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September 23, 2005 8:21 PM   Subscribe

The death of Roe v. Wade from a thousand cuts "Two weeks ago Paul Pressler, the architect of the fundamentalist takeover of the Southern Baptist Convention, described how the Religious Right intended to deal with Roe v. Wade. After expressing his elation with the selection of John Roberts as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court he said, "Roe v. Wade won't be revoked, it will die the death of a thousand cuts and qualifications and regulations until it gradually disappears."
- Dr. Bruce Prescott, from the eyewall of America's religious wars (Executive Director of "Mainstream Oklahoma Baptists"), notes the culmination of long-laid plans.
posted by troutfishing (116 comments total)

 
The comments section was pretty... interesting.

As for Second Baptist Houston jumping into the game early and hard and with cash, it would seem to me that this could be an opportunity for the Muslim (is there one of a reasonable size in Texas?) and other non-fundamentalist Christian communities to step up.

It (the ascent of the fundamentalist religious conservatives - or is that a redundancy?) feels like tyranny of the majority but I really hope that's not the case but rather just the piercing screams of a vocal minority.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 8:42 PM on September 23, 2005


PurplePorpoise :

It's a very politically empowered minority for the fact that the Democratic Party has left the playing field.

American Democracy has become so enfeebled that a resolute 15% can call the shots.
posted by troutfishing at 8:53 PM on September 23, 2005


Good. It's shitty, simplistic law. Why trimesters? Why not quarters?

I think the Left fears the end of Roe because it would impinge upon the supposed right to have sex without consequence. Abortion will always be legal in the "Blue" states, anyway. And at some point, "abortion pills" will make the whole thing moot.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:54 PM on September 23, 2005


"Muslim (is there one of a reasonable size in Texas?)"

No. There is a muslim community but compared to Baptist or other fundamentalists it's a drip in a very Texas-sized bucket.
posted by melt away at 8:55 PM on September 23, 2005


I guess they finally figured out that death by a thousand prayers gets them nowhere.
What? God's not on my side? Well, let's just re-define god.
posted by mystyk at 8:56 PM on September 23, 2005


Paris: the left fears it because it means that the government is even more involved with a person's genitals and family decisions.
posted by melt away at 8:56 PM on September 23, 2005


"Roe v. Wade won't be revoked, it will die the death of a thousand cuts..."

Harsh way to speak about the back alley abortion patients.
posted by iamck at 9:01 PM on September 23, 2005


PP - "the supposed right to have sex without consequence"

And what do you propose as a legal consequence for the "supposed right" to have sex ?


Stoning ?

Burial alive ?

______


You do realize that you just ( apparently ) challenged the legal right of individuals to freely participate in the continuation of the species Homo Sapiens, via sexual reporduction, don't you ?
posted by troutfishing at 9:10 PM on September 23, 2005


I think the Left fears the end of Roe because it would impinge upon the supposed right to have sex without consequence.

That must have been their argument during the trial, then. I can easily see how that would have swayed a Supreme Court Judge. After all, condoms prevent pregnancy, but you don't see liberals using those. Really, it's just all about the right to bareback.

OR, maybe they actually believe that a woman has the right to make decisions regarding her own body. But hey, let's all just throw these absurdities about "sex without consequence" into the debate so that no one can focus on the real issues.
posted by shmegegge at 9:13 PM on September 23, 2005


I think the Left fears the end of Roe because it would impinge upon the supposed right to have sex without consequence.

Why don't we outlaw your Viagra too? That would impinge on the right to have sex without the consequence of a limp dick.
posted by jonp72 at 9:22 PM on September 23, 2005


PP - "So wat your sayin' is we should be givin' it to em up the ol' Ershey Ighway?"

/ali g
posted by iamck at 9:23 PM on September 23, 2005


Why don't we outlaw your Viagra too? That would impinge on the right to have sex without the consequence of a limp dick.

*adopting the voice of the knight guarding the holy grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.*

He responded... poorly.
posted by shmegegge at 9:23 PM on September 23, 2005


Just wait.

What they really want to stop is any method that interferes with implantation. That's one part of the original (and continued, I assume) Catholic objection to "the pill" -- it doesn't necessarily prevent fertilization. It may prevent ovulation -- or may not -- but if ovulation happens, and intercourse happens, and fertilization happens, the pill does prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.

That's why it was, sometimes, allowable for a woman to use those medications to manage their hormone balance (an allowable reason) but not to interfere with reproduction. Sin is all about intent as well as outcome.

This is one reason the language is so confused here. "Birth control" or "contraception" both fuzz that issue.

It's the "every zygote is a soul" position that's underneath much of this issue.
posted by hank at 9:27 PM on September 23, 2005


Yeah, they WISH. I mean, come on - why are we so afraid of these religious nut-o types? They can't articulate any of their arguments in secular terms... hell, the reason they are going after the courts is that they finally figured out that they can't win against legal logic.

Shit, just look at Intelligent Design. Have you ever seen a more tepid, watered down version of creationism? And this is what they are threatening biology teachers with? Give me a break.

These people - despite their planning are all heading down a dead in road. Short of some sort of theocratic coupe in this country these types will always be sidelined by reason.
posted by wfrgms at 9:32 PM on September 23, 2005


These people - despite their planning are all heading down a dead in road. Short of some sort of theocratic coupe in this country these types will always be sidelined by reason.

And by the human prediliction to fuck each other silly, whenever and (statistically speaking) with whomever they possibly can. The problem with Christian Fundamentalist doctrine is precisely analogous to that of Soviet-style Communism: it is simply impossible to legislate out of existence (whether by government fiat or theological dictat) basic human behavior. Homo Christianatus, meet Homo Sovieticus--I'm sure you'll enjoy each other's company in the dust-bin of history...
posted by Chrischris at 9:46 PM on September 23, 2005


"You do realize that you just ( apparently ) challenged the legal right of individuals to freely participate in the continuation of the species Homo Sapiens, via sexual reporduction, don't you ?"

I'm not sure where I standon abortion; whether it should be kept as it is, or should be more regulated. But I think it's pretty lame to take the position that it can't be more regulated without becoming illegal. From what I've heard, abortion is more regulated in such horrid places as France and Canada. Life existed before Roe v. Wade, and life will exist after it. Just calm down y'all.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:58 PM on September 23, 2005


Religious beliefs whether by viral ideology or by a fundamental (possibly genetic) inability to cope with existential angst are also basic human behavior.

Even if we accept that all mystical thinking of any kind arises from ignorance, that does not mean that one can ever win a 'war on ignorance' any more than they can a 'war on terror.'
posted by Ryvar at 10:05 PM on September 23, 2005


Life existed before Roe v. Wade, and life will exist after it.

Life for the woman who bleeds to death from shredding her own uterus with a wire coat hanger? The one whose town's back-alley butcher mangled her cervix, causing her to die of sepsis, or if lucky, survive as infertile? The one who chooses to slit her wrists in the bathroom of her college dorm rather than become an unwed mother?*

For them, not so much with the simply "existing" after Roe v. Wade and their rights over their bodies go away.

* as happened to a girl in my grandmother's dorm hall when they were in college in the 1940's.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:09 PM on September 23, 2005


And for PP's benefit: that comment made me sound like a knee-jerk pro-choice'er, which I am certainly not, being a fellow evil Republican and all. But the point is that banning abortions does not reduce deaths. We need to change people's minds, not laws.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:16 PM on September 23, 2005


I think the Left fears the end of Roe because it would impinge upon the supposed right to have sex without consequence.

Duh.

Well, except for the 'supposed' part.
posted by delmoi at 10:16 PM on September 23, 2005


What's wrong with attempting balance. The current legal situation extinguishes the notion that other interested parties to a pregnancy might exist let alone have any rights. A woman may, in effect, simply dismiss out of hand any and all concerns from the father, her family, or his. I dunno, it just seems an unusually inequitable legal arrangement. Why is no modification at all of this, some would say legally extreme, situtation acceptable?
posted by scheptech at 10:22 PM on September 23, 2005


Typical Left-leaning crap, supra. Who spoke of banning abortions? I didn't say I favored a ban on abortions. That's the whole point. no Roe /= banning abortion. It could just as well mean limiting the right more than it's limited now. As it is, a state can regulate abortion in the second and third trimester. Is that wrong, too?

But it's just such mindlessness by the Left that gives the anti-Roe crowd more power than it should have. If the pro-choice people would be less absolutist, the "pro-life" crowd would wither.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:23 PM on September 23, 2005


Need a new small car? How about a theocratic coupe?
posted by Cranberry at 10:23 PM on September 23, 2005


But the point is that banning abortions does not reduce deaths. We need to change people's minds, not laws.

Asparagirl: While banning abortions might increase the number of gruesome deaths, I think the over-all number of deaths of human organisms would go down.

Of course, the real reason (for the republican) to ban abortion (along with abstinence only sex-ed) is to prevent people from fucking as much as they do.

Sure, some people suffer, but those people were bad people, sinners, to begin with. What difference does it make of those sluts die?

Just to be clear, that's not my opinion, that's what I would consider a logical reason to oppose legal abortion, given that:

1) Sex is sinful, and people who have sex are sinful
2) Sex ed should be abstinence only.
3) Sinful people may be sacrificed to save the good.

Obviously, I do not belive those things.
posted by delmoi at 10:25 PM on September 23, 2005


Typical Left-leaning crap, supra. Who spoke of banning abortions? I didn't say I favored a ban on abortions.

If you don't think overturning roe would result in a ban on abortions in some states you're retarded. In fact, if it happened in this legislature I'd be willing to bet that they would ban it federally using the commerce clause (if they can ban medical MJ, they can ban abortions)
posted by delmoi at 10:29 PM on September 23, 2005


Well, delmoi, guess I'm retarded. Perhaps we both are. Because, AGAIN, if Roe is replaced by another more restrictive Supreme Court precedent, it, too will be the law of the land.

I propose you go on Meet the Press, or This Week and argue "you must be retarded!"
posted by ParisParamus at 10:32 PM on September 23, 2005


But it's just such mindlessness by the Left that gives the anti-Roe crowd more power than it should have. If the pro-choice people would be less absolutist, the "pro-life" crowd would wither.

Maybe, maybe not, but the thing about court cases is that it only takes one person to fight it all the way. Look at that anti-"under god" guy. All democrats in government support "under god" in the constitution, yet, Nedow got his way.
posted by delmoi at 10:33 PM on September 23, 2005


delmoi, the two aren't the same. One is a symbolic thing that, as I've previously said is highly dubious. The other means something.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:00 PM on September 23, 2005


I like the concept of the "pro-choice" crowd being "absolutist":

"You ABSOLUTELY MUST make your own decision on the matter."

For an issue as complex and divided as abortion, it seems like the only rational solution: allowing people to make their own decisions based on their own morality and circumstances (within a few obvious limits, of course).
posted by chasing at 11:02 PM on September 23, 2005


I gotta say, I don't see the absolutist depiction of pro-choice folk. I DO see the idea that the father has no legal say as being important. only the father, though. prospective grandparents, cousins and congressman can go screw.

But absolutist? For arguing that it's a woman's body and she has the right to do with it as she deems fit within the bounds of the law? fervent, maybe. absolutist? no.
posted by shmegegge at 11:20 PM on September 23, 2005


i say, leave Roe as it is. too many idiots out there. but i wish the women's orgs didn't seem so unnuanced.
posted by ParisParamus at 11:37 PM on September 23, 2005


But it's just such mindlessness by the Left that gives the anti-Roe crowd more power than it should have. If the pro-choice people would be less absolutist, the "pro-life" crowd would wither.

Do you know anything at all about the pro-life crowd? Because I'm pretty sure you don't, if you'd say something as stupid as this.
posted by teece at 12:16 AM on September 24, 2005


teece, I'm not suggesting the pro-life crowd is any more nuanced. But that's not the point.
posted by ParisParamus at 12:20 AM on September 24, 2005


(Both sides alienate me in their primitiveness)
posted by ParisParamus at 12:21 AM on September 24, 2005


ParisParamus : "Both sides alienate me in their primitiveness"

What's the nuanced view?
posted by Gyan at 12:25 AM on September 24, 2005


OK, then, ParisParamus, sorry.

I think the law as it is now is already sort of nuanced. First trimester: woman's body, woman's choice. Second trimester, woman's body, but more viable baby, so some more restrictions. Third trimester, getting pretty close to a human being, even more restrictions are allowed.

It is the avowed and publicly stated goal of many on the right, and many (a majority?) of elected Republicans that abortion is wrong, and they'd like it outlawed. So I don't see how pro-choice people vehemently defending what they believe is a correct system is lacking in nuance.

Pointing out that current Republican-sponsored abortion legislation is an attempt, again publicly avowed, of causing Roe a death by a thousand paper cuts isn't lacking in nuance, either. Or that an overturn of Roe via Bush Supreme Court appointees would be anything but a VERY serious blow to legal abortion (most states in America are pretty red: somewhere near half or more would probably outlaw it pretty damn quick, if Roe were overturned. That's a big deal if you care about abortion, the kind of big deal that will wake people up and get them to fight).

Neither is it lacking nuance to say that the state, at any level, lacks the right to dictate what a woman does with her body. It is not lacking in nuance to say this is NOT an issue for the states, if you feel that a prohibition on abortions is a violation of Constitutional protections against governmental intrusions.

So I just ain't seeing your point. It seems like you are creating crafty rationalizations to avoid disagreeing with the party you identify with. That's lame. I'm a very liberal guy. I happen to disagree with most of my peers on gun control. You're not going to find me saying that it's actually the right's fault for making my peers have their position. Or that it's all in your head if you think some liberals want your guns taken away from you.
posted by teece at 12:42 AM on September 24, 2005


What happens when gun owners are the only abortionists?
posted by Balisong at 12:50 AM on September 24, 2005


folks, I gotta say that paris is actually being civil, here, and we should probably avoid saying things like "retarded" and "stupid."

you stupid retards.
posted by shmegegge at 12:50 AM on September 24, 2005


when you outlaw abortion, only outlaws will have... that doesn't make any kind of point.
posted by shmegegge at 12:52 AM on September 24, 2005


> that doesn't make any kind of point

When you outlaw abortion, only outlaws will perform abortions.

That sounds like a point to me
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:42 AM on September 24, 2005


A woman may, in effect, simply dismiss out of hand any and all concerns from the father, her family, or his. I dunno, it just seems an unusually inequitable legal arrangement.

What would be more equitable? A sixteen year old girl being forced to give birth by her ex-boyfriend's parents? Do rapists also get a say? I don't see a way to make things any more equitable, since any "balance" is tantamount to allowing a third party to force a woman to go through a painful and potentially dangerous experience against her will. Would your idea of equity also include allowing the father or his family to force a woman to get an abortion she didn't want? Does this arrangement extend to other medical procedures -- should all interested parties get together to have a vote before, say, chemotherapy is initiated?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 2:14 AM on September 24, 2005


If the pro-choice people would be less absolutist, the "pro-life" crowd would wither.

That's patently untrue, given that many in the 'pro-life' crowd get much more riled up over frozen blastocysts in a lab than, say, adult black people in a flood zone.

This Harper's piece from last year is worth reading, particularly the final section, which provides a useful gloss on this thread:
There is a sober, profoundly difficult public conversation to be had about second- and third-trimester abortion in this country ... part of the Roe v. Wade legacy has been warring camps whose all-or-nothing agendas—the sanctity of prenatal life, or the inviolability of the pregnant woman’s autonomy—work against our being able to have it. Bring up the European model with an American pro-choice leader, and the conversation makes two quick turns: first, to the observation that most American states have ended public abortion funding, so that poor women trying to come up with payment money are sometimes pushed into later abortion by the very system right-to-lifers helped create. But there’s something deeper than that at work.

Roe was a privacy ruling, declaring that the right to abortion was part of a woman’s constitutional right to privacy, and over the years defending Roe has come to mean defending that privacy so completely and so ferociously that almost any expression of public concern for the fetus is received as a threat, a step onto the famous slippery slope, at the bottom of which lie the septic abortion wards of the pre-legalization years. Right-to-life strategists knew how well this adamancy would work in their favor when they rolled out the first partial-birth legislation, and they will try to capitalize on it again...
There are two main reasons why the argument is 'un-nuanced' in the US: the legal basis, and the inadequate healthcare system. Both will need to fall, I suspect, before abortion truly becomes settled law, whether on the limited European model, or the Canadian one.

Absolute power means that the GOP can no longer blame Democrats for the continued existence of legal abortion in America; they're now committed to sacrificing that golden goose for their social-conservative base, and will pay the price. Unfortunately, so will many women who don't have the privileges or country-club connections to 'get it fixed'.
posted by holgate at 2:15 AM on September 24, 2005


From what I've heard, abortion is more regulated in such horrid places as France and Canada.

France, yes. Canada? Uh, no. Google is the underinformed lawyer's friend.
posted by holgate at 2:20 AM on September 24, 2005


the republicans would be absolutely nuts to get rid of abortion. how would they energize the base without it?
posted by mcsweetie at 8:22 AM on September 24, 2005


I hate to say it, but Abortion *IS* an absolutist issue. You can argue the morality until you're blue in the face, but it boils down to two either\or questions:

EITHER the woman has the baby, OR she does not.

and

EITHER the woman has the final choice on abortion OR she does not.

That's it. Anything else is just rhetoric. And this coming from someone who hates absolutes and avoids them whenever possible. But ultimately, you could boil this issue down to a 2x2 grid and throw a dart to decide where you stand on it. And saying things like "the father should have some say" is just nonsense. Repeat after me: Either the woman has the final choice OR she does not. Therefore, as a corrollary, either the father can only offer suggestions OR the father has control over the mother.

And me? While I dislike abortion in the extreme and wish it wasn't so widely used... in the end, I feel the mother's right to control her own body trumps all. Neither society nor the government can (or should) have the right to force her to continue a pregnancy she does not want.

And the father? For crissakes, we men are built to spread our seed like dandilons. If having a kid is THAT important to you, there is no shortage of recepticles for your mighty sperm. So just get to it and let women make their own choice.

/OK, that last paragraph was a bit sarcastic

/Oh, and yes, there IS ex-utero, but that's so expensive and so rarely-done as to be a statistical null. Maybe someday in the far future it will be a viable option, but not any time soon.
posted by InnocentBystander at 9:02 AM on September 24, 2005


The problem with Roe is that the court said "we're not going to judge whether a fetus is a person, so you can terminate it". They could have easily said "we're not going to judge whether a fetus is a person, so you can't".
posted by null terminated at 9:09 AM on September 24, 2005


Guys arguing and deciding on women rights amuse the hell out of me. Can we please leave it to the one that really understand what the matter at hand is?
posted by NewBornHippy at 9:10 AM on September 24, 2005


ParisParamus writes "I think the Left fears the end of Roe because it would impinge upon the supposed right to have sex without consequence. "

'I will not take the thing from your hand.'
posted by Mitheral at 9:17 AM on September 24, 2005


I'm not sure where I standon [sic] abortion; whether it should be kept as it is, or should be more regulated.
That's actually very reasonable and open minded. In fact, it closely mirrors the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade.

The decision sets a sliding scale of how abortion can be regulated; the first trimester can be regulated the least and the third trimester can be regulated the most. Parental consent laws side step Roe v. Wade entirely in this respect, since they equally prevent a minor from getting an abortion in all three trimesters without parental consent. The restriction of access to abortion in the case where parental consent is required has not been argued successfully, to the best of my knowledge. Instead, the minor is considered old enough to legally consent to the act of sex, absent charges of statutory rape, but not old enough to legally consent to an elective surgery or life or death decisions for the fetus that is growing inside of them. The irony, of course, is that these laws imply that said minor is capable of providing for and making life or death decisions for their offspring once they give birth.
EITHER the woman has the final choice on abortion OR she does not.
While that may be the accepted and possibly the legal absolute terms, I'd argue that "EITHER the parents have the final choice on abortion OR they do not" Then again, it's safe in the current cultural and legal contexts to assume this is an issue where men have no rights between ejaculation and birth, but fifty percent of the financial obligation after birth.
Guys arguing and deciding on women rights amuse the hell out of me.
Anyone arguing that men have no rights on this matter infuriates me. I understand that codifying men's rights into law would be frought with complexity and pitfalls. Furthermore, I understand codifying it as women's rights is an acceptable solution as long as the alternative is the denial of access to legal abortions. However, it's intellectually dishonest to infer that pregnancy and abortion are issues that preclude men.
posted by sequential at 9:29 AM on September 24, 2005


asparagirl:

> Life for the woman who bleeds to death from shredding her own uterus
> with a wire coat hanger? The one whose town's back-alley butcher
> mangled her cervix, causing her to die of sepsis, or if lucky, survive as
> infertile? The one who chooses to slit her wrists in the bathroom of her
> college dorm rather than become an unwed mother?

Well, the obvious solution to problems like these is to kill your children, innit? DON'T SAY CHILD SAY FETUS!

I expect most of you believe Roe legalized abortion only in the first trimester, allowing it to be restricted in the second and banned in the third. However, Doe v. Bolton, handed down the same day as Roe, took back those concessions. Abortions had to be allowed at all stages of pregnancy whenever continued pregnancy was said to jeopardize a woman's "physical, emotional, psychological, [or] familial" health.

The "death of a thousand cuts" is directed at Doe, not Roe. Keep Roe and welcome. Just let go of Doe, which says basically that women can kill their children because it's Thursday (or because it isn't.) DON'T SAY CHILD SAY FETUS.

Actually this is probably a self-correcting problem because the people who favor abortion are having abortions, while the people who oppose it are having babies. Basically, all the right people are having abortions.
posted by jfuller at 9:43 AM on September 24, 2005


Sequential - the problem with your argument is this: The assumption that under US law ANYONE should be given non-consentual power over someone ELSE'S body. Only with the GREATEST trepidation should this ever be undertaken.

While I sympathize with men in these situations (being betesticled myself) I still believe it comes down to my either\or. If the man ever has any power to force the woman to carry the child, then you are stripping the woman of consentual rights over her own body. And that I cannot support, morally or legally.

If the legal choice is between one person's body and another person's money, there simply is not any choice at all.

And as far as children go, I find the "parental consent" laws very amusing, if they weren't so abhorrent. Consider: We give parents absolute power over the bodies of their children because young people are not good judges of their own best interests. Parents have to take them for unpleasant things like root canals and doctors visits because no child would voluntarily do these things.

Yet a parent does not have absolute power over their child. If they are found to act against the child's best interests, then they lose that power. See any number of cases involving Christian Scientists. Or more mundane things like beatings.

So the legal standard is that parents must act in the child's best interests in regards to their medical care.

So I ask, when would forcing a teenager to bear a child *EVER* be in that teen's best interest? I challenge anyone to invent a scenario where that's true that does NOT involve the phrase "immortal soul" or any variant. Emotionally, intellectually, financially, AND physically, your average teen is probably not equipped to deal with a child. And the danger to them of complication is much greater.

Thus I suggest, based on ALL OTHER laws and caselaw involving parental rights - any parent who *forces* their teen to carry a child is not acting in their best interest and that decision is legally null. And furthermore, if you're going to be so foolish as to advocate "parental consent" laws, the consent would logically have to flow the OTHER direction.

Consent to CARRY the child, rather than to terminate it.

Can you imagine the fundies' reaction if you suggested that one? :-)
posted by InnocentBystander at 9:53 AM on September 24, 2005


InnocentBystander: that all changes if you assume the fetus is a person--in that case the teenager becomes the parent and you'd have to act in the "best interests" of the fetus.
posted by null terminated at 9:58 AM on September 24, 2005


So far the legal assumption is that is it not, and laws establishing that are deeply unlikely to occur.

If a fetus DOES get legally deemed a person, than a whole LOT changes. Enough changes that I would be leaving the country at that point.

How about women being arrested for smoking?
posted by InnocentBystander at 10:04 AM on September 24, 2005


The assumption that under US law ANYONE should be given non-consentual power over someone ELSE'S body.
That's not my assumption.
posted by sequential at 10:04 AM on September 24, 2005


OK. If anyone cares, I've decided that Roe is fine the way it is, because any restriction on abortion will be arbitrary. And we don't know when a developing human has a soul.

Over and out.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:05 AM on September 24, 2005


Jfuller: Well, not ALL the right people. Your parents missed one.
posted by klangklangston at 12:41 PM on September 24, 2005


sequential: That's not my assumption.

How is that assumption not implicit in your position?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:05 PM on September 24, 2005


I expect most of you believe Roe legalized abortion only in the first trimester, allowing it to be restricted in the second and banned in the third. However, Doe v. Bolton, handed down the same day as Roe, took back those concessions.
This is probably semantic, but the decision in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton are intended to be read together. One does not dispute the other. Instead, Doe v. Bolton further defines the restrictions that can be placed on abortion.

Here is the summary from Roe v. Wade:
To summarize and to repeat:

1. A state criminal abortion statute of the current Texas type, that excepts from criminality only a lifesaving procedure on behalf of the mother, without regard to pregnancy stage and without recognition of the other interests involved, is violative of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

(a) For the stage prior to approximately the end of the first trimester, the abortion decision and its effectuation must be left to the medical judgment of the pregnant woman's attending physician.

(b) For the stage subsequent to approximately the end of the first trimester, the State, in promoting its interest in the health of the mother, may, if it chooses, regulate the abortion procedure in ways that are reasonably related to maternal health.

(c) For the stage subsequent to viability, the State in promoting its interest in the potentiality of human life may, if it chooses, regulate, and even proscribe, abortion except where it is necessary, in appropriate medical judgment, for the preservation of the life or health of the mother.

2. The State may define the term "physician," as it has been employed in the preceding paragraphs of this Part XI of this opinion, to mean only a physician currently licensed by the State, and may proscribe any abortion by a person who is not a physician as so defined.

In Doe v. Bolton, post, p. 179, procedural requirements contained in one of the modern abortion statutes are considered. That opinion and this one, of course, are to be read together. (1)
There is no concise summary of Doe v. Bolton. You can read the opinions here, but it is likely sufficient to say that it limits the types of restrictions that can be placed on abortion. For example, Doe v. Bolton struck down provisions of the Georgia law which required three separate doctors approval before the abortion could be legally performed.

Sorry for the pedantry.

As an interesting side note on the father's rights, a footnote in the Roe v. Wade decision states:
Neither in this opinion nor in Doe v. Bolton, post, p. 179, do we discuss the father's rights, if any exist in the constitutional context, in the abortion decision. No paternal right has been asserted in either of the cases, and the Texas and the Georgia statutes on their face take no cognizance of the father. We are aware that some statutes recognize the father under certain circumstances. North Carolina, for example, N. C. Gen. Stat. § 14-45.1 (Supp. 1971), requires written permission for the abortion from the husband when the woman is a married minor, that is, when she is less than 18 years of age, 41 N. C. A. G. 489 (1971); if the woman is an unmarried minor, written permission from the parents is required. We need not now decide whether provisions of this kind are constitutional. (2)
Actually this is probably a self-correcting problem because the people who favor abortion are having abortions, while the people who oppose it are having babies. Basically, all the right people are having abortions.
Having an abortion is not sufficiently heritable. We could probably argue the point until we were blue in the face, but there are children of "pro-life" or "anti-abortion" parents who have abortions. This directly contrasts your assertion that this is a self-correcting problem unless you don't believe that the difference of opinion and action would cause any problems between the parents and the child who has had the abortion.
posted by sequential at 1:11 PM on September 24, 2005


> Jfuller: Well, not ALL the right people. Your parents missed one.

Too bad they were Americans, and not Russians, eh klang?

It's worth remembering that abortion is a worldwide issue, not just a local one. Judging by the article I just linked, it's about time to vote a Special Lifetime Achievement Darwin Award to the whole abortion-rights movement.
posted by jfuller at 1:14 PM on September 24, 2005


> Having an abortion is not sufficiently heritable.

Them high AH SAY them high fast'uns go right over that boy's haid.
posted by jfuller at 1:37 PM on September 24, 2005


How is that assumption not implicit in your position?
My position is that fathers, between ejaculation and birth, have a certain set of rights that counterbalance those of the mother's. This is in direct contradiction to the law, which does not recognize, if my understanding is correct, any father's rights until birth. (Despite having made light of father's rights as being to pay the bill after birth, that is not the case. Father's have significant rights, but a higher bar to overcome in asserting them.)

I don't have an alternate solution, but at the same time I don't agree with the assumptions as stated above. Furthermore, I'm not interested in pitting father's rights against women's rights if the only alternative is to limit women's rights to have a legal abortion.

Under current law, a man tacitly assigns all rights of any potential conception to the woman by having consensual sex with her, even when the sex is recreational or otherwise not for the sole purpose of reproducing. This absence of rights lasts from the moment he ejaculates to the moment the child is born. However, from the moment of birth, the man can then be held liable for monetary damages to raise that child even if he's not playing the traditional role of the father.

Admittedly, codifying men's rights into law is something I would not trust any branch of our government to do. Any such laws recognizing father's rights would inherently limit the rights of the mother, but I don't think they have to limit her ability to control her own body. For example, an unmarried woman who decides to give birth to a child, though she and the father were not trying to have children and despite his objections, might be limited in damages she has the right to sue for after conception. It seems to me that by having consensual sex, the woman is agreeing to take responsibility to do whatever it is that results from doing so. After all, she is the sole heir to any right to make such decisions. (I don't believe this is always the case, just in the example above.)

To repeat, I don't believe men should be able to legally prevent women from having an abortion or to force women to have an abortion. That's just a ridiculous outgrowth of the "pro-life" or "anti-choice". As would be clear to anyone who associates with me outside of Metafilter, I am a feminist, a supporter of an individuals right to privacy and a staunch supporter of women's reproductive rights.
it's about time to vote a Special Lifetime Achievement Darwin Award to the whole abortion-rights movement.
Steven D. Levitt makes a convincing argument that given the choice to terminate a pregnancy, women make the right choice more often than if there were restrictions that removed women from making any choice. Though I don't know the specific circumstances of the people in the article you link to, it doesn't take a great deal of (sociological) imagination to imagine why this is the case.

Your remarks are incredibly insensitive to the conditions of those who have made such a decision, but given the conviction with which you make them, I'm certain you are well aware of the individual, cultural, and economic conditions which might lead to such decisions.

(You don't directly say it, but you're condemning "women gone wild" for abortion. If you could make a case for it, by all means, don't let the failure of the many who have tried before stop you.)
Them high AH SAY them high fast'uns go right over that boy's haid.
Sorry, I was aiming for your head.
posted by sequential at 2:01 PM on September 24, 2005


"Too bad they were Americans, and not Russians, eh klang?

It's worth remembering that abortion is a worldwide issue, not just a local one. Judging by the article I just linked, it's about time to vote a Special Lifetime Achievement Darwin Award to the whole abortion-rights movement."
Judging by the article you linked, there are anti-abortion scaremongers in Russia too. Hey, here's a quick credibility check: Where, exactly, do those statistics they cite about "registered births" versus "registered abortions" come from? There's no source cited in the article.
But hey, it's not really related at all is it, since your parents would have ostensibly made the decision before the fall of communism, which aside from a mention of some axe-grinder's Pravda article, your bit o' slop doesn't mention.
Tell you what: once you can give me a valid reason why it's any of your business when a stranger has an abortion, I'll stop pointing out what a moron you look like.
posted by klangklangston at 2:12 PM on September 24, 2005


> Your remarks are incredibly insensitive

Hmmm. Well, being insensitive, it isn't likely to bother me to be told so. I'm insensitive, you dig?

But you shouldn't bad-mouth insensitivity. It's a real resource--allowing one, as it does, to resist the temptation to join the love-in and stick to being correct.


> Tell you what: once you can give me a valid reason why it's any of your business
> when a stranger has an abortion, I'll stop pointing out what a moron you look like.

Why dearly beloved, it's my business for the same reason it's my business when I see one person stabbing another person on the street. One doesn't just pass by and ignore it. Oh, you might, I don't doubt it for an instant, but that's what makes you you and me me.
posted by jfuller at 2:23 PM on September 24, 2005


Jfuller: Dearly beloved, first you have to prove that a fetus is a person.
posted by klangklangston at 2:28 PM on September 24, 2005


Ok then, the current system has been in place for long enough now to assess its effectiveness. So, a question: how do we feel about the abortion rate? Is the current abortion rate:

a) too high - there are too many abortions occuring - there are people later regretting these forever decisions, there are people resorting to abortion rather than changing behavior to at least be safer, etc., individual decision-making women are sometimes opting for abortion under unwarranted circumstances such as for career management reasons not health, the system is not working out for the best, it could use some moderating

b) too low - there are not enough abortions occuring, there are still too many babies being born that should not, perhaps access to the procedure is still not easy enough, women are still not making enough good decisions and should be encouraged / educated to abort more, the system of reducing unwanted pregnancies is not working well enough and could use some strengthening

c) about right - approximately the correct number of abortions are being performed, everything is in good and proper balance, this system of having individuals make the decision is working well, any changes would unfavorably bias the abortion rate up or down from its current best possible level given surrounding circumstances such as current pregnancy rates etc etc

?
posted by scheptech at 2:33 PM on September 24, 2005


But you shouldn't bad-mouth insensitivity.
Nor should you put words in my mouth. I'm not bad-mouthing insensitivity; I'm pointing out that you are being insensitive. It is nice to have you affirm, though, that anything associated with you is "bad".

Your comments lack any sense of empathy that could lead one to believe what you're saying is sincere.
It's a real resource--allowing one, as it does, to resist the temptation to join the love-in and stick to being correct.
Here's a news flash for you. If you're only source of commenting in this thread is insensitivity, then you're trolling, not commenting.
how do we feel about the abortion rate?
I don't believe you'll get answers about the effectiveness of Roe v. Wade by asking about the historical abortion rate. Many things bias the rate at which women get abortions, but the rate, especially in America, doesn't directly indicate it's social impact.

Here is the Levitt article I allude to earlier, though it's not precisely where he makes the case that women make the right choice when it's theirs to make. The article is a response to the media coverage of this paper.

Even Levitt, who has been abused for his statements on abortion by the "pro" and "anti" crowds, says that in terms of preventing crimes abortion is incredibly inefficient.
posted by sequential at 2:52 PM on September 24, 2005


> Jfuller: Dearly beloved, first you have to prove that a fetus is a person.

You're remarkably silly if you think you can prove you are a person. There's no way to prove that any of us is a person. Personhood is entirely cultural and arbitrary; the operant question is, what are we willing to accept as a person? When we agree that particular creatures are persons and start to treat them as persons, we say their personhood is self-evident--which is the same as saying we are ready to take it [on faith/as an axiom].

There have been plenty of folk to whom it was not self-evident that Negros or Jews were persons--and the Negros and Jews weren't able to prove their personhood, were they? Likewise, there are plenty of folk to whom it is not self-evident that a late-term fetus is a person. These folk are all of roughly the same sort--bizarrely, inexplicably blind to the humanity of other living creatures of their own species.

But really, I'm one of those volk, uh, folks too. I'm not so much a right-to-lifer as I am a language purist; it's not the abortions that repel me so much as the weasel-words. If there's anybody out there who's willing to call a late-term abortion what it is, namely baby-killing, why I'm happy and ready to march shoulder to shoulder with y'all at the big Keep Baby-Killing Legal rally. Hey, kill all the babies you want. Just please have the guts not to try to pretend innocence. The need to pretend exposes your deep dread of what you are supporting, and doing. DON'T SAY CHILD SAY FETUS!
posted by jfuller at 4:04 PM on September 24, 2005


Fuller: "You're remarkably silly if you think you can prove you are a person. There's no way to prove that any of us is a person. Personhood is entirely cultural and arbitrary; the operant question is, what are we willing to accept as a person? When we agree that particular creatures are persons and start to treat them as persons, we say their personhood is self-evident--which is the same as saying we are ready to take it [on faith/as an axiom]."
Wrong. I can come up with a definition of personhood that is consistent and viable pretty easily. Just because you're too dumb to do it doesn't mean the rest of us are.

"These folk are all of roughly the same sort--bizarrely, inexplicably blind to the humanity of other living creatures of their own species."
So... you can't define a person, but whoever doesn't agree with you is blind to the humanity of their own species? What, exactly, makes our species deserving of more protection than other species? A sense of evolutionary nationalism? What is the quiddity that separates us from animals?

"But really, I'm one of those volk, uh, folks too. I'm not so much a right-to-lifer as I am a language purist; it's not the abortions that repel me so much as the weasel-words. If there's anybody out there who's willing to call a late-term abortion what it is, namely baby-killing, why I'm happy and ready to march shoulder to shoulder with y'all at the big Keep Baby-Killing Legal rally. Hey, kill all the babies you want. Just please have the guts not to try to pretend innocence. The need to pretend exposes your deep dread of what you are supporting, and doing. DON'T SAY CHILD SAY FETUS!"
Ah. So it's weasel words when a medical term is used in the context of an operation, but it's acceptable when you redefine the language to support your political bias?
What a lot of dancing around, Fuller. Why, again, should fetuses be protected as people? And try to keep your hysteric appeals to emotion and frothing bullshit from clouding your comments again, Fuller. If you have a real argument, state it.
posted by klangklangston at 4:25 PM on September 24, 2005


Ok then, the current system has been in place for long enough now to assess its effectiveness. So, a question: how do we feel about the abortion rate? - scheptech

There are more variables affecting the abortion rate than just the legislation and court rulings that govern the procedure. In Canada there is NO criminal law relating to abortion, so access is much free-er (free as in unfettered) than in the US. Yet the abortion rate is lower. Everyone would like to see the abortion rate reduced, but clearly legislation on its own doesn't determine the rate.
posted by raedyn at 4:34 PM on September 24, 2005


Abortion will always be legal

What is interesting is when people discuss overturning Roe VS Wade, they fail to mention what the punishment SHOULD be.

Besides George W. Bush has made is postion on Roe VS Wade clear. Both are fine ways outta New Orleans. Not that it matters, with the water level dropping.
posted by rough ashlar at 4:36 PM on September 24, 2005


> And try to keep your hysteric appeals to emotion and frothing bullshit
> from clouding your comments again, Fuller. If you have a real argument, state it.

Uncle Jim 'spects his best argument is to let klang have the last word.
posted by jfuller at 4:44 PM on September 24, 2005


fe·tus P Pronunciation Key (fts)
n. pl. fe·tus·es
1. The unborn young of a viviparous vertebrate having a basic structural resemblance to the adult animal.
2. In humans, the unborn young from the end of the eighth week after conception to the moment of birth, as distinguished from the earlier embryo.


I'm having a hard time seeing why a "language purist" such as yourself objects to the use of the word "fetus."

As far as the moment at which personhood is acquired by the fetus antepartum American, I can understand that designating birth as the bright clear line may seem arbitrary. It's considerably less arbitrary, however, than any other alternative. It always amazes me when people trot out the nazis-didn't-think-jews-were-people-either canard to argue for an earlier onset of personhood. Do you truly think that different races are as qualitatively different as a fetus is from a bona fide, sentient person?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 4:57 PM on September 24, 2005


One other thought: when people specifically use the most emotion-laden vocabulary they can, then accuse those who aren't doing this of somehow bastardizing the language (or refusing to call a spade a spade -- the other variation of this little rhetorical trick), are they conscious of their attempt at emotional manipulation via syntax, or do they truly not understand the whole connotative/denotative thing? Just asking.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:08 PM on September 24, 2005


Isn't it interesting that there are no established, reversible vasectomy procedures?

We live in an age of medical miracles of all sorts. Phenomenal, mind-blowing medical capabilities. We can guide a wire to within millimeters of accuracy, through a person's brain, using MRI technology to magnetically drag it along a plotted path, to destroy a cancer without harming any other part of the brain. We regularly save premature infants that, even five years ago, would have perished outside the womb. We can keep a brain-dead body alive indefinitely. We are as gods.

Yet for some reason we can't reliably prevent sperm from travelling up the epididymis. At least, not such that we can easily re-allow sperm ejaculation some time in the future for the purpose of procreation. Nope, it's a permanent snip, or nothing.

Pretty interesting, indeed.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:02 PM on September 24, 2005


Isn't it interesting that there are no established, reversible vasectomy procedures?

We live in an age of medical miracles of all sorts. Phenomenal, mind-blowing medical capabilities. We can guide a wire to within millimeters of accuracy, through a person's brain, using MRI technology to magnetically drag it along a plotted path, to destroy a cancer without harming any other part of the brain. We regularly save premature infants that, even five years ago, would have perished outside the womb. We can keep a brain-dead body alive indefinitely. We are as gods.

Yet for some reason we can't reliably prevent sperm from travelling up the epididymis. At least, not such that we can easily re-allow sperm ejaculation some time in the future for the purpose of procreation. Nope, it's a permanent snip, or nothing.

Pretty interesting, indeed.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:02 PM on September 24, 2005


Whoa. There's a glitch in this matrix.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:02 PM on September 24, 2005


> I'm having a hard time seeing why a "language purist" such as yourself
> objects to the use of the word "fetus."

The term used in its dictionary/clinical sense has a weight, an array of implications, that is different from the weight it carries in the context of an argument about abortion. In the latter, but not the former, it carries along the implication "NOT human. NO rights." I'm perfectly happy with the definition you quote, as long as you notice that nothing about it excludes the fetus from also and concurrently being human and having rights. You go ahead and call...this thing we're talking about...a fetus, I'm fine with that. In return, you're fine with me simultaneously calling it a baby, the killing of which is murder. Will you go down that road of reciprocity with me? I didn't think so. I conclude that you are perfectly well aware that while the dictionary definition is unexceptionable, it entirely elides the issue. Us clever language purists notice when issues get elided, mmm?

> As far as the moment at which personhood is acquired by the fetus antepartum
> American, I can understand that designating birth as the bright clear line
> may seem arbitrary. It's considerably less arbitrary, however, than any
> other alternative.

Well, we agree about the arbitrariness anyway. Since, as I explained above, the line dividing human individuals from not-human individuals is arbitrary and culture-dependent, and since history proves how easily unpopular groups can slip over to the "not human" side, my attitude is that anything with the remotest, most tenuous claim to humanity should be given the benefit of the doubt. I believe that for my own safety's sake. You, for your part, are no doubt aware that the entire gender woman has at times in the past, and in places in the present, been seen as not fully human. I expect you'll want to pick up on the same come-one-come-all, everybody's-human attitude, for your own safety's sake. To do otherwise, to claim that there can be a whole group of members of the species Homo sapiens who aren't human and don't have rights, sends a really, really bad message. Where there can be one such group, there can be others--maybe including mine, or yours.

> are they conscious of their attempt at emotional manipulation via syntax

Yes. As long as we acknowledge that what to you is emotional manipulation is to me an emotional wake-up call.

The question of is-it-human-or-is-it-not-human is not, and cannot be, a logical issue. It is an issue of heart's orientation toward the other. Wittgenstein: "I am not of the opinion that he is a person; my attitude toward him is an attitude toward a person."
posted by jfuller at 6:17 PM on September 24, 2005


klang: And try to keep your hysteric appeals to emotion and frothing bullshit from clouding your comments again, Fuller. If you have a real argument, state it.

Uncle Jim 'spects his best argument is to let klang have the last word.
posted by jfuller at 7:44 PM EST on September 24


Yasm, Unka Jim! I speck you right, that do be yo bess argumint, since yo ain't got no argumint a'tall, leastways not so's anybody heah evah caught sight of it.

Seriously, jfuller, what the fuck are you thinking? That if you're loud and stupid and obnoxious enough, you'll be right? Granted, the national government has operated on that principle for the past five years. However, abortion is an intensely personal issue and fractally complicated, and your sadly inadequate manichean thinking is not useful, in any way.

Until you've talked to some actual live females about this (who are not your mother, your sister, your lab partner), I respectfully request that you refrain from commenting on this issue.
posted by vetiver at 6:24 PM on September 24, 2005


BTW:

> It always amazes me when people trot out the nazis-didn't-think-
> jews-were-people-either canard to argue for an earlier onset of personhood.

You're not thinking of me here, right? Because I pulled out that example to help a net.idiot understand that there's no such thing as provably human, not to argue for any particular time of onset. As you'll surely see, if you reread. Thanks in advance...
posted by jfuller at 6:28 PM on September 24, 2005


There are more variables affecting the abortion rate than just the legislation and court rulings that govern the procedure.

Ah, but roe v wade is the variable in question no? Surely no one will attempt to make a case for roe v wade reducing the abortion rate?

Everyone would like to see the abortion rate reduced

People deceive themselves on this one. They'd like to see the rate reduced 'globally' but not 'locally'. They'd see it going down overall as a good thing, but want everyone to retain the unilateral right to make it go up as individuals. I'm not sure how they manage to compartmentalize these two competing notions.
posted by scheptech at 6:33 PM on September 24, 2005


> Yasm, Unka Jim! I speck you right, that do be yo bess argumint, since yo
> ain't got no argumint a'tall, leastways not so's anybody heah evah caught sight of it.

Heh. You know, we wouldn't take that from a white racist. But it's OK if you're a possum. Don't worry, on the internets nobody knows you're a possum.
posted by jfuller at 6:35 PM on September 24, 2005


I can think of one realpolitik tradeoff worth considering.

Right now corporations are people, under the law in the US.

What if we agreed to get rid of that nonsense along with agreeing that any viable child gets to be a person, and provided full governmental support for potential people rather than for corporations?

We'd have artificial wombs instead of Delaware Corporation Law, artificial placentas instead of Endless Copyright, artificial blood instead of Patents on The Best Things In Life ....
posted by hank at 6:51 PM on September 24, 2005


It's a Corporate Entity, not a choice!
posted by rdone at 8:44 PM on September 24, 2005


The question of is-it-human-or-is-it-not-human is not, and cannot be, a logical issue.

I tend to think the "human or not" argument is a bit of a canard. The issue is that the human/child/fetus in question is living off someone else's body, causing permanent changes to her body, and quite possibly threatening her life. The real issue here is whether or not the person whose body is being used consents to that use or not.
posted by biscotti at 10:34 PM on September 24, 2005


I tend to agree, biscotti, though I think that the "human or not" argument is used as a justification due to the fact that the only GOOD argument pro-lifers can come up with is, as jfuller demonstrated with such trollish finesse, that their morality is superior to pro-choicers, and that pro-choicers are nothing more than "baby killers". Unfortunately the argument returned, the fact that fetuses are not comparable to fully matured human beings in an emotional, intellectual manner (which is not some fantastic myth, and anyone who's ever taken Psych 101 is already aware of this), is sound, so pro-lifers such as jfuller reject it and are reduced to repeating one of their time-tested mantras.
posted by nonmerci at 12:30 AM on September 25, 2005


I conclude that you are perfectly well aware that while the dictionary definition is unexceptionable, it entirely elides the issue.

There is no issue.

Not even though you want there to be an issue.

We apply the same standards to many other things: to wit, I am going to have sex tonight with a woman I have not married, and it'll require you and an army to stop us.

If you have even two brain cells to rub together, you understand that you do not want to live in a country where you must sign an agreement with the government in order to have a relationship.

That is why there is no issue: it is simply wholly and completely unacceptable for an elected government to have that level of interference with one's life. Not only in one's bed, but also in the matter of pregnancy.

There are many other countries where you can get that kind of dictatorship. I suggest you consider moving there, where the law will actually be in accordance to your wishes.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:25 AM on September 25, 2005


Ah, but roe v wade is the variable in question no?
Actually, no, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton are not the variables in question. Access to medical care, which is, in theory, available to everyone, has significant barriers for people who can not afford it, don't know about it or even simply have a fear of it. There are many other variables.
Surely no one will attempt to make a case for roe v wade reducing the abortion rate?
I believe one can make a case that Roe v. Wade decreased the number of abortions that resulted in death or serious injury to the mother. At the same time, I don't believe anyone is arguing that Roe v. Wade has reduced the number of abortions, though the number was trending lower until recently.
They'd like to see the rate reduced 'globally' but not 'locally'.
What, in your experience, leads you to believe this is true. There's nothing I'd want more than for contraception to be foolproof, for men and women to seriously consider the consequences of recreational sex, for health care to be universally accessible, and for sexual education to be mandatory. These things, and probably more, would lead to a reduced abortion rate. No woman should have to go through an abortion, but they should have the right to choose to go through one if she believes the pregnancy is not in the best interest of the child or the parents.
They'd see it going down overall as a good thing, but want everyone to retain the unilateral right to make it go up as individuals.
I don't see how this is contradictory. If people don't have to make the decision because of better education, then the system is working. If people have the right, but do not exercise it, why does that make them for an increased rate of abortion?
I'm not sure how they manage to compartmentalize these two competing notions.
The abortion rate, if it is measured per capita, measures number of abortions per thousand women. The abortion rate can also be calculated in year end totals. A trend can be identified over periods of time. If it is trending downward, that does not imply that the right to sexual privacy has been revoked. There are many other factors that actually cause a downward trend in the abortion rate.

In short, there is no conflict in wanting women to have the right to make private decisions regarding their health and also wanting the overall abortion rate to be significantly reduced by means other than restricting said right. In fact, I believe the two are complementary.
posted by sequential at 7:19 AM on September 25, 2005


Isn't it interesting that there are no established, reversible vasectomy procedures?

Well there's this and this. However, it's bit problematic. But then this is a physical procedure of course.
posted by juiceCake at 9:11 AM on September 25, 2005


"The question of is-it-human-or-is-it-not-human is not, and cannot be, a logical issue. It is an issue of heart's orientation toward the other."
Ah. So it's all about a subjective call that makes you want to restrict the rights of others.
Hey, I think meat is murder. You can't eat it.
posted by klangklangston at 9:17 AM on September 25, 2005


One might note that access in abortion appears to be correlated with a reduction in crime rates but not a reduction in children being born. The latter are "time-shifted" to a period where the mother feels capable of raising children (ie. she has kids, and about as many as she would have anyway), while the former has a circa twenty-year lag (ie. a reduction in the number of unwanted children turning criminal as they leave home.) This has held true over numerous states as access to abortion becomes more or less easy; and over several countries, as abortion becomes available.

I'm not saying it well, but the basic point is that access to abortion leads to a marked reduction in crime rates over time.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:17 AM on September 25, 2005


There are many other factors that actually cause a downward trend in the abortion rate.

Which is good and cause for hope but how does that take away from roe v wade's obvious upward biasing effect?

Looking at the principle of nine-month autonomy: how is it that the father has control and responsibility for his actions both pre-conception and post-birth but not between these two points in time? How is it that he may be caused to cease to exist legally for 9 months, then be reconstituted when his child is born in any case, let alone at the sole discretionary will of another individual? How does this winking out of and back into existence add up either ethically or legally? How can his rights be present, not present, then present again?

These are both examples of the common human ability to hold two conflicting ideas in mind at the same time:

Fathers do not have a shared right to decide pregnancy outcomes - fathers do have a shared lifetime responsibility for preganancy outcomes.

The current abortion rate in general is 'bad' - a system of law that clearly results in significantly more abortions occuring is 'good' as-is and should not be examined, reviewed, or modified in any way.
posted by scheptech at 10:26 AM on September 25, 2005


> Ah. So it's all about a subjective call that makes you want to restrict the
> rights of others.

Of course it is. It is exactly the same sort of intuition that leads me to want to restrict the right of others to carry out lynchings or blow up airliners. No ethical philosopher has ever been able convincingly to trace such judgements to anything other than intuition. (As for the source of the intuition, we have a trifurcation: either divine revelation, for the religious, or natural selection for impulses which led to differential reproductive success in the past. A third camp doesn't inquire about the intuitions' origin but simply takes them as a given and begins its philosophy at that point.) In any case, it's intuitions all the way down.
posted by jfuller at 10:40 AM on September 25, 2005


> I'm not saying it well, but the basic point is that access to abortion leads to a
> marked reduction in crime rates over time.

And that's certainly a Good Thing. It's really miraculous how inconvenient individuals, to say nothing of groups, cease to trouble us once we've got rid of 'em. As I noted to LittleMissCranky above, that lesson has a much wider application than just to inconvenient little feti.
posted by jfuller at 11:58 AM on September 25, 2005


Looking at the principle of nine-month autonomy: how is it that the father has control and responsibility for his actions both pre-conception and post-birth but not between these two points in time? How is it that he may be caused to cease to exist legally for 9 months, then be reconstituted when his child is born in any case, let alone at the sole discretionary will of another individual? How does this winking out of and back into existence add up either ethically or legally? How can his rights be present, not present, then present again?

Simple answer: because this is an imperfect world. Do note, however, that ultimately you choose whether to participate in this imperfect system by virtue of your control over your own cock.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:59 AM on September 25, 2005


The current abortion rate in general is 'bad' - a system of law that clearly results in significantly more abortions occuring is 'good' as-is and should not be examined, reviewed, or modified in any way.

Abortion rates don't drop when abortion is made illegal. They are, however, dropping as access becomes easier. This is very likely because ease of access to abortions is also correlated to ease of access to contraceptives and quality of sex education (ie. not preaching abstinance solely).
posted by five fresh fish at 12:02 PM on September 25, 2005


"how is it that the father has control and responsibility for his actions both pre-conception and post-birth but not between these two points in time?"
Where's that fetus during those nine months. When you can answer that, and realize that abortion versus birth really is a binary distinction, you may have a better clue as to why the father's rights are secondary.

"Of course it is. It is exactly the same sort of intuition that leads me to want to restrict the right of others to carry out lynchings or blow up airliners. No ethical philosopher has ever been able convincingly to trace such judgements to anything other than intuition. (As for the source of the intuition, we have a trifurcation: either divine revelation, for the religious, or natural selection for impulses which led to differential reproductive success in the past. A third camp doesn't inquire about the intuitions' origin but simply takes them as a given and begins its philosophy at that point.) In any case, it's intuitions all the way down."
Aww, Fuller. It's a shame that you don't even pretend to have a logical basis for your arguments. No ethical philosopher has ever been able to convincingly trace judgements to anything but intuition? Jeez, I hate point out your shortcomings, but you haven't read very much philosophy if you believe that to be true. I mean, Christ, every fully-formed set of ethics (whether I ascribe to it or not) has a fundamental goal associated with it. Just to point out the most glaring instance of your ignorance, there'd be the Utilitarians. You can argue about what the best metrics are and whether there will ever be establishable criteria for the measurement of "the good," but arguing that they have nothing but intuition is bullshit on its face.
Oh, wait. You meant "convincing" to you. Again, we're back at the point where someone with strong yet absurd conventions has decided that everyone would be better off if this set of subjective values were imposed. And you're admiting that you have no argument except one based on your emotions.
I realize that I probably should stop picking at you, because it's not your fault that you were brought up ignorant and raving, but if you can't even be bound by the general sense of viewpoint/support, you're really not ever going to be anything but a raving retard.
And, even better, you're arguing from a position of insane moral relativism. If everything is intuition, there's no intuition better or more supportable than another. When I argue that there's a) no right to lynch, and b) that lynching should be prohibited as it denies other people their rights, it's not just my gut that tells me that. I can make an argument based on anything from Natural Rights to democratic interest to Neitszchian anti-nihilism.
Then, with the magic of social science, I can tell you how to construct an experiment that will tell you whether the argument is good or not.
But you're still trying to build a staircase without a first stair, Fuller. Perhaps you should leave the thinking to people who can do it without trying to wave their hands around to the mysticism of their "intuitions." Otherwise, we'll be trusting your intuition that evolution doesn't happen, that Satan causes all evil, that planes can't fly without angels, that choosing your mother's birthday for lotto tickets is lucky, or that your personal discomfort should give you the right to decide someone elses' range of decisions.
posted by klangklangston at 12:34 PM on September 25, 2005


Hey, you -- yah, you -- get the fuck out of my wife's uterus.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:25 PM on September 25, 2005


A footnote regarding abortion:

It will always be available to the rich. A-L-W-A-Y-S.

The abortion "debate," then, is more properly framed as a restriction of reproductive choices for poor women.

It is discriminatory. It serves to keep the lower classes in their place. Little wonder well-off white men are the primary force behind the anti-choice crowd.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:34 PM on September 25, 2005


You, for your part, are no doubt aware that the entire gender woman has at times in the past, and in places in the present, been seen as not fully human.

And you, for your part, are no doubt aware that prioritizing the rights of the fetus, who is unarguably non-sentient and only possibly endowed with personhood, over the rights of the woman forces women back into the not-fully-human category.

My attitude is that anything with the remotest, most tenuous claim to humanity should be given the benefit of the doubt.

You're still going to have to draw a line somewhere. Does a fertilized, non-implanted egg have that claim? How about an unfertilized egg? Sperm? Why not anything with any human DNA at all -- maybe hair or fingernail clippings? And while we're at it, why is "human" the divider? Why not other animals? Maybe carrots as well? Whether you like it or not, you are making a distinction. The exact location of that line may be intuitively true for you, but that's an awfully shitty way to legislate.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 5:58 PM on September 25, 2005


why the father's rights are secondary.

They aren't secondary, they don't exist.

In the emphasis on the womans body the mans body (the required part of it, as it were...) and any emotional or psychological connection with him is ignored. Legally, pregnancy is treated pretty much as an illness, with the father's contribution having no more meaning, value, or status than a virus.
posted by scheptech at 5:59 PM on September 25, 2005


You never answered my questions to your previous post, scheptech: what exactly would you prefer?
posted by LittleMissCranky at 6:01 PM on September 25, 2005


And that's ridiculous, fff. Rich women never have abortions, because rich women are by definition responsible and would never do anything like have sex outside of marriage or when they weren't ready to have their genetically blessed, equally responsible rich fetuses into the world. The only people who have abortions are poor gutter trash who have sex with thousands of people willy-nilly and are too stupid to use contraception. And feminists, because they want to kill babies.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 6:05 PM on September 25, 2005


As a political matter, if Roe was somehow struck down and sent to the legislative branch to handle, this would be a problem for the Republicans. As has been mentioned here many times before, Roe activates the base in the Republican party and helps in fund-raising. If the issue falls to the legislature -- whether state or national-- a political sea change may occur.
posted by mania at 7:36 PM on September 25, 2005


In the emphasis on the womans body the mans body (the required part of it, as it were...) and any emotional or psychological connection with him is ignored. Legally, pregnancy is treated pretty much as an illness, with the father's contribution having no more meaning, value, or status than a virus.

You seem to basically be saying that because you can't keep your prick in your pants, all women should be held captive to your sperm.

I suggest that rather than our society harming women for your benefit, you simply learn to masturbate.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:44 PM on September 25, 2005


what exactly would you prefer?

Exactly I wouldn't presume to attempt since I'm not a doctor nor fortunately a lawyer or politician, but in general:

Assumption that a fetus is a person rather than not since the case seems unprovable either way. Benefit of the doubt. Err on the side of preserving rather than destroying that which may be human life. You asked, that's my feeling on it. Do I think it'll happen? No way.

Ditch the trimester legal artifice. Seems a fudge, weasel-y, maybe even a little cowardly. It should be either ok or not to abort before birth. People may not currently agree on when a person begins but can it logically be other than at a) conception or b) birth? Gonna happen? No.

More practically: stick closer to what is (if I understand correctly) the spirit of the original ruling and reserve abortions for the preservation of the physical or emotional health of the mother. As opposed to what it's being used for more often: preserving the financial health, social standing, status, or lifestyle of the mother. Life-threatening medical emergencies should be easy to figure out. Rape - a medical case can be made for preserving the mental health of the mother. Incest, same. Etc.

Yup, not a perfect world...

Again though, folks should be careful what they wish for. Simply striking down Roe seems unwise. My own sense is it needs to be modified, restricted more to truly dire and unusual circumstances however the doctors and lawyers figure out, exactly, to do that.

all women should be held captive to your sperm.

Heh ok, the basic male fantasy? Dominion over all the planets women? I think we're talking about a difficult and nuanced set of social, legal, and medical problems which are not reducable to either simple explanations or solutions. Well, actually they are, but then opportunities to find answers get lost in the extremism that swirls about the topic on both 'sides'.
posted by scheptech at 8:13 PM on September 25, 2005


> And you, for your part, are no doubt aware that prioritizing the rights of the fetus,
> who is unarguably non-sentient and only possibly endowed with personhood, over
> the rights of the woman forces women back into the not-fully-human category.

That is true when we have equal risk to both parties--where it's a medical case in which either the unborn individual or the mother is going to die. In such as case I frankly have no difficulty with the necessary abortion. It's very sad but it is the right decision.

But that is true only in a small minority of extreme cases. At the other extreme we have cases where the unborn individual, who is arguably human, is to die or else the mother will suffer "psychological stress" or merely suffer being shifted onto an undesired life path:

"On the subway, Peter asked, 'Shouldn't we consider having triplets?' And I had this adverse reaction: 'This is why they say it's the woman's choice, because you think I could just carry triplets. That's easy for you to say, but I'd have to give up my life.' Not only would I have to be on bed rest at 20 weeks, I wouldn't be able to fly after 15. I was already at eight weeks. When I found out about the triplets, I felt like: It's not the back of a pickup at 16, but now I'm going to have to move to Staten Island. I'll never leave my house because I'll have to care for these children. I'll have to start shopping only at Costco and buying big jars of mayonnaise. Even in my moments of thinking about having three, I don't think that deep down I was ever considering it."
-- abortion activist Amy Richards, discussing why she aborted two of her triplets. When one is enough, New York Times Magazine


At whatever point in the pregnancy, this is a deeply inadequate motive to balance against the death of a thing that is even arguably human. It trivializes the humanity of every person on the planet, born or not. It moves us all just that much closer to being hunks of meat and nothing more. It is, in the true sense of the word, a crime against humanity--to avoid shopping at Costco! As Sandy put a stop to Miss Jean Brodie, so we must put a stop to Amy Richards and her like. If you can't agree with me on that, you'll just have to beat me. But you aren't going to, because even most women out there in America-land will look at this case and say "That was wrong."

Executive summary of first section: the acknowledged difference in evident human-ness between the mother and the fetus must be balanced against the equally evident difference in cost to the two parties to the procedure. If women cannot bring themselves to give greater weight to the arguable humanity of the fetus then the re-weighting will have to be done for them. Because it must happen.

---------------

> You're still going to have to draw a line somewhere. Does a
> fertilized, non-implanted egg have that claim? How about an
> unfertilized egg? Sperm? Why not anything with any human DNA
> at all...Whether you like it or not, you are making a
> distinction. The exact location of that line may be
> intuitively true for you, but that's an awfully shitty way
> to legislate.

It's a tough decision, isn't it? And hard cases notoriously make bad law. Continua are common in biology and we certainly have a continuum here, from your unfertilized egg, which is certainly not a human, to the fully formed baby one minute before parturition, which is certainly just as human is it will be one minute after parturition. Our minds are categorizing engines, and we make our categories in hard cases like this by focusing on the clearly distinct end points of the continuum and supression consideration of intermediate cases. "IT'S BARELY EVEN A CELL!" "NO! IT'S A BABY!" This is clearly bad thinking and we have to do better. As the fetus develops, as its arguable humanity becomes more and more inarguable, outsiders (including civil society as a whole) have a more and more compelling interest in protecting the rights of the unborn individual; and terminating its life becomes less and less "strictly between the woman and her doctor." Get used to it, because it's right and its the future.
posted by jfuller at 5:23 AM on September 26, 2005


"Ditch the trimester legal artifice. Seems a fudge, weasel-y, maybe even a little cowardly."
Well, except that the trimesters are based on ex-womb viability. There is a reason there, even if you don't understand it.
"This is clearly bad thinking and we have to do better. As the fetus develops, as its arguable humanity becomes more and more inarguable, outsiders (including civil society as a whole) have a more and more compelling interest in protecting the rights of the unborn individual; and terminating its life becomes less and less "strictly between the woman and her doctor." Get used to it, because it's right and its the future."
Duh, dumbass. That's why we have a standard of trimesters.
"At the other extreme we have cases where the unborn individual, who is arguably human, is to die or else the mother will suffer "psychological stress" or merely suffer being shifted onto an undesired life path:"
Arguably based on what? Earlier, you put forth that everything comes from your squishy intuition. A woman that doesn't share your wobbly and foundationless theology has the right to do with her body what she will, and until a fetus is inarguably human, that's between her and her doctor. Get used to that, because that's what the majority of Americans believe, despite your agitated base of frothers and ideologues.
posted by klangklangston at 6:36 AM on September 26, 2005


If women cannot bring themselves to give greater weight to the arguable humanity of the fetus then the re-weighting will have to be done for them. Because it must happen.

jfuller that is a flat-out lie.

It will not happen. The wealthy will always have access to abortion.

If push comes to shove, I promise you this: I will have no problem defending my wife's right to choose what happens to her body, even if it means harming you.

Are you ready to die for a fetus?

Because I sure as hell am prepared to die to protect my wife.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:49 AM on September 26, 2005


Fathers do not have a shared right to decide pregnancy outcomes - scheptech

You're right. They don't. And they can have it as soon as they have the shared responsibility of carrying the pregnancy. When the growth is in your body, you can have the same say as I do. Until then, IT'S MY BODY; IT'S MY CHOICE.
posted by raedyn at 11:39 AM on September 26, 2005


If women cannot bring themselves to give greater weight to the arguable humanity of the fetus then the re-weighting will have to be done for them. Because it must happen.

Okay, and here's where I'm done with you. Before I get used to the idea that there comes a point in my pregnancy in which "civil society as a whole" gets to decide that they can compel me to endure risks to my health and considerable pain, on any grounds, I would like something more than your intuitive truth about what's right to back that up. Your comments about how another group of people must have your intuitive sense of rightness enforced upon them, at grave cost to them, puts them in the less-than-human category, and gives the lie to your entire oh-I'm-just-arguing-for-the-sake-of-all-humanity tap-dance. I am fully willing to acknowledge that there might be a claim to be made that abortion (particularly in later trimesters) might be morally wrong, even if it's based on your shaky moral/religious intuition. It's when you start legislating that way that we've got a giant, giant problem.

scheptech: More practically: stick closer to what is (if I understand correctly) the spirit of the original ruling and reserve abortions for the preservation of the physical or emotional health of the mother. As opposed to what it's being used for more often: preserving the financial health, social standing, status, or lifestyle of the mother. Life-threatening medical emergencies should be easy to figure out. Rape - a medical case can be made for preserving the mental health of the mother. Incest, same. Etc.

Bullshit. Life-threatening emergencies are not always easy to figure out, nor are cases when the mental health of the mother is endangered. Rape and incest are easy to trot out as clear exceptions to an extremely unsound proposed anti-abortion policy, and I strongly encourage you to ask yourself why that would be. Yes, in those cases there is often considerable risk to the mental health of the mother, but there are many, many more cases that don't involve sexual coersion in which there is equal risk, and you would like to legislate the possibility of abortion in those cases entirely away. Why exactly is the woman's mental health given precedence in rape/incest cases and not in others? I would propose that it's because there's less of an undertone of original sin in these cases; the woman didn't choose to have sex, and therefore you (and the "moral majority") are less comfortable sentencing her to the wages of her sin. Shitty, shitty reasoning for law.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 11:53 AM on September 26, 2005


five fresh fish writes "Yet for some reason we can't reliably prevent sperm from travelling up the epididymis. At least, not such that we can easily re-allow sperm ejaculation some time in the future for the purpose of procreation. Nope, it's a permanent snip, or nothing."

A testament to the resiliency of the human reproductive system.
posted by Mitheral at 12:44 PM on September 26, 2005


I'm going reiterate here: When push comes to shove, I will put my life on the line should the need arise to preserve my wife's access to an abortion. I say this as one wealthy enough to ensure that she will find a physician who will assist her, whether by medicine or by surgery. Her right will not be denyed.

This means, jfuller, that if you were to get in the way of that right, at a time when she needs access to it, your life could be made forfeit, even if it costs me my own.

Think on that. You must be willing to die in order to potentially save a fetus. I say "potentially" because you know full well that many pregnancies are mis-carried -- many more than are aborted, by far! -- and all the more so when the woman is willfully wishing it to abort.

Frankly, chances are extremely high that even were you, or whatever military you wish to pose between my wife and her doctor, successful in preventing me from eliminating them as an obstacle to her decision, the lives lost would be lost in vain: she would almost certainly miscarry.

I've staked my life on my wife's side.

Can you honestly say you will do the same for a random fetus?
posted by five fresh fish at 1:26 PM on September 26, 2005


You're right. They don't. And they can have it as soon as they have the shared responsibility of carrying the pregnancy. When the growth is in your body, you can have the same say as I do. Until then, IT'S MY BODY; IT'S MY CHOICE.
Your antagonism and your conclusion are why I'm careful not to align myself too closely with women's rights groups. Don't get me wrong, I'm thoroughly for women's rights in every aspect. I don't propose, as I've said in this thread at least once, men have any authority over a woman's body in any circumstance.

To illustrate what I mean, consider a man and woman have consensual, recreational sex outside of a committed relationship. The woman tells the man she is pregnant when she finds out four to eight weeks later. In that time, the man and woman have not continued any sort of friendship, let alone a relationship.

As they talk, the man expresses his desire to keep the child, but that he's not ready for whatever reason. The woman expresses the desire to terminate the pregnancy, but understands his dilemma. They have a friendly conversation that ends with the consensus decision to terminate. They part ways permanently.

Seven to eight months later, she gives birth to a child, having not spoken with or even seen the father since that night. Things aren't perfect, but she loves her newborn and swears to do right by him or her. She doesn't immediately become litigious, but after time, she realizes that the law is on her side should she want to claim damages against the father. So she does.

Now, in this example, it was the woman's body and her choice. Everything that happened was handled reasonably, even her decision to not terminate and not tell the father. Can it really be her body, her choice and his partial liability for the next 18 years?

If you say yes, and there are many who do, then you are just being intellectually dishonest. No, men should not be able to tell women what to do with their body. Nor should men have the converse ability to hold a woman liable for damages if she should choose to terminate despite his wishes. That men can held be liable is probably a good idea, like in cases of marriage, but in practice it likely does not function as a deterrent, a punishment or even a fair way to resolve paternal issues.

Shorter me:YOUR BODY; YOUR CHOICE; YOUR RESPONSIBILITY IF CHOOSE TO GIVE BIRTH.

As an aside, that thing that grows inside of you? It's not your body. Sure, it's in your body, but it's not your body. The distinction is not unimportant, but should not impact your ability to control your own body. Even at the earliest stages after conception, it's just not you. If a sperm had not entered the egg, the part that is you would have been flushed out of your body during your next menstrual cycle.

raedyn, I'd hold up a sign saying exactly that at any pro-choice rally standing next to you while smiling naturally any time. I hope that comes across in this, somehow. Excuse my pedantry and semantics. For whatever reason, I believe they are important.
posted by sequential at 8:03 PM on September 26, 2005


Sounds fair enough to me.

If a woman chooses to carry to term, the man should be able to get a legal agreement from the government that because the woman was informed via legal process that if she chooses to carry to term then it is her exclusive responsibility, parental and financial, to raise the child.

If a man chooses to carry to term, the man should be able to negotiate an equitable settlement, ie. payment for nine months demanding labour plus he takes the kid and, at her option, he takes on sole parental and financial responsibility for the child.

Yes, it is entirely possible that some women will not agree under any circumstances to continue the pregnancy. That's what makes it fair: women who are anti-abortion will have to be quite selective in who they sleep with, lest they bear the full cost of raising children... and, too, men who are anti-abortion will have to be quite selective in who they sleep with, lest they bear the responsibility of creating a life that is subsequently aborted.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:38 PM on September 26, 2005


Sequential: The obligation is to the child, not to the mother. If the mother chooses not to have an abortion, the father is on the hook for the child. That seems fair, doesn't it? At least when you consider the interests of the child.
Don't like it? You're free not to have sex with fertile people. I hear that teh gay never gets teh preggers.
posted by klangklangston at 12:24 AM on September 27, 2005


So it looks to me like you anti-abortionists don't have the balls to put your life on the line for your morals, eh?

That's probably for the best: you know full well that any anti-abortion laws are going to apply only to the poor, which is a fundamentally unconstitutional unfairness; plus you know full well that when push comes to shove, those of us who defend our wives will have no compunction about ensuring their safety.

My suggestion to you, then, is that you find some other issue to rail behind. This one is a no-go.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:02 PM on September 28, 2005


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