2nd Amendment argument, no? So, how many of you "pro-choice" folks are also "pro-gun", or what is it you don't understand?

I'm glad you support an amendment guaranteeing a woman's right to control her own body, then. That is what you were implying, as anything else would be a really shitty straw man of an analogy, right?

Most anti abortion activists are probably the same people that want to right to own assault rifles.

I agree. I mean, without legally-obtained assault rifles it would be much harder to assasinate doctors.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:10 AM on April 26, 2004


Change "abortion" to "gun" above and you succinctly capture the 2nd Amendment argument, no? So, how many of you "pro-choice" folks are also "pro-gun", or what is it you don't understand?

No, I think you're right- this is a classically american problem, that we're unable to have reasonable discussions because both sides are too concerned about whether they'll ultimately "win" or "lose", and both sides in many arguments often do use sneaky tactics to push their agendas.

however, I think the anti-abortion lobby is much more concerned about ending abortion than gun-control advocates are for getting rid of guns. Anti-abortion people believe that abortion is fundamentally wrong and a crime, an actual murder of a human being. There is no room for compromise with such a belief. If you really think it's equivalent to killing a fifth grader, how can you compromise on it? It's a faith-based belief on what life is.

The gun control advocates do not have such beliefs. They simply think that the current laws allow too many dangerous weapons to get into dangerous hands. They're concerned with safety, not overarching unshakable moral principles. If the stats were to change, and it was shown that americans could live with guns safely, things would be different. As it is, they're trying to advocate regulations that would improve safety, such as having licenses (like we have for cars), or for manufacturers employing a technology that would only allow registered users to use the gun, or something like that. So I appreciate your point, but I think there are significant differences.
posted by mdn at 11:13 AM on April 26, 2004


I consider myself pro-choice, but I do think there should be limitations put on abortions past 20 weeks. From what I've read, most of the late-term abortions are done to save the life of the mother, or because the fetus is in serious trouble, and probably will not survive after birth. I think those are obvious reasons for those types of abortions, but I don't think people should have abortion-on-demand after 20 weeks. That's my opinion, though, and I respect others who have different views.

As mdn said, as a moderate I don't really feel like I have a place in marches like this. It seems to be "all or nothing", and I'm not necessarily comfortable with that.

Just my $0.02.
posted by greengrl at 11:22 AM on April 26, 2004


turaho, she was also wearing anti-Bush slogans all over her grey uniform, so I don't think it was an anti-abortion irony.
posted by 111 at 11:33 AM on April 26, 2004


Change "abortion" to "gun" above and you succinctly capture the 2nd Amendment argument, no? So, how many of you "pro-choice" folks are also "pro-gun", or what is it you don't understand?

I'm pro-choice and pro-gun, and my views are probably relatively extreme in both cases, but I'm not sure what your point is. There are plenty of people on both sides of this issue - and many others - who think that the state's right to legislate this issue is unconnected to the state's right to legislate other issues. For example, I would certainly wager there are plenty of pro-gun folks who are also pro-life, and that there are plenty of pro-death penalty folks who are pro-life. Not everyone bases their opinions on individual topics on their ideas about the appropriate power of the state in a general sense.
posted by me & my monkey at 11:43 AM on April 26, 2004


111: Do you have a link?
posted by turaho at 12:00 PM on April 26, 2004


Want to prevent abortions? Fine. Make birth control available, including condoms and morning after pills. Stop teaching abstinence only "sex ed" courses. Stop gag rules that prevent people from discussing all options. Prevent rape and incest. These things will all prevent unwanted pregnancies before they begin.

Prevent horrible birth defects. Prevent threats to maternal health. Mitigate poverty. These things will prevent pregnacies from becoming "unwanted" pregnancies.

Some of you would be wise to remember that choice works both ways. A woman can choose to have a baby, just as she can choose to terminate one.
posted by ilsa at 12:17 PM on April 26, 2004


Want to prevent abortions? Fine. Make birth control widely and inexpensively available, including condoms and morning after pills. Stop teaching abstinence only "sex ed" courses. Stop gag rules that prevent people from discussing all options. Prevent rape and incest. These things will all prevent unwanted pregnancies before they begin.

Prevent horrible birth defects. Prevent threats to maternal health. Mitigate poverty. These things will prevent pregnacies from becoming "unwanted" pregnancies.

Some of you would be wise to remember that choice works both ways. A woman can choose to have a baby, just as she can choose to terminate one.
posted by ilsa at 12:24 PM on April 26, 2004


Generally speaking, I agree with mdn.

Just to clarify, my personal belief is that the government should stay out of the business of making laws to tell women what they can do with their bodies - in that sense, at least academically, I'm pro-choice. I also believe that the right of personal access to firearms should not be legislated away. Without delving into "what-if" arguments regarding those positions, I find it of interest that both are considered by their proponents, with some reason, to be "thin edge of the wedge" issues upon which no compromises can be made, or its off down the slippery slope to eventual banning altogether. As pointed out above, the obverse is also undoubtedly true - that there are pro-gun folks who are anti-abortion. One could argue that being pro on one and anti on the other, which ever position you take, is logically inconsistent. I am somewhat mystfied why those who are so vehement against compromise on the one issue (for the reason quoted) are so unappreciative of those using the same argument on the other issue.

That being said, abortion is undisputably the taking of a life unable to defend itself and hence looks a lot like murder to me, whereas the fact of firearm possession only implies the potential for use or misuse with similar outcome. One hopes that all parties exercise their rights on both issues with discretion and restraint.
posted by Pressed Rat at 12:28 PM on April 26, 2004


That's my position. And it's probably most decent people's.

posted by ParisParamus at 4:01 AM PST on April 26


well you know, that's just supposition on your part. 500,000 people (consrvative estimate) think otherwise. glad you know what 'most people' are thinking.

and i love the way you snuck in that 'decent' before 'people'. If people don't think like you, they must not be good people.

nice.
posted by Miles Long at 12:53 PM on April 26, 2004


That being said, abortion is undisputably the taking of a life unable to defend itself and hence looks a lot like murder to me, whereas the fact of firearm possession only implies the potential for use or misuse with similar outcome.

Okay, bullshit. If abortion was "undisputably" anything, we wouldn't be disputing it now, would we. The rest of your logic falls flat in the face of you shaping it around a term you set for yourself alone as definite.

"Ending life" and "taking a life" are two huge freaking differences which you altered slightly to imply as some non-existent set of "ground rules" for the debate. You can't base an entire comparitive argument between murder and abortion simply by declaring that the two are the same, because you say so.

Not sure how the "misuse" thing comes in considering the sole purpose of a firearm is to end life, but the entire analogy is becomming increasingly more flawed by demanding that the issue begins at the level of assuming an abortion is "taking a life."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:01 PM on April 26, 2004


turaho, sorry I don't.

Want to prevent abortions? Fine. Make birth control available, including condoms and morning after pills. Stop teaching abstinence only "sex ed" courses. Stop gag rules that prevent people from discussing all options. Prevent rape and incest. These things will all prevent unwanted pregnancies before they begin.

ilsa, you seem to imply that either the State should provide for every single need of every single woman like a benevolent sugar daddy or else let them roam free and kill babies at will. Why not promote restraint and self-discipline? Why don't you exercise control over your bodies before you get unwanted pregnancies? Some women seem to be requiring nothing short of chaperones to keep them from straying. Next thing you know, some feminists will defend the return of State-sponsored chastity belts.

A woman can choose to have a baby, just as she can choose to terminate one.

I beg to differ. Nobody has or will ever have the right to murder innocent children.
posted by 111 at 1:13 PM on April 26, 2004


This might be a minor point, but despite what the title says above this was not called the "March for Choice." It was the "March for Women's Lives." Sure, a large majority of people were specifically there for the topic of abortion rights, but there were many people/groups there marching for other issues, such as access to health care, global and family planning, justice issues, and so forth. It seems the mainstream media was quick to paint it as simply an abortion rights march though, ignoring all the other issues.

Oh, and Evstar, you might want to read about the baby bloc.
posted by gluechunk at 1:21 PM on April 26, 2004


That's my position. And it's probably most decent people's.

well you know, that's just supposition on your part. 500,000 people (consrvative estimate) think otherwise.


Miles Long, I actually agree with the sentiment ParisParamus expressed in the paragraph that quote was taken from, if not the phrasing... and I'm by most accounts a flaming liberal. I believe abortion should be legal but I also think it needs regulation.

In my opinion, the more strident members of the pro-choice movement lose a lot by ignoring the nuances and smoothing over the complexity of the issue. I've heard embryos referred to as "just a ball of cells" and abortion referred to as "a medical procedure, no different from appendectomy" many, many times by fellow pro-choicers and it makes me sick. Simplifying the issue to this degree relinquishes the appearance of moral highground to pro-lifers, who can then claim they're the only ones who care that abortion ends a life or that it can be psychologically difficult for a woman who chooses it. I wish more pro-choicers realized that it is possible to make a case for the necessity of legal abortion without acting as if it's the same thing as having one's tonsils out.
posted by purplemonkie at 1:24 PM on April 26, 2004


XQUZYPHYR

No more bullshit than you wanting to ignore the point for the sake of an argument over semantics or stating that the sole purpose of a firearm is to end life - substitute "termination" then, if it makes you more comfortable, but acknowledge that the abortion debate by its nature has to be couched in terms of arguing over "when life begins" so we are made more comfortable about the troublesome feeling that by aspect it very much looks like murder. It's not that much different from the mental gymnastics used by the NRA in opposing the ban on assault rifles on the grounds of their supposed use for "sporting purposes." Both positions are disingenuous.
posted by Pressed Rat at 1:28 PM on April 26, 2004


It's too bad that you don't have a link to that picture, 111. With pictures being so easy to doctor and with the message of that person being fairly counter to the spirit of the pro-choice movement (which is concerned with providing access to abortion NOT advocating abortions for everyone), you can probably understand my wanting to see it for myself. Especially because it's so inflammatory and also happens to dovetail nicely into your argument against the pro-choice movement. Thankfully there are many more photographs of real, intelligent people speading the true message of the march available for anyone to see, including those linked in the post.
posted by turaho at 1:40 PM on April 26, 2004


What me & my monkey and Ilsa said.

111, were you deliberately missing the point of Ilsa's post?
posted by small_ruminant at 1:44 PM on April 26, 2004


Do I need to read better websites or do they need better PR?
Thought it was posted here as a thread.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:45 PM on April 26, 2004


It saddens me to see so many knees jerk in lock-step.

What few of you seem to realize, or care about, is that all your roaring serves to rush and confuse and burrow and hide and smallen and crush and tighten and constrict the "me's" and "I's" -- individuals -- who are at the quiet core of your storm.

Why would I, desperate and scared, want to join any of you, you with your fangs bared and spit, blood, shit, cum, words flying at each other, at me, for me, against me, around me?

You all -- ALL of you -- made me want to kill myself.

Shut up and leave me alone.
posted by dfowler at 1:48 PM on April 26, 2004


ilsa, you seem to imply that either the State should provide for every single need of every single woman like a benevolent sugar daddy or else let them roam free and kill babies at will. Why not promote restraint and self-discipline? Why don't you exercise control over your bodies before you get unwanted pregnancies?

I can't speak for ilsa, but my interpretation of her statement was that if you're really concerned about the prevalence of abortion, it makes sense to address the root causes of demand for abortion, rather than leave those causes unchecked and relying on preventive legislation.

Nobody has or will ever have the right to murder innocent children.

Really? Do you oppose the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq? I'm sure a few innocent children died as a result. How about the idea of "just war" in general? You might think that's a cheap shot - I do, to a certain degree - but most moral decisions of any significance aren't as clear-cut and easy as you seem to think. I can think of plenty of hypotheticals in which the "moral" decision of most people would result in the deaths of innocent children.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:51 PM on April 26, 2004


ilsa - A woman can choose to have a baby, just as she can choose to terminate one.


111 - I beg to differ. Nobody has or will ever have the right to murder innocent children.

Differ all you please Mr. 111, but you've obviously missed the point entirely. First, abortion is currently a legal "right", so you appear to be incorrect in your defiance. Second, whether its murder or not is between you, your God, and your conscience. Kindly leave everybody else free of your opinions. We appear to be capable of making decisions without you. Which leads me to point three, regardless of "rights", women have, and have always had the ability to choose whether to have a baby or not, just as any of us have the ability to shotgun a pre-schooler (depending on the availability of the weapon, of course). You might actually come to understand the meaning of the word "rights" if you take a look at them as regards ability to choose, instead of assuming that all rights are based on your moral code. There's a suggestion for you in there, if you care to look beyond yourself a bit.
posted by Wulfgar! at 1:56 PM on April 26, 2004


111, you use the word murder a lot here. You have said you are a Christian. Where does it say in the bible the womb is "life"?
posted by thomcatspike at 1:58 PM on April 26, 2004


In my opinion, the more strident members of the pro-choice movement lose a lot by ignoring the nuances and smoothing over the complexity of the issue. I've heard embryos referred to as "just a ball of cells" and abortion referred to as "a medical procedure, no different from appendectomy" many, many times by fellow pro-choicers and it makes me sick. Simplifying the issue to this degree relinquishes the appearance of moral highground to pro-lifers, who can then claim they're the only ones who care that abortion ends a life or that it can be psychologically difficult for a woman who chooses it. I wish more pro-choicers realized that it is possible to make a case for the necessity of legal abortion without acting as if it's the same thing as having one's tonsils out.

An embryo is a life. But it also is just a ball of cells. Any relevance you give to the fact that nine months from now it can become a human being is purely at the whim of the individual. To decry calling an embryo an embryo- to somehow imply that stating the truth is wrong- is not a concession to "moral high ground," it's a concession to outright irrationality.

How important and relevant a ball of cells are to you is your choice. But to say that it's a bad thing to understand your body is absurd. How you can claim the detailed examination of biological processes as opposed to religious arguments for fertility as "smoothing over the complexity of the issue" is beyond me.

but acknowledge that the abortion debate by its nature has to be couched in terms of arguing over "when life begins" so we are made more comfortable about the troublesome feeling that by aspect it very much looks like murder.

I most certainly will not, because I simply don't. I don't "feel more comfortable" about abortion because I've "convinced myself" that "life hasn't begun." I'm perfectly well aware that an embryo, just like a cell, skin, or a cancerous tumor is a living organism that lives while it remains attached to its host. I choose to realize that none of these could survive as a living being rather than believe that the potential for one to become as such a year down the line gives it special protection the others do not.

There's nothing to convince me about in terms of scientific fact. "When life begins" is a moot point- everything associated with the human body is living until it's not, but I've never heard of murdering hair. Or murdering cancer.

Though an embryo is human (duh-what else could it be? Dolphin?) The anti-choice argument can't argue that an embryo is a human being, because it simply isn't true. Instead, they insist on declaring that which cannot live on its own a living thing- hence "life beginning in the womb." The real meaning of "when life begins" is when one chooses to perceive an embryo as a human being, regardless of the bioligical viabilty of the embryo as such.

We share 99.99% of the same genetic structure as monkeys, yet killing a monkey isn't murder. We eat steaks and burgers daily but would vomit if served our housepets on a platter. Law, and social structure, dictates what we percieve as killing by means of emotional attachment. What the right-wing ignorantly labels as "pro-abortion" is in fact the desire to allow an individual the CHOICE to determine how they emotionally attach themselves to what occurs within their womb- as oppsed to the so-called "pro-life" movement, which seeks to collectively enforce their perceptions of other people's biological functions on the world. To a Christian conservative, what a mother feels is going on in her body many be different that what the Christian conservative thinks. To which I say, with no regret or inquiry, tough shit.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:06 PM on April 26, 2004 [1 favorite]


dfowler has a good point...
posted by LouReedsSon at 2:26 PM on April 26, 2004


dfowler has a good point...

I'm sorry, but do you care to clarify exactly what that was?
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:30 PM on April 26, 2004


I'm perfectly well aware that an embryo, just like a cell, skin, or a cancerous tumor is a living organism that lives while it remains attached to its host.

You're perfectly well-aware of something that's incorrect: neither a cell nor skin nor a cancerous tumor is a "living organism". They are (and always will be incapable) of surviving outside of their "host". Given enough time, this is generally untrue of a human embryo.

Furthermore, while an embryo may be a "ball of cells", a fetus is an organism, with discrete functional organs and physical structures. The debate over abortion cannot be carried out as if it only concerns a shapeless clump of cells.
posted by Danelope at 3:08 PM on April 26, 2004


I'm sorry, but do you care to clarify exactly what that was?

Just that some do argue here with much contempt... I'm guilty of it as well with my your-side-sucks mentality. I wanted to sling shit here too, but for some reason I can't explain yet, the d-man moved me! :)

Carry on.
posted by LouReedsSon at 3:14 PM on April 26, 2004


can the pro-lifers turn out 500-800 thousand people - hah.... bring it on.

from the looks of things there were just a few scary white guys from the other side of the debate (some of your buddies paris?) with "god hates you" signs.


good for everyone who went to the event.
posted by specialk420 at 3:20 PM on April 26, 2004


I think that after September 11, the American people are valuing life more and we need policies to value the dignity and worth of every life. President Bush has worked to say, let's be reasonable, let's work to value life, let's reduce the number of abortions, let's increase adoptions. And I think those are the kinds of policies the American people can support, particularly at a time when we're facing an enemy and, really, the fundamental issue between us and the terror network we fight is that we value every life.

Karen Hughes, on CNN's Late Edition, 4/25/04.

So, we "value life." We value the "dignity and worth of every life." I think the people who were executed in Texas and bombed to death in Iraq would, if they could, say otherwise. Do Karen Hughes and her boss only value life when it's in the womb?
posted by RakDaddy at 3:22 PM on April 26, 2004


turaho, you're totally right, it was a very strong image that I should have saved (if only I knew how).

Everybody else who addressed me: no matter how you entangle your consciences with pathetically convoluted justifications for the murder of innocent children, the fact is that abortion is just that, murder. This is not about Iraq or embryology: it's about the right of innocent human beings to live. You are what you become; the ball of cells cannot be dumbly compared to similar structures for the simple fact that it is destined to become a living person just like one of you and your loved ones.
Except for very specific cases, ultimately abortion is a decision to deliberately kill an infant. Don't blame the State. You want an unrealistic welfare state that will cater to your every whim and a perfect society where rape, for instance, never happens. Don't delude yourselves. It was not a march for women's lives-- it was a march for child murder. If you do anything whatsoever for the pro-infanticide cause, you'll be accomplice to a heinous, unjustifiable crime and that's it.


I'll leave you with this telling metaphor from the always entertaining and apparently pro-infanticide Wulfgar:

Which leads me to point three, regardless of "rights", women have, and have always had the ability to choose whether to have a baby or not, just as any of us have the ability to shotgun a pre-schooler (depending on the availability of the weapon, of course).
posted by 111 at 3:30 PM on April 26, 2004


executed in Texas
Not the only place that does it, so please call it what it is, the Death Penalty.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:34 PM on April 26, 2004


Danelope:

Yeah, the issue is a bit more complex than what both sides are portraying. At what point does a human life gain such moral significance that it must be protected even if such protection places other people's lives at risk? On the one hand, I'm uncomfortable with abortion. On the other hand, I'm also uncomfortable with the claim that every undifferentiated embryo is inherently human.

The just does not seem to be a middle ground here. It is considered to be undreasonable to both suggest that the morning after pill should be widely available, perhaps even an OTC drug, and suggest that even first late-first trimester abortions should be avoided.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:40 PM on April 26, 2004


How can anyone be anxious to murder an unborn baby?

111: Cite your anecdote with actual evidence (which you have failed to do, despite several requests) and then maybe I'll address your jejune argument. I'll only say that without an actual example, your argument looks about as unlikely as an Iraq-WMD connection. Is this what's intended for legitimate argument? Make up shit you can't substantiate, and then hope that you can rally people to your cause with lies? Goddam, that sounds like William Joseph Simmons in the 1920s.
posted by ed at 3:40 PM on April 26, 2004


gluechunk, I don't denounce the bringing of small children to rallies like this because of the inherent danger (but I still think it's stupid to bring a kid to any rally where a riot might break out) I just think it's ethically unsound. It's like circumcising a baby before he can decide whether or not he wants his own penis mutilated.
posted by Evstar at 3:58 PM on April 26, 2004


it's about the right of innocent human beings to live. You are what you become; the ball of cells cannot be dumbly compared to similar structures for the simple fact that it is destined to become a living person just like one of you and your loved ones.

"You are what you become?" Does potential equal being? Is a fetus, which if nurtured will likely become a human being, a human being itself? How about the embryo at the moment of conception? How about the sperm and egg that will, if allowed, create that embryo? Where did you receive your definitive answers to these questions, anyway? Science? Religion?

This all strikes me as a bit more ambiguous than "child murder". In any case, you still didn't answer my questions earlier in the thread, and your case might be bolstered if you do answer those questions.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:59 PM on April 26, 2004


There just does not seem to be a middle ground here.

Hence the logic of being Pro-Choice - this is too complex a decision to make a blanket determination of ahead of time by codifying it as law. Each individual situation is unique and the only person qualified to evaluate the unique situation is the pregant woman in question and her doctor.
posted by badstone at 4:01 PM on April 26, 2004


111, you are rather desperate for talking points, aren't you? I'm so very glad that I'm entertaining, but again you miss the point.

For the record, I am pro-infanticide. I'd love to be able to shotgun kids on the playground. What a fine sight the pinkish blood mist would make wafting away on the breeze ...

111, you once again state that which we all know, that you feel that abortion is child-murder. Several people have engaged you as regards your definitions, but you continually present them as if fact that we must counter. No. You are on the fringe, and not at all supportive of the law of the land. You keep asking us all not to delude ourselves when it is you who are deluded. I'm sorry. I feel your pain that people will choose things you don't appreciate. It happens to us all, especially those parents whose children I've shotgunned, Poor souls. But the truth is this: Women can and will choose for their own bodies. They will rid themselves of parasitic cells, or they will choose to hope for the potential of those cells becoming something resembling human. There are no guarentees, despite your devisive decisions to the contrary.

Heres an idea, why don't we start celebrating conception dates instead of birthdays? When the 111's of the world begin this practice, I'll believe they're serious in thier professed canon. But let me know, before hand. I'll have my shotgun ready ...
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:15 PM on April 26, 2004


Ladies and gentlemen, another Wulfgar gem:

Women can and will choose for their own bodies. They will rid themselves of parasitic cells, or they will choose to hope for the potential of those cells becoming something resembling human.
posted by 111 at 4:23 PM on April 26, 2004


Ladies and gentlemen, another Wulfgar gem

You may find his phrasing distasteful, but it's the simple truth. Until it can survive outside the womb, it's a parasite. It may be a benign parasite, a desired parasite, but it's a parasite all the same.

You still haven't answered any of my questions. Why not? I would very much appreciate your answers, actually.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:26 PM on April 26, 2004


For whomever brought up the comparison between being Pro-Gun and Pro-Choice....If we passed a law today that outright banned gun ownership...

Would you give up your gun? Would any gun owner give up their gun? Would this solve the gun ownership problem?

If we passed a law today that outright banned abortion

Would abortion cease to exist? Would women stop aborting pregnancies?

There is your comparison!
posted by SweetIceT at 4:28 PM on April 26, 2004


says me & my monkey:

Until it [i.e., the baby] can survive outside the womb, it's a parasite.
posted by 111 at 4:35 PM on April 26, 2004


The only one who doesn't seem to understand that is you, 111. What point are you trying to make by allusion, and why can't you grasp that most of us understand things better than you do?
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:39 PM on April 26, 2004


don't try to confuse the issue with your crazy science talk!
posted by badstone at 4:40 PM on April 26, 2004


badstone nails it, folks. Being pro-choice is the middle-of-the-road argument. The right fringe (represented by the "you're all baby murderers!" chorus that has turned out in this thread) and the left fringe (represented by that abortion-lovin' woman in a picture that 111 saw somewhere) are the extremes. The centrists who dominated the march are the people working to keep abortion safe, legal, and rare.
posted by turaho at 4:42 PM on April 26, 2004


111, you seem to be critical of my wording, but you haven't addressed the validity of my statements, nor have you answered my questions. You would do better to focus on content, rather than rhetoric.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:45 PM on April 26, 2004


The right fringe (represented by the "you're all baby murderers!" chorus that has turned out in this thread) and the left fringe (represented by that abortion-lovin' woman in a picture that 111 saw somewhere) are the extremes. The centrists who dominated the march are the people working to keep abortion safe, legal, and rare.

The trouble with that statement is that this "left fringe" of which you speak doesn't exist, as far as I can tell. I've never heard or seen anyone enthusiastic about getting an abortion. To the staunchest proponents of abortion rights, abortions are still unpleasant and undesirable. To those who have abortions, they are simply less unpleasant and undesirable than the alternative.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:49 PM on April 26, 2004


the left fringe (represented by that abortion-lovin' woman in a picture that 111 saw somewhere)

um, I'm not convinced that that "fringe" actually exists anywhere besides 111's head. I live in Leftie Central and I honestly, truly, sincerely, cross my heart and hope to die, have not met a woman that wanted to have an abortion just for kicks or out of some bloodthirsty urge. Seriously, can anyone come up with some evidence of the existence of this "fringe" other than a Jack Chick comic?
posted by badstone at 4:50 PM on April 26, 2004


or, on preview, etc, etc...
posted by badstone at 4:50 PM on April 26, 2004


Hey, I don't think that fringe exists either, or if it does, it hardly has a voice in the movement. But in the interest of playing fair, I'm going to take 111's word on it. Like I said, it's suspicious that he can't provide the picture itself--but why would someone interested in intelligent debate make stuff up just to bolster his argument?

I'm as pro-choice as they come, people, but I don't deny that every movement has its share of crazy people.

All I'm saying is that if there are women out there who looooove getting abortions, 111 does himself and his argument a disservice by claiming they represent the pro-choice movement.
posted by turaho at 4:59 PM on April 26, 2004


Hence the logic of being Pro-Choice - this is too complex a decision to make a blanket determination of ahead of time by codifying it as law. Each individual situation is unique and the only person qualified to evaluate the unique situation is the pregnant woman in question and her doctor.

That is not the logic of pro-choice, it's the illusion of it. The two crystal clear sides of the argument are whether or not abortion should be legal.

There is a group of people who believe abortion should be legal, but that group does not equal pro-choice. Some are pro-privacy, but are lumped together with the "woman's right to choose" camp. There are a variety of other people who believe it should be legal if the mother's life is in danger, if it's in the nth trimester, if it's in the case of rape or incest and so on.

On the other side, you have people who believe abortion should be illegal, but that group doesn't equal pro-life. Some are religious and believe their deity forbids it. Others, are in fact, federalists, who believe there is no right to privacy. Still, there are others who fit into the grey area, but identify with the general themes of the pro-life camp. They might, for example, believe it should be illegal for teens without parental consent and a variety of other circumstances, but who are okay with it being legal in some cases.

The pro-choice logic does not account for those people who believe so strongly that a fertilized egg is a life. Don't be blinded by seemingly perfect logic. No matter how good the notion of choice may seem to you, others will see it as murder.

There is even another group of people who's opinions are unmentionable in popular debate. These people do not fall under the umbrella of pro-choice, though they may support the legal right to have an abortion. These people are called fathers. At no point after releasing his sperm does a father have any legal right to an opinion until birth.

If you are a man, try taking your female partner to an abortion clinic while she is pregnant. (Your mileage will vary widely.) You may not be allowed into pre-op counseling, even if married. If you are allowed, express your objection politely, but honestly. The councilor may recognize your argument, but she may have you escorted off the property by armed security. She may simply ask you to leave the room while the counseling continues or she may witness the two of you discussing the issue before issuing an opinion. The fact is, no matter what you say, as it currently enforced, it is a woman's right.

Don't get me wrong, I'd prefer it be a woman's right as opposed to being illegal. For the sake of clarity, I believe that abortion should be legal and in no way should my rights as a man be legislated into this mess. I'm more than happy working things out with my partner rather than having the conversation framed by some politician or lawyer. I'm simply trying to illustrate that the pro-choice logic is more of a self serving fallacy, not an all encompassing point of view.
posted by sequential at 5:09 PM on April 26, 2004


turaho, the pic.
posted by 111 at 5:16 PM on April 26, 2004


Bottom line...legislating away legal abortions will NOT eliminate them.....Rich women will still get safe abortions...Poor women however, will resort to other means...period....case closed.

Making abortion illegal simply will not end them. Do you think that they were non-existant before Roe V Wade? Want to know what the horrors of illegal abortion are...speak to women in their 70's and 80's.
posted by SweetIceT at 5:19 PM on April 26, 2004


sequential - I'm not sure why you claim that what you are saying disagrees what I am saying. You say it is "crystal clear", but then go on to show up muddy it really is. You perfectly illustrate all the complex facets of this issue and how those facets can be intrerpreted differently by different people. Again, hence the Pro-Choice logic of allowing the woman involved make her choice according to her beliefs and the situation she finds herself in.
posted by badstone at 5:20 PM on April 26, 2004


whow, bizarro typo. "show up muddy" = "show us how muddy"
posted by badstone at 5:23 PM on April 26, 2004


The fact is, no matter what you say, as it currently enforced, it is a woman's right.

How could it be otherwise, really? If the basis of the right to an abortion is the right to control one's own body, what alternative is there?
posted by me & my monkey at 5:25 PM on April 26, 2004


turaho, the pic.


Hmmm, a woman that pregnant holding that sign? 111, she's just fuckin' with your head and you fell for it ... hook, line and sinker. I wish I had her address that I could write her a letter congratulating her on how stupid she just made you look.
posted by Wulfgar! at 5:38 PM on April 26, 2004


sequential: It's amazing how the most nuanced arguments against abortion always come from those who believe it should remain legal. Thank you for highlighting some of the overlooked parts of this debate.

The pro-choice crowd will always faces opposition from people who see abortion as immoral. But what we in the movement are trying to say is you can't legislate morality--you can only legislate what will serve the common good. Consider the list posted by ilsa earlier in this thread: those ideas serve the common good, in that they foster communication and responsibility in the citizenry. And anyone who disagrees with contraception, sex education that goes beyond preaching abstinence, or abortion on moral grounds doesn't have to utilize those services.

The flaw in the argument of the pro-life* movement is they wish to create laws that have no purpose in serving society--they only serve their morality. I have yet to see an argument for outlawing abortion that is based on anything more than an appeal to emotion.

It's only when that fringe that wants to outlaw abortion is squelched can we start working on the real, human issues of abortion which you raise in your post, sequential. I don't think pro-choice supporters deny those problems exist. They just want to make sure everyone has a chance to make their own decisions.

*I know the terms "pro-choice" and "pro-life" are semantic dodges, but rather than getting into a pissing match over terminology, I prefer to call each side by the name they have chosen for themselves.
posted by turaho at 5:42 PM on April 26, 2004


Oh, and 111? I'm missing all the "anti-Bush slogans all over her grey uniform" in that picture, and since I personally saw people dressed like standing with the counter-protesters, I'm going to conclude that this woman is indeed not a pro-choice supporter.

I'm surprised you were so eager to take her mean-spirited "satire" at face-value.
posted by turaho at 5:49 PM on April 26, 2004


The fact is, no matter what you say, as it currently enforced, it is a woman's right.

How could it be otherwise, really? If the basis of the right to an abortion is the right to control one's own body, what alternative is there?


me & my monkey, I don't think the law is broken. I don't advocate a change to it. :-)

I'm not sure why you claim that what you are saying disagrees what I am saying. You say it is "crystal clear", but then go on to show up muddy it really is. You perfectly illustrate all the complex facets of this issue and how those facets can be interpreted differently by different people. Again, hence the Pro-Choice logic of allowing the woman involved make her choice according to her beliefs and the situation she finds herself in.

badstone, I don't agree with you, though I admit my logic is may be inaccurate.

1) Pro-choice, at it's heart, necessitates abortion is legal so that a choice can be made.

2) If abortion is legal, then people who believe it is murder will be unsatisfied.

3) If people who believe abortion is murder are unsatisfied, pro-choice is not a good match for these people.
posted by sequential at 5:49 PM on April 26, 2004


111: I'm also relatively sure this man doesn't have a uterus.

Okay, I'll shut up now. Sorry to keep poking into this thread, but going to the march really motivated me.
posted by turaho at 5:52 PM on April 26, 2004


Bottom line...legislating away legal abortions will NOT eliminate them.

Making murder, theft, drunk driving, and public urination illegal hasn't seemed to have eliminate any of these crimes. Hence, this is a specious argument.

If the basis of the right to an abortion is the right to control one's own body, what alternative is there?

Depending on who you ask, this isn't merely the matter of controlling one's own body. They're also controlling (and, in some cases, destroying) the body of another human being.
posted by Danelope at 6:01 PM on April 26, 2004


BUT by making it illegal...YOU are advocating that they destroy thier own bodies...because THAT is what will happen...well if you are unlucky enough to be a poor woman! It's not a human being...it's a human embryo.

Are all spontaneous (natural) abortions suicide?
posted by SweetIceT at 6:11 PM on April 26, 2004


I'm going to conclude that this woman is indeed not a pro-choice supporter.

Why sure, the pic is there for people to reach their own conclusions. Since you believe a fetus is a parasite, it does not really surprise me your self-delusion will turn that women into a "counter-protester". That`s probably the reason why she brought a camera and stood among the feminazi lesbians...

Bottom line...legislating away legal abortions will NOT eliminate them.....Rich women will still get safe abortions...Poor women however, will resort to other means...period....case closed.

Legislating away crime will not eliminate it, yet we keep trying to make our neighborhoods safer etc. Abortion is murder of an innocent child regardless of its legal status. It`s an individual choice to kill or save a human being.
posted by 111 at 6:17 PM on April 26, 2004


Depending on who you ask, this isn't merely the matter of controlling one's own body. They're also controlling (and, in some cases, destroying) the body of another human being.

Well, sure. However, we have one person we all agree is a human being - the pregnant woman. And we have another ... entity ... which may or may not be fully human, depending on who you ask. As far as I can tell, the people who believe it is human usually get this belief from their religious convictions - in other words, from some imaginary big man in the sky, who doesn't carry any weight in our legal system for reasons that should be clear and obvious to us all. Why should this entity be protected by the state, at the expense of the real human being carrying that entity against her will?
posted by me & my monkey at 6:23 PM on April 26, 2004


Are all spontaneous (natural) abortions suicide?

posted by SweetIceT


Abortion is murder of an innocent child regardless of its legal status.

posted by 111


Perhaps it's better to ask if a woman loses a baby due to a miscarriage, is it murder, suicide or something else?

Furthermore, what's the difference between a miscarriage and a pill that causes a miscarriage? A miscarriage and an abortion?
posted by sequential at 6:27 PM on April 26, 2004


Since you believe a fetus is a parasite

As much as you may find this distasteful, can you actually disagree that a fetus is a parasite in the biological sense of the word?

Abortion is murder of an innocent child regardless of its legal status.

You keep stating this as if it were fact, as if stating it over and over will make it so, yet you are unable to address anyone's questions about this. How do you know it's a child? When does it become a child, worthy of legal protection? Are there ever cases in which it's a morally acceptable choice to act in a harmful manner to a child, such as war?
posted by me & my monkey at 6:29 PM on April 26, 2004


Legislating away crime will not eliminate it, yet we keep trying to make our neighborhoods safer etc. Abortion is murder of an innocent child regardless of its legal status. It`s an individual choice to kill or save a human being.

I say again...Is spontaneous abortion suicide?

Is masturbation (or birth control for that matter) the prevention of an "innocent child"?

See...it's more complicated than you care to admit.
posted by SweetIceT at 6:30 PM on April 26, 2004


As many as 30 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, half of them before the woman even realizes she is pregnant. Fortunately, most women who miscarry, even more than once, can become pregnant again and give birth to a healthy baby. If you have had a miscarriage and want to try again, work with your doctor to learn the reason for the loss and to plan future pregnancies. Closely monitored pregnancies are especially important for women who have miscarried.

Your doctor may refer to a miscarriage as a “spontaneous abortion,” since “abortion” is the medical term for any interrupted pregnancy. A miscarriage, or spontaneous abortion, is the loss of a pregnancy before the fetus can survive outside the womb, usually within the first 20 weeks.



hmmm...almost ALL abortion procedures happen before 20 weeks
posted by SweetIceT at 6:38 PM on April 26, 2004


111: you sure became unpleasant towards me the second I disagreed with you. For the record, I have never stated that I believe a fetus is a parasite. I also gave you the benefit of the doubt when you said this woman was covered in anti-Bush slogans as if it were proof that she was pro-choice. And I care enough about people not to use the word "lesbian" as a perjorative slur or the word "feminazi" at all.

No wonder people accuse you of being a troll.

Anyway, I'll just say that since you believe pro-choice people are all pro-infanticide (look, i'll even cite it so you can't accuse me of putting words in your mouth) it does not really surprise me that your self-delusion will turn that women into a representative of the pro-choice movement.
posted by turaho at 6:38 PM on April 26, 2004


BUT by making it illegal...YOU are advocating that they destroy thier own bodies...because THAT is what will happen...

I'm not advocating making abortion illegal any more than I'm advocating anyone's "guaranteed right" to an abortion. While my personal belief is that abortion is a poor solution to the issue of pregnancy, there are no absolutes to be found in this world. No matter how clear-cut an issue seems, there will always be an exception that defies a rigorous belief.

I was raised a Catholic, and am fairly well-versed in the doctrine of Holy Mother Church. While Catholicism finds the practice of deliberately terminating pregnancy to be abhorrent, they make a sort of exception in the case of an ectopic pregnancy, in which case the section of fallopian tube where the embryo has implanted is removed and the embryo "indirectly" dies as a result. To me, this seems like Catholicism's way of trying to outwit the God in which they purportedly believe.

I'm no longer a Catholic. I believe that my opinions in such matters are governed by logic, caution and, above all, personal accountability (a rare commodity these days.) On the surface, abortion seems contrary to personal accountability. If you've created the human life brewing inside of you, you (read: both parents) should take responsibility for your actions and nurture it. Having it vacuumed from your womb seems like taking the easy way out.

(In much the same way that the previously-mentioned death penalty seems like taking the easy way out. Convicted murderers and the like should have the remainder of their lives consumed by work, in an effort to give back to the community from which they took.)

Can anyone definitively and factually state when "human" life truly begins? Where in the process from sperm + egg to embryo to fetus to newborn does it cease being a "ball of cells" and start being "human"? If science cannot provide a definitive answer, who is to say, and how can the at-conception opinion be deemed any more or less valid than the at-birth opinion in this land of freedom and liberty? This argument seems impossible to reconcile from a logical standpoint.

The argument can be rendered nearly moot, however, with the proper application of personal and societal accountability. If honest education, birth control, community resources, and so on were provided with the funding dedicated to serving up platitudes and faith-based bullshit, unwanted pregnancy would be diminished greatly.

I say again...Is spontaneous abortion suicide?

Abortion is a deliberate act by someone capable of choosing their actions. Suicide is a deliberate act by someone capable of choosing their actions. Miscarriage is an involuntary act. Masturbation is not fertilization, and no genetically unique entity has been produced as a result. Stop harping on these points, as they're invalid ones.
posted by Danelope at 7:20 PM on April 26, 2004


To follow up SweetIceT's comment here is a link to some information about early pregnancy loss. Briefly: generally the spontaneous abortion figure is thought to be around 15-20% of supervised pregnancies with 30% being a peak figure for women who become pregnant beyond their fourth decade of life. It should be emphasised that this figure represents only those pregnancies that have been detected and reported and therefore (obviously) ignores natural abortions that occur before the person was aware of the preganancy or informed a medical practionioner. As a result the true early pregnancy spontaneous abortion rate may be closer to 50%.
posted by snarfodox at 7:33 PM on April 26, 2004


Perhaps it's better to ask if a woman loses a baby due to a miscarriage, is it murder, suicide or something else?

The difference should be obvious if only you reawaken your common sense. What`s the difference between accidentally shooting someone during a hunt and carrying out an assassination plan?

As much as you may find this distasteful, can you actually disagree that a fetus is a parasite in the biological sense of the word?

Sure I can. Is there any species out there that breeds its own parasites after sexual intercourse?
Unlike "parasites", during the vast majority of pregnancies the baby causes no harm to the mother.
Furthermore, unlike most "parasites", the baby contributes to the survival of the species.
Finally, from the anthropological POV, the baby often helps the mother in her later years etc etc.
Again, a little honesty and common sense would help you see that the broad definition of "parasite" is just a preposterous, malicious metaphor people who endorse child killing have appropriated.

I say again...Is spontaneous abortion suicide?
Is masturbation (or birth control for that matter) the prevention of an "innocent child"?
See...it's more complicated than you care to admit.


Respectively, no and sometimes. But your nitpicking is a clear sign of hopelessness. Sticking to minutiae or exceptions so as to avoid facing the rule is a transparently desperate measure. We can think of dozens of specific circumstances and ponder their consequences but, just like most pregnancies happen to be more or less the same, most abortions are nothing but the brutal killing of a human being.
Imho, trying to evade the issue suggests you`re looking for some kind of makeshift excuse to grant you some peace of mind because, deep down, you know abortion is simply an act of murder.

turaho, it`s not about being pleasant. The truth is, I see no difference between you and, say, someone who favors ethnic cleansing or eugenics on account of "serving society" (as has been argued by other "scientifically-minded" people before you).
Having apparently run out of options, you bring up the troll card, resort to sheer wishful thinking (the "counter-protester") and keep blindly defending infanticide. How do you expect me to treat you?
No matter how you try to frame it, killing innocent children is monstrous, inexcusable and indecent.
posted by 111 at 7:34 PM on April 26, 2004


Depending on who you ask, this isn't merely the matter of controlling one's own body. They're also controlling (and, in some cases, destroying) the body of another human being.

Most abortions take place when the fetus is still smaller than your thumb. The embryo has the potential to become a person, but it's only through a personal belief system of sanctity that one could think of endowing it with rights at this stage.

But the woman's body is quite literally taken over by the growth inside her. All her bodily systems are rerouted to serve the nurturing of the fetus; her body is stretched to make room for it; she is forced to carry it and its food source and environment with her continuously - the idea that her body is taken over is not just some abstract statement about rights. Pregnant women have to consent to becoming alien pods to create new people. They should not be unwillingly forced to go through the process of bringing them into being.
posted by mdn at 8:08 PM on April 26, 2004


I'm shocked at how much your argument lacks nuance, 111. Your beliefs derive completely from the concept that a fetus has the same rights as a human being that's been born. You absolutely refuse to consider that your fundamental principle may be wrong. You do not understand how other people can disagree with you. In fact, you hold those people in complete contempt. You seem to believe that associating pro-choice supporters with murderers does in fact make them murderers. You have yet to make an argument that doesn't appeal to emotion.

And when I called you a troll up there, it wasn't to diminish your argument (unlike how you compare me to "someone who favors ethnic cleansing or eugenics" in an attempt discount my argument). No, I called you a troll because you are a rude, unpleasant man who takes little interest in finding common ground and would rather insult someone than try to have a civil conversation with them. I have tried to treat you with respect. Look where it got me.
posted by turaho at 8:08 PM on April 26, 2004


what's the difference between a miscarriage and a pill that causes a miscarriage? A miscarriage and an abortion?

posted by sequential


I believe you meant to quote this instead.

The difference should be obvious if only you reawaken your common sense.

posted by 111



What`s the difference between accidentally shooting someone during a hunt and carrying out an assassination plan?

I'll reword your question, since your associating a deer (or a duck) with the president, which I am certain was accidental. (I jest, but in my example the same result is reached for the same subject. In your example, the same result is reached with different subjects.)

"What is the difference between accidentally shooting your buddy while hunting as opposed to intentionally shooting her?"

It's the same defense in court, presumably. If the jury buys it in one case and not the other, regardless of the facts, I'd have to say the difference is in the time you spend in jail.
posted by sequential at 8:26 PM on April 26, 2004


Let these folks stand up and show exactly who they are, as PETA does.

Actually, a comparison between the pro-life movement and PETA is a lot more apt. (Shock pictures/stunts, Crusadelike fervor, ardent accusations of "murder," moral grandstanding, more notable us vs. them mentality.)

Pro-life's most vocal supporters in this thread, in fact, could learn a lot by rereading it, especially their own arguments, with "eating meat" in place of abortion.

There are many do believe that eating meat is just about tantamount to murder. Does the strength of their belief automatically make them right?
posted by rafter at 8:31 PM on April 26, 2004


just to be linguistically correct...the vast majority of parasites pose no noticeable harm to the host..in fact some are actually beneficial!

but I digress...

Because the embryo has the POTENTIAL to become a human...does not automatically make it one! That is the point I was trying to make with the "spontaneous abortion" I brought up. That IS a medical term..like it or not. The aborted fetus...may have made it to term...but statistics show somewhere between 30 to 50% of them do not make it past 20 weeks.

AND no one....NOT ONE person is advocating an abortion. I haven't had one myself...but I have spoken intimately about it with one person who had a legal abortion....and one who performed one on themselves long long before Roe V Wade. The first was a single mother barely able to care for a previous child...the second a mother of three who also could not afford another child and her husband even knew about what she was going to do! The thing that I know from both these conversations is this....Any abortion is NOT a pleasant procedure...and not a pain free. It's not something you would ever want to do again. It's not an easy decision to make you do have to live with your conscious after all....Oh and to this day...neither woman regrets the decision, though both regret that they had to make it. Both of these women are religious, by the way, and believe that God has forgiven them.

I find your insistance that these women are murderers to be wholly and totally distasteful!

Judge not lest ye be judged!
posted by SweetIceT at 9:06 PM on April 26, 2004


If honest education, birth control, community resources, and so on were provided with the funding dedicated to serving up platitudes and faith-based bullshit, unwanted pregnancy would be diminished greatly.

Yeah. I have always found it odd how many people on the anti-abortion side of the debate are also against sex education and birth control, which ups the odds of some uninformed fifteen-year-old getting pregnant and having an abortion in the first place.
posted by bargle at 9:12 PM on April 26, 2004


I wonder how much focus at this rally was on trying to bring the number of abortions down. Isn't it more empowering for women to actually, you know, choose not to get pregnant? The vast majority of pregnancies that lead to abortions are mistakes that could so easily have been avoided, if both the man and woman involved took sex more seriously. For me, responsibile sex from a male point of view is to wear a condom, whatever. Unless you're activley trying for kids, wear a condom. If she is on the pill, it doesn't matter. Wear a condom. From the female point of view, I'd abstain from sex for the two or three days you ovulate per month (I may be wrong on the length of time, but hey, better safe than sorry). Most women know this time as it's mid-cycle. If you are not sure you want to get pregnant or not, you probably don't want to get pregnant (or at least look at it this way). If the man is one of those guys that refuses to wear a condom, most definitely avoid having sex at the most "dangerous time" - or simply refuse sex outright with him. Part of the responsibility lies in saying "NO" to sex too (for EITHER gender).

This is the kind of messages that need to get drilled into people's heads.

In my long-term relationships, I've never had the problems of unwanted pregnancies. My son was planned, wanted and is loved.

Now wouldn't it be better to educate people to the extent that we could celebrate a drop in abortions? Isn't this the kind of goals we should be working toward?

It always amazes me how such a preventable thing demands such attention regarding after-the-fact treatment, especially in comparison to the neglect of before-the-fact advice that would completely circumvent all the after-the-fact problems. it's Monty Python-esque.

Before anyone says the obvious, I'm all for abortion in the event of genuine rape or critical health complications. Most definitely I'm saddened that there are so many abortions due to simple carelessness.
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:24 AM on April 27, 2004


Then SpaceCadet you are the first person to say "I am all for abortion...." Pro-Choice supporters don't even say that! Of course prevention is the best defense....but there is no method other than abstinence or sterilization is 100% effective. And No, women do not always know when they ovulate. It is even possible to ovulate during a woman's menstruation. This is from a woman who used birth control effectively and did not have children (not too many years before that is a definitive statement) as my boyfriend has had a vasectomy, I don't see that changing. There is something to bring up...If more men were taking responsibility...more would have a vasectomies. A barely invasive procedure that takes 20 minutes in a doctor's office. On no....instead the woman must have general anesthesia (dangerous in and of itself) just to protect the precious penis. But again I digress....The fact remains accidents will happen and abortions will occur. Safely for rich women and extremely dangerously for the poor. Poor women (and even more poor teenage girls) will die...that's right DIE trying to abort. They bleed to death because who is going to seek medical attention when you were attempting something illegal and will face charges "should" you live. Abortion and the resulting deaths will not go away simply because you legislate it. Education and access to birth control methods will reduce the number of abortions work to improve that!
posted by SweetIceT at 6:12 AM on April 27, 2004


SweetIceT, so you agree that it's better to reduce the overall number of abortions?

I agree with you that there is no absolute 100% guaranteed way to stop conception other than abstinance. However, women can still take a simple test to check if they are ovulating or not like this one. Even though these kits are very cheap, maybe it would be better to offer such kits at an even cheaper, subsidized price to encourage women to test when they are in their fertile period (normally a 1-2 days after ovulation). You might moan that it's an inconvenience, but hey, it's a heck of lot more convenient than going for an abortion. It's all about putting it into the public psyche.

Education and morality - two things that can both reduce abortions, and drive liberals stir crazy.
posted by SpaceCadet at 7:01 AM on April 27, 2004


XQUZYPHYR: To decry calling an embryo an embryo- to somehow imply that stating the truth is wrong- is not a concession to "moral high ground," it's a concession to outright irrationality.

I have a degree in biology. I know full well what an embryo is. I do not have a problem with calling an embryo an embryo (or a ball of cells for that matter, in the right context) but does upset me when people use the phrase "ball of cells" dismissively as if to say that an embryo is no different from any random tissue culture growing in a petri dish. I believe it is different; obviously you're free to disagree, but it's not necessary to imply that I'm ignorant or that I think it's a "bad thing to understand [my] body." I guarantee you that I understand my body better than the vast majority of women. (I even know how to tell when I'm ovulating without the use of one of those kits Space Cadet mentioned. Off topic, I know.)

How you can claim the detailed examination of biological processes as opposed to religious arguments for fertility as "smoothing over the complexity of the issue" is beyond me.

I have no idea how you got this from my statement. My feelings about abortion have nothing to do with religion; I'm an atheist and a scientist. And perhaps I should mention again that I'm staunchly pro-choice. You're attacking the wrong person here, really, for more reasons than I care to delve into in a public forum.
posted by purplemonkie at 7:15 AM on April 27, 2004


You keep stating this as if it were fact, as if stating it over and over will make it so, yet you are unable to address anyone's questions about this.

111 never has and never will attempt to support his opinions. Trying to persuade him to offer any reasons behind his statements is a waste of keystrokes. God said it, 111 believes it, and that settles it. It's the beautifully predictable battle cry of the anti-intellectual and the blind follower.

However, this parroting what people say back to them, as if seeing their own words in italics with certain phrases bolded will suddenly change their minds, does appear to be a new tactic. Kudos for the innovation, 111.
posted by Fenriss at 8:28 AM on April 27, 2004


You, on this thread, live in a dream world.
posted by mcgraw at 9:06 AM on April 27, 2004


If liberals like to think of themselves as progressive, wouldn't they be better promoting all the new tools available to women (very cheaply available), to prevent pregnancy from happening in the first place? We live in much more enlightened times now - isn't it better to educate people to help them avoid terrible situations than simply offering them a choice in terrible situations? I'm pro-choice, but I would like to see much much less women being in the awful position that they have to make this choice (like 95% less). I certainly think it's healthy to stigmatise abortion if it's purely used as a method of contraception. I fear rallies such as the one talked about in this thread simply wears away the stigma so that abortion will soon be as routine as a check-up at the dentists.

(sorry for labouring my point, but I think it's an important one).
posted by SpaceCadet at 9:18 AM on April 27, 2004


I'd abstain from sex for the two or three days you ovulate per month (I may be wrong on the length of time, but hey, better safe than sorry). Most women know this time as it's mid-cycle.

public service announcement: a recent study shows that women can ovulate more than once per month.
posted by badstone at 9:42 AM on April 27, 2004


SpaceCadet: I recommend you look into Planned Parenthood. The pro-life fringe may like to portray PP as a radical group that exists solely to encourage women to get abortions, but their true goal is providing education and access to birth control for everybody along with guaranteeing access to abortions to those who need them.

I certainly think it's healthy to stigmatise abortion if it's purely used as a method of contraception.

The "woman who uses abortion as a method of contraception" is largely a myth created by the pro-life fringe as a way of painting the pro-choice crowd as hedonistic and irresponsible. In reality, abortion is a serious medical procedure and any woman who has had one can tell you they'd prefer not to go through it again.

I also say it's cruel to stigmatize women who get abortions. I prefer education and access over ridicule any day.
posted by turaho at 9:44 AM on April 27, 2004


me: As much as you may find this distasteful, can you actually disagree that a fetus is a parasite in the biological sense of the word?

111: Sure I can. Is there any species out there that breeds its own parasites after sexual intercourse?
Unlike "parasites", during the vast majority of pregnancies the baby causes no harm to the mother.
Furthermore, unlike most "parasites", the baby contributes to the survival of the species.
Finally, from the anthropological POV, the baby often helps the mother in her later years etc etc.
Again, a little honesty and common sense would help you see that the broad definition of "parasite" is just a preposterous, malicious metaphor people who endorse child killing have appropriated.


Again, according to the biological definition of a parasite, none of your objections are supported. Parasites need not cause harm, they may contribute to the survival of the host species, and I would go so far as to say that during sexual reproduction, the offspring is a parasite until birth. At the point that "the baby often helps the mother", I suspect birth has already occurred, righ?
posted by me & my monkey at 10:18 AM on April 27, 2004


I prefer education and access over ridicule any day.

No you don't, turaho. Ridicule is your primary tactic in this thread. You live in a dream world.
posted by mcgraw at 10:26 AM on April 27, 2004


public service announcement: a recent study shows that women can ovulate more than once per month.

Very true, which is why the rhythm method is all but useless. The fertility awareness method, on the other hand, tells a woman when she is fertile based on her own body's signs rather than giving a general idea of when she could possibly be, perhaps, ovulating (maybe). It's dirt-cheap, it's very effective when done correctly, and women who are concerned about STDs or want extra peace of mind regarding pregnancy can use it in conjunction with condoms. I have no idea why FAM is not more widely taught, because beyond preventing pregnancy (or encouraging it, when the time is right) it gives the user an excellent understanding of how her body works.

And in response to SpaceCadet, what turaho said.
posted by purplemonkie at 10:30 AM on April 27, 2004


turaho says:

"You absolutely refuse to consider that your fundamental principle may be wrong. You do not understand how other people can disagree with you. "

The above statement is certainly true of turaho and wulfgar!

Dreamworld.
posted by mcgraw at 10:41 AM on April 27, 2004


The "woman who uses abortion as a method of contraception" is largely a myth

That's not entirely true. The number of women who do not use any form of birth control who get abortions is not insignificant. Note, however, reporting on this data is typically based on what the patient says, which leaves a wide margin of error. Though this isn't precisely what you describe, it is virtually the same. I don't believe there are any women who would say abortion is their primary method, though I'm always shocked when I hear people using the "piss method" or "rhythm method" as their only method of birth control.

In reality, abortion is a serious medical procedure and any woman who has had one can tell you they'd prefer not to go through it again.

That is the part that pro-life does it's most creative doctoring of. The reality is just as you say it. It is a serious medical procedure and it is not something I've ever heard someone say they looked forward to.

As has been repeated many times in this thread alone, education in sexual reproduction and contraception is the cornerstone of lowering the number of abortions performed every year. No one dreams of having an abortion. It's not a trip to Disney Land. Even the most fringe of the pro-choice movement don't want your daughters to end up receiving the procedure.

The primary reason given for why a woman is seeking an abortion is failed contraception. Contraceptive methods are not perfect, but the failure rate is largely adjusted by human error. The number of sexually active couples who use birth control in a manner other than it was prescribed represents the largest group of women who get abortions.

For example, the number of women who take the pill wrong is astounding. For the sake of safety, if you don't take the pill at the same time every day you should not rely on it. If you are sexually active and do not want a child, you should not rely on a man using a condom. Your options are significantly greater than a man's options. IUD? The patch? Depo? The sponge? Female condoms?

As a sexually active man who does not want a child, even if your partner uses the pill or other methods of contraception, you should use a condom.

"I'm on the pill, I don't know how I became pregnant" and "My partner used a condom" are the most popular reasons for unwanted pregnancies. They are also directly affectable by education.
posted by sequential at 10:41 AM on April 27, 2004


I'm sorry you feel that way, mcgraw. I'd say my primary tactics in this thread have been to give my take on the pro-choice position and to burst 111's balloon. It's too bad you'd rather focus on the latter and ignore the former. I should probably borrow a page from your playbook and just tell people I disagree with that they live in a dream world.

Now see, that last bit was ridicule.

On preview: mcgraw, I'm fully capable of saying that my fundamental principle may be wrong. That's why my stance is let the individual decide for themselves.
posted by turaho at 10:45 AM on April 27, 2004


Parasites need not cause harm, they may contribute to the survival of the host species, and I would go so far as to say that during sexual reproduction, the offspring is a parasite until birth.

Yes, but since when are parasites of the exact same species as the host?
posted by kindall at 11:06 AM on April 27, 2004


turaho says: That's why my stance is let the individual decide for themselves.

No, turaho, that's not the same thing. If your stance were, "I understand why you might see abortion as ending a (potential or existing) life, but I disagree," then you wouldn't have sounded so hypocritical. You have no respect for those who have a contrary opinion, and yet you slag them for doing the same thing. Dreamworld!

It's not that I disagree with you, turaho, it's just that you, Wulfgar! and XQUZYPHYR sound as self-righteous as you'd have us believe the folks on the Christian Right are. On this topic, you are self-righteous, arrogant and (to borrow from your playbook-- heh) "You absolutely refuse to consider that your fundamental principle may be wrong. You do not understand how other people can disagree with you."

Because you are hell-bent on the supremacy of your opinion, you are an externality—an outlier who needs to be removed from the discussion because you aren’t rational. If this makes no sense to you (as I’d imagine), refer to your flawed logic: That's why my stance is let the individual decide for themselves. (This is not questioning your fundamental opinion, or working to understand those with whom you disagree.)

Send me a postcard from Dreamworld, turaho. You may have valid points to make, but your claws and spite drown them out.
posted by mcgraw at 11:54 AM on April 27, 2004


badstone: public service announcement: a recent study shows that women can ovulate more than once per month.

badstone, are you suggesting ovulation testkits are completely useless? As I've already mentioned: there is no absolute 100% guaranteed way to stop conception other than abstinance, but surely the aim is to reduce abortions to a minimum. Check the stats (US). It's simple: the number of abortions carried out each year would be a lot lower if people exercised more care and took more personal responsibility. It's down to simple pragmatics: whether women want to inconvenience themselves before pregnancy, or whether they want to inconvenience themselves after pregnancy. I'm sure the vast majority of women having to make the tough choice of whether to abort or not wish they didn't have this decision to make in the first place.

The "woman who uses abortion as a method of contraception" is largely a myth created by the pro-life fringe as a way of painting the pro-choice crowd as hedonistic and irresponsible. In reality, abortion is a serious medical procedure and any woman who has had one can tell you they'd prefer not to go through it again.

turaho, the fact that there are way over 1,000,000 abortions carried out in the United States each year makes a mockery of your statement.
posted by SpaceCadet at 12:03 PM on April 27, 2004


If liberals like to think of themselves as progressive, wouldn't they be better promoting all the new tools available to women (very cheaply available), to prevent pregnancy from happening in the first place? We live in much more enlightened times now - isn't it better to educate people to help them avoid terrible situations than simply offering them a choice in terrible situations?

I think you'll find that in general, most liberals, progressives and libertarians do promote these tools and ideas, while many social conservatives and pro-life folks promote abstinence as the answer to all things sexual.

You, on this thread, live in a dream world.
You live in a dream world.
Dreamworld

Could you elaborate? Preferably without using the words "dream world?"
posted by me & my monkey at 12:13 PM on April 27, 2004


purplemonkie:Very true, which is why the rhythm method is all but useless. The fertility awareness method, on the other hand, tells a woman when she is fertile based on her own body's signs rather than giving a general idea of when she could possibly be, perhaps, ovulating (maybe). It's dirt-cheap, it's very effective when done correctly, and women who are concerned about STDs or want extra peace of mind regarding pregnancy can use it in conjunction with condoms. I have no idea why FAM is not more widely taught, because beyond preventing pregnancy (or encouraging it, when the time is right) it gives the user an excellent understanding of how her body works.

(my emphasis).

This is what gets me: we live in an age of understanding which gives us more armoury to prevention: why don't we use it?

As for rhythm method being all but useless, would it be so if you tested for ovulation on a daily basis?
posted by SpaceCadet at 12:14 PM on April 27, 2004


It's not that I disagree with you, turaho, it's just that you, Wulfgar! and XQUZYPHYR sound as self-righteous as you'd have us believe the folks on the Christian Right are. On this topic, you are self-righteous, arrogant and (to borrow from your playbook-- heh) "You absolutely refuse to consider that your fundamental principle may be wrong. You do not understand how other people can disagree with you."

Why you're grouping me into an accusation of that attitude is beyond me. My entire point is that there is no fundamental principle outside of the facts of what occurs in an abortion- it's solely up to each person to decide what those facts translate to through their emotional filter. The medical process performed is fact. The termination of living organism is fact. "Killing a baby" is emotional filtering.

My opposition to the anti-choice faction is in their demand that everyone- both opposed and in favor of legal abortion- accept some fundamental criteria for how people should feel about the concept of a pregnancy being terminated.

I could care less if anyone disagrees with me about abortion, as long as the woman getting the abortion has the right to. Whether you want to hug her or hit her after she makes her decision, just don't do it while pushing her into a clinic or blocking her from entering one.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:18 PM on April 27, 2004


me & my monkey:

Thank you for the friendly way in which you asked that question.

Look around you-- the wall, the air you breathe, technology... D_R_E_A_M_W_O_R_L_D
posted by mcgraw at 12:23 PM on April 27, 2004


Oh, I should just re-iterate, unless anyone gets on my back about it (me going on about women and their responsibilities): men should always wear a condom if they want to have sex but not try for a child. Simple.

Education. Education. Education. And morals.
posted by SpaceCadet at 12:23 PM on April 27, 2004


As for rhythm method being all but useless, would it be so if you tested for ovulation on a daily basis?

I guess not, but then it wouldn't technically be the rhythm method, which is based only on counting cycle days (as well as crossing your fingers, praying, wearing your lucky socks, etc.).

turaho, the fact that there are way over 1,000,000 abortions carried out in the United States each year makes a mockery of your statement.

How?
posted by purplemonkie at 12:25 PM on April 27, 2004


badstone, are you suggesting ovulation testkits are completely useless?

I don't see the word "ovulation toolkit" in my statement, do you? some day you need to crank down your paranoia just a touch, it'll do wonders.
posted by badstone at 12:28 PM on April 27, 2004


Yes, but since when are parasites of the exact same species as the host?

Whenever they're created through sexual reproduction?

I think you're attaching too much freight to the word "parasite." I don't mean anything negative in using it. I'm simply applying the simple definition of the word as I understand it.

The underlying fact remains, independent of the word "parasite" - an embryo or a fetus cannot survive on its own before viability. I believe that I have dominion over my own body - I have the natural right to end my own life, for example. My belief in the right of dominion over one's own body extends to pregnant women, as well, despite my own discomfort with ending the life of a potential human being. I further believe that, in the absence of societal or scientific consensus on when human life begins, the state doesn't have the right to impose the religious beliefs of some citizens upon others. Those are my beliefs, but the state of a non-viable fetus is a plain fact.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:32 PM on April 27, 2004


Whether you want to hug her or hit her after she makes her decision, just don't do it while pushing her into a clinic or blocking her from entering one.

Even better: she doesn't need to go to the clinic because she's not pregnant.

purplemonkie, as to your "how?", I refer you to sequential's comment:

The primary reason given for why a woman is seeking an abortion is failed contraception. Contraceptive methods are not perfect, but the failure rate is largely adjusted by human error. The number of sexually active couples who use birth control in a manner other than it was prescribed represents the largest group of women who get abortions.

For example, the number of women who take the pill wrong is astounding. For the sake of safety, if you don't take the pill at the same time every day you should not rely on it. If you are sexually active and do not want a child, you should not rely on a man using a condom.


Or, are you suggesting by your "how?" that the 1,000,000+ abortions a year in the US are predominantly because of rape and health complications?
posted by SpaceCadet at 12:32 PM on April 27, 2004


fair enough, XQUZYPHYR. That may be my error there. A quick glance back and I found this: I agree. I mean, without legally-obtained assault rifles it would be much harder to assasinate doctors. Not too bad-- but this could be read as smearing all pro-lifers as radical. Some comments seem ad hominem, and not constructive.

I ought not have lumped you in, and maybe I shouldn't give people who feel passionate about this topic like turaho and Wulfgar! a hard time. It's just that it's difficult to get beyond the name-calling and sarcasm that some folks on either side of this issue have engaged in on this thread.

I really just hope that people can discuss these issues and respect each other while doing so. If everyone thinks they have the moral authority (Pro-Lifers cite God, Pro-choicers cite their rights), there cannot be any progress on this issue.
posted by mcgraw at 12:37 PM on April 27, 2004


Abortion statistics
In summary, the statistics say that there were 1,370,000 abortions annually and most of the women having abortions are young, in their first 6 to 12 weeks, and do so for social reasons rather than health reasons. Interestingly, they do not give statistics about rape, unless rape counts as a "relationship issue".

mcgraw - is more than one person using your account?
posted by badstone at 12:41 PM on April 27, 2004


I love you, badstone.
posted by mcgraw at 12:44 PM on April 27, 2004


SpaceCadet: Or, are you suggesting by your "how?" that the 1,000,000+ abortions a year in the US are predominantly because of rape and health complications?

Not at all; I thought you were referring to turaho's statement: "The 'woman who uses abortion as a method of contraception' is largely a myth created by the pro-life fringe as a way of painting the pro-choice crowd as hedonistic and irresponsible. In reality, abortion is a serious medical procedure and any woman who has had one can tell you they'd prefer not to go through it again."

If that's the case, I don't see how your stats refute this. (They do, however, demonstrate that there are way too many abortions.) Sequential is right on the money in saying that most women seek abortions because of failed contraception, but that's not the same as saying that these women use abortion as a method of contraception, as in "Eh, I'm not going to bother with birth control because if I get pregnant I'll just run off and get an abortion."
posted by purplemonkie at 12:52 PM on April 27, 2004


fertility awareness is widely promoted among feminist and pro-choice groups (I first came across it working at NOW about 10 years ago), and birth control is absolutely the first goal of planned parenthood etc. And morning after pills or RU486 are definitely preferred to surgical abortions. Personally, sex education & awareness of birth control options seem absolutely central to me - but guess who is fighting against such measures? It's certainly not the pro-choice crowd!

Most pro-choice advocates agree with the statement that abortion should be "safe, legal and rare", and I think it's pretty obvious that any woman, even including that one with the sign (if it was a sincere pro-choice person) would far prefer to not get pregnant in the first place than to abort a pregnancy, even if only for reasons of convenience & cost. The point is merely that it should be allowed, at the discretion of the woman making the choice, at least through the end of the 2nd trimester. Once again, if you don't trust the woman to make a good choice, why do you think she'd make a good mother?

Yes, some people will be responsible enough to use multiple means of birth control every time they have sex, and will in all likelihood never need an abortion. A greater percentage of people need to be taught to consider birth control simply a part of having sex. When mistakes are made, active choices should be available.
posted by mdn at 12:57 PM on April 27, 2004


fertility awareness is widely promoted among feminist and pro-choice groups (I first came across it working at NOW about 10 years ago)

mdn, that's good to hear... I guess I have been traveling in the wrong circles, because I've used FAM successfully for 6 years yet it seems like every time I go to a new doctor (even once at Planned Parenthood, no less) I get raised eyebrows and a lecture about how I should really be more careful and how there are lots of 'real' birth control options available. I know they're only trying to help, but... :/
posted by purplemonkie at 1:07 PM on April 27, 2004


SpaceCadet: I don't follow how the fact that 1,000,000 abortions are performed a year proves that women are using them as a form of birth control. Again, I defer to sequential on this one; it's not so much that these women have unprotected sex figuring that they'll just have an abortion when they get pregnant, it's that many people are woefully underinformed about family planning or think they're smarter than their reproductive system and must rely on an abortion when they inevitably become pregnant. Are you saying that if a woman could see the future and know that a particular sexual encounter would lead to an unwanted pregnancy, she would still have that encounter and just have an abortion later? Are you saying a woman who's gone through the process of an abortion would willingly and eagerly do so again?

mcgraw: I apologize for arguing my viewpoint passionately and illustrating what I believe are the flaws in other people's arguments. I understand why you might see abortion as ending a (potential or existing) life, but I disagree. Now that I've explicitly stated that for you, why don't you reread my comments and tell me where I'm being hypocritical? Show me exactly where I tell people they are bad because they believe what they believe (as opposed to telling people they are bad because they're acting like a jerk).

On preview: thank you, mcgraw. I think your sentiment here leads very nicely into my reasoning:

everyone thinks they have the moral authority (Pro-Lifers cite God, Pro-choicers cite their rights)

I completely agree with this. And that is why I would never try to convince a pro-lifer that their religion or personal belief is wrong. My argument lies solely in the domain of government's role in the abortion debate, and that is why I cite rights. I know there will be disagreement on how those rights are defined and I am trying my best to explain my viewpoint. I don't appreciate it when people like 111 call me a baby murderer because of what I believe, and that may explain my snippiness.
posted by turaho at 1:10 PM on April 27, 2004


So, since only abstinence is 100% effective, those of us who choose not to have children should never have sex, ever? Who should I send my battery bills to, the Vatican?

Oh wait, since Eve originated sin, I'm sentenced to be a brood mare, I forgot.
posted by JoanArkham at 1:18 PM on April 27, 2004


Thank you for the friendly way in which you asked that question.

Look around you-- the wall, the air you breathe, technology... D_R_E_A_M_W_O_R_L_D


In all honesty, my intent was not to be unfriendly. The only reason I say that now is that I'm not sure whether you're being direct or sarcastic in your response - I think you're being truthful.

As a materialist, though, I reject your statement that I live in a dreamworld. I would come up with something much more pleasant if it were within my power.
posted by me & my monkey at 1:52 PM on April 27, 2004


Are you saying that if a woman could see the future and know that a particular sexual encounter would lead to an unwanted pregnancy, she would still have that encounter and just have an abortion later?

hold up a minute turaho, I am not saying this at all. You've got me wrong. I'm saying that most women are using abortion as contraception when their previous contraception measures failed. Big difference! I'm not at all saying that women use abortions soley as contraception. That's ridiculous, and frankly perverts my comment's meaning altogether. (and in fact, why on earth would a woman skip the morning-after pill just to have an abortion anyway?). I don't know if you're trying to polarise my point of view.....I think I'm being very moderate here - I'm simply advocating for less abortions to be needed in the first place - I think something everybody here agrees on.
posted by SpaceCadet at 2:21 PM on April 27, 2004


Damn and blast. I should have said more in the first post; nobody's going to read this far down.

1st, I'll second the point about it being called the "March for Women's Rights". Speaker after speaker talked about promoting contraceptive use (especially in developing countries, where this administration's abstinence-only policies are most devestating), gay marriage, etc. It was about liberty, community, self-determination. There were people in tears at some points, and I was inspired by the speakers and general atmosphere even though the abortion-rights issue isn't central to me (though I'm intellectually pro-choice).

On the other hand, it's depressing how little real debate happens -- the two sides, for the most part, just parade out their points. The fact is:

If an embryo is a human being, killing one should not be legal even if most die anyway (just as animals being killed in the wild doesn't make it moral for humans to kill them), unless the life of the mother in in jeopardy. It's not legal to kill someone for "social good" -- you, as a citizen, to do not have the right to decide whether another person deserves life. To me it's obvious an embryo is not a human being, but saying that won't change anyone's mind.

me & my monkey:
You are what you become; the ball of cells cannot be dumbly compared to similar structures for the simple fact that it is destined to become a living person just like one of you and your loved ones.
And a living person is destined to become a dead person, eventually. But a living person is not what it becomes; it is what it is. (Wait, the pro-lifer argues, your corpse isn't You; your soul has departed. But then how is there any more evidence that an embryo is You, with your soul?)

Danelope:
Can anyone definitively and factually state when "human" life truly begins? Where in the process from sperm + egg to embryo to fetus to newborn does it cease being a "ball of cells" and start being "human"?
Can anyone draw a clear line at some point between human (or, if you prefer, chimpanzee) and bacteria? No, but it's clear (for practical purposes) that one is self aware -- or at least conscious -- and the other is not.

Masturbation is not fertilization, and no genetically unique entity has been produced as a result. Stop harping on these points, as they're invalid ones.
Masturbation is not fertilization, and no genetically unique entity has been produced as a result. Stop harping on these points, as they're invalid ones.
Why does genetic uniqueness matter? "Yeah, I shot him, but it's fine; he's got a twin." "Alright, then; you're free to go. Sorry about the misunderstanding and please accept these complementary mints."

feminazi lesbians

There are some principled pro-lifers out there, people who are convinced that an embryo is a person but understand that others disagree and try to find the best ways to convince them, with respect and clearheadedness -- the person with the megaphone Sunday saying "forgive them, father, for they know not what they do" is one such example. You, 111, are a bigoted fucktard. As the BBC's french translator would put it, kindly shut up.
posted by Tlogmer at 2:26 PM on April 27, 2004


For the sake of clarity, abortion can not be contraception. In the loosest of terms, contraception is something that prevents pregnancy. An abortion, whether natural or surgical, can only happen once a woman is pregnant.

When you hear otherwise (even when I say otherwise), it's a rhetorical argument, not a literal one. Saying that someone kills babies instead of taking a pill to prevent the pregnancy in the first place is a powerful argument for those who don't know better, which is sadly a large number of people.
posted by sequential at 2:37 PM on April 27, 2004


It's not legal to kill someone for "social good"

It sure is. Killing people, even innocent people, is a completed accepted part of war, even if the war is merely for a social good, such as fighting communism. We also kill people for the social good of deterring crime when we execute criminals. Industry is allowed to endanger the lives of the general population to exactingly measured degrees in the name of job creation and convenience, which are forms of "social good." "Social good", or more generally, the good of the species, often supercedes the good of the individual quite a bit in our society. When we kill for social good we shield our consciences by wrapping the killing in ambiguities, but you cannot deny that we do kill for social good, we do so legally, and we do so daily.

So, in the case of abortion for non-medical reasons, we wrap the "killing" in the ambiguity of the "where does life begin?" debate. The killing is done in the name of the social good of ensuring the strength of families, of minimizing the number of unwanted children.
posted by badstone at 2:57 PM on April 27, 2004


blech, please excuse the really poorly worded sentences, i'm tired today....
posted by badstone at 3:03 PM on April 27, 2004


I just want to summarise here and depart as it's getting a little bogged down:

Many people enjoy sex. Accidents happen. Education and personal responsibility reduces these accidents. Focussing on these areas is a good thing in the abortion debate. Less accidents = less abortions = less trauma all round. If anyone disagrees with this, I can't debate with you - we're on two different wavelengths.
posted by SpaceCadet at 3:27 PM on April 27, 2004


badstone, there's a difference between abortion and war/execution: the latter 2 are carried out by the state (carried out collectively, in the case of a democracy), not by individuals. There are plenty of things that are make sense to allow collective but not individual action on. Abortion is not one of them, but it would be if an embryo was a person.
posted by Tlogmer at 3:50 PM on April 27, 2004


er, "that it makes sense to", not "that are make sense"
posted by Tlogmer at 3:53 PM on April 27, 2004


me & my monkey: You are what you become ...

Tlogmer, you've got the wrong guy.

If an embryo is a human being, killing one should not be legal even if most die anyway (just as animals being killed in the wild doesn't make it moral for humans to kill them), unless the life of the mother in in jeopardy. It's not legal to kill someone for "social good" -- you, as a citizen, to do not have the right to decide whether another person deserves life.

I'm not sure if this is as clear and simple as you make it out to be.
posted by me & my monkey at 3:57 PM on April 27, 2004


abstinence is 100% effective

Christians might have a problem with this statement...
posted by headless at 4:03 PM on April 27, 2004


more seriously, I would like to hear the opinions of members of non-christian religions (not you atheists, though nothing's gonna stop you, is it?)

for example: can you have murder without individuals ?
posted by headless at 4:09 PM on April 27, 2004


more seriously, I would like to hear the opinions of members of non-christian religions (not you atheists, though nothing's gonna stop you, is it?)

No. We're unstoppable!

Seriously, though, I think it's worth pointing out that Christianity has shifted its position on abortion over time.

for example: can you have murder without individuals ?

I'm not a Buddhist, but I think my Buddhist friend's response would be something along the lines of saying that, while all things are interconnected, separate beings still exist; even if the word "murder" is inappropriate, actions that increase suffering are wrong in any case. I will ask him when I get the chance.
posted by me & my monkey at 4:24 PM on April 27, 2004


but, if there are no individuals, and you truly believe that you are creating a global decrease in suffering at the expense of a local increase in suffering such that there is a net decrease in suffering, isn't it OK then? at least, that's our justification for war and execution.

stepping back a few comments, I agree with you Tlogmer that there is a difference in process, but I don't excuse the state from morality. "the state" still consists of human beings. in the case of war, there are soldiers in the field acting as individuals and deciding to kill innocents when they deem it is necessary for their state-approved mission.
posted by badstone at 4:37 PM on April 27, 2004


I'm not at all saying that women use abortions soley as contraception.

My apologies for assuming that is what you meant. This is, however, a very common charge by those on the pro-life fringe, who seriously believe that women are eager to have abortions.

Many people enjoy sex. Accidents happen. Education and personal responsibility reduces these accidents. Focussing on these areas is a good thing in the abortion debate. Less accidents = less abortions = less trauma all round.

I completely agree, but I'll tell you why the focus is so often on abortion: because the people who disagree with these statements--those who spread lies about condoms or those who don't think sex education should include any mention of contraception beyond abstinence--know that they can garner more sympathy for their arguments by holding up pictures of aborted fetuses and calling pro-choice supporters murderers.
posted by turaho at 8:27 AM on April 28, 2004


I don't excuse the state from morality either -- however, I do think the laws that constrain it should be different from the laws that constrain individuals, and law is what's relevant here (anyone has the extralegal "right" to maim herself with a coathanger). The state can decide to kill people because its decisions are checked by the votes of its people and by its beaurocratic structure (the constitution, for example, in the U.S.); if individuals could legally decide to kill whoever they wanted, their decisions would be checked by nothing -- what's to stop someone from deciding that all of their ex-wives really, honestly deserve to die, or that jews do, or WTC officeworkers?

me & my monkey: sorry for the misquote, and good links. But it's worth noting that Thompson's "Violinist" argument is one that corresponds to abortion in the case of rape -- "the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you" -- which makes it peripheral to this debate.
posted by Tlogmer at 8:32 AM on April 28, 2004


me & my monkey: sorry for the misquote, and good links. But it's worth noting that Thompson's "Violinist" argument is one that corresponds to abortion in the case of rape -- "the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you" -- which makes it peripheral to this debate.

I think that's an unnecessarily narrow reading of Thompson's analogy. The "Society of Music Lovers" isn't really germane to Thompson's point, which is simply that one has autonomy and power over one's own body, whether you were "kidnapped" by a rapist, or by faulty contraceptives, or what have you.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:47 AM on April 28, 2004


But there's really nothing to be done about being kidnapped by well-meaning classical musicians, while people can take measures to decrease the chance of contraception failing. (On the other hand, I guess this side-debate is proving your point: it's complex.)
posted by Tlogmer at 9:47 AM on April 29, 2004


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