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February 17, 2006 9:24 AM   Subscribe

The Bull Moose likes the idea of reducing abortions by 95% in 10 years. A group of largely pro-life Democrats have banded together to "put aside the debate on the legality of abortion" and focus on how to greatly reduce the number of abortions in America. Is this an example of Democrats challenging Republicans to put their money where their pro-life principles are? Or, because the initiative "bans late-term abortions and requires parental-notification laws," is this another example of America's continuing drift to the right?
posted by billysumday (147 comments total)

 
You know, it makes me crazy. Politicians and those on the right spit and fume about late-term abortions as though lots and lots of pregnant women are waking up in their eight month of pregnancy, deciding on a whim that they don't want to have a baby, and just going to the local Abort-o-rama to get the little fetus sucked out and chopped up.

That's not how it works. Late-term abortions are almost always done because there's some sort of medical complication. Would politicians really rather have their wife die than abort a baby?

And parental-notification laws: what about incest?
posted by bshort at 9:32 AM on February 17, 2006


"Abortions should be safe, legal, and rare." - President William Jefferson Clinton.... one of the wisest political statements about the topic.
posted by dios at 9:32 AM on February 17, 2006


I like the idea, but there's no way it reduces the abortion rate by anything close to 95 percent.

And as to banning late-term abortions and parental notification: If that's what it takes to get abortion off the table as a political issue, I'd do it. It wouldn't mollify the fundies, who won't compromise anyway; but the the vast bulk of middle American moved by this issue, it may prove the silver bullet that we can finally freaking move past the abortion thing and talk about, you know, things that we ought to be talking about.
posted by kgasmart at 9:37 AM on February 17, 2006


I'm glad to see progressive (well, at least sort of) voices addressing the moral implications of abortion. Excellent idea, reducing abortion through REALISTIC SEX EDUCATION programs for young people. But the only realistic sex education is education that counsels teens on the use birth control and makes contraceptives available to sexually active (or soon to be..) teens. Because "abstinence education" is an ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand joke, a folly of the conservative nutjobs right up there with "intelligent design".
posted by applemeat at 9:38 AM on February 17, 2006


I'd have to agree with kgasmart.

Also, as far as education goes: I'm a high school teacher (currently subbing, so I'm all over the place, really). It's amazing how many kids are stunned when I tell them that condoms don't have an age restriction like alcohol or tobacco.

They should know that from health class, but who listens to their health teacher, anyway?
posted by scaryblackdeath at 9:42 AM on February 17, 2006


This is a nice, impossible idea, given what applemeat points out--people holding up "abstinence only" won't compromise anything (in the face of scientific fact that it does nothing, that many "Red States" have higher church attendance and higher rates of teen pregnancy).

I dunno. The dialogue is good, of course, but there are far too many "conversation stoppers" here (to borrow a phrase somewhat out of context from Richard Rorty).
posted by bardic at 9:44 AM on February 17, 2006


there are far too many "conversation stoppers" here

True, but remember that this is coming from the Democratic party, not Republican. The question is whether or not there are too many "liberal stoppers".
posted by billysumday at 9:45 AM on February 17, 2006


And parental-notification laws: what about incest?

Should a parent not be notified that their illegal and immoral act has resulted in a pregnancy that is now being legally terminated? Maybe there should be an additional law that somehow aids in the identification of the biological father after an abortion has been performed, so that cases of statutory rape and incest can be identified and prosecuted.

Because "abstinence education" is an ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand joke, a folly of the conservative nutjobs right up there with "intelligent design".

While I concede that you can never stop teens from having sex altogether, your comparison of abstinence education with intelligent design is, I think, extremely misguided.

Whereas intelligent design is entirely unscientific and has no rational or scientific basis whatsoever, abstinence is undeniably the only 100% effective means of birth control, and is the demonstrably the most effective means of avoiding HIV and other STDs -- and that is both scientifically verifiable and undeniable. Abstinence only education is folly. But to deny that abstinence is the only truly effective means of avoiding pregnancy and STDs is exactly like believing in intelligent design: unfounded, stupid, politically biased, and yes, an ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand joke.
posted by JekPorkins at 9:48 AM on February 17, 2006


(Wow. I just looked up some stuff on Rorty and "conversation stoppers" to find that it's also a phrase used by Jehovah's Witnesses. What a travesty.)
posted by bardic at 9:49 AM on February 17, 2006


Would politicians really rather have their wife die than abort a baby?

The strange story of Rick Santorum comes to mind.
posted by Steve Simpson at 9:49 AM on February 17, 2006


JekPorkins, there are actually studies (that I'm too lazy to look up) that show that abstinence education only makes kids delay sexual contact for a few months and makes it way more likely that they won't use birth control when the time comes. So, really, it doesn't do what it purports to do at all. It actually makes kids more likely to get pregnant than reasonable sex ed.
posted by dame at 9:52 AM on February 17, 2006


Jek, in cases of incest, the problem is that the offender is usually going to be the person who has to be notified. Think about it. Without his permission, no abortion can procede.

Also, please explain the connection between abstinence and abstinence education. Studies have shown there is none, in practice.
posted by bardic at 9:53 AM on February 17, 2006


Woah, I saw "conversation stoppers" and read "conservative stoppers". My bad, yo. My bad.
posted by billysumday at 9:53 AM on February 17, 2006


I'll never get over the fact that some Dems take "The Bull Moose", a Republican who refers to himself in the third person, seriously. He's worked for the Heritage Foundation and he wants John McCain to be President.
HINT: HE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. How he has any credibility at all is beyond me.

Is this an example of Democrats challenging Republicans to put their money where their pro-life principles are?

It's an example of frustrated "moderates" who are tired of losing and who think the Democrats can win if they abandon everything they used to stand for and turn into GOP-Lite.
posted by longdaysjourney at 9:53 AM on February 17, 2006


(Just ask Africa--although the problem there is also HIV.)
posted by bardic at 9:55 AM on February 17, 2006


("Conversation stopper" is a phrase coined by Ricard Rorty in the context of debates within a given society. Religion is, according to him, a conversation stopper, because once divine authority is invoked, two people can't effectively have discourse any longer, or better yet, discourse that would effectively bring them any closer to consensus on a given issue.)
posted by bardic at 9:57 AM on February 17, 2006


I think the real news here is that it seems to be the first reported sighting of a Democrat with an idea in a long time. Hooray for that!

I don't support banning abortions, but I'm absolutely in favor of any effort to make them very rare.
posted by JWright at 9:58 AM on February 17, 2006


I'm not an expert, but does "parental notification" mean that parental permission is required in order for the abortion to take place? I just thought that "notification" meant "notification." Maybe I'm wrong, bardic. You seem to think that "notification" means "permission required," and maybe you're right.

And dame, you may not have noticed where I said "Abstinence only education is folly." I said that because I believe it.
posted by JekPorkins at 9:59 AM on February 17, 2006


I wonder if these guys will advertise gay sex as a way to avoid unwanted pregnancy or abortions...
posted by qvantamon at 10:00 AM on February 17, 2006


Read it again, Jek. I do not say that abstinence is an ineffective contraceptive. I'm not comparing the in-depth validity of these different concepts. I am voicing my belief that both are foolish. The idea that the earth is 5000 years old is just as silly as the idea that teens will not have sex if we make condoms unavailable to them and get them all wearing "promise" bracelets.
posted by applemeat at 10:00 AM on February 17, 2006


I don't support banning abortions, but I'm absolutely in favor of any effort to make them very rare.

Any effort? Really, making abortions rare is a fine goal (I say as someone who would go have one in two seconds were I ever knocked up), but it really depends on how you do it. If you attempt to do so by just restricting access, you haven't done any good: you've just ruined a bunch of women's lives. If you do it by preventing pregnancy and providing reasonable support for women who do choose to have cildren, then yay. But saying any effort is, to me, really unfortunate.
posted by dame at 10:02 AM on February 17, 2006


Jek, you are wrong. Consent and notification as written are a bit different, but practically they mean the same thing--a teenager needs something signed by a parent (sometimes both) to get an abortion.
posted by bardic at 10:03 AM on February 17, 2006


Fair enough, Jek. But I think applemeat's point is correct, which was part of what I was referring to. S/he did a better job of explaining why.
posted by dame at 10:05 AM on February 17, 2006


The idea that the earth is 5000 years old is just as silly as the idea that teens will not have sex if we make condoms unavailable to them and get them all wearing "promise" bracelets.

Of course you're right about that. But when I read your original post again, here's what I see: "Because "abstinence education" is an ostrich-with-its-head-in-the-sand joke, a folly of the conservative nutjobs right up there with "intelligent design."

I guess I thought there was a difference between "abstinence only education" (which is stupid) and "abstinence education" (which is not stupid). Maybe you meant to say "abstinence only education." Or maybe there's no difference.

But I do think that the primary goal should be to get as many people as possible to recognize the importance of strict monogamy as the only realistic way to stop the spread of STDs. You may think that strict monogamy is not realistic. But it's at least as realistic as thinking that HIV can be stopped in any other way.

A big problem that I see is that teens don't generally make rational decisions, even if they are educated and informed of the consequences of their actions. I'm not sure that you can really ever stop teen pregnancy, no matter what you teach. But I think that every ethical and medically sound method should be taught if the goal is to avoid teen pregnancy and the spread of STDs.

I also think that reducing abortions by 95% is pie-in-the-sky, but sometimes you need lofty goals in order to accomplish the best realistic results.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:08 AM on February 17, 2006


Jek: You know something, I've never seen a safer sex program that didn't talk about abstinence and monogamy.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:17 AM on February 17, 2006


And as to banning late-term abortions and parental notification: If that's what it takes to get abortion off the table as a political issue, I'd do it.

The intresting thing is, most abortions are done by teenagers, and most abortions are done at the behest of the girls parents. Not only do parents already know, they're actualy pressuring the kids to get 'em.
posted by delmoi at 10:19 AM on February 17, 2006


Also, monogamy is not abstinence.
posted by billysumday at 10:19 AM on February 17, 2006


Also, monogamy is not abstinence.

Quite true. But what precedes and follows it is.
posted by JekPorkins at 10:25 AM on February 17, 2006


And as to banning late-term abortions and parental notification: If that's what it takes to get abortion off the table as a political issue, I'd do it.

That's thinking kgasmart. When the Republican rank and file backed off on banning abortion in the the case of rape, incest, and when the life of the mother is in danger, they stopped looking like extremists that they are.

The Dems might take a page from that playbook because what they think doesn't mean shit as long as they remain in the minority. The fundies on both sides don't win elections - it's the swing vote in the middle that's important.
posted by three blind mice at 10:25 AM on February 17, 2006


Whether it's parental consent or notification is somewhat beside the point when it comes to incest. To me, the point is that a father who has raped his underage daughter would be relatively likely to hurt or even kill his daughter if he found out she were trying to have a pregnancy he caused aborted. (This could even be true, in fact, of both parents in some non-incest situations as well). Were the parent to have the right to stop the abortion too, well that's just even worse. But just their knowing puts the girl in danger. I don't know about the rest of you, but when I get an HIV test, they ask me if I think my partner will hurt me or if I'll hurt myself if it comes back positive. I'd think concern for the young woman's safety should come first (silly of me, I know).

As for the general question, I don't know. The idealist side of me thinks this is what I've been waiting for on this issue (minus the parental consent and late-term thing). A common goal of all parties should be reducing the number of abortions by reducing the NEED for them. I really believe there is a way to do this (by 95%? I don't know) that keeps abortion safe and legal, raises the moral standard, and keeps everyone's freedom and rights in tact.

As to whether I really believe the democrats or anyone else are going to be able to get anything done on this issue, or whether their intentions are in line with my hopes, that I don't know.
posted by lampoil at 10:29 AM on February 17, 2006


Jek, I'm with KirkJobSluder here. I don't see much distinction between abstinence education and abstinence "only" education. Of course abstinence/monogamy is always an obviously responsible choice for all people, and abstinence/monogamy is also a prong of all (--and even the most "liberal") sex education programs I have ever heard or read about. I'm not sure that teens need specific education that no sex = no sexually-related consequences (...although I will confess that when I was about ten years old I believed that one could get pregnant from french kissing--if you did it too many times.)
posted by applemeat at 10:29 AM on February 17, 2006


It is if you're married. (Rimshot).
posted by klangklangston at 10:30 AM on February 17, 2006


Waaugh. That was to Billy Sumday.
posted by klangklangston at 10:30 AM on February 17, 2006


Once this parental notification thing for victims of incest is passed, I'm going to work on legislation requiring victims of rape and assault to notify their attackers that they're seeking medical treatment.
posted by stet at 10:32 AM on February 17, 2006


"Quite true. But what precedes and follows it is."
What the hell? Sex isn't abstinence, but what preceeds and follows it is too.
posted by klangklangston at 10:32 AM on February 17, 2006


I'm always amazed at people who say "the concern over late term abortions is stupid since it is so rare, but you can't do parental notification because of incest."

I assume that incestuous pregnancies are more common than late term abortions, but they're both still outlyers that should not be allowed to control the debate. Especially since both have relatively simple procedural solutions.

For late term abortion you ban it with exceptions medical necessity and for parental notification you require it with an option to try and convince a disinterested third party (a judge, most likely but I wouldn't care if it were a social agency) that this should be avoided.


I think most reasonable people can agree that terminating a pregnancy at 8 months should be for reasons more serious than personal convenience and that except in the most extreme situations parents have the right to know before any medical procedure is performed on their dependent children.

I'm all for freely available, legal abortion on demand in most situations but I think there are certain extreme outlying situations where control and regulation is reasonable.
posted by obfusciatrist at 10:34 AM on February 17, 2006


Well, they don't want the kids to be monogamous, either. They want them to be abstinent.



The problem I see with trying to make abortions 'rare' is that in many cases the way to do that is to make them harder to get. In Nebraska or South Dakota or something, there is only a single abortion clinic in the state.

Look what happened in texas when a girl tried to get an abortion and, after being lied to by her doctor found it impossible. When she recruited her boyfriend to try to force a miscarriage, he was arrested for murder under Texas' fetal protection laws.

It's a fact that BS laws trying to limit abortion not only fuck up women's (and now their boyfriends) lives today and even is causing back-ally abortions today. Trying to limit abortion by other means, (like better education) is fine, but setting a goal of lowering abortion by 95% is a goal that, I believe, is not tenable without either restricting what women can do a lot, or going 'very liberal' with sex education.
posted by delmoi at 10:39 AM on February 17, 2006


For late term abortion you ban it with exceptions medical necessity and for parental notification you require it with an option to try and convince a disinterested third party (a judge, most likely but I wouldn't care if it were a social agency) that this should be avoided.

What happened in texas, by the way, is that the girls doctor lied to her about her ability to get an abortion, untill it was too late to get one under texas law.
posted by delmoi at 10:42 AM on February 17, 2006


Making abortions "rare" means making them harder to get, or vastly increasing the instituitional mechanism to a) support pregant mothers through their pregnancy and b) state foster care for children afterwards. One way or another, it's a big financial committment. Let's see the the advocates of rare abortion put THEIR money where their mouth is.
posted by slatternus at 10:45 AM on February 17, 2006


How much would we be able to reduce abortion if we just required that for admission to school after the sixth grade everybody is required to get a "pregnancy vaccine" (Depo-provera or like) much like you have to get other vaccines before you can start kindergarten?

This would allow the Republicans to simultaneously reduce teen pregnancy while giving a big helping hand to big-pharmaceuticals like Pfizer?

For those on the left worried about inequal impact based on gender, go ahead and give the boys the vaccine too. Since this has the effect of chemical castration this will be viewed as a public service by the man-hating lesbo-left.

Seems a win-win for everybody to me.
posted by obfusciatrist at 10:46 AM on February 17, 2006


What happened in texas, by the way, is that the girls doctor lied to her about her ability to get an abortion, untill it was too late to get one under texas law.

Again, an extremely rare outlying situation that should not be allowed to control the debate.

A man once killed a woman by shoving a large tree branch up her vagina but that isn't a case for making trees illegal.
posted by obfusciatrist at 10:47 AM on February 17, 2006


And parental-notification laws: what about incest?

I'm a little confused about how incest directly affects the parental-notification issue. It seems like you would have two kinds of parents:

1) Unsupportive parents who would react in a negative way to their daughter when they find out she is seeking an abortion.

2) Supportive parents who would react in a positive way, talking with their daughter and helping her with her situation.

What does incest have to with it? Would someone who impregnated their daughter be more or less likely to support an abortion? Why is it particularly important to keep the consequences of an incestuous parent's actions secret from them? Such a parent might react negatively, but so might a non-incestous parent. Bringing incest into it just confuses the issue.

Clearly, parents who sexually abuse their children are bad people, but the problem is the sexual abuse. Whether or not they find out about an abortion seems like a trivial issue in comparison. I would think that most incestuous parents would be more likely to approve of an abortion and make as little fuss as possible, to avoid being caught and prosecuted for their sexual abuse.

On preview: To me, the point is that a father who has raped his underage daughter would be relatively likely to hurt or even kill his daughter if he found out she were trying to have a pregnancy he caused aborted.

Why? Are you assuming that such a father would rather have his daughter give birth, so everyone can find out what he did? Or that he would kill his daughter, just because he finds out she's pregnant? That would expose him as both a child molester and a murderer. The best option for an incestuous parent is clearly a quiet, discreet abortion.
posted by designbot at 10:49 AM on February 17, 2006


Well, they don't want the kids to be monogamous, either. They want them to be abstinent.

I'm pretty sure they want the kids, generally, to be strictly monogamous over the course of their lifetime -- with only one partner, ever. Some of the proponents of abstinence-only education would probably be ok with some of the kids becoming monks, nuns, etc. What may be getting in the way here is the varied definition of the term "monogamy," which can describe either one-partner-in-a-lifetime or one-partner-at-a-time (sequential monogamy).

Sequential monogamy doesn't have the STD-prevention benefits of strict lifetime monogamy, obviously.

As for the abortion reduction goal, I'd be interested to know the relative pregnancy rates in areas with higher or lower abortion rates. Are teens more or less likely to get pregnant in the first place if abortion is disfavored, or is it roughly equivalent? In other words, does knowledge that abortion is unavailable act as a deterrent against teen sexual activity? (Even if it does, I don't think it would be ethical to ban abortion)
posted by JekPorkins at 10:50 AM on February 17, 2006


Let's see the the advocates of rare abortion put THEIR money where their mouth is.

Um. I think that's what they're trying to do.
posted by billysumday at 10:53 AM on February 17, 2006


delmoi: was the Doc ever charged with anything? Malpractice?
posted by SirOmega at 10:53 AM on February 17, 2006


How much would we be able to reduce abortion if we just required that for admission to school after the sixth grade everybody is required to get a "pregnancy vaccine" (Depo-provera or like) much like you have to get other vaccines before you can start kindergarten?
...
Seems a win-win for everybody to me.


Oh my god. I'd rather have the abortions and teen pregnancy.
posted by delmoi at 10:55 AM on February 17, 2006


And does that doctor get royalties from the episode of Law & Order that was based on the incident?
posted by obfusciatrist at 10:55 AM on February 17, 2006


"Parental" notification or consent for minors makes sense to me. You need a parent's consent for any other form of medical care.

But it would have to be "parental" and not strictly parental -- a judge or other representative of the State should be able to act in place of the parents when there's reason to think that it's in some way unwise to ask the parents' consent. Incest obviously, or parents with a history of abuse, or whatever.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:56 AM on February 17, 2006


Again, an extremely rare outlying situation that should not be allowed to control the debate.

If a law ruins one persons life unnecessarily, that's too much.
posted by delmoi at 10:56 AM on February 17, 2006


Most late term abortions are performed on fetuses which are already dead or have a terminal disorder identified.

The old procedure was simply to tell the woman, "The fetus is dead", and let her carry around a dead fetus for a month or so until it eventually miscarries. The modern procedure is to go ahead and do the procedure, sparing her from that unimaginable month-long torture. Since this is psychological torture rather than "medical necessity", this type of abortion would be banned as medically unnecessary. (Women having their dead fetuses aborted already have to watch the videos about how "abortion stops a beating heart").

P.S.: abortions are already rare. The number of abortions in the U.S. per year has been dropping steadily since 1990. Several states have only one abortion provider for the entire state. As one might guess, this means that more of the children being born are unwanted, and more clothes-hanger abortions are occuring.

P.P.S.: also recall that limiting abortions only affects poor people. Anyone who can afford $1000 in airfare will always be able to travel to another country to have the procedure performed. Jenna Bush will never have an undesired child, regardless of the legality of abortion in the U.S.A.

Anne Lamott had a good editorial recently.
posted by jellicle at 10:57 AM on February 17, 2006


"Parental" notification or consent for minors makes sense to me. You need a parent's consent for any other form of medical care.

Well, and then let's change the law so that if parents don't consent, they are entirely responsible for taking care of the resulting baby, and the biological parents (girl and boy) are absolved entirely.
posted by delmoi at 11:00 AM on February 17, 2006


Well, and then let's change the law so that if parents don't consent, they are entirely responsible for taking care of the resulting baby, and the biological parents (girl and boy) are absolved entirely.

Better yet, let's change the law so that any teen who gets pregnant without a parent's prior written consent to her becoming pregnant is required by law to get an abortion whether she likes it or not.

Oh, right, because that would be outrageous and unethical.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:03 AM on February 17, 2006


I don't know how the main point always gets glossed over. A fetus is a part of a woman's body. It is her decision. End of story. The Constitution protects the privacy of ones own space. How is a woman's body not included in that? It is. With modern technology, every cell is our body is a potential human life. The fetus has little more claim on our moral attention than a skin cell or the spleen. In addition, an abortion is safer than pregnancy, by a large margin for the first trimester. So every abortion "protects a woman's life." There is no rationale for legal restrictions or coercions.

If we want to reduce abortions, increase information and education about and availability of birth control. Enhance male birth control methods and encourage their use. Outlaw movies that don't properly frame contraceptive use. Do all that, but for god's sake, don't torment some pregnant woman in a crisis.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:03 AM on February 17, 2006


A fetus is a part of a woman's body. It is her decision. End of story.

Every other decision about a minor's body is the parent's responsibility. Re-open story.
posted by designbot at 11:07 AM on February 17, 2006


A fetus isn't a "minor." It's a fetus.

Mental Wimp has a good point. If you can force a woman to carry a fetus to term then what else can you do?

Let's say I really need a kidney or I'm going to die. You have a kidney that will be a perfect match, but you like both of your kidneys and you'd rather not give them up.

By not giving up your kidney then you're allowing me to die. How can society support that? If you can keep a woman from aborting her fetus then you should certainly be able to force organ donation (of course only if the donation won't kill the donor).

Culture of life, baby. I'm going to need that kidney, now.
posted by bshort at 11:12 AM on February 17, 2006


man-hating lesbo-left

*flogs self *

It is not contradictory to disfavor government regulation of abortions while simultaneously advocating a public policy aimed at promoting alternatives. The government spends millions on pushing exercise and low-calorie diets on its citizens, while also letting McDonald's roam freely in the marketplace. Social conservatives simply can't grasp this basic point: You can't make educated decisions without both (1) education and (2) the ability to make a decision.

I can't believe it, but I agree with dios. The Clinton mantra is clearly what the majority of Americans believe and it is also the best public policy. Polarization on both sides (as is evidenced by the above-referenced comment) is wrong-headed, useless, and destructive.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 11:12 AM on February 17, 2006


On preview: To me, the point is that a father who has raped his underage daughter would be relatively likely to hurt or even kill his daughter if he found out she were trying to have a pregnancy he caused aborted.

Why? Are you assuming that such a father would rather have his daughter give birth, so everyone can find out what he did? Or that he would kill his daughter, just because he finds out she's pregnant? That would expose him as both a child molester and a murderer. The best option for an incestuous parent is clearly a quiet, discreet abortion.


I'm not really willing to trust an incestuous child rapist to think quite that rationally. Yes, I think a rapist is more likely than the average dad to harm his daughter if he finds out his daughter is pregnant and having an abortion. Call me crazy. Whether it's because of the pregnancy or the abortion, I don't think it matters. That would vary on a individual basis, and I don't presume to understand how a rapist's mind works. (If he's screwed up enough to rape his daughter, maybe he's screwed up enough to want to keep the fruit of that act. He wouldn't be the first or that last).

I think all a young woman should have to say is "I think my parents will hurt me" to have the parental consent waived. Period. "My parents hit me sometimes" or "my father impregnated me" are, I think, applicable variants.
posted by lampoil at 11:14 AM on February 17, 2006


A fetus is a part of a woman's body. It is her decision. End of story. The Constitution protects the privacy of ones own space.

The fetus has little more claim on our moral attention than a skin cell or the spleen.

Yeah, see these assertions are the very ones that pro-lifers adamantly disagree with. Each of these assertions makes enormous and largely unsupported assumptions, legal, ethical, moral and scientific. Especially that last one about how much "claim on our moral attention" a fetus has relative to a skin cell or a spleen. In fact, even though I'm pro-choice, and even though I think that abortion should be legal and safe (though I don't think the Constitution really guarantees it), your callous and (I believe) unethical attitude about human reproduction and the creation of new life makes me really want to disagree with you on virtually everything, even though I know I probably don't. Saying crap like "a fetus has no more claim on our moral attention than a skin cell or a spleen" does more to hurt the pro-choice cause than virtually any other statement I can think of. So while you're certainly entitled to voice your opinion, I hope you'll realize how much you're hurting a good cause by doing so.

And bshort, while a fetus is not a minor, a teen mother-to-be (unless she's 18 or 19) is a minor, and I think that was the point.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:15 AM on February 17, 2006


If a law ruins one persons life unnecessarily, that's too much.

vs.

The fetus has little more claim on our moral attention than a skin cell or the spleen

The debate is really whether a 'fetus' is a legal 'person'. I can understand how reasonable people differ philosophically on this.

But biologically, the only bright-line divisor I see is cellular differentiation, the point where the ball of cells can become divided and produce identical twins.

People talking about "life beginning at conception" make no sense, biologically. The human egg cell had been alive since *it* was in its *grandmother's* uterus.

With fusion of the spermatazoa, there is a potential, unique human life (or lives) present, but not a biological person until after differentiation begins and development.

Basically, no brain, no foul is my view on this. This goes for late-term abortions, and the Schaivos too.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:17 AM on February 17, 2006


It wouldn't mollify the fundies, who won't compromise anyway; but the the vast bulk of middle American moved by this issue, it may prove the silver bullet that we can finally freaking move past the abortion thing and talk about, you know, things that we ought to be talking about.

Indeed. First-trimester abortions with very minimal restrictions are supported by about 80% of the american electorate.
posted by verb at 11:19 AM on February 17, 2006


More people should realize that abortion is a bullshit issue on both sides. Its a scare tactic to keep the dopes of the Right from becoming apathetic about politics.; and the dopes of the Left from becoming apathetic (yes, there are dopes, likely in equal numbers, on both sides of the political spectrum. This issue will never go away; the Supreme Court will never more than nuance Roe. Lets call the whole thing off!
posted by ParisParamus at 11:22 AM on February 17, 2006


And bshort, while a fetus is not a minor, a teen mother-to-be (unless she's 18 or 19) is a minor, and I think that was the point.

What if her parents are abusive? What if the pregnancy is a result of incest or rape?

What if she doesn't feel safe about her parents finding out she's pregnant?
posted by bshort at 11:22 AM on February 17, 2006


Culture of life, baby. I'm going to need that kidney, now.

That was already tried in the US, actually. I can't remember the name of the case, but a fellow sued a relative to get a kidney. His suit was denied, even though it meant he could die from not getting the donation.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:25 AM on February 17, 2006


Y'know what the USA needs to do?

The same thing as Denmark (I think it's Denmark) does. Mainly because whatever it is those Europeans are doing, it's resulting in very low teen pregnancy rates. Which is, y'know, the whole point.

Also:
Teens Delaying Sexual Activity: Using Contraception More Effectively

Births to Youngest Teens at Lowest Levels in Almost 60 Years

Births to Teens Continue 12-Year Decline

American Women Are Waiting to Begin Families; Average Age at First Birth up More Than 3 Years

HHS Report Shows Teen Birth Rate Falls to New Record Low in 2001

and so on and so forth.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:26 AM on February 17, 2006


Polarization on both sides (as is evidenced by the above-referenced comment) is wrong-headed, useless, and destructive.

I was being sarcastic. I don't really advocate mandatory Norplant for all children as a requirement for entering school. I do not think most Republicans would be willing to go for such a plan if it included helping out big industry. Nor do I think the left would be willing to go for it if it involved the chemical castration of men (where men = rapists). I was trying to play off the stereotypes both sides have for the other.

I do think there are reasonable controls on abortion that most people can agree on (late term for reasons of convenience and parental notification in most situations).

I don't think a fetus is a human being deserving automatically of all the rights and privilegs of a post-birth baby. But neither do I think its destruction is as morally inert as it would be to kill a fat cell during liposuction. And the moral question becomes increasingly significant through the term of a pregnancy. From "I don't give a damn at all" near conception to "I find it hard to see the difference between killing the fetus three inches before it's head pops out and kililng the baby three inches after it's feet are clear."
posted by obfusciatrist at 11:27 AM on February 17, 2006


I don't presume to understand how a rapist's mind works.
Yes, I think a rapist is more likely than the average dad to harm his daughter if he finds out his daughter is pregnant and having an abortion.

Well, then you do presume to understand, don't you. I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying you've provided no basis for your assumption that incestuous parents are more likely to have a violent reaction to a potential abortion. I'll grant that there probably are irrational, violent parents who would react badly to the news that their daughter is seeking an abortion. But I submit that bringing incest into it just confuses things, and the argument should be about violent, irrational parents, not about child molesters.
posted by designbot at 11:28 AM on February 17, 2006


That was already tried in the US, actually. I can't remember the name of the case, but a fellow sued a relative to get a kidney. His suit was denied, even though it meant he could die from not getting the donation.

Where are the noble conservatives who will stand up and fight for mandatory kidney donations? I'm a much more productive member of society than your 10 week old fetus, therefore I should be given all the kidneys I need.

In fact, I think I'd rather have your fetus's kidney...
posted by bshort at 11:29 AM on February 17, 2006


What if her parents are abusive? What if the pregnancy is a result of incest or rape?

What if she doesn't feel safe about her parents finding out she's pregnant?


Do you apply those same questions to every other situation where a minor needs parental approval for an invasive medical procedure? Because that was the point.

And ParisParamus is right.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:29 AM on February 17, 2006


Actually the subject is fairly simple. Take those countries where there is a declining birth rate. What do they have in common? Education. Why? Because when people are educated they know about birth control and they know that raising a few children is costly if they are to go on to college. So the practise birth control

Why not in the US? Because we are a "Christian" nation and we try to keep knowledge and birth control methods from our children and young adults. Example: the French morning after pill still not available!

Now who has large families in America? Those with religious backgrounds who are anti-abortion, birth control. And who has small families? Educated people, religious or otherwise.

In sum: you will not have fewer abortions till you educate more people and make devices and knowledge readily available. We won't do it. Sad.
posted by Postroad at 11:30 AM on February 17, 2006


I think Matt Taibi's column on the "bull moose" sums up what I think pretty well.



Limiting the oportunities of those less fortunate than you are is what the GOP is all about. If the Dems want to go that route, me and a lot of other people will just vote Green.
posted by joseppi7 at 11:32 AM on February 17, 2006


Postroad, isn't Italy a "christian" nation? I don't think you can blame teen pregnancy rates and birth rates in general on the religiosity of the population or church/state entanglement so easily.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:32 AM on February 17, 2006


I'm amazed to see the agreement that we all want to reduce the number of abortions, or even that we want to make abortion "rare."

Why?

Even those who are pro-choice seem to be conceding that if abortion isn't murder, exactly, it is at least wrong in some way. Or distasteful? Or embarassing?

Or is it just easier to look for a common point of agreement with the anti-abortion crowd, so that we can all feel good even if it means conceding the central point of the argument -- that abortion is a medical procedure and not a sin?

I'm entirely with Kevin Drum on this matter:

I don't think nonviable fetuses are human beings. Terminating them doesn't bother me, and it's none of my business anyway. For all I care, women are free to use abortion as their standard method of birth control if they want to. Nor do I really care much if we reduce the abortion rate in America. Safe and legal is good enough for me.
posted by argybarg at 11:33 AM on February 17, 2006


Do you apply those same questions to every other situation where a minor needs parental approval for an invasive medical procedure? Because that was the point.

Now you're just being obtuse.

Pregnancy is different than getting stitches, and you're being disingenuous if you think that abusive parents would view them in the same light.
posted by bshort at 11:33 AM on February 17, 2006


Limiting the oportunities of those less fortunate than you are is what the GOP is all about. If the Dems want to go that route, me and a lot of other people will just vote Green.

Except for the fact that for those who believe that viable fetuses are human life, and are also defenseless, the Democratic ideal of standing up for the powerless and the defenseless is also a factor.

Only 1 in 10 abortions occurs after the first trimester, anyhow. By establishing beyond a shadow of a doubt that 'abortion' as it is practiced in our country occurs only in the range that the vast majority of the population sees as legitimate, non-murderous, and acceptable, the nature of the national political debate is altered quite dramatically.

That interests me.
posted by verb at 11:37 AM on February 17, 2006


Jek, Italy is a heavily Catholic nation that nonetheless maintains a very strong separation between church and state.
posted by applemeat at 11:38 AM on February 17, 2006


I don't think nonviable fetuses are human beings. Terminating them doesn't bother me, and it's none of my business anyway.

So, argybarg, you are opposed to all abortions after 20 weeks, because fetuses have proven to be viable after that point, right? It's such a clear line between viability and non-viability; why would anyone be confused?
posted by designbot at 11:39 AM on February 17, 2006


Let's see the the advocates of rare abortion put THEIR money where their mouth is.

Personally, I only support abortions at or above medium-well.
posted by dr_dank at 11:40 AM on February 17, 2006


Now you're just being obtuse.

Pregnancy is different than getting stitches, and you're being disingenuous if you think that abusive parents would view them in the same light.


I'm not being obtuse -- I'm helping you to see what the point of the earlier post was, since you didn't seem to understand that the point was that minors are required to get parental consent for every other surgical procedure. If pregnancy is different from a tonsilectomy, a spleenectomy, stitches, getting tubes tied, cosmetic surgery, or any other procedure, that sort of defeats the whole argument that the fetus is just part of her body, like any other organ or cell, and she has the right to do with it what she wants.

A minor does not have the right to do with her body as she pleases -- she must get parental consent before undergoing surgical procedures generally. And if that is the case, and if a fetus is part of her body and not something unique and different from a spleen or an appendix, then parental consent is no less proper for abortion than it would be for an appendectomy.

applemeat -- L'Otto per Mille alla Chiesa Cattolica.

And argybarg, even the most rabid pro-choice leaders recognize the severe psychological effects of abortion on the woman. Evidently Kevin Drum hasn't walked a mile in their shoes.
posted by JekPorkins at 11:45 AM on February 17, 2006


If pregnancy is different from a tonsilectomy, a spleenectomy, stitches, getting tubes tied, cosmetic surgery, or any other procedure, that sort of defeats the whole argument that the fetus is just part of her body, like any other organ or cell, and she has the right to do with it what she wants.

Uh, no. No it doesn't.

A fetus is obvious from an inflamed gallbladder. And getting a gallbladder removed is far less likely to cause repercussions for a girl who is living in an abusive, incestuous household.
posted by bshort at 11:49 AM on February 17, 2006


In sum: you will not have fewer abortions till you educate more people and make devices and knowledge readily available. We won't do it. Sad.

Postroad, very true and very sad. You can find evidence to support this premise all over the globe. (For example, in Ireland, where AIDS rates have been among the highest in Europe while local religious leaders fight to keep condom vending machines out of tavern restrooms. ...Sigh.)
posted by applemeat at 11:52 AM on February 17, 2006


designbot:

I think that, past a certain point in pregnancy, it does become a moral issue. Where is that certain point? Leave it to the woman to decide. Past a certain point -- hell, let's say viability without extensive medical intervention -- make it a legal issue.

I suppose the lack of "clear lines" is supposed to be devastating on this issue. If we really do have to rely on the law to save us from the confusion of difficult moral judgements then we're fucked.

JekPorkins:

If a woman feels traumatized about abortion then she shouldn't have one. (I have friends who have yet to display "severe psychological effects" from the abortions they had. Perhaps they're bad women.) At any rate, there's no reason to make this a societal goal, especially one that involves public agencies acting as advocates.
posted by argybarg at 11:53 AM on February 17, 2006


I'm not being snarky here, I'm genuinely asking:

Are there actual documented examples of parents (incestuous or otherwise) killing or physically harming their daughters as a result of finding out they wanted an abortion? Or even because they found out their daughter was pregnant?

It sounds like a semi-plausible scenario, but does this acutally happen, or is this just a straw man argument?
posted by designbot at 11:53 AM on February 17, 2006


Holy shit. I'm agreeing with PP and dios!
posted by brundlefly at 11:55 AM on February 17, 2006


Postroad:

It's more than just educated people having knowledge of and access to contraception. Educated women tend to defer having children in favor of careers and personal interests, and have fewer children. It's no coincidence that societies with skyrocketing birth rates also tend to be ones in which women are the most treated like cattle.
posted by slatternus at 11:56 AM on February 17, 2006


(Jek, I don't speak Italian, but I guess we'll see... Maybe islamaphobia will nudge Italy toward less separation of church and state.)
posted by applemeat at 12:01 PM on February 17, 2006


L'otto per mille is a program by which a portion of your taxes go to the Catholic Church. You can choose other recipients, but they are limited and are, by and large, religious organizations. It's been in effect for about 15 years.

(perhaps there's someone more well versed in Italian tax law here who can explain the subtleties, but in my experience, the separation of church and state in Italy is an illusion)
posted by JekPorkins at 12:03 PM on February 17, 2006


I say keep abortion safe and mandatory.

Babies are simply AWFUL. They delight in drooling and pooing themselves and are just plain rude when they want something. No "please" or "thankyou". Just screaming day and night. That's right. In the middle of night! Can you believe it! They don't care if you have work the next morning. And did I mention HOW they eat. Well in case you didn't know they actually attach themselves like leeches to your wifes breast and drain it of vital fluids! My god. It's like a horror movie!

Some sick people think these creatures are CUTE. I dunno. Maybe because they are small. But imagine for one second if you saw one of these things - adult sized - stumbling down the street blubbering the nonsense they speak, six feet tall, giant head lolling around, stubby, sticky fingers grasping for you. Brrrrr. You'd run like mad.
posted by tkchrist at 12:09 PM on February 17, 2006


Outlaw movies that don't properly frame contraceptive use.

Yikes, that's crazy talk!
posted by bonefish at 12:10 PM on February 17, 2006


It should go without saying that state-funded abortion on demand would be part of any civilized society, but I might as well say it.
posted by bonefish at 12:16 PM on February 17, 2006


I agree with PP to some extent re: abortion is largely a political football that politicians use to raise the hackles of their constituents, but be careful--don't forget that if you're a 16 year old girl living in certain parts of the US and of a lower economic level, you have very little, if no control over your access to doctors, but even the most basic of information regarding health and reproduction. Yes it's political, but that's no reason to not be concerned. I'd hope we could all agree that the issue can't just be limited to abortions themselves, but to access to information and health care more generally in America.
posted by bardic at 12:28 PM on February 17, 2006


(And childcare, and family health plans, and maternity leave, etc.)
posted by bardic at 12:29 PM on February 17, 2006


I don't presume to understand how a rapist's mind works.
Yes, I think a rapist is more likely than the average dad to harm his daughter if he finds out his daughter is pregnant and having an abortion.

Well, then you do presume to understand, don't you.


No...I don't think acknowledging that a parent who has abused his child in the past is more likely to abuse his child in the future is the same thing as understanding his rationale when making the decision as to whether to commit violence against his child. You presented a situation where it made the most sense for an incestuous father to allow the abortion. I think that's both unrealistic and irrelevant.

I'm not saying you're wrong, I'm just saying you've provided no basis for your assumption that incestuous parents are more likely to have a violent reaction to a potential abortion. I'll grant that there probably are irrational, violent parents who would react badly to the news that their daughter is seeking an abortion. But I submit that bringing incest into it just confuses things, and the argument should be about violent, irrational parents, not about child molesters.

Do I really need to provide a basis that violent parents are more likely to be violent? I don't really see the problem here. If I said that parents who had hit their daughter in the past would be more likely (than those who hadn't) to hit their daughter if they found out she was pregnant and/or was having an abortion, would that seem unfounded? If a minor has been impregnated by her father, abuse has taken place. Abuse is now more likely to take place again.

I think you're knit-picking, but I don't think we necessarily disagree here. I think it's about violent parents which of course includes men who rape their daughters. I actually didn't (and wouldn't) bring up incest specifically in the first place. It just seemed to me that the discussion over whether it was consent or simply notification ignored the very important fact that either way, it's the possibility of violence against the young woman that makes it an issue. (As opposed to some weird notion that an incestuous father should/shouldn't know the consequences of his rape).
posted by lampoil at 12:31 PM on February 17, 2006


lampoil, I don't think we're disagreeing about that much either. If there is a possibility of parents becoming violent when they discover their daughter is having an abortion, we should discuss that possibility. Incest is irrelevant to the equation. But many people frame their whole argument as:

"What about incest?"

Which is rhetorically useful, because it conjures up all sorts of emotionally-charged images and outrage about these demonic child-abusing parents beating their kids. But parental notification would have little to no effect on whether children are sexually abused in the first place, and I'm not convinced that it would be a stimulus for more physical abuse to take place, so I think it's basically an empty argument.

There are already laws and agencies in place to protect abused children, and to prosecute their parents. If the authorities become aware that a parent has impregnated or abused his child, they will lose their parental rights and privileges, including the right to approve medical procedures.

I am curious about how many parents actually would have a violent reaction to the news that their daughter is seeking an abortion. Are we talking about 1% here? 0.01%? Wouldn't a parent like that also be likely to abuse their children over low grades? Not doing chores? Are we supposed to outlaw anything that might conceivably be an impetus for violence to an irrational child abuser?
posted by designbot at 12:54 PM on February 17, 2006


Perhaps I should clarify; I'm primarily pointing out the rhetorical weakness of the abusive parent argument. As a matter of principle and political necessity, any parental-notification law (or other abortion regulation) should have exceptions for cases of rape and incest, in my opinion.
posted by designbot at 1:04 PM on February 17, 2006


I'm not convinced that it would be a stimulus for more physical abuse to take place

I think this is where we differ.

I am curious about how many parents actually would have a violent reaction to the news that their daughter is seeking an abortion.

Problem is this would be an impossible statistic to come up with accurately, seeing as many instances would probably go unreported, and lots of different factors would affect the numbers. This article has some stats about how many teens tell their parents on their own, and the reasons reported by those who don't, and some other stuff. (Granted it's an ACLU link so, you know, biased). There are other issues, of course--even if a teen wrongly fears violence from her parents, that might cause her to forgo abortion AND dangerously postpone prenatal care, or to take even more drastic measures. (Things which, by keeping abortion legal, we are desperately trying to avoid). It still all comes down to the safety of the minor in question.

Many states it seems actually do have specific provisions if the girl's parents have a history of abuse. But those who don't (or won't in the future)...I worry for those girls.

But I'm with you on incest. There are so many larger factors to consider--violence in general, of course, but also getting kicked out of the house, and the fact that there are tons of exemptions in tons of states allowing minors to get all kinds of confidential medical care such as prenatal, drug/alcohol counselling, HIV/AIDS testing and treatment, contraception, and so on. I think abortion is a similar issue that deserves similar considerations.

Perhaps I should clarify; I'm primarily pointing out the rhetorical weakness of the abusive parent argument. As a matter of principle and political necessity, any parental-notification law (or other abortion regulation) should have exceptions for cases of rape and incest, in my opinion.

For reasons other than the safety of the pregnant woman? Why?
posted by lampoil at 1:39 PM on February 17, 2006


I am curious about how many parents actually would have a violent reaction to the news that their daughter is seeking an abortion. Are we talking about 1% here? 0.01%?

I can't speak to the statistics, but I can speak to my own family and, yes, they would have had a violent reaction. Abuse like kicking, punching, slapping, being dragged around by my hair happened for matters far less serious than an unintended pregnancy. Knowing the families of the girls I went to school with, I wouldn't have been the only one, not by a long shot. Given the dysfunctional environment many of us lived in, the circumstances that lead to the pregnancy were no picnic, either. Access to a safe, legal abortion without parental notification can be an act of mercy for girls who don't have the fortune to have a stable, safe, caring family to turn to.
posted by echolalia67 at 1:44 PM on February 17, 2006


Why?

I think the distinction is between being held responsible for your own actions (choosing to have unprotected sex) and being held responsible for the actions of someone else (rape, incest).
posted by designbot at 1:49 PM on February 17, 2006


Access to a safe, legal abortion without parental notification can be an act of mercy for girls who don't have the fortune to have a stable, safe, caring family to turn to.

This is true, but what are the forseeable results of a safe, legal abortion without parental notification for girls who do have the fortune to have a stable, safe, caring family to turn to? Does the rationale for requiring parental consent for other invasive medical procedures on minors not apply here?

I mean, in spite of the callous attitudes of some people in this thread and elsewhere, having an abortion is an extremely big deal emotionally, psychologically and physically (as is pregnancy).
posted by JekPorkins at 1:52 PM on February 17, 2006


JekPorkins: Not to dispute you, but have you had an abortion? If not, then how can you attest to the degree of severity of the prodecure on another's body and mind?
posted by billysumday at 2:33 PM on February 17, 2006


billysumday, I obviously cannot provide firsthand testimony on that matter. But surely you're not one of those rare people who accepts only firsthand testimony as to widely accepted and rational conclusions that are based on expert observation and opinion, are you? I mean, I'm pretty sure it hurts like hell to get hit in the hand with a sledgehammer, but I haven't tried it just to make the assertion more credible. And am I an idiot to believe in continental drift, even though I've never even met anyone who has witnessed it?

I really don't think anyone genuinely disputes that abortion is an extremely big deal emotionally, psychologically and physically, but if I'm wrong, I would certainly like to learn about it.
posted by JekPorkins at 2:53 PM on February 17, 2006


And am I an idiot to believe in continental drift, even though I've never even met anyone who has witnessed it?

So you're implying that not only have you never had an abortion, you've never actually met anyone who has had anyone? Yet you display such confident assertions in how an abortion must feel. There are many people, all over the world, who have had abortions. I'd rather they tell me about the repurcussions of their actions. What if part of the stigma of abortions, and the pain many feel, is the pain in letting other people down, those who say, "oh my god, you can't have an abortion - it will ruin your life!" Why speak so confidently on the behalf of others? They can speak for themselves.
posted by billysumday at 2:59 PM on February 17, 2006


you've never actually met anyone who has had anyone?

Nope. I've met lots of people who have had them. Sorry you inferred that, but I didn't imply it.

billysumday, the fact that abortion is an invasive medical procedure that is traumatic physically and emotionally is not in dispute, even among abortion advocates.
posted by JekPorkins at 3:15 PM on February 17, 2006



posted by stet at 3:19 PM on February 17, 2006


I inferred it based on your previous comment, sorry you didn't pick a better metaphor.

And I've met people who've had abortions who've said, "I'm glad I did it, I couldn't imagine what my life would be like if I hadn't."

I'm not an "abortion advocate" but I'm not going to claim that an abortion has to be a life-changing, earth-shaking event in someone's life, when in many cases it isn't.
posted by billysumday at 3:20 PM on February 17, 2006


And I've met people who've had abortions who've said, "I'm glad I did it, I couldn't imagine what my life would be like if I hadn't."

So have I, but the fact that they feel that the decision was the right one is neither here nor there with regard to the physical, psychological and emotional impact of the event. In the lives of these people you've met, their abortions clearly were life-changing, earth-shaking events in their life, since they can't even imagine what their lives would be like if they hadn't made that decision.

Go back and ask them about the emotional impact of the decision and see if any of them say that it was no big deal and that it didn't effect them emotionally, physically or psychologically.

And I'm sorry you didn't like my example. But it wasn't a metaphor.
posted by JekPorkins at 3:31 PM on February 17, 2006


> Take those countries where there is a declining birth rate. What do they have in common?

Existential emptiness.

posted by jfuller at 3:37 PM on February 17, 2006


It's not that I didn't like it. It's that it was incorrect.

Just stop and listen to what you're saying. You're telling people that no matter what they feel, their experience HAD to have been absolutely essential to the quality of their life after the fact. That is so inconceivably arrogant I can't even begin to explain to you why people would or could take such offense to your comment, and the reason I can't begin is because you have an agenda, and an axe, and it's going to get ground no matter what anyone here says. Some people have abortions. Some people have a couple. Stop telling them how they should feel about it.
posted by billysumday at 3:39 PM on February 17, 2006


Jek: For the record, I personally agree with your (apparent) premise that abortion IS morally problematic, and also that having an abortion should be expected to cause considerable emotional/ethical fallout to those directly involved. However, I (speaking as a woman who has never had an abortion) have known a small handful of women in my life (both close friends and one family member) who have handled the procedure with emotional ease--That is to say, they have had abortions with little or no lasting (or rather, apparent) moral upset. A casual attitude toward abortion surprises and saddens me, personally. But that does not make it any less true that is impossible for you, or for I, to sit here and declare what any woman can, should, or will feel about having an abortion.
posted by applemeat at 3:57 PM on February 17, 2006


You're telling people that no matter what they feel, their experience HAD to have been absolutely essential to the quality of their life after the fact.

No. I'm telling you that abortion is an invasive medical procedure that is traumatic physically and emotionally. I'm telling you that nobody disputes this.

I'm not telling anyone how they should feel about it. I'm telling you about the undisputed facts. I am pro-choice. My agenda is truth. I don't know why you assume that I have some axe to grind, or what in the hell you think you're going to explain to me about why people would be offended that I would say what even the most strong advocates of abortion also say.

You are the one who quoted people who you've allegedly talked to and they allegedly told you that their experience had to have been absolutely essential to the quality of their life after the fact - so essential that you claim that they can't even imagine how their life would have been otherwise. I'm agreeing with the people you quoted.

Some people have abortions. Some people have a couple. Some people have hundreds of them. And every single one is an invasive medical procedure. Every single one is traumatic physically and emotionally. Every single one should be an informed and thoroughly considered decision, because every single one is a life-changing decision, by definition. That decision should not be further complicated by onerous regulation or unavailability of sterile and safe faciliities and procedures. And when someone who know has an abortion, you damned well better be considerate of what she has gone through, the difficult decision that she made, and the fact that you pretending that it's no big deal is probably the least humane thing you can do to her. If I have an axe to grind, it's with unfeeling jerks who pretend that a woman's choice to end a pregnancy that's already started is not an emotional or traumatic one. I suspect you're not really one of those jerks, but that you're just being a jerk to me in this thread because you assume for some unidentified reason that I think abortion should be outlawed. I hope that's the case
posted by JekPorkins at 4:06 PM on February 17, 2006


No, Jek, I'm not being a jerk to you in this thread for that reason. It's because you're patronizing to the people who disagree with you - you always are - and because you don't seem consider what other people are saying. Perhaps I should have something more along the lines of applemeat. That's largely how I feel. I'm not reacting to what you're saying nearly as much as how you're saying it.
posted by billysumday at 4:09 PM on February 17, 2006


Perhaps I should have something

. . . should have said something . . .
posted by billysumday at 4:10 PM on February 17, 2006


A minor does not have the right to do with her body as she pleases -- she must get parental consent before undergoing surgical procedures generally.
-- JekPorkins

This is a (probably) hypothetical example, but I think it makes my point: I am an athiest 17 year-old with Christian Scientist parents and I need an appendectomy or I'll die.

We're all adults here, so I think it's about time an adult spoke up and raised the point that maybe parents shouldn't have God-like powers over their children. I do not believe that Human Rights begin at 18 years old. I believe that number is extremely arbitrary. As a society that values freedom, how do we expect to pass on this value when we automatically and without debate deny the most basic freedoms to our children? My view is not a fringe view. The US and Somalia are the only two countries that didn't ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. That's backwards as hell.
posted by Skwirl at 4:16 PM on February 17, 2006


You're right, Skwirl, 18 is an arbitrary number, and neither human rights nor constitutional rights should kick in at that age just because someone decided that 18 is the magic age. But in the United States, that's the state of the law. And so long as pro-choice folks hang their hat on the presumed privacy rights conferred by implication by the Constitution, they're stuck with the rest of the law, too. It's part of the reason that I reject the constitutional argument in favor of the ethical argument that abortion should be available, safe, and rare.
posted by JekPorkins at 4:21 PM on February 17, 2006


Hey, Jek, remember how I ran ragged on your ass the other day? Remember how you insisted that the problems weren't with you?

Well, here you are again, in yet another thread where you are persistently failing to communicate with others.

At what point are you going to recognize that the one common denominator is you?
posted by five fresh fish at 4:24 PM on February 17, 2006


how many women are part of this debate? Here and where the laws are made?

just asking...
posted by Miles Long at 4:28 PM on February 17, 2006


Women don't really need to be part of the discussion. Experts already know how they feel about things.
posted by billysumday at 4:29 PM on February 17, 2006


JekPorkins, we've heard your opinion, now STFU!
posted by Merlin at 4:52 PM on February 17, 2006


fff: I don't know what to say, fish. I mean, I can't really force people to actually read what I've written. I can't really force them to not assume I said something I didn't say. And I certainly can't force them (or you) to accept that a moderate opinion might have merit. I also apparently can't force you to tell the truth, but that's nothing new.

In this thread, my apparent poor communication was when I recognized the gravely serious nature of abortion as a decision. And then I was jumped on for making that statement, even though it's directly relevant to the thread (re: the goal of reducing the no. of abortions). Now, I didn't communicate poorly. My statement was clear and articulate, and it was uncontroverted, frankly. The commond denominators are these: 1) You, and 2) people determined to twist a moderate position to make it appear extreme, falsely restate my statements and then disagree with them.
posted by JekPorkins at 4:53 PM on February 17, 2006


I don't feel that anyone here has twisted my moderate position to make it appear extreme, Jek. I think that Five Fresh Fish is on to something here...perhaps you should take a lesson?
posted by applemeat at 5:01 PM on February 17, 2006


JekPorkins, how dare you have an opinion that differs slightly from others in this thread. And you're just a jerk for supporting it with coherent, well-thought-out arguments.
posted by event at 5:15 PM on February 17, 2006


how many women are part of this debate?

*Raises hand*

And I'm pregnant, to boot. For those of you without a uterus, that means that abortion doesn't neatly break down into a question of simply choosing to have a baby vs. not having one. It means that you have to go through a pregnancy in order to produce a baby.

This means bone shattering tiredness, nausea that is often unrelenting throughout the entire pregnancy, constant heartburn and gas, having to experience colds, flus and headaches without the benefit of OTC medications, sleep disturbances, increased vulnerabilty to clinical depression, to name a few of the charming side-effects. Labor and delivery is another matter - aside from a potential risk of death, these's the possibility of being rendered incontinent, having your vagina tear as you deliver the baby, suffering a prolapsed uterus, to name a few. It's a tremendous physical and emotional ordeal. It's not some fuzzy heartwarming 9 month-long hallmark moment.

Some women weigh the potential trauma of an abortion against the protential trauma of a pregnancy & responsibility for a child (either raising it or having to give it to strangers, never to be seen again), and they decide that they are better equiped to deal with the first option. I highly doubt that the overwhelming majority of women and girls make that decision lightly.

People told me that I'd feel differently about abortion once I got pregnant. I do. I am now more pro-choice than I've ever been before. No woman or girl should have to go through this unless she is fully signed on for the job. That being said, I think that the best way to maintain a woman's health and autonomy is for her to have full, unfettered access to the knowledge and the contraceptives she needs to not get pregnant in the first place. She needs to have the type of an education that expands, rather than limits her future life options. Hope for a better future + full access to birth control and reproductive health information = less unwanted pregnancy and therefore less abortion.
posted by echolalia67 at 6:15 PM on February 17, 2006


First of all parental consent.


I'm not being obtuse -- I'm helping you to see what the point of the earlier post was, since you didn't seem to understand that the point was that minors are required to get parental consent for every other surgical procedure.

Actually, parental consent is not required, doctors can over-ride parents wishes, if they believe the parents are being irrational. Also, I wouldn't even call an abortion a 'surgical' procedure, since it doesn't involve cutting the host body.

Semantically arguments aside, I think this is a rather pointless argument. What difference would it make if parental consent is required for other surgeries? It's just not a logically valid argument. The reason parents, rather then some other rational person are given the choice is because of the social structure that exists between parents and children, not because of any intrinsic right. But, while medically similar, socially there is a huge difference between having an abortion an having stomach surgery.

Better yet, let's change the law so that any teen who gets pregnant without a parent's prior written consent to her becoming pregnant is required by law to get an abortion whether she likes it or not.

Oh, right, because that would be outrageous and unethical.


Ah, but there's the rub. By your logic, parents consent should be required before a teenager gives birth in a doctors office, because that's a medical procedure. Or parental consent should be given before giving a C-section, even if the would die otherwise.

In any event, I don't find the hypothetical situation outrageous at all, if that were the law, it honestly wouldn't bother me too much. The only thing "unethical" about it is that it violates the Childs right to be autonomous from her parents, a right you don't seem to believe exists at all.

This is true, but what are the forseeable results of a safe, legal abortion without parental notification for girls who do have the fortune to have a stable, safe, caring family to turn to? Does the rationale for requiring parental consent for other invasive medical procedures on minors not apply here?

Again, abortion is simply not "invasive" at all. Just stick, snip, and suck. It's not any more invasive then sex, really. No cutting or anything. Why do you keep calling it 'invasive'? If you want to say it has a strong emotional effect, fine, go ahead. I won't believe you, but you can go ahead.

I'm not telling anyone how they should feel about it. I'm telling you about the undisputed facts.

If people are disputing them, then there not undisputed. God you're stupid.
posted by delmoi at 6:16 PM on February 17, 2006


And honestly, I don't really think that parental consent for any medical procedure has any value other then to make the parents feel good.
posted by delmoi at 6:21 PM on February 17, 2006


Well, Jek, it's either that the vast majority of MeFites are illiterate morons who constantly fail to understand your clearly-written and insightful prose — and I do grant that it's a viable possibility! — or your assessment of your posts is inaccurate.

You are certainly free to write off my supposition as being completely out-to-lunch. No skin off my ass. Or perhaps you enjoy these go-nowhere quasi-arguments you keep finding yourself in. Again, no harm to me.

Go at it, guy. Enjoy what you do.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:23 PM on February 17, 2006


This is true, but what are the forseeable results of a safe, legal abortion without parental notification for girls who do have the fortune to have a stable, safe, caring family to turn to? Does the rationale for requiring parental consent for other invasive medical procedures on minors not apply here?

Jek, I'm really not piling on. At least, I don't mean to. I'm just not sure what you're asking here, or what you're trying to say. I'd like to figure that out because I was one of the girls you're talking about.

I got pregnant when I was 16, the summer before I started college. No rape, no incest, no abuse of any kind, just the usual teenage idiocy. My boyfriend and I found the nearest clinic that performed abortions; as middle-class kids, we had access to enough cash; he went with me; the abortion itself was physically painful but much less so than, say, a root canal; I cried throughout. The entire experience was upsetting, sobering, miserable, lots of things -- but it was not traumatic. It was not the most transformative event of my life. Not even close.

Needing my parents' consent -- that would have been traumatizing and life-changing. Again, no abuse or maltreatment of any kind, just deeply felt Catholicism. They would never, ever have consented to an abortion; they wouldn't even have allowed an adoption. They would have kept the baby and raised it as their own. I know this because they told me so long before it ever became an issue.

My parents loved me then, and still do. I loved them, and still do. They're good people and good parents. But at that particular fork in my life, with no do-overs either way, they would have forced me onto the path I didn't want. I made my own choice and I accepted whatever emotional or moral consequences might ensue. If I had it to do over again, I'd do exactly the same.

So what say you, Jek? What would have been gained from informing my parents? What forseeable (and presumably negative) consequences would have been averted?

Honest questions; I'm not trying to bait you.
posted by vetiver at 6:37 PM on February 17, 2006


It's interesting to me that no one has thought to examine the associations of the DFLA.
posted by troutfishing at 7:19 PM on February 17, 2006


Congratulations, echolalia67. I had the same experience as a proud new father recently. Pregnancy and childbirth is an amazing feat. Forcing a woman who does not want a child to go through it is worse than anything that I'm aware of happening at Guatanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib.
I'd always been pro-choice, but now I am even more deeply so.
posted by Cassford at 7:29 PM on February 17, 2006


I'd really like to hear jek's answer to vetiver's question.

I personaly cannot figure out what exactly parental notification is supposed to acomplish.
posted by delmoi at 7:59 PM on February 17, 2006


Why couldn't you have recommended parental notification, and a bit of focused conselling/something for girls who chose not to get parental consent, to spot the ones who had been raped by their dad while letting vetiver and similarly healthy people move on?
posted by jacalata at 10:12 PM on February 17, 2006


Because, jacalata, it would require that state and federal legislators recognize that every issue has a moral gray area, that all people under 18 don't necessarily need to be treated as chattel, and that counselors evaluate an individual's maturity and listen to her point of view rather than recite talking points.

Our social infrastructure just doesn't know what to do with all those variables.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 11:14 PM on February 17, 2006


vetiver: i haven't advocated parental notification as a good idea generally or a good policy decision. I've pointed out that the arguments against it aren't all that great from a policy perspective unless those arguments also argue against parental notification of other elective medical procedures.

And I think that your differentiation of "traumatic" from crying throughout and "upsetting, sobering, miserable, lots of things" is largely semantic, and generally reinforces my belief (which remains undisputed) regarding the emotional impact of abortion.

As for delmoi's assertion above that abortion is not invasive, that's just sheer and utter crap. Or are we going to get into a semantic argument over what "invasive" means. I mean, already we've got the statement that an abortion is no more invasive than sex, which bizarrely seems to imply that sex is not invasive (!?). Then the statement that it's "just stick, snip, and suck" with "no cutting or anything." (What's the difference between "snip" and "cutting?" or are we going to have another dumbass semantic argument).

But, vetiver, your experience is wholly consistent with what I've been saying here, and I appreciate the validation. Do i think parents should always be notified? Hell, I don't know, but I do know that the arguments against parental notification are nearly always crap. You seem very fortunate to have come through a tough situation relatively ok. And maybe it would have been worse if your parents had been notified. I don't know.

But WTF, people? I'm pro-choice, for crying out loud.
posted by JekPorkins at 12:05 AM on February 18, 2006


oh, and vetiver, thank you for answering my question. it was a question, after all, and not an assertion, so I do appreciate the answer. It baffles me that people here don't seem to notice punctuation, and tend to treat questions as though they were assertions.

Or maybe FFF is right, and question marks don't really indicate questions, and I'm just crazy for using them and then being surprised when people think my questions are assertions.
posted by JekPorkins at 12:10 AM on February 18, 2006


It is only when women (and men too, I suppose) realize that abortion = murder will abortions be rare.
posted by JackO23 at 7:56 AM on February 18, 2006


It is only when women (and men too, I suppose) realize that abortion = murder will abortions be rare.

So insightful.
posted by billysumday at 8:46 AM on February 18, 2006


Parental notification is a thorny topic precisely because as a society we still have issues about our daughters having sex. Sons? Not so much.

So what is the point in notifying parents? It really seems to be less about parental control over their daughters' bodies, and more about parental control over their daughters' sexuality. Sadly, in most households in America I would guess that the end result of notifying parents that their daughter is having sex is some sort of punishment. It could be as simple as withdrawing trust (new curfews, new rules about dating) or as severe as withdrawing all financial support (i.e. throwing her out of the house.) And since society as a whole tends to punish their male offspring in a much less severe manner for being sexually active (unless the sexual activity is homosexual) I can never condone mandatory parental notification.

And for those of you still interested in reading personal anecdotes about abortion, I know two women who had abortions: my mother and my grandmother. My mother was in her late 30's and divorced with two nearly-grown children. She is to this day profoundly grateful that she had that legal choice. My grandmother had 6 children and a husband with inoperable brain cancer. A physician close to the family took pity on her and was able to help by giving her a "D and C" (which often masked abortions in the pre-legal days.)

Sex happens. Pregnancy happens. Women are left holding the bag.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 9:39 AM on February 18, 2006


And I think that your differentiation of "traumatic" from crying throughout and "upsetting, sobering, miserable, lots of things" is largely semantic, and generally reinforces my belief (which remains undisputed) regarding the emotional impact of abortion.

Largely semantic? No. As should be clear in context, the distinction I (and most English speakers) make is this: a traumatic experience creates long-term damage that interferes with one's life. I recently had to put down one of our dogs. I cried throughout that too, but I'm not crippled by the experience. It was "upsetting, sobering, miserable, lots of things" but not traumatic. Much like my abortion. (Note: "much," not "exactly.")

You seem very fortunate to have come through a tough situation relatively ok.

I think your communication problems arise from statements like this, not your punctuation.

"Relatively" ok? Relative to what? The alternate-reality vetiver who didn't have an abortion and therefore did not suffer that "trauma"? You know nothing about me or my life other than what I've told you here. It's awfully damn presumptuous of you to imply that my life is inferior to what it might have been, because of this one experience. Is that not what you meant? It's what you said, and that's all I have to go by.

You seem to be very much invested in the idea that all abortions create disastrous consequences. That's just not true.

And maybe it would have been worse if your parents had been notified. I don't know.

Of course you don't know. I knew, and so I made the decision.

That's my whole point. The "moderate" approach to criminalization of abortion makes exceptions for rape or incest or the life and health of the mother. My abortion would have been illegal. What then? Before Roe, women sometimes got expansive rulings of a "threat to health" from a hospital board. No 16-year-old could even begin that process without help from her parents. I would've tried to find a way to get an illegal abortion, which is not only invasive but wildly dangerous, and I don't know if I could have found someone within the first trimester, if at all. I would have been shoved down the path I didn't want and now, 20 years later, I would be a very different person. Just going by statistics, I'd be much worse off financially and I wouldn't have an undergrad degree, much less a masters, which obviously limits career opportunities. That makes it unlikely I'd be happier, or more contented, or better off in any way. Achieving anything like the life I have now from that starting point would have required truly extraordinary intelligence, talent, or ambition, and I doubt I could have pulled it off. Such drastic consequences from a choice I wasn't allowed to make.

Why should you, or I, or a judge, or a bunch of politicians and preachers have that kind of power? We don't know the best choice for everyone facing an unwanted pregnancy. We can't. We have to trust the woman, or girl, involved. And yes, that means some women will get abortions for reasons you or I think are frivolous or selfish or callous. I'm thankful those women at least have the rudimentary sense to get abortions, because they'd be catastrophically bad mothers.

I realize all this is beside the point for those who truly believe that life begins at conception. But most people who take that position, or say "we can't know so we should err on the side of caution," would allow certain exceptions, the ones they find acceptable. Which means it's not all about saving the innocent zygotes. They feel entitled to control and direct the lives of strangers in a fundamental, far-reaching way. They're wrong.

I'm not saying you're one of those people, Jek. I'm pointing out that restrictions that seem reasonable may not be, that's all. And I apologize for the long-winded blort, but I'm trying to show you the vast consequences of not getting an abortion.

On preview: SLoG, thanks for your anecdotes. I think they highlight how complicated, and how personal, each situation is. I'm glad your grandmother had a sympathetic doctor.
posted by vetiver at 10:09 AM on February 18, 2006


I am pro-choice. I do not think that abortion should be illegal. Period. How many times do I have to write that before people will actually read it?

"Relatively" ok? Relative to what? The alternate-reality vetiver who didn't have an abortion and therefore did not suffer that "trauma"?

Relative to other people who have had abortions. Relative to the alternate-reality vetiver who didn't have pre-marital sex and get pregnant and then have an abortion. Relative to the alternate-reality vetiver who had to tell her parents and suffered as a result.

I'm aware of the vast consequences of not getting an abortion.

You seem to be very much invested in the idea that all abortions create disastrous consequences. That's just not true.

It's odd that it would seem that way, since I've said nothing about "disastrous consequences." I've pointed out that it is an invasive procedure (which is true) and that it's traumatic both physically and emotionally (which, is true, in spite of your reluctance to use the term "traumatic" as it is defined). Perhaps you don't think of something as "traumatic" unless it has lifelong horrible consequences. If that's your definition, then no, abortion is not necessarily traumatic. But under the actual definition of the term, it is, and your experience bears that out.

Let me say, one more time, just in case you or anyone else missed it: I am pro-choice. I think the choice to have an abortion or not must reside entirely with the pregnant woman. Period. I don't think that's in the constitution, I think it's an ethical and moral matter.

I've said this many, many times, but it always gets ignored, and then people say that I didn't communicate well. WTF!!!!!!!!!!
posted by JekPorkins at 10:29 AM on February 18, 2006


It is only when women (and men too, I suppose) realize that abortion = murder will abortions be rare.

Murder is defined legally, not morally. The only people that can define abortion as murder are (state) legislators. Constitutional rights exist precisely so that individuals who, like vetiver, need to make very difficult, very private decisions aren't subject to the whims of tyrannous majorities.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 11:51 AM on February 18, 2006


designbot

Wrongo, boyo! When it comes to reproductive care, they're considered emancipated. Try reading once in a while, and pull your head out of the right wing echo chamber periodically.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:44 PM on February 18, 2006


I realize this thread is long-dead -- I was gone for the weekend, but I just want to point out, Jek, that what I, at least, object to, is the insistence on the stigma attached to abortion: that it's scary, that it's traumatic, that women who have one are (to use your terms) "fortunate" to come out "relatively ok."

These are your assumptions. The fact that you say that everyone agrees with them does not make it so. Yes, it's usually an emotional experience, often of very mixed character. But, whether you realize it or not, you betray a belief that it's a painful experience.

You make the further assumption that A) we all agree that abortion is traumatic; and B) that abortion is so traumatic that we all agree that its incidence should be minimized. I, for one, disagree with both statements, and I know women who have had abortions who would almost certainly disagree with both statements.

And: always watch out for the unacknowledged response that abortion is terrible for the woman. Because it's shameful. Because that woman had sex.
posted by argybarg at 5:02 PM on February 18, 2006


It is only when women (and men too, I suppose) realize that abortion = murder will abortions be rare.

I realize it now - and I'm fine with it. My body, my choice. I will not be forced to go through pregnancy because the government says so. That's totally fucked up.

I appreciate all men who fight alongside me, but no man can understand this. It feels like slavery - this enforcement of women as a lesser class, only the vessels for future life. I refuse.

We are supposed to be the land of the free. I should be free to choose what I want to do with my own personhood. And that does NOT include carrying a fetus. Ever.
posted by agregoli at 8:51 AM on February 24, 2006


I should be free to choose what I want to do with my own personhood. And that does NOT include carrying a fetus. Ever.

The only way to not carry a fetus, ever, is to not get pregnant, ever, and the only way to choose not to get pregnant, ever, is to not have sex with a man, ever. By the time you choose to have an abortion (a right you should have, IMO), you are already carrying a fetus, generally because of a previous choice you made (the exception, of course, is nonconsensual sex). Man, sexual education in this country sucks big time.
posted by JekPorkins at 9:07 AM on February 24, 2006


I have the right to not carry a fetus, ever. And if I got pregnant, I would be forced to carry the baby to term if abortion was outlawed - therefore, I want the right to follow my desires for my life and my body - to NOT carry a fetus. So I would want (and get) an abortion. What's confusing about that? Getting pregnant while on birth control happens. Daily. I know that I'm at risk, even if I'm on the pill.

So I don't get your point at all, frankly. I'm not going to remain celibate my entire life. I love sex. Hope to have some tonight with my husband, in fact. But I am NEVER having kids. Don't want them. Not even out there in the world (adoption). I do not want to reproduce. But that doesn't mean I'm going to deprive myself of sex because some people think that's a more "responsible" choice.

I had a great sex education, and I hope I'd know by now anyway, since I'm 26 years old!

Even with birth control, there are no absolutes. I will fight for the right to abortion for as long as it takes - if I've taken necessary and reasonable precautions against pregnancy, especially. And I do.

All people have the right to dominion over their own bodies. And I lose that right if someone forces me to carry a child I do not want, and never wanted in the first place. It would be co-opting my body for government's moral purpose. And that disgusts me.
posted by agregoli at 12:53 PM on February 24, 2006


Don't bite at the troll, agregoli. Jek was merely stating the dead obvious. He isn't actually saying that you should have to carry to term — look, he says right there that he supports abortion! — just that if you get preggers, it's because you chose to have sex. If you hadn't had sex, you wouldn't be pregnant!
posted by five fresh fish at 1:02 PM on February 24, 2006


I have the right to not carry a fetus, ever.

Correct.
posted by JekPorkins at 1:08 PM on February 24, 2006


I still don't see what he's trying to say at all. It seems utterly pointless.

I know I shouldn't respond to such idiotic attempts at who knows what - I swayed because damn...this shit is upsetting, twenty times over if you're a woman.

I cannot even stand the thought of being pregnant - that's how much it repulses me. I think if I was pregnant and had no options I'd go insane within 24 hours.

My body, my uterus, and there's no "for rent" sign in there, thanks. No way.
posted by agregoli at 1:22 PM on February 24, 2006


It is utterly pointless, agregoli. It's to up his post count or to appear as if he's got smarts or to get you to fight over nothing. Pointless small shit, so don't buy into it.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:01 PM on February 24, 2006


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