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You wouldn't think that this would be such a hard question.
July 30, 2007 5:30 PM   Subscribe

If abortion is outlawed, what should be the penalty for mothers who get abortions? Let's ask some anti-abortion protestors.
posted by Pope Guilty (358 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
It makes absolutely no sense that if it's really murder, why should only the doctors get punished and not the mothers? This is the one thing they never want to talk about, usually.
posted by amberglow at 5:37 PM on July 30, 2007


Well, shouldn't the doctors be punished? IANAProLifer and even I could answer that...
posted by puddpunk at 5:37 PM on July 30, 2007


grind grind grind?

Lotsa circular logic there, with the second interviewee.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:38 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


You wouldn't think that this would be such a hard question.

I would, actually.
posted by freebird at 5:38 PM on July 30, 2007


This thread will end very, very well.
posted by chlorus at 5:38 PM on July 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


Pro-lifers love fetuses. Babies? Not so much.

As long as that fetus is in the woman, it's the Pro-Lifer's biz.

Afterwards? It's not their problem.
posted by rougy at 5:39 PM on July 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


What gets me is that it's pretty much the same question, if you honestly believe that abortion is the murder of a fully morally considerable human being, as "If a person hires an assassin to kill someone, what should the punishment be?"

It always goes back to that chart that circulated awhile back which points out that almost none of the pro-life nostrums are consistent with the view that abortion is murder, and almost all are fully consistent with a desire to punish women for having sex.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:40 PM on July 30, 2007 [40 favorites]


the real question is what the penalty should be for miscarriage.
posted by geos at 5:41 PM on July 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


If a person hires an assassin to kill someone, what should the punishment be?

I also deny that *this* always has an easy, consistent answer for people.
posted by freebird at 5:43 PM on July 30, 2007


what Pope said. It's all about control of women and reducing their options.
posted by amberglow at 5:43 PM on July 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


I'll tell you what should happen if abortion were illegal: in order to be morally consistent the abortion doctors should go to jail and so should the woman. If it IS murder, then the punishment ought to fit the crime. I don't see what is so complicated about this.
posted by chlorus at 5:43 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


And the same people are always against birth control and realistic sex ed--which would reduce unwanted pregnancies so that abortion wouldn't be as needed.
posted by amberglow at 5:44 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


This video shows how blindly people often follow religion. Regardless of their beliefs vs. mine, I think it's ridiculous that they try to interfere in other people's lives, and that they try to force their beliefs down other people's throats (huge posters of dead fetuses? I mean, come on.) when they themselves haven't fully thought it through.
posted by alona at 5:44 PM on July 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


You may now return to your regularly scheduled bashing of those simpletons who really don't care about the fetuses but simply use it as a cover for their secret agenda to control everything that women do. Also, Jews did WTC.
posted by chlorus at 5:44 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


(and against Cervical Cancer vaccines, and plan B, etc...everything that's even tangentially related to sex, whether it saves lives or not--lives of those already living, of course)
posted by amberglow at 5:46 PM on July 30, 2007


The only moral abortion is my abortion.
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:46 PM on July 30, 2007 [19 favorites]


Sweet tentacled baby murdering diety, I commented in an abortion thread. I *know* what the punishment for *that* is.
posted by freebird at 5:46 PM on July 30, 2007


You may now return to your regularly scheduled bashing of those simpletons who really don't care about the fetuses but simply use it as a cover for their secret agenda to control everything that women do. Also, Jews did WTC.

If you're going to shit, toilets are much more sanitary than threads.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:47 PM on July 30, 2007 [8 favorites]


I think nine months to life is fair - it's what they get if they keep the little parasite.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:47 PM on July 30, 2007 [10 favorites]


If you know nything about the way it worked prior to legalizing abortions you would know that those with the educaion and the means simply went to a doctor (usually a therepaist) and got a note saying they were not emotionally able to have a child and then, to a reputable hospital and D and C...voila, no fetus. All perfectly legal. Those without education or money went to the coathanger guy around the corner. I have known many women who went this route. No one got arrested or into any sort of trouble.
posted by Postroad at 5:49 PM on July 30, 2007


If you're going to shit, toilets are much more sanitary than threads.

More sanitary than the front page, as well.

And I say that as a long-time contributor to Planned Parenthood.
posted by dersins at 5:49 PM on July 30, 2007


Wow. This is what YouTube is perfect for. Awesome.
posted by kableh at 5:50 PM on July 30, 2007


I love this.

It always goes back to that chart that circulated awhile back which points out that almost none of the pro-life nostrums are consistent with the view that abortion is murder, and almost all are fully consistent with a desire to punish women for having sex.

I would love to see this.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:51 PM on July 30, 2007



It makes absolutely no sense that if it's really murder, why should only the doctors get punished and not the mothers?


From a practical standpoint, you want to punish women who can have children.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:52 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


what Pope said. It's all about control of women and reducing their options.

I disagree, amberglow. I think the people in this video, protesting, have good intentions (saving life). This makes it obvious, though, that many haven't followed that line of thinking to its logical conclusion.

The assholespoliticians who exploit these well meaning people, however...
posted by kableh at 5:52 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


If I travel back in time and kill myself as a todler, do I cease to exist? Lets ask some crazy people!
posted by SweetJesus at 5:52 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


what Pope said.

I read that as "the Pope" on first glance and nearly had a stroke ;)
posted by Cyrano at 5:54 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I wish the videographer had continued on to the 'George' that the last woman referenced him to. As the (I assume) head of the protest, he should be the most well-considered person there.
posted by Kickstart70 at 5:56 PM on July 30, 2007


I think the people in this video, protesting, have good intentions (saving life). This makes it obvious, though, that many haven't followed that line of thinking to its logical conclusion.

It would make sense if they simply felt that abortion was wrong, which they clearly do. They it's wrong and they think God thinks it's wrong. To them, it is a violation of God's law. Fair enough.

But they say they want to make it illegal in the real world, but when it comes to the real world consequences of that, they start running around in circles, because only a crazy person would make a woman who'd just gotten a coat hanger abortion go to jail for Murder One. And that would be the natural extension of everything they believe, unless they're willing to admit that the laws of this world are of a separate category from what they believe will ultimately be God's judgment.

Of course, if you actually think God is the head cheese and his judgment is final, then the law of the land would hardly matter - unrepentant murderers would go to Hell, and that's that.
posted by Sticherbeast at 5:56 PM on July 30, 2007


Sticherbeast,

http://shotsacrossthebow.com/weblog/images/prolifebeliefchart.gif
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:56 PM on July 30, 2007 [32 favorites]


So pro-lifers don't actually want to punish women who have abortions. Makes it a bit harder to hate pro-lifers, I guess.
posted by The World Famous at 6:02 PM on July 30, 2007


So, is the point of this thread that most protesters are ill-informed and thoughtless? You should talk to globalization protesters some time: "What do you think of the Tobin tax?"

Is the point of this thread that this is an unanswerable question? Sadly, the pro-life movement has this all worked out, even if it hasn't filtered down to the rank-and-file. First, you criminalize the practitioner, and that removes all but the back-alley types. Then, you hit the black market abortioners with a murder charge. You convict the mothers of a conspiracy charge, set the term in the assault range, and that'll scare the rest of 'em. That brings the whole machinery of police departments to bear: all vaginas become potential crime scenes, so you hire forensic gynecologists. Perhaps you could even enlist regular doctors, require them to report any signs of an abortion performed elsewhere. Finally, you start doing DEA-style busts, using undercover agents to infiltrate the black market. The state has the power to do this.

Don't think this isn't possible. The average Hutu couldn't have told you what Rwanda would do after it killed a third of its population, but he didn't have to figure that out for himself: he just picked up a machete, thoughtfully provided by the state, and got to work.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:03 PM on July 30, 2007 [7 favorites]


Superstar columnist Anna Quindlen's take, in today's Newsweek.
posted by Sfving at 6:04 PM on July 30, 2007



I tend to avoid these arguments, but was quite amusing to watch that nobody had thought about it.
posted by lundman at 6:04 PM on July 30, 2007


panacea, we already have an example of that in El Salvador.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:06 PM on July 30, 2007


Thanks Pope Guilty, I was about to obAOL for a link to that chart.
posted by djeo at 6:07 PM on July 30, 2007


I guess it would depend on when you classify the foetus as a separate human entity. Which is obviously the problem pro-lifers have, because then it makes it difficult to apply a coherent homicide policy.

I'm unaware of the exact stance of such groups (is it a separate entity from conception, or from a certain date, or from a certain biological indicator etc), but there are two ways they could perhaps deal with this.

One way would be to define when it becomes a separate life, and allow a window for "abortions" (phrased another way, no doubt - "potential offspring prevention"), and make anything after that illegal, with regular homicide principles applying (one might even see this as a way to remove the death sentence. A woman having an abortion intends to kill the baby, and it's premeditated, so that's 1st degree (USians, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong). There might be a public backlash against this, due to the fact that people are probably less likely to think that they "deserve" it.)

Another might be to allow women who have an abortion a special plea, akin to diminished responsibility or something, whereby the status is downgraded from first to second, or something.

I think the main problem is that no one really wants to punish the women at all. But of course (and the whole point of the video) that would mean that making abortion illegal would be pointless.
posted by djgh at 6:10 PM on July 30, 2007


I wish the videographer had continued on to the 'George' that the last woman referenced him to. As the (I assume) head of the protest, he should be the most well-considered person there.

I believe she was referring to Joe Scheidler, of Operation Rescue fame and others.
posted by SteveInMaine at 6:10 PM on July 30, 2007


It's amazing how people can take confusion about a simple question ("When does human life begin?") and build a whole industry around it.

For the record, the ancient Hebrews (you know, the folks who brought you 'God') believed that life doesn't begin until 30 days after birth. Given that they invented God, you'd think they would have some credibility in this debate.

I apologize for posting here, you can all now return to your regularly scheduled shitstorm.
posted by mullingitover at 6:14 PM on July 30, 2007 [11 favorites]


Another might be to allow women who have an abortion a special plea, akin to diminished responsibility or something, whereby the status is downgraded from first to second, or something.

I think the main problem is that no one really wants to punish the women at all. But of course (and the whole point of the video) that would mean that making abortion illegal would be pointless.


It comes down to a desire to control women and to control sex.

If abortion is indeed murder, letting women off the hook is, in its own way, quite sexist. It treats women not as people, but as fluffy little baby machines who sometimes get confused by all the fancy words used by liberals and abortion doctors.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:16 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Uh, this is a double.
posted by jokeefe at 6:16 PM on July 30, 2007


It's customary to provide a link, joekeefe.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:18 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


My apologies folks. This is really embarrassing. At least they got the "abortion is wrong" part. Stupid fuckers. Years ago I actually had very strong minded minions during the inquisition and the crusades to name a couple. Ah, the good old days.

Much love,

Satan (Actually known as Baby Jesus to the good folks in LIBERTYVILLE.)

Seriously, Libertyville?
posted by snsranch at 6:19 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


This really does show that the anti-abortion folks are human, loving and doing this out of sincere belief. I guess you posted this because you expected them to show anger and evil emotion and you somehow think they are hypocrites for showing love. I hope you are not so foolish. We have about a million abortions or so every year in this country. We should have far, far fewer. IMO just making it illegal is about as effective as making drugs illegal has been at curbing drug abuse. Direct the same dollars at birth control and save thousands of lives. Whatever, these people are standing up for their beliefs out of love, not hate (too bad that is not universally true in the movement though).
posted by caddis at 6:19 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Organizing a Clandestine Abortion Service

In any case, the other option for pro-lifers is simply to prosecute doctors, but leave mothers alone. They could go after back-alley abortioners for "practicing medicine without a license," and hit auto-aborters with the same charges they use for mothers who abandon their children in the trash, which range from 'endangerment' to 'murder.' This would have a sufficient chilling effect to accomplish their goals, and like Scalia always says, the great thing about democracies is that they don't have to be consistent.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:21 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


caddis, I don't think they're hypocrites for showing love. I think they're jerks for being patronizing toward women.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:23 PM on July 30, 2007


we already have an example of that in El Salvador.

Yes, but see also.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:25 PM on July 30, 2007


This the same reason I never understood the whole abortion laws with exceptions for rape and incest.

If it's ok "to kill babies" that are the result of rape and incest, but not people that are born as the result of rape and incest, then how is making abortion illegal anything more than punishing women for having sex that isn't for the purpose of procreation?

They don't want these women to go to jail because not even they equate it with mothers killing their 1 year olds.
posted by whoaali at 6:26 PM on July 30, 2007


What should be the penalty for people who like to punish women while having sex?

I'm asking for a friend.
posted by Eideteker at 6:26 PM on July 30, 2007 [12 favorites]


Makes it a bit harder to hate pro-lifers, I guess.

You're such a wonderful and caring person.
posted by dhammond at 6:26 PM on July 30, 2007


god told me pro-lifers are dumb
posted by lisalisa123 at 6:27 PM on July 30, 2007


I hate these threads as well, but that was very well done. You can just about see the sudden cognitive dissonance in each one of these people when they are forced to listen to the question, open their mouth, and realize that they have nothing to say.
posted by yhbc at 6:29 PM on July 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


The point of this post is here:
"They never connect the dots," says Jill June, president of Planned Parenthood of Greater Iowa. But her organization urged voters to do just that in the last gubernatorial election, in which the Republican contender believed abortion should be illegal even in cases of rape and incest. "We wanted him to tell the women of Iowa exactly how much time he expected them to serve in jail if they had an abortion," June recalled. Chet Culver, the Democrat who unabashedly favors legal abortion, won that race, proving that choice can be a winning issue if you force people to stop evading the hard facts. "How have we come this far in the debate and been oblivious to the logical ramifications of making abortion illegal?" June says.
You all think that forcing pro-lifers to think through the policy implications will make them change their core beliefs. This is clearly false: I'd bet that every one of the people interviewed now has an answer to the question, and that it involves either jailtime for the mothers (pour encourager les autres) or a subtle argument about the impact of only prosecuting the abortion-performer. Making thoughtless people think doesn't necessarily give you better results, since they're starting with screwy premises. A little learning is a dangerous thing.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:31 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm assuming the United States is going to have marshalls in Mexico ready to arrest rich Americans who fly across the border to get abortions correct? Because that's where they went when abortion was last outlawed. Abortions have always and will always be "legal" for anyone who can afford a plane ticket. This is a law that punishes poor women who get abortions not as a lifestyle choice but because they got fucked.
posted by any major dude at 6:32 PM on July 30, 2007 [10 favorites]


What gets me is that it's pretty much the same question, if you honestly believe that abortion is the murder of a fully morally considerable human being, as "If a person hires an assassin to kill someone, what should the punishment be?"

I think part of what complicates the matter is that for some portion of the anti-abortion crowd there is a very real sense in which the autonomy of the woman is simply not taken seriously to start with. She is the vessel in which the child grows, the nurturer, but she is not the figure of authority. The mother is taken as a passive figure all around, which is why women making choices is not seen as important. Her choosing to kill the fetus isn't taken seriously because her choosing anything isn't taken seriously - she is forced or pressured or ordered by the men in her life to take this action. It's all consistent with 19th century society, really...
posted by mdn at 6:32 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I have to admit, I was surprised by their answers. Pro-lifers have been stereotyped in my mind so much that I expected them to get all bug-eyed and Fred Phelpsy, screaming "DEEEEEEAAAAATH!!!! DEATH TO THE BABY KILLERS!!!!" but instead, they were just ignorant. Interesting.
posted by fungible at 6:37 PM on July 30, 2007


You're such a wonderful and caring person.

You don't know me, man.
posted by The World Famous at 6:38 PM on July 30, 2007


I think they're jerks for being patronizing toward women.

You know, I think they realize the pain these women go through in this decision. They just want them not to kill the baby. It's not patronizing, it's a desire to save the lives of the unborn children. Your view of them as patronizing assumes their ignorance and in and of itself could be construed as patronizing. It really all depends on where you fall on the spectrum of whether abortion should be illegal or not and whether abortion equates to murder or not. The answers on this are not black or white, despite the passions on either side.
posted by caddis at 6:40 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


caddis, a lot of people undergo pain as a result of the crimes they commit. Do you suppose that these individuals would support amnesty for murderers of adults were those murderers sufficiently torn up over the decision?

(the answer, for those of you playing along at home, is of course not.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:48 PM on July 30, 2007


This makes the pro-life movement slightly less terrifying, and seems vaguely reminiscent of some sort of Monty Python sketch.
posted by SassHat at 6:49 PM on July 30, 2007


Not all people who want to rid the world of abortions want to control women or control sex. I'm pretty liberal in most respects but I feel that abortion is usually wrong. I think that it is murder to kill a human being once it has achieved sapient consciousness. Since it is unknown exactly when that happens in fetal development, I don't think it should be done at all.

I also think that everyone should have free and unfettered access to birth control and realistic sex education so that the demand for abortions would be reduced.

When it comes to the idea of punishment for women who have abortions, I find a moral black hole. The important thing isn't punishing the woman for having an abortion it is saving the life of the fetus.
posted by SteveTheRed at 6:51 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


You know, I think they realize the pain these women go through in this decision. They just want them not to kill the baby. It's not patronizing, it's a desire to save the lives of the unborn children.

They certainly understand the pain a woman goes through when faced with the decision to have an abortion. It's why they try to drown it out with guilt, shame and fear.
posted by uri at 6:52 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


The important thing isn't punishing the woman for having an abortion it is saving the life of the fetus.

That's it, and the guilty pope doesn't get it.
posted by caddis at 6:56 PM on July 30, 2007


SteveTheRed, nice try at obfuscation via the "sapient consiousness" canard. The m-w.com definition of "sapient" is "wise". Far from being wise, I'd posit that even months after birth no baby knows what the hell is going on, less even than a puppy of the same age. The slippery-slope argument you pose is, well, specious.
posted by notsnot at 6:56 PM on July 30, 2007


They just want them not to kill the baby. It's not patronizing, it's a desire to save the lives of the unborn children.

Actually, their deeds never lived up to this. Combined with their rants to dismantle welfare, they were not just patronizing, but dehumanized women into a double-bind. The anti-choice mantra was always, "They must take responsibility for the child." The odd thing is, the aborter did just that, they took responsibility and ended it. The anti-choice crowd was consciously deflecting their own responsibility as the insult to injury.
posted by Brian B. at 6:58 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's it, and the guilty pope doesn't get it.

I get it, I just regard it as a lie told to conceal the far less publicly palatable truth.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:03 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


If I travel back in time and kill myself as a todler, do I cease to exist? Lets ask some crazy people!

Oooh! Got link?
posted by humannaire at 7:04 PM on July 30, 2007


You know, I think they realize the pain these women go through in this decision. They just want them not to kill the baby. It's not patronizing, it's a desire to save the lives of the unborn children.

I might believe that for more than a millisecond if the flip sides of their dismembered-fetus signs had "FREE PRENATAL CARE NOW!" or "GOD DEMANDS FREE PRENATAL CHECKUPS" or even just "FOLIC ACID HELPS PREVENT NEURAL TUBE DEFECTS" on them. But they just have more dismembered fetuses.

Their behavior is inconsistent with the hypothesis that they are motivated by saving fetuses. Hell, their behavior is inconsistent with the hypothesis that their goal is to minimize the number of abortions, since the empirically proven way to do that is through comprehensive and accurate sex education combined with easy access to contraceptives.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:06 PM on July 30, 2007 [32 favorites]


Pope Guilty: how dare you impute secret motives on an entire group of people. Who are you to say what is really in their hearts?
posted by chlorus at 7:06 PM on July 30, 2007


You people don't understand. Abortion doctors should be punished because they are the ones going into small towns and convincing otherwise happily expectant mothers to kill their babies because they love destroying human life. Don't you people get the memos?
posted by Deathalicious at 7:07 PM on July 30, 2007


num 5:11-6:1

11The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 12Speak to the Israelites and say to them: If any man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him, 13if a man has had intercourse with her but it is hidden from her husband, so that she is undetected though she has defiled herself, and there is no witness against her since she was not caught in the act; 14if a spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife who has defiled herself; or if a spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife, though she has not defiled herself; 15then the man shall bring his wife to the priest. And he shall bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an ephah of barley flour. He shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, for it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of remembrance, bringing iniquity to remembrance. 16Then the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord; 17the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel, and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water. 18The priest shall set the woman before the Lord, dishevel the woman’s hair, and place in her hands the grain offering of remembrance, which is the grain offering of jealousy. In his own hand the priest shall have the water of bitterness that brings the curse. 19Then the priest shall make her take an oath, saying, “If no man has lain with you, if you have not turned aside to uncleanness while under your husband’s authority, be immune to this water of bitterness that brings the curse. 20But if you have gone astray while under your husband’s authority, if you have defiled yourself and some man other than your husband has had intercourse with you,” 21—let the priest make the woman take the oath of the curse and say to the woman—“the Lord make you an execration and an oath among your people, when the Lord makes your uterus drop, your womb discharge; 22now may this water that brings the curse enter your bowels and make your womb discharge, your uterus drop!” And the woman shall say, “Amen. Amen.” 23Then the priest shall put these curses in writing, and wash them off into the water of bitterness. 24He shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings the curse, and the water that brings the curse shall enter her and cause bitter pain. 25The priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy out of the woman’s hand, and shall elevate the grain offering before the Lord and bring it to the altar; 26and the priest shall take a handful of the grain offering, as its memorial portion, and turn it into smoke on the altar, and afterward shall make the woman drink the water. 27When he has made her drink the water, then, if she has defiled herself and has been unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings the curse shall enter into her and cause bitter pain, and her womb shall discharge, her uterus drop, and the woman shall become an execration among her people. 28But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, then she shall be immune and be able to conceive children. 29This is the law in cases of jealousy, when a wife, while under her husband’s authority, goes astray and defiles herself, 30or when a spirit of jealousy comes on a man and he is jealous of his wife; then he shall set the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall apply this entire law to her. 31The man shall be free from iniquity, but the woman shall bear her iniquity.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 7:09 PM on July 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


You know, we are talking about dead babies.

That's what abortions cause. Dead babies.

There were people who suggested very early on to my daughter that she should abort her pregnancy -a pregnancy that was keeping her from going into the AF.

She was offended that people thought she should kill her baby. She decided to marry the father instead.

That baby is now almost seven months old. Cutest thing you ever saw. Just precious.

And some of you seem to think that it's okay to try to save the planet, it's okay to try to save the ozone, but if some of us want to have fewer dead babies, that we are big meanies who hate sex and hate women?

Maybe, just maybe, we love babies. And think that it is wrong to murder them in what is supposed to be the very safest place of all.
posted by konolia at 7:10 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


The important thing isn't punishing the woman for having an abortion it is saving the life of the fetus.

That's it, and the guilty pope doesn't get it.


There are things a society can do to reduce the number of abortions. It's not like trying to make it a legal matter is the only choice for people who want there to be less abortions.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:11 PM on July 30, 2007


This really does show that the anti-abortion folks are human, loving and doing this out of sincere belief.
Your view of them as patronizing assumes their ignorance

Oh fucking please! These people are trying to enact a policy that will affect the lives of other people and they could not be bothered to think literally ONE STEP ahead. In all the years they've spent protesting, not ONCE had they thought about the ramifications of what they are trying to do and how it will affect others. Even if they were for jail time or death penalty, it would not be as bad. But they just don't give a shit about the women they are trying to "protect", not enough to even consider what will happen to them. All they care about is an idea. Either that or scoring brownie points for the afterlife. "Loving" my ass..
posted by c13 at 7:11 PM on July 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


I think I've said all I can on this issue before...and we can see how that ended up.
posted by mystyk at 7:11 PM on July 30, 2007


this question illustrates the difference between a social problem and a political one. do we really want the ham-fisted power of the state to handle this delicate social issue?

you can have catholic pro-choicers, and i've seen them march on washington.
posted by eustatic at 7:17 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


There are things a society can do to reduce the number of abortions. It's not like trying to make it a legal matter is the only choice for people who want there to be less abortions.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:11 PM on July 30 [+] [!]


you didn't actually read the comments did you?
posted by caddis at 7:18 PM on July 30, 2007


You know, we are talking about dead babies.

No, we're not.

That's what abortions cause. Dead babies.

No, they don't.

(Put on the coffee, Martha. This may go on for a while.)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:18 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


And some of you seem to think that it's okay to try to save the planet, it's okay to try to save the ozone, but if some of us want to have fewer dead babies, that we are big meanies who hate sex and hate women?

Konolia, distributing contraception and providing sex education in public schools reduces pregnancy and abortion rates, and these practices are associated with healthcare policy that reduces infant mortality rates.

If the goal is genuinely to have fewer dead babies, do you support distributing contraception and providing sex education in public schools, yes or no?

This question also applies to any other anti-choice proponent in this thread.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:19 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Konolia: dead fetuses. I will conced your right to assert a blastocyst is a baby, but...what is your answer to the question in the FPP?
posted by notsnot at 7:19 PM on July 30, 2007


MetaFilter: Proof That Hip Snark Makes For Really Good Political Argument
posted by chlorus at 7:19 PM on July 30, 2007


konolia, where's your support for welfare for mothers? Where's your support for government-funded healthcare for the mother and the child?

I don't believe that you really want to save babies because the only bit of support you're willing to provide is making it illegal to kill fetuses. That pro-lifers don't seem to give a damn about the welfare of children beyond preventing women- many of whom can't afford to raise a child- makes their protestations of "But, but, but, we just loooove the little helpless babies!" ring as hollow as the promises of a career politician.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:19 PM on July 30, 2007 [9 favorites]


Or hell, to be short and frank and to the point- why don't pro-choicers believe that pro-lifers really just want to save the little babies?

Because actions speak louder than words.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:21 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


What is more gross than a barrel full of dead fetuses?
posted by caddis at 7:22 PM on July 30, 2007


Pope Guilty: instead of knocking down straw men why don't YOU answer a question: when do you believe life begins, or, more precisely, at which point in human development is the termination of life a crime? Why?
posted by chlorus at 7:23 PM on July 30, 2007


konolia writes "And some of you seem to think that it's okay to try to save the planet, it's okay to try to save the ozone, but if some of us want to have fewer dead babies, that we are big meanies who hate sex and hate women?"

Well, if you want to be utilitarian about it, you could check the abortion rates around the world, and do whatever works elsewhere to lower it here. I'll give you a hint: it doesn't involve making it illegal. But that's the problem with this debate. The "solution" of making abortion illegal doesn't really work to lower the abortion rate. The Netherlands has the world's lowest abortion rate. And it's legal there. Contraceptives are widely available. Much of Latin America has high abortion rates, and it's generally illegal.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:24 PM on July 30, 2007 [9 favorites]


She was offended that people thought she should kill her baby. She decided to marry the father instead.

That baby is now almost seven months old. Cutest thing you ever saw. Just precious.


So the pro-choice crowd allowed her to have a baby? Oh, we aren't such meanies afterall. So don't stand in the way of a mother who wants to end her pregnancy because she might know that it was exposed to drugs in poverty and it won't be the cutest thing you ever saw. You admitted it was all about cuteness.
posted by Brian B. at 7:25 PM on July 30, 2007


because he's too cowardly too answer such a question
posted by caddis at 7:25 PM on July 30, 2007


konolia sez: Fewer dead babies.

I say: More dead baby jokes.

Seriously? Let's see...

1) anotherpanacea: The Tobin tax is different from this case because it's obfuscated by a specific term, nor is it a prime focus of anti-globalization protestors. When we're talking making "free"-trade illegal, and then ask what the ramifications of that are, THEN you'll have parity.

As it stands, c13 has it right when saying "they could not be bothered to think literally ONE STEP ahead."

It's pretty much an important obligation, I'd think, that if you're advocating a cause, to at least have a simple answer to a very basic question. It's this that's disturbing.

Now, onto konolia and the dead babies.

Some of us don't see it that way, dig? That's the fucking point. And maybe you do, fine, great. Even more, you might like all the pink skin little bundles of joy, and admittedly, I love my nieces and nephews and family, etc... But when it comes down to it, the world DOESN'T need more people. It needs less. So, a lot of us who are for the environment tend to be for a reduction in population. Doesn't mean we agree with the forced-sterilization of China, for example, nor forced euthanasia... Most of us are in the left-liberal tradition and believe in choice as paramount in these decisions.

Also, we're not saying you're insincere, we're saying that some of the ramifications of the actual policies being promoted are pretty much not being looked at, and that's short-sighted.

The "we hate women" thing, isn't so much you or the "grassroots" of the movement (I grew up in the 80s attending Wisconsin RTL booths at the county fair with my Mother and attending the meetings, so I've been there, at least partially)... The grassroots are sincere, as are most people in the world, but politics leads to nasy manipulation of opinions and darker agendas.

You may not see women as property, you may not even see it as part of our history, but we who advocate for choice tend to see that, and are wary of a return to such a state.
posted by symbioid at 7:27 PM on July 30, 2007


That cake looks good. I would like to eat it and have it.
posted by Flunkie at 7:29 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


What is more gross than a barrel full of dead fetuses?
posted by caddis at 7:22 PM on July 30 [+] [!]


The live one at the bottom.

At least, that's how I was told it.

posted by djgh at 7:29 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Damnit, caddis beat me to the punch!
posted by symbioid at 7:30 PM on July 30, 2007


They just want them not to kill the baby. It's not patronizing, it's a desire to save the lives of the unborn children.

Only if you believe that unborn children have lives to save.

I'm not being snarky, and I don't know exactly where I stand - but I do believe we are a secular country that has decided to live by the rule of law. Laws are for living people (the ones that are already here), and their rights have to take precedence over the people yet to arrive.

Are abortions good? No. Are abortions necessary? Sometimes, for a myriad of reasons, regardless of what God's minions have to say about it.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:30 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love babies too! They're so delicious with marinara sauce and a bit of lemon.
posted by casarkos at 7:31 PM on July 30, 2007


The live one at the bottom.

... eating it's way out.
posted by caddis at 7:33 PM on July 30, 2007


Maybe, just maybe, we love babies.

Then go make some more. But stay the fuck away from other people's lives.
posted by c13 at 7:35 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


konolia, the point to this thread (if there is one) is that we are NOT talking about dead babies. Rather, we are talking about, if abortion is made illegal, what DO you do to a woman who has an illegal abortion? Using your own daughter's experience of NOT having an abortion does not answer that question.
posted by yhbc at 7:35 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


In answer to that question - we hug hug her, console her.
posted by caddis at 7:37 PM on July 30, 2007


You? You personally hug and console every one of them?
posted by c13 at 7:41 PM on July 30, 2007


Then wouldn't it make more sense for the people picketing abortion clinics and screaming at the women going in to put down their picket signs and hug the women coming out?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:42 PM on July 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


Pope Guilty: instead of knocking down straw men why don't YOU answer a question: when do you believe life begins, or, more precisely, at which point in human development is the termination of life a crime? Why?

I believe that personhood starts sometime in the first years of life, as cognitive functions develop, and that it's more of a process than an on-off switch. I don't think that zygotes, blastocysts, fetuses, or newborns are persons, that they have any rights whatsoever, or that killing any of them is morally wrong. I think it's best for society to extend the "rights" (in the social contract sense, rather than in the natural rights sense) of persons to infants starting at childbirth due to a myriad of factors.

As to why? I don't believe that personhood is tied up in species, as the pro-life movement does. Imagine, for a moment, that you met a talking dog, one capable of all the cognitive powers of a human being. You'd be hard pressed to find someone who would argue that said talking dog would not be a morally considerable person. If you accept that the dog would be a person, you've admitted that personhood is not intrinsically a property of species. That personhood is a property of species is a necessary premise for a position that abortion is murder.

This sets me very, very, very far apart from the vast majority of the pro-choice movement, which is mostly full of people who believe that the unborn are at some point morally considerable persons whose rights are superceded by the mother's.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:44 PM on July 30, 2007 [11 favorites]


One thing that caddis is(?) hinting at is that the pro-life movement isn't entirely made up of people who are anti-choice. As some of the protesters say, they believe that the government should preserve the right to choose, but that individuals should choose life. These are the most thoughtful and also the most empathetic of the protesters... I strongly recommend finding such a person, sitting down with them for a chat, and getting inside their head, regardless of your politics. It's a mistake to think that protests have to always reference the far away state, as if we could only ever talk to the nine people on the Supreme Court and not to our fellow citizens.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:45 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Maybe, just maybe, we love babies. And think that it is wrong to murder them in what is supposed to be the very safest place of all.

Nobody here is talking about murdering babies. Except you.

What are you hiding?
posted by oaf at 7:48 PM on July 30, 2007


This is what happens when you conflate politics and religion.

Religious ideals are wonderful, and leading by example is a beautiful thing. But "God says..." is not an acceptable legal argument in our system - at least, it's not supposed to be.

If you want to make a legal case, then use legal, logical arguments.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:51 PM on July 30, 2007


As some of the protesters say, they believe that the government should preserve the right to choose, but that individuals should choose life.

And what do pro-choice people say? That all babies should be aborted?
And if protesters believe that the government should preserve the right to choose, than why are they protesting and trying to make the abortion illegal in the first place? Is this something that I need Jesus to understand?
posted by c13 at 7:53 PM on July 30, 2007


they believe that the government should preserve the right to choose, but that individuals should choose life.

Well, that would be me, and very many people. I think people should have the right to choose, I just want to minimize their need to make the choice, and hope when they do that if possible they can choose life.

believe that personhood starts sometime in the first years of life, as cognitive functions develop

In which case you believe that a parent should be perfectly justified in killing their new baby if they find taking care of it inconvenient? yeah, you have staked out a defensible position here. your post was just LOL right to lifers, but it has shown your own shallowness.
posted by caddis at 7:54 PM on July 30, 2007


I don't believe that personhood is tied up in species, as the pro-life movement does. Imagine, for a moment, that you met a talking dog, one capable of all the cognitive powers of a human being.

Why don't you believe that personhood is tied to species, given that talking dogs are imaginary?
posted by 23skidoo at 7:55 PM on July 30, 2007


It doesn't matter when you believe life begins.

If you want to prevent abortions, make sure that every pregnancy is planned and every baby is wanted. Make every step in the pregnancy is as easy and as close to free as possible.

If you want to prevent abortions, become a strong advocate for birth control, and put your money where your mouth is.

It's in remarkably bad taste for people to be so vocal about what is inherently a private and incredibly painful experience. Calling it 'killing babies' is breathtakingly crude and shameful, and deliberate or not, it's like a knife in the heart of many who've experienced it.
posted by mullingitover at 7:56 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Why don't you believe that personhood is tied to species, given that talking dogs are imaginary?

Yo quiero Taco Bell.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:56 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have to wonder whether these people genuinely held no opinions about the penalty side of things, or whether they were just uncomfortable because they were speaking on camera and didn't know which talking point to recite.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 7:57 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


That cake looks good. I would like to eat it and have it.

Is it made out of dead babies?
posted by kigpig at 7:58 PM on July 30, 2007


The one person interviewed shown in the clip who was honest enough to accept that a woman undergoing an illegal abortion should face imprisonment (but not capital punishment) is pretty hot (on the outside).
posted by porpoise at 7:58 PM on July 30, 2007


In which case you believe that a parent should be perfectly justified in killing their new baby if they find taking care of it inconvenient? yeah, you have staked out a defensible position here. your post was just LOL right to lifers, but it has shown your own shallowness.

Actually read the comment instead of simply skimming it for gotchas.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:00 PM on July 30, 2007


You know, we are talking about dead babies.

That's what abortions cause. Dead babies.


no. If your daughter killed her 7 month old now, we'd be talking about dead babies. If she had had the fetus extracted before it came to term, we would have been talking about abortions. It's not the most pleasant thing, though few medical procedures are dinner-table-worthy, but it's not murder.

There were people who suggested very early on to my daughter that she should abort her pregnancy -a pregnancy that was keeping her from going into the AF.

She was offended that people thought she should kill her baby. She decided to marry the father instead.


Pro-choice people support your daughter's right to complete autonomy in this choice. If she was happy to give up her future in the AF for a marriage and a child, that is absolutely her decision. The point is simply that it is up to her, not the government, because the growth inside her is not yet a citizen, and relies for all food and shelter on the body of the woman in which it is implanted. The woman can choose to become the food & shelter for the growth, and bring it into being, until it is born - at which point it becomes a citizen itself - or she can choose to reject the growth until such time when she is prepared to undertake the intense project development necessary to take a microscopic piece of dna into an actual individual.

Maybe, just maybe, we love babies. And think that it is wrong to murder them in what is supposed to be the very safest place of all.

why is it the woman's responsibility to be the safest place of all? Why is she first and foremost a place and only secondly an autonomy?
posted by mdn at 8:00 PM on July 30, 2007 [12 favorites]


Think those protesters have ever heard of "cognitive dissonance"? Nah, me neither.

In the same vein, check out this Boston Globe article which deals with the White House's stand on stem cell research and the cognitive dissonance involved there.
posted by zardoz at 8:02 PM on July 30, 2007


Wow... the quality of dialog in this place really has plummeted.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:02 PM on July 30, 2007


As has been stated, the single biggest contribution pro-lifers could make to reducing abortions would be to fill sacks with condoms to hand out and ensuring their children, and the children of their communities, were educated about sex and its mechanics.

Not really holding my breath on that one.
posted by maxwelton at 8:03 PM on July 30, 2007


Why don't you believe that personhood is tied to species, given that talking dogs are imaginary?

The talking dog is merely a hypothetical which demonstrates the failure of identifying personhood with species. It's a somewhat less abstract way of getting people to consider why they identify humanity with personhood.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:06 PM on July 30, 2007


Wow... the quality of dialog in this place really has plummeted.

So says the man who dumped a load of bible verses as his only contribution to the thread...
posted by c13 at 8:07 PM on July 30, 2007


This is easy.

The woman and the doctor should both be given the death penalty, as abortion is an affront to humanity.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 8:10 PM on July 30, 2007


c13 writes "So says the man who dumped a load of bible verses as his only contribution to the thread..."

Did you read them? They basically describe the YHWH-sanctioned process of getting an abortion from the temple priest. I tried taking my pregnant wife to the local church and hitting the priest up for this service, but apparently they've falled into sin because he said they're no longer offering it.
posted by mullingitover at 8:10 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Me, I'm just impressed that Konolia is willing to admit that her daughter was a slutty sex crazed tramp who had sex out of wedlock. I mean, since K. believes in the literal word of the KJ Bible, shouldn't she have stoned the little sinner?

Honestly people, we've had this fight a zillion times. Why even bother? It's not like anyone's views are going to change. Rational people will still seek rational answers and the god squad will continue to insist that unwanted children are a blessing upon us all.

I've spent way too many years on the front lines of this fight to be amazed or amused by this video. It's sad, but it's not surprising. When the anti-choice crowd starts adopting all the abused foster kids I see on a regular basis, I'll start to believe that you give a rat's ass about "the babies".
posted by dejah420 at 8:10 PM on July 30, 2007 [11 favorites]


She was offended that people thought she should kill her baby. She decided to marry the father instead.

the beauty of it is that your daughter, under the auspices of that poor, terminally-ill Roe vs Wade, had actually a choice. when the SCOTUS justices appointed by Presidents belonging to the party you guys have very cannily and succesfully lobbied in the last 30 years (and that's a lesson in influence that the unsuccessful US liberals should always keep in mind) eventually overturn Roe, the choice will disappear. and then women who can afford it will fly to Canada/Mexico, poorer women will do backalley abortions, often dying in the process (adequate punishment to their sin -- which is fucking, of course).

what's really amazing is that just like the Democrats permanently lost the South after they rammed the Civil Rights Act into its collective ass, the GOP will permanently lose millions of women votes after the first woman, post reversal of Roe, gets indicted for murder in the first by a jury of konolia's peers

but that's a future tragedy. the present tragedy is that unwanted pregnancies happen to women who practice safe sex, too, but then some people are just sloppy or uninformed and end up getting pregnant because of sloppiness and/or ignorance when it comes to contraception. if the Fetus Folk were actually interested in not simply taking rights away from women, maybe, just maybe, they'd be pro-sex education and pro-free condoms in schools and pro-cheap and widely available birth control, too. they usually aren't because of their own interpretation of what their God might think on the issue. or, well, because of their own hypocrisy.


Cutest thing you ever saw. Just precious.

on the other hand, I'm sure a lot of fetuses that get aborted were pretty ugly. so it's not that bad!
posted by matteo at 8:11 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


ack! large block of biblical text!! nnnnnooooooooooooo!!!!
posted by lisalisa123 at 8:12 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Laws are for living people (the ones that are already here), and their rights have to take precedence over the people yet to arrive.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 10:30 PM on July 30


See, that's where the pro-choice argument all goes wrong. Laws are not for living people. They are for the preservation of society, specifically social order. Laws do not provide liberty or freedom, they proscribe it.

It pro-life people can change the law, then under this logic, that would be the law as it reflects the will and values of living people for how they want their society ordered.

And the counterargument to konolia's "dead babies" argument - that the other side in the debate doesn't see them as babies - is silly. It's pretty fucking well established that but for the abortion, most of those fetuses would have become babies.

The argument that mature people in society should be having is whether the rights of the mother trump the rights of the fetus. Roe made it quite clear that (a) the fetus in fact has rights even in the first trimester, and (b) that it is entirely within the purview of the government to determine whether it has an interest in protecting the fetus's interests over the mom's. So you can't argue that the fetus has no rights - of course it does. You just have to accept the unpleasant fact that you are making a decision as to whose rights dominate.

The real issue of course is why people find the thought of women having lots of recreational sex bad, if men doing it is merely "boys will be boys". See, the boys aren't being boys with other boys, the boys are being boys with girls. But by definition these are "loose" girls. In other words, this community needs "loose" girls in order for that community's boys to be boys. These "loose" girls make their boys into men. Thus, the loose girl plays a vital role in this community.

The community's moral code survise because while these girls are necessary, they are also ostracised becasue of their role. To bring them into the fold would be to give them too much power. These are patriarchal communities where the gateway to manhood is through some woman of ill repute (again their terms, not mine), because good girls are good because they don't do this. So the good girls need some way of asserting dominance, and that's through exclusion, mockery, bullying, whatever you want to call it.

So the situation in the abortion debate is not simply power over women's bodies, its over the power to compartmentalize women based on their use of their body. It isn't inconceivable to these people that some women enjoy sex and have it frequently, what is inconceivable is that these women be permitted enjoy some social status above pariah.

This is what the contraception issue makes no difference in this debate. Contraception is welcome in these communities, not openly, but it is permitted to exist, because these mom's and dad's want Slut Girl on the pill as their son Joe Football "sows his wild oats" after the prom so she won't get pregnant and so mom, dad, and Joe can all maintain plausible deniability about sex.

But they need abortion to be illegal, because they need their pariahs. They need their openly obvious cautionary tales to exist so they can raise their Little Miss Perfect to be risk averse. The risk is not so much that they get pregnant, the risk is that they will be labeled a slut.

So, at least in this bagel's humble opinion, the abortion debate will rage on pointlessly until these people can be convinced that the amount of sex a woman has or wants is a fundamentally value neutral proposition with respect to society.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:14 PM on July 30, 2007 [15 favorites]


Calling it 'killing babies' is breathtakingly crude and shameful, and deliberate or not, it's like a knife in the heart of many who've experienced it.

Well, that's what my friends WHO HAVE HAD ABORTIONS call it.

The reason it's a knife in the heart is because it's the truth.

I'd have more respect for the prochoice crowd if they'd just admit it.

One hundred years from now, our collective descendents will call us barbarians for ever allowing the practice.
posted by konolia at 8:14 PM on July 30, 2007


I think nine months to life is fair - it's what they get if they keep the little parasite.
Thanks, Mom; You were always unaffectionate, critical, impossible to fully please and crazy, but thankfully Catholic.
posted by longsleeves at 8:15 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Did you read them?

Only partially. Because without any context they just seemed like ravings of a mad man. However, I still maintain that inserting long quotes from texts randomly into the thread does not make a conversation any better.
posted by c13 at 8:15 PM on July 30, 2007


Maybe, just maybe, we love babies. And think that it is wrong to murder them in what is supposed to be the very safest place of all.

So, konolia, let me be the third or fourth to ask YOU to answer the question: what should the punishment be for a Mother who chooses(my word) to murder(your word) her Baby "in what is supposed to be the very safest place of all"?

And, as long as you are willing to sacrifice your daughter's privacy for the sake of making an argument here, including the fact that "she decided to marry the father instead", are you suggesting that it was an either/or decision there, with no other alternatives?

And since you sincerely feel that abortion should be outlawed, should there not also be laws mandating that the father of a child conceived out of wedlock marry the mother? While not directly protecting the life of the unborn, it would have a profound effect on the life of the child, as well as represent the moral declaration that the man must take responsibility too. Or does that cross the line into forcing your morality on others?
posted by wendell at 8:17 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


c13 - you didn't even read my comment. You saw Bible verses and your narrow, tiny little brain had a little seizure and stopped working. I hope that doesn't happen when you're driving a car.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:18 PM on July 30, 2007


konolia writes "One hundred years from now, our collective descendents will call us barbarians for ever allowing the practice."

Are you calling God a barbarian for sanctioning the abortion process described in the text Baby_balrog cited?
posted by mullingitover at 8:18 PM on July 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


I mean, since K. believes in the literal word of the KJ Bible, shouldn't she have stoned the little sinner?

John 8:7.
posted by oaf at 8:18 PM on July 30, 2007


This sets me very, very, very far apart from the vast majority of the pro-choice movement, which is mostly full of people who believe that the unborn are at some point morally considerable persons whose rights are superceded by the mother's.

For me, the person is reproductively "cloned" as offspring into existence, taking on all the good and bad qualities of the parents. When this reproductive function is confused by the "blank slate" or "ghost in the machine" concept, it takes the form of a religious mandate. The fetus is then "pure" and without sin, and therefore must be protected from the sinful culture, even the parents, which then dovetails with the feudal order. The right to reproduce is a major threshold in society.
posted by Brian B. at 8:20 PM on July 30, 2007


Why don't you believe that personhood is tied to species, given that talking dogs are imaginary?


There are, however, perhaps talking monkeys and parrots that can really talk. Read the articles to decide for yourself how much personhood the animals get (an example - the parrot coined the word 'banerry' for an apple, supposedly because he only knew 'grape', 'cherry', and 'banana' for fruits and decided an apple was a banana-cherry), but they seem to me around as smart as toddlers. It's an interesting topic.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:20 PM on July 30, 2007


Laws are not for living people. They are for the preservation of society, specifically social order. Laws do not provide liberty or freedom, they proscribe it.

It pro-life people can change the law, then under this logic, that would be the law as it reflects the will and values of living people for how they want their society ordered.


Agreed. Nuance on these kind of things is impossible in little snippets on a web site.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:21 PM on July 30, 2007


And there you go. Talking monkeys. This is what we get.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:21 PM on July 30, 2007


One hundred years from now, our collective descendents will call us barbarians for ever allowing the practice.

Not if we kill them first, they won't!
posted by darksasami at 8:23 PM on July 30, 2007 [17 favorites]


Why is she first and foremost a place and only secondly an autonomy?

That is an illogical statement. A uterus is a place, a woman is a person. Do I need legal permission to kill my own offspring in order to be an autonomy? What kind of sick concept is that?
posted by konolia at 8:23 PM on July 30, 2007


you didn't even read my comment. You saw Bible verses and your narrow, tiny little brain had a little seizure and stopped working.

That's correct. There is only that much irrational stupid shit that my brain can put up with.
posted by c13 at 8:26 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I hate to post two in a row, but God is Anna Quindlen ever a dope:

But there are only two logical choices: hold women accountable for a criminal act by sending them to prison, or refuse to criminalize the act in the first place. If you can't countenance the first, you have to accept the second. You can't have it both ways.

Hey, stupid. The proposed law criminalizes abortion, i.e. conducting any of the medical procedures known as an abortion. A woman receiving an abortion does not perform an abortion, and therefore she would be committing no crime. The doctor does, and he/she would be the criminal.

Furthermore, the question of how much jail time a woman should get is a dumb rhetorical point that gets pro-choice advocates nowhere. If abortion were illegal, then hypothetically, suppose women who get an abortion get the same jail time as someone gets for public drunkenness, a night in jail. So? How about a $3000 fine, same as for speeding in Virginia? What the hell is Quindlen's point?

Every time I read something from Newsweek or Time it's like I'm reading some propaganda tract from a secret underground religious cult. They are bewildering arrays of logic-defying paragraphs designed to leave you confused and vulnerable. You have to turn off your brain before you start reading.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:28 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


And since you sincerely feel that abortion should be outlawed, should there not also be laws mandating that the father of a child conceived out of wedlock marry the mother? While not directly protecting the life of the unborn, it would have a profound effect on the life of the child, as well as represent the moral declaration that the man must take responsibility too. Or does that cross the line into forcing your morality on others?

It was never a law but it certainly was how life was conducted back when I was young. Not all those marriages worked out, of course, but there was a principle that the man take responsibility for the new life created. But that was back when society actually required men to take responsibility.

And for those who are nagging me about it, I consider the abortion punishment enough, really.
posted by konolia at 8:30 PM on July 30, 2007


Wow. I was getting ready for LOLCHRISTIANS (even though I hate that term), but that was super interesting. Though I'm on the pro-choice side of that, I'd never really thought about that either.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 8:31 PM on July 30, 2007


You know, I think they realize the pain these women go through in this decision. They just want them not to kill the baby. It's not patronizing, it's a desire to save the lives of the unborn children.

No, it's very patronizing. Very patronizing. They want to control us, force us to live our lives according to their religious/moral beliefs. They want to force us into something we don't want.

They may be superficially nice people, but I don't see that they're good people. Good people would be pro-life by not having abortions themselves and by putting the time they put into protests into actually helping the born who are having troubles. Oh, and paying to help women through pregnancies they can't afford but don't want to end. I see very little of this.

It's amazing, too, how many of them would absolutely jump to make sure their daughters had access to legal abortion if they became pregnant inadvertently. It's those filthy whores who use abortion as birth control who are the problem, not their precious little angels who 'just made a mistake and shouldn't have to pay for it for the rest of their lives'.
posted by watsondog at 8:32 PM on July 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


Are you calling God a barbarian for sanctioning the abortion process described in the text Baby_balrog cited?

That was misinterpretation of that scripture. But even if balrog was correct, God Himself has the authority to take or save a life. Every one of us draws breath because He permits it, and every one of us dies when He decides our time has come.

We are not the boss of us nearly as much as we like to think.
posted by konolia at 8:32 PM on July 30, 2007


I'd have more respect for the prochoice crowd if they'd just admit it.

Admit that abortion is not murder.

Or just keep believing wrongly that you're right. Your choice.

Are you calling God a barbarian for sanctioning the abortion process described in the text Baby_balrog cited?

Nah, just the Jews.

should there not also be laws mandating that the father of a child conceived out of wedlock marry the mother?

We'd have to make divorce illegal while we're at it. And we all know that that would...wendell.
posted by oaf at 8:32 PM on July 30, 2007


Pastabagel, there are blanket laws about being an accomplice in, being an accessory to, and aiding and abetting other unspecified criminal activities, of which abortion would be one.

Damn, that was unsettlingly alliterative.
posted by darksasami at 8:33 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


One hundred years from now, our collective descendents will call us barbarians for ever allowing the practice.

Our forebears for thousands have years have had this practice, and I don't consider them barbarians. For hundreds of years, it was only considered abortion to end a pregnancy after the 'quickening' - the first discernible movements of the fetus. At any stage in the pregnancy before that, no one could really prove the woman was pregnant anyway, and procedures which led to abortion were seen as restoring her to her normal cycle. (Of course, abortion after this point was a crime punishable by death, assuming it could be proven, which wasn't terribly likely.)
posted by frobozz at 8:33 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


konolia writes "But that was back when society actually required men to take responsibility. "

For the record, it still does. In fact, in many cases you can be required to provide 18 years of care for a child your wife produces even if it can be demonstrated that it is not your own.

Paternity laws are whimsical and punitive enough as they are, please do your homework before claiming they don't exist.
posted by mullingitover at 8:35 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, that's what my friends WHO HAVE HAD ABORTIONS call it.

Konolia actually has a point here. This is stark dilemma of the pro-choice crowd. Most women (think it was 90%) think having an abortion is a really bad thing but want to allow the option for others if needed. But if it's not killing a baby, it's really not bad, but only tough as a medical choice like surgery you kind of need but are a bit scared to do (and generally with less complications). If you're not sure if you want the child, you sure as hell shouldn't have it. No emotional breakdown involved. We coddle women as ultra-sensitive beings in this regard and if we want equality, this is something that should not fall beyond reproach.

But to a comment on the video...honestly it's not as cut and dry a question as it seems. Women don't tend to give self abortions (though there are some) so really they are an accessory or potentially a pawn in their eyes. They probably didn't think of it because they don't see the women as the problem but the victims as much as the uterine tumor. Remember they don't see women as people so they're not really responsible for their actions.

On preview it seems pastabagel beat me to it.
posted by kigpig at 8:35 PM on July 30, 2007


It was never a law but it certainly was how life was conducted back when I was young. Not all those marriages worked out, of course, but there was a principle that the man take responsibility for the new life created. But that was back when society actually required men to take responsibility.

One hundred years from now, our collective descendents will call us barbarians for ever allowing the practice of pressuring two people to get married just because of an unplanned-for pregnancy.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:35 PM on July 30, 2007 [7 favorites]


It was never a law but it certainly was how life was conducted back when I was young.

And we also had segregation. And before that we had slavery. And lynchings. And whichhunts.
But then some of us evolved.
posted by c13 at 8:35 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


A uterus is a place, a woman is a person.

A uterus is a place inside a woman. That is, a uterus is a place inside a person.

If a woman has no say over what goes in her uterus, I'm going to need access to yours. I'll need another offsite backup of my important data so I can read my e-mail after the coming apocalypse.
posted by oaf at 8:36 PM on July 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


What is more gross than a barrel full of dead fetuses?
how about a child born to a poor mother found in a dumpster? how about another child found strangled because the parents couldn't take the screaming anymore? or how about a child found waist deep in feces and near starved because it was abandoned? how about a perfectly financially capable pair of adults who have a child and abuse it (be it physical or mental) all its life because they are mentally distressed? how about preaching about instituting a fucked society that tolerates THIS but doesn't agree that sometimes ending a life before it begins is more humane. pro-choice IS pro-life
posted by lisalisa123 at 8:37 PM on July 30, 2007 [10 favorites]


Every one of us draws breath because He permits it, and every one of us dies when He decides our time has come.

Even babies killed by abortions?
posted by 23skidoo at 8:38 PM on July 30, 2007 [17 favorites]


Wow... the quality of dialog in this place really has plummeted.

So says the man who dumped a load of bible verses as his only contribution to the thread...
posted by c13 at 11:07 PM on July 30 [+] [!]


yeah, he didn't read anything about that verse except that it was the Bible and he hates the Bible and probably doesn't even know why, just ignorant hate.
posted by caddis at 8:38 PM on July 30, 2007


Will you people stop talking about this subject? Goddamned are you ever making me hungry.
posted by Eideteker at 8:38 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


One hundred years from now, our collective descendents will call us barbarians

funnily enough, since that strange thing happened in the 18th century, the Enlightenment, many many people consider barbarians those who believe in Bronze Age sky-god myths and want to force others to live by those eminently antihuman myths.
posted by matteo at 8:38 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


One thousand years from now, our collective descendants will call us barbarians for allowing pregnancy to occur unintentionally and without proper training and planning.

Or, perhaps, at all.
posted by darksasami at 8:39 PM on July 30, 2007


konolia writes "That was misinterpretation of that scripture."

It's always a misinterpretation when it says what you don't want it to say.
posted by mullingitover at 8:39 PM on July 30, 2007 [27 favorites]


That was misinterpretation of that scripture.

You have absolutely no authority to make that pronouncement. None.
posted by oaf at 8:39 PM on July 30, 2007


One thing that caddis is(?) hinting at is that the pro-life movement isn't entirely made up of people who are anti-choice. As some of the protesters say, they believe that the government should preserve the right to choose, but that individuals should choose life.

The traditional pro-life argument is that fetuses are living persons, and having them destroyed is the killing of a human life, and therefore should be considered a form of murder.

This is why the pro-life and pro-choice positions are necessarily incompatible. The pro-choice position believes itself to be accepting: you don't want to have an abortion? Fine, don't have one. It ignores the fact that the very essence of the pro-life position is that it is the mere existence of this practice that is wrong, not a personal choice to engage in it themselves. This explains, by the way, how a pro-lifer could justify getting an abortion themselves. Sure, they've gotten an abortion, but the practice overall is still unacceptable and still needs to be stopped. Abortion is a practice that must be universally stopped, so they don't think of it on an individual's level.

Anyone who professes the beliefs that anotherpanacea describes is actually pro-choice, no matter how they view themselves. The pro-choice movement believes that the government should not limit the decision-making power of woman. This does not prevent someone who is pro-choice from wanting as few abortions to take place as possible. In general, however, the pro-choice individual seeks to do this through education, counseling, social support and welfare, etc. The mainstream branch of the pro-life (anti-choice) movement does indeed seem tied to the belief that the only way to stem abortion is to vilify those who have too much sex, as well as demedicalizing (i.e. "late term abortions aren't a sometimes necessary medical procedure! they're the wanton and violent killing of an almost newborn and must be stopped!") or medicalizing ("Hey, an abortion is a kind of medical procedure, so let's pass a law stating that every clinic that provides abortions has to confirm to hospital guidelines, including guidelines that only make sense in a location dealing with things like trauma and long term care, which do not apply for women coming in for a generally routine abortion procedure!") a certain procedure to make it harder for doctors to perform.

One hundred years from now, our collective descendents will call us barbarians for ever allowing the practice.

One hundred years from now, our descendants will call us barbarians for a lot of the things that we have done. Abortion won't be one of them. Again, I think part of the problem is that most pro-lifers are associated with the conservative platform, which -- aside for its rabid love for fetuses and the vegetable-brained -- has almost no regard for human wellbeing and life. For whatever reasons, these social conservatives also oppose welfare and social services (especially if offered by the government), proudly flaunt their meat eating and make fun of vegetarians, promote hunting (which actually I myself support, incidentally, so long as the goal is feeding one's family--I know some people who get all of their year's meat during deer season) and more generally the possession of firearms (accidental shootings kill hundreds of people each year in the States). They also support the death penalty.

Oh, and on the other side, most people on the pro-"choice" side ironically support many freedom-limiting measures in order to save people's lives: they support gun control, mandatory seatbelt laws, many support increased regulation on unhealthy items such as junk food, additives, and cigarettes.

So I'm not really so sure what all of this means, only that your side is not as ideologically consistent as you think it is.

on preview: Hey, stupid. The proposed law criminalizes abortion, i.e. conducting any of the medical procedures known as an abortion. A woman receiving an abortion does not perform an abortion, and therefore she would be committing no crime. The doctor does, and he/she would be the criminal.

As you might wan to be aware if you ever decide to go trolling for sex from a prostitute, in most case soliciting or requesting that someone commit a felony or misdemeanor results in you yourself being charged with that felony or misdemeanor. Which means if you're in Virginia, it's much, much wiser legally to beat your wife than it is to ask a plainclothes policewoman posing as a prostitute for a blowjob (and, actually, asking her for sex is better as well). Oral sex is a felony, first assault on a family member is a misdemeanor. Even though you were only asking for the blowjob, it's as bad as actually doing the action. Pastabagel, so many of your comments in the past have come cross as witty and insightful. Here, not so much.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:43 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


One thousand years from now, our collective descendants will call us barbarians for allowing pregnancy to occur unintentionally and without proper training and planning. watching NASCAR going to war on flimsy evidence climate change giving a fuck what Paris Hilton had for lunch.
posted by oaf at 8:43 PM on July 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


Graham Spurgeon, Baptist Bible Scholar, on Abortion:

"Q. Is abortion murder?
A. The fanatics say so, but they haven't looked closely at the Bible. Let's see what the Word of God says on this matter: In the Old Testament, a law was stated clearly for the Children of Israel after they came out of Egypt:

If, when men come to blows, they hurt a woman who is pregnant and she suffers a miscarriage, though she does not die of it, the man responsible must pay the compensation demanded of him by the woman's master; he shall hand it over, after arbitration. But should she die, you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot. (Exodus 21:22-24, Jerusalem Bible)

In other words, if you cause the death of the fetus, you merely pay a fine; if you cause the death of the woman, you lose your own life. Thus, the Bible clearly shows that a fetus is not considered a person. If the fetus were considered to be a person, then the penalty for killing it would be the same as for killing the woman - death.

Abortion then, is not murder. These verses in Exodus, by the way, are backed up by four thousand years of Jewish law; abortion has never been considered murder in Jewish law. A fetus is only a potential person.

Incidentally, the fine the Israelite man had to pay was not for the fetus; it was for hurting the woman. This is made clear in another translation of the same verses (Revised Standard Version): "The one who hurt her (the woman) shall be fined." There was no fine for hurting the fetus because it was not considered a person.

Q. But doesn't life begin at conception?
A. No, life begins before conception. The sperm is alive and the ovum is alive - long before they get together at the moment of fertilization. As Dr. John A. Henderson says, "Life does not begin at conception; it is only changed and now has the potential for a different form." If terminating life is murder, then the anti-abortion fanatics should be consistent and say that terminating the life of the egg or sperm is murder.

Q. If the embryo is a potential person, shouldn't it be treated the same way as a full-fledged person?

A. An acorn is not an oak, a seed is not a rose, an embryo is not a human being. Nowhere in the Bible is the embryo or fetus given the status of a human being. Personhood does not begin at conception.

Q. When does personhood begin?
A. The Bible indicates that personhood begins when a baby emerges from the mother's womb. In the Bible and in modern life, birthdays are observed on the date of the baby's emergence from the womb. The precise moment of the beginning of personhood is when the baby takes its first breath.

Q. Why the first breath?
A. Because that's when God infuses the baby with a soul. Genesis 2:7 says, "And the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul." In other words, when an infant breathes its first breath, the soul enters its body and it achieves the status of person.
--------------

I'm sorry konolia - the Bible does not agree with you - not in the least bit. God may know us - each of us - from the beginning of time. But under no circumstances does God guarantee a full life to every conceived child. A fetus is a potential human, to be sure. But that is all - and the Bible confirms this.

People who advocate outlawing abortion do so in an effort to punish women for having sex.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:44 PM on July 30, 2007 [113 favorites]


I've read the bible, caddis. Once. Still have it on the shelf. Also have a pretty good idea why I don't think much of it.
Regardless, like I said the first time around, someone who's unable to contribute his own thoughts to the conversation should not be complaining about the quality of the said conversation.
posted by c13 at 8:45 PM on July 30, 2007


What do Baptists know? They don't even dance!
That was quite interesting, Baby_Balrog, thanks!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:49 PM on July 30, 2007


Hey Alvy - why don't Baptists have sex standing up?

A. It could lead to dancing.

Ha! actually i'm a congregationalist. we're almost baptists. but we like poor people and think gays can get married and stuff. insane, i know.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:52 PM on July 30, 2007


It always goes back to that chart that circulated awhile back which points out that almost none of the pro-life nostrums are consistent with the view that abortion is murder, and almost all are fully consistent with a desire to punish women for having sex.

except of course, when asked what the punishment should be, they draw a blank ... should the punishment be for abortion? ... well, uh, um ... they don't know ... is actually having children a "punishment"? ... is that how you want to treat a kid, as someone's punishment?

so punishment doesn't seem to be the right word here ... and i suspect there isn't a right word, because i suspect, especially after watching this video, that many people haven't thought through the consequences of their beliefs

Me, I'm just impressed that Konolia is willing to admit that her daughter was a slutty sex crazed tramp who had sex out of wedlock.

i'm even more impressed that you've chosen to slander someone who doesn't have an account here and can't defend herself, dejah420

is it really necessary to drag people's family members through the gutter like that because you don't agree with the person's viewpoint?

nice job, dragging this site to a new low ...
posted by pyramid termite at 8:52 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Also, I see that people are quoting the Bible. Good. That allows me to deploy my new counterverse.

From now on, whenever someone quotes from the Bible regardless of the quote, I will quote this verse. Let us pray:

Ezekiel 23:20: She lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose semen was like that of horses.

And doesn't that quote just sum up the religious view of women and sex? Not only does she like sex, but she likes to dirty herself with the biggest, thickest, most prodigious ejaculators she can find.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Hot, right? But think about this seriously for a moment. First of all, this passage is a metaphor for how disobedient the nation of Israel is in some dumb Biblical story. But the second half is completely unnecessary to that point. The verses before this go on and on about her harlotries and whoredoms. Ok, we get it, Israel is a dirty whore. But why does it make her more of a whore if the men are big and fertile? Did the writer feel a bit inadequate?

See, the secret here is that the description of the men in that passage (they of the donkey and horse parts) does not match the description of the passage's writer or intended audience. The code is this: Do not stray from the law or before you know it your women will be fucking the men we all know are bigger and better than you.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:55 PM on July 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


pope guilty, don't you hate it when people can't read? ack, what form of the english language did they learn? they probably forgot how once god started speaking to them. sorry to say, god wins again. guess he is real. weird.
posted by lisalisa123 at 8:57 PM on July 30, 2007


It was pretty clear that the baby killers would drag this thread down and then they did.

You are so sure? Jeez.
posted by caddis at 8:58 PM on July 30, 2007


pyramid termite writes "nice job, dragging this site to a new low ..."

To be fair, I don't think it's necessarily a new low.
posted by mullingitover at 8:59 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


There’s a rumour going around, perpetuated by bumper stickers and politicians, that “God is pro-life.” It’s an interesting claim, and since everyone seems to want God (i.e. the heavy guns) on their side, I thought I’d examine it.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:00 PM on July 30, 2007


One hundred years from now, our collective descendents will call us barbarians for ever allowing the practice.

One hundred years from now, after our society has had more than a century and a half of contraception to disassociate 'sex' from 'reproduction' and even 'pregnancy,' the whole argument will seem bizarre.

Good, reasonably reliable birth control is barely two generations old. Society has barely caught on to the idea that you can have sex without catching pregnant, and we're only just realizing that you can now get pregnant without having sex. In terms of social changes, I can't think of anything that comes close. And that is not going anywhere. In fact, that cleft -- sex vs reproduction -- is not going anywhere. It's just going to get deeper.

And as that chasm deepens, people are going to become less tolerant of the idea of "accidental" pregnancies. When you're having sex purely for pleasure, and you get pregnant instead, that's disastrous. And it's going to be regarded as more disastrous, more unfortunate -- more accidental -- the less often it happens.

Abortions will probably become more rare in the future as contraception becomes better and more widely available (particularly male contraception), or if devices capable of removing an unwanted zygote from a woman and holding it ex vitro until it's wanted are built, but they're not going to disappear.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:00 PM on July 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


Denominations which support a woman's right to chose: American Baptist Churches, American Jewish Congress, Disciples of Christ, Church of the Brethren, Episcopal Church, Lutheran Church in America, Presbyterian Church in the U.S., Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, United Church of Christ, United Methodist Church, and United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.

This list is from 1982 so I'm sure it's quite out of date. Many others have abandoned the fanatics' position (if they every took it up in the first place.)

On preview: Pastabagel - the only person quoting the Bible is me, and I'm quoting it to demonstrate the ridiculous nature of the pro-life position when set against the backdrop of scripture.

You're being a complete ass tonight, and I suspect you're either tired or drunk.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:03 PM on July 30, 2007


Jumping straight in at the wend...is it going ell?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:03 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's going bloody ell.
posted by oaf at 9:06 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


lisalisa123, I have this vague idea that you're... no, no idea.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:07 PM on July 30, 2007


one hundred years from now, our collective descendants will be calling us fucking morons as they plant the year's crops with pointy sticks
posted by pyramid termite at 9:08 PM on July 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


If abortion were really really actually murder, then the pro-lifers would do something about the fact that adoption is very very expensive. I would think.

Just a thought.

Also, if abortion is murder, then the logical punishment for abortion would be whatever punishments for murder society has in place. One would think.
posted by geekhorde at 9:09 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


Abortions will probably become more rare in the future as contraception becomes better and more widely available

Its probable that genetic tests for fetuses will be widespread soon and most nervous parents will buy them, and then decide if its healthy enough. Religious zealots are trying to make their laws before consumer popularity makes their prohibition even more absurd.
posted by Brian B. at 9:09 PM on July 30, 2007


dejah's comment was tacky and stupid (but not as stupid as his attempt to do a post on the "Chickenhawk" video that had been loudly deleted at least twice way back when it was new - he's having a bad day). But konolia did even worse by telling the private story not of herself, but her daughter here in the midst of a discussion on this hot button topic.

But then, she obviously doesn't believe in that "right to privacy" cited in the Roe V. Wade decision.


And one thousand years from now, our collective descendants will call us barbarians for whatever we do now that they will not do then, because it will make them feel more civilized, whether they really are or not.
posted by wendell at 9:18 PM on July 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


well, if there's going to be illegalization of abortion, of course the mother should be punished. the father, too, because very many abortion decisions are made jointly. he's at least an accessory. what's this angle going to do to the thread??
posted by lisalisa123 at 9:19 PM on July 30, 2007



As you might wan to be aware if you ever decide to go trolling for sex from a prostitute, in most case soliciting or requesting that someone commit a felony or misdemeanor results in you yourself being charged with that felony or misdemeanor.


I understand this. But that isn't the context in which it's presented in the video. It's presented as "what should happen to women who have abortions as a general rule."

And the decision to charge solicitation is far more discretionary than the decision to charge for the substantive offense.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:21 PM on July 30, 2007


You're being a complete ass tonight, and I suspect you're either tired or drunk.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 12:03 AM on July 31


I thought some other people were discussion it loosely too, but as I scroll back I do see that you were the only one quoting, apparently. But I'm neither tired, nor drunk. What exactly did I do wrong?
posted by Pastabagel at 9:24 PM on July 30, 2007


This is why the pro-life and pro-choice positions are necessarily incompatible.[...] Anyone who professes the beliefs that anotherpanacea describes is actually pro-choice, no matter how they view themselves.

Deathalicious, your view is so insanely state-centric, politically simplistic, and arrogantly ignorant that it worries me. It's important to recognize that pro-lifers are humans and fellow-citizens. Sometimes, adults talk to each other about what they think is good, and some 'protesters' are doing that, and getting caught up in a politics that they don't understand or particularly care about. They might oppose state funding for abortions, for instance, but still support the right to choose.

Many other protesters, such as those who protest at abortion clinics, have long since given up on persuading the state. The law has consistently backed the abortion-seekers, and they're willing to live with that if it saves just one embryo that they consider to be a human life. They're going straight to the source, and trying to appeal to the individual consciences of the mothers. Their tactics vary from cruel to compassionate, but they have nothing to do with changing the law. As such, it makes a good deal of sense that they would want to prevent abortions without invoking the heavy machinery of the state and the police.

Remember: Christianity was once an insurrectionist religion. Rome might have made bargains with the Church, but the Empire generally twists faith to its own purposes. Some Christians preserve this ancient suspicion of state interference in the moral and spiritual lives of the citizenry. Others forget, no doubt about it, but if you lump the dominionists and pacifists all together you're no better than a bigot.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:25 PM on July 30, 2007 [5 favorites]


You know, infanticide is found in many species and occurs for generally the same reason in each. We should get better used to it.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:30 PM on July 30, 2007


I'm on the fence when it comes to the abortion issue, but I WILL say that the zealots who rail against abortion are the cruelest to unwed mothers, and that's so unfair. You can't go around waving your bloody baby posters all day so you can go on and call an unwed mother a slut. It's no surprise that their own daughters go on to have abortions. You're damned if you do, damned if you don't in those families.
posted by katillathehun at 9:31 PM on July 30, 2007


konolia, I've HAD AN ABORTION and it wasn't a KNIFE TO MY HEART. It also wasn't ANY FUN AT ALL, in case you were wondering. Despite the stereotype popular in some circles, abortion is NOT A RECREATIONAL ACTIVITY. Nonetheless, I'm grateful that I HAD THAT CHOICE and if I had it to do over again, I'd do EXACTLY THE SAME THING.

Congrats on the new grandbaby. I'm very (honestly!) happy that your daughter wanted to be a mother and had a partner who stepped up to the plate, with her family as a backstop, just in case. You do realize that these circumstances aren't universal?

As for this: I consider the abortion punishment enough, really — nope, sorry. If HAVING AN ABORTION is KILLING A BABY, then any woman who seeks an abortion is, at the very least, an accessory to attempted murder. And you're willing to let this go?
posted by vetiver at 9:43 PM on July 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


anotherpanacea - I wish I could do more than just favorite that comment. You are spot-on, and I wish that more people had the depth of vision to understand what you just stated so succinctly.

Pastabagel, I apologize for calling you an ass. But your reference to the transgendering and sexualization of Israel in Ezekiel came off like a college freshman thumbing their nose at organized religion - despite the fact that the only truly organized religion in this thread has made itself known to support your point. There's all kinds of horrible shit in the Bible, that verse is nothing compared to the tale of Jephtha's daughter in Judges 11:31. I highly recommend Phyllis Trible's excellent work, "Texts of Terror." The Bible is a story-world which encompasses the full stature of human misery - both natural and self-inflicted. It depicts a bloodthirsty, genocidal, ancient society struggling to cope with a flawed image of God and the revelation that we are capable of peace and justice.

I dunno - that verse is a pretty facile insult to sling at someone quoting the Bible (and that was exactly what I was doing) and I guess I expected a little more. Maybe Psalm 137:7-9 -
Remember, O LORD, what the Edomites did
on the day Jerusalem fell.
"Tear it down," they cried,
"tear it down to its foundations!"

O Daughter of Babylon, doomed to destruction,
happy is he who repays you
for what you have done to us-

he who seizes your infants
and dashes them against the rocks.

(Especially appropriate given the present topic.)
posted by Baby_Balrog at 9:44 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


*blushes* I'm feeling some warm fuzzies for you, too, Baby_Balrog: the textual commentary and thoughtful patience you've displayed here has been a real pleasure to see in action.
posted by anotherpanacea at 9:50 PM on July 30, 2007


konolia wrote: And for those who are nagging me about it, I consider the abortion punishment enough, really.

You have got to be fucking kidding me. You have got. to. be. fucking. kidding. me.

"Well, your honor, I realize that I hired a hitman to murder my child, but honestly, sir, I think the murder was punishment enough. I'd like to go home now and start my life all over, please."

If somebody ever came up with this argument in court, konolia would be the first to demand the death penalty for such a heinous, vile murderer.

konolia, I'm a former Evangelical Christian. I did AWANAs, Bible Camp, saved at age 12, believers baptism, volunteered at VBS, started my own Bible Study when I was old enough -- the whole nine yards.

I know the kind of power that Christ has over your mind. It's an all-consuming power, isn't it? It must be incredible, having the Holy Spirit flow through your fingertips into your keyboard and out here onto the Internet. I used to be addicted to that feeling as well.

Eventually, I began to realize that something was terribly wrong, though. It seemed as if the Holy Spirit was somehow putting a clamp down on my otherwise logical thoughts. I was taught to embrace this flight from logic ("Lean not on your own understanding...!"). Over the course of many years, I began to realize that my "carnal", "worldly" logic began to make more sense than the mental contortions I had to commit to keep believing in the whole system.

Although, much like the people in the video, you don't realize it now, but your strong, unshakable Faith in the Lord is really just a mental straitjacket. Your faith isn't thoughtful. It's anti-thought. Your faith is a way to eliminate thoughts, to remove thinking from the process of living.

I would encourage you to start leaning on your own understanding a bit, and trying, just for a minute, to use your brain instead of putting up a big "VACANT" sign and letting "the Holy Spirit" dictate your thoughts.
posted by Avenger at 9:57 PM on July 30, 2007 [9 favorites]


The wrong people seem to be getting the abortions.
posted by docpops at 9:58 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


A uterus is a place, a woman is a person. Do I need legal permission to kill my own offspring in order to be an autonomy? What kind of sick concept is that?

As someone said above, a uterus is a place within a person. It is not a place that should be protected by government sanction for the sake of a potential life. Every time you have your period, some potentially "precious" kid never makes it into being. An abortion is closing a door, cutting off some possibilities - but it's not murder. There is no living, breathing, consciousness who suffers through death; there are no leftover widows or childhood friends who can't sleep for weeks after the funeral as they remember all the time spent together... to call this murder is insulting.

I'm not saying it is easy, but it is not equivalent to killing conscious human beings. To me, it is less morally complicated (in the first trimester) than putting pets to sleep, but I understand that some people feel more strongly about it than that. But it should not be illegal.
posted by mdn at 10:00 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


But your reference to the transgendering and sexualization of Israel in Ezekiel came off like a college freshman thumbing their nose at organized religion - despite the fact that the only truly organized religion in this thread has made itself known to support your point. There's all kinds of horrible shit in the Bible...

Baby_Balrog - Sorry if I came across that way. I wasn't thumbing my nose at organized religion, which I actually do respect, I was merely pointing out (a) that there's a lot of random weird stuff in the Bible and if you are go to approach it as a religious text (rather than a philosophical or historical one) you have to take all of it as one piece and (b) you can't really separate the Bible from the people who wrote it. Because people did write it, and they wrote their neuroses and social mores right into the text.

I also didn't mean it as an insult at all, and especially not at you. I guess I was being a bit of an ass, so I'm sorry.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:06 PM on July 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


I wonder how they would react if they knew that childbirth/pregnancy wsa the leading cause of death of women of childbearing age in the world? It is not just about the fetus, it is about them woman and, in many cases, her other children.

One in seven births in Afghanistan results in the death of the mother (according to a recent copy of Newsweek). With those odds I'd get an abortion even if I wanted and could support a child.

This video didn't surprise me because I'm from a Catholic family who do tend to feel that each child is a blessing and that abortion is wrong. They absolutely support keeping it legal though for all the reasons stated above.
posted by fshgrl at 10:08 PM on July 30, 2007


Konolia, there are indeed pro-life activists who can write clearly and debate rationally, but the first thing that you do is just Ctrl-C/Ctrl-V "killing babies" over and over. It's not like you didn't read the article or the thread . . . it's like you literally cannot read.

Let's try an experiment: read these questions and then answer them in complete sentences, without using the phrase "dead babies." Just give it a whirl.

1) Widespread evidence suggests that sex education and the availability of contraceptives decreases the number of abortions. Do you advocate for public sex education and contraceptive distribution as often as you advocate making abortion illegal?

2) Pro-life advocates claim to have the best interest of children at heart. Please provide hard evidence, or at the very least, a plausible narrative that you have advocated for

a) social programs to improve the diet of poor expectant mothers
b) social programs to provide free healthcare for expectant mothers

3) Please provide a rational, consistent explanation in more than ten words why doctors should serve jail time (or whatever punishment you have in mind) for performing abortions but the would-be mother has no legal responsibility for her actions.

4) Your friends are presumably Christians, and all of them believe that abortion is a sin against god. My friends are mostly liberal atheists who lack belief in a god or gods. Your friends, by your own words, have had many abortions. None of mine have. Please explain this discrepancy. For extra credit, please explain why making abortions illegal will stop abortion when even the judgment of God did not dissuade your friends from having abortions.

If you actually make a good-faith effort to contemplate and answer those questions, I will be surprised and impressed. Good luck.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:12 PM on July 30, 2007 [16 favorites]


Deathalicious, your view is so insanely state-centric, politically simplistic, and arrogantly ignorant that it worries me. It's important to recognize that pro-lifers are humans and fellow-citizens.

I was talking about the traditional stance of pro-lifers, which is in fact that an embryo is a human life, and abortion is the termination of that life. As such, they do not believe that people should be allowed to make the choice to end the life of the fetus inside of them. Not all of them, it is true, try to use the engine of the government, but none of them would want the government to "preserve" the "right" to "choose", and none of them would use that terminology when talking about abortion. For them, choice does not enter into it. Abortion is the killing of a human life, which is therefore murder.

Anyone who thinks that people should be allowed to choose, even if they don't like that choice at all, are necessarily taking the pro-choice position. You cannot take the standard pro-life decision and simultaneously accept that a right to choose exists.

The state has nothing to do with it except to the extent that when murder occurs, which what prematurely taking the life of a human being would be in this case, the state is supposed to step in and prosecute. Hence the point of this whole thread -- what should happen to these murderers?
posted by Deathalicious at 10:27 PM on July 30, 2007


4) Your friends are presumably Christians, and all of them believe that abortion is a sin against god. My friends are mostly liberal atheists who lack belief in a god or gods. Your friends, by your own words, have had many abortions. None of mine have. Please explain this discrepancy.

um, that's anecdotal evidence you're presenting there, so she's not really obligated to answer that one

For extra credit, please explain why making abortions illegal will stop abortion when even the judgment of God did not dissuade your friends from having abortions.

free will, man's sinful nature, blah, blah, blah
posted by pyramid termite at 10:27 PM on July 30, 2007


um, that's anecdotal evidence you're presenting there, so she's not really obligated to answer that one

If she gets use her abortion-having friends to prove that it's "killing babies" then I get to use her abortion-having friends to prove that her solution doesn't work.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:30 PM on July 30, 2007


What we need to do is lock up the wanton bitches who have miscarriages.
posted by bardic at 10:35 PM on July 30, 2007


...keep in mind that your perspective -- that some pro-lifers can actually support choice, it's just that they want individuals to choose life, is insulting to the pro-choice movement. It suggests that everyone in the pro-choice movement actively wants fetuses to be aborted.

The truth is, basically most people are pro-choice. They believe it is a decision that should be made by the individual woman. A very large proportion of the pro-choice contingent don't like the idea of abortions, and would prefer that women not have them. But they don't want to put strong limits on the ability to have abortions, because they understand that sometimes they are a sad necessity. This makes you pro-choice. If you are pro-life, that means that you think the fetus is a life -- a human life -- and that life must be protected.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:40 PM on July 30, 2007


I wonder how many of them are opposed to same-sex marriage. I don't think many abortions are caused by those types of relationships.
posted by Demogorgon at 10:46 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


If abortion is murder then the mother should get the same penalty as if she murdered anybody else, though one could say she's also guilty of "putting out a contract" on her fetus if she got somebody else to do the actual deed.

If the rationale behind calling abortion murder is Biblical, then obviously a good Bible-believer should press for the Biblical penalty for murder, which is death, even though the perp is "only" a woman killing her own fetus.

Those who are not willing to go this far are not REALLY against abortion.
posted by davy at 10:47 PM on July 30, 2007


If abortion was illegal and a woman obtained one, the punishment should be 100+/- hours community service in a hospital. I have spoken. Thank you.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:51 PM on July 30, 2007


Damn, that's a great little video.
posted by mediareport at 10:51 PM on July 30, 2007


Burhanistan, you LIBERAL!

To Optimus Chyme: it's possible that somebody's stand against abortion could be from guilt over having had one. Like some "alcoholics in recovery" want to vote a town "dry."
posted by davy at 10:58 PM on July 30, 2007


If she gets use her abortion-having friends to prove that it's "killing babies" then I get to use her abortion-having friends to prove that her solution doesn't work.

and i get to laugh at both of you ... everybody wins!

you're making one of the most common mistakes on this site - mistaking rhetoric for argument
posted by pyramid termite at 10:59 PM on July 30, 2007


I have rhetoric in my pants.
posted by davy at 11:01 PM on July 30, 2007


you're making one of the most common mistakes on this site - mistaking rhetoric for argument
posted by pyramid termite at 10:59 PM on July 30


i don't have to listen to a guy who uses more ellipses than kepler's laws
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:04 PM on July 30, 2007 [7 favorites]


These girls have rhetoric ants in their pants.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:05 PM on July 30, 2007


Oops, I meant:

These girls have rhetoric ants in their pants.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:07 PM on July 30, 2007


What is wrong with being pro-life yet having compassion for the woman who gets an abortion? I don't see any logical or ethical problems with that. I don't think punishment is the issue for these people, they seem to be more concerned about the loss of human life.
posted by Raoul de Noget at 11:09 PM on July 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am absolutely sure that my mother should have had an abortion. She abused me in every possible way.While I will not repeat her abuse, I still have to live with the ugly scars--they will never go away. You just endure and hope to find small joys and contribute small goodness to the world. I would prefer to not have lived at all rather than go through everything I've been through. Everything I still have to deal with in the screwed up fears and reactions she taught me.

Yes, it can actually be better to not have been born. I wish I could give those who doubt that one damn week in my childhood.
posted by pywacket at 11:16 PM on July 30, 2007


i don't have to listen to a guy who uses more ellipses than kepler's laws

ah, but you still have to reply, don't you?
posted by pyramid termite at 11:17 PM on July 30, 2007


Welcome to the discussion Raoul, but it still seems for anyone who believes the fetus had 'as much right to live as the mother'(quoting nobody) and that the abortion was a premeditated conscious action by the mother, this "compassion" is akin to the kid who murdered his parents asking for mercy from the court because he is an orphan.
posted by wendell at 11:22 PM on July 30, 2007


And for those who are nagging me about it, I consider the abortion punishment enough, really.

And you're still pushing the line of equivalence between the life of a foetus and the life of some who's born? You're saying the punishment for murder should be "feeling bad about it"? If I kill my friend, then feel it was a tragic, bad, wrong thing to do, then my feelings and the act itself should be my punishment?

It's like we've got someone from that video right in this thread with us!

And, konolia, I've noticed over many years, the minute someone quotes scripture at you, you yell "That's misinterpreted!" Well give us your interpretation, then.

Maybe this is just God's latest way of getting some baby killin' done, just like in the old days (Hosea 13:16). Back then he got people to bash them on rocks, now he hires doctors to do it clinically.
posted by Jimbob at 11:25 PM on July 30, 2007


thanks for posting this video, it presented the whole issue in a way i've never seen it framed before.

still, i can't believe that in 2007 we're still arguing about this. if you object to the idea of abortion, then don't get one.
posted by sleep_walker at 11:25 PM on July 30, 2007


OK...let me preface this with my official stand on abortion. Keep it legal, and keep it safe.
If you believe that abortions are wrong...don't have one.

That being said, I have a question.

Why is it always
"when is a fetus a human?"
"when is the fetus sentient?"

Why are these questions so important?

I feel that we as humans can be so quick to draw a line as to when something "IS" that we are perhaps a bit short-sighted because of it.

Shouldn't it be a question of potential? No one ever asks "when does it have the potential to be a human?" I guess that answer wouldn't be so easy to gloss over. What else does a human fetus become besides a human?

As I prefaced, I support the right to choose. I just want everyone to choose wisely. It's a choice, and we should all be thankful that we have it, but I feel that it should be one of the hardest choices you ever have to make in your life. Whatever choice you end up making is none of my business.
posted by cloudstastemetallic at 11:29 PM on July 30, 2007


Upthread there was a mention that the country I live in, the Netherlands, has the lowest abortion rate in the world. I don't have the numbers in front of me, but even if it's not true, we're in the top. So, let me answer the questions posed by Pastabagel from a Dutch point of view:

1) Widespread evidence suggests that sex education and the availability of contraceptives decreases the number of abortions. Do you advocate for public sex education and contraceptive distribution as often as you advocate making abortion illegal?

We have sex education in school, and contraceptives are very, very easy to get. I've heard many a mother remark to her son/daughter when starting dating: "the condoms are in the top drawer".

2) Pro-life advocates claim to have the best interest of children at heart. Please provide hard evidence, or at the very least, a plausible narrative that you have advocated for

a) social programs to improve the diet of poor expectant mothers
b) social programs to provide free healthcare for expectant mothers


If you've seen Sicko, you know we have universal health care. Social programs, we also have a lot. If you're a teenage daughter, child care is basically arranged not just free of charge, but also dependent on school attendance, with the goal naturally being that the mother will have the best possible start in her life to take care of the kid for 18 or more years.

3) Please provide a rational, consistent explanation in more than ten words why doctors should serve jail time (or whatever punishment you have in mind) for performing abortions but the would-be mother has no legal responsibility for her actions.

Since it's legal here, I can't answer that.

4) Your friends are presumably Christians, and all of them believe that abortion is a sin against god. My friends are mostly liberal atheists who lack belief in a god or gods. Your friends, by your own words, have had many abortions. None of mine have. Please explain this discrepancy.

The Netherlands is also one of the least church-going countries in Europe. We do love babies, heck, we're one of the most densely populated areas in Europe, and you don't get to be that way if you don't love babies.

We do, however, want as few abortions as possible, and I guess we all agree that they are to avoided if possible. If I view the discussion in the USA, and this thread as well, I cannot escape the impression that it is indeed about control. Control of the women, that is.

Konolia, if you're still reading, I'm convinced that you are a good person at heart, but I ask you, if you really want as few abortions as possible, to open your mind to other solutions. Come look at our way as an example.
posted by DreamerFi at 11:30 PM on July 30, 2007 [9 favorites]


I think, sadly, that the people in the video are unclear on the idea of "illegal". They seem to be equating it with "impossible", as evidenced by the girl who couldn't wrap her head around the concept of an "illegal abortion". She seemed to genuinely not have realized that women could still get abortions even if they were made illegal.

These people haven't thought of the legal consequences for illegal abortions because they've convinced themselves that they will eliminate abortions by making them illegal. They could do so much more for women and babies (contraception information, pre-natal care, child care, etc) if they weren't locked into such a weirdly naive view of the world.
posted by stefanie at 11:37 PM on July 30, 2007 [9 favorites]


What is wrong with being pro-life yet having compassion for the woman who gets an abortion? I don't see any logical or ethical problems with that. I don't think punishment is the issue for these people, they seem to be more concerned about the loss of human life.

The fundamental issue here is that, by and large, pro-lifers don't really believe that an abortion is "a loss of human life". Oh sure, they make a big fuss about it being murder (see upthread) but they don't really believe it in their heart of hearts.

If abortion really, truly is an act of murder, then, once illegal, the doctor should be charged with premeditated Murder One and be eligible for the death penalty. Then, the mother should be charged with Conspiracy to Murder One or maybe premeditated Manslaughter -- the same punishment that any woman would receive for taking out a contract on any of her live children.

Not only that, but anyone who knowingly provided money for the abortion (husband, mom, dad, etc.) should be liable as an accessory to murder.

Likewise, under a truly "pro-life" law, rich women who fly to Canada for abortions would be arrested on the tarmac once they return, since, last time I checked, it's still illegal to take persons out of the country to have them killed.

Very few pro-lifers are willing to admit that this is the logical conclusion of their political campaign. Some of them do hope for such a reality, however. Others, like konolia, I suspect, probably think that once abortion is illegal women will just "wake up" and stop having abortions, thus making punishment a non-issue. The first pro-life position is cruel and inhumane, the second is just naive.

In short: it's one thing to say "I find abortion distasteful, since I personally feel that life begins at conception, etc., therefore, I won't have an abortion and, if asked my opinion, will discourage others from doing so." and quite another thing to say "My god told me that life begins at conception, so I'm going to force everyone in this country to obey my god's commandments. Also, I'm going to ignore the consequences of doing so and just focus on pleasing my god instead."

One of those actions is a personal ethic motivated by religious sentiment. The other is a cruel, thoughtless and insane recipe for tyranny and madness.

I'll leave it to you to decide which mindset we're dealing with here.
posted by Avenger at 11:59 PM on July 30, 2007 [6 favorites]


Stefanie, these are the same people who are convinced that by not telling their children about sex that they simply won't discover it or covet it, despite all available evidence.
posted by maxwelton at 12:05 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


And, konolia, I've noticed over many years, the minute someone quotes scripture at you, you yell "That's misinterpreted!" Well give us your interpretation, then.

Jimbob, the misinterpretation lies in the fact that people act as if digging some archaic old Israelite cultural belief or practice out of the Old Testament is relevant at all. It's not. The entirety of the Old Testament was wiped away & made totally redundant by Jesus' teachings, which formed the New and Everlasting Covenant with God.

According to those teachings, he who is without sin should cast the first stone, and the rest should just turn the other cheek. And be meek about it, to boot.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:23 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Which raises the question why the Old Testament is still in the Bible and why so many quotations from it are being used by so-called Christians to justify their judgment of others.
posted by wendell at 12:44 AM on July 31, 2007


I haven't read this thread. But I'm commenting anyway. Flame me. I care not.

I hope I'm repeating something said before. If not, here goes (flame on!):

The point at which a fetus can be determined to be a human being separate from his/her mother is easily determined: it is the moment at which that fetus' brainwaves deviate from its mom's. This indicates individuation. It can be determined medically.

To paraphrase Bill Hicks: Men kill women, women kill children. Aborting fetuses who share their mother's EEG is no different than excising a tumor. Children are neither unique nor special: they are simply the biological consequence of procreation.

Women have aborted unwanted children as long as they have been bearing them. Hand-waving moralism won't stop it. Neither will legislation.

The question is how to regulate this. I suggest that nature does a pretty good job of this already.

That's right, I'm saying women should be able to kill their babies, the same way they have since humanity began.

I personally believe that should be retroactive to age 16, but I can see how that's a bit over the top.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:44 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


What struck me isn't that the protesters in the video thought that abortion-having women were evil, it's that they assumed that they didn't know better. The one woman they spoke to who said that there should be jail time seemed to think that there should only be jail time "If she knew..." that abortion was killing a baby. She assumes that women are just running around being hopelessly led into abortions (by the evil abortion doctors, I guess) and not making informed choices about their lives and their abilities to care for a child. They are having abortions because they don't know better.

And that's why it's patronizing, even if those particular men and women were totally well-meaning.
posted by SoftRain at 1:16 AM on July 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


BOP, that was an eponysterical performance. But Bill Hicks aside, you have to admit that after a certain age the killing of children becomes part of the father's role.

As Bill Cosby said: My father established our relationship when I was seven years old. He looked at me and said, "You know, I brought you in this world, and I can take you out. And it don't make no difference to me, I'll make another one look just like you." And he's, you know, a positive role model. (And Cosby trumps Hicks because he's still around)
posted by wendell at 1:23 AM on July 31, 2007


Which raises the question why the Old Testament is still in the Bible

To provide context, I guess? I should offer a disclaimer: I was raised Catholic, and I noticed that while we focused almost exclusively on the Gospels & the whole Catholic theological framework, the kids in the protestant scripture classes mostly learned all these colourful old stories about Lot & Job & Noah and so on, most of which remain a mystery to me to this day. Other denominations than RC seem to place a lot more importance on the OT, and may differ on whether Jesus replaced it, or only modified it somehow.

and why so many quotations from it are being used by so-called Christians to justify their judgment of others.

Agree there, because of my bias, as stated above.

/derail

posted by UbuRoivas at 1:24 AM on July 31, 2007


As a pro-choicer, I thought the video was pretty challenging. I'll confess that my initial reaction to the first respondent was "what a dope!" But as the interviews continued, I had to settle my restless-knee-jerk-syndrome.

While I thought I understood the pro-life side (having been raised Catholic and been there myself), I still have a tough time accounting for such a glaring blind spot in their activism. These aren't stupid people. So why the blind-spot?

My only guesses right now have to do with: the marketing/framing of the abortion issue over the past 30 years, the fashionable conflation of morality and legality, and the immediate appeal of "doing God's work on Earth." Maybe I'm wrong. Color me flummoxed.
posted by McLir at 1:30 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


Two thousand years from now, our collective descendants will call us bastards because we blew it all up, damn us, damn us all to hell.
posted by Snyder at 2:01 AM on July 31, 2007 [4 favorites]


A lot of people in this thread (and on metafilter) need to learn to communicate more succinctly.

I've just word counted one of the longer posts - it's nearly a thousand words, many of them pretty shrill.

Next time you find yourself with an attack of idearrhea, squirting out verbiage, try cutting it down to 100-200 words without losing any meaning. I'll be you can do it. It's also an exercise in clear thinking.

You'll also find that more people actually read all of what you've written rather than the first two paras.

(93 words)
posted by rhymer at 2:33 AM on July 31, 2007


sorry, should read "I'll bet you can do it"
posted by rhymer at 2:34 AM on July 31, 2007


That's a fair point, UbuRovias, but just as Christians interpret scripture the way they like, they tend to pick and choose which bits of the Old Testament Jesus came to "fulfil".

I went to a Christian highschool that had two policies in regards to personal presentation.
- No piercings of any sort, for guys or girls. Not even earrings.
- No facial hair on guys, and no long hair on guys.
So one day, in Christian Education class, we asked the teacher to show us the biblical reasoning behind there being no piercings. He pointed us the appropriate verse in, I don't know, Numbers or Leviticus, saying people "shall not mutilate their bodies". And lo and behold, about 4 versus before it, was one saying "Men shall never shave their face or cut their hair".

So, what's the deal? Did Jesus come to fulfil one of those versus and not the other? It's a pretty petty example of hypocrisy, but people get killed over this issue, as we can see in the abortion debate.

posted by Jimbob at 3:06 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


This issue is going to dominate American Politics until such time as there can some sort of vote on the subject. Having the Supreme Court make a legal decision on abortion has led to all sorts of resentment and problems.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:26 AM on July 31, 2007


You know, some of us who've had abortions do believe we've killed a baby, but it was something we had to do. I don't regret doing it, just having to. And I'm not going to force my views on anyone because of it.

As for when the fetus is a person, there was a book written in the early 90's that took all available research and found that fetal viability and cognitive ability (the parts all hooked up and working in order to have a functioning brain) occur at the same time, 24 weeks.

In other words, yes, there are brainwaves, yes there are nerves, but there is no consciousness before that 24 week demarcation. Nothing has really changed on that score.

Protesters are an odd bunch. They're good for the one on one conversation, but then want to extrapolate their own experience to everyone. Good intentions tend to make bad policy. The folk in the video don't seem very different from the protesters I've met. For the most part, they just don't want to think about things they don't understand, or deal with others' moral choices.

The bastards that feed on that, though, the preachers and politicians, they definitely want control over the wimmin. And whoever else might be handy.
posted by no, that other sockpuppet at 3:50 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


rhymer, I take offensive. My post may have been long winded (822 words) but it was hardly "shrill".
posted by Deathalicious at 4:09 AM on July 31, 2007


and rhymer, your comment was eponyronic.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:17 AM on July 31, 2007


Wow, that's makes sense. Do you have a newsletter I can subscribe to?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:26 AM on July 31, 2007


What is more gross than a barrel full of dead fetuses?

A barrel full of dead fetuses with strongly held opinions.
posted by vbfg at 4:26 AM on July 31, 2007


Brandon Blatcher: this's my newsletter. Just refresh whenever you want the updated edition.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:50 AM on July 31, 2007


Which raises the question why the Old Testament is still in the Bible and why so many quotations from it are being used by so-called Christians to justify their judgment of others.

Probably similar to the reason that so-called Muslims pick and choose from the Qur'an to justify their killing of innocents.
posted by oaf at 5:43 AM on July 31, 2007


It suggests that everyone in the pro-choice movement actively wants fetuses to be aborted. [...] If you are pro-life, that means that you think the fetus is a life -- a human life -- and that life must be protected.

There are more than two positions on this. Some pro-choice people are utterly indifferent to the life of the unborn. This is my position: I don't necessarily celebrate abortion, but I think it's an irrelevant decision, with no moral implications. Someone upthread compared it to putting a pet to sleep, which sounds about right to me. Other pro-choicers hold a theory of governance that resists state intrusion, and may have conflicting moral and legal judgments. Apparently, that's you, but it's also a lot of the protesters, as evidenced by this video.

The arrogance of your position is that your own black-and-white view is the only one available: many Americans prefer color and are capable of nuance. The premise of your argument is that pro-choice and pro-life positions are incompatible. As policies that people advocate, there are obviously more than two positions, just as there are more political ideologies than there are viable political parties. In your untutored judgment, this can only mean that these people misunderstand their own positions, as if reaching different conclusions than you is evidence that they're ignorant and stupid. Some of them are, of course, but some of them have actually thought more about this than you have, and have reached conclusions that are simple orthogonal to the ones you can imagine.

The role of the state in enforcement is only one component of any moral theory: for instance, I am both pro-knowledge and opposed to compulsory education beyond the tenth grade (a different kind of 'pro-choice'.) Though I value education, I respect my fellow citizens too much to require it of them legally. Even as I advocate strongly on behalf of more knowledge, I dislike the notion that the state would use force to back my arguments. How am I different from the protesters who advocate strongly against abortion but dislike the notion that the state would start arresting and imprisoning people?
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:50 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


No-one seems to have pointed out that this is not a hypothetical question being posed. If you choose you can currently go out and get an illegal abortion, and somewhere on the US statute books there must be a punishment. In the UK it's exactly equivalent to murder for both doctor/amateur abortionist and the mother, if you carry out an abortion outside the terms of the 1967 Abortion Act. I was taught that pretty early on after I became a gynaecologist, and it's a chilling reminder. Having said that, I don't think there have been any successful convictions for illegal abortion, at least since 1967, although there have been prosecutions.
posted by roofus at 6:07 AM on July 31, 2007


many Americans prefer color and are capable of nuance

Not enough to elect Kerry in 2004. But he may be a bad example; he nuanced us to death.
posted by oaf at 6:07 AM on July 31, 2007


Kang: Abortions for all.
Crowd: Boooo!
Kang: Very well, no abortions for anyone.
Crowd: Boooo!
Kang: Hmm... Abortions for some, miniature American flags for others.
Crowd: Yay!
posted by yeti at 7:02 AM on July 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


I just want to point out that in DreamerFi's comment above, he was answering Optimus Chyme's well articulated questions, not mine.

I would also like to point out that in our collective vitriol, we've managed to blow right past this incredibly sad comment.

Yes, it can actually be better to not have been born. I wish I could give those who doubt that one damn week in my childhood.
posted by pywacket at 2:16 AM on July 31


I'm sorry you had it so hard. I've noticed you around (you got my liquid sky reference, and that counts for something) and I've been rereading your earlier comments (this one in particular) in different light. Sorry, pywacket, I hope things are better for you now.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:17 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


I would also like to point out that in our collective vitriol, we've managed to blow right past this incredibly sad comment.
Oops, I meant this comment. I.e. pywacket's comment upthread.
posted by Pastabagel at 7:22 AM on July 31, 2007


roofus - I was thinking about UK and NI experiences.
As the 1967 Act doesn't apply in the six counties, you get those large numbers of women coming to the mainland every year for abortion services. I can't recall a recent prosecution of any woman on her return to Ulster but couldn't find any clear figures for that (or for the similar situation in the Republic) online. There was a mention of a few dozen prosecutions, but my sense was this was of abortion providers.
I suspect that this crappy compromise is tacitly maintained in both parts of Ireland because it suits the moralists, shielding them from facing up to one of the consequences of their wrongheadedness. Cold comfort to the women who are put to great expense and difficulty to get the medical care they need and especially those who are thereby excluded altogether.
posted by Abiezer at 7:27 AM on July 31, 2007


Do they really believe that abortion is murder?
posted by kirkaracha at 7:39 AM on July 31, 2007


But konolia did even worse by telling the private story not of herself, but her daughter here in the midst of a discussion on this hot button topic. But then, she obviously doesn't believe in that "right to privacy" cited in the Roe V. Wade decision.


BTW - konolia has previously shared quite a bit of personal information about her daughter, her inter-racial marriage and grandchild in many other threads. For example:
"FWIW, as a Christian myself, I had to point this out to my (unreconstructed) parents, who objected to my daughter's choice of a black husband on religious grounds-which in reality was simply an excuse to be racist. The arrival of the grandbaby has softened things considerably, I must say. I'll have to tell my daughter about this post. I don't think she even KNOWS interracial marriages used to be illegal."
I don't expect her to stop posting intimate details of her family and their lives.
posted by ericb at 8:07 AM on July 31, 2007


Q. But doesn't life begin at conception?
A. No, life begins before conception. The sperm is alive...


So does that mean I've killed billions since I was twelve?

/hangs head, looks at murderous hands/
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 8:10 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's a fair point, UbuRovias, but just as Christians interpret scripture the way they like, they tend to pick and choose which bits of the Old Testament Jesus came to "fulfil".

Yep. Jesus wiped away the old testament, but he missed a spot when it came to Leviticus.

Them fundies, they sure love themselves a heaping pile of Leviticus.
posted by bashos_frog at 8:15 AM on July 31, 2007


What about women who actively harm their unborn child through drugs and alcohol? Are they punished? Should they be?
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 8:19 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


BTW, here's a link to Rev. Graham Spurgeon's entire article. It's very good.

Please remember not to confuse him with Charles Spurgeon, who was also a Baptist, but a very, very different sort of Baptist.

-----
Q. Don't you admire the anti-abortionists for being motivated by reverence for life?
A. That's not their main motivation. Their main motivation is revenge. They want to see pregnant teenagers suffer the consequences of their sin. I have seen the evil gleam of vengeance in the anti abortionists' eyes as they say, "She had her fun; now she has to pay the price."

When the mob wanted to stone the woman who had committed adultery, Jesus said, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her." (John 8:7) I'm afraid that if Jesus were to repeat those words today, these self-righteous hypocrites would pick up stones and smash the poor girls who have been guilty of making a mistake. Stoning is not far from what these fanatics are in fact trying to do today. They are not so much pro-life as they are pro-vengeance. Their stones are these cruel words: "You must have that baby!"

To the woman who says, "I have seven children already," the fanatics reply, "You must have that baby!"

To the woman who says, "I was raped," the fanatics reply, "You must have that baby!"

To the woman who says, "My doctor says I will die if I have this baby," the fanatics reply, "You must have that baby!"

You must have that baby - words of stone, crueler than the stones hurled at sinners in Jesus' day by self righteous Pharisees.
-----
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:22 AM on July 31, 2007 [8 favorites]


You may now return to your regularly scheduled bashing of those simpletons who really don't care about the fetuses but simply use it as a cover for their secret agenda to control everything that women do.

okay!
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 8:23 AM on July 31, 2007


Uh-oh.
posted by ericb at 8:25 AM on July 31, 2007


Uh... technically Jesus came to fulfill the Hebrew Bible, not wipe it away. Marcionites believed that Christ came bearing a new God, but they lost out to the Christians in the first couple hundred years of the game.

FWIW, the Hebrew Bible has some of the most justice-oriented, prophetic language in the Bible. And it rewrites itself constantly as it goes along - you don't need the corrective preaching of Jesus to view the metamorphosis of the scripture - it changes itself. Even in the first two chapters of Genesis there is, in effect, a redaction. In First Samuel, David slays Goliath. But in Chronicles, David's friend kills Goliath (David's hands are not stained with blood.) This goes on constantly throughout the Old Testament, as Jewish scribes and priests attempt to work their own philosophy into the text. Many of the scribes and scholars writing during the Babylonian Exile probably considered 2 Gen. and the Levitican laws to be absolutely barbaric - and there's no evidence that they were even used in regular practice as anything other than a history lesson - "See our ancestor's atrocities - see what YHWH has delivered us from?"

The Bible is a huge thing, it's really an ocean of ideas. This has been beneficial - this "story world" allows people and populations who exists in vastly different times to experience revelation in a variety of ways - take, for example, the use of Old Testament literature in the development of the African American faith tradition - the exodus out of bondage. Or the pacifism of Christ and his disciples in the growth of the Anabaptist pacifist movements in Europe - their utter rejection of war and violence. Or even the Methodists' use of the Pauline writings to oppose alcohol during prohibition.

This is why I love the Bible - for me, it's the closest thing to carrying around an actual library in my pocket. Every time I open it and continue journeying through it, I'm met with fascinating, varying opinions on a myriad of topics.

Unfortunately, this is what makes biblical literalism such an atrocious sin. It strips the Bible of it's story-world potential. It forces the reader to lie to himself with every page-turn. It robs every metaphor of its beauty - rendering a vast collection of nuanced, liberating texts down to a soupy mess of laws and contradictions. This is why they didn't want to print Bibles in English. The clergy was afraid people would take it literally. Maybe they were right.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:35 AM on July 31, 2007 [12 favorites]


And for those who are nagging me about it, I consider the abortion punishment enough, really

Utter relief is punishment?
posted by goo at 8:41 AM on July 31, 2007


Shouldn't that be "udder relief?"
posted by ericb at 8:47 AM on July 31, 2007


the real question is what the penalty should be for miscarriage.

If abortion is murder, then miscarriage is manslaughter.
posted by hoverboards don't work on water at 9:13 AM on July 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


In the future we'll dissociate sex from procreation? The dissociation of sex from procreation is a contributing factor in this mess. "I didn't think I'd get pregnant." What the fuck? That's what sex does. Politics doesn't trump reality when discussing evolution, and it shouldn't when discussing sex either.
posted by erikharmon at 9:13 AM on July 31, 2007


Guys, the answer that none of these people in the video said was "mandatory counseling and classes in effective contraception or abstinence." I'm strongly pro-choice, and that might be coloring this hypothetical penalty, but isn't that really obvious?

The goal of the penal system maybe be to penalize, but it's also to rehabilitate and to prevent individuals from taking part in the same illegal acts. Isn't it obvious that making the women prove that they have an effective plan to reduce their possibility of accidental pregnancy or a likely medical solution be the solution? I shudder to think what the stepped-up penalties for repeat offenders would be (supervised daily use of birth control medications? charges dismissed if you show proof of medical sterilization?) but there you go.
posted by mikeh at 9:21 AM on July 31, 2007


"I didn't think I'd get pregnant." What the fuck? That's what sex does.

If you think that's all sex does, you're doing it wrong.
posted by sephira at 9:36 AM on July 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hey thanks Pastabagel. I have a good life now-- a great kidlet and very very kind and patient husband, good friends. I had a very bad start (I left home at 16) like Lifetime movie bad, but I've had a lot of education, a lot of therapy and at least I know I'll *never* do what was done to me.

The bad part is knowing that no matter how hard I work what was done to me will never leave me. That as happy as I can get, I will always know it would have been better if my mother had taken care of her 'problem' rather than done the 'right' thing. I'll never understand why it's better that I grew up abused rather than not exist. Why anti choice people feel like it's better that I suffered the way I did.

And lest you think I'm melodramatic, I can assure you that I'm not, if anything I tend to downplay because it makes people so very uncomfortable.

Thanks again Pastabagel.
posted by pywacket at 9:37 AM on July 31, 2007


anotherpanacea: sorry that my statements came across as arrogant black and white. But basically, by definition, if you are pro-life, then you think the fetus is a human being. Which means abortion is killing a human being. This raises questions like "Is this murder?" and "What should be done about it?" which might be something the state has to address.

As far as I'm concerned, it really does break down into some pretty clear groups, but not only 2. The four factors are anti-abortion, anti-choice, pro-abortion, pro-choice. The most "extreme" pro-lifers are both anti-abortion and anti-choice. They believe that abortion is not only a bad thing, but it is murder, that the doctors and the mothers are murderers, and that the government has to step in and save the lives of innocent babies. This is a small minority of the population. Then there is the group that is anti-abortion, pro-choice. This is almost everybody. They don't like the idea of abortion, but don't want to limit th rights of a woman to choose to have one. Or, on a slightly more conservative level they might not want a woman to have an abortion (and might want to make it illegal to have one) but they don't believe it's murder that must be prosecued by law. Then there's pro-abortion pro-choice. This is a smaller group who don't see anything wrong with abortion at all (this sounds like you) and thus support the right of a woman to choose. Finally, you have anti-choice, pro-abortion. This includes the Chinese government and a limited group of people worried about overpopulation.

If you say you are pro-life, you really are making a fairly serious statement about the nature of abortion. And as this video proves, most people who identify as pro-life, even if they say they believe the statement, don't.
posted by Deathalicious at 10:05 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


But I do hear what you're saying. I can see how my statement comes across as criticizing people for how they themselves choose to identify themselves. But, again, that's the point of this video, isn't it?
posted by Deathalicious at 10:14 AM on July 31, 2007


Thread’s mighty thick with the mistake the object for the form kind of arguments.
But the question put to the protesters conflates the moral with the legal, not many people (manifestly) can separate their gut feeling and/or what they think is right from a reasoned measured examination of practical consequences.
Sure, it’s kinda funny when they can’t, but y’know, still...

“at which point in human development is the termination of life a crime? Why?”

I think life begins at conception.
Let me put it this way for the folks on the far side of that fence. If my wife is pregnant - whether it’s one month, two, three, whatever, and some goon punches her in the stomach forcing her to have a miscarriage, I’m going to kill that bastard and no jury in the country would convict me (screw the bible).

I have a number of solid, sustainable arguments (IMHO) unlike the above emotional one - to support my position, I recognize folks on the other side have solid arguments as well but all arguments in terms of ‘when life begins’ are irrelevent (IMHO) when it comes to practical policy making.

The state ALREADY allows the termination of life - at a very late stage of development - in a variety of circumstances e.g. such as in execution or in a state of war (or related warlike states).
Personhood, from a policy standpoint, is irrelevent. We already kill individuals well past the point that they are human based on need.

The question then must be - is there a legal need for abortion?

As much as I agree with the pro-life crowd as to the repugnance of killing an unborn child, there is no question the state must safeguard the liberties of its citizens even at the cost of life (as it does in other matters) or allow citizens to safeguard their own. There is, and always will be, a legal need for abortion.

The goal then must be to mitigate as much as possible that need.
So as a matter of course however I also support sex ed in schools, contraceptives, etc. etc.

I would like to see those questions e.g. - do you support sex ed. as a method of reducing the number of abortions? etc. put to some of those protesters.
Perhaps in a series to stimulate logical thought about an often otherwise visceral subject.
I suspect it would have been more enlightening all around.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:14 AM on July 31, 2007


how about a child born to a poor mother found in a dumpster? how about another child found strangled because the parents couldn't take the screaming anymore? or how about a child found waist deep in feces and near starved because it was abandoned? how about a perfectly financially capable pair of adults who have a child and abuse it (be it physical or mental) all its life because they are mentally distressed?

So, to follow your logic, when Child Protective Services picks up an abused child, they should take it to a safe clean clinic and "put it to sleep" like a stray dog?

And what about all the prospective adoptive parents that come out of the woodwork every time the media reports an abandoned baby?

(And never mind the statistics that say it's many of the WANTED pregnancies and WANTED childbirths that turn into abused kids.)

Why not put in the effort to PROTECT ALL CHILDREN at EVERY STAGE OF EXISTENCE instead of throw up a straw man?
posted by konolia at 10:23 AM on July 31, 2007


It just seems like something is being overlooked here, as if what the real problem or challenge continues to be unaddressed.

After all, what is the meaning of life?
posted by humannaire at 10:26 AM on July 31, 2007


"I didn't think I'd get pregnant." What the fuck? That's what sex does.

Obviously, someone skipped class the day they explained HOW IS BABBY FORMED and HOW GIRL GET PRAGNENT.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 10:28 AM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


konolia, are you going to answer Optimus Chyme's questions?
posted by oaf at 10:40 AM on July 31, 2007


Why not put in the effort to PROTECT ALL CHILDREN at EVERY STAGE OF EXISTENCE instead of throw up a straw man?

Right now Bush is planning to veto a bill that will expand free health care to over nine million uninsured American children. Yet I have this slight inkling you didn't vote for Kerry.

By the way, you seemed to ignore responding to OC's questions in favor of snapping at another comment you have a kneejerk response for. You sort of do that a lot.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:42 AM on July 31, 2007


Deathalicious, I'm not sure I was referring to your post. But regardless of the quality of your words, be they shrill or reasoned, by writing so many you make it unlikely that most people will get to the end. All I'm suggesting is a little self editing. Less can be more.

UbuRoivas What does eponyronic mean?
posted by rhymer at 10:43 AM on July 31, 2007


pardon konolia but I don't see how it follows that terminating a pregnancy is the same thing as putting an actual breathing living child "to sleep." It seems unnecessarily inflammatory to equate the child with an animal.

I don't remember anything about before I was born, but I will always wish my mother had followed her psychiatrist's advice and NOT had children instead of beating and abusing me. I don't remember what it was to be in utero, but I do remember being two years old and slammed against my crib.

Some people shouldn't have children, no matter what. If abortion had been legal I wouldn't have to wear long sleeves the rest of my life or flinch everytime someone raises their hand too close to me, or wake up in terror even many many years later.

Abortion isn't something to be taken lightly. I know, I have a beautiful child (who has never known a moment like I did) but it SHOULD be available, I am very very sure of that.
posted by pywacket at 10:49 AM on July 31, 2007


rhymer sez - tl;dr :(
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:50 AM on July 31, 2007


Pretty much.
posted by rhymer at 10:54 AM on July 31, 2007


Let me put it this way for the folks on the far side of that fence. If my wife is pregnant - whether it’s one month, two, three, whatever, and some goon punches her in the stomach forcing her to have a miscarriage, I’m going to kill that bastard and no jury in the country would convict me (screw the bible).

Well I guess you should hope I'm not on the jury because I'd send you to jail, what with you having, you know, murdered that bastard. I don't think it'd be hard to find eleven people to agree with me either.

In fact, your response is exactly what's wrong with the "when life begins" argument- the stupid, naive human brain function that deigns to believe personal emotional response is a factor in biological development. Well of course your baby growing in your wife's stomach is more important to you than me. Of course you have a different emotional connection to it than anyone else.

So what?

You claimed that you think life begins at conception, and the case you immediately provided to back that was "if anyone made my wife lose her baby, I'd kill them." Yeah, so I'm gonna have to give the point to science and the legal system on that one. Sorry. I could fall madly in love with a tumor growing out of your left kneecap; that doesn't mean "no jury would convict me" if I decided to beat you to death in passionate rage after you "killed it" by going to to chemotherapy.

Ironically, the example you posed is a perfect explanation of why protecting choice is so important- because your wife's ability to choose how to control her body is the very thing that would be violated by an assault affecting her pregnancy. Laws that make the fetus a more protected "victim" than her are an abomination. In any true just legal system, cases where mothers and their fetuses are killed should be examined in the context of violating the woman's personal freedom, not if it was "a second murder."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:08 AM on July 31, 2007


Well I guess you should hope I'm not on the jury because I'd send you to jail, what with you having, you know, murdered that bastard. I don't think it'd be hard to find eleven people to agree with me either.

Unless I am one of the eleven.
posted by caddis at 11:20 AM on July 31, 2007


After all, what is the meaning of life?

To play, laugh, love, and to try to relax. Don't work too hard, the playing is the most important part. It's all a joke, so don't take it too seriously.

You guys are in the wrong thread.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:57 AM on July 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


“Well I guess you should hope I'm not on the jury because I'd send you to jail, what with you having, you know, murdered that bastard. I don't think it'd be hard to find eleven people to agree with me either.”

Ah, so aborting a child isn’t murder - but killing in defense of one - plus my wife - is?
What a wonderful philosophy you have.


“In fact, your response is exactly what's wrong with the "when life begins" argument- the stupid, naive human brain function that deigns to believe personal emotional response is a factor in biological development.”

Except, y’know, I didn’t make, and in fact rendered irrelevent, the “where life begins” argument. But please go on about stupid, naive human brain functions.

“Well of course your baby growing in your wife's stomach is more important to you than me. Of course you have a different emotional connection to it than anyone else. So what?”

So there’s a difference between a rational argument based on the recognition of the practical results of lawmaking and emotional based moralizing.


“You claimed that you think life begins at conception.”

That is not a claim. That position is unassailable. I know, as a matter of inescapable fact, exactly what it is I think.


“Sorry. I could fall madly in love with a tumor growing out of your left kneecap”

Hey, the Smedleyman only swings one way, Clyde.

“that doesn't mean "no jury would convict me" if I decided to beat you to death in passionate rage after you "killed it" by going to to chemotherapy.”

Good luck trying that.

“Ironically, the example you posed is a perfect explanation of why protecting choice is so important-”

Ironic? I’d say it was by design. But then, can I claim to know what I really think?

“In any true just legal system, cases where mothers and their fetuses are killed should be examined in the context of violating the woman's personal freedom, not if it was "a second murder."”

I disagree. Particularly if we want and planned to have a child. Intention in law does carry some weight, as I understand. If my wife had planned to have an abortion, perhaps that would be different. As would the murder’s intent, and whether he knew she was pregnant or not.
Either way, I’d probably kill him immediately after the assault, so, moot point.

But that’s all academic.
I suppose I’d be more reticent to make sport of you, but it’s fairly clear you didn’t read my comment and I’m not some professor that my positions are too damned arch.
I’ve re-read my comment and it stands up pretty well on it’s own.
I think it’s pretty damned clear where I stand viscerally vs. legally.

I think I clearly stated from the start the problem with mistaking the object for the form and contrasted the emotional argument with the reasonable position. I think it’s fairly clear you completely did not get, or did not read that as you fell squarely into it.
But it’s not like it’s rocket science. I’m by no stretch of the imagination the smartest guy on MeFi - or even in this thread.

Granted, I’m not the clearest communicator, but hell, it’s standing out right there, I don’t know how more clearly I can state it: “There is, and always will be, a legal need for abortion.”

Tough to miss.

That’s based on the fact the state kills people or allows people to be killed sometimes for different reasons, abortion therefore must be legal too.
Relevence where life begins from a legal standpoint is nonexistent as long as full grown humans are killed legally.
Furthermore, I respect a woman’s right to choose as akin, ethically, to choosing liberty before life, even though I feel strongly connected to an unborn child and want to see (through sex ed, contraception and other means) as few children aborted as possible. And (to reiterate for the slow) without legal coercion.

That said, personally, you can shove your opinions about my opinion up your ass.
I think life begins at conception.
I can think, say, or worship whatever the hell I want as long as it doesn’t translate into action that steps on someone else’s right to do the same. (I think I saw that on a piece of paper somewhere).

The real problem is - and always has been - the people who think they can push around someone else’s tea wagon just because they know they’re “right.”
But surely it’s always “those” people doing that.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:07 PM on July 31, 2007


I'm guessing, being guilty of murder, your lawyer would likely broker a plea bargain from the prosecutor. And maybe you wouldn't take it because you feel you were in the right, but maybe you would.

Or maybe you wouldn't kill the guy in the first place because you aren't a murderer. Or maybe it's very rare for "some goon" to punch women in their pregnant stomach so your wife will not have a miscarriage for that reason. Although maybe she'll miscarriage after getting into a car accident. Will you go after the other driver assuming they were drinking? What if they lost their child in the crash and it was your fault? Should they get to kill you? What if God comes down and tells you to punch your wife in the stomach in an effort to test your faith?

I like hypothetical questions.
posted by Green With You at 12:19 PM on July 31, 2007


After all, what is the meaning of life?

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:22 PM on July 31, 2007 [6 favorites]


“What if God comes down and tells you to punch your wife in the stomach in an effort to test your faith?”

I would kill God.
...yes, I’m that bad ass.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:26 PM on July 31, 2007


See, the great thing about debate and democracy is that I do not believe in several of Smedleyman's premises, but his stated conclusion is one I agree with.
posted by mikeh at 12:32 PM on July 31, 2007


If my wife is pregnant - whether it’s one month, two, three, whatever, and some goon punches her in the stomach forcing her to have a miscarriage, I’m going to kill that bastard and no jury in the country would convict me (screw the bible).

Note to self: Smedleyman is not a reputable source for legal advice.

Also, note to self: Never engage in arguments with people who make regular use of all caps.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:35 PM on July 31, 2007


That was misinterpretation of that scripture.

konolia:

I like you and I'm glad you're here; I generally think your heart is in the right place. But I've chewed on that statement for the last 12 hours or more, and it's really gotten my goat.

Do you really think that the New Testament Bible was handed down from God? That many men from many civilizations did not interpret and reinterpret and twist those words to their own ends in compiling the Bible that we have now? That many people don't continue to interpret those words for people unable or unwilling to learn the history and context behind them?

Have you come to your own conclusions on these passages, or is it something that your pastors have spoon-fed you? Do you know any of the history leading up to the NT bible?

Some questions that may be useful in understanding that your present understandings just might be wrong:

1. Who were the Essenes? (hint: Jesus was a member)
2. Who was James the Just, and why isn't he a bigger part of the NT Bible?
3. Why was it the Greeks who eventually referred to Jesus as Christ, and not Jesus himself, or his followers?
4. Why do we follow a bible that was primarily orchestrated by Paul - who was a Gentile, not a disciple, and a close political friend of the Romans?

Believe what you want to believe, but don't accuse people of misunderstanding Biblical scripture. There's always a slight possibility that what you think you know is wrong.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 12:50 PM on July 31, 2007


"Believe what you want to believe, but don't accuse people of misunderstanding Biblical scripture. There's always a slight possibility that what you think you know is wrong."

Benny, no matter whose hands and minds the Bible flows through, no matter what their intent, no matter how it's translated, God always makes sure that whatever they actually write down is the inerrant, infallible and literal truth - because God is omnipotent, omnipresent and infallible and absolutely will not let anyone twist His words in any way.

So that which is written in any version of the Bible is by definition, God's Only Word And Truth.

At least, that's the understanding I have of the thought process involved. It certainly seems consistent.

Sheesh, even the Pope doesn't claim anything like that...

And that big set of verses Baby_Balrog quoted above is going further than describing God-powered abortion; read closely it seems clear that the "water of bitterness" is some kind of powerful drug that not only aborts any fetus that might be present, but also destroys the woman's ability to bear children ("and her womb shall discharge, her uterus drop"), making her barren.

Pretty hard core stuff, that. "You were adulterous, therefore no children for you now or ever!"
posted by zoogleplex at 1:00 PM on July 31, 2007


It's all about control of women and reducing their options.

That may be a valid observation, but I'm not sure how this specific video illustrates that specific premise. Doesn't it make sense for the person in question to support some sort of punishment for an illegal abortion whether or not their primary motive is to control women or to save fetuses?
posted by the other side at 1:12 PM on July 31, 2007


Who made this film?

It sounded like the interviewer said he represented the "out center network" when questionned by the final lady at the 6:17 mark.

This has turned up nothing relevant.

Anyone hear something different?
posted by phoque at 1:22 PM on July 31, 2007


100 hundred years from now
posted by phoque at 1:30 PM on July 31, 2007


Believe what you want to believe, but don't accuse people of misunderstanding Biblical scripture. There's always a slight possibility that what you think you know is wrong.

I would just add that most Christians today don't bother to consider the implications of the Nicene Council. These were political men who had no real taste of the experience of Divinity that the synoptic Gospels (no doubt products of esoteric brotherhoods themselves) pointed to. Rather, it became a doctrinal disaster and many interesting and enlightening books (including Barnabas, a Christian source used by Muslims to prove that Jesus wasn't keen on any trinitarian ideas, and Thomas) were stricken from the record. I can understand why the Jesus-freak type churches say that the Roman Catholic church is satanic, but they still go around touting its Pauline-esque delusion of a tri-une deity. They also totally don't live the lifestyle that Jesus probably lived.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:42 PM on July 31, 2007


It was made by Lee Goodman in 2005 for the AtCenterNetwork. He was previously a Democratic candidate for Congress from 10th district, Illinois (he lost to Mark Kirk - R).
posted by progosk at 1:43 PM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


“Note to self: Smedleyman is not a reputable source for legal advice.”

Well.....yeah.


I dunno, maybe it’s me. The goon thing is just an analogy. Is it at all clear the dichotomy the (FPP) question exposes between the emotional and the rational? The moral and the legal/practical?

For many folks (on both sides) it doesn’t matter if the bottom line levels, the derivation has to be the same, doesn’t it?

This in addition to the thick presumptive atmosphere.

I think engaging folks in a way outside of that situation would be more productive.
This is not to say it will be successful. Particularly if couched in an acrimonious air (e.g. konolia not answering Optimus Chyme’s questions).
Indeed, I answered some of those (implicity) and that was overlooked, my position was attacked from misunderstanding - so what’s the motivation for someone who might not have the rhetorical tools?

I suspect some folks’ motivations are something other than earnest inquiry or an attempt to foster understanding.

I further suspect that holding the opinion that life begins at something other than conception assuages guilt feelings as well as supports this aggressive mindset.*
Hence my metaphor - no matter how aggressive one is, or how deep the emotional attachment - there is no good reason to override the practical considerations. That would hold for both sides of the equation.

(*Any explication of the pro-life crowd’s motives and psychology has been amply covered (by pastabagel, here and other places, and by others))

But again - to be more explicit - I myself do support sex ed and contraception, more access to healthcare for expectant mothers, oppose making abortion illegal, and consider the motivations of God irrelevent for all legal intents and purposes.

I would put those questions to the pro-choice crowd - given that a fetus is akin to a tumorous growth - why then do you (if you do) support sex education?
Why take any consideration for the life of any growth short of, say, 30 days past birth?
Given the ambiguity as to when a child achieves personhood - why not have drowning barrels for unwanted children?
More to the point - what age standard should be set by the state for the age at which a child gains the protections of the state?
Currently you’re not a full citizen until you’re 18, so why not allow the parents to kill a child before that age?

Either the question of when life begins is relevent or it isn’t. Even given that it is, we’re forced to rely not on any scientific standard which can be open to the will of the state (in terms of choosing which data, conclusions, etc. to assign) but the arbitrary will of a given generation of the state.
If it’s decided now that life begins at 3 months - 20 years from now if the scientific data changes, what then?
There is, by necessity, some play with that definition in terms of medicine, the government and personal decisions. The state can’t come down and say “life begins here, no matter what, for everyone, for all time” because an allowance must be made for people of good conscience to make the right decision for themselves rather than the decision being made - by the state or anyone else - for them. The concession is made to liberty with ascending resistance - because you can’t force someone to bear a child without violating their rights but at the same time no one’s going to buy you can off a 4 year old because “he’s not a person.”

Clear as I can make it.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:46 PM on July 31, 2007


Ah, so aborting a child isn’t murder - but killing in defense of one - plus my wife - is? What a wonderful philosophy you have.

Umm.... yes? Aborting a child pregnancy isn't murder. Killing a person is. Also, you can't really kill in "defense" of someone who's already dead. That's not as much "defense" as what pretty much every legal venue in the industrialized world for the last two centuries or so calls "revenge." Since we're not living under Sharia law, that happens to not be a valid excuse for killing someone. Again, this is really simple stuff that I really have no intention to concede simply because you really love your wife and theoretical argument-baby.

That said, personally, you can shove your opinions about my opinion up your ass. I think life begins at conception.

Internet debate! Catch it!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:55 PM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


given that a fetus is akin to a tumorous growth - why then do you (if you do) support sex education?

So there are fewer of them that are treated like tumors? Because it really is that simple.
posted by oaf at 2:01 PM on July 31, 2007


“Also, you can't really kill in "defense" of someone who's already dead.”
I see. So my wife is dead. Also the child is suddenly dead. Dunno. What would you do someone punches your pregnant wife in the stomach? ‘Oh, gosh, it’s a good thing I’m so liberal about pro-choice otherwise I might be upset my child could die from this. As it is, no big deal’
Y’know, it’s a simple metaphor I used to illustrate a broader point, which you refuse to acknowlege. And indeed, keep falling into exactly the same emotional argument.

“Again, this is really simple stuff that I really have no intention to concede simply because you really love your wife and theoretical argument-baby.”

Again, perhaps if you read...y’know, something, you’d notice I’m pro-choice.
You refuse to concede because your presumptions won’t allow you to see that for some reason.

“Internet debate! Catch it!”

You’re the one telling me what I should or shouldn’t think, pal. Matter of taste. If I like chocolate ice cream, I’m going to eat it. If I’m not going to force it on you, it’s none of your damned business.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:05 PM on July 31, 2007


Jimbob: Which raises the question why the Old Testament is still in the Bible and why so many quotations from it are being used by so-called Christians to justify their judgment of others.

oaf: Probably similar to the reason that so-called Muslims pick and choose from the Qur'an to justify their killing of innocents.

Um, not exactly. For Muslims, the Qur'an is the literal word of God. Every word & phrase in the book came directly from God's mouth, so to speak. In contrast, all but the most hardcore of Christians acknowledge that a lot of the Bible is just what a bunch of guys wrote a couple of thousand years ago. Divinely inspired, perhaps, but not perfect. The Old Testament, as I wrote, has been superseded in Christianity by the Gospels, just as the Qur'an supersedes the Old Testament / Torah in Islam.

posted by UbuRoivas at 2:34 PM on July 31, 2007


Smedleyman, I think his difference with you has nothing to do with your being pro-choice, and everything to do with your stated willingness not only to take the law into your own hands - something understandable - but to accept no responsibility for your actions. If you kill the goon who punches your pregnant wife in the stomach, you've committed a serious crime, and should go to jail. What's more, you should be willing to go to jail for doing so, unless you're just willing to excuse everyone who takes the law into their own hands.
posted by me & my monkey at 2:55 PM on July 31, 2007


That may be a valid observation, but I'm not sure how this specific video illustrates that specific premise. Doesn't it make sense for the person in question to support some sort of punishment for an illegal abortion whether or not their primary motive is to control women or to save fetuses?
Whether you see women as equal actors in their own lives or not has much to do with this. Punishing a doctor but not a woman, or forcing a woman to bear an unwanted child, or even just begging or pleading with them not to abort, etc, is exactly about control, and about not allowing women to assert the control over themselves and their own lives that you are asserting over their lives. Denying others rights and limiting or stopping their legal options, or punishing them -- or punishing those who do their legal jobs as part of those women's choices but not those women who want the abortion and make the appointment-- is all about control--and about minimizing women as well.
posted by amberglow at 2:56 PM on July 31, 2007


What would you do someone punches your pregnant wife in the stomach?

Since your previous answer is "kill him immediately after the assault," I'm guessing that's what you think, in which case, as I noted before, you're then going to prison to murder.

Again, perhaps if you read...y’know, something, you’d notice I’m pro-choice

And... that means.... you're allowed to kill someone who punches your wife in the stomach?

You’re the one telling me what I should or shouldn’t think, pal. Matter of taste.

I'm very sorry you feel my belief that you should go to jail for murdering a person is being imposed on you. I would suggest writing your member of Congress.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:03 PM on July 31, 2007


Jimbob: wendell: Which raises the question why the Old Testament is still in the Bible and why so many quotations from it are being used by so-called Christians to justify their judgment of others.

...Although I wish I'd said that.
posted by Jimbob at 3:20 PM on July 31, 2007


Pyramid termite said: i'm even more impressed that you've chosen to slander someone who doesn't have an account here and can't defend herself, dejah420. is it really necessary to drag people's family members through the gutter like that because you don't agree with the person's viewpoint?

nice job, dragging this site to a new low ...


I'm not the one who decided to breach her daughter's privacy. Nor am I the one who's spent years on MeFi telling us all about how moral people don't get pregnant out of wedlock.

If I had known her daughter had an abortion, but she hadn't mentioned it, I surely wouldn't have used the over the top rhetoric of the anti-choice crowd to make my point.

Keep in mind, that's the language those people use. I know that because I've spent 20 years walking women into clinics past the mobs of those people.

And that was HARDLY a new low for this site. Speaking of over the top rhetoric.
posted by dejah420 at 3:51 PM on July 31, 2007 [2 favorites]


I would put those questions to the pro-choice crowd - given that a fetus is akin to a tumorous growth - why then do you (if you do) support sex education?

Because the dissemination of accurate information is good. Because it is always and everywhere better to have more and more accurate information.

Why take any consideration for the life of any growth short of, say, 30 days past birth?

Because after birth, you can rid yourself of all risk from and responsibility towards the child by simply surrendering it to the state.

Given the ambiguity as to when a child achieves personhood - why not have drowning barrels for unwanted children?

Because you can easily surrender an unwanted child to the state.

What would you do someone punches your pregnant wife in the stomach?

Keep my wife safe from the miscreant until law enforcement arrives, and then either seek punishment and legal redress, or confinement and care if the miscreant is crazy. Frankly, it's hard to imagine why a non-crazy person would want to punch my wife in the stomach, pregnant or no, but maybe I keep a higher class of company than you do.

I enjoy how even otherwise decent men can suddenly fall all over themselves to see who can be the most thuggish, violent, unthinking neanderthal when someone brings up something like this. And then have the nerve to act like the utter abandonment of all civilized behavior and loss of any mastery of yourself is somehow a good thing.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:04 PM on July 31, 2007 [3 favorites]


“I'm very sorry you feel my belief that you should go to jail for murdering a person is being imposed on you.”

No, I feel your mischaracterization of my argument is being imposed on me.
I know I’ve explained that it’s my opinion that life begins at conception and that this opinion has no bearing on my position on abortion. I’m quite sure I’ve posed that to you a number of times. I feel you’re arguing a tangential point. Why, I don’t know. But fair enough - I’ll cede that point. What now? You going to assert that Jebus won’t save me when science blah blah blah? Or did you care to address what it is I’ve actually said without superimposing your own preconceptions? I’m enjoying the sport, but I find your dodging of my questions when you berated Konolia for dodging questions hypocritical.

I addressed me & my monkey’s point out of (common) courtesy, but let’s not pretend the core of your issue with me is this analogy I’ve posed and some bullshit about me not willing to accept responsibility for flipping out and murdering someone when you stated in response: “In fact, your response is exactly what's wrong with the "when life begins" argument-” etc.

I feel you’ve misread my position(s) and are perhaps unwilling to admit it and are using this murder crap as a red herring. Furthermore I feel you’re unwilling to accept my initial premises - even though we likely agree on the ultimate result (pro-choice) - as something I have a right to.
I can’t, in your opinion, believe that life begins at conception even though I am pro-choice and, in my opinion, if that is the case (and to be clear, I’m not certain) that’d make you as intolerant as the people you’re admonishing.

You going to show me if I’m wrong or correct on that or is it going to be more of this: Smedleyman wants to kill goons with impunity crap?


“What's more, you should be willing to go to jail for doing so, unless you're just willing to excuse everyone who takes the law into their own hands.” - me & my monkey

Fair enough. Perhaps.
I could pose a sort of temporary insanity argument (which would be accurate) But that’s all tangential to the point.
Perhaps my analogy was too inflammatory. But it’s exactly the point that no matter the emotional gravity of the situation, that can’t be allowed to supercede the law.
I believe so strongly that life begins at conception that, viscerally, I’m willing to kill or defend it with my life. I brought that closer to home, made it more relatable, making it my wife and child.
That point, that whole scenario, as I’ve stated, and re-stated, and re-stated, is irrelevent to a woman’s right to choose.
Indeed, in the larger sense my point is alloy with what you’ve said.

The law must be focused on practical matters and results regardless of the emotional vehemence of whatever position (pro-choice or pro-life).
The nuance there is of course that the pro-choice position, in some facets, posits that life begins ‘x’.

I attempted to use the analogy to illustrate that a jury would likely not make that consideration, only consider that the baby was wanted.
Perhaps the analogy was strained. That’d be my fault and I apologize, but I certainly didn’t mean it to be a red herring.

Nor to begin some off topic debate on the legal ramifications of defending a fetus from some unlikely crazed attacker. But if it was a poor analogy it was threadbare for those reasons. That it was not the point. It was just illustration to underlay a premise. That premise being the strongest possible emotive state.

And it’s precisely ironic that the very misapplication I railed against should manifest itself in such a way.

But my point stands that, simply because one believes strongly that life doesn’t begin until a certain point doesn’t justify, in and of itself, the state sanctioning abortion; any more than my belief, just as strong, that life begins at conception can, in and of itself, justify the state forbidding abortion.
No matter how strong the belief is, no matter the evidence, it can’t, precisely because of the danger of not only the emotional depth involved (the irrationality within this thread alone (granted - it’s the internet) shows that), but also because of the transitory nature of a given generations conceptions of the subject.

If abortion is outlawed, obviously the pro-life crowd wouldn’t want to see the mother sentenced. That points out the flaw in their thinking.
But I’d argue that’s where the real danger lies - because once you attack someone on that basis - that is, that they’re misapplying morality and trying to force it to be legal, a reasonable individual would examine their own premises.

So, since abortion is legal, why is aborting any fetus at all an issue?
oaf points out that the object is to reduce the number of fetuses being treated like tumors. But why?
I think it’s a valid point to turn the question around - what is the conceptual basis to reduce the number of fetuses when it’s argued to be as neutral an entity as an appendix?

Obviously at some level the fetus - whether as potential or actual human life - has some value. Or at least some pro-choice folks think so. Enough of them to promote sex ed and hand out contraceptives. And indeed, people don’t just abort one after the other with no emotional effect.

So why not then recognize that emotional/moral basis for what it is? An insuperable morass.
Why not then agree to disagree on the emotional points and focus on the more reachable, and on some points mutual, goal of preventing more abortions (as oaf said) devoid of the rest of this rhetoric?

More flies with honey, all that.

Of course, that’s predicated on the premise that folks would rather, y’know, solve the problem than pick at isolated bits of arguments and call each other idiots and argue. On that point, I’ll admit, I may have to concede.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:08 PM on July 31, 2007


So Smedlyman, does this mean you'd kill your wife if she got an abortion (and killed your baby because, as you see it, acorn == oak tree)?
posted by mullingitover at 4:14 PM on July 31, 2007


1. Who were the Essenes? (hint: Jesus was a member)

If that were the case, don't you think it would be mentioned somewhere, anywhere in the NT? Jesus had some things in common with the Essenes, sure, but you think he was what, some kind of unique Essene who left the community and wandered around as an itinerant preacher? It's highly, highly unlikely, to say the least.


3. Why was it the Greeks who eventually referred to Jesus as Christ, and not Jesus himself, or his followers?


What in the world makes you think that? Jesus being the Christ is the pivotal point of the (probably) earliest gospel, in Mark 8:29, as well as being integral to, roughly, the entire NT. This is so wrong-headed it's beyond comprehension. Why would the Greeks care whether someone was the Messiah, which is what Christ means?

4. Why do we follow a bible that was primarily orchestrated by Paul - who was a Gentile, not a disciple, and a close political friend of the Romans?

Paul, who wrote that he was "of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee..." (Phil. 3:5) is now, according to you, a Gentile? And what could possibly be your evidence that Paul somehow orchestrated the Bible? Really, how did he manage that? And he sure wasn't a close enough political friend of the Romans to keep from being executed.

I've read a lot of baseless nonsense about the Bible on Metafilter, but you're setting new records. Where do you guys come up with this stuff?
posted by Pater Aletheias at 4:34 PM on July 31, 2007 [1 favorite]


“does this mean you'd kill your wife if she got an abortion (and killed your baby because, as you see it, acorn == oak tree)?”

hy-po-thet-i-cal (hahy-puh-thet-i-kuh l) - noun - a hypothetical situation. suppositional, theoretical, speculative.

Janie: Are you going to marry a carrot, Lisa?
Lisa: (Rolling her eyes) Yes, I'm going to marry a carrot.
Sherri and Terri: Ohh! She admitted it. She's going to marry a carrot!

You don’t win friends with rea-son! You don’t win friends with rea-son!

(Gosh, I wonder how quickly folks will apologize (as I did) for making an error. I’ll be just over here holding my breath.)
posted by Smedleyman at 4:42 PM on July 31, 2007


I don't want to get into some religious argument- that wasn't my point,but:

If that were the case, don't you think it would be mentioned somewhere, anywhere in the NT? Jesus had some things in common with the Essenes, sure, but you think he was what, some kind of unique Essene who left the community and wandered around as an itinerant preacher? It's highly, highly unlikely, to say the least.

If you only look to the Bible, you only get one story. There are many reports of Jesus' activities, many of which did not make into the official bible (see the Book of Barnabas and the Nicene Council). James, by many accounts Jesus' brother, gets short shrift, too. There was mucho politickin' going on to make a Christianity that the Romans could support. Especially since, by most contemporary accounts, Jesus considered himself a Jew.

What in the world makes you think that? Jesus being the Christ is the pivotal point of the (probably) earliest gospel, in Mark 8:29, as well as being integral to, roughly, the entire NT. This is so wrong-headed it's beyond comprehension. Why would the Greeks care whether someone was the Messiah, which is what Christ means


Sorry, no. Messiah means "annointed", or chosen. The same word in greek is "kristos" (little "k"). It was a term of reverence that was given to many. Somewhere in the translation the small "k" kristos, became the large"K" Kristos, or Christ. Christ means "penultimate Messiah."

Paul, who wrote that he was "of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; in regard to the law, a Pharisee..." (Phil. 3:5) is now, according to you, a Gentile? And what could possibly be your evidence that Paul somehow orchestrated the Bible? Really, how did he manage that? And he sure wasn't a close enough political friend of the Romans to keep from being executed.

Paul was a converted Jew.He was born in Turkey, and became a citizen of Rome. He persecuted the Jews many years, until his coversion on the road to Damascus. He never knew Jesus, and yet was pivotal in writing the new Testament. Anything wrong with this picture?
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:17 PM on July 31, 2007


If that were the case, don't you think it would be mentioned somewhere, anywhere in the NT? Jesus had some things in common with the Essenes, sure, but you think he was what, some kind of unique Essene who left the community and wandered around as an itinerant preacher? It's highly, highly unlikely, to say the least.

It's generally presumed that Jesus made contact with the Essenes during the period between his Bar Mitzvah and his Prophethood that isn't mentioned in the Bible. One can speculate all they care to. Blame Paul for tellling people it was ok to eat swine, however.

/non sequitur
posted by Burhanistan at 5:21 PM on July 31, 2007


Christ means "penultimate Messiah."

oh, so there's another Messiah on his way, then?
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:25 PM on July 31, 2007


He's already among us.
posted by dersins at 5:28 PM on July 31, 2007


Benny Andajetz writes "I don't want to get into some religious argument- that wasn't my point,but:"

This is an awesome topic that really deserves its own thread. I pledge to favorite it the moment someone puts it together. Many facets of modern christianity are simply rebranded pagan rituals. WP's Pauline Christianity article is pretty good, too.
posted by mullingitover at 5:30 PM on July 31, 2007


Or...what if He already came...and we were all....LEFT BEHIND!
posted by Burhanistan at 5:30 PM on July 31, 2007


oh, so there's another Messiah on his way, then?

Sorry. My fingers work faster than my brain, sometimes. Should be ultimate, as in "Top Dawg".

Although penultimate kinda works too, I guess....
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:32 PM on July 31, 2007


mullingitover: don't forget to throw in some Zoroastrian and Mithriac Cult links. They're really not all that pagan compared to the Romans. You can end your post with something about Zurvan.

Actually, all posts here should be ended with something about Zurvan.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:33 PM on July 31, 2007



The punishment for Abortion should be having to raise a child. If you have kids, you know what I'm talking about, mirite?!
posted by lundman at 5:41 PM on July 31, 2007


Good stuff, burhanistan & mullingitover. When somebody way earlier posted something about the Israelites having invented God, therefore they should be the experts on whatever, I typed up a response but considered it too off-topic. Since we are now onto Biblical history, here goes again:

No, they did not invent God. They just stole a bunch of Zoroastrian ideas during their Babylonian exile, transforming the polytheistic religion that they more-or-less shared with all their neighbouring ethno-religious groups into a monotheism that simply elevated one of the pantheon above all others - in effect, claiming "our god is bigger than your god(s)" as a way of embiggening themselves & laying claim to the land of Israel as their own.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:46 PM on July 31, 2007


"This is an awesome topic that really deserves its own thread. I pledge to favorite it the moment someone puts it together. "

Ah, so no balls then.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:48 PM on July 31, 2007


'A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true.'
posted by Smedleyman at 6:13 PM on July 31, 2007


Smedleyman writes "Ah, so no balls then."

Dude, you're all over the place. I'm confused: was this the hypothetical part?:
Smedleyman writes "I believe so strongly that life begins at conception that, viscerally, I’m willing to kill or defend it with my life. "

If this isn't the part that you didn't mean, then why are you dodging my question?
posted by mullingitover at 6:31 PM on July 31, 2007


progost
thanks for the source information.
posted by phoque at 6:35 PM on July 31, 2007


progosk sorry bout the name error
posted by phoque at 6:37 PM on July 31, 2007


"If this isn't the part that you didn't mean, then why are you dodging my question?" - posted by mullingitover

Why are you not reading anything I wrote?

But ok - “does this mean you'd kill your wife if she got an abortion (and killed your baby because, as you see it, acorn == oak tree)?”

Nope.

Because, as I've pointed out, again, and again, and again, and again - I'm pro-choice.

What I might feel, viscerally - in my gut, what my emotions might lead me to were I in a disordered mental state - have no bearing on my position on abortion. Which, as I've said, again, and again, and again, and fucking again, must be derived from the observation of the practical consequences not from my (or anyones) viscera, emotions, gut, etc. etc.

I've apologized for the shabby and misleading nature of the hypothetical situation I've used to illustrate my point. And took pains to explain.

But then, I have enough fucking class to recognize my errors, rectify them, and apologize when I've been wrong.
I'm many things but not a coward.

Many folks here don't have the balls or the acumen for even the first part, much less the common courtesy. Hell, who would have the balls to talk to me in person this way?
And ROU_Xenophobe infers I'm an internet tough guy?

Who would have the lack of civility to speak to someone like Konolia the way she's been spoken to? Far as I know she's someone's mom.
Give me a fucking break.
You talk about these people as though they're hateful and small minded (and some are) and yet show the same mean spirited attitude that interferes with your own brain functions when someone - who, again, agrees with you - introduces any cognitive dissonance to the circle jerk.

Argue with Smed on the merits of his position? Fuck that, look he's talking about killing people n'stuff! Ignore the fact he's pro-choice - he's saying stuff about saving babies! EVIL!

I didn't bring up God, I didn't bring up abortion (in the metaphor) I delineated the difference between the conceptual reality of the fetus, it's value in society, the emotional component of that, and the danger of overreaction - obviously I did that very poorly, and again, sorry for the misunderstanding.
But I have amply covered it and illustrated why I think what I think about this topic and that has been completely ignored - plain as it's been made.
Given that, anyone with any character, the next words they'd type would be "I'm sorry for the misunderstanding"

Probably expecting too much.

Allow me then to argue against my own position:

"So why not then recognize that emotional/moral basis for what it is? An insuperable morass.
Why not then agree to disagree on the emotional points and focus on the more reachable, and on some points mutual, goal of preventing more abortions (as oaf said) devoid of the rest of this rhetoric?"

Because enough people are shitheads and feel it's more important to quibble than actually work towards a solution that dialectic is nearly impossible.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:17 PM on July 31, 2007


Um, not exactly. For Muslims, the Qur'an is the literal word of God.

That's not a counter-argument. It's still picking and choosing, especially if there are self-contradictory parts (which there are).
posted by oaf at 7:18 PM on July 31, 2007


Smedleyman, you write incredibly long comments.
posted by oaf at 7:18 PM on July 31, 2007


(Smedleyman, you write incredibly long comments.)

Apologies for that as well. Thought I'd only need the one. No real point either way tho' if no one cares to read 'em.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:25 PM on July 31, 2007


Smedleyman:

I've watched you get worked up here, and gone back through your posts. I agree with your point, I think. Merely having a strongly held belief doesn't make that belief conducive to creating a just and workable society. Practicality has to enter into the equation.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:50 PM on July 31, 2007


Posts should be exactly long enough. No longer, and no shorter either.
posted by jiawen at 8:23 PM on July 31, 2007


For what it's worth, Smedleyman, I think I understand. I've been lurking in this thread all day. At first, I was disgusted by what I thought your argument was. I (mis)judged you pretty harshly for it, and for that I apologize.

This is why I try to avoid opening my mouth in threads like this. It's hard enough to make a coherent argument about such an emotionally charged topic. Add to that the lack of nonverbal feedback, the many conversations going on in a single thread, and the pressure for brevity (in the time it takes to write or even read a long comment, the discussion might move to something completely different), and it becomes so easy to lose one's point.

Of course, that also makes it easy to get emotionally involved out of frustration when No One Understands, and to use stronger and stronger language at each other while just missing the actual cause of the misunderstanding. In a face-to-face discussion with just two or three people, it's (IMHO) much easier to argue about substance, because that kind of noise seems to correct itself much more quickly.
posted by wtdoor at 8:28 PM on July 31, 2007


"I (mis)judged you pretty harshly for it, and for that I apologize."

No harm no foul. You didn't post it. Although I think your observation is fairly astute. In all particulars, mine as well. I suppose it's worse in my case because I'm arguing against exactly that sort of error.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:37 PM on July 31, 2007


Smedleyman: I'm sorry for the misunderstanding. I cherry-picked a quote from your post without paying full attention to the context. I then continued not paying attention after you got very upset about it. I was like a thorn in your side, and I feel genuinely bad about it. I hope this comment will leave you feeling mollified.

That said, you are unbelievably long-winded.
posted by mullingitover at 9:21 PM on July 31, 2007


all's well that wendells!

*group hug*
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:30 PM on July 31, 2007


Seems to me like there's a pretty fair consensus that we'd all like to see fewer (or as close to zero as possible) abortions.

It seems obvious that our real problem is that a lot of people disagree on how to make that happen.

Perhaps if everyone who is pro-choice makes a real, concerted and coordinated effort to communicate to those who are anti-abortion that both groups share the common goal of reducing the number of abortions to as close to zero as is possible, we all might start to get somewhere.

Hell, I'd bet most pro-choicers would agree that overall, reducing the number of people having random promiscuous sex without using birth control is probably a good idea. Even without the unwanted babies, that sort of behavior has a lot of difficult problems attached to it.

Gee, whaddya know, maybe there's more points where both camps are actually in more agreement than disagreement. The major disagreement just seems to be on the methods to be employed in the reductions.

I'm definitely pro-choice, but I sure wouldn't mind seeing abortions reduced to only the most extreme cases, IF it were caused by people stopping being stupid about how they have sex. I mean, apart from any religious dogma attached, isn't the whole idea of "waiting for marriage" really about being smart about whom you have sex with, and about having a family support infrastructure in place if that sex results in babies?

It ain't rocket science, really.
posted by zoogleplex at 11:14 PM on July 31, 2007


those of us who possess a sense of personal honor will remember that you don't ... and you don't ... you have NO SENSE OF HONOR

Oh please, get over yourself.
posted by homunculus at 11:59 PM on July 31, 2007


Seems to me like there's a pretty fair consensus that we'd all like to see fewer (or as close to zero as possible) abortions.

It seems obvious that our real problem is that a lot of people disagree on how to make that happen.

Yes, that's the problem; but there's no rational reason for the disagreement. It's plainly obvious as to how to reduce abortion rates, and the solutions have been presented here ad nauseam. Actual solutions are unfortunately less fun than witchhunts, so criminalizing abortion seems more appealing than actually taking substantive action to reducing abortion rates (social services, widely available contraception, sex education, etc etc).

This disagreement and argument is not based in fact. There is no disagreement. We all want to reduce abortion rates, and it's evident as to how that could be done.

The advocacy of the criminalization of abortion has nothing to do with facts.
posted by mek at 1:09 AM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


The advocacy of the criminalization of abortion has nothing to do with facts.

And there's really no common ground either, since all the people who want to do so are also adamantly against realistic sex ed and contraceptive availability.
posted by amberglow at 7:42 AM on August 1, 2007


Metafilter: Pro-Life-Free?
posted by tmcw at 8:06 AM on August 1, 2007


I can't believe you guys are arguing with Pater Alethias about the Bible. That's like telling Ed Murrow how a newscast should run.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:35 AM on August 1, 2007


Seems to me like there's a pretty fair consensus that we'd all like to see fewer (or as close to zero as possible) abortions.

That is at least what all sides say. But they don't all act like that, and actions speak louder than words.

It seems obvious that our real problem is that a lot of people disagree on how to make that happen.

Well, as obvious from previous comments I don't think that reducing abortions is the actual goal of the pro-life community. I think they just want it made illegal. I think this fits with a wide chunk of the nominally Christian right who aren't conservative because they're Christian, but rather are sort of Christian because that fits with their vision of what a decent, traditional American does. My sense is that the real God for some of the Christian right is not the risen Christ by rather Uncle Sam from 1940. At least, I haven't figured out why so many people go to church every Sunday and still act to make sure that the hungry don't get fed, and the naked don't get clothed, and the sick and in prison don't get cared for.

Perhaps if everyone who is pro-choice makes a real, concerted and coordinated effort to communicate to those who are anti-abortion that both groups share the common goal of reducing the number of abortions to as close to zero as is possible, we all might start to get somewhere.

Or perhaps if pro-life agitators started acting as if they wanted to effectively reduce the number of abortions, we might get somewhere.

Hell, I'd bet most pro-choicers would agree that overall, reducing the number of people having random promiscuous sex without using birth control is probably a good idea.

Of course. The answer to this is accurate sex education and easy access to contraception so that people having random promiscuous sex use birth control.

Gee, whaddya know, maybe there's more points where both camps are actually in more agreement than disagreement. The major disagreement just seems to be on the methods to be employed in the reductions.

No. At least some pro-choice groups seem to actually want to reduce the number of abortions, as seen by their agitating for the provision of accurate sex education, or by providing accurate information about sex and easy access to contraception themselves.

This is not true of most (all?) pro-life groups. Pro-life groups simply want abortion made illegal. As evidenced by this video, they don't necessarily even want any consequences to anybody -- just the knowledge that Caesar said it was naughty.

So no, their actual goals -- the goals that you can see them actually attempting to fulfill -- are very different, and not easily reconcilable.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:59 AM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is not true of most (all?) pro-life groups. Pro-life groups simply want abortion made illegal. As evidenced by this video, they don't necessarily even want any consequences to anybody -- just the knowledge that Caesar said it was naughty.

Not true. Not true at all. There are quite a few Christian groups out there providing help for pregnant women, avenues for helping promote the choice of adoption, and aiding children. I am sick and tired of the old canard that all people ever do is hold up a placard.

These people are by and large too busy actually helping women and children to toot their own horns.
posted by konolia at 10:43 AM on August 1, 2007


Here's one of our local places.
posted by konolia at 10:46 AM on August 1, 2007


Many of those places, however, outright lie to women about abortion - both what's involved and the outcomes. I certainly hope that any you're involved in, konolia, do not do that.
posted by agregoli at 11:27 AM on August 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Case in point.
posted by agregoli at 11:28 AM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]



Not true. Not true at all. There are quite a few Christian groups out there providing help for pregnant women, avenues for helping promote the choice of adoption, and aiding children.


But they don't provide contraception nor morning-after pills, nor do they fight for realistic sex ed. They only help woman to carry babies to term--wanted or not.
posted by amberglow at 11:52 AM on August 1, 2007


These people are by and large too busy actually helping women and children to toot their own horns.
posted by konolia at 10:43 AM on August 1


Lady, in a world where millions of children go to bed hungry every night, you think that God was personally involved in helping you get a price cut on your Spin certification. So I wouldn't be quite so bold about horn-tooting.

Speaking of, you ever going to get around to answering those questions?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 1:02 PM on August 1, 2007 [2 favorites]


Speaking of, you ever going to get around to answering those questions?

Probably not. From yesterday afternoon:
"I'll state it here.

I am no longer going to answer each and every question put to me on certain subjects. I will say what I wish to say, and answer what I feel like or have time to answer, and then I will go find something else to do. Because:
1: I have other things to do with my life besides discuss issues on a thread, and:

2: I've gotten tired of being misinterpreted over and over and over again, so I'll not be wasting my time on those types of queries.

I pretty much have said all I am going to say on that thread. The rest of you, feel free to carry on."

posted by konolia at 2:52 PM on July 31
posted by ericb at 1:13 PM on August 1, 2007


konolia, you've posted several times, over two days, but still haven't answered Optimus Chyme's questions. It seems like a pretty reasonable request, and one that would do a lot for your credibility. Why haven't you responded?
posted by box at 1:23 PM on August 1, 2007


Wow, I guess I shouldn't have spent so much time phrasing that comment.
posted by box at 1:25 PM on August 1, 2007


Not true. Not true at all. There are quite a few Christian groups out there providing help for pregnant women, avenues for helping promote the choice of adoption, and aiding children.

I agree. I never said there weren't.

Clever readers will note that I did not anywhere write "Christians simply want." Instead, I wrote "Pro-life groups simply want." Oddly enough, these are not the same concepts, though it's maybe interesting that konolia seems to view them as such.

I suppose I should have been clearer: I didn't mean that all people who happen to be prolife or who are morally troubled by abortion seek only the illegality of abortion. I meant that the groups organized around it, and the sorts of people you see angrily waving gore-smeared placards, seem to do so, to the point that their actions are inconsistent with their stated goals.

And, as amberglow notes, even the Christian groups that do offer some aid to pregnant women or sometimes campaign for prenatal care often don't offer or give accurate information about contraception or sex in general, which calls into question what goal they actually serve.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:28 PM on August 1, 2007


"That said, you are unbelievably long-winded."

Conceded. And already apologized for that and for poor expression on my part.
I suspect one of the reasons I am long winded is because I tend to read most threads and struggle to present a nuanced position. I tend to overstate a point exactly to avoid misunderstanding.
That said, I also carefully read an argument before I respond in an attempt to gleen someone's position.

What is frustrating is not that it's personal,(I don't identify myself with "smedleyman") it is that individuals like konolia, et.al. who do have different perspectives - there's no attempt to understand their position, they just get wolfpacked by individuals trying to make themselves feel superior.
There are most certainly exceptions to that.
But since that was in part, the gist of what I was saying, it's frustrating to be drowned out by exactly that. Resolution. Dialectic. Understanding. New stuff. The augmentation of the complexity and intensity of experience on the net.
People who agree with everything I say from premise to conclusion are f'ing boring. I like knowing why someone thinks something different.
But that's me.
Still, if metafilter was supposed to be a circle jerk, I suspect we'd have image tags.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:36 PM on August 1, 2007


Seems to me like there's a pretty fair consensus that we'd all like to see fewer (or as close to zero as possible) abortions.

Oy, who decided that? Lots of women who want abortions don't get them. Until that's no longer the case, I for one certainly want more abortions.
posted by gum at 1:38 PM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey Smedleyman:

I'd find your contributions a lot easier to digest if you used paragraph breaks rather than line breaks.

That is, when you hit return, do it twice: once to end the line, and the next to create a space that shows a new thought is coming. Or, leave sentences together without carriage returns between them.

Just a suggestion, but I think that's all that separates you from metafilter stardom.
posted by anotherpanacea at 1:44 PM on August 1, 2007


(As for mollification I'm off to 29 Palms for a bit. Should blow off a lot of steam and come back happy as a pussy cat)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:50 PM on August 1, 2007


"I think that's all that separates you from metafilter stardom."

Jesus. Last thing I'd want. Only reason I haven't switched accounts is 'cos I'm cheap. ...Well, my wife is cheap.

ok, my wife won't gimme the money
posted by Smedleyman at 1:57 PM on August 1, 2007


Seems to me like there's a pretty fair consensus that we'd all like to see fewer (or as close to zero as possible) abortions.

We'd all like to see realistic sex ed, and widespread contraceptive use and availability -- everywhere -- so that UNWANTED PREGNANCIES are fewer (or as close to zero as possible).

As long as there's organized opposition to those things by the same people who oppose abortion--even tho those things absolutely reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions both--we don't agree.
posted by amberglow at 2:20 PM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Still, if metafilter was supposed to be a circle jerk, I suspect we'd have image tags.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:36 PM on August 1 [+] [!]


Well I don't know about you, but sometimes I just need to get off.
posted by mek at 10:37 PM on August 1, 2007


Ohio bill: Women need men's permission to have abortions
posted by amberglow at 4:22 PM on August 2, 2007


"As long as there's organized opposition to those things by the same people who oppose abortion--even tho those things absolutely reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions both--we don't agree." - posted by amberglow

Yeah, fair comment. But there's no point arguing with those kinds of morons. Point being - it's that bottom line, reduction of unwanted pregnancies. Whether I agree with someone's position on another, albeit very related, matter, shouldn't affect that. But that's arguing an ideal.

The reality is often that if someone doesn't agree with someone else's pet theories there's a conflict whether the practical upshot is mutually beneficial or not. Which, really, is likely a universal complaint.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:26 PM on August 11, 2007


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