"Pro Life" does not mean what you think it does
May 31, 2009 10:40 AM   Subscribe

George Tiller, whose Wichita, KS clinic specializes in late-term abortions, was shot to death this morning on his way to church. Tiller was previously shot and wounded in 1995. (previously on MeFi)
posted by mkultra (698 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
My outrage is proportional to the man's bravery, which is to say, huge.

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posted by keever at 10:45 AM on May 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


Standing up for your ethics in this kind of culture means people with 'morally superior' ethics will be praised - in the whispers in the megachurches, out loud in some. An unfinished lifetime of medical knowledge and caring erased for the sake of what? Making more unfinished, younger lives - the lives of unfortunate women, who find out too late - worse lives.
posted by Weighted Companion Cube at 10:46 AM on May 31, 2009


I'm tempted to donate a couple of bucks to Planned Parenthood since this happened. They help penny-pinching students such as myself have access to things to prevent such things as STD and pregnancy.
posted by kldickson at 10:50 AM on May 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


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posted by tristeza at 10:50 AM on May 31, 2009


I doubt George Tiller is the last person that the shooter is going to kill today. How long has it been since the last shooting rampage?
posted by stavrogin at 10:55 AM on May 31, 2009


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posted by thylacine at 10:55 AM on May 31, 2009


Damn.

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posted by jokeefe at 10:56 AM on May 31, 2009


so, i guess the shooter believes that god likes seeing people shot at church
posted by pyramid termite at 10:58 AM on May 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


He was found not guilty in March of violating the state's requirement for a second independent opinion for late-term abortions. That article also has Tiller's claim that there are only two other doctors in the US who perform late-term abortions.
posted by mediareport at 10:59 AM on May 31, 2009


schyler523, the trick is to incite people just short of saying "Go kill abortion doctors" so you can act shocked and say things like "We are shocked at this morning's disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down,".
posted by stavrogin at 11:00 AM on May 31, 2009 [9 favorites]


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posted by Skorgu at 11:01 AM on May 31, 2009



I can't wait for some pro-choice zealot to walk into an ultra-conservative church that advocates killing abortion doctors, pull out an Uzi and shoot the place up for murdering abortion doctors.

Yeah, yeah, I know that's not going to happen.
I don't really want that to happen, but it would be interesting entertaining to watch the media try to parse the situation...

If it does happen:
He will be identified as a terrist.
posted by notreally at 11:02 AM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


NARAL Pro-Choice America: Support Us
Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri: Donate
Planned Parenthood Federation of America: Donate

Not that Mefites couldn't find these links themselves, of course. Just for convenience and a reminder.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 11:02 AM on May 31, 2009 [11 favorites]


I am totally against abortion with every fiber of my being-but this was totally wrong, and I join the rest of you in outrage that this happened.

This is NOT the way to settle the issue. And I hope whoever did this is found, quickly, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:02 AM on May 31, 2009 [23 favorites]


shoot the place up for murdering abortion doctors.

How many abortion doctors have actually been murdered to merit this asymmetrical response?
posted by Burhanistan at 11:02 AM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


The extreme elements of the anti-abortion movement have been advocating his murder for years. Yet he continued to stand by his beliefs and commitment to women's health. I wonder if we won't see more of these heinous acts with a more centrist president appointing centrist supreme court justices.
posted by kimdog at 11:03 AM on May 31, 2009


Bill O'Reilly had previously devoted air time to talking about the murdered man and his (O'Reilly's words) "death mill".
posted by Flunkie at 11:04 AM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


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posted by box at 11:05 AM on May 31, 2009


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I just donated $25 to Planned Parenthood in this guy's honor (their Web site allows you to make donations in memory of whomever you'd like).
posted by killdevil at 11:05 AM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm totally against ANY abortion, especially late term abortions, which are particularly horrible, but damn, shooting the guy doesn't do anything to help the cause. His life was sacred, too.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:10 AM on May 31, 2009 [20 favorites]


Kill hate!
posted by Postroad at 11:10 AM on May 31, 2009


Shit.
posted by flippant at 11:11 AM on May 31, 2009


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posted by kalessin at 11:12 AM on May 31, 2009


They believe in your right to life so strongly that they just might have to kill you if you disagree with them.
posted by zzazazz at 11:13 AM on May 31, 2009 [17 favorites]


Why does the far right think church services are the best place to commit political violence?
posted by vibrotronica at 11:16 AM on May 31, 2009


According to the article, this is the second time he has been shot by an anti-abortion activist. (Actually third, if you consider that during the first incident he apparently was hit twice.)
posted by jayder at 11:18 AM on May 31, 2009


I grew up near Tiller's clinic. Used to see the Pro Choice folks staked out in front on may way to high school. That was a long time ago. Wichita. I'm surprised he lasted as long as he did.
posted by MarshallPoe at 11:18 AM on May 31, 2009


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posted by sunkzero at 11:18 AM on May 31, 2009


Oops, meant "Pro Life."
posted by MarshallPoe at 11:19 AM on May 31, 2009


Well, this is just evidence that abortion can make society safer -- if the shooter had been aborted, there'd be one less murderer walking around. Hopefully the shooter will be caught, and then we can use the Kansas death penalty to perform a REALLY late-term abortion on the killer.
posted by jamstigator at 11:20 AM on May 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


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posted by Stynxno at 11:20 AM on May 31, 2009


"The problem with anti-abortion extremists is that their very existence disproves their point" -- Mark Thomas
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 11:20 AM on May 31, 2009 [29 favorites]


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posted by Medieval Maven at 11:23 AM on May 31, 2009


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posted by numinous at 11:24 AM on May 31, 2009


"We are shocked at this morning's disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down," anti-abortion group Operation Rescue said in a statement on its Web site.

Fuck. You.

For Dr. Tiller:

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posted by rtha at 11:30 AM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


I am very upset about this because I've been involved in the pro-choice movement and even defaced and terrorized Operation Save America; one of my best friends is a doctor who donates his time to perform abortions in a poor area of the Bronx. Not many doctors are willing to perform abortions anymore. I will say this, in a fit of visceral internet-rage:

Fuck these savages and their small petty god. Fuck their morally-empty idiot-book.

Donating to Planned Parenthood is a good idea, but I encourage direct action. If this insect-scum shows up in your town or city, disrupt their events and gatherings. These are people who could be planning to KILL MY FRIEND and today shows me that it could happen.
posted by fuq at 11:33 AM on May 31, 2009 [15 favorites]


What is it about U.S. conservatism that draws all the violent lunatics that way? It's not like there aren't left-wing violent lunatics out there; other parts of the world have had problems with them. But the worst left-wing terrorist that anyone can point to in the US is Bill "The-Only-People-We-Ever-Hurt-Were-Ourselves" Ayers, while the list of murdering-asshole-conservatives is a mile long. Is it just that conservatism is the refuge of assholes, at least as far as liberal and conservative are conceived in America today, and assholes are more likely to be murdering lunatics as well? Is it just that we've redefined activities that at one point were the purview of left-wing groups (such as the racism of the Dixiecrats) as socially conservative, when that term wasn't used in the past?

And of course, I guess I'm forgetting about the extreme wings of PETA and Greenpeace and other eco-terrorists. But even then, as far as I know, they hardly ever go so far as to commit murder, which hardly puts them in the same league as abortion shooters or the Unibomber or Timothy McVeigh. I wonder what it is that makes politically motivated murder the domain of the right only, and not the left? And why don't right-wingers ask that themselves whenever one of their crazy brethren bust out the crazy?
posted by Caduceus at 11:33 AM on May 31, 2009 [14 favorites]


I couldn't find anything on Planned Parenthood that would let me donate in someone's honor. But, you know, the money's still good.
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:35 AM on May 31, 2009


this is so sickening and enraging. if I ever hear another anti-choice person defend their position based on the sanctity of life I think I will projectile vomit on them.
posted by supermedusa at 11:35 AM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe that should be an AskMe.
posted by Caduceus at 11:36 AM on May 31, 2009


for context regarding late-term abortions (i myself was never entirely clear on what exactly the procedures constituted nor under what circumstances they were performed):

"Why I Provide Second Trimester Abortions": the rationale of an abortion provider.
"My Late-Term Abortion": an account by a woman whose fetus was discovered to have an open neural tube defect.
posted by wreckingball at 11:38 AM on May 31, 2009 [18 favorites]


but damn, shooting the guy doesn't do anything to help the cause

Are you kidding? Of course it does. If it didn't, they'd stop doing it. Tiller was one of maybe three clinics that performed late-term abortions. There will likely now be only two, and several years' worth of medical students are now pressured into considering not even entering the field.

The government, no matter which party is in control, does virtually nothing- nothing- to monitor and prevent terrorist attacks on women's clinics. For godssakes, nine times out of ten they won't even refer to it as terrorism. Animal rights groups get labeled as terrorists more frequently than anti-abortion militants. Federal funding for clinics is minuscule and every act of damage and violence committed against one is a drain on their already limited resources. And if you think President Hopey McChangethroughhugs, who can't even lift a pen to stop gay people from being blocked from volunteering to defend our country, is going to do anything about this beyond signing a strongly-worded letter, I'd also like a pony.

Operation Rescue- monsters, all of them- delivered their pithy, enraging statement saying they of course were outraged at the murder but added a nice little line about how they wanted Tiller "brought to justice through the proper channels." Let's emphasize that- the leading anti-abortion group in America responded to the cold-blooded murder of a doctor who performed legal medical procedures by saying they merely wish he was punished differently. Tomorrow morning, they will be be considered a legitimate and respectable organization.

The terrorists won today.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:39 AM on May 31, 2009 [192 favorites]


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posted by jepler at 11:40 AM on May 31, 2009


When they run out of ways to game the system and change our nation's laws to reflect their particular sect's version of how women are supposed to behave, they will resort to killing those who oppose them. Sound familiar?

Oh, and...

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posted by deadmessenger at 11:44 AM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I couldn't find anything on Planned Parenthood that would let me donate in someone's honor. But, you know, the money's still good.

On the Planned Parenthood Web site, click the "Donate" button on the upper right. Then, underneath the text "HELP SUPPORT AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE," click the tab marked "HONORARY GIVING." There ya have it.
posted by killdevil at 11:45 AM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fortunately the shooter isn't in Saudi Arabia where he can be crucified and beheaded.
posted by Upon Further Review at 11:47 AM on May 31, 2009


ugh. I just donated $50 to PP. shoulda sent $100. I think I'm going to have to re-acquaint myself with the action end of things. its been a long time...
posted by supermedusa at 11:48 AM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Christian terrorism strikes from within this time.
posted by Zambrano at 11:51 AM on May 31, 2009


From the article referenced in the 'previously' link:
Dr. George R. Tiller specializes in terminating late-term pregnancies after the fetus has been diagnosed with a birth defect: a deformed heart, missing kidneys, Down's syndrome, anencephaly.

He calls his work a "reproductive ministry," and he offers his patients many of the same services as the hospice. Tiller encourages parents to hold, dress and photograph their aborted children, whom he delivers stillborn but intact. His staff takes ink-prints of tiny feet and hands; he brings in a chaplain for baptisms. Letters from grateful patients line the clinic's walls.
Yeah, sounds like he was doing the devil's work, alright. I can't stop thinking about the women who because of this act of terrorism today might now have nowhere to turn for late term abortions for fetuses suffering severe genetic malformations. But the people who will be cheering this shooting-- and you know they're out there-- can't spare a thought for women's suffering.
posted by jokeefe at 11:52 AM on May 31, 2009 [74 favorites]


jokeefe, no woman's life is of nearly the value of any unborn fetus. dont you know that?
posted by supermedusa at 11:55 AM on May 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


Fuck.

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posted by subbes at 11:55 AM on May 31, 2009


Are you kidding? Of course it does. If it didn't, they'd stop doing it.

Merits much repetition. They get something out of it, or else they wouldn't do it. They get fame; they get adulation, in certain quarters; they get money; they get attention; they get media outrage, which helps their cause with those to whom their cause matters.

There are many things they get, and the calumny and outrage that they also get only makes them, in the final analysis, feel stronger and more justified in their cause. They feel like crusaders for the Lord.

That their acts of murder are expressly condemned in the Pentateuch and the Gospels, and virtually every other religious text and tradition, in the most unequivocal terms imaginable, does not matter to them at all.
posted by blucevalo at 11:56 AM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


The right-hand column of the page where Operation Rescue posted their statement about his death features an image of Tiller's head surrounded by flames. Insincere much?
posted by punishinglemur at 11:57 AM on May 31, 2009


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posted by echolalia67 at 12:01 PM on May 31, 2009


Here's the Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, for anyone interested. Just donated $20 myself.
posted by lullaby at 12:03 PM on May 31, 2009


Shooting an unarmed, elderly man. Way to make a courageous stand for your beliefs, chum.

Count Spatula - What a goddamn ridiculous thing to say. Grow up immediately.
posted by EatTheWeak at 12:05 PM on May 31, 2009


wreckingball's link to the woman's story of her late-term abortion is a heart-breaking and very informative read
posted by supermedusa at 12:12 PM on May 31, 2009


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posted by The White Hat at 12:16 PM on May 31, 2009


He calls his work a "reproductive ministry," and he offers his patients many of the same services as the hospice. Tiller encourages parents to hold, dress and photograph their aborted children, whom he delivers stillborn but intact. His staff takes ink-prints of tiny feet and hands; he brings in a chaplain for baptisms. Letters from grateful patients line the clinic's walls.

Yeah, sounds like he was doing the devil's work, alright. I can't stop thinking about the women who because of this act of terrorism today might now have nowhere to turn for late term abortions for fetuses suffering severe genetic malformations. But the people who will be cheering this shooting-- and you know they're out there-- can't spare a thought for women's suffering.


Actually, that does sound kinda monstrous. Treat them like they're real, actual, living people and then end that life. I know, I know, I'm worse than that guy with the toothbrush mustache.
posted by codswallop at 12:16 PM on May 31, 2009


talk about a late-term abortion.

sorry, that sounded crass. This is really sad. My thoughts are with the friends and family and all of the people he has helped in his career.
posted by noriyori at 12:22 PM on May 31, 2009


The only way to respond to this obscene act is to start working hard to recruit some heroes: a thousand doctors who will pledge to take up Dr. Tiller's vital and life-SAVING work. There would be safety in numbers. The Phony-Pro-Lifers couldn't recruit enough shooters to take half of them out AND none of them could be as effectively targeted as O'Reilly targeted Dr. Tiller. I hope all of the female MeFites contact their ObGyns and encourage them to help... and if they refuse, find yourself a doctor who doesn't. If I were a woman, I'd never have a 'lady parts doctor' who did NOT perform abortions.
posted by wendell at 12:22 PM on May 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


He calls his work a "reproductive ministry," and he offers his patients many of the same services as the hospice. Tiller encourages parents to hold, dress and photograph their aborted children, whom he delivers stillborn but intact. His staff takes ink-prints of tiny feet and hands; he brings in a chaplain for baptisms. Letters from grateful patients line the clinic's walls.

Yeah, sounds like he was doing the devil's work, alright. I can't stop thinking about the women who because of this act of terrorism today might now have nowhere to turn for late term abortions for fetuses suffering severe genetic malformations. But the people who will be cheering this shooting-- and you know they're out there-- can't spare a thought for women's suffering.

Actually, that does sound kinda monstrous. Treat them like they're real, actual, living people and then end that life. I know, I know, I'm worse than that guy with the toothbrush mustache.



I think the point is that these are very much wanted children who are being aborted only because the alternative is a cruel, lingering death after being born. I don't think the mythical "woman who blithely uses abortion as birth control" would go in for that, do you?

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posted by Maias at 12:24 PM on May 31, 2009 [15 favorites]


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Well this is pretty sickening. Even more so is knowing that once this idiot gets to prison, he'll pretty much be a hero to all his far-right buddies in the pen with him, and his execution would make a martyr of him. Do these scare tactics work? Is there any emprical evidence to back this up? I'd imagine that yes, practicing late term abortions in the heartland is a dangerous job, but hopefully this killing will have the opposite of its intended effect, resolving wills instead of weakening them.

These people are dinosaurs, and they're not marching quietly into the tar pits. They're a shrinking minority, though, and we need to remember that the sun is setting on their era.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:25 PM on May 31, 2009


Nice 'pro-life' movement they've got going there.

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posted by Space Kitty at 12:27 PM on May 31, 2009


The government, no matter which party is in control, does virtually nothing- nothing- to monitor and prevent terrorist attacks on women's clinics. For godssakes, nine times out of ten they won't even refer to it as terrorism. Animal rights groups get labeled as terrorists more frequently than anti-abortion militants.

Well, now the Obama administration has a chance to change that. Maybe if enough people demand it, they'll take note.
posted by homunculus at 12:27 PM on May 31, 2009


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posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:27 PM on May 31, 2009


Just made a donation to Planned Parenthood in memory of George Tiller. (I didn't find an "honorary giving" link on the KS/MO site, so I went to the national site to make the donation.)
posted by Quietgal at 12:30 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


> Actually, that does sound kinda monstrous

I don't know about "monstrous," but "ghoulish," definitely. It does, however, underscore the fact that the women who elect to have the procedures (they're "elective" in the broadest sense, in that a patient has the "option" of proceeding with the pregnancy at great risk to herself and to the fetus) are pretty uniformly devastated by the decision, these most commonly being planned and desired pregnancies.

Not being a woman and having precisely no interest in reproducing, I couldn't begin to imagine myself in their position. I'm sure nobody was coerced and certainly was not forced outright to dress or photograph the stillborn fetus, but I suppose doing so could offer a degree of closure and make psychological/emotional recovery at least marginally easier.

Also, it's worth stressing that the fetuses are "delivered" stillborn: Dr. Tiller was not, as you say, "[treating] them like they're real, actual, living people and then [ending] that life." Delivering and then killing a viable baby is not abortion, it's infanticide, and it's not what's being discussed.

On preview: what Maias said.
posted by wreckingball at 12:35 PM on May 31, 2009


but damn, shooting the guy doesn't do anything to help the cause
Of course it does. It's terrorism. It lets every doctor who performs abortions know that it's open season on abortion providers. The "legitimate" pro-life groups publicize their whereabouts, supposedly for "legitimate" purposes, and the crazies, whom the "legitimates" pretend to denounce, kill them. Every abortion provider in America now knows that to provide abortions is to risk being murdered. Only the incredibly committed and brave will continue to provide abortions under those conditions. And that means that the anti-abortion movement will accomplish through intimidation things that it can't accomplish through legal means. Abortion remains legal, but many women can't get one, because the doctors who would provide them aren't willing to risk their and their families safety.

It's terrorism, but it's also the logical extension of the campaign of harassment and intimidation that the "legitimate" anti-abortion groups have been pursuing for decades in America. They set up websites telling every nutcase with a microphone or a sign or a gun where to find abortion providers, and then they act shocked, shocked when someone uses that information to kill someone. Members of the non-evil community have spent the past ten years warning that this was bound to happen. And now that it has, I don't have a lot of sympathy for anti-abortion activists who claim to be appalled.
posted by craichead at 12:35 PM on May 31, 2009 [46 favorites]


Obama has made a point of taking the so-called middle ground on this issue. Now would be a goddamned good time to speak out against this extremism. I am NOT interested in bipartisanship or seeing the other side right now and if our rhetoric has to heat up, so be it.
On donations, I didn't happen to see a donations button on the Planned Parenthood of Kansas link, so I just added an "In memory of" note in the comments field.
posted by etaoin at 12:37 PM on May 31, 2009


Are you kidding? Of course it does. If it didn't, they'd stop doing it.

Merits much repetition.


As much money as we are donating to Planned Parenthood right now, do not doubt that places like Operation Rescue are getting tons of donations as a result of this heinous act as well.
posted by jabberjaw at 12:38 PM on May 31, 2009


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I wish the pain of every denied mother and every tortured child upon them, may they know the pain that comes from living your short life with an open skull, a twisted body and the beating of half a ragged heart.
posted by Jilder at 12:38 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


The freerepublic.com response.
posted by fuq at 12:42 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Fuck freerepublic.com.
posted by Flunkie at 12:42 PM on May 31, 2009 [14 favorites]


Count me as one more who has just donated to Planned Parenthood.

In fact, I think that we should spread this idea through the web, similarly to how it was done for Congresswoman Michelle Bachman's opponent when she announced that there should be an investigation to find out which members of Congress are unamerican.
posted by Flunkie at 12:44 PM on May 31, 2009


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posted by Devils Slide at 12:44 PM on May 31, 2009


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posted by DreamerFi at 12:45 PM on May 31, 2009


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posted by futureisunwritten at 12:47 PM on May 31, 2009


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Very sad news. Kudos to those who continue to be brave enough to help women and perform this LEGAL procedure.
posted by agregoli at 12:48 PM on May 31, 2009




And of course, I guess I'm forgetting about the extreme wings of PETA and Greenpeace and other eco-terrorists. But even then, as far as I know, they hardly ever go so far as to commit murder, which hardly puts them in the same league as abortion shooters or the Unibomber or Timothy McVeigh. I wonder what it is that makes politically motivated murder the domain of the right only, and not the left? And why don't right-wingers ask that themselves whenever one of their crazy brethren bust out the crazy?
posted by Caduceus


I think it's the religious fundamentalism of the movement. Once you are convinced someone is acting against your god it's easy to kill them. I've long been fascinated by how the Christian far right in this country is completely oblivious to how similar they are to the far right of those that follow Islam.
posted by zzazazz at 12:49 PM on May 31, 2009


The suspect has been arrested and there's a news conference scheduled for 4 p.m. (Central time).
posted by amyms at 12:50 PM on May 31, 2009


On second thought, the dot isn't enough.

Reading the stories that have been posted of these women who have gone through this; especially the mother of the twins, who didn't actually have an abortion because it could have caused damage to the healthy twin... Choked up doesn't begin to describe my emotions.

This man was nothing short of a saint. Truly, his killer did more than end a life, he extinguished a light of pure kindness.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:53 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hey, pro-lifers:

I hope you're also pro-contraception, because if you're not, you're even worse than I thought.
posted by kldickson at 12:54 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


KWCH will be providing live coverage of the news conference.
posted by amyms at 12:57 PM on May 31, 2009


kldickson: "I hope you're also pro-contraception, because if you're not, you're even worse than I thought."

Speaking from experience of my family, few of them are. The Catholic Church's strongarm-forcing of the cancellation of condom programs in Africa is seen as morally upright.
posted by notsnot at 1:00 PM on May 31, 2009


I am totally against abortion with every fiber of my being-but this was totally wrong, and I join the rest of you in outrage that this happened.

If you don't mind, I'd rather not have you here among the rest of us. Your place is out in front. You are responsible for your people.

Thanks.
posted by fleacircus at 1:02 PM on May 31, 2009 [13 favorites]


Hmmmm. http://www.operationrescue.org/category/tiller-watch/ seems to have gone offline.

I'd like to repeat for the sake of codswallop (eponysterical!) and Alia that Dr. Tiller specialized in treating women in the direst circumstances-- pregnancies which, despite being wanted, were terminated because the fetuses suffered genetic malformations incompatible with life, or because the mother's health or life was at risk. The photographs and so on are a kind of compassion for parents facing the worst choice of their lives. Should these women have nowhere to turn, no possible choice under these circumstances? And what young American medical student will elect to follow his footsteps?
posted by jokeefe at 1:10 PM on May 31, 2009 [10 favorites]


And what young American medical student will elect to follow his footsteps?
The ones who will are members of Medical Students for Choice, which is another good organization to donate to if you're interested in resisting anti-choice terrorism and intimidation.
posted by craichead at 1:14 PM on May 31, 2009 [9 favorites]


A brief survey of right-wing blogs would suggest that the worst thing about this shooting was that it was

1) Unfortunate because it makes us look bad
2) A "Reichstag Fire" (.i.e - liberals are killing their own to garner sympathy for themselves)
3) The first shot in the new civil war
4) This was morally equivalent to the Stauffenberg plot
5) Unfortunate because it's premature
posted by Avenger at 1:20 PM on May 31, 2009 [8 favorites]


Today is also the sixth anniversary of the arrest of Eric Robert Rudolph, noted anti-abortion, anti-gay and Olympic Park bomber.
posted by Avenger at 1:25 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had a late term abortion due to anaencephaly- the fetus had no brain, much like Baby Grace who recently got so much attention here on the blue. She wouldn't ever think, feel, or exist- she would be born simply to die.

And sadly, the same Operation Rescue that wants to prevent these kinds of abortions prevented me from giving birth to this child, this very wanted child. Because of all the random, extraneous laws pro-lifers have fought hard to get passed, I wouldn't have even been able to donate that infant's organs- without a brain, there's no brain death. We would have had to let everything shut down, making all of her organs unsuitable for donation.

Since we couldn't make someone else's life better carrying her to term, we opted for an abortion. 9 months and then childbirth to carry what amounted to a corpse, all to end in tragedy- well. Obviously some women- like Baby Grace's mother- are made of different stuff from me. But I couldn't bear the exercise in ugly futility.

What George Tiller did may seem ghoulish to those who have never been in the position- and being on Mefi, I'm certainly aware this is an appeal to emotion- but I know that I would have grieved more effectively, less hauntedly, if I had had the opportunity to terminate that pregnancy in the kind of clinic he ran.

Bless George Tiller and his family; I am heartbroken for their loss.
posted by headspace at 1:29 PM on May 31, 2009 [192 favorites]


. . . I encourage direct action. If this insect-scum shows up in your town or city, disrupt their events and gatherings. These are people who could be planning to KILL MY FRIEND and today shows me that it could happen.

What does this do?

1) It strengthens the resolve of those against abortion by "proving" the irrational lunacy of pro-choice activists.

2) It allows the press to breath a sigh of relief and cover both sides as (im-)moral equivalents. They already default to this method; you'd make it even easier for them.

3) For every $5 in paint remover the anti-choice people spend, they'd probably receive $500 in new donations. Thanks!

4) It escalates emotion (read: opposite of reason) to the point of irrationality, which further endangers your friend. Good for you.

I've been involved in the pro-choice movement and even defaced and terrorized Operation Save America

I sympathize with the feeling behind this, honestly. But you've achieved nothing. You've provided fodder for your enemies. You've sunk to their level, and you've lost dignity for all those who've worked hard, ethically, for the right of women to be able to choose, and have access to, legal abortion. Congratulations, now you're a terrorist too!

What you are doing will change nothing other than to diminish the general sense that killings of brave people like George Tiller are an abomination.

In fact, the more I think about it, the more I suspect you must actually be an agent for those who would deny people the legal right to choose . . . it's about the only means under which your plan makes rational sense.

I lived in Kansas. Which anti-abortion demonstrations drew the biggest anti-choice crowds and received the most press? The ones where naive pro-choice people showed up and caused troubles. It brought the religious zealots and conservatives out in droves, garnered them tons of exposure and had the weird effect of making them look peaceful; they were, after all, only defending "babies." I can't tell you how many people who might have shied away from expressing their quasi-religious, psycho-conservative views who were emboldened enough by these "battles" to begin expressing their views more openly. "Well look, they were just peacefully protesting when people started splashing them with paint and screaming at them." It helped the anti-abortion cause every time.

Educate people and spread what you learn. Donate money to Planned Parenthood and other responsible organizations. Volunteer. Become a doctor yourself and perform abortions in one of the thousands of American counties which have no facilities.

But don't sink to the level of an idiot who simply plays into their hands.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:33 PM on May 31, 2009 [20 favorites]


Wichita-based Operation Rescue's Randall Terry weighs in:
"George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God. I am more concerned that the Obama Administration will use Tiller's killing to intimidate pro-lifers into surrendering our most effective rhetoric and actions. Abortion is still murder. And we still must call abortion by its proper name; murder.
"Those men and women who slaughter the unborn are murderers according to the Law of God. We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches."
posted by CunningLinguist at 1:33 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


We must continue to expose them in our communities and peacefully protest them at their offices and homes, and yes, even their churches.

He has a very interesting definition of "peacefully protest".
posted by Avenger at 1:37 PM on May 31, 2009


I guess I'm forgetting about the extreme wings of PETA and Greenpeace and other eco-terrorists.

Sorry to derail, but there is no terrorist wing of Greenpeace. Greenpeace is an incorporated non-profit organization that engages in nonviolent direct action as well as more mainstream forms of advocacy.

Re: the good doctor:

.

Sad, sad day for America.
posted by lunasol at 1:38 PM on May 31, 2009


Of course the cowards at operation rescue took down their "Tiller Watch" page.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 1:41 PM on May 31, 2009


Truly, his killer did more than end a life, he extinguished a light of pure kindness.

The killer may have--and likely has--ended the lives of future mothers with troubled pregnancies who would've been helped by the murdered doctor.
posted by Mikey-San at 1:44 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Another Democratic President, another era of Christian terrorism. This is not an isolated incident. It's going to be the 90's all over again, and even fucking worse.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:45 PM on May 31, 2009 [26 favorites]


I think it's the religious fundamentalism of the movement. Once you are convinced someone is acting against your god it's easy to kill them. I've long been fascinated by how the Christian far right in this country is completely oblivious to how similar they are to the far right of those that follow Islam.

Whatever your feelings about either man, Gore Vidal wrote a very good article about Tim McVeigh back in 2001* which casts a wide spotlight on what was then a growing right-wing domestic terrorist movement. 9/11 and having a raving fundie in the White House quieted a lot of these people down, but the FBI has still been keeping a watch on them - even though most of their resources have been diverted to tracking the Arabic sounding names and not the honest-to-god Christian ones.

Pope Guilty is right - these people have not just a Democrat, not just a black man, but a Democrat black man with a Muslim-sounding name. He might as well have horns and breathe fire. These nutcases are going to continue to pull stupid shit like this, but if I can be forgiven a moment of cynicism here, I'm sure Obama's got the feds watching the armed loonies closely, if for no other reason than to protect his own life (although I'm sure he's also having them watched for the good of the country as well).
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:52 PM on May 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


The best thing any of us can do right now to properly commemorate Dr. Tiller is to take action ourselves - in a sane, rational, and effective way. For every gun-toting infant fool out there, there can be a Mefi who's armed with compassion, sanity and the facts and is willing to do the small stuff to enlighten others.

Anything else - you get more dots on the blue.

Let's get to work.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 1:56 PM on May 31, 2009 [9 favorites]


I'm skeptical about that, MStPT, being as the Obama administration appears to be kowtowing to the right on the issue. Perhaps this terrorist attack will convince him that he cannot cooperate with the mainstream conservatives who quietly condone attacks like this.

...of course, it's also possible that mainstream conservatives will actually distance themselves from the extremists, but given how tangled up Congressional Republicans were in the 90's with the militia nutcases (Ron Paul being one of the more spectacular examples), I'm skeptical.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:57 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


for context regarding late-term abortions

More context, from a comment in the "Faith Hope" thread by werkzeuger:

My wife and I found out our second pregnancy suffered from a severe hydrocephalus. Pretty bad, but arguably better than anencephaly. Treatable, sort of, sometimes. We educated ourselves, talked to experts, talked to each other. We thought about our baby's quality of life, and then decided to terminate the pregnancy. We did it for our baby. For us, that was empathy. That was love. And yes, we grieved, and still do. [. . .] We had to drive sixteen hours to go to one of the few clinics willing to perform a late-term termination. The only medical provider who would show understanding and empathy for us, and our decision, was a man who had been shot multiple times and had his clinic bombed by zealots. Twice a day for two weeks we ran a gauntlet of people waving dead fetus posters in our faces.

I wonder if it was Dr. Tillman who helped them in this dreadful situation. If not, it was someone just as kind and brave.

.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:58 PM on May 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


er, Tiller, stupid.
posted by FelliniBlank at 1:59 PM on May 31, 2009


What George Tiller did may seem ghoulish to those who have never been in the position- and being on Mefi, I'm certainly aware this is an appeal to emotion- but I know that I would have grieved more effectively, less hauntedly, if I had had the opportunity to terminate that pregnancy in the kind of clinic he ran.

Thank you for saying that. Everyone who thinks they oppose late-term abortion should be familiar with the kinds of medical situations that these very rare cases represent. One of my dearest friends faced a similar decision with a baby whose spine and brain stem were hopelessly compromised due to spina bifida. For these parents, the (often sudden) tragic news and wrenching decisions at the end of a hoped-for pregnancy are traumatic experiences. Many long for the opportunities this clinic provided - to have their grief recognized and honored. To have a chance to say a meaningful goodbye to what they had hoped would be their healthy child.

I'm sorry for all who have experienced this loss and doubly sorry that these personal moments are made so much more difficult by the intrusion of busybodies having moralistic hallucinations which are then allowed to influence the law, and to influence the unaware or unthinking public.
posted by Miko at 2:00 PM on May 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


FreeRepublic is the representation of the Republican core right now, but it used to be the fringe. The party is in decline as long as this is true. But it also means that there are no moderating voices, and the remaining base is free to be as radical as it wants, but it also feels marginalized. The fact that we have a war going as well as an economic crisis is only helping to cement their base to the far right, and it is a bit precarious, because a traumatic event could draw a lot of people to their cause. That could foment the rise of a true fascist movement in the US. I'm less concerned about the fanatical fringe as far as influence at the moment, but the movement has taken over the Republican Party for the time being, and it could form a strong core if things get out of hand.

The concern I have right now is that people who feel hedged in and marginalized may be driven to desperate acts more urgently than before, and this murder illustrates that. References to the Reichstag Fire and Stauffenberg which Avenger mentions are pretty creepy. There's no need to assume the worst is going to happen, but we need to make sure we watch out for a tipping point which could spill over into a populist movement on the right, namely the movement Glenn Beck, Limbaugh, Malkin, freepers, etc. are trying to stir up. They seem pretty dumb and ridiculous now, but then again, so did GWB. And Cheney is setting the stage by appearing all over the media decrying Obama's war and security related policies in case there's another terrorist attack, which he's betting on, as Bush was never so popular as when the country was absolutely terrified.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:00 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Poll: More Americans Say They Are Pro-Life
Understanding America's Shift on Abortion
posted by caddis at 2:03 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm skeptical about that, MStPT, being as the Obama administration appears to be kowtowing to the right on the issue. Perhaps this terrorist attack will convince him that he cannot cooperate with the mainstream conservatives who quietly condone attacks like this.

That article about a published report being pulled out of circulation because it hadn't been vetted - because its entirely fair suggestion that vets are targets for right-wing extremist recruitment offended Republican law makers - doesn't set off any particular alarm bells with me, but maybe I'm just an optimist. It also doesn't preclude the possibility that Obama's having the talibaptists watched anyway. Hell, I sure as hell would if I were him, being a primary target for their violent dreams and all.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:04 PM on May 31, 2009


My point is that the "hasn't been vetted" claim strikes me as insincere. The right went screaming bugfuck insane over the report, and I find it much more plausible that its withdrawal was an effort at bipartisan peacemaking.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:07 PM on May 31, 2009


The nature of the abortions Dr. Tiller provided, and the deranged response from the so-called "Pro-Life" movement illustrates perfectly the so-called "Pro-Life" movement does not care about life, but rather exists to promote some other agenda. I have my own speculations on what the actual agenda of the so-called "Pro-Life" movement is, but regardless of what their actual agenda is acts like this prove, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that it is not babies, abortion, or life, that they care about.

The world has become a lesser place without Dr. Tiller, and I hope that some brave person will rise to take his place and continue to provide medically necessary late term abortions.

.
posted by sotonohito at 2:10 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, definitely. It's classic oppositional stonewalling. Obama's office could publish a report entitled "Sky Blue and Grass Green" and Republicans would tear their hair, jumping up and down on their desks. I just don't doubt that since Obama is, to the talibaptists, more or less the Antichrist Himself, he's probably got a few extra sets of eyes on these lunatics.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:11 PM on May 31, 2009


"I'm skeptical about that, MStPT, being as the Obama administration appears to be kowtowing to the right on the issue. Perhaps this terrorist attack will convince him that he cannot cooperate with the mainstream conservatives who quietly condone attacks like this."

That was a bit of political gamesmanship. Honestly, there is no special targeting of right-wing groups, but threat assessments are ongoing. Napolitano made it go away by apologizing. The research still exists. It's funny to me, however, that conservative politicians narrowly defended veterans in the dust-up, the sacred cow they use again and again to stir up outrage. It was a game to them, too, a bit of false outrage to get the base stirred up.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:12 PM on May 31, 2009


Um, that was in response to Pope Guilty's comment, not mds35's.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:12 PM on May 31, 2009


.
posted by elder18 at 2:16 PM on May 31, 2009


Headspace, just wanted to say thanks for posting that-- and I'm sorry for your loss. I can't imagine what that must have been like and it takes a lot of courage to speak out about it and I'm glad you did.
posted by Maias at 2:20 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


.
posted by LSK at 2:24 PM on May 31, 2009


If ever there was a reason to investigate the extreme fringes of the anti-abortion movement, you'd think that murders of physicians would be a perfect justification. Meanwhile we had our vaunted security apparatus focused on peace rallies and anti-death penalty activists.

There should be an immediate directive: FIGHT DOMESTIC TERRORISM. And the anti-abortionists and assorted right-wing militia should be front and center of such investigations. Lives actually could be saved, instead of time wasted as with investigating peace rallies and infiltrating anti-death penalty organizations.

Obama - is there going to be such a directive? And can we believe in the "change we can believe in"? While we dally, lives are lost.
posted by VikingSword at 2:25 PM on May 31, 2009


.
posted by pianoboy at 2:27 PM on May 31, 2009


.
posted by tits mcgee at 2:29 PM on May 31, 2009


FreeRepublic is the representation of the Republican core right now

No, it's not. Freepers have always been and always will be the fringe. They represent a paranoid group of people who see monsters in their closet when they go to sleep at night. Most of them don't self-identify as Republicans but as libertarians.

References to the Reichstag Fire and Stauffenberg which Avenger mentions are pretty creepy.

They see Reichstag Fires every single time someone on fringe does something stupid.

They may be idiots with guns, but they're still idiots. For the most part, these guys are toothless good ol' boys who work 9-5 pushing papers all day and telling racist jokes on their coffee breaks. 98% haven't killed anything larger than a deer.

That 1-2%, the fringe of the fringe? They're being watched closely. The militia movement of the 90s pretty much died out after Oklahoma City, but it's been making a bit of a comeback in the last couple of years, fueled not only by Obama's ascendancy but also this Ron Paul libertarianism that's rooted in John Birch paranoia and 9/11 conspiracy.
posted by dw at 2:29 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Life Begins When?
posted by nola at 2:32 PM on May 31, 2009


The second pregnancy my ex and I had miscarried at 5 months after a too-long walk. Heavy bleeding during the night, ambulance ride, and so forth. I documented the experience in a talk.bizarre post archived here.

His name was Alexander William. And as painful as it was, I know it is nothing -- nothing -- next to having to make that choice to abort a wanted but defective fetus.

But what I really came here to say is that as far as I can tell, Dr. Tiller's life fulfilled all the requirements for being elevated to Sainthood. Religious man, helped others in pain and misery, endlessly persecuted in life, martyred by someone opposed to his beliefs. Would sure be nice if the Pope would step up. What are the odds?

Sigh. Rest well, doctor.
posted by seanmpuckett at 2:32 PM on May 31, 2009 [17 favorites]


"What is it about U.S. conservatism that draws all the violent lunatics that way?"

I think it might not be as prevalent if the Republican Party hadn't decided to openly court the Religious Right, which has its roots in the Southern Strategy and the fact that the Dixiecrats flocked to the Republican Party. This alliance helped to cement their eventual dominance throughout the southern US through attracting the reactionary conservative element which felt disenfranchised by racial integration and civil rights, and naturally this carried with it a very conservative Christian element, which they first exploited through embracing the slimy televangelists. It's a Faustian bargain, and a lot of the think tank conservatives (Gingrich, Bill Kristol) think of these people as useful idiots, but it's not as if they don't get some benefit. The Religious Right is willing to volunteer a lot of time and their turnout numbers at the polls are very good. They are devoted to the cause more than most voting blocs. But their absolutist stance means they will not support moderates, and right now the party has shed a lot of them, so their current influence is probably pretty strong but a bit out of proportion to normal levels.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:33 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


There should be an immediate directive: FIGHT DOMESTIC TERRORISM.

What makes you think that we're not fighting it right now?

And I remind you that the domestic terrorism report that Napolitano was forced to apologize about was authorized by the Bush administration. There are a number of people within DHS, ATF, and FBI worried about a domestic attack, especially in light of the 2005 investigation showing the Aryan Nation sending out feelers to Al-Queda.
posted by dw at 2:50 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


[few comments removed - seriously super hatey hate hate needs to go to metatalk, email or someplace entirely different.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:54 PM on May 31, 2009


"Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice," the group said in a statement. It offered its prayers for Tiller's family, "that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ."
Just.. wow. Where does one even start here? Abortion is legal, there is no "justice" to bring him to. This is blatantly code for approval of his murder. Operation Rescue is a terrorist organization by any metric, and I do not understand why the media grants them legitimacy like this.
posted by cj_ at 2:54 PM on May 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


.
posted by dosterm at 2:55 PM on May 31, 2009


If I had a fucking rocket launcher . . . .

Clinton tried ignoring these people, and letting the fight be on their terms at Waco and Ruby Ridge. What we need is an all out federal police assault coordinated nationally to happen in a single day against every known far right militia and terrorist camp, home, church, and media outlet. I know, not gonna happen. While the American sheeple continue to quake in their boots about a trivial threat from Muslim extremists the real terrorists are right in our midst, calling themselves "Americans" no less.

Or, you know, just nuke them all from orbit.

.



UNFortunately the shooter isn't in Saudi Arabia where he can be crucified and beheaded. ftfy

posted by fourcheesemac at 2:56 PM on May 31, 2009


No, it's not. Freepers have always been and always will be the fringe.

That might've seemed true in 1993, but over the last decade and a half, the extreme right has worked very, very hard to push everybody insufficiently extreme out of the GOP. This backfired spectacularly, and is the primary cause of the 2006 realignment, in which most of the new Democratic Senators were "Blue Dogs" who would have only a few years earlier cheerfully fit in with the GOP, back when it prided itself on being a "Big Tent Party" with a "wide stance".

The people who screamed and still scream about RINOs (Republicans in Name Only) have got their wish: a GOP comprised almost entirely of the party's fringe. Being as the fringe is a tiny minority in the US, this is not going to work out very well for them.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:00 PM on May 31, 2009


Also, from the article:

"We are shocked at this morning's disturbing news that Mr. Tiller was gunned down," anti-abortion group Operation Rescue said in a statement on its Web site. "Operation Rescue has worked for years through peaceful, legal means, and through the proper channels to see him brought to justice. We denounce vigilantism and the cowardly act that took place this morning. We pray for Mr. Tiller's family that they will find comfort and healing that can only be found in Jesus Christ."


Fuck you. And your god.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:00 PM on May 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


That, by the way, is a big part of why there's very little message discipline or cohesion in the currently dominant Democratic Party: by taking in whatever the GOP discards rather than vetting for ideology, the Dems have become not the liberal party, but the party of Not-The-GOP.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:02 PM on May 31, 2009 [10 favorites]


fourcheesemac, unless I'm thinking of someone else, Operation Rescue has claimed for over a decade that Tiller was making millions of dollars a year providing illegal abortions and using it to bribe the Wichita cops and courts to stay out of jail.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:05 PM on May 31, 2009


No, it's not. Freepers have always been and always will be the fringe.

Until the fringe pushed rock-ribbed Republicans like Colin Powell, George Will and Clyde Prestowitz away. Now your choice is three-fold: leave, whore yourself a la John McCain, or open wide and have yourself a big ol' glass of Crazy.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:06 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 3:10 PM on May 31, 2009


Terrorism is terrorism. We (the United States and its citizens) say we fight all forms of terrorism. We say we make war against terrorism. How do we fight the kind the kills doctors doing legally protected medicine for folks who need it in order to further causes where they can't get any traction the democratic way?

This just strengthens my resolve to my citizenship elsewhere.
posted by kalessin at 3:10 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is your country is this how you would like it to be?

There is no peace, there is no god, only those who would take and those who would give.

Where do you stand after today?
posted by Max Power at 3:18 PM on May 31, 2009


You know, President Obama is possessed of terrorism-fighting tools Bill Clinton never had -- indefinite detention, torture, warrantless wiretaps.

Maybe he shouldn't be so quick to give up these powers. How about we show these right wing fuckers what it was they supported, up close and personal? Round 'em up, off to Gitmo with no habeas corpus rights, and waterboard them until they give up their comrades.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:19 PM on May 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


Late term abortion should be rare, ideally reserved for circumstances like headspace's. Women should be well enough educated to know about sex, reproduction, birth control and choice. Women shouldn't be forced to be pregnant. That's the core of it for me. It's my body, and I should not be forced to maintain an unwanted pregnancy. Post-viability, things change.

Headspace, I'm very sorry for your loss, and thank you for telling your story. That's a brave thing to do.

The same people who are rabidly anti-choice are generally anti-sex education, anti-birth control, and often anti-women. I want to respect diverse opinions, but I can't respect the anti-choice movement. This is terrorism, pure and simple.
posted by theora55 at 3:21 PM on May 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


The second pregnancy my ex and I had miscarried at 5 months after a too-long walk. Heavy bleeding during the night, ambulance ride, and so forth. I documented the experience in a talk.bizarre post archived here.


miscarriage or abor....murder, let's let the local d.a./police department decide.
posted by geos at 3:24 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wichita Eagle: "Abortion foes fear backlash."

Where we learn that what they fear is that this will stifle the interrogation of Judge Sotamayor about her views on freedom of choice. Here's a choice nugget:

Said the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, an anti-abortion activist: "No one should use this tragedy for political gain."

Douche. Bag.
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:27 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:31 PM on May 31, 2009


.





Makes me wish I had more to donate. Oh well, every little bit counts.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 3:32 PM on May 31, 2009


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posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:33 PM on May 31, 2009


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posted by wrapper at 3:47 PM on May 31, 2009


President Obama's response.

Jesus, thanks for nothing, Mr. President. You might as well have told us to watch your drive after that.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 3:49 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thank you for sharing your story, headspace.

.
posted by Maisie at 3:51 PM on May 31, 2009


Jesus, thanks for nothing, Mr. President. You might as well have told us to watch your drive after that.
Huh?

What do you suggest that he say instead?
posted by Flunkie at 3:52 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


There should be an immediate directive: FIGHT DOMESTIC TERRORISM. And the anti-abortionists and assorted right-wing militia should be front and center of such investigations

It's a lot more complicated than that, unfortunately. The right wing has been arming itself at an alarming rate since Obama took office for fear that "he's going to take our guns away!"

Never mind that nothing could be further from the truth, but the truth never stopped the right. The Obama adminstration has to walk on eggshells around these issues because the right is crazy from being so thoroughly rebuked in November, irrational because they believe as gospel the hate speech and lies O'Reilly/Limbaugh/Beck are constantly spewing, and extremely well armed.
posted by MegoSteve at 3:53 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


The miscreant responsible for this slew a man who helped women who might have died from pregnancies that went wrong. And he did it in a way that killed a church. He slew a community. The people who went there will never be able to enter that church again, ever, without thinking, "A man was murdered right there. We walked over a place where his blood stained the rugs."

Of course, the shooter may have not thought he was dealing with a 'real church' and had no problems with the idea of destroying it.
posted by mephron at 3:53 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


People who think that abortion should be illegal think that way because they view the fetus to be a living being in and of itself. They can't think that the fetus is part of the pregnant woman because there could clearly be no law to prohibit the woman from having a medical procedure performed on herself. So they think that abortion is essentially the killing of a human being.

That is a pretty serious charge to make. I don't have the figure for abortions per year in the US, but it has to be well into the tens of thousands. If I believed that tens of thousands of innocent people were being murdered every year in my own country, I like to think that I would not stand aside and do nothing. I like to think that I would try to unleash holy hell on those doing the murdering to make it stop. That is really the most justifiable reason for people to kills someone: they are doing so out of self-defense or defense of others.

We find very few of these anti-abortion people actually going around and killing someone like we see in this case. And that is the reason I think that most anti-abortion people are full of shit. I don't believe that they think of abortion as murder at all. I think they view it as some sort of moral sexual sin. If they really viewed abortion as murder, then they ought to be trying to do something very drastic about it. But they are not. Instead they light candles and they put stickers on their cars. Again, if I thought someone was killing tens of thousands of innocent people in my country - my own town - then I like to think I would respond with some deadly force myself.

So the best thing I can say about the killer in this case is that he really believes what he says -- abortion is murder. Of course, if abortion is murder at all, then it must be pre-meditated murder. If it is pre-meditated murder, then every woman who has an abortion and every doctor who performs an abortion should be convicted of first degree murder. Not too many anti-abortion folks think that those women and doctors should be in prison for life. If the women and doctors shouldn't go to prison for life, then it clearly isn't murder. If it isn't murder, then a fetus clearly can't be a human life. And if a fetus isn't a human life, then it is time to leave women the fuck alone.
posted by flarbuse at 3:55 PM on May 31, 2009 [27 favorites]


Poll: More Americans Say They Are Pro-Life

I'd like to compare that Gallup poll with other data before accepting that there's been a sudden and dramatic 7-point increase in the number of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" over the past 12 months, during the same time the country elected its first black president in a sweeping turn away from the right.

That seems highly fucking questionable to me.
posted by mediareport at 3:58 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yep. It's the whole Bill Hicks thing again. We're so pro-life, so we're gonna kill you! Fucking fuck.

"If you're so pro-life, don't lock arms and block medical clinics, lock arms and block cemeteries. Let's see how committed you are to this premise."

Right on, Bill.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:59 PM on May 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


Oh, bullshit.

The most common number I've heard kicked around is 40,000,000 abortions since Roe v. Wade (though I've been hearing that number for over a decade). If that's true, then there have been three and a half Holocausts in the United States since 1973. So if abortion is murder, killing an abortion-providing doctor would be the equivalent of killing a concentration camp guard. The pro-lifers who condemn the killing of George Tiller very plainly do not believe that abortion is murder.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:00 PM on May 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


If I believed that tens of thousands of innocent people were being murdered every year in my own country, I like to think that I would not stand aside and do nothing.
If they believed that, they would believe that the doctor should be charged with murder, and the woman with, at the very least, accomplice to murder. But (obvious exception here aside) they don't.

Ask an "abortion is murder" zealot what they think the woman should be charged with, and they'll more often than not hem and haw, and say that they should be understood and comforted and prayed for, rather than be charged with any crime.

Again, there are obviously exceptions, as was so emphatically demonstrated today. But the vast base of support for the anti-choice movement is based on cognitive dissonance, not on actual belief that abortion is murder.
posted by Flunkie at 4:01 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


The pro-lifers who condemn the killing of George Tiller very plainly do not believe that abortion is murder.

By the same token, about upwards of 15% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage - a number that would increase exponentially if we knew how many miscarriages occurred in the first few weeks (before many women know they're pregnant). If pro-lifers truly believed that sacred life begins at conception, then they would have to interpret miscarriage as a greater threat to human life than cancer, heart disease, AIDS, whatever. If they really believed what they say they do, they would have to be funneling scads of money into supporting research into the causes of chromosomal abnormalities, PCOS, diabetes, etc - as all those (as risk factors for miscarriage) would have to be understood as severe threats to life. Obviously, they don't really believe this.
posted by arcticwoman at 4:09 PM on May 31, 2009 [17 favorites]


I'd like to compare that Gallup poll with other data before accepting that there's been a sudden and dramatic 7-point increase in the number of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" over the past 12 months, during the same time the country elected its first black president in a sweeping turn away from the right.

Any poll that asks "are you pro-life or pro-choice" is a stupid poll. I've noticed a trend lately of people saying they are "personally pro-life" but consistently vote Democratic because they want to protect a woman's right to choose. So if the question were "would you like to see women who receive abortions and the doctors who perform them criminally prosecuted?" then I'm guessing the answer would be no, no, no for over 70% of Americans.
posted by billysumday at 4:11 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I thought God frowned on murder. Confused now.
posted by futureisunwritten at 4:15 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


If they really believed what they say they do, they would have to be funneling scads of money into supporting research into the causes of chromosomal abnormalities, PCOS, diabetes, etc - as all those (as risk factors for miscarriage) would have to be understood as severe threats to life. Obviously, they don't really believe this.

They'd also support free contraception in schools, increased childhood social welfare benefits, national health and the money spent on the military being spent on education. Because all life is sacred, right?

Certainly there are those who show this consistency of belief, but they are a small and unfortunately not very vocal portion of the pro-life contingent.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:20 PM on May 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


As suggested upthread, my wife and I spent a week in Dr. Tiller's care after we learned our 21 week fetus had a severe defect incompatible with life. The laws in our state prevented us from ending the pregnancy there, and Dr. Tiller was one of maybe three choices in the whole nation at that gestational age.

My wife just called with the news of his murder, weeping.

I can't really come up with some profound political statement just now, so let me just list some memories of Dr. Tiller.

-I remember him firmly stating that he regarded the abortion debate in the US to be about the control of women's sexuality and reproduction.

-I remember he spent over six hours in one-on-one care with my wife when there was concern she had an infection. We're talking about a physician here. Six hours.

-He told the story of his previous shooting, where a woman shot him twice in both arms as he drove out of his clinic. At first he wanted to run her down with his Jeep, but then he thought "she shot you already George, she'll do it again!"

-I remember being puzzled about a T-shirt he was wearing, which said "Happy Birthday Jennifer from team Tiller!" or something similar. Turns out it comemmorated the birthday of a fifteen year old girl who was raped, became pregnant, and came to Tiller for an abortion. As luck would have it, she was in the clinic the same week as her birthday. So the clinic threw her a party.

-The walls of the clinic reception and waiting room are literally covered with letters from patients thanking him. Some were heartbreaking - obviously young and/or poorly educated people thanking Dr. Tiller for being there when they had no other options, explaining their family, church etc. had abandoned them.

-I remember my wife, foggy with sedation after the final procedure, being helped from the exam table. He had her sit up and put her arms around his neck, and then he lifted her into a wheelchair.

"You give good hugs" she whispered.

He paused just for a moment.

"You're just fine," he told her.




.
posted by werkzeuger at 4:28 PM on May 31, 2009 [493 favorites]


I've noticed a trend lately of people saying they are "personally pro-life" but consistently vote Democratic because they want to protect a woman's right to choose.

I find this absolutely maddening. Pro-life and pro-choice are fairly specific political camps, and it's extremely easy to find out which one you are. Ask yourself the following question: Who should decide whether or not a woman gets an abortion?

If your answer is "The woman", you're pro-choice.

If your answer is anything but "The woman", you're pro-life.

Simple as that. Whether you, personally, would have an abortion, or like abortion, or approve of it, is absolutely irrelevant. The fundamental question is who chooses?
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:34 PM on May 31, 2009 [73 favorites]


The thing that always gets me is the way in which these folks choose when and how they're going to "protect" life- where are they to take in foster kids? Where are they to shoot politicians who put us into illegal wars? Where are they to stop corporate heads who pour pollution into your air or water? Where are they to stop Minutemen from shooting people?

It's the fucking selectiveness of whose lives do or don't matter with these people...

And in the end, it tells you that they never gave a shit about life to begin with.


.
posted by yeloson at 4:35 PM on May 31, 2009 [10 favorites]


Oh man, werkzeuger. That really choked me up there. My heart goes out to you two.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:35 PM on May 31, 2009


I'd like to compare that Gallup poll with other data before accepting that there's been a sudden and dramatic 7-point increase in the number of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" over the past 12 months, during the same time the country elected its first black president in a sweeping turn away from the right.

A few months ago I got a phone call asking me to participate in a telephone poll. I don't remember the name of the group, but it was something innocuous-sounding that referenced American family or marriage or some such. The dude asked the normal introductory questions: age, whether I'm registered to vote, etc. I guess I passed those because then the poller got to his first question, which was whether I believe marriage should be between ONLY ONE man and ONLY ONE woman. As God is my witness, his intonations were such that it sounded like what he was really asking was whether I am against plural marriage and that was nearly the question I answered. After about half a second, I gathered my wits enough to connect the dots and realize that he was asking about same sex marriage, so I was fortunately able to answer that question. The point is that the way the question is worded and the way the pollster asks it can definitely skew the outcome of the poll. I'd be really interested in reading the actual poll questions that produced the result referenced above.
posted by Maisie at 4:38 PM on May 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


Whether you, personally, would have an abortion, or like abortion, or approve of it, is absolutely irrelevant. The fundamental question is who chooses?

I think the phrase "I personally am pro-life" is a rhetorical trick to begin with. No one's asking what you, personally, would do if pregnant. The terms pro-life and pro-choice refer to political policy. Other people. It was the sort of crap that drove my nuts about Ron Paul supporters. "Yes, he personally thinks abortion is akin to both slavery and the Holocaust, but he believes the states should decide."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:39 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Several years ago I read an article by a woman who had wanted to carry her pregnancy to term. The fetus died late in the pregnancy , was decomposing inside her and making her ill. The safest procedure should have been a dilation and extraction, but the fundies in her area had banned it, so she had to further compromise her health until she was able to find a doctor who could do this procedure.

This article ran in Ms.


Very few women who undergo D&X had not wanted to keep the baby.

I was at a cafeteria in Muncie two months ago listening to a table of fundies claim that stem cells were taken from the brains of fetuses who were the product of a D&X (and that Obama was a crypto-Muslim with a faked birth certificate). Having seen this movie I did not feel comfortable retorting that stem cells are taken from the fertilized eggs of women who have had the sense not to treat their uterus like a clown car, because I am a Jewish woman and was by myself at the time.

The directors were present at the screening I attended and did not respond to my question whether the subjects of their documentary were aware that the Nazis were anti-abortion.
posted by brujita at 4:40 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


"That, by the way, is a big part of why there's very little message discipline or cohesion in the currently dominant Democratic Party: by taking in whatever the GOP discards rather than vetting for ideology, the Dems have become not the liberal party, but the party of Not-The-GOP."

Not exactly. Obama's trying to thread the needle, but he's not courting the right's ideology for the Democratic Party. Arlen Specter switched, but he's doing some political jujitsu with his former party, and the Democrats are OK with him voting his conscience and getting another tick on their numbers. The malleable middle is just over to the left side now. But this is the way it's done. And in any event, Obama didn't try to be like Kucinich but he also didn't try to be like Clinton, who promoted a soft conservatism packaged as middle age, baby boomer liberalism. I get frustrated with Obama's need to act as Solomon and let the middle answer arise from the dichotomy of views, but he does have a vision which is not about compromising so much as organizing a viable and compelling movement to create the desire for what the best of the modern Democratic Party has to offer and point the way to it, namely civil rights and liberties, social justice, egalitarian economic opportunity and international relations founded on the strength which comes from being a leader in human progress rather than by regressing to simplistic dominant behavior and Machiavellian games. After all, he was a community organizer and ran his campaign like that, and getting grassroots desire to become the engine will create much more lasting changes than top-down policy dictates.

This is why he's still compelling to me, because I know this vision is really part of him, not just something he made up on the campaign trail, and the details speak of something that's not a Quixotic struggle but rather a sensible and beneficial goal, and it's easy to see the way there if we can clear out all the nonsense which dominates so much of our political conversation and get down to reality. So many major issues have come up in serious ways within the mainstream since Obama's election, not just as fodder for pundits - I never really saw that with Clinton, though everyone liked him. His campaign speech is something he's been refining as a general political theme his whole professional life. This is the life story which shapes him as much as GWB's born-again conversion shaped his governance. But he's being diplomatic with the opposition here in the US as well as with other nations, which he said he'd do all along. It's frustrating, but I understand it (not so much his compromises on civil liberties, but we'll see how it goes). You can gain a lot of ground and make a lot of meaningful progress by appealing to people's higher nature rather than bulldozing the opposition (which tends to create a permanent political cause for them), if the time is ripe for it, and I think the election shows it is. He has forcefully defended his SCOTUS nomination of Sotomayor by calling out the opposition's noise. All they have is regurgitated arguments which don't stick to her at all, and the few remaining influential moderates in the Republican Party are saying the same thing. For better or worse, it's not really Obama's style to win every battle but rather the larger war, but they're ginning up a false controversy with her, and it's not really working. The SCOTUS nominee for either party is a major issue for activists on either side of the abortion debate. His defense of her says a lot about what policy he intends to reflect with his decisions, but he can do it by defending her stellar record and dismissing the attacks rather than trying to legitimize them by getting on one rhetorical side of the endless battle. It's easier and better to defend her rather than to get into the debate the Republicans really want, because nobody wins which means the Democrats lose, as the Republicans have nothing to lose at this point. And that's what this game is about, as they have some fundraisers just underway.

I don't know if Obama's vision will get any traction, but he won his campaign on his vision and not so much on pandering to any group. The people who support the pro-life movement are not in lockstep on every issue with the Republicans, and it's not really gaining influence at this point as a whole. Of course the issue is very important, but it's become a political football for both parties for a while now, which makes the whole climate surrounding it much more charged and difficult to navigate. It's problematic when the issue gets tied into the larger political conversation on religious grounds, because it instantly polarizes and offers little room to work towards solutions people think are worthwhile. That's why Democrats struggle with the pro-choice movement, though the party generally supports it. If we can get past the emotional side of it, then there may be room to talk about it as a health issue. The sensible debate occurs when we talk about what abortion means to everyone, not just a narrow view about how it offends someone's religious sensibilities, because getting involved in that is getting way out in the weeds and never goes anywhere. It's all about framing, and I can see how Obama is careful to speak of the issue in a way which doesn't sound like an attack on anyone's beliefs. And it's not so much to accommodate any view but rather to get the conversation away from it, because nobody ever wins that debate. He doesn't gain anything by attacking them but offer them a more determined resistance with a victim story. The assassin absolutely should go to prison, but Obama would do well not to make it an opportunity to castigate the opposition's view, as that gets him into the same old unwinnable argument, and in his statement he's careful to condemn the perpetrator while not stirring up his own firestorm. Getting his SCOTUS nominee in without getting dragged into ugly debates will make the Democrats look that much better when everyone can see that she's actually a highly qualified candidate, and that the arguments against are irrational and overplayed, and that's a better outcome for pro-choice rather than trying to butt heads and come out bleeding. And I do believe that appealing to our worst nature will also bring out the worst in the opposition, which means more "pro-life" vigilantes and less real progress. But the pro-life movement only has as much power as it does because of the relationship it has with the Republicans. And it's better to expose them by letting them flail and flounder and take the higher road, because right now people are looking for adults to lead the way past the pointless hot-button debates which always distract us, not right back in the sandbox in the playground.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:41 PM on May 31, 2009 [8 favorites]


I also threw some money at Planned Parenthood of Kansas, seems like the very least I can do.
posted by maxwelton at 4:47 PM on May 31, 2009


I tried to give to PP of Kansas, but I couldn't see that their donation page accepted money from outside the US. So instead I made my donation to The International Planned Parenthood Federation. Other furriners may want to do the same.
posted by web-goddess at 5:02 PM on May 31, 2009


Gave some dollars to the national Planned Parenthood. I hope they are overwhelmed with donations.

I remember how angry I was when Dr Barnet Slepian was murdered in 1998, and since then had been naive enough to think of that as 'the bad old days' of anti-choice violence. Seems like they are back, if indeed they ever left at all.

I am glad I am American, that I've been privileged to be born and raised here. But days like this I really wonder... WTF is wrong with us?

And someone remind me why ELF blowing up an SUV is terrorism, but this isn't?

.
posted by wowbobwow at 5:08 PM on May 31, 2009


I guess we're going to find out PDQ whether your new Administration is pro- or anti-terrorism.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:09 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Pro-life and pro-choice are fairly specific political camps, and it's extremely easy to find out which one you are. Ask yourself the following question: Who should decide whether or not a woman gets an abortion?

If your answer is "The woman", you're pro-choice.

If your answer is anything but "The woman", you're pro-life.

Simple as that. Whether you, personally, would have an abortion, or like abortion, or approve of it, is absolutely irrelevant. The fundamental question is who chooses?


Dude, you actually prove my point perfectly. Pro-life and pro-choice are phrases that can easily become abstract and co-opted. The important thing is not how people are labeled, but what they believe. My point is that the little pop quiz you believe people should give themselves is precisely the question that pollsters should be asking those they are polling. Otherwise, I don't give much credence to how people define themselves.

Don't tell me whether you consider yourself pro-life or pro-choice. Instead, tell me: do you believe women should choose what happens to their bodies? Tell me: do you think doctors who perform abortions should be criminally prosecuted?
posted by billysumday at 5:11 PM on May 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


I think we agree perfectly, billy.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:16 PM on May 31, 2009


I agree that it's frustrating. But I'm more frustrated with how the media breathlessly reports "US now more pro-life!" without diving into what people actually you know, believe.
posted by billysumday at 5:18 PM on May 31, 2009


The only moral abortion is my abortion. (Previously.)
posted by zinfandel at 5:21 PM on May 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


Caduceus: "What is it about U.S. conservatism that draws all the violent lunatics that way?"

My guess, such as it is: America is, compared to the rest of the world overall, fairly biased to the Right - the Left there, such as it is, would be considered the Centre in many other places. Because of this, the far-Left in the US can at least look and see that their ideal world exists elsewhere. Maybe even emigrate - if worst comes to worst, they could move to Canada, Sweden, Denmark (although the whole Church-State thing there grates a bit, it's semi-optional), or even bits of England, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, etc. Even the furthest-Left, true socialists/anarchists who want the downfall of the current paradigm, can dream of finding a nice little socialist/anarchist enclave to await/work towards their Utopia in some of those places.

No such escape exists for the far Right. The closest they can see in the rest of the world are examples of non-Christian fundamentalism, and for their whole lifetime every bit of education, indoctrination, and propaganda has taught them that such cases are Teh Evilz, composed entirely of t'rrists who Want To Hurt America. That fact that they're usually not even capitalists hurts even more, given the peculiar alignment between Capitalism and the Right in the US.

So, unable to dream of what they want existing elsewhere, they align themselves with the closest thing available at home - the far Right of the Conservatives - and start taking matters into their own hands.
posted by Pinback at 5:25 PM on May 31, 2009 [12 favorites]


.
posted by effwerd at 5:25 PM on May 31, 2009


I guess we're going to find out PDQ whether your new Administration is pro- or anti-terrorism.

Because this is a perfect example of a cut and dried issue to map onto those two options.
posted by jessamyn at 5:27 PM on May 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


I think the phrase "I personally am pro-life" is a rhetorical trick to begin with. No one's asking what you, personally, would do if pregnant. The terms pro-life and pro-choice refer to political policy.

Unfortunately, these terms are not well defined and are political - in addition to not being mutually exclusion. My mother, for instance, is anti-abortion. She doesn't like abortions, thinks they should be as rare as possible. She's "pro-life." But she's also "pro-choice," because she doesn't believe that law controlling women is the way to reduce the number of abortions - she believes that sexual health education, family support law, and a more together society in general are the ways to do it.

Whenever these arguments begin to happen, it can be very helpful to sweep the floor clean of the labels "pro-choice" and "pro-life" and talk about "legal abortion" or "abortion rights" as opposed to "illegal abortion" and "restrictions on abortion rights." Both the phrases "pro-choice" and "pro-life" were evolved in reaction to an opposing ideology, and they're talking about two different issues: one is the legality of abortion, and the other is the conviction that pregnancies, once begun, should be carried to term as often as possible. These actually aren't mutually exclusive: you can be pro-choice and pro-life. We might find that confusing and inconvenient - but there is not a wide, general understanding of these phrases in specific terms, because they aren't specific. They're banners under which groups identify - but within those groups, there are many complex shades of meaning, and intention.

It can be inconvenient to ask people "What do you really mean? What do you really believe? Do you think abortions are ever acceptable? Do you believe in a complete ban, or some other strategy?"

But amazingly, you learn a whole lot when you do that that poll numbers can't actually express.
posted by Miko at 5:30 PM on May 31, 2009 [10 favorites]


That might've seemed true in 1993, but over the last decade and a half, the extreme right has worked very, very hard to push everybody insufficiently extreme out of the GOP.

That's not exactly true.

For one thing, the Freepers in '93 would be in militias (and a number of them were). And again, Oklahoma City pretty much put an end to that era of the militias, sending them scurrying back into the dark, occasionally popping up to throw out some conspiracy theory about the Murrah building bombing being done by the government.

If you look at the leadership in the GOP post-'93, only a handful had any allegiance or affinity towards the militias. Yeah, you had a cadre of Southern reps who were Birchers, but you look up and down that leadership and you see a lot of relatively conservative but non-conspiratorial people. Even now, the Bachmanns and the Inhofes are outliers. And again, the Freepers are libertarians for the most part.

Let me offer you an alternative theory here. The GOP rode the Christian Right into power, but they were always going with a carrot-and-stick approach. Tell them if the GOP is in power they'll ban abortion, warn them that there will be abortion kiosks on every corner if the Dems get power. And then what happens when they got power? Very little. Mexico City declaration, sure. Fight over family planning money, of course. Ban abortion? Well... that hasn't happened yet, has it?

But why not? Why didn't it happen? Because, at least until the emergence of the gay marriage movement in the early 2000s, it was about the only carrot that the GOP had they could reliably use to drive that electorate forward.

With Dubya, though, you saw the Christian Right start to buck their masters. McCain, despite being the "maverick" in 2000, was far more in keeping with the classical roots of the GOP intelligentsia -- pro-business, libertarian on (most) social issues, publicly pro-life. Dubya, to the Christian Right, was One Of Them. And the neo-cons in the GOP realized they could take control of power if they grabbed the reins of the Christian Right, and putting a "Christian President" in office was the way to go.

And it worked great. Until Katrina.

What you saw in 2006 was, yes, the Blue Dogs taking seats from the GOP. But the reality is that the Christian Right and the neo-cons had proven they couldn't rule post-2003. So the moderates, who by nature are basically Blue Dogs in this country, left the GOP. And then Obama was elected and the party collapsed into the three factions it's in now (Paulites, Religious Conservatives, Security Conservatives).

So, where are the Freepers in all of this? They're strewn between all three groups, but they're really just one voice in a cacophony of chaos. Some, yes, seem to be heading back into militias (and I'd expect with the run-up to the 2012 millennialism there will be a few more joining them). But right now they're as disorganized as the GOP proper.

That, by the way, is a big part of why there's very little message discipline or cohesion in the currently dominant Democratic Party: by taking in whatever the GOP discards rather than vetting for ideology, the Dems have become not the liberal party, but the party of Not-The-GOP.

Um, where have you been the last 100 years exactly? The Democrats have NEVER had message discipline. Ever. You had The Solid South and the unions vs. what we now call big-city liberals fighting at every political convention. Heck, the Dems held both houses of Congress themselves in 1977... and spent four years fighting with President Carter and each other, setting the table for the Reagan Revolution to come.

The one thing the GOP figured out that the Dems never did was message discipline. That the GOP has lost it now isn't a surprise, since they had eventually were going to crumble into the pieces they're now in (precipitated, by the way, in their four years of holding the presidency and both houses). My biggest fear is that the Dems are going to crumble into internal bickering from all the crossing messages, but at the same time I'm sensing that Pelosi and Reid are actually pretty weak and that Obama is in a good position to dictate the message if he can manage to leash both of them.
posted by dw at 5:32 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can't believe he was frakin' murdered in the church itself. That's beyond the pale.

I truly, deeply despise the term "pro-life" and I wish y'all would quit using it around here. Pretty much everyone is pro-life; pretty much everyone is against the use of abortion as a primary means of birth control.

What we actually have is "pro-life and pro-choice" and "pro-life and anti-choice." Or as I like to call them "sane" and "batshitinsane."

The best thing US citizens could do for themselves this next few years is speak up against religious rule. All you agnostic sorts and all you special-event churchgoers who call themselves Christian because you can't think of a better description are going to deeply regret allowing the religionists to shift the public perception of America's religiousity toward the extreme.

The long-term future of the USA is, I think, bifurcation: the coasts and the mid-West are likely to become much more Canadian/European in their politics and social norms; and the south of Dixon-Mason is going to become the Christian equivalent of Iran.

Cut yourselves off from those fucking losers already, man. They're going to destroy you otherwise.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:36 PM on May 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


I'd like to compare that Gallup poll with other data before accepting that there's been a sudden and dramatic 7-point increase in the number of Americans calling themselves "pro-life" over the past 12 months, during the same time the country elected its first black president in a sweeping turn away from the right.

There's no trend. There's a post over at the Monkey Cage about the issue, IIRC by Andrew Gelman.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:43 PM on May 31, 2009


I guess we're going to find out PDQ whether your new Administration is pro- or anti-terrorism.
Because this is a perfect example of a cut and dried issue to map onto those two options.


Yes, pretty much. There are domestic terrorists in the USA who are inciting, facilitating, and supporting this sort of evil act so as to have their way. They are using terroristic methods to attempt to have their will forced upon the nation.

I can't imagine it gets much more cut and dried than that.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:44 PM on May 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


Sigh. I must be a masochist, but I decided to see what the commenters at Redstate and Free Republic had to say about this.

They're already bleating about how this will be "used against them."

How narcissistic can you be? Someone is murdered - assassinated, really. And all you can think about is how it will affect you.
posted by lunasol at 5:49 PM on May 31, 2009


I can't imagine it gets much more cut and dried than that.

That explains a lot, actually.

- First of all, there's definitely the nuance of domestic vs "from away" terrorists, that's one.
- There's the "hey is murdering one guy really terrorism?" [*I* understand it's sort of a terror campaign, but it's really really slow motion] as opposed to, say, intimidation. Are they trying to terrorize America, or the people they don't like [i.e. are they doing this to change policy or are they doing this to make abortion docs afraid]
- Do they admit they are doing this? That they are terrorists or even trying to do what you say they are doing (I do not argue that they are doing this, but it's much much easier to prosecute people who claim responsibility for their organized actions)? No, they do not.

What is Obama supposed to do -- in this world you inhabit where all Americans have to do is work very hard and we'll live in the sort of just and righteous country that we want to, otherwise it is each of our individual faults that we don't live there -- to combat this sort of terrorism effectively? Declare war on pro-lifers [tricksy because of what people are saying above]? Declare Operation Rescue a terrorist group? Legislate that murder is against the law? Create Hate Crime legislation that makes murdering doctors even more bad than regular murder?

There are decent people in all parts of the US and your oversimplifications and angry rants about how you think things should go in the US are not particularly helpful and are more likely making people discount what you are saying (do you really think that MeFites from the US South are losers?) than actually constructively helping people solve problems. I understand that you are angry and frustrated. I am also very angry and frustrated. But if everyone feels that this is a "love it or leave it" proposition and they LEAVE, that doesn't solve problems either. Having a reason to stay, having hope that things are on the upswing and not the downswing is what a lot of us are working on. I am tired of your anti-US ranting and being implicated in your "USA Sucks" negativity.
posted by jessamyn at 5:55 PM on May 31, 2009 [56 favorites]


Pro-life and pro-choice are fairly specific political camps, and it's extremely easy to find out which one you are. Ask yourself the following question: Who should decide whether or not a woman gets an abortion?

But there isn't any term for someone who holds the believe "I think abortion should be made legal, but I personally believe that it is a moral wrong to seek one." Getting frustrated and annoyed when people try to use the only language we have ("pro-life" or "pro-choice") to offer a more nuanced and (in my opinion) sound viewpoint is only going to help keep the debate about two insanely polarized extremes ("Either you think that abortion is sin and wrong and murder and should be illegal from the moment of conception or you think that even a fetus at 9-months should be killed whenever the heck one feels like it!").

So, unless someone can offer some new words that can help get across the moderate viewpoints that people are trying to express by saying things like "personally pro-life," then it is a better idea to applaud their attempt to carve out non-extreme viewpoints than to argue that the term is being used inappropriately.
posted by Ms. Saint at 6:03 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Pro-life and pro-choice are phrases that can easily become abstract and co-opted.
Exactly right. The choice movement has done a terrible job controlling the lexicon of this debate. Allowing the anti-choice community frame "pro-choice" as effectively "anti-life" or "pro-abortion" means that, until we can control the lexicon, we're going to lose the PR battle. I suggest that, in addition to writing/calling our politicians, we volunteer at clinics as friendly faces and escorts and additionally make every attempt to find language that better communicates the goals of pro-choice policy.

Wouldn't it be a beautiful sight if Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics had to turn away large numbers of volunteers who were interested in protecting the women who made the reproductive choices that were best for them?

By the way, I say this as someone who is currently in medical school, comprehending a future in reproductive healthcare (yes, including abortion), and has worked as a lobbyist and an organizer for a faith-based reproductive choice organization. (We might be religious, but we're not all nutbags.)
posted by honeybee413 at 6:05 PM on May 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


The best thing US citizens could do for themselves ...

...is ignore loud mouthed Canadians who constantly want to tell us what to do but still have Steve Harper as their Prime Minster. How about you focus on getting your country back in order before worrying about ours, m'kay?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:11 PM on May 31, 2009 [22 favorites]


Fucking Christian nutjobs can't even obey their own god.

Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. --Romans 12:19

When they persisted in questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let the person among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." --John 8:7

You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. --Matthew 5:43-48
posted by Talez at 6:19 PM on May 31, 2009 [15 favorites]


The long-term future of the USA is, I think, bifurcation: the coasts and the mid-West are likely to become much more Canadian/European in their politics and social norms; and the south of Dixon-Mason is going to become the Christian equivalent of Iran.

Cut yourselves off from those fucking losers already, man. They're going to destroy you otherwise.


James Charles Kopp killed a doctor who performed abortions in New York a few years ago, as well as a doctor in Canada. Kopp was also from Pasadena, California -- one of the areas that's acceptable to you, and not filled with fucking losers who ought to be cut off.

Strange how all areas of the US all have different kinds of people and politics.
posted by lullaby at 6:30 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


How about you focus on getting your country back in order before worrying about ours, m'kay?

Yeah! They're batshit insane fundamentalists, but -what the hell- they're OUR batshit insane fundamentalists! But then, I'm from a country that managed to elect that [words fail] that is Berlusconi for the third time, so what do I know?
posted by _dario at 6:32 PM on May 31, 2009


Wouldn't it be a beautiful sight if Planned Parenthood and abortion clinics had to turn away large numbers of volunteers who were interested in protecting the women who made the reproductive choices that were best for them?

I used to do this. I escorted women from the parking lot to the doors of the clinic. I physically put myself between them and the antis. I spoke to the women and tried to get them to look me in the eye, so their focus for those 5 steps would be on something other than some lunatic calling them a murderer. I smiled, and tried to be, maybe, the first compassionate face they'd see.

But I had to stop. The antis got to me, I admit. They took pictures of my car and license plate, and then would call me by my name the next time. They took pictures of me, and I have no doubt that my picture is posted somewhere on some nutjob's site. I was afraid for myself, and my family.

The woman who organized our band of volunteers eventually gave it up too. She just couldn't get enough people to do it.

It's great that folks are giving money, and I certainly will. But another real need is, as always, that grassroots, somebody's-got-to-do-it, and it-might-as-well-be-me effort down in the trenches, standing in the dark at 6:30 on a cold winter morning, hoping this isn't the day that a lunatic with a gun decides this is The Day.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 6:33 PM on May 31, 2009 [16 favorites]


God damn it!

I lived in Wichita from 2000-2004. I worked in the medical staff office at the hospital that was the back-up facility for Dr. Tiller. The 10th anniversary of some big anti-abortion rally (in 1991) happened then, and they picketed our hospital as well as his office. The pro-choicers were out in force, and the anti-abortion protesters failed to prevent anyone from getting care at his clinic. (Our hospital was fine, too. Our security guards mostly kept them off campus and away from patients.)

One of my colleagues at that time had had a late-term abortion at Dr. Tiller's clinic. She had a planned, very wanted pregnancy. At her first routine ultrasound, she found that the fetus had severe abnormalities and would not survive. She and her husband were heartbroken. She was deeply religious, but decided to terminate the pregnancy in part to protect her own health and reproductive capacity and in part to end the likely suffering of the child. She had nothing but the highest praise for Dr. Tiller and his staff. She felt supported and cared for throughout the process.

Despite the fact that she had done nothing wrong, she was very careful who she shared this experience with - so many people in Wichita ready to bring the judgment.

.
posted by jeoc at 6:38 PM on May 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


What is Obama supposed to do -- in this world you inhabit where all Americans have to do is work very hard and we'll live in the sort of just and righteous country that we want to, otherwise it is each of our individual faults that we don't live there -- to combat this sort of terrorism effectively?

the FBI knows exactly how to deal with violent radical political groups... the question is whether there is the political will to decide that Operation Rescue is a violent radical organization. it's not even about whether OR is a 'terrorist' organization, but whether it serves as a nexus for conspiracies to commit violent crimes.

they have suspect in custody, we will know if Obama has the will to make this assassination have consequences for those organizations that supported it either ideologically or materially by whether the murderer is just another lone nut or whether there is a serious conspiracy investigation, if not trial.
posted by geos at 6:39 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by limeonaire at 6:47 PM on May 31, 2009


The freerepublic.com response.

/pukes.
posted by Ratio at 6:49 PM on May 31, 2009


It can be inconvenient to ask people "What do you really mean? What do you really believe? Do you think abortions are ever acceptable? Do you believe in a complete ban, or some other strategy?"

But amazingly, you learn a whole lot when you do that that poll numbers can't actually express.


Actually, poll numbers often deal in exactly those questions. It's common to give the respondent an array of positions and ask which is closest to their opinion. IIRC, you can pull down the cumulative ANES for free and look for yourself.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:54 PM on May 31, 2009


Unfortunately, these terms are not well defined and are political - in addition to not being mutually exclusion. My mother, for instance, is anti-abortion.

Who's pro-abortion, besides Jim Goad? No one likes abortions. The difference is pretty simple: a pro-choice person believes, regardless of their own personal feelings about abortion itself, that ultimately it's a decision that a woman must make and no one else. "Pro-life" people believe in restriction of this right to varying degrees. The "except for cases of rape, incest, and/or if it endagers the life of the mother" was sort of haphazardly tossed in there in the 80s to feign some sort of "moderate" stance on a woman's right to decide what she can do with her own body. The "moderate" exceptionalism and the hardline anti-choice camps both believe the same thing - that a fetus is a human life and a woman does not have the full right to decide what she does with it.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:59 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


your oversimplifications and angry rants ... are more likely making people discount what you are saying

On the positive, it provides the grounds for a game I play with myself sometimes. If there's a particularly FFF-baity thread, I ask myself when he'll first scold and what form his scolding will take. If I get the wording really close, I go to Dairy Queen or make myself a nice bowl of cereal or get a beer or something.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:01 PM on May 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


Cut yourselves off from those fucking losers already, man. They're going to destroy you otherwise.

I'd tell you to go fuck yourself, but the fact that you actually think the midwest is going to go more "European" in its social norms is pretty much broadcasting that you don't have a clue what the fuck you're talking about anyway when it comes to regional US culture, so it'd be wasted breath.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:02 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


.
posted by PsychoKick at 7:04 PM on May 31, 2009


.
posted by hydropsyche at 7:04 PM on May 31, 2009


Do we actually know anything about the background of the man who did this yet?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:15 PM on May 31, 2009


But there isn't any term for someone who holds the believe "I think abortion should be made legal, but I personally believe that it is a moral wrong to seek one."

Only the first part really matters to anyone but you and yours.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:16 PM on May 31, 2009


.
posted by defenestration at 7:16 PM on May 31, 2009


Er, the first part only matters to you and yours, I mean.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:16 PM on May 31, 2009


St. Alia of the Bunnies: "Do we actually know anything about the background of the man who did this yet?"

Suspect Identified in Tiller Assassination
posted by defenestration at 7:17 PM on May 31, 2009


What is Obama supposed to do -- in this world you inhabit where all Americans have to do is work very hard and we'll live in the sort of just and righteous country that we want to, otherwise it is each of our individual faults that we don't live there -- to combat this sort of terrorism effectively?

For starters, he could make a strong statement instead of the piss-poor excuse for a soundbite he used.

He could then follow up by ensuring that there is one helluva comprehensive investigation into every group of three or more with which the perp associated. This isn't a lone nutball: he had a support group that helped turn him into a lunatic who will murder for his cause. I strongly suspect that more than one person should be heading to jail for this murder.

I am tired of your anti-US ranting and being implicated in your "USA Sucks" negativity.

I am tired of the USA being the most dangerous, misguided, fucked-up country in the first world. Nice people and I like many of them on a personal level, but the nation itself is a godawful global citizen.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:18 PM on May 31, 2009 [8 favorites]


.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:19 PM on May 31, 2009


For starters, he could make a strong statement instead of the piss-poor excuse for a soundbite he used.

Oh? I thought what he said was very good. If you had to write his statement, what would it say?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:21 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


What is Obama supposed to do

The man who killed this Doctor didn't wake up one day and decide to go do it out of the blue. He was encouraged, persuaded or brainwashed into becoming a murderer. This was a political act as much as an act of passion - it serves a political goal, no matter how much organisations like Operation Rescue wring their hands and claim 'oh no, you weren't meant to kill him!'.

There should be investigations by the police into the people he associated with, was driven by and found if they knew what he was planning, or even assisted him. Those who helped him and encouraged him to do this should be prosecuted and put behind bars, same as the killer.

If someone blows up a train, you don't just go after the bomber, you go after those who trained him, financed him and helped him to do it. That's exactly what should happen in this case to see who exactly was also involved. There are plenty of decent people in the US, in every state, of every faith and every political standing. Dr Tiller was one of them, and this crime against him is a crime against all decent people. It's about time the decent people worked together to go after those who didn't pull the trigger, but did their level best to find and encourage someone who would.
posted by ArkhanJG at 7:21 PM on May 31, 2009 [12 favorites]


Does anyone here actually discount reasoned arguments based solely on their tone, or is that the inane canard it looks like?
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:23 PM on May 31, 2009


Murdered abortion providers and clinic employees: George Tiller (2009), Barnett Slepian (1998), Robert Sanderson (security) (1998), Shannon Lowney (staff) (1994), Leanne Nichols (staff) (1994), John Britton (1994), James Barrett (escort) (1994), David Gunn (1993), George Patterson (1993).

The 1994 enactment of the federal FACE law (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) coincided in time with a ten year hiatus in doctor and clinic employee killings.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:24 PM on May 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


Via TPM, a statement by Attorney General Holder:
"The murder of Doctor George Tiller is an abhorrent act of violence, and his family is in our thoughts and prayers at this tragic moment. Federal law enforcement is coordinating with local law enforcement officials in Kansas on the investigation of this crime, and I have directed the United States Marshals Service to offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation. The Department of Justice will work to bring the perpetrator of this crime to justice. As a precautionary measure, we will also take appropriate steps to help prevent any related acts of violence from occurring."
posted by maudlin at 7:24 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


TPS: Obama could have cribbed from Holder. That was a much, much better statement than Obama's.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:27 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Can we please send the abortion issue back to the states and effectively call the Pro-Lifers' bluff? Can we ask them, specifically, what the punishment should be for a woman that has an abortion? Jall? Genital mutilation? Public flogging?

Sure, some states will forever be a part of Conservative Dumbfuckistan, but the majority of Americans support access to quality health-care, which includes contraception and abortion.
posted by bardic at 7:29 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


From the Kos link above: So a bombmaker, tax protester, member of the "sovereignity" movement, anti-abortion zealot and Operation Rescue member: the arrested suspect manages to fit every stereotype of right-wing militia teabagger.

Hopefully there will be a full investigation into all the ways there could and probably was be an organized conspiracy behind this assassination.
posted by Rumple at 7:32 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


bardic, are you saying that we should let millions of women suffer? For what purpose? I don't get it.
posted by kathrineg at 7:35 PM on May 31, 2009


Does anyone here actually discount reasoned arguments based solely on their tone, or is that the inane canard it looks like?

If on the one hand you're like "Obama has some stuff to do here" and on the other you're calling the US South the "Christian equivalent of Iran", it's not so much as I'd discount your first statement (since I do agree with it) as I wouldn't particularly want to talk to you at all.

So, I guess it depends what you want to accomplish. I feel that if it's change you're after, you have some incentive to not come across looking like a total crank, or at the very least not offending the very people you're trying to have a discussion with.

I think it's oversimplification to say that is purely a "tone" issue. I think it's also likely that many people have different feelings about the issue. However, for me personally it's not an "inane canard", it's totally true. The world is full of messages and people wanting to say things that we sort all sorts of ways and prioritize our responses to. I think the chance that someone being nasty and unpleasant is also my only chance to get to read whatever the reasoned argument they are presenting is zero. So, I discount them accordingly and wait to talk to someone who wants to, you know, have a discussion.
posted by jessamyn at 7:38 PM on May 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


One wouldn't want to be nasty and unpleasant about the sort of people who murder good-hearted doctors who have made a world of difference to women who have had to make one of the most difficult decisions possible. Gosh, no.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:42 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


As luck would have it, she was in the clinic the same week as her birthday. So the clinic threw her a party.

This man truly was a brave one. Not only did he perform these procedures under constant danger of violence, but even threw a party.

That had to be the strangest gig any party clown ever had.
posted by dr_dank at 7:44 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


.
posted by Sargas at 7:45 PM on May 31, 2009


One wouldn't want to be nasty and unpleasant about the sort of people who murder good-hearted doctors

Right, because living in Kansas means you are this sort of person.

If this thread has taught anyone anything, it's that there are a lot of people doing good works in Kansas who need more support than ever and your vitriol can't differentiate the haters from the helpers.
posted by jessamyn at 7:45 PM on May 31, 2009 [18 favorites]


But amazingly, you learn a whole lot when you do that that poll numbers can't actually express.

Actually, poll numbers often deal in exactly those questions.


As a veteran of these trenches for more than 25 yearsI am aware of that, but is that what you hear/see reported to most of the public, in the mass media - what questions were actually asked? Not usually. We usually hear a percentage number and how that's aligned with "pro-life" or "pro-choice" and how this represents a shift, then hear some discussion about possible reasons for the shift. We are usually not hearing the questions themselves, or much about the sampling method. Sometimes the information is there, but requires people to dig deeper than most will. What I was trying to do in my statement was encourage people, as you did, to find out what was actually asked and what views were actually expressed - both in polls, and in your own life. Just throwing out there "the majority are pro-life! Wait, now they're pro-choice! Wait, now they're pro-life!" is not really an accurate reflection of what's really going on. Most people's views don't shift dramatically. The social/legal climate, polling organization, question, and methods do, though.

Who's pro-abortion, besides Jim Goad? No one likes abortions.


I don't know, I hate this being an assumption too. I wouldn't say I'm "pro" abortion to the degree that I think they're great and everyone ought to have one - but, at least in the first trimester, I think they're darned ethically neutral. They're on a par with the high number of natural miscarriages and post-conception birth control methods that already occur; I think we have to consider all of those from an equivalent moral standpoint, and to me that means they are in no way in the area of "crime," "wrong," or "tragedy." Even as pregnancies progress, I always feel that the woman's rights are greater than any putative rights of the fetus. Abortion can be sad, difficult, wrenching, regrettable, but I don't like being required to feel as though I believe abortion is always a terrible moral negative. I don't want to be required to state that I hate it. If I did feel that way, I'd be much more conflicted about legal abortion - and I'm really not conflicted. We have very inconsistent attitudes toward the value of life in this country. I wouldn't say I'm "pro" abortion in general, but I'm very much "pro" the idea that sometimes it's the right thing to do, and can and should be done without compunction.

An unpopular view, perhaps, but a realistic and supported one, according to my worldview. My mother and I have different views on this. She's more anti-abortion (it's almost always wrong) than I am (it's not wrong, but can be ethically complicated).Personally, I am in favor of drastically reducing abortion through simple practical means - and not because I think abortion is a heinous crime, but because I think it's a very ineffective use of resources to solve a problem - the problem of unwanted pregnancy. We can prevent unwanted pregnancy much more cheaply, widely, effectively, and much less invasively than by using abortion - so we should. The later the abortion, the more complicated and riskier it is, and the greater the likelihood that a baby would be born if not interfered with - something that presents a sliding moral scale, with which many people are quite uncomfortable. My view on the whole thing is purely pragmatic.

Now, personally, there can of course be many more complicating emotions and personal situations that make this a non-cold-blooded issue. But that's the realm of the personal - where I feel we don't belong for one another. I think it's possible to have the debate without having to put on a demonstration of hating abortion. I don't hate it. It happens. I'm glad it exists. Societies where it doesn't exist create worlds of misery. It would be a social good to avoid the expense and difficulty of having to have them - but we don't have that system in place yet.

Again, just speaking up for the idea that there's a lot more shifting middle ground than two polarized numbers suggest.
posted by Miko at 7:45 PM on May 31, 2009 [22 favorites]


.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:50 PM on May 31, 2009


In case this hasn't been posted here yet, Kansas Stories.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:50 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hopefully there will be a full investigation into all the ways there could and probably was be an organized conspiracy behind this assassination.
I think the problem is that it probably wasn't an organized conspiracy. What happens here is that "mainstream," "peaceful" groups like Operation Rescue publish the names, pictures, and addresses of abortion providers, claiming that they intend these details to be used for non-violent forms of harassment but knowing full well that there are nutcases out there who feel entitled to use the information to commit acts of violence. They can easily distance themselves from the violence when it happens, but they also rely on the threat of violence to intimidate potential abortion providers. It works out great for people like Operation Rescue. They distance themselves from the lone violent gunmen while relying on and benefiting from their violence.

I don't have a problem with people who claim to be personally pro-life but want abortion to remain legal. And I think people are entitled to work to outlaw abortion, although I think their position is terribly wrong on several levels. But as far as I'm concerned anyone who promotes "peaceful" harassment of abortion providers is culpable for things like this, and I'd be in favor of prosecuting them if there's a way to do it. They know exactly what they're doing.
posted by craichead at 7:51 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


This diary posted on Kos, which talks about the author's personal experience with Dr. Tiller, like jeoc's post above is absolutely heartbreaking.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:52 PM on May 31, 2009


I am tired of the USA being the most dangerous, misguided, fucked-up country in the first world.

I'm tired of you using this sentiment as an excuse to act like a complete jackass.

America's actions these last few years have been especially abhorrent, I agree, but the way you come across makes you sound the liberal lovechild of the equivalents of Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich. We made be on the same side on this, but god do I so not what you on my side because you make the rest of look crazy too.

If you're so worried and distraught these issues, get off the internet and do something about them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:58 PM on May 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm not saying the US south is the "Christian equivalent of Iran" as I don't believe that to be true, but definitely Obama has some stuff to do here.

If a local politician had been murdered in his church by a muslim, or a prominent black community leader was murdered by a Ku Klux Klan member, there would hopefully be a full and substantial federal investigation into not just the murderer, but those people and organisations associated with him to find what level of conspiracy was involved in order to advance their political agenda.

Those who attend abortion clinics are intimated not to go, doctors who perform abortions have their photos and home address posted, and there is a huge amount of threats of violence against anyone even peripherally involved with a clinic.

Holder's statement about federal involvement in the investigation and protection for others at risk gives hope that the killer won't be the only one facing consequences for his actions that resulted in this murder - which means an awful lot more right now than "However profound our differences as Americans over difficult issues such as abortion, they cannot be resolved by heinous acts of violence."

Saying that violence isn't the answer is indeed true, but there should be a hell of a lot more action forthcoming to punish those who advocate the opposite, and protect those trying to perform heartbreakingly tough but legal medical work.
posted by ArkhanJG at 7:59 PM on May 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


I think the problem is that it probably wasn't an organized conspiracy

Sounds kind of like a "Phineas Action"

Paul Hill, the anti-abortion activist, was convicted of murdering Dr. John Bayard Britton and his escort outside a Pensacola, Florida, abortion clinic in 1994. Hill had written an essay advocating the commission of "Phineas actions" a year before.
posted by MikeMc at 8:00 PM on May 31, 2009


If a local politician had been murdered in his church by a muslim,
I'm sorry, that should have said
If a local politician had been murdered in his church by a muslim wahhabist.
posted by ArkhanJG at 8:08 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


What happens here is that "mainstream," "peaceful" groups like Operation Rescue publish the names, pictures, and addresses of abortion providers, claiming that they intend these details to be used for non-violent forms of harassment but knowing full well that there are nutcases out there who feel entitled to use the information to commit acts of violence.

Someone posting to the Web site of Operation Rescue in May 2007 used the name "Scott Roeder" in response to a scheduled vigil to "pray for an end to George R. Tiller's late-term abortion business."

"Bleass everyone for attending and praying in May to bring justice to Tiller and the closing of his death camp," the posting read. "Sometime soon, would it be feasible to organize as many people as possible to attend Tillers church (inside, not just outside) to have much more of a presence and possibly ask questions of the Pastor, Deacons, Elders and members while there? Doesn't seem like it would hurt anything but bring more attention to Tiller."


They can easily distance themselves from the violence when it happens

only if we allow them to - the suspect in this case posted to their website and was an ally of theirs - i suggest that we continue to associate scott roeder with operation rescue whenever this is discussed

look who's "palling around with terrorists" now ....
posted by pyramid termite at 8:08 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 8:09 PM on May 31, 2009


werkzeuger's earlier contribution just has me bawling. I normally don't cry over much of anything, but that just completely pushed me over the wall containing the outrage and shame toward my fellow humans I feel at times like these.

.
posted by primalux at 8:10 PM on May 31, 2009


Sounds kind of like a "Phineas Action"

Yeah, if you look at the dKos link you see two fringe groups in Roeder's life -- the Montana Freemen and the "sovereignty" movement. Operation Rescue is in there, of course, but it looks like he's acting alone.

And he was arrested and sentenced for transporting bomb parts back in '96, back in the final days of the Montana Freemen.

So it does look like he's acting alone and that he's got nothing to do with Operation Rescue but ascribing to their beliefs. Given that OR is already out on the fringe (to abortion what Earth First! is to environmentalism), hardly surprising he's associating with them, but he seems like the type who was going to have to kill someone at some point in his life.

Oh, and Kansas has capital punishment, of course. Watching the Catholic pro-life zealots and the Protestant pro-life zealots debate that will be interesting.
posted by dw at 8:18 PM on May 31, 2009


A thought occurred to me. How many people who disagreed with this man's actions also felt that torture was appropriate for the detainees the United States has had in its custody? For surely those people would now be happy to torture this man in case he has information about other plots to kill various doctors who perform abortions or where his financing came from. It has to be somewhat common. They aren't entirely incompatible beliefs. But it seems like if you can get someone who approves of torturing 'the terrorists' to admit that this man shouldn't be tortured they might be susceptible to change their minds on the issue of torture entirely.
posted by Green With You at 8:22 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


The long-term future of the USA is, I think, bifurcation: the coasts and the mid-West are likely to become much more Canadian/European in their politics and social norms; and the south of Dixon-Mason is going to become the Christian equivalent of Iran.

Uh, you do realize that Kansas is in the midwest, right? I'm not sure exactly how you square up "site of latest murder of abortion provider" with "becoming more European in their politics," but it does tend to make you look like you don't know the first thing about the socio-political complexities of the U.S.'s various regions.

Cut yourselves off from those fucking losers already, man. They're going to destroy you otherwise.

What? And deprive you of what is clearly one of your main reasons for living -- namely, the opportunity to come into metafilter threads and berate people who largely agree with you already for not having magically fixed an entire country according to your exact specifications? No, sorry, we just couldn't do that to you. That would be cruel.
posted by scody at 8:23 PM on May 31, 2009 [7 favorites]


I have directed the United States Marshals Service to offer protection to other appropriate people and facilities around the nation

That is huge for a number of reason. Most immediately it will provide possibly the best protection possible short of the Secret Service and secondly there will now be an official record of every occurrence of harassment and stalking against a staff member and any occurrences of violence or direct threats immediately become a federal issue. I hope all the clinics take them up on this offer.
posted by fshgrl at 8:24 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fucking Christian nutjobs can't even obey their own god.

That's Christianity. Get used to it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:36 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Since I know you are all so fond of twitter:
One side effect of Twitter is that the stupid, bigoted comments people used to make at the water cooler now get preserved for future employers to find using Google.
Tweets of Hate: The Crazy Right Twitters About the Assassination of Dr Tiller.
"The person who shot Tiller the baby killer simply excercised a man's right to choose"
~via carnalnation
posted by will wait 4 tanjents at 8:52 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am tired of the USA being the most dangerous, misguided, fucked-up country in the first world.
I'm tired of you using this sentiment as an excuse to act like a complete jackass.


And I am sorry that your nation uses torture, and then goes on to protect torturers. And I am sorry that your nation has bred a culture where murder of abortion providers is supported and applauded by a big part of your population. And I am sorry that your nation overthrows legitimately elected governments.

And I am sorry that that it upsets you that I am upset about these things. Mostly sorry that it seems you're more upset about me expressing my upset, than you are upset about the things themselves.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:56 PM on May 31, 2009 [12 favorites]


Do they really believe that abortion is murder?
...the leaders of the abortion criminalization movement have consistently put their political weight behind policies which make little or no sense if they genuinely think that abortion is identical to child murder. And those same leaders routinely endorse policies that make a lot of sense if their goal is to penalize women who have sex - to, as I've heard many of them put it, make sure women "face the consequences" of having sex
posted by kirkaracha at 8:57 PM on May 31, 2009 [6 favorites]


Go gripe somewhere where it actually makes a difference.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:57 PM on May 31, 2009


And I am sorry that your nation uses torture, and then goes on to protect torturers.

Whereas ours just aids and abets and occasionally cuts a cheque. Perhaps the "Boo America!" "Oh, boo yourself!" conversation should mosey over to MeTa?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:03 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


why do you hate kirkaracha, Burhanistan?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:04 PM on May 31, 2009


Mostly sorry that it seems you're more upset about me expressing my upset, than you are upset about the things themselves.

Well, we're making a lot less progress with you than we are with the other issues.
posted by Miko at 9:04 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Progress isn't bullying FFF into shutting up.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:07 PM on May 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


How about I just STFU so that the delicate sensibilities here can go back to comfortably pretending that there's nothing wrong at all. Consider me to have dropped this thread.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:07 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think there's any shutting up required. Productive contributions to the conversation that consist of something other than vast, easy blanket condemnations of 330 million individuals taken in the aggregate would be good, though.
posted by Miko at 9:09 PM on May 31, 2009 [13 favorites]


Pro-Life
Pro-Choice

What awful terms. You can support a woman's right to choose without thinking abortion is OK. It isn't. Killing a fetus is a pretty immoral act in the abstract, but life is not lived in the abstract, it is lived in the pragmatic real world. Lives are ruined by ill conceived pregnancies, both the mother's and the child's, women sometimes face life threatening complications in pregnancy, and bringing a severely brain damaged child into this world is perhaps not a good thing. Abortion is a Hobson's choice. All choices suck. Which one is worse. Now there are some people who have repeated abortions and use them as birth control. I would support legislation to reign this in, although there are no good options for doing that. Late term abortions for birth control should probably not be allowed but for protecting the life of the mother or for situations where the parents only discover the horrible defects late in the game then that option needs to still be available. My wife was older when we had our last child and we had to think about this. We decided that if the baby was severely affected, Spina Bifida with but a few years to live, then we would seek abortion but for anything less we could not. Those callous people who find it perfectly acceptable to use multiple abortions for birth control (thankfully a small group) and those ideologues at the other extreme who would force all conceptions to birth regardless of the other problems it may involve are basically immoral. Morality and immorality in this shpere is one of our most difficult social issues faced today. There are no easy answers and if you think there are then you probably aren't thinking hard enough.

and on preview, I don't ever want fff to STFU, whether I agree with him or not he always adds substance to any debate
posted by caddis at 9:10 PM on May 31, 2009 [5 favorites]


How about I just STFU so that the delicate sensibilities here can go back to comfortably pretending that there's nothing wrong at all.
I have no beef against you, but I'm curious about exactly who here you are referring to, who is comfortably pretending that there's nothing wrong at all.

Specifically who.
posted by Flunkie at 9:13 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Productive contributions to the conversation that consist of something other than vast, easy blanket condemnations of 330 million individuals taken in the aggregate would be good, though.

Only you and a few others get to decide what's productive, I assume.

That might sound a bit snippy, granted, but I've seen this before and it is a bit aggravating. Let's tone down the condescension just a notch.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:14 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


And I am sorry that your nation uses torture, and then goes on to protect torturers.

hey, celine dion's from YOUR country
posted by pyramid termite at 9:16 PM on May 31, 2009 [15 favorites]


What condescenscion? Who here is being condescending?

This has been an excellent thread with some compassionate comments and some thoughtful consideration of this doctor's work. Suddenly it became a thread - yet another - about What's Wrong With America. It's a regrettable development. You've seen this before? I have too, in any number of threads about political events in the US, for years and years. This isn't about this doctor, late term abortions, or women's reproductive health. It's about something else, something more personal and less relevant to any specific topic at hand. I've seen it before too, and I agree that it's aggravating. It's also just a lost opportunity for constructive, thoughtful conversation.
posted by Miko at 9:19 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


.
posted by SisterHavana at 9:20 PM on May 31, 2009


How about I just STFU

Can the pity party, fff. You know exactly where your moronic shrieking overgeneralizations go wrong and you know it.
posted by mediareport at 9:21 PM on May 31, 2009


You've seen this before? I have too

No, that's not what I'm talking about.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:23 PM on May 31, 2009


Oh, and just for the record: It's not that I think anyone needs to shut up about the implications for torture prosecution, the activity of underground groups encroaching on personal freedom, or the stances available for Obama to take. Those are definitely worthwhile topics that are relevant. It's not those substantive issues that are sitting ill with people. It's the condemnatory generalizations of the populace of the entire nation, present company included, which don't go down very well, and as mediareport notes, this is such a familiar, well-marked and well-trodden path that we should be able to avoid its pitfalls.
posted by Miko at 9:27 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, that's not what I'm talking about.

Exactly.
posted by Miko at 9:27 PM on May 31, 2009


How about I just STFU so that the delicate sensibilities here can go back to comfortably pretending that there's nothing wrong at all.

Dude.

You're making the crazy, slack jawed, gun toting, bible thumping, right wing creeps you complain about look more mature and sane.

I'm trying to cut you some slack because my favorite band, the Cowboy Junkies, are Canadian, but don't push me.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:33 PM on May 31, 2009


I'm trying to cut you some slack because my favorite band, the Cowboy Junkies, are Canadian, but don't push me.

even so, they only really had one fantastic album amidst an otherwise banal & mediocre catalogue.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:40 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't know enough words of grief and outrage to properly respond to this news. And I know a lot of words.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:45 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Im a bit shocked to learn that only one ob/gyn (I think the term 'abortion doctor' is purely political) has been murdered in the US in the last ten years. Considering all the chest-thumping, right-wing militias, radio hatespeech, etc of the right I assumed this kind of thing happened every couple of years or even annually.

Perhaps its okay to be something of an optimist at this point. The far-right is losing elections and they are dying out and not being replaced by young people. There has been no cryptic or codec support of this murder from the GOP, as they did in the past. Only universal condemnation. Im sure people like Hannity and Rush are having a sober moment too; thinking of the true costs of their hateful radio programs.

That said, I would love to see someone with deep pockets print 1 million 'remember Tiller' buttons. Id love to see him canonized into a universal symbol for women's rights, choice, sanity, and secularism. Why can we have Che shirts and John Lennon memorial concerts but no Tiller or anyone like him turned into an icon? It seems 100% possible to give him a truly fitting memorial.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:46 PM on May 31, 2009 [8 favorites]


It's not those substantive issues that are sitting ill with people. It's the condemnatory generalizations of the populace of the entire nation, present company included, which don't go down very well

I second this. The sad part is, I'm fairly certain the vast majority of Metafilter's American base agrees with fff on policy issues - the wrongness of the Iraq War, the use of torture, the murder of doctors and such. And it's for precisely this reason that these condescending scoldings and instructions from on high tend to rub folks the wrong way, when things stray away from criticism of policy and towards basically calling vast swaths of millions of people mentally ill or retarded. There is a difference between the two, and one doesn't help.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:49 PM on May 31, 2009 [2 favorites]


even so, they only really had one fantastic album amidst an otherwise banal & mediocre catalogue.

Nonsense, Whites off Earth Now; Lay it Down; Trinity Session; Miles from Home; Pale Sun, Crescent Moon; At the End of Paths Taken and 'Neath Your Covers were all good, easy listen to the entire CD without skipping. Didn't like Early 21st Century Blues though, 'cept for the two originals on it.

They're fucking great live though, one of the best, most unpretentious bands I've ever seen.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:55 PM on May 31, 2009


I enjoy the irony of a Canadian calling for separatism in America. Vive les Coastal-Liberal-Areas libre!!!!
posted by boubelium at 9:58 PM on May 31, 2009


It is a shame that the US even has abortion clinics. Perhaps if abortion was a medical procedure performed in hospitals the anonymity would better protect the patients and staff. (I don't understand why there are free-standing clinics - is that normal for other medical procedures?) Hopefully, the US will never go down the path El Salvador recently choose and start jailing doctors for practising medicine and imprisoning women for having abortions, even if it is the only thing that will save the woman's life. He certainly sounds like a great, empathic man.
posted by saucysault at 10:06 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Id love to see him canonized into a universal symbol for women's rights, choice, sanity, and secularism.
You know, I don't know about secularism. The man appears to have been a pretty active and committed Christian. He was gunned down while serving as an usher in the church that he attended regularly. If anything, I think he's a symbol not of secularism but of religious pluralism, of the fact that anti-choice zealots don't have a monopoly on Christianity.

And I guess that's my answer to FFF. The guy accused of murdering Dr. Tiller was American, Midwestern, a devout Christian. Dr. Tiller was also American, Midwestern, a devout Christian. If the one is somehow representative of middle America, so is the other.
posted by craichead at 10:10 PM on May 31, 2009 [21 favorites]


Secularism isnt atheism. Tiller never advocated merging religion and law.
posted by damn dirty ape at 10:14 PM on May 31, 2009 [3 favorites]


Im sure people like Hannity and Rush are having a sober moment too; thinking of the true costs of their hateful radio programs.

Unlikely. More like they are thinking about the increased ratings as more religious nutballs come out of the woodworks to support this unjustifiable atrocity. More likely is that Rush has already downed a bottle of oxy in celebration.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:16 PM on May 31, 2009 [4 favorites]


.
posted by iamkimiam at 10:18 PM on May 31, 2009


.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:31 PM on May 31, 2009


Wait did Cowboy Junkies do "Common Disaster"? Because I love that song.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:31 PM on May 31, 2009


Saucysault, there are gynecologists in the USA who are willing to perform abortions in their own office.The problem is that many of them are not covered by insurance for routine procedures--so everything is out of pocket.
posted by brujita at 10:51 PM on May 31, 2009


Also, when I was in grad school in Iowa in the early 90's, the local fundies decided to name the businesses who supported the private women's clinic.The town and university papers refused to run the ad...and I was rather annoyed because I wanted to know which places I should support.

When I needed a pelvic I made a point of calling them --and made it clear that I wasn't pregnant. They were being so hassled that they directed me to another gyno in the area.
posted by brujita at 11:02 PM on May 31, 2009


I'll go out on a limb and speculate that the man who murdered Tiller was not acting out of some pure anti-abortion motive. Rather, some deeper transference was going on and if a socially (in his circle) acceptable target of rage like Tiller was not readily available within driving distance then he very well might have killed someone else. I agree that anti-abortion violence is very wrong, but it is also very rare. The people that perpetrate bombings and shootings are people who are looking for excuses to let their baser impulses/demonic whisperings/schizophrenia to run rampant.

So-called "pro lifers" may or may not be wrong about abortion*, but those who opt for violence really are in it for the violence, and are such a tiny fraction of the "pro-life" movement that it's quite unfair to cast their actions in the same frame of reference.

*I have issues with abortion but think that on balance Roe v Wade is about the best compromise going and needs to be worked into the US Constitution.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:02 PM on May 31, 2009 [1 favorite]


Perhaps if abortion was a medical procedure performed in hospitals the anonymity would better protect the patients and staff.

All hospitals in the US do abortions; to not provide them would be against medical ethics. Most hospitals, though, don't provide abortion-on-demand, only "medically necessary" abortions.

This, by the way, is also the case in Canada, where in 2004 only 16% of hospitals provided abortion-on-demand.
posted by dw at 11:03 PM on May 31, 2009


brujita, my understanding was that many insurance companies do not pay for abortions and some state laws actually make it illegal for health insurance to include coverage (I'm not American so I could be completely wrong) so the need for payment would seem to be a side issue for many patients. Everyone I know that has had an abortion went to a hospital where the procedure wasn't stigmatised and there were no harassing groups outside (how awful to even think of that). It just seems strange to me to have separate buildings that are pretty much exclusively performing abortions and are easy targets for the protestors and harassment as SuperSquirrel writes above.

dw, were you aware you linked to an anti-choice site? I would not believe their stats over non-biased sources like Statistics Canada.
posted by saucysault at 11:26 PM on May 31, 2009


dw, were you aware you linked to an anti-choice site? I would not believe their stats over non-biased sources like Statistics Canada.

Yup, but that doesn't seem too far off -- Wikipedia has it at 33%. It also explains that Canada has abortion clinics just like in the US.

The systems aren't that much different; the main difference is whether you're paying out of pocket for it or not. In all but 2 provinces there's government funding for all forms of abortion, where in the US government Medicaid only funds abortions for rape/incest/life of mother, and whether your insurance pays for an abortion is dependent on where you are, whether you work for the government or not, why you're having it, and whether your insurance plan chooses to cover it.
posted by dw at 11:58 PM on May 31, 2009


It just seems strange to me to have separate buildings that are pretty much exclusively performing abortions and are easy targets for the protestors and harassment

Most of them aren't exclusively performing abortions; they're performing a whole range of women's health services (pap smears, STD testing and treatment, birth control information, etc.).
posted by amyms at 11:59 PM on May 31, 2009


Insurance companies won't pay for abortions, but they won't fund private gynos for their other procedures either. I've had to pay out of pocket for the last several years because my (recommended by a friend) gyno wasn't covered by my HMO.
posted by brujita at 12:00 AM on June 1, 2009


Wait did Cowboy Junkies do "Common Disaster"? Because I love that song.

that's not the point at all. only a deranged, canuck-loving sociopath would mention The Trinity Session in the same breath as all that other pap.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:16 AM on June 1, 2009


fff: How about I just STFU so that the delicate sensibilities here can go back to comfortably pretending that there's nothing wrong at all.

You mean like this comment here? Is that what you mean about delicate sensibilities pretending nothing's wrong?

Truly, are the twin peaks of your preening self-righteousness and juvenile petulance so monumental that they block out even the tiniest sliver of shame?
posted by scody at 12:18 AM on June 1, 2009


.
posted by Coaticass at 12:56 AM on June 1, 2009


TPS: Obama could have cribbed from Holder. That was a much, much better statement than Obama's.


While this is a hot button issue, Obama has got plenty on his plate right now, and this isn't the most pressing thing he has to deal with by far. However, as far as Holder, this is his problem. Holder is the one who will be dealing with any federal handling of the case. Obama has North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, General Motors, a Supreme Court nominee, and plenty more that he's gotta handle right now. So he's leaving the heavy lifting to the guy that he hired to do the job. That may not be enough to win the soundbite for some people, but that is effective management.
posted by azpenguin at 12:57 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, scody, that one cherry-picked comment proves that there are no people in this thread doing what fff claims they're doing. Good work, you've got a bright future in law ahead of you.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:12 AM on June 1, 2009


south of Dixon-Mason is going to become the Christian equivalent of Iran.

Do you really think this? Have you ever actually been to America?
posted by empath at 1:28 AM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


The shooter is thinking: "that's my ticket into heaven. SUCK IT, LIBERALS!" From now on, his life is just one long bask under that warm, shining truth that he sees before him: automatic entrance into God's Kingdom. And really, what can be said to such belief? I know I don't have anything to say to him.
posted by telstar at 2:07 AM on June 1, 2009


"Im a bit shocked to learn that only one ob/gyn (I think the term 'abortion doctor' is purely political) has been murdered in the US in the last ten years. Considering all the chest-thumping, right-wing militias, radio hatespeech, etc of the right I assumed this kind of thing happened every couple of years or even annually."

I'm amazed by this too. For all the talk and bluster we're exposed to on a wide range of issues no one seems to ponying up and mounting a co-ordinated campaign. Geez, no-one has shot a president in decades, the nearest was W's close brush with a live grenade but it was an Armenian doing the tossing. Everything else since Reagan has been pretty weak tea and that attempt was to impress a girl!

"I don't understand why there are free-standing clinics - is that normal for other medical procedures?"

I can't speak for the US but it's pretty common up here. A doctor will specialize in a procedure, usually of the low risk out patient variety, and open a clinic devoted to it. Off the top of my head: LASIK, birthing centre, knee reconstruction/repair, vasectomies, cataract surgery, assorted cosmetic procedures, root canals, sonograms. I'm sure there are others.

telstar writes "The shooter is thinking: 'that's my ticket into heaven. SUCK IT, LIBERALS!' From now on, his life is just one long bask under that warm, shining truth that he sees before him: automatic entrance into God's Kingdom. And really, what can be said to such belief? I know I don't have anything to say to him."

Which of course is weird because of all the myriad things the bible warns against the clearest, most obvious go-no go of them has got to be the big ten and no murdering/killing is right there.
posted by Mitheral at 2:40 AM on June 1, 2009


The comments section of the Kansas City Star article has gotten to be absolutely frothing insanity, and this is after the editors scrubbed a lot of the really bad stuff that was up earlier. It's reassuring that some of the more eloquent eulogies for Dr. Tiller and defenses of the right to choice are getting massive favorites, but the anti-choice crowd is just spamming the hell out of the comments section.

Some highlights:

"A baby can live at 6 months.. but its not a human? even the most simplistic person knows that's crazy... unless it serves a earth warming population, darwin inspired left wing, athesist, self centered agenda. I can't wait to find out that this gun man probably was a left wing nut then what you gonna do... say he watched too much Fox News? I wonder how many homes for unwed mothers are run by left.... 1? 3? how about None.."

"Bon Voyage, Mr. Tiller. I hesitate to gloat over the murder of anyone but I sure am having a hard time feeling bad."

"I guess I'm most surprised that anyone would let Tiller in a church."

"So someone aborted the abortion doctor?Real late term too.But then we need to cry for this garbage and talk about the good things he did for his patients?lol wtf are people so fuckin stupid they praise the death of a baby by these killers?I for one would like to see more killers punished for their roll in the government sanctioned murder of the most helpless of human beings.The unborn and the newborn.My guess is straight to hell for doctor death."

"Tiller was a great American hero just as Hitler was a great German hero."

"PHUCK YOU KCSTAR. I know that I am getting sick and tired of the G-O=D=DA==MN ATHIESTS AT THE kANSAS CITy STAR PHUCKING WITH MY POSTS. iF YOU GOD HATING PR I C KS DOWNTOWN DONT LIKE WHAT i HAVE TO SAY YOU CAN KISS THE NASTIEST PART OF MY A S S ."

"Until they catch the killer and confirm that he is a pro-lifer, then you liberals ought to shut up and quit slandering good people."

"The Lord works in mysterious ways, for the best, not the biased."

"The only way his death could be more Karmic would be if his brains were extracted with a turkey baster."

"Yes its a very sad day for all the baby killers out there. Their hero was taken from them and he had so many innocent lives left to exterminate. I'm sure that nobama will order flags at half staff in his honor. You left wing communists, y'all started it, hating me cause I'm a Christian. I hate you back. In a caring love filled kind of way. The Bible says love thine enemies:-)"


There are also innumerable comments asserting that Tiller was mostly or exclusively aborting viable fetuses.

After living in Lawrence for six years and traveling all over the state for work, I know that these people are not representative of Kansans. They sure are fucking loud though, and I can see why people who haven't spent time in the Midwest might peg it as an up and coming theocracy based on this kind of shit.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 3:29 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


You left wing communists, y'all started it, hating me cause I'm a Christian. I hate you back. In a caring love filled kind of way. The Bible says love thine enemies

Jesus must be so proud.
posted by maxwelton at 4:10 AM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think the FFF's central point: that the murder of Dr. Tiller was a blatant terrorist act, is being ignored and I wonder why.

I note that the US government has no difficulty at all labeling people who destroy property (ie: hummers) terrorists. Yet Obama couldn't bring himself to utter the T-word about an individual who committed murder to advance his political goals.

Isn't that the textbook definition of terrorism? While there's no universally agreed on definition, much less a legal definition, I don't think many people will disagree that using violence to achieve a political end is terrorism.

I do think there's a serious problem when the US government is willing, eager even, to label non-murdering far left groups and individuals "terrorist", but is unwilling to label murderous far right individuals and groups "terrorist".

It seems that per the US government, and now per Obama, the term "terrorist" depends on the political leanings of the group rather than its methods. White, Christian, right wing people who use violence up to and including murder to advance their political ends are safe from ever being labeled terrorist by the US government and seems safe even from investigation. Meanwhile left wing people who merely discuss destroying property are prominently identified as terrorists and non-violent left wing groups are endlessly investigated.

I can't imagine a more clear cut example of terrorism than the murder of Dr. Tiller. The sole reason for the attack on him was political, and more important, the constant environment of threats, arson, bombings, and murder that the so-called "Pro-Life" movement has produced in the USA has had the effect terrorists seek. TIller was one of three doctors who would perform a late term abortion, all of them have been doing it for a very long time and no new doctors are stepping up to provide that service. Quite evidently the terrorists are winning, the population of doctors is being cowed into compliance with their agenda by the threat of violence.

This is terrorism and the fact that even reasonable, left leaning people like Jessamyn say its a murky and cloudy issue shows that the propaganda of the right and the politicization of the term has spread to a very frightening degree.
posted by sotonohito at 4:13 AM on June 1, 2009 [21 favorites]


I have a couple of questions, if anyone is still reading through these comments. Tiller was one of only three doctors in the world who would perform these late-term abortions? Now that number is down to two, both in the United States? Because I was under the impression that, if anything, the United States had more rigid demands on the kinds of abortions that could be performed. Does this mean that there are no doctors in Canada who will perform the kinds of abortions that Dr. Tiller provided? No doctors in England, France, Brazil, Australia, Norway? Or is it that America only has doctors who specialize in doing these kinds of procedures, and a woman in another country could have a late-term abortion due to health complications but she simply has it performed in a hospital with any old gynecologist? Further, what exactly are the abortion policies of other countries and where does the United States fit on that scale? Is it true that abortion is criminalized in Portugal and a couple of Latin American countries?

Apologies for my ignorance on this matter, but I was really shocked to learn that there are now only two doctors remaining who perform the work that Dr. Tiller performed. And that they are both in the United States. Oh, and also, I find it odd that Dr. Tiller performed in Kansas, of all places. Right smack dab in the middle of the Midwest, surrounded by devout Christians. A doctor like Dr. Tiller performing in a more liberal state, with more protection under the law, I can understand. But Kansas strikes me as odd.
posted by billysumday at 4:49 AM on June 1, 2009


I hate you back. In a caring love filled kind of way.

Christianity is obviously a victimless crime, like punching someone in the dark.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:56 AM on June 1, 2009


Yet Obama couldn't bring himself to utter the T-word about an individual who committed murder to advance his political goals.

Getting hung up on what the killer should be called seems like getting caught up in minor details and giving the far right a pedestal. There's nothing more that those people would love than actual proof that the U.S. government thinks so little of them and is calling them terrorists.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:08 AM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


billysumday: Dr. Tiller was himself a devout Christian. He was killed in his church, where he had been an active member for a long time. The Midwest is not what many people think it is. Neither is Christianity, for that matter.
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 5:10 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


What the... Friend, I grew up in the middle of the heartland and I know all about the Midwest and Christianity. I don't begrudge the good doctor his courage and his convictions for keeping his clinic in the heart of the hornet's nest of anti-abortion activism. I just wonder why there are not other doctors who perform this procedure in more liberal states like Vermont, New York, California, Mass, Minnesota. I would imagine there would be less harassment, obstruction, threats, etc.
posted by billysumday at 5:15 AM on June 1, 2009


billysumday, I know a couple of women that had late-term abortions in the Toronto in the past ten years and when the possibility of me having one about six years ago came up the Doctor was in Hamilton so there are definitely other doctors in the world performing the procedure. Maybe they are the only two that practise exclusively late-term abortions?
posted by saucysault at 5:56 AM on June 1, 2009


Hmm, that's interesting, saucysault. FYI, this is the article I read which piqued my curiosity. Key quote: "Hours after the Sunday morning shooting death of late-term abortion doctor George Tiller in Wichita, Kan., a Boulder physician — who says he could be the only doctor in the world still performing the procedure — said Tiller’s assassination was the 'absolutely inevitable consequence' of decades of anti-abortion fanaticism." Perhaps the doctor was being a bit hyperbolic. Or perhaps the reporter misprinted "the world" for "America," which would make more sense.
posted by billysumday at 6:03 AM on June 1, 2009


I think the FFF's central point: that the murder of Dr. Tiller was a blatant terrorist act, is being ignored and I wonder why.

That's because FFF's central point isn't that; it's just his overpowering self-righteousness. If that was the point he was trying to make, it got ignored because of the nine billion other hectorings he's delivered and because the list of things that Americans ABSOLUTELY MUST DO RIGHT NOW to avoid his ire varies so strongly from one hectoring to another. Today the most important thing is controlling the fundie crazies, tomorrow he will be once again deeply disappointed with any electoral system that is unlike the one used in Canadian confederal elections or any system of government other than his own, another day it will be some other thing that is utterly, overwhelmingly important.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:05 AM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Wellll... some Googling indicates to me that Tiller claimed to own one of the only three clinics in the US that performed late-term abortions, but that doesn't really mean that only he and two other people did them, or that they're not offered in hospitals. I hope this is something that's clarified over the next few days.

If nothing else, at least this is happening at the beginning of the weekly news cycle, and should get pretty massive coverage.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:06 AM on June 1, 2009


some Googling indicates to me that Tiller claimed to own one of the only three clinics in the US that performed late-term abortions, but that doesn't really mean that only he and two other people did them

when we needed such services, the hospital, having decided our fetus was too far along for them to do, presented us with a xeroxed list of clinics and a phone and told us to start making calls. For anything after 23 weeks, there was a Tiller, a place in Colorado, and perhaps another in NY.

That was it.
posted by werkzeuger at 6:14 AM on June 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


In answer to your query, sotonohito, reasonable people can differ about whether a direct attack on the people you don't like constitutes terrorism.

The "it's terrorism" side is obvious, so I'll leave that alone even though I agree.

The "it's something different horrendous thing" side might argue that classic terrorism doesn't go after the people you don't like. Instead, it imposes random acts of violence against the population at large in the hopes that they pressure the government to do what the terrorists want. That is, a really classic terrorist campaign against abortion wouldn't target physicians performing abortions or their clinics and offices; it would target street corners and supermarkets and commuter trains and airports.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:14 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


More importantly, has anyone asked Elizabeth Wurtzel what she thinks of this act of terrorism?
posted by saucysault at 6:26 AM on June 1, 2009


Insurance companies won't pay for abortions,

Not true as a broad statement; mine will. Depends on your plan.

perhaps the reporter misprinted "the world" for "America,"

It's not a misprint or a reporter's mistake. The reporter is quoting a statement made by the Colorado doctor. It would be nice if the reporter had clarified it, but the responsibility for the statement's truth is on the doctor. The reporter is just relaying what he said.
posted by Miko at 6:28 AM on June 1, 2009


This "Kansas Story" was especially affecting:

The next morning there were throngs of protesters. They had graphic posters. They yelled at us and aimed a video camera at our car. I was shaking all over as I had to show ID and go through a metal detector before I was admitted. All the time I was thinking, "How can those people be yelling at me? I don't want to be here. I don't have a choice. Don't they understand?"

Thankfully, inside there was compassion, love, understanding and superb medical care. Finally, I met some other people who understood this hell we were in. I said goodbye to my son and then a few days later, I said good bye to the doctor who I will always look upon as the one shining light in the worst week of my life.

That was eight years ago. Time, as they say, has healed my grief. So, why am I writing this? Well, partly just so you'll know there is someone else out there that has gone though it. Also, I want to share what I feel was my biggest mistake after going through this.

Somehow, I allowed my anger at these protesters and the trauma of that situation to distract me from grieving the loss of my son. My grief was totally tied up in the political nightmare that abortion has become in this country.

posted by availablelight at 6:32 AM on June 1, 2009


Oh, and also, I find it odd that Dr. Tiller performed in Kansas, of all places...

I just wonder why there are not other doctors who perform this procedure in more liberal states like Vermont, New York, California, Mass, Minnesota.

Kansas state law allows late term abortions when the health of the mother, including mental health, is in danger. It requires a second, independent physician sign off on the case. Tiller was recently acquitted after being charged with having an innapropriate financial relationship with his second-opinion doc.

So, a late abortion is possible in Kansas with these caveats. In Minnesota, this was just plain impossible.

I do not know why KS abortion law is presumably more liberal than the states you mentioned. But I do know from personal experience that the clinics performing abortions after about 19 weeks can fit on one side of sheet of office paper. Percieved liberalism may not have much to do with the crazy quilt of abortion law in the US.
posted by werkzeuger at 6:35 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


The babies, the babies; we must protect the babies!
Let her grow up, and then we’ll send her to war to die for my country.

The babies, the babies; we must consider the babies!
Let him grow up, and then we’ll damn him and disown him for wanting to marry
His best friend.

The babies, the babies; won’t someone think of the babies?
Let them grow up before we slaughter them for the beliefs.

The babies, the babies; we must save the babies!
Let her grow up before we incarcerate her for using drugs openly instead of privately Like I taught her.
Let him grow up before we execute him for breaking into our homes
And trying to steal our TVs.

The babies, the babies; what of the babies?
I am terrified of thinking adults!
Why can you remain infantile forever and let your Father tell you what to do?

The babies, the babies; we must uphold the sanctity of life!
Everyone’s life is precious until I’ve had time to determine whose isn’t.

I am Pro-Choice. My choice – not yours.
posted by aftermarketradio at 6:37 AM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Insurance companies won't pay for abortions,

Not true as a broad statement; mine will. Depends on your plan.


Indeed. Tiller charged us $4000 for a week of care. After all was said and done, and appealed, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of MN reimbursed us $219.
posted by werkzeuger at 6:44 AM on June 1, 2009


I just wonder why there are not other doctors who perform this procedure in more liberal states like Vermont, New York, California, Mass, Minnesota.

I had friends who had a late term abortion -- which is really not the same thing as what the majority of abortions are and calling them that sort of obfuscates the issue imo -- in New York. I don't know the specifics except that it was a situation where they opted for that instead of delivering a dead or dying newborn. It was a horrible decision to have to make. This may be what's deemed "medically necessary" in these parts and I'm fairly certain it was done in a hopital.
posted by jessamyn at 7:15 AM on June 1, 2009


Broken Vent
A short play

*open curtain*

PRO-LIFE CHORUS: ABORTION IS MURDER! SLAUGHTER OF THE INNOCENT! ABORTION DOCTORS ARE MASS MURDERERS! THEY HAVE THE BLOOD OF INNOCENT CHILDREN ON THEIR HANDS! THEY ARE EVIL! IF YOU SUPPORT LEGAL ABORTION YOU SUPPORT MASS MURDER! LOOK! HERE'S A PICTURE OF A MURDERED INNOCENT CHILD! LOOK AT IT! YOU ARE SICK! YOU ARE EVIL! YOU WILL BE JUDGED! YOU WILL BURN IN HELL!

*bang*

DOCTOR in PRO-CHOICE CHORUS falls

PRO-LIFE CHORUS: how tragic. DON'T THINK YOU CAN USE THIS FOR POLITICAL GAIN! WE DIDN'T KILL THAT HEARTLESS MURDERER! WE'RE NOT ALL EXTREMISTS, YOU GOD DAMNED BABY KILLERS!

PRO-CHOICE CHORUS: .

*close curtain*
posted by effwerd at 7:24 AM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


"Hours after the Sunday morning shooting death of late-term abortion doctor George Tiller in Wichita, Kan., a Boulder physician — who says he could be the only doctor in the world still performing the procedure — said Tiller’s assassination was the 'absolutely inevitable consequence' of decades of anti-abortion fanaticism." Perhaps the doctor was being a bit hyperbolic.

As someone who spent his undergrad years in Boulder, I can tell you that yes, Warren Hern is just a little bit hyperbolic.
posted by dw at 7:29 AM on June 1, 2009


Warren Hern is just a little bit hyperbolic.

The self-described "only doctor in the world still performing later-term abortions" wrote a paper calling human population a planetary cancer? Seriously?
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 7:49 AM on June 1, 2009


ROU_Xenophobe I can see that argument, but its hardly the definition that the US government has been using lately.

And, perhaps, that explains the reluctance of some on the left to use the term, they've seen it so abused by Bush et al that they're gunshy.

If, however we were to apply the definitions used by the US government against leftist groups and individuals evenly there is no doubt that Mr. Roeder (assuming the suspect in custody is the murderer) is a terrorist. You can argue, and I may even agree, that the US government has too broad a definition of terrorism. But the fact remains that it appears the government is defining terrorism as something limited to Muslims and liberals. When right wing fanatics kill, commit arson, or set off bombs, in pursuit of their political agenda the government, which would be quick to label any similar action by leftists or Muslims terrorism refuses to use the word.

If that's the case, and it does appear to be, we've got a serious problem.

Hell, if Bush II's rules regarding terrorist funding and training were applied evenly the US government would, already, have frozen the assets of Operation Rescue in preparation for a seizure. But the standards are not applied evenly, and it looks like the label "terrorist" is political in nature. Right wingers are, by Obama approved government fiat, exempt from ever being classified as terrorists regardless of their actions. If you, and Jessamyn, and any other liberal shy of using the term terrorism to describe right wing terrorism, don't see that as a source of concern I suggest you reconsider your positions.

I guess my point is that the "it's something different horrendous thing" side would have a valid point if only every left wing act of vandalism for the past 8 years hadn't been called "terrorism" and used as a club to hammer Harry "the coward" Reid even further into submission. Since, however, the right has defined "terrorism" to mean "any act of vandalism or violence in pursuit of a political agenda", then we must use that definition or accept that they'll win a major PR coup.

Right now the left is so, ahem, terrified, of applying that term universally that we're letting the so-called "Pro-Life" movement dominate the discussion of Dr. Tiller's murder. "Don't blame us!" they scream, "we're appalled that the murdering, genocidal, babykiller was shot (wink wink, nudge nudge) here's a list of other babykillers, don't blame us if any of them happen (wink wink) to get shot too! Its not our fault!"

And no one is calling them out, no one is describing them, accurately, as terrorist enablers and funders, because we on the left are all too scared of using proper, accurate, language. We don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, I guess.
posted by sotonohito at 7:58 AM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I just wonder why there are not other doctors who perform this procedure in more liberal states like Vermont, New York, California, Mass, Minnesota.

Why are there so few doctors who do third-term abortions in this country? Intimidation, of course, but you have to also remember that Roe grants states the rights to limit or ban third-term abortions. And since in the third trimester you effectively have a viable child in there, it was pretty easy to get people on board banning them, even as states liberalized their laws for first and second trimester abortions. Even now there is little public support for third trimester abortions.

Thus, most states ban or severely restrict third-term abortions. And yes, most other countries in the world do as well. Europe has a hodgepodge of abortion laws just like the US; in Germany, for example, abortion is only legal in the first 12 weeks, making it more restrictive than any US state in terms of time (second-term abortion is legal in every US state).

Oh, and also, I find it odd that Dr. Tiller performed in Kansas, of all places...

Kansas set its abortion laws in place in the early 1970s, and since then the courts have upheld those laws. All anti-abortion lawmakers have been able to is nibble at them, through requirements for counseling and other things. One thing it doesn't have is a law requiring parental permission for an abortion in minors (only parental notification); as a result it gets a lot of kids crossing over from Oklahoma and Missouri.

IIRC, Kansas also lacks an initiative system, and without one you could never put a third-term abortion ban on the ballot in that state.
posted by dw at 7:58 AM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Please save the "good riddance" for the GM bankruptcy thread.
posted by Zambrano at 8:00 AM on June 1, 2009


.
posted by lordrunningclam at 8:06 AM on June 1, 2009


State Policies in Brief: Restricting Insurance Coverage of Abortion
States with Restrictions on Insurance Coverage of Abortion
Q. Does insurance cover the cost of an abortion?
A. Almost two-thirds of insurance companies cover elective abortion to some degree. Contact your insurance company to find out if you are covered.
Two-thirds of typical fee-for-service insurance plans routinely cover abortion, and 9 in 10 routinely cover sterilization, according to a new study by The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI). In contrast, half of typical fee-for-service plans provide no contraceptive coverage at all.
To be clear about my stance: our health care system is profoundly fucked up, and there are certainly efforts to prevent insurance companies from paying for abortions. But dealing with the facts alone, it's impossible to say that insurance companies don't pay for abortion. Most do pay for at least some forms of abortion, ranging from the morning after pill to a termination prior to 12 weeks and beyond. Mine pays for a first trimester abortion after referral from my GYN under the family services program, which means a $25 copay and a prescription copay for Plan B and/or antibiotics prescribed alongside and abortion procedure. (A $40 copay for the Pill, making it almost market price. It'd be cheaper for me to have an abortion annually than to take contraceptives. That's quite a pro-life policy we've got there).

That doesn't counter the fact that not everyone has insurance and not every plan allows for payments for abortion. And whenever you require really rare and specialized services for which there is no standard schedule of benefits, you do enter the complicated realm of claims, for which there are no set outcomes one can expect. Our coverage of reproductive services is far from good, far from realistic, and far from fair, but having people think abortion is never covered by insurance could mean some unecessary negative outcomes for individuals, so I wanted to clarify that.
posted by Miko at 8:16 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is this terrorism? Yes. It is a crime by a terrible, sick man aimed not only at its victim but at cowing other medical professionals who provide abortion. Is it so different in Canada? No. Even though things aren't as toxic as they are in the US, they are toxic enough that some physicians are dissuaded from performing abortions. Reducing the supply of physicians who offer abortions means that those who do offer them end up performing a lot of them. Physicians become hesitant to offer abortions, because given the imbalance of demand and supply, they worry that it will become all they do. A vicious cycle.

Americans: before enjoying yourself a righteous venting of spleen at fff, consider that you're assuming it's up to you to apportion guilt for the bad things America does. I feel bad for entering this side-argument, but the degree of bristling and chest-thumping is weird.
posted by ~ at 8:24 AM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh come off it. five fresh fish has a long history of being totally obnoxious and spouting off WE NEED TO FIX THIS BIG PROBLEM RIGHT NOW-type of statements with no regard to how, and with no real depth of understanding beyond a reactionary. He's preaching to the choir here, and lends next to nothing to progressive discourse and information sharing.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:28 AM on June 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Americans: before enjoying yourself a righteous venting of spleen at fff, consider that you're assuming it's up to you to apportion guilt for the bad things America does.

Rest of the world: If you don't like it when Americans tell you what to do and how to run your country, return the favor.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:36 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hell, if Bush II's rules regarding terrorist funding and training were applied evenly the US government would, already, have frozen the assets of Operation Rescue in preparation for a seizure.

Actually, no. Operation Rescue spews nasty rhetoric and engages in civil disobedience and intimidation, but they're not a terrorist organization in the Bush sense of things. They have no terrorist wing (as Sinn Fenn had the IRA or Hamas has... Hamas). They're not actively calling for the deaths of doctors who perform abortions, only they be "brought to justice" (which would include the death penalty, which is a contradiction, but no matter). They're not allied with some broader network of anti-American sentiment.

And since the failure that was the '93 Wichita protests, they've really been toothless.

What would Bush II have done to them? Well, pretty much what we've always done -- monitored them. Though in Bush's case I'm sure they'd be using warrantless wiretaps to pick up any chatter Terry and others in the group made.

I think you have to see Operation Rescue post-Wichita in the way you see the KKK post-OKC -- a husk of hate wherein real terror once lay, but through years of legal interference and societal shifts has lost its ability to carry out anything more than noisemaking and looking intimidating. Every once in a while you get some whackjob who does something, a terrorist if you will, like Eric Rudolph. But it's nothing like an organized terror threat simply because it's no longer organized.
posted by dw at 8:37 AM on June 1, 2009


"It seems that per the US government, and now per Obama, the term 'terrorist' depends on the political leanings of the group rather than its methods. White, Christian, right wing people who use violence up to and including murder to advance their political ends are safe from ever being labeled terrorist by the US government and seems safe even from investigation. Meanwhile left wing people who merely discuss destroying property are prominently identified as terrorists and non-violent left wing groups are endlessly investigated."

Or maybe the Obama government is scaling back on calling every stubbed toe terrorism. Change has to start somewhere. It is entirely possible that the right wing whack jobs were just first up to the plate.

"The reporter is quoting a statement made by the Colorado doctor. It would be nice if the reporter had clarified it, but the responsibility for the statement's truth is on the doctor. The reporter is just relaying what he said."

Whaa?!? Isn't a basic function of journalism fact checking? If the doctor had said he is the exclusive provider of any abortions would the reporter have just printed it? Canada, much of Europe, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, etc. don't have anyone performing this procedure? It seems unlikely on the face of it for anyone not living in Toronto.
posted by Mitheral at 8:57 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Bill O'Reilly had previously devoted air time to talking about the murdered man and his (O'Reilly's words) "death mill".

O'Reilly's campaign against murdered doctor
[T]here's no other person who bears as much responsibility for the characterization of Tiller as a savage on the loose, killing babies willy-nilly thanks to the collusion of would-be sophisticated cultural elites, a bought-and-paid-for governor and scofflaw secular journalists. Tiller's name first appeared on "The Factor" on Feb. 25, 2005. Since then, O'Reilly and his guest hosts have brought up the doctor on 28 more episodes, including as recently as April 27 of this year. Almost invariably, Tiller is described as "Tiller the Baby Killer."

Tiller, O'Reilly likes to say, "destroys fetuses for just about any reason right up until the birth date for $5,000." He's guilty of "Nazi stuff," said O'Reilly on June 8, 2005; a moral equivalent to NAMBLA and al-Qaida, he suggested on March 15, 2006. "This is the kind of stuff happened in Mao's China, Hitler's Germany, Stalin's Soviet Union," said O'Reilly on Nov. 9, 2006.

O'Reilly has also frequently linked Tiller to his longtime obsession, child molestation and rape. Because a young teenager who received an abortion from Tiller could, by definition, have been a victim of statutory rape, O'Reilly frequently suggested that the clinic was covering up for child rapists (rather than teenage boyfriends) by refusing to release records on the abortions performed.
Video [01:41] from some of those 29 segments.
posted by ericb at 9:11 AM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Yes, scody, that one cherry-picked comment proves that there are no people in this thread doing what fff claims they're doing.

OK, then, SHOW ME all the comments in this thread from people who are specifically "pretending nothing's wrong," as fff asserts, and as you evidently concur. By my reading, there seems to be overwhelming revulsion and anger at the murder of Dr. Tiller in this thread, but then, I'm not the one with the bright future in library science -- my reading comprehension surely isn't as sharp as yours. So please. Be my guest.

Good work, you've got a bright future in law ahead of you.

Aw, that's so sweet. It's nice to see the kids today using the same lame, broad-brushed insult that seems to be cutting (but really misses its mark so far as to be a mixture of pathetic and funny) that I used to snarl when I was 20 and convinced that anyone to the right of Rosa Luxemburg who disagreed with me about the slightest detail was part of the Sinister Plot of Capitalist Hegemony.
posted by scody at 9:13 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Whaa?!? Isn't a basic function of journalism fact checking? If the doctor had said he is the exclusive provider of any abortions would the reporter have just printed it? .

He might have, if it were important to the news story that the doctor said that.

Fact checking is not something required in every news story. Here, a doctor was called and asked for a comment. The doctor said he "might be" the only doctor in the world still doing this. That was his reaction. He might be incorrect, but people say incorrect things, and that's part of the historical record. That's how journalism works - creating the record.

Now, if the journalist - or any journalist - or you - want to do a followup investigative piece on the number and status of late-term abortion providers in the world, that would be an excellent undertaking. But this was a piece of breaking news reporting. The journalist made a statement that is factually correct: a doctor said X. Whether the doctor is correct is not something knowable to the journalist at the speed s/he needed to file the story. What the journalist did was create the trail that any future inquirer can follow, to debunk or verify the doctor's claim. We know who said it and when, and in response to what event. That was the journalist's job here.

When you read news stories, it's important to read for language like this. It has a history and a purpose. When you haven't got time to check every fact, you are clear about what was said and by whom, and represent the facts as they occurred. The doctor did say that and may believe it. Reading "Pat Robertson says Hurricane Katrina was a punishment for Louisiana's sin" does not indicate that the journalist thought it was true. The journalist is reporting something said by Robertson. The truth of the statement is not yet established. It may yet be established, and indicates a concern and something to look into, so it is a comment worth including. But reporters, especially ones doing stories of national significance with dozens of sources at once, will not have the time to verify statements of this kind made by all of the sources. That is why the journalist was careful to attribute the statement to the doctor, not to present it as a fact. The entire piece is the Colorado doctor's response to the event. This was part of his response.

As far as fact-checking goes, in most news outlets journalists are responsible for their own fact-checking and verification. When they can't or don't have time to verify, they will attribute the statement as you saw above, so later truth determination can be made if that becomes important. Fact-checking (the formal practice) is not as widespread as people imagine. A few news outlets (the Economist, Harper's, the New Yorker, The Atlantic) do make a practice of it on almost everything, but they have the staff for it and operate on a slower publications cycle. The language of news journalism as far as fast-moving breaking news goes is to attribute everything to someone. If there is an error, it then resides in the source, not in false reporting.
posted by Miko at 9:21 AM on June 1, 2009


.
posted by darsh at 9:27 AM on June 1, 2009


He's preaching to the choir here, and lends next to nothing to progressive discourse and information sharing.

And yeah, just to be clear why fff's behavior is so irritating -- it's not because those of us who are pushing back are all HURF DURF AMERICA'S AWESOME, CANUCK. It's because he's lecturing and condescending to people who have done (and are often still doing) the exact political work he's A) hectoring us to do, because he B) assumes none of us are doing it. I'm one of many folks in this thread who have done years on the front lines in the abortion rights struggle. I did clinic defense against Operation Rescue throughout the midwest in the '80s and '90s. I have held the hands of women going in for medical procedures while monsters screamed "baby killer" in their faces. I carried a crying five-year-old into a clinic after an OR nutcase told him "your mommy tried to kill you, too, but we stopped her!" My friends and I got our license plates taken down and were trailed home afterwards. I have a family member who was harassed by phone for months after her abortion. We know how bad the state of abortion rights is, because we have been living it -- and fighting it -- for decades.

So fff and all his defenders who are rooting for him to medal at the Ideological Purity Olympics can cartoonishly characterize us anyone who disagrees with him as thin-skinned, slack-jawed, fundamentalist apologists for oppression and imperialism if they wish. The shame is that in doing so, they are alienating the very allies they could be engaging, and in the greater scheme of things they do a grave disservice to the very issues they claim to care so much about.
posted by scody at 9:55 AM on June 1, 2009 [22 favorites]


Americans: before enjoying yourself a righteous venting of spleen at fff, consider that you're assuming it's up to you to apportion guilt for the bad things America does.

You're falling into the same trap fff is: Equating individuals here with their country.

A number of the reasons issues in Canada keep getting pointed out in these threads is that fff seems to think that Canada is superior in every way to the United States and thus the US is deserving of his broadbrush dismissals. His rage seems to be against some strawman America that isn't typified by a vast, vast majority of the Americans on MeFi -- and many MeFites are actively working towards the sorts of things he rants about, and in the past they've openly stated they don't appreciate the way he's treated them and their work.
posted by dw at 10:01 AM on June 1, 2009


Or what scody said.
posted by dw at 10:02 AM on June 1, 2009


vigil for Dr. Tiller in NYC on Monday, 6/1 at 6:00 in Union Square.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 10:22 AM on June 1, 2009


The other thing is that I think fff just sweepingly ignores the fact that despite the number of parties in Canada, political diversity in the US is a much bigger factor than in Canada, and our system is built to prevent the consolidation of power by a single region or viewpoint, so it is, by design, hard to shift without overwhelming majority support for a cause, person, or issue. We also have an entirely different system of government. Our senators aren't lifetime appointments, and we don't have a parliamentary system of small parties needing to agree on a legislative agenda, which of course encourages coalition-making and thus emerges as more centrist and pragmatic. All of our leaders are subject to an electoral process. When making change, we have to work in gradual ways since power is divided on three fronts - executive, legislative, judicial - and since states are enabled to make their own law in the absence of Constitutional law. The Canadian governmental system is to be admired for its efficacy in many ways - but it's not the system we have, so we can't manipulate it in the same way. The American system is set up to prevent sweeping changes by activist groups of any kind. Therefore, it's ignorant to shout regarding every US issue CHANGE THINGS CHANGE THINGS without showing an understanding or at least an appreciation of the different challenges and power relationships inherent in our political system.

Meanwhile, with Canada's government working so effectively, one wonders why they aren't solving so many of those First Nations issues, secession issues, and issues of gender/ethnic/racial representation. One wonders what more difficult choices the nation of Canada would have to have made were it not under the protective shadow of NATO and the contributions (50% of the world's military spending) the US has made in support of that organization, both materially and in personnel.

I've no interest in playing "who's country's better," and every interest in praising the Canadian system for its many strengths. But in conversations with people who are activists within their own nations on issues I care about, I think we should assume that if we agree on the issues, they are working hard and living their values. FFF doesn't extend the same credit to American activists, and it's counterproductive. When you are in agreement on an issue with someone, it's generally more helpful to find a way to support them and their arguments and lend them what assistance you can from the vantage point of your nation, than to continue to yell at them as if they are in full control and support of things you're angry about. For instance, I can't imaging haranguing women in Afghanistan about why they let their schools be burned down and let men beat them. I know that they are organizing themselves, reaching out for support around the world, and if I had the pleasure of being in an internet conversation with one of them, it would be beyond the pale for me to insult her by assuming she was in league with her oppressors. When you are philosophically aligned with someone, it's good to show willingness to support them by providing encouragement, information, money, strategy help, whatever they need. Why would anyone think that attacking them as if they were the sole architects of their nation's lousy policy be helpful? I can't think of a situation where it ever was.
posted by Miko at 10:29 AM on June 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Americans: before enjoying yourself a righteous venting of spleen at fff, consider that you're assuming it's up to you to apportion guilt for the bad things America does. I feel bad for entering this side-argument, but the degree of bristling and chest-thumping is weird.

The irony is the huge majority of the Americans on this site are in total agreement with the policy changes he advocates, and many are working towards that. This isn't about someone from outside of the country saying, "Yeah, seriously, there needs to be some real change to X." I'd like to think we're big enough to take policy criticism. Most of the American Mefits are the harshest critics of America's policies. Any outside suggestions of how we can turn things around are welcome. What doesn't help is the repeated threadshitting about how retarded, backass, and crazy those Americans are, and that "you people need to get off your ass and do something about this now". There's a high level of judgementalism, contempt and disgust that wears thin after a while, and it's an insult to the very same people who'd be in agreement with him. And when asked to dial that crap down a notch, you see the result - a strawman that we're all pretending nothing's wrong with America. It's tiresome.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:36 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I really do wish this would be treated as a domestic terrorism case. The act of murdering this man was facilitated by a culture that openly encourages harassment and intimidation. It's unreasonable to believe that with the materials these groups provide; locations, doctor's names, etc, and a willingness to advocate confrontation as a tool, that they wouldn't anticipate that an escalation to violence would be a result.

They may not be directly connected, but I will be willing to bet that when they dig through the shooters history, they are going to find a lot of his reading material originated from these sources.

Over the last decade our leadership may have overused the term "terrorism" for political purposes, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't call this act anything other than what it is;

A man was murdered because of his job to send a message and cause others to act from a place of fear. That is terrorism.

Groups like Operation Rescue have controlled the language of this conversation too long. The people that provide the material? They may be free from direct blame, but they are publicly supporting terrorism. And anyone else who tries anything like this? They too will be a terrorist.

I think we should call it what it is.
posted by quin at 10:37 AM on June 1, 2009


I am pro-life and anti-abortion, and am saddened by this doctor's death. I believe that our country should protect the constitutional right of life of all of our members, and that we are not fit to decide when a fetus is to be called a human being. At the point in which a mother finds out she is pregnant, what gives her the right to decide that just because she doesn't want her child, that she is fit to kill it? Even contemplating that is amazing to me. The situation isn't always black and white, but in general that is my train of thought.

A mother is no more fit to decide the death of the child inside her than the killer in question was to Dr. Tiller's. That this maniac shares my viewpoints on abortion is tragic and unwelcome.

I haven't read through this entire thread but felt it was necessary to juxtapose my opinion as a few of the comments I've scanned have made some pretty disturbing conclusions. How about we stop generalizing all pro-lifers as some sort of uncaring religious zealot? I am pro-life because I care about the people in our society, whether they are in a womb or outside one.
posted by gushn at 10:41 AM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Just found out from my mom that Tiller was my pediatrician.
posted by sleevener at 10:41 AM on June 1, 2009


Here's an interesting take from Al Giordano on the likely fallout from the murder of Dr. Tiller:

...the North American religious right is going to suffer great losses as a result of this morning’s terrorist act in Wichita. That, this time, the assassination attempt succeeded, and that it happened in the sanctuary of a church of a mainstream Protestant faith, will provoke a double whammy of shock and revulsion, including among tens of millions of Americans that do not like abortion, but likewise believe that assassination is obviously just as (or more) anti-life
...

That today’s atrocity occurs not under the helm of an embattled liberal president, but of one that enjoys 67 percent support, still, from the American people, will have even more devastating consequences for the cultural and political right that has placed abortion at the center of its agenda. There is no need to demonize them with a broad brush for it. The first immediate consequence of the assassination of Dr. Tiller will be that it virtually removes the political points to be scored by those who planned to wage an anti-choice argument against US Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

I would also be very surprised if, in the coming days, some right-wing radio talkers and those from anti-choice organizations like Operation Rescue can’t help but make the sorts of outrageous statements about this act of terrorism that shock and provoke backlash from the American public. As a crew, they have already whipped themselves up into a mental state of frenzied derangement. The countdown now begins to find out which will shovel their own political graves over this one.


I can't say that I agree with everything that Giordano says, or that I'm sure that he's right about what will happen, but it's at least a plausible scenario and I really hope that the religious right loses a lot of power and influence and legitimacy because of this.
posted by overglow at 10:47 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


At the point in which a mother finds out she is pregnant, what gives her the right to decide that just because she doesn't want her child, that she is fit to kill it?

As of right now, the Constitution of the United States gives her that right. You are welcome to your own personal opinions on the matter, but right now the legal framework at work in the US says that abortion is legal and murder is not and that a fetus does not have the same rights as a human that is living outside the womb.
posted by jessamyn at 10:53 AM on June 1, 2009 [36 favorites]


At the point in which a mother finds out she is pregnant, what gives her the right to decide that just because she doesn't want her child, that she is fit to kill it?

The fact that it is inside her, has a serious chance of causing her injury and a nontrivial chance of either killing her or requiring immediate medical intervention to prevent it from killing her, and there is no way to make it not inside her except to kill it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:15 AM on June 1, 2009


How about we stop generalizing all pro-lifers as some sort of uncaring religious zealot? I am pro-life because I care about the people in our society, whether they are in a womb or outside one.

If you care, work with other pro-lifers to dismantle Operation Rescue and stop seeking violent solutions to this issue.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:21 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I believe that our country should protect the constitutional right of life of all of our members, and that we are not fit to decide when a fetus is to be called a human being.

well, like it or not, as we've discussed before, the constitutional right to life of all our members applies only to our members, i.e., our citizens, and citizenship is granted at birth. So fetuses are simply not included there.

And as has been pointed out, they are only surviving by being attached to the mother, so the mother has a choice about whether to nurture them to the point where they'll become members, or to terminate the relationship before they separate and are recognized as individuals.
posted by mdn at 11:26 AM on June 1, 2009


As of right now, the Constitution of the United States gives her that right. You are welcome to your own personal opinions on the matter, but right now the legal framework at work in the US says that abortion is legal and murder is not and that a fetus does not have the same rights as a human that is living outside the womb.

Unfortunately you are right, although it is my continued hope that Roe v Wade is overturned. Sigh.
posted by gushn at 11:34 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


At the point in which a mother finds out she is pregnant, what gives her the right to decide that just because she doesn't want her child, that she is fit to kill it?

gushn, please read this (from today's Salon) to get an understanding of what exactly it was that Dr. Tiller did. It's a little bit more complicated than a woman deciding that she just "doesn't want her child".
posted by jokeefe at 11:34 AM on June 1, 2009


Oh wow -- I didn't realize that werkzeuger's comment got a mention in that Salon article. As well it should, frankly.
posted by shiu mai baby at 11:39 AM on June 1, 2009


I wish people wouldn't use the term "pro-life." As the murder of Dr. Tiller (may his God welcome him) shows, anti-abortion advocates are anything but.

It is, however, a great way to try to control women, being anti-abortion.
posted by QIbHom at 11:44 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


At the point in which a mother finds out she is pregnant, what gives her the right to decide that just because she doesn't want her child, that she is fit to kill it?

There are incredibly good arguments that address this issue, and any conversation would have to start with Judith Jarvis Thompson and go on to Don Marquis and and and... There's a huge, living body of literature that addresses just this issue, both as an issue of philosophy and as an issue of law.

But let me answer personally, from the gut, emotionally: Because that thing growing inside of me is me. It's not something unique and separate from that woman containing it -- you cannot draw a line that separates it from her, not at that very early point at which a woman first discovers she is pregnant. If I were to become pregnant, that tiny little growth of cells would be a part of me, just as I would be, in part, it. My body is its body, and its body is mine. I may love it as I love my heart, my liver, my tonsils, my brain--or I may love it as something more than that--or I may hate it as I would hate a cancer, or a diseased piece. But, whatever the response I may have, it's a response to me.

I'm not arguing. I'm not going to argue this. I'm just trying to express the answer that seems the most immediate and emotionally powerful to me.
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:46 AM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


gushn, take a look at this website, which I frankly can't really read without distress, in which women tell how they ended up going to Dr. Tiller, and what happened there. Also, please read Mefite werkzeuger's comment in this thread.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:46 AM on June 1, 2009


what gives her the right to decide that just because she doesn't want her child, that she is fit to kill it? . . . A mother is no more fit to decide the death of the child inside her

You say you haven't read through the entire thread, so just to clarify, are you saying you're comfortable telling people like the ones who've experienced the following that they're not fit to decide what happened to their fetuses?
I had a late term abortion due to anaencephaly- the fetus had no brain, much like Baby Grace who recently got so much attention here on the blue. She wouldn't ever think, feel, or exist- she would be born simply to die.

And sadly, the same Operation Rescue that wants to prevent these kinds of abortions prevented me from giving birth to this child, this very wanted child. Because of all the random, extraneous laws pro-lifers have fought hard to get passed, I wouldn't have even been able to donate that infant's organs- without a brain, there's no brain death. We would have had to let everything shut down, making all of her organs unsuitable for donation.

Since we couldn't make someone else's life better carrying her to term, we opted for an abortion. 9 months and then childbirth to carry what amounted to a corpse, all to end in tragedy- well. Obviously some women- like Baby Grace's mother- are made of different stuff from me. But I couldn't bear the exercise in ugly futility.

What George Tiller did may seem ghoulish to those who have never been in the position- and being on Mefi, I'm certainly aware this is an appeal to emotion- but I know that I would have grieved more effectively, less hauntedly, if I had had the opportunity to terminate that pregnancy in the kind of clinic he ran.
Before writing your reply, you will probably find it helpful to read the links provided by others responding to you.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 11:50 AM on June 1, 2009



At the point in which a mother finds out she is pregnant, what gives her the right to decide that just because she doesn't want her child, that she is fit to kill it?


In addition to Jessamyn's excellent and irrefutable answer, I really hope you read some of the stories about medical conditions that lead heartbroken parents to make this decision for themselves.

On a side note, we keep using Operation Rescue language in these debates. I reject the term "abortion on demand" as if it were as easy as ordering up a movie from the cable service.
posted by etaoin at 11:53 AM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not for lack of appreciation of the points made by scody, dw and others, I'll take fff and leave it at that. There was an extremely brave physician in the town I grew up in that ran a clinic that performed abortions when this was still illegal, who thankfully survived the constant death threats and occasional bombings. I grew up thinking of him as a model of bravery and courage, and I'm deeply saddened to think of what it would have meant to me as a child to know that he had been murdered. Please don't blanche at calling this terrorism. Call it what it is.
posted by ~ at 12:08 PM on June 1, 2009


It is terrorism, to me. No question in my mind.

Also, I want to applaud those of you making an effort to show gushn some of the nuance and different facets of the abortion question. I can't really say I can muster that level of empathy or understanding for the anti-choice crowd right now. More power to you.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:11 PM on June 1, 2009


The hand-wringing over late-term abortion is a shameful spectacle. It (late-term abortion) just isn't done unless there's something catastrophically wrong. No one wants to carry a fetus, or baby, however you want to say it, more than halfway to term, and then undergo a dangerous, psychically traumatic, invasive procedure to have it removed.

When I heard this story this morning, all I could think about was the way the news, both national and local, insisted on referring to him as an "abortion doctor," as if that was all he did, all he offered to patients, all he ever was. It saddened me to think that there was probably a lot more to Dr. Tiller, as a clinician and as a man, but all the news deigned to report was that he was an "abortion doctor," and one of the few who would perform "late term abortions."

Now, after reading werkzeuger's story, I am even more deeply saddened. Dr. Tiller seems to have been a dedicated and caring physician, a man who devoted his professional life to helping women and families in great pain, despite great risk to himself and, by extension, his family. He will be missed.
posted by Mister_A at 12:12 PM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Well this is terrorism. I don’t think there’s much question about it.
Mostly because Roeder is involved in several organizations - part of the Freemen movement (One Supreme Court) as well as a history of affiliation with extremist militia and anti-federal government groups that advocate violence, all that – and those organizations don’t necessarily have to be formal like Operation Rescue. (Although Roeder (or someone) had been posting threats, or at least “stopped” threats on a web site sponsored by Operation Rescue (chargetiller.com)) last year. And Roeder was invited to pray for an end to Tiller’s abortion business by Operation Rescue.

And there are plenty of ‘groups within the group’ sort of things. And Roeder has been found with explosives, et.al. Lots of big red flags there.

So flip it -in the U.S. some Imam invites "Saïd Roeder" to pray for the Jews and gays to stop being sinful. Saïd is found with explosives in his car. Saïd has an affiliation with Muslim extremist groups, groups for overthrowing the U.S. government and instituting faith-based sharia law - think the FBI might like to have a word with that guy?
Same guy - different flavor, that's all.

“There should be an immediate directive: FIGHT DOMESTIC TERRORISM”
Funly enough, there was.

The DHS said in a recent report that “rightwing extremism is likely to grow in strength (and that) lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.
Bush created the damned organization, it was his adminstration's baby. And the GOP doesn't want to hear what they have to say. Hnh.

Bob Mueller had some interesting comments on domestic terrorists and hate crimes back in '05.

So all that bears investigation. And it should be investigated under the auspices of counterterrorism.
If the guy had come out of nowhere one day, sitting in his room, obsessing or some such, then, ok, not terrorism, just some random nutjob.
This guy might have been crazy, but he wasn’t alone in his views or plans. He was plugged in. That bears investigation. With an eye towards conspiracy. So – given the goal here wasn’t money or drugs or some other such it is then a hate group/terrorism investigation.

Now – not all assassination is terrorism. And not all uses of violence to achieve political ends are terrorism either.

But what seems to be tripping people up is the left-right dichotomy, etc. and the fact that bullets were used. Let’s take all that out of the equation and talk apples to apples – taking away the “but they prosecute lefties for ‘sploding property and call it terrorism” thing.

In 1976 a car bomb exploded in Sheridan Circle in Washington D.C. Killed were Orlando Letelier and his assistant Ronni Moffitt (who just happened to be there, not a target – so let’s take her out of the equation).
So – one man targeted to be killed. He was killed by elements of the Chilean secret police and a former CIA agent.
Letelier was an economist and activist. He opposed the privatization of copper mining in Chile and spoke against the Pinochet government (Oh, and he was tortured and imprisoned stuff before all this).
Terrorism?
Well, the Clinton administration refused to open the books on this (they were investigating still) but when they prepared an indictment of Pinochet for the hit – Bushco refused to move on it. So – no?
Pretty clear that it is though.

One can debate what could or should be done politically, and whether to call something terrorism from that perspective.

But this act in itself, from this man, given his group affiliations, possible commitments, and the agenda it serves through intimidation – yeah, that’s fucking terrorism right there.

But hey, why stop it now when we can ½ ass it like the left and the right have been doing for the past 30 years. Let’s just let this sit and fester. Maybe pass some wrong headed laws, push some people into corners with no other way out, wait until someone’s killed, maybe shoot some people in the back, burn some children, that’s the way we handle this no matter who’s in office.

‘Cos an in-depth criminal investigation by joint counterterrorism task force agents to determine the truth of the matter in who trained him, oriented his mindset, bailed his ass out of jail all those times he got caught with contraband in his car, turned him into a disposable weapon? That would be just f’ing crazy talk.

And of course, the next guy is just a lone nut too. Surely they wouldn't disavow him if he wasn't, right?
Only time terrorists 'claim responsibility' for something is when they reach the psy op stage in their propaganda to convince people that their group is more powerful than the government or whatever outfit their fighting.
Here the move would be to disavow but to play it off as though just SO many people are SO upset about this and it's a populist movement, etc etc. that the government can't stop it and so oh of course, neither can we. It's just so overwhelming.
Watch for it. Probably on t.v.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:15 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


...is ignore loud mouthed Canadians who constantly want to tell us what to do but still have Steve Harper as their Prime Minster. How about you focus on getting your country back in order before worrying about ours, m'kay?

Harper may be a policy-wonk and a dick, but christ on the cross, I'd take him over several recent US presidents and most state governors any day. At any rate, let's keep this to a discussion that people can have in calm and reasoned terms, abortion.
posted by GuyZero at 12:17 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


"A mother is no more fit to decide the death of the child inside her than the killer in question was to Dr. Tiller's"

Case in point.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:17 PM on June 1, 2009


FYI - you can donate to Planned Parenthood International from outside the US - as I have just done. In the spirit of the Michele Bachmann fiasco, my new rule is that every time the extremists do something like this, I will donate to the cause they are fighting against.

I may have to get a second job.
posted by triggerfinger at 12:20 PM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Gah. I have some errata on what I've been saying about Operation Rescue.

The implosion of OR began in 1993 in Buffalo, not Wichita. It was in the wake of Buffalo that the "bubble zone" laws were passed and eventually upheld in part.

Operation Rescue is pretty disorganized, probably closer to a cell movement than a national organization (which could be an argument for calling them a "terrorist organization", given they function like one). Randall Terry is a founder but basically has no leadership stake in the movement. The main group is now called Operation Save America and seems to be more focused on general moral depravity now. This guy is starting to sound awfully Westboro.

You also have Operation Rescue Kansas, which pretty much existed to harass Tiller. They're the ones that own operationrescue.org. But it doesn't look like they have tight ties with Operation Save America.

Randall Terry and Operation Save America? They don't get along.

Here's a Right Wing Watch summary of just how messed up and fragmented these groups are.

Operation Rescue doesn't control any of the language of this debate; they really only control the language of the debate in front of clinics. On the national stage, they've been long ago pushed aside by "reasonable" voices like Dobson. ("Reasonable" is in quotation marks for a reason there.) For the most part, save a handful of zealots like Alan Keyes, the organizations that collectively make up what we call Operation Rescue are persona non grata in the mainstream pro-life movement.
posted by dw at 12:25 PM on June 1, 2009


I reject the term "abortion on demand" as if it were as easy as ordering up a movie from the cable service.

My recollection is that "abortion on demand" originated in the pro-choice movement, not in the pro-life movement.
posted by dw at 12:28 PM on June 1, 2009


My recollection is that "abortion on demand" originated in the pro-choice movement, not in the pro-life movement.

Right. It was a response to the implementation of waiting periods and parental (or spousal) consent laws. The idea of "abortion on demand" is that women should be allowed to decide for themselves whether to terminate a pregnancy, and NOT be forced to wait once they seek it out (ostensibly to "reconsider") or to be forced to bring anyone else into the decision-making process.
posted by scody at 12:37 PM on June 1, 2009


although it is my continued hope that Roe v Wade is overturned.

I'll encourage you to rethink this, because there is excellent evidence that access to safe and legal abortion, combined with widespread and accurate sex education for all adolescents and with family policy that supports parenting in combination with work/eduction, are the most effective ways to reduce a country's abortion rate. Prohibition doesn't make abortions go away, it makes them dangerous and unregulated. Safe, legal access to abortion is an important part of a policy package aimed at making abortions rare and rendering them mostly unnecessary.

I understand the desire to reduce abortions. It's smart. But believe it or not, the best way to do that is to advocate for better sex education and access to contraception, and to recognize that abortion will always need to remain legal because there will always be instances in which you - or any state body representing you - are not the best qualified person to make medical and life decisions for women you don't know.
posted by Miko at 12:46 PM on June 1, 2009 [18 favorites]


Oh, and I should say that it was also a response to the increasing scarcity of abortion services throughout the U.S. (particularly in rural communities), which forces girls and women to travel outside their counties and even their home states to get abortions. "Some 87% of U.S. counties, containing 35% of women aged 15–44, did not have an abortion provider in 2005."
posted by scody at 12:47 PM on June 1, 2009


(sorry, that was meant as a P.S. to my previous comment re the term "abortion on demand.")
posted by scody at 12:49 PM on June 1, 2009


While "abortion on demand" was started by the pro-choice movement, I have to agree with the spirit of etaoin's comment, in that it's become unfortunate terminology of the more pedestrian use of "on demand" that we have nowadays -- i.e. instant movies on cable.

Parts of my family are vehemently anti-abortion, and they -- and the anti-abortion leaders whose talking points they parrot -- use the term "abortion on demand" with as much disdain as they can cram into a three-word phrase. It's unquestionably been co-opted by that movement to subtly reinforce the fallacy of the care-free woman who gets abortions as a matter of convenience, just as readily as she'd order up Bride Wars from Comcast for a Saturday night in.
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:49 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


read: "unfortunate terminology in the wake of the more pedestrian use..."
posted by shiu mai baby at 12:50 PM on June 1, 2009


People who think that abortion should be illegal think that way because they view the fetus to be a living being in and of itself.

In general, that's not true. Your typical politicized Christian (right-wing nutball? there's got to be a better term for this) has only a vague idea of what abortion actually is, how zygotes develop, who performs abortions, how the procedures work, etc. All they need is the slogan "abortion means baby-killing", and they run with the rest of the pack.

People like gushn are exceptions to this, but even s/he isn't thinking things through very carefully -- it is disingenuous to use the word "kill" to refer to what happens to the embryo when there's no consensus as to whether or not it is "alive" in the first place. The meanings of those two words are heavily manipulated by neconservatives and Christian fundamentalists seeking to milk all this for political gain.
posted by Maximian at 1:11 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Discussing the scarcity of abortion services in general reminds me of the fact that there is also an increasing scarcity of medical professionals trained in abortion procedures. For those who would like to donate in Dr. Tiller's honor, please consider Medical Students for Choice to help broaden the network of providers.
posted by scody at 1:29 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Violence against abortion clinics hasn't stopped. The killing of Dr. Tiller is tragic, but it doesn't represent a renewal of violence against doctors or clinics. Tiller's death is notable for the way he was killed (in his church... the audacity of ...words fail me...) and the fact that he was one of the few late-term abortion providers in the country.

But there have been attempted killings, bombings, arson attempts, acid attacks, and anthrax threats.
posted by LOLAttorney2009 at 1:31 PM on June 1, 2009


Since Andrew Sullivan has quoted from werkzeuger's moving post on his blog, an e-mail from one of his readers might bring some first-hand testimony about what it was like on the other side of the protest line to this thread:
The "attendance" fluctuated but there were always some constants: the "sidewalk counselors" (all women) or women who would talk very loudly next to the clinic walls, because supposedly those inside the clinic next to the wall could hear you. Everyone else seemed to do one of two things. The Catholics (Kapaun/Bishop Carroll high school students and some boomer-age adults) would usually stand silently with signs or pray the rosary. The fundamentalists/evangelicals would sing those annoying but innocuous praise songs but near the end of my protest "tenure" I noticed more and more reading of the Bible as well.

And of course they always seemed to choose the passages talking about "the LORD shall bless the righteous but sinners he shall smite" and the like. They said it with force, like they meant it.{...} These people not only spoke the language of the Old Testament but saw themselves as part of its narrative. They are Jonah warning Ninevah (Wichita) prophesizing about its wickedness (Tiller's clinic).{...}

Operation Rescue or Bill O'Reilly do not qualify every statement about Tiller with a parenthetical stating "oh, by the way, killing him is not the way to stop him" for obvious reasons. But even if they did, they can't stop someone from thinking that more drastic measures are "necessary". {...} Once you start perpetuating these loaded memes that excite people's emotions, all it takes is someone who is a bit crazier than the others for events like yesterday's to happen.
Time was, all that had to be said was, Will no-one rid me of this turbulent so-and-so? to get a good and decent person assassinated in church. Nowadays, the anti-abortion movement requires such rhetoric as "'blood libel', aborted fetuses' 'blood crying out for vengeance', 'death mills', etc.'" to provide sufficient impetus for murdering someone as he hands out the church bulletin.
posted by Doktor Zed at 1:52 PM on June 1, 2009


Time was, all that had to be said was, Will no-one rid me of this turbulent so-and-so? to get a good and decent person assassinated in church.

Yes, but Thomas Becket died over 800 years ago.

Nowadays, the anti-abortion movement requires such rhetoric as "'blood libel', aborted fetuses' 'blood crying out for vengeance', 'death mills', etc.'" to provide sufficient impetus for murdering someone as he hands out the church bulletin.

Most revolutionary and counter-revolutionary movements require visceral rhetoric to drive themselves forward, with the consequence being people dying.

The problem here is that abortion is such an incredibly complex issue that reducing the pro-choice side to "babykillers" and the pro-life side to "right-wing nutball(s)" becomes essential to maintaining this war of rhetoric. And it's no-win here. Abortion is so entangled and encumbered by other issues that now a difficult personal decision becomes a highly-magnified sociopolitical one, and to me that's where this has all become graceless.

I'm tired of all of this, honestly. As someone who has drifted from pro-life to pro-choice over my lifetime I've seen both sides up close, and neither side understands -- or even wants to understand -- the other side. They're too scared of climbing down from their heated rhetoric. In a way, this is the last vestige of Cold War brinkmanship. Both sides are afraid of what dominoes will fall should the other take whatever Vietnam some issue represents this week.
posted by dw at 2:41 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


NYT:
Scott Roeder, 51, of Merriam, Kan., whom authorities have described as a suspect in Sunday’s fatal shooting here of George Tiller, was once a subscriber and occasional contributor to a newsletter, Prayer and Action News, said Dave Leach, an anti-abortion activist from Des Moines who runs the newsletter. Mr. Leach said that he had met Mr. Roeder once, and that Mr. Roeder had described similar views to his own on abortion.

Commenting on Dr. Tiller’s death, Mr. Leach said, “To call this a crime is too simplistic.” He added, “There is Christian scripture that would support this."
posted by grouse at 2:42 PM on June 1, 2009


Why Clinic Violence is Obama's Problem: Dr. George Tiller's murder should push the federal government to get serious about fighting harassment of abortion providers.
posted by homunculus at 2:46 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


gushn wrote At the point in which a mother finds out she is pregnant, what gives her the right to decide that just because she doesn't want her child, that she is fit to kill it?

I think that's one of the core differences of opinion. You, and most other people on the anti-abortion side, argue that life begins at conception, that a fetus is a child. I, and most other people on the pro-choice side, disagree strongly.

A fetus is a potential child, not a child. Most abortions are performed during the first trimester, at a time when the developing fetus has fewer brain cells than an adult hamster. That is not a child from my POV. It could grow to be a child, but at that point in its development I cannot see how anyone could claim that it is a child.

As pregnancy progresses the line between "potential child" and "actual child" becomes harder to define, and by the third trimester the fetus is basically a child.

Which is why Roe did not, contrary to the lies put forth by most so-called "Pro-Life" groups, provide for abortion on demand at all times, but rather established a three tiered system of restrictions. During the first trimester, when the fetus is very neurologically undeveloped, abortion is largely unrestricted, during the second trimester abortion is available but much more restricted, and during the third trimester abortion is only permitted to protect the life or health of the mother, or if the fetus would not survive following birth.

I do ask this: as a foe of abortion, have you contributed to Planned Parenthood? I ask because PP is one of the leading groups in America when it comes to preventing abortion. Every condom they give out is a potential abortion that won't happen, every woman they get on hormonal birth control is a woman vastly less likely to need an abortion. If you dislike abortion, I would argue that your absolute best course of action is to support PP to the greatest extent you can.

Also, have you written your congressperson and senators to urge them to implement contraceptive based sex education starting in kindergarten? Study after study shows that sort of early, persistent, program results in significant decreases in the number of teen pregnancies, teen STI's, and dramatic declines in the abortion rate.

One thing that infuriates me about the so-called "Pro-Life" groups is that almost universally they are also opposed to reality based sex ed, opposed to contraception in general and vehemently opposed to taxpayer funded contraception for the poor, all of which means the policies they support will result in an increase in the number of abortions, which brings us back to my questioning their true motives.

dw I am sufficiently willing to climb down from my own heated rhetoric to admit that it seems likely that many of the rank and file people on the anti-abortion side probably really do care about embryos. I find their care for embryos bizarre, and I find their seeming indifference to actual post-birth people maddening, but I will concede that the vast majority of anti-aborts really do care a great deal about embryos.

However I don't think its particularly a matter of rhetoric to think that they're either willingly deceived or have simply never given any real consideration to their position. If they had they wouldn't be on board with the anti-contraception bits of the movement. Either they're dumb (which seems really unlikely, they can't *all* be stupid), or they're lying, or they've got some serious cognitive dissonance going on.
posted by sotonohito at 2:58 PM on June 1, 2009 [22 favorites]


This morning's Democracy Now interview with Dr Tiller's colleagues and attorney, including a clip of him speaking:
There are pivotal patients in everyone’s practice. This girl on my left is nine-and-a-half years old. She can from Southern California with her mother and her aunt for a termination of pregnancy. I told them that I—she was too far along, and I couldn’t help. . . . I was trying to explain to my daughters, who were ten and nine at the time, about why I had planned to do this procedure. My ten-year-old daughter said, . . . “Daddy, a ten-year-old girl, a nine-year-old girl shouldn’t be pregnant, and simply not by her father or her grandfather or her uncle.” . . .

What one of the things that my father taught me was that to be credible in medicine, you must require for your patients the same care that you would require for your family. I made a decision that if my nine- and ten-year-old daughters at that time were in that situation, I would do the procedure. I did it for this girl. It turned out marvelously. There were no problems, no complications. And I made that decision at that time that I was going to help as many people as I possibly could. And age was—if a woman was or a girl was able to get pregnant, we should be able to do a termination of pregnancy.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:05 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


One thing that infuriates me about the so-called "Pro-Life" groups is that almost universally they are also opposed to reality based sex ed ...

Right. They are actually waging war against sexual freedom. The anti-abortion rhetoric is only one small part of their political program.

Once abortion is declared illegal ("life begins at conception"), the IUD and the Pill (and the Ring, and the Shot, and all other hormonal methods) will be banned as "abortifacient", with the backing of scientific-looking studies. That eliminates all safe and convenient forms of birth control, except the condom, which is uncomfortable and has a much higher margin of error. These will also become harder to get, in service of "protecting children" from "the prurient interest". Coupled with "abstinence-only" sex-ed (if any) and harsh consequences for promiscuity, the mechanisms for controlling sexual expression are in place.

I really don't think this is about unborn persons, at least not at the top-level. Some anti-abortion campaigners indeed really believe that every zygote is a sacred life which must be carried to term at all costs, but that idea is misinformed at best. The fact that anti-abortion campaigners are not interested in scientific, economic, medical, or other reasons that safe access to abortion is a net good really indicates that their agenda is a religious one.
posted by Maximian at 3:12 PM on June 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


Time was, all that had to be said was, Will no-one rid me of this turbulent so-and-so? to get a good and decent person assassinated in church.

Yes, but Thomas Becket died over 800 years ago.


Perhaps I was mistaken in trying to cover my outrage with an ironic historical allusion. And unless the anti-abortion and pro-choice camps are gearing up for some sort of Mutually Assured Destruction, Cold War brinksmanship analogies don't seem especially germane. But back to the present, since there's one side actually firing shots: How abhorrent do the circumstances of a murder have to be before the anti-abortion movement will engage in self-reflection? What kind of Biblically inspired rhetoric will be finally seen as excessive and inappropriate? Will the next victim have to be receiving Communion before the action is regarded as blasphemously evil?

The mindset of certain fundamentalists has long regarded their behavior as acceptable to their Old Testament version of god and sanctioned by their own readings of scripture. The Operation Rescue types aren't simply getting amped up on visceral rhetoric and Bible-thumping but are seeking out moral justification for their actions. In this case, it's gotten to a point where another denomination's house of worship is no longer considered sanctuary. The message of Roeder's "propaganda of the deed" is, bluntly, "you're either with us or against us" to his fellow Christians.
posted by Doktor Zed at 3:35 PM on June 1, 2009


That last sentence didn't come out quite right. I meant to say that for some anti-abortion campaigners, this is may be a religious issue, but at the top level (politicians) it's purely an issue of power and social control. And besides, how is forcing one's religious ideas on others compatible with "freedom" in any meaningful sense? If you live in this country, you're supposed to be free from religious mandates. (Ah, the age-old lament of the non-Christian American/US-ian/whatever.)
posted by Maximian at 3:37 PM on June 1, 2009


Most of the American Mefits are the harshest critics of America's policies.

This has been echoing around my head since I read it hours ago. This is so very, very wrong, I'm not quite sure how to react. Do you really believe this? Honestly? It suggests a serious disconnect from global reality to me.

Again: Most of the American Mefits are the harshest critics of America's policies.

Wow. Harshest? In what sense? Harsh phrasing in online forums? You shake your heads with harsh vigour when someone in the room spews pro-American policy? Think harsh thoughts? Say harsh words?

If in fact you are correct, and the harshest critics of America's policies are to be found among the American Mefits, well... that cause is most certainly lost. You people are so busy convincing each other that real change is impossible or that there's a "long game" going on, there's no way the backsliding will ever stop. Might as well emigrate to somewhere halfway sane.

Any outside suggestions of how we can turn things around are welcome.

So, in other words, no suggestions, no comment, outside user? WTF? Users-within-the-US can just come on here and rant about what bastards Operation Rescue are or this killer was, for instance, but residents outside the US, either make suggestions or shut up. That's how this reads to me. What about if 'foreigners' would like to just vent their spleen too?

What doesn't help is the repeated threadshitting about how retarded, backass, and crazy those Americans are, and that "you people need to get off your ass and do something about this now". There's a high level of judgementalism, contempt and disgust that wears thin after a while, and it's an insult to the very same people who'd be in agreement with (fff).

This suggests that you speak for 'the very same people who'd be in agreement with (fff)", the so-called progressives of Metafilter. What makes you think that the majority here espouse any one set of views? Why are you free to speak for this perceived group? What your whole take here breaks down to me like is:

Metafilter is a site whose membership is largely progressive-thinking users based in the United States. This site's comments section is about discussion. Therefore any point of view expressed in the comments section which vexes a majority of its users may be seen to be interfering with discussion.

We are unhappy with our government. We are allowed to express dissatisfaction with our country. If you are based outside the US, please do not express dissatisfaction with our country as it insults us (we know it has problems already, thanks). You may however offer suggestions to fix it, as long as you in no way, shape or form suggest that any blame for its needing fixing falls in any way to us. We will determine the extent to which this is or is not so.


I can't believe we even have a moderator coming into the thread to berate fff for his "anti-US ranting". Jessamyn, don't you know that most of the American Mefits are the harshest critics of American's policies?

And BTW, declaring Operation Rescue a terrorist group, and creating Hate Crime legislation that makes murdering doctors even more bad than regular murder? Sounds like very real possibilities in any other democratic nation where this sort of thing went on.

Having a reason to stay, having hope that things are on the upswing and not the downswing is what a lot of us are working on. I am tired of your anti-US ranting and being implicated in your "USA Sucks" negativity.

This is frightening to read from a moderator, someone whose job entails unique powers over posts and comments here. Shouldn't the site deal with reality as it's users find it, day to day? If "things are on the upswing" -- great. If not, no one should hesitate to say so. Metafilter is not your 'USA is coming back' daily affirmation.

I certainly admit that fff's posts can be overtly-prescriptive but so what? Are your egos that fragile? He obviously cares a great deal about the US or he wouldn't spend so much time thinking about it or posting about it. I think a lot of anger got misplaced in this thread and went to a convenient target. Just as Metafilter has had to work on its race issues and its sex issues, it sure as hell needs to work on its USA issues.
posted by stinkycheese at 3:40 PM on June 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Shouldn't the site deal with reality as it's users find it, day to day?

FFF wasn't dealing with reality. He has no idea what America is like, but he thinks he's an expert. And it's fucking obnoxious.
posted by empath at 3:49 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is frightening to read from a moderator, someone whose job entails unique powers over posts and comments here.

I'm more inclined to find it frightening that it's the twenty-first century and we still have to deal with anti-Englightenment religious zealots who see fit to murder doctors providing legal medical services, but I guess we all have our own internal terror-threat levels.
posted by scody at 3:57 PM on June 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


I wish people wouldn't use the term "pro-life." As the murder of Dr. Tiller (may his God welcome him) shows, anti-abortion advocates are anything but.
OK, so how about "pro-choice" and "pro-murder"?

I'm gonna go with that.
posted by Flunkie at 3:58 PM on June 1, 2009


This is frightening to read from a moderator, someone whose job entails unique powers over posts and comments here.

One of the realities of this site is that all the mods are also members of the site and we participate here as users as well. If you think I'm doing something out of line by civilly stating my opinions, you know where MeTa is and how to contact my boss.
posted by jessamyn at 4:06 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I can't believe we even have a moderator coming into the thread to berate fff for his "anti-US ranting".....This is frightening to read from a moderator, someone whose job entails unique powers over posts and comments here.

Oh for goodness sake. One of the nice things about Metafilter is that the mods were once - and remain - users. With, you know, opinions.

I have disagreed quietly with quite a few of their deletions (and lack of them, sometimes) but think accusations of ZOMG CENSORSHIP are preposterous.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:07 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Or what she said.
posted by CunningLinguist at 4:08 PM on June 1, 2009


please do not express dissatisfaction with our country as it insults us

No - you're railing against the wrong thing. No one is insulted that someone is expressing dissatisfaction with 'our country.' People, me included, are insulted because someone is making directly insulting statements and conflating people's views with the views of others, which they dont' share.

Those are different things. Express dissatisfaction all you want. Do it like crazy all day long. Have a great time. There are indeed a whole bunch of dissatisfied people around. But when you say that people who are actually as dissatisfied as you are "comfortably pretending nothing is wrong" or impute to people views they don't hold, they're likely to consider themselves insulted.
posted by Miko at 4:13 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


This has been echoing around my head since I read it hours ago. This is so very, very wrong, I'm not quite sure how to react. Do you really believe this?

I'm not sure what you see when you come here, but if you take a closer look, you'll notice there are Americans on this site who are indeed very vocal critics of American policy. I don't even think I need to link to examples for you, as the site is rife with them. In addition, there is a substantial user base here who are actively working to try and make their country a better place. That it hasn't happened yet at a speed that pleases you doesn't change that.

So, in other words, no suggestions, no comment, outside user? WTF?

That's a really narrow reading of my comment, and I think you know it. Sure, vent your speen about Operation Rescue. Be my guest. What I don't appreciate is someone repeatedly casting blanket aspersions upon million upon millions of people.

What your whole take here breaks down to me like is: ... We are unhappy with our government. We are allowed to express dissatisfaction with our country. If you are based outside the US, please do not express dissatisfaction with our country as it insults us (we know it has problems already, thanks).

Oh, bullshit. Come off it already. It's not impossible to criticise, vent or suggest without calling millions of people retards or backass medieval hicks. Is it really that complex an issue to you?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:16 PM on June 1, 2009


I do understand that there are many heartfelt cases and borderline issues surrounding abortion, and that it is callous to disregard them. It is not my intention to disrespect these families.

However the statistical truth is that the bulk of abortions are not done because of threats to the mother's life, rape, incest, or many other oft-cited reasons. Just from a quick wikipedia search, 91.8% of cases are because the child is just unwanted: "25.5% Want to postpone childbearing", "21.3% Cannot afford a baby", "14.1% Has relationship problem or partner does not want pregnancy", "12.2% Too young; parent(s) or other(s) object to pregnancy", etc.

Now we can say that these are consequences of poor sexual education or lack of access to contraceptives (which I agree we need more of), but two wrongs don't make a right, especially if one of those wrongs is a human being. Sorry, but I do not value someone's desire to "time" their baby over the life of that baby.

I don't know much about abortion clinics, but I volunteer weekly with low-income children, and have worked in the past with an orphanage in Chicago in a poor area of that city. And whenever I went there I was always struck by how intelligent, brave, and persevering some of those children were. One girl I worked with was shuttled from orphanage to orphanage through childhood, but despite it all managed to test into a prestigious school in which she traveled more than an hour to get to each day (and performed quite brilliantly at, if I might add). If abortion was more available, I don't know how different that orphanage's members would be, but I am sure the bulk of them would rather be alive than aborted out of convenience.

I am far from a crusader for either side in this debate, and have loved ones on both sides of the debate (my lovely girlfriend is pro-choice, in fact). My main concern in commenting initially was to point out that not everyone against abortion is a some type of crazed zealot out to kill everybody. How about we not make this tragedy worse by planting stakes, lighting fires, and pointing fingers?
posted by gushn at 4:17 PM on June 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


However the statistical truth is that the bulk of abortions are not done because of threats to the mother's life, rape, incest, or many other oft-cited reasons.

My reaction to this type of comment is always, "So?"
posted by agregoli at 4:20 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


.
posted by peggynature at 4:21 PM on June 1, 2009


jesus christ gushn why are you so fucking lit over what i want to do with my goddamn ovaries

fuck
posted by beefetish at 4:26 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile in Canada three members of the Order of Canada resigned, probably in protest that Henry Morgentaler, abortion provider was made a member.
posted by djfiander at 4:27 PM on June 1, 2009


Sorry, but I do not value someone's desire to "time" their baby over the life of that baby.

Why should it matter to me what you value?

Why should I accept your definition of 'baby'?

Why should you be in charge of what constitutes a 'good' reason to have an abortion?

Are you entitled to make other medical decisions for people you don't know?

What makes you think that you should be able to control what's going on inside someone else's body?
posted by Miko at 4:27 PM on June 1, 2009 [24 favorites]


Hey, gushn, maybe this is like, the wrong time and wrong thread to talk about how wrong abortion is. Just a thought.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:29 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


two wrongs don't make a right, especially if one of those wrongs is a human being

Once again, you are sidestepping the fact that there is no consensus equating a zygote or a fetus with a human being. It's your opinion that zygotes, fetuses, and human beings are all the same thing, but literally hundreds of millions of people in the U.S. hold a different opinion, and our right to do so (and to make decisions arising therefrom) is constitutionally protected.

If you actually want to minimize the number of pregnancies that are terminated, then you should devote your energies to promoting fact-based sex education, distributing contraception, expanding health care, stopping violence against women (including sexual violence), and minimizing poverty. Seem like a tall order? Yeah. It is. Welcome to the complex reality of women's rights.
posted by scody at 4:31 PM on June 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


my lovely girlfriend is pro-choice, in fact

Also, hm, that's interesting. Do you think you should be able to make this decision for her if she should get pregnant? Even if you're not sexually active, if she were to become pregnant by a violent attack, should you be able to make the decision for her whether to carry the baby to term?

Also, a lot of people work with children. I've worked with literally thousands of children in my education career. I love children. They are, indeed, full of amazing talent and potential. But the pleasantness of people's existence doesn't have much to do with whether abortion should be legal. Events in the world can hinge on many tiny decisions: people who might've fallen in love get on different trains and never meet. Young people who could have gone on to medical school or become ambassadors get drawn off into other lives. People's lives change course due to losses, moves, illnesses, accidents, addictions, flukes. Some potential babies get aborted, some miscarry naturally, some we never even knew were forming, some are born, and some of those are wanted. If it makes you sad that so few babies (some say 50%) are wanted, why not try to work toward a world of wanted children?

My life is my own, and my time is my own. You have the freedom of self-determination, and so should I. If I'm not ready to have a baby - for whatever reason - it's not reasonable that you should be able to make me.
posted by Miko at 4:34 PM on June 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


I don't know much about abortion clinics, but I volunteer weekly with low-income children, and have worked in the past with an orphanage in Chicago in a poor area of that city. And whenever I went there I was always struck by how intelligent, brave, and persevering some of those children were. One girl I worked with was shuttled from orphanage to orphanage through childhood, but despite it all managed to test into a prestigious school in which she traveled more than an hour to get to each day (and performed quite brilliantly at, if I might add). If abortion was more available, I don't know how different that orphanage's members would be, but I am sure the bulk of them would rather be alive than aborted out of convenience.
This argument irritates me to an irrational degree.

I'm awesome. I'm glad I'm alive, and I think you should be glad I'm alive, too. But there are a ton of things that could have happened that would have caused me never to have been born. My mom could have married her high school boyfriend instead of going to college and meeting my father. Maybe all women should be forced to go to college to ensure that awesome people like me are conceived! (But think about the tragedy of the potentially awesome offspring of my mom and the high school boyfriend. Oh noes! What if they would have been awesomer than me?!) My mother could have gotten pregnant with another baby six months before they conceived me, thereby making my conception impossible. I was not a planned pregnancy, so I would never be able to grace the world with my awesome presence were it not for the miracle of contraceptive failure. Maybe we should outlaw birth control! And my parents could have opted to have an abortion when they realized they had an unplanned pregnancy on their hands. I'm glad none of those things happened, because as I have said, my existence is truly a boon to modern civilization. But I also realize that there's no guarantee that any potential person is going to be born. So the "wouldn't it have been awful if that awesome person had been aborted" argument doesn't do a lot for me. It would have been equally awful if that child had never been conceived because her parents went bowling the evening of her conception instead of having sex, but that's not an argument for outlawing bowling.
posted by craichead at 4:39 PM on June 1, 2009 [12 favorites]


Hey, gushn, maybe this is like, the wrong time and wrong thread to talk about how wrong abortion is. Just a thought.

Yikes, I think you're right...
posted by gushn at 4:41 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh dear. Sorry to contribute to the arguing-about-abortion derail.
posted by craichead at 4:43 PM on June 1, 2009


Oh dear. Sorry to contribute to the arguing-about-abortion derail.

On second thought, you know, you're absolutely right. Talking about this is precisely what we should be doing right now. We need to learn to exchange views and ideas instead of killing each other. I only made my suggestion out of some misguided sense of propriety. I apologize.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:45 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think like craichead about this. I am also totally, mindblowingly awesome, yet if I had been aborted or never conceived, you know who would not be around to care? Me. And you know who would never know what awesomeness they were missing and still manage to be just fine? The world.
posted by Miko at 4:46 PM on June 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


However the statistical truth is that the bulk of abortions are not done because of threats to the mother's life, rape, incest, or many other oft-cited reasons.

All pregnancies pose a moderately low probability of death to the woman, and a high probability of serious injury. That the woman does not state that risk as the reason for abortion does not mitigate those risks.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:51 PM on June 1, 2009


Pretty much all the reasons women have abortions, barring perhaps the medical complications that end wanted pregnancies, boil down to a single one: the women do not wish to go through a pregnancy. In a free society, that is enough.

Taking one of your kidneys could save a life. On average, eighteen [existing] people die every day for lack of an organ transplant. That doesn't mean I can force you, gushn, to undergo a procedure against your will in order to get your kidney in order to save one of those lives. If you don't wish to donate your organs, no one can force you to do so - even though people die every day for lack of organ transplants.
posted by Miko at 5:02 PM on June 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Legal abortion, for me, is about keeping abortion out of the black market.

Sorry, but I do not value someone's desire to "time" their baby over the life of that baby.

Let's not trivialize. I understand that it might be difficult to imagine but there really is a lot more to these decisions than the simple categories you cite and they present far more complicated considerations than whether the child is wanted or unwanted. So the point of a legal framework is to avoid these uninvested political opinions as policy and rely on those best qualified to make the appropriate decisions: the mother and her doctor.
posted by effwerd at 5:02 PM on June 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


And unless the anti-abortion and pro-choice camps are gearing up for some sort of Mutually Assured Destruction, Cold War brinksmanship analogies don't seem especially germane.

I dunno. I mean, look at the rhetoric in here -- it's all about how the pro-life side is trying to bring back some sort of Puritanical age. Meanwhile, many pro-lifers are living in fear of some anti-Christian age where all religions are treated with, at best, disdain. Maybe it's not MAD in the classical sense, but I think both sides are willing to make strange choices in the name of purity.

How abhorrent do the circumstances of a murder have to be before the anti-abortion movement will engage in self-reflection? What kind of Biblically inspired rhetoric will be finally seen as excessive and inappropriate? Will the next victim have to be receiving Communion before the action is regarded as blasphemously evil?

That's a good question. Maybe you should ask the Muslim community about that with regards to Islamic groups and terrorism. The answer you'll get, of course, is that the terrorists are a tiny, tiny fraction of the overall Muslim population, and while they have real (and valid) concerns over Israeli and American power, for the most part they just want to live and raise their families in peace, and they abhor the violence of the terrorist fringes.

So, why would that answer be acceptable for Muslims but not for Christians (which would be the answer most Christians right of the mainline would give)? (Conservatives, particularly security conservatives, don't accept it, which does seem hypocritical for those who identify as pro-life and security conservative.)

The mindset of certain fundamentalists has long regarded their behavior as acceptable to their Old Testament version of god and sanctioned by their own readings of scripture. The Operation Rescue types aren't simply getting amped up on visceral rhetoric and Bible-thumping but are seeking out moral justification for their actions. In this case, it's gotten to a point where another denomination's house of worship is no longer considered sanctuary. The message of Roeder's "propaganda of the deed" is, bluntly, "you're either with us or against us" to his fellow Christians.

I think within most terrorists there's a need for self-justification; to say it's just the OR/right-to-life fringe misses the truth about the power that terror holds in the terrorist. It's "justification by homicide." By attacking the "other," be it a Kansas doctor, a pub full of Guildfordians, or an American Jewish reporter in Pakistan, there's a sense of redemption in the action. You are acting in revenge for the dead, acting in the will of God, or you're playing out some sort of pragmatic solution to a problem you will be rewarded for solving.

As for "sanctuary," if you frame the Other's church as "apostate" (see the links to Operation Save America I posted earlier), then the house of worship isn't consecrated in your head, and it's fair game. There's a church in Rwanda, Ntarama Church, where over 5000 Tutsis took refuge in with the idea that they'd be safe from the Hutu killing squads. But when you're the Other, it doesn't matter what building you're in. You can go to that church now and see the bones still lying on the floor right where their bodies fell.

That, I think, is what worries me about the rhetoric. Hate is an easy emotion. Vilifying people is easy. Learning to accept our complexities and differences is hard. You'd hope that one day the American Christian church, in its fits and starts, would begin to accept them. But I worry about the fundamentalists on both sides who are quick to vilify and slow to understand.
posted by dw at 5:03 PM on June 1, 2009


stinkycheese, I think you're mistaken about what's driving the OH SHUT UP FFF subthread here. It's a reaction to the incessant nature of his scolding, that it occurs on such a wide variety of issues, and that it commonly constitutes a derailment.

It's nothing to do with the substance of his complaints, I don't think (contra Miko, Marisa, and other reasonable people, though). More to do with him having turned into a weaker version of Serdar Argic, and being annoyed by Serdar Argic had nothing to do with one's feelings either way about Turkey and Armenia.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:04 PM on June 1, 2009


Legal abortion, for me, is about keeping abortion out of the black market.

This is exactly right. Considering that unsafe, black market abortions can kill the patient in addition to resulting a lost pregancy, anyone advocating "life" must realize that keeping abortion safe and legal minimizes the loss of life. The fact that this isn't so, and that many of these same people think in absolutes with regards to sex ed and contraception tells me this has little to do with "life" and everything to do with controlling the sexual activities of other people.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:07 PM on June 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


At the point in which a mother finds out she is pregnant, what gives her the right to decide that just because she doesn't want her child, that she is fit to kill it?

I normally do not get extremely bent out of shape about what people write here, even if I disagree, but this makes me see red.

Here's why a mother needs to have the right to abort. In North America, women have actual personhood under the law. However, fetuses/embryos/zygotes are only potential legal persons. Legally, we can’t grant rights to both a fetus and the woman who is carrying the fetus–someone’s rights have to trump the other’s, and it has to be the being with actual personhood (the woman), not potential personhood (the fetus).

It makes me indescribably angry that you--a man who will never ever have another being grow inside your body--want to tell me, a woman who quite possibly could have another being grow inside me--what to do with my body. This is NOT an academic exercise to me or any other woman who gets pregnant.

You need to stop thinking you or anyone else has any right to dictate what choices women make about their own bodies.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:14 PM on June 1, 2009 [20 favorites]


“One of the realities of this site is that all the mods are also members of the site and we participate here as users as well.”

Actually, I share those misgivings. To put it in terms some folks here can appreciate it’s like the DM playing their own character. That said I’ve never had any complaint or anything to find fault about generally or specifically with jessamyn. If I suspected there were some sort of imbalance in power or there was some bias I’d loudly complain. Hasn’t been though. Nothing that I’ve seen structurally. So I see no reason why someone can’t express an opinion just ‘cause they work here.

“all of which means the policies they support will result in an increase in the number of abortions, which brings us back to my questioning their true motives.”
&
“Right. They are actually waging war against sexual freedom. The anti-abortion rhetoric is only one small part of their political program.”

I have to ask – why is it so easy to cast Muslim fundamentalism (which is not of a single piece, agenda or front) as a single monolithic cause with multiple ideological facets when we can’t do the same for domestic kinds of social or religious groups, trends, paradigms, bodies of thinking.
I mean – yeah, it’s anti-sex, sure. But why? And why do so many fundamentalist groups share that same trait?
Consider all the things groups like this favor and oppose – for the most part the earnest folks who are genuinely exploring their spiritually and the dupes (willing or otherwise) aside – it’s pretty much about consolidation of power.

Why is it so hard to look at a pro-Wahhabi Sunni Islamist fundamentalist religious and political movement, see them in embryo combining sharia law and Durrani tribal code, and say “say, that’s going to be trouble there” years before it winds up in this – and yet not see the same kind of elemental roots in domestic organizations?

If it were an aberration, that would be one thing. This is clearly part of a pattern of violence stemming from an overlapping set of ideologies and people, and those people are forming closer ties and brewing stronger hybrids through common causes like abortion.
It seems cold hearted to say that this murder, and the abortion issue, are just symptoms.
And I would most certainly support hate crime legislation for murdering an abortion doctor (it surprises me that there isn’t any, I'll have to look it up)

But just because the issues are disparate does not mean the elements that support them are. You have wahhbis, you have sunnis, you have different kinds of fundamentalism, not everyone from the Pashtun region is Taliban - meanwhile you have anti-homosexuality, plenty of anti-women, anti-education, anti-animal (look at the Kabul zoo), intolerance of other religions, hell – flying kites. And they’re willing to use suicide bombers, et.al. shoot people and use terror to force the propagation of their ideas.

Where’s the association break down? Why can’t we call a spade a spade when it’s domestic?
It’s not like we don’t have domestic terrorist organizations or never had them.
The KKK what the hell was that? They weren’t terrorists because, what, they used rope?
And they supported a fairly wide range of religious, social and political concepts.

The FBI casts a pretty wide net on what domestic terrorism is (the unlawful use, or threatened use, of violence by a group or individual based and operating entirely within the United States (or its territories) without foreign direction, committed against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives)

But ELF? Who’d they kill? Sure, you’ve got nuts like Jerry Vlasak, but c’mon. Eric (whatever tf his middle name was) Rudolph blew up a family planning clinic in Alabama in ’98 and a gay nightclub in Atlanta. Killed at least two people (I forget the particulars – not to mention the Olympic Park thing – f’ing said himself it was part of a guerrilla campaign, oh, but let’s write country music songs about him and then jack off over Jack Bauer – speaking of torture porn – Rudolph’s brother Dan’s actions are fairly instructive. )

Offhand you’ve had at least 15 – 20 cops and other LEA killed by right wing extremists - you had four Klan members looking to blow up a gas refinery in Texas in ’97 (they got nailed) plus at least 50 plots by white supremacists and anti-government militias (offhand that I can think of)

But the DHS and the FBI run on government budgets so that means resource allocation so that means political prioritization. Which means a lot of heat has been off shitheads like the Army of God while Bushco chased around candy assers who actually take pains not to hurt anyone (thanks again George!)

“How about we not make this tragedy worse by planting stakes, lighting fires, and pointing fingers?”

This? This specific act, yes it was murder, yes it was of an abortion doctor, but this is NOT about abortion anymore than the Taliban is about killing schoolgirls.
It’s part of an agenda. And therein lies the battle. Until that’s recognized, hell, it’s like fighting Dracula, you can’t get help because no one wants to believe you. But it is a big problem in this field. No one wants to think their paranoid. And no one wants to live in a world where the actuality is some of their neighbors conspire to scare them into towing a certain line. Maybe to the point of killing someone. Maybe worse.

But that’s how it is. How it really is. (And another reason why I’m pro-gun). Worldwide. And 99 times out of 100 it's not the people. Most people are ok. It's the ideas. Which, yeah, is why communication is crucial. A few words now can avoid many bullets later.
But this isn't some nifty topic like "What if the zombies apocalypse happened" where it's fun to hash over something endlessly without settling it. This issue, in part, has been settled. In terms of practical application its wholly settled.
What the argument is over now is which ideology will rule - the practical (albeit secular) application of the law or the fundamental religious ideology?
What's irritating is that this could actually be a problematic insurgency (beyond the slow motion thing we've got going on now).
So I prefer to shut it down now, with words where possible, with some squared away fatherly advice where applicable and with force where necessary.
Can't say as I like Obama's rhetoric on this, but politics/ nice doggie/ all that.
But his words don't matter much as long as he reprioritizes funding to investigate domestic terrorism.
posted by Smedleyman at 5:17 PM on June 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Just from a quick wikipedia search, 91.8% of cases are because the child is just unwanted

I would note, though, that this survey was done in 1987-88, when there were almost twice as many abortions in the US compared to now. A number of things have changed since then:

* improved birth control
* more social acceptance of birth control
* reduced social stigma on unmarried mothers
* better, more accurate in utero genetic testing
* The population has risen from 240M to 300M
* a more liberal Boomer generation leaving their fertile years
* a more conservative Generation X more likely to choose to carry to term
* more women delaying having their first child into the 30s
etc.

I'm willing to bet that you'd find in more recent surveys "child is just unwanted" is a much lower percentage than it was in 87-88. This is not that world anymore.
posted by dw at 5:23 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Legal abortion, for me, is about keeping abortion out of the black market.

Absolutely. To echo MSTPT, the real-world consequence of outlawing abortion has NEVER been to actually end abortion; it just makes abortions unsafe.

This is not theoretical; we have living examples all over the world right now in terms of what happens when abortion is outlawed.

Women and girls using coat hangers and broken glass to scrape out their uteruses.

Women and girls inserting poultices of Drano or throwing themselves down stairs to induce miscarriage.

Women and girls enduring surgeries without anesthesia, with unsterilized instruments.

Women and girls sometimes paying for those surgeries in the form of sexual assault at the hands of black-market abortionists.

Women and girls suffering permanent infertility -- or even dying as a result of injury or infection.

That, gushn, is what it looks like when you outlaw abortion -- when your "feeling" that a fetus equals a human being becomes law. It's what it looks like in places like Tanzania and El Salvador today, and it's what it looked like in the United States less than 40 years ago.

It's also why the modern abortion rights movement in the U.S. began in the 1950s with the support of the medical communities and mainline Protestant churches -- precisely because they recognized illegal abortion as being inevitably unsafe and fundamentally unfair to women.
posted by scody at 5:27 PM on June 1, 2009 [22 favorites]


Smedleyman, you make a point that reminds me of this Christiane Amanpour series I saw on CNN a couple summers back. She was interviewing this American Christian fundamentalist, and he started talking about how women should cover themselves and dress modestly, because otherwise men will be tempted to commit sin. She pointed out to him that the Taliban contend the exact same thing, and this guy didn't seem to know how to respond.

I see all fundamentalism as a pathological phobia of time. The future arrives too quickly, things change too quickly, and never for the better. Things need to be frozen, tightly controlled, restricted and excluded from the horrible changing world, brought back to the way they were when things were still Good. It's not enough for them to live their own lives by their own older ways and rules - the rest of the world must conform to them. This is, of course, a losing battle, so it sets people up to be in a constant of fear, outrage and frustration. This is where the seeds of violence are born.

Abortion is a part of this, because it's not about "life" but attempting to turn the clock back on sexual mores that have changed when these people didn't and won't.

Fundamentalism can never be and will never be defeated, so long as human beings view the future with fear and trepidation. The only thing we can do is be able to identify these people, keep an eye on them, try to educate the educatable and defend ourselves against the psychotic.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:29 PM on June 1, 2009 [9 favorites]


But ELF? Who’d they kill?

Well, the academic careers of multiple graduate students and professors, along with a immense amount of data about Northwest plants stored in computers, papers, and seeds, when they burned down the Center for Urban Horticulture at UW. And much of the botany data and research that burned was unduplicated anywhere in the world.

But wait, that's all pardonable, right? I mean, destroying the careers of countless horticulturists is excusable because they weren't actually killed, right?
posted by dw at 5:33 PM on June 1, 2009


Center for Urban Horticulture fire

All that and I forgot the link.
posted by dw at 5:34 PM on June 1, 2009


How abhorrent do the circumstances of a murder have to be before the anti-abortion movement will engage in self-reflection?{...}

That's a good question. Maybe you should ask the Muslim community about that with regards to Islamic groups and terrorism.


Why would I when we're discussing a politically/religiously motivated murder in Kansas, perpetrated by a Christian upon a Christian?

Fortunately, there are some Christians who have the courage of their convictions to address this, such as this Wichita pastor (again, via Sullivan):
As a pastor I was appalled at the total depraved act of violence perpetrated in a house of worship, a place where family and friends gather to commune with God and one another. {...} I have come to the conclusion that the Christianists' aim is the simple denial of God’s grace to anyone who may have a broader vision of the love of Christ.
That's far more reflective than the "I know not what thou sayest" line elsewhere from anti-abortionists who are trying to muddy the issue.
posted by Doktor Zed at 5:37 PM on June 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


In his memory, I just donated to this site.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:37 PM on June 1, 2009


I am totally against abortion with every fiber of my being-but this was totally wrong, and I join the rest of you in outrage that this happened.

Really? You're upset that someone murdered a guy who murders babies? If I actually believed he was murdering innocents, I wouldn't be upset at all. Good riddance, I'd say.

Sorry, but I do not value someone's desire to "time" their baby over the life of that baby.

You do realize that there are living, breathing children running around all over the place who would not be here were it not for a prior abortion, right? Life and it's consequences are way more complex than you are noticing.
posted by Mental Wimp at 5:58 PM on June 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Really? You're upset that someone murdered a guy who murders babies? If I actually believed he was murdering innocents, I wouldn't be upset at all. Good riddance, I'd say.

This doesn't strike me as hard to understand. There are many, many people who are against both the murder of innocent people and the execution of the guily, because they believe murder is murder. It's a logically internally consistent position: this is, in fact, the official position of the Catholic Church. They are against both abortion (which in their view is murder) and capital punishment (which in their view is murder), and against both equally.

Many adherents, obviously, do not follow the official position. And many anti-abortion people who say they are sad for Tiller's murder are actually shedding crocodile tears and, yeah, are happy about it. They just know they can't say so in public. But we know they are happy. They know we know they are happy.
posted by Justinian at 6:31 PM on June 1, 2009


“But wait, that's all pardonable, right? I mean, destroying the careers of countless horticulturists is excusable because they weren't actually killed, right?”

Not at all. It makes them a lesser priority. It’s a bit like triage. At least when done properly. My argument was in terms of priority and to a lesser degree the politicialization because it interferes with proper allocation of resources – and your response proves my point.

Beyond that, saving lives, yeah, I think gets a higher mandate. I’d like to think this applies to fire departments as well. Additionally many targets of eco-terrorists have security resources* whereas targets of right wing extremist groups often do not. This is neither ‘right’ nor ‘wrong’ its simply a factor in weighing response.
*indeed, many of these groups still often get resources because they have more resources to petition the government, lobby politically, etc.

But in terms of threat assessment, no ELF is in pretty much zero danger of becoming a real problem. They just don’t have the widespread popular support.
So ELF could blow up just about anything and it wouldn’t ruffle my feathers as much. Doesn’t mean the FBI shouldn’t track them down tho.

Groups like Deirenbevrijdingsfront (the DBF), PCRM, not so dangerous (well, I heard SHAC threw acid at someone in the UK – far cry from butchering schoolgirls though). al-Qaeda, let’s see - ‘93 killed troops in Somalia, bombed the WTC, ‘94 tried to bomb U.S. and Israeli embassies in Manila (tried to kill the Pope in Manila), ’95 bombed U.S. barracks in Saudi, several U.S. airliners in the Pacific, tried to kill Clinton, ’98 bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killed 220 people, the Cole in 2000, something happened in 2001 but it escapes my mind…hmmm…

Point being – some things appear non-threatening because they seem to be isolated incidents. - But they're not.

(ELF - same group but it's a bunch of isolated incidents. No real social cohesion there)
Once McVeigh was executed, that was considered the end of it. Almost no attention was paid to the motives of the attack. Just discontents – quick - name of the second bomber?

The discrimination I’m making isn’t one of radicalization but of long term engagement. Even if ELF attacked some critical infrastructure, they’d still be a lesser threat. They don’t have the popular support base or political power to become a dangerous movement.

Many of the right wing extremist groups do. And we see that in the media today. Hell, one could argue the GOP is becoming radicalized. I haven’t really chewed it over, I’d doubt it, but I think there’s some points there for an argument.
posted by Smedleyman at 6:35 PM on June 1, 2009


Almost no attention was paid to the motives of the attack. Just discontents – quick - name of the second bomber?

Terry Nichols. He's doing life.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:45 PM on June 1, 2009


Really? You're upset that someone murdered a guy who murders babies? If I actually believed he was murdering innocents, I wouldn't be upset at all.


Two wrongs don't make a right.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:14 PM on June 1, 2009


This article/blogpost makes me want to arm defensive pro-choice vigilantes (a la the Black Panthers) that would ride shotgun (literally) with everyone that works at a clinic.

I am so angry right now that I have to reread everything I write to make sure that nothing is too extreme. Time to go out to the bar and blow off some steam.
posted by schyler523 at 7:14 PM on June 1, 2009


Also, about the above, I would not be saddened if everyone with ties to these anti-choice groups suddenly had problems with people monkey-wrenching their stuff. Flat tires, sugared gas tanks, etc...

Ok, really leaving now...

posted by schyler523 at 7:17 PM on June 1, 2009


Additionally many targets of eco-terrorists have security resources* whereas targets of right wing extremist groups often do not.

The Center for Urban Horticulture had no such protections because it was NOT a target. ELF thought that a professor there was doing genetic engineering on poplar trees; he wasn't. There was no reason to assume that it was a target of any sort, not like the primate labs on campus.

In fact, the average abortion clinic has better security resources than the CUH did.

If someone HAD died, would that have changed the formula? How much damage would have to occur before a threat? Is there some sort of tradeoff? Burn down $10M in homes, that's OK, but burn down a back shed where the owner's pet was, is that more or less heinous?

But in terms of threat assessment, no ELF is in pretty much zero danger of becoming a real problem. They just don’t have the widespread popular support.

And you'd argue that there is popular support for other domestic terror groups? One kook gunning down a doctor does not a movement, much less a popular movement, make. As you can tell, it's only the fringe that's really dancing around about this one. Heck, even the fringe isn't sure what to make of this, with some of the Freepers panicking about the Reichstag (though they'd panic about the Reichstag if Obama sneezed).

I think there needs to be some differentiation here.

Once McVeigh was executed, that was considered the end of it. Almost no attention was paid to the motives of the attack. Just discontents – quick - name of the second bomber?

Terry Nichols. I lost a friend of mine in the Murrah building bombing. Tread carefully.
posted by dw at 8:01 PM on June 1, 2009


Why would I when we're discussing a politically/religiously motivated murder in Kansas, perpetrated by a Christian upon a Christian?

Because the question is the same -- why does this member of your group commit violence, and does this mean your entire group condones violence?
posted by dw at 8:03 PM on June 1, 2009


Is the Fox News host to blame for the murder of Dr. George Tiller?

It's from Reason, so you can probably guess the answer.
posted by dw at 8:10 PM on June 1, 2009


I just came from a memorial service for Dr. Tiller.

I cried a whole lot.
posted by aint broke at 8:19 PM on June 1, 2009


“Terry Nichols. He's doing life.”
And his hemorrhoid lawsuit made bigger headlines than his affiliations. I’d’ve accepted Michael Fortier as well (he’s just been released last year).
All I remember though is the press talking about the Turner Diaries. Just made them seem like they were in isolation. Some stuff made the press, Elohim City, Strassmeir, Dennis Mahon, Brescia, etc. but it just seemed disassociated.

Kinda funny. All those Christian Identity type groups (itself the name of a movement) – it really seems to be about identity. I mean, most of these people are just chumps. But it’s the same problem Pakistan has really. Identity. And I do think those people have to be engaged. As with Pakistan, leaving them alone isn’t going to solve the problem. I don’t think force is the answer (on the contrary, its what happens when you’re out of answers) but talk, education, something. Reminds me of the kid with the tumor refusing medical treatment and trusting in God. Well, y’know, religion is great, but c’mon, we can’t just let you wander off and die man. Or in this case come back with a pistol and shoot someone in a church.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:25 PM on June 1, 2009


And his hemorrhoid lawsuit made bigger headlines than his affiliations.

Really? Really? I mean, really?

All I remember though is the press talking about the Turner Diaries.

Short memory. There was Nichols' state trial and the guy who kept crusading for some sort of citizens' grand jury to indict the third bomber that is basically Suspect #2 (but people will be willing to tell you all about him for one low, low price).

And yet again, Elohim City pretty much imploded in the years after Oklahoma City, as did a number of other Christian Identity compounds and milita groups. Most of the Elohim City members eventually did time in the federal pen.

The worry now, of course, is that the economic situation we're in will created a new set of disgruntled white guys. The FBI, ATF, and public disdain did a lot to take down the militia movement, but ultimately it was the economic boom of 1995-2001 that raised prosperity and ultimately quieted whatever unrest was there. What's left is the hard core Identity/Aryan/Sovereign types who've always been monitored. But in a time of 10% unemployment, it could all be starting back up again, just like it did in the 89-91 recession.
posted by dw at 9:03 PM on June 1, 2009


For the record, I was not accusing Jessamyn of actually censoring anyone's speech. I have great respect for Jessamyn as a person, and with regard to all the work she does for the site. I'm very glad she is a moderator here.

I'm pointing out that when you indicate you have - as a moderator - removed comments from a thread, as Jessamyn did here, and then you go on to denigrate the posts of others ("I am tired of your anti-US ranting") - as a user - something about that reads wrong. The power distribution is not fair. That is why I said it was frightening. Perhaps a better choice of words would've been problematic.

If you think I'm doing something out of line by civilly stating my opinions, you know where MeTa is and how to contact my boss.

I have no desire whatsoever to contact Matt or to start a Meta thread on this, & nothing positive would be served by either course of action.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:21 PM on June 1, 2009


“The Center for Urban Horticulture had no such protections because it was NOT a target.”

Because I was obviously arguing this specific case. Again, your response proves my point. This should not be subject to political winds or emotionalism or populism but the same standards as other security and law enforcement issues and analysis. And it’s not.

“There was no reason to assume that it was a target of any sort, not like the primate labs on campus.”
Because I said shit about any of this in any way

“In fact, the average abortion clinic has better security resources than the CUH did.”

Because ELF and other eco-terrorist groups don’t target anyone else who might have money. And there was no way I was speaking about corporations or other outfits that might be well heeled. Clearly, I would make no exception in any case – how astute of you to anticipate such.

“If someone HAD died, would that have changed the formula? How much damage would have to occur before a threat? Is there some sort of tradeoff?”
Gosh, yeah, maybe we should start going after Greenpeace instead of the Taliban.
…seriously? You can’t make a distinction that’s as simple as evaluating the difference between a gang committing crimes and an organized international criminal cartel backing systematic operations?

“Burn down $10M in homes, that's OK, but burn down a back shed where the owner's pet was, is that more or less heinous?”

Heinous? Are you even reading anything I write with intent of doing anything other than pervert it?

“And you'd argue that there is popular support for other domestic terror groups? One kook gunning down a doctor does not a movement, much less a popular movement, make.”

There’s a hell of a lot more political support for pro-life, and for all the related issues in the U.S. than there is for environmental causes. I fully grant it’s speculation. But then, this is just a fucking web blog.

“Terry Nichols. I lost a friend of mine in the Murrah building bombing. Tread carefully.”

And friends of mine treated survivors. And dug out bodies. You’re welcome. And I don’t much like being threatened.

If you can’t figure out the meaning of my statement that the underlying motives of the attack were less high profile in the media than the perpetrators, or even the second perpetrator really (or the third, or their group affiliations, etc) than you’re stupid or you’re arguing just to argue.

***There is only one assertion I make – ELF (and some eco-terrorist groups) should be less of a priority than other domestic terrorist groups. You either agree with that or you don’t.

If you don’t than you grant that things like setting destroying some SUVs have a more pressing immediate threat and greater urgency than investigating threats to human life. I'm not saying one's better. One crime is more heinous. Whatever.
In the article you link to Friedman himself calls those people morons.
You wouldn't advocate prioritizing domestic counterterrorism resources into chasing morons, people so stupid their tactics are self-destructive and their target so poorly chosen it actively sabotages their own agenda, people who are more than likely a bunch of kids with too much time on their hands not to go and cause stupid trouble – you want FBI agents to investigate potential threats to a large square footage area poplar farm on a university – on the off chance that someone is stupid enough to burn it --- instead of targeting creditable threats of murder to further a political agenda which could embolden other more dangerous or widespread threats?

I think the constant and ongoing nature of threats to abortion facilities, targeted violence against homosexuals and their respective political platforms make this kind of thing more likely to yield fruit to an investigation than a random torching done by idiots.

Now- again, speaking broadly and as plainly as I can, do I think economic sabotage and the kind of guerrilla campaign being conducted by ELF (et.al) should be ignored? Absolutely not.

And to be fair, not everything ELF or ALF does is random, so investigation can yield results, but all that aside it’s a simple matter of what one can protect, and what one can’t, what is vulnerable and what isn’t – if I’m ELF I might burn houses or a tree farm – whatever – but the higher value targets - and value as a purely operational term, I’m not saying information and science don’t have value (as I suspect would be in the next rebuttal) – are chemical labs, wastewater plants, refineries, nuclear facilities, etc. – and threats to those should – IMHO - receive higher priority as domestic terrorists have in fact threatened and targeted those.
Killing an abortion doctor is just one facet. And how long were there warning signs?
ELF could do a lot of damage if they screw up, run contrary to type, sure. The other groups are actively looking to do widespread damage in some cases. I dunno, just seems like a pretty easy call.

“Really? Really? I mean, really?”
Uh, yeah really. The internet wasn’t so big. Back then we had this thing called t.v. that often appealed to more sensationalist issues.
On the other hand, I was out of the country quite a bit, so maybe my recollection is indeed skewed. *shrug*

“But in a time of 10% unemployment, it could all be starting back up again, just like it did in the 89-91 recession.”

Well, yeah. So WTF are you arguing about? Or do you just have a hard-on for me here?
posted by Smedleyman at 9:37 PM on June 1, 2009


The power distribution is not fair.

You're free to start your own website with 60,000+ members and run it however you feel is more fair.
posted by scody at 9:42 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I find this absolutely maddening. Pro-life and pro-choice are fairly specific political camps, and it's extremely easy to find out which one you are. Ask yourself the following question: Who should decide whether or not a woman gets an abortion? If your answer is "The woman", you're pro-choice. If your answer is anything but "The woman", you're pro-life.

I realize this is way earlier in the thread but I missed it when I started skimming some of the vitriol.

I think you're making a vast oversimplification and that it very, very much can't be reduced down to such a simple question formulation. Because the majority of people in the United States support legal abortion under a lot of circumstances but the very great majority of people would be "pro life" under your formulation. The answer of a lot of people who consider themselves to be pro-choice would be something more like: "The woman, provided it is before X weeks into the pregnancy, and even later if the physical health of the mother is at stake".

Your grouping would lump everyone who didn't believe in legal abortions right up until the moment the baby's head emerges as pro-life which is kind of kooky. Don't alienate allies because I assure you that people who believe it should be just as easy to get 33rd week abortions as 4th week abortions are not a big enough group that you can do without the people who don't believe that.
posted by Justinian at 10:09 PM on June 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


How is it that these Operation Rescue West people, who have been targeting Tiller's clinic and staff, haven't been locked up for stalking and harassment? Going through employee's trash looking for their mobile phone numbers, protesting outside their spouse's workplace, harassing little kids just trying to get down the street... from the article:

"I have a standard principle when the cops show up," he says, his voice low and measured. "I don't leave until they do. You can't let people intimidate you."

Never mind that he's a psycho stalker, he's determined not to be intimidated into treating other people with respect! Cops in my town would get him to stop, no-one would tolerate him saying who they can and can't do business with, or blocking up the street with his vigils and foetus-pictures-on-trucks. How is any of this allowed to go on?
posted by harriet vane at 12:12 AM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


"I have a standard principle when the cops show up," he says, his voice low and measured. "I don't leave until they do. You can't let people intimidate you."

But presumably he thinks his target(s) should be intimitdated by him. What a fuckwit.
posted by Nice Guy Mike at 4:59 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Coincidentally, I think I've been watching too much Doctor Who, because I got half way through the original NYT headline "Doctor Who Performed Abortions Is Killed" before I realized it wasn't about the BBC show, but something much much sadder.
posted by you're a kitty! at 7:39 AM on June 2, 2009


The Deadly Toll of Abortion by Amateurs
posted by caddis at 7:55 AM on June 2, 2009


Someone needs to video the stalkers/protesters at the clinics. Catch them at their craziest, and then show it to the world (or at least the USA, but YouTube reaches nearly everywhere). I bet lots of people who fall in the middle-ground on the issue would be very suprised to see what's being done to 'protect the little babies'.
posted by harriet vane at 7:56 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had the same thought, harriet vane - also, that volunteers at clinics could take pictures and license plate numbers, too, and put together dossiers on the protestors. It would take a lot of coordinated effort, though, and in the end I wonder how strategic it would be. This morning my SO and I also discussed the idea of a need for a Geek Army of people who could hack, say, the OR database and scramble the data, or maybe even infiltrate the organization, if you could stand it.

It's hard to fight the craziest of the crazy without going crazy yourself.
posted by Miko at 8:04 AM on June 2, 2009


Several months ago, I went to a screening of The Education of Shelby Knox a documentary about a young woman from Lubbock who observed firsthand how "abstinence only" sex ed had failed in her high school. One in six girls were getting pregnant. The film depicts how she tried to get more comprehensive sex education on the curriculum.

She was raised Southern Baptist,and one scene depicts a pastor in her church telling the kids in her youth group that condoms are ineffective in preventing genital warts ( I suppose he also stressed the ways how other forms of birth control can fail). I know of fundamentalists who DO privately teach their kids about birth control, but these are the other messages the kids get from the leaders of their communities.
posted by brujita at 8:43 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Rest of the world: If you don't like it when Americans tell you what to do and how to run your country, return the favor."

Yes.

I'm not going to get into the abortion debate; more eloquent voices have already expressed my opinions. But this is one issue that sticks in my craw. I'm an American who has spent some time living abroad (in Iceland & Germany) and it blows my mind the gall with which foreigners are quick to criticize America to a degree which if an American were to show towards, say, the French, we would be tarred, feather, and crucified for xenophobia.

There's also a ridiculous double standard that I experienced most pointedly living in German in '99: criticisms of American policy (specifically military policy) and how we're destroying the world followed by listening to The Backstreet Boys and watching Friends.

The rest of the world is quick to consume our culture and deride our politics.

To truly understand America is to understand the nuances of States Rights vs. Federalism, a truly tricky issue especially in areas such as abortion rights & gay marriage. To truly understand America is to understand that the decisions of the many are made by the few who actually show up to vote, that more of the country is actually moderate than is represented by polling numbers and even electoral decisions.

I have encountered foreigners who were quick to correct *me* about matters of American policy and culture, to which I say, if I did the same about your politics, you would be quick to tell me I couldn't understand since I had never *lived* it. I say the same. Spend some serious time *living here* with an unbiased perspective. See that individual Americans are some of the friendliest, hardest-working, and all around funnest people you'll ever meet.

I equate Americans with the big-slobbering dogs of the world. We just want to be friends and we don't really get that you really don't *like* it when we jump up and down and bark all the time. Really, as individuals, we mean well. And as individuals, a lot of Americans on MeFi are intelligent, left-leaning, passionate, and considerate. Please don't tar us with the same brush that you use to smear *our* enemies from within.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:48 AM on June 2, 2009 [6 favorites]


CBC Radio's As It Happens speaks to Tiller clinic employee Peggy Bowman about his assassination, with an excerpt of a previous interview from 1993.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:09 AM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Here and Now interview: "We speak with Miriam Kleiman from Virginia, who received a legal later term abortion for Doctor George Tiller, the Wichita, Kansas doctor who was murdered on Sunday. She explains why the procedure was so necessary for her."

Kleiman begins by saying "it's thanks to Dr. Tiller that I now have two healthy babies."

It seems as though there are a lot of women who have had this experience. I'm glad we're seeing their voices in the media, but it's not near enough to clear up the continued misunderstanding of what late-term abortion is for. I do hope that sharing these stories more and more widely will help break down the misconceptions.
posted by Miko at 10:56 AM on June 2, 2009


It's hard to fight the craziest of the crazy without going crazy yourself.

Maybe in memoriam we who support availability of abortion services should all show up at clinics in support of Dr. Tiller's work and, dare I say it, martyrdom.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:03 AM on June 2, 2009


Two wrongs don't make a right.

Really? So you're out there protesting capital punishment, or at least working to end it?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:05 AM on June 2, 2009


Interesting Miko. I like some of the comments as well – esp – the one from the physician who asserts the need for decisions to be made not by legislators or impersonal laws (which can lack context and nuance) but by the doctor in the situation.
Always struck me how someone divorced from the situation, a thousand miles away can get away with arguing the moral case for someone else’s life and decisions.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:17 AM on June 2, 2009


Kansas Stories: Mothers tell their stories of heartbreaking choices requiring travel to Kansas.
posted by anastasiav at 12:37 PM on June 2, 2009


Thanks, anastasiav. Those stories are heartbreaking but important and enlightening.

I admit I was curious about the procedure itself and what it was like, especially why it took a week. I'm afraid that the grisly photos brandished by the abortion protestors caused some pretty awful imaginings in my mind. This piece describes the procedure itself - why it takes so many days, what happens, how her baby was delivered - as well as gives insight into the way the clinic works, the counseling and support provided, etc.
posted by Miko at 1:02 PM on June 2, 2009


Heartbreaking stories indeed. And one detail from the piece Miko linked to particularly stood out:
The following morning the protestors were there again but this time with a twist. They had a huge group of kids with them. These middle- to high school-age kids were out there on the street corner hollering at us. These children didn't have the slightest understanding of what we were going through but they were taught they had the right to judge us.
posted by scody at 1:54 PM on June 2, 2009


it blows my mind the gall with which foreigners are quick to criticize America to a degree which if an American were to show towards, say, the French, we would be tarred, feather, and crucified for xenophobia

well we foreigners seldom proclaim our moral leadership or call our presidents "leader of the free world". nor do we run around with our massive gung-ho armies bullying peasants into freedom.

you sound like a priveliged man whining about being opressed by feminists. come to think of it, "american privelige" is a concept worthy of more thought. by americans.

in short: cry me a river.

btw, you know the guys who wrote the biggest hits for the backstreet boys? and britney? and kelly clarkson? not american. you´re welcome.
posted by mr.marx at 2:21 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Compassion of Dr. Tiller is another good article I don't think has been linked to already. One of the most striking details was this:
Tiller never set out to become an abortion provider, or even an ob/gyn. The son of a doctor, Tiller was working as a Navy surgeon when his father, mother, sister, and brother-in-law were killed in a plane crash. He took over his father's family practice, and soon women started asking him if he was going to do what his father did. That's how he found out his father had provided abortions in the years before Roe v. Wade. He committed himself to providing the same service.
posted by scody at 2:24 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


well we foreigners seldom proclaim our moral leadership or call our presidents "leader of the free world". nor do we run around with our massive gung-ho armies bullying peasants into freedom.

You're doing a good job demonstrating the error of logic. Please quote the moment when people here "proclaimed [America's] moral leadership" or called the President the "leader of the free world."

Also, thanks for letting me know where my gung-ho army was. I was looking around for them this morning when I wanted to bully some peasants, and they were nowhere to be found. Lollygagging again, listening to those fantastic foreign pop hits, I bet!
posted by Miko at 2:28 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Actually, Miko, I liberated your gung-ho army, you imperialist dog. Then I conscripted them into mine. All these peasants in Los Angeles aren't going to bully themselves!
posted by scody at 2:33 PM on June 2, 2009


well we foreigners seldom proclaim our moral leadership or call our presidents "leader of the free world". nor do we run around with our massive gung-ho armies bullying peasants into freedom.

Thank you very much for making my point for me. Were I to say this about The Dreaded Other, I would be tarred and feathered. You, saying this about Americans, seem to expect a rousing chorus of agreement, or at least a cookie.

I have not proclaimed my moral leadership over anything. I do not call my President anything other than President of the United States. My own personal army is not at all gung-ho, but rather is taking a nap in the windowsill, and by army, I mean cat. She doesn't bully too many peasants, but she is constantly assaulting the plants.

And how, honestly, can you bully someone into freedom "Ok! Stop hitting me! I'm free, already! I have the right to ask you to stop hitting me!" I think you're mistaking freedom for "Democratic" government, which is a flawed statement that would require more time to discuss than even I have available at the moment.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:47 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Rachel Maddow Show: Frank Schaeffer on How Hate Speech Leads to Violent Acts
posted by homunculus at 3:08 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


nor do we run around with our massive gung-ho armies bullying peasants into freedom.

To be fair, you don't do so anymore, and mostly because y'all ran out of blood and treasure to do so after Europe was eviscerated by the two bloodiest wars in human history occuring on your territory in the space of 25 years. Oh, sure, the European temperament isn't inclined in that direction these days: it's pretty easy to adopt that temperament when you no longer have the ability to do anything else.

Note: I'm all for the entire world adopting the position that imperialism is bad. But lets not pretend it's something it isn't. If Europe had gone that route in, oh, the late 18th century I'd have been more impressed.
posted by Justinian at 3:49 PM on June 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Note: I'm all for the entire world adopting the position that imperialism is bad.
posted by Justinian


Eponysterical.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:15 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


“or call our presidents "leader of the free world".”

Gustavus Adolphus? The great golden king? The lion from midnight? The father of modern warfare? Pretty sure he’s got at least one statue or something in Stockholm.
Gustav III?

“or do we run around with our massive gung-ho armies bullying peasants into freedom.”
The vikings weren’t gung-ho? Thirty years war wasn’t massive?

“well we foreigners seldom proclaim our moral leadership”
No, neutral through both world wars. Actually, helped the Nazi troops against Norway and Finland. Playing both ends, yeah, that’s some moral leadership there. Saved the Jews from Denmark, ok, but what if Germany had won? Might have been nice if y’all were running around a bit too and didn’t let Allied blood pay for ‘bullying’ those German peasants.
Ah, I gotta stop doing derails.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:24 PM on June 2, 2009


I spent the bulk of my life as a member of the pro-life movement. I remember Tiller always occupied a place of infamy in our lexicon: like Grendel, or Hitler, or some other monster that transcended human-ness.

I don't know whether it's kosher or not to link, but the post I started writing here evolved into something much longer. I'm sorry.
posted by verb at 4:37 PM on June 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


btw, you know the guys who wrote the biggest hits for the backstreet boys? and britney? and kelly clarkson? not american. you´re welcome.

"You're welcome"? For Britney Spears' music? I think an apology would be more in order...
posted by lullaby at 4:42 PM on June 2, 2009


"You're welcome"? For Britney Spears' music?
Actually, I think he was talking about "Toxic," which is inexplicably awesome, despite being a Britney Spears song. So score one for the Swedes. I don't know if that makes up for Roxette, though.

The "Americans are fat and oppress peasants!" brigade is annoying, but so is allowing them to derail interesting discussions.
posted by craichead at 4:56 PM on June 2, 2009


verb, thank you.

Well done in the comments section too.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 5:10 PM on June 2, 2009


Actually, I think he was talking about "Toxic," which is inexplicably awesome was played to death and still doesn't atone for Abba.

That's right.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:29 PM on June 2, 2009


Man, finding out that Toxic was written by a Swede makes me shed a tear of pride for my ancestors. I don't know why Marisa is a hater, but man, there's something about that song... it's just... an epic swirl of awesome.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:33 PM on June 2, 2009


.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:45 PM on June 2, 2009


It's like when "Electric Kingdom" first came out. The first time you heard it, you were at the public pool, standing in line at the Good Humor truck while the near-molten asphalt burned your feet, and the high school kids were hanging out by the pool entrance, one of them wearing those mirrored shades that hooked around the ears and had those leather glare shields on the sides, and he had this giant boom box that seemed to be always on, and as you were preparing to step up and order a Sky Blue snowball, you heard this sound - this amazing, goosebump-inducing sound - coming out of his boombox, and you just froze where you stood, enraptured. When you recovered, you had to practically beg him to tell you what the name of the song was, and from that day on, you kept the radio on all the time when you were at home just so you could hear it. And they played it a lot! Solid! You heard it in the morning, many, many times at the pool, back at home again in the evening, and even late at night. But then it became ... alright, they played it a lot. Then you started to get nervous because the goosebumps weren't coming anymore. You started to wonder if you'd started not liking the song anymore. The constant rotation ensured that you'd grow to tune it out when it came on, and eventually, you'd change the station. But you still heard it, everywhere you went - from boomboxes, from cars, even the damn bus driver was playing it. You wanted to kill Twilight 22. Why did you even like this song to begin with?

That's what happened to Toxic, and Toxic wasn't a smidgen the song that Electric Kingdom is.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:46 PM on June 2, 2009


.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 5:48 PM on June 2, 2009


Wow, a police dog. You forgot to Photoshop a little Hitler moustache on him, and give him a Klan hood.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:50 PM on June 2, 2009


Are people seriously denying that American Presidents are routinely called "the leader of the free world" or am I on drugs here?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:04 PM on June 2, 2009


I think it is really sad that so long after I shat the fuck up, my personal poorly-managed ire is continued unabated by others. The message was pretty strong that no one wants to hear about it. And given that it's a thread about a dead great man brought down by batshitinsanity, I can see where it was out of line for me to express what I did. I am disappointed it keeps coming back into the thread, and if that is my fault because I provided a poor example, I'm sorry. There's a place to discuss the problems and responsibilities of American Imperialism. This is not it.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:08 PM on June 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


And I am sorry I posted the . link. It was a response to a post, and I should not have responded to any post, merely expressed my disappointment that my stupidity trainwrecked a good chunk of this thread.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:10 PM on June 2, 2009


Are people seriously denying that American Presidents are routinely called "the leader of the free world" or am I on drugs here?

I think some people are saying that the American base of Metafilter does not refer to the president of the US as "the leader of the free world" unironically. And if you are on drugs, they'd better be the safe and legal ones, like alcohol or tobacco, and nothing deadly and addictive like pot.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:31 PM on June 2, 2009


Are people seriously denying that American Presidents are routinely called "the leader of the free world" or am I on drugs here?

I'm not denying that others do it. I'm just also not accepting anyone putting words into my mouth. *I* have never said such a thing. And five fresh fish is right, the free world (such as it is) can rest for a bit, no matter who is (or isn't) leading it. This derail really has gone a bit too far. I apologize as well for my part in continuing it.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:40 PM on June 2, 2009


I've never said it unironically. I think the only times I've heard it said unironically is by pundits.
posted by rtha at 6:57 PM on June 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know this is petty, but it pisses me off to no end to see Jezebel.com has quoted a portion of werkzeuger's comment -- but did so by linking to the reference Andrew Sullivan made in his blog, rather than deigning to link directly to we buttsecks rapist apologists over here at Metafilter. Stay classy, assholes.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:01 PM on June 2, 2009


American Presidents are routinely called "the leader of the free world"

This is hardly ever said unironically. It's an ancient, crusty phrase from the days of the Domino Theory when America was definitely leading a global charge against Communist expansion. All that's over. Since then it's been tongue-in-cheek, or oldster-speak, only.
posted by Miko at 8:12 PM on June 2, 2009


To be fair, shiu mai baby, a lot of outlets aren't linking directly back here, and werkzeuger has been quoted around a lot.
posted by Jilder at 8:27 PM on June 2, 2009


To be fair, shiu mai baby, a lot of outlets aren't linking directly back here, and werkzeuger has been quoted around a lot.

Yeah, it's been a bit wierd to see it floating around and the various edits that have been made.
posted by werkzeuger at 9:26 PM on June 2, 2009


I hear you, Jilder; and had the whole anal rape AskMe fiasco not happened a few months ago, wherein the Jezebels acted like complete jerks towards one of our anonymous AskMe-ers, I wouldn't think twice about it. But there have been a few instances since then where they've found something interesting here, and refused to link directly here, opting instead for a link to another blog that's picked up the story. I think the Felony Bueller thread was another such example, but I can't think of others right off the top of my head.

Anyway, it just bugs me -- and as I said, I know it's petty -- because werkzeuger poured out his heart and wrote one of my favorite things I've ever seen on this site, but they've boiled it down to one paragraph, rather than going to the source. It just comes across as childish, to me anyway.
posted by shiu mai baby at 2:52 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's also a ridiculous double standard that I experienced most pointedly living in German in '99: criticisms of American policy (specifically military policy) and how we're destroying the world followed by listening to The Backstreet Boys and watching Friends.

Hope you don't own anything that's Made In China.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:04 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


criticisms of American policy (specifically military policy) and how we're destroying the world followed by listening to The Backstreet Boys and watching Friends.

While you do have to consider the source, I've heard and read a lot of anecdotes from servicemen and personnel serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. about civilians or detainees who curse America in one breath and in the next talk about how one day they will live there, and ask if someone could put in a good word with the immigration department.

And no, Backstreet Boys lyrics is not something one should expect gratitude for.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:59 AM on June 3, 2009


civilians or detainees who curse America in one breath and in the next talk about how one day they will live there, and ask if someone could put in a good word with the immigration department.

I, too, would rather live in the U.S. than see my family members tortured or killed by the U.S.
posted by grouse at 9:07 AM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


I, too, would rather live in the U.S. than see my family members tortured or killed by the U.S.

Yeah, Iraq and Afghanistan were pretty swell and safe places to live before you Yankees showed up, and their desire to move to the US has absolutely nothing to do with political stability and economic and educational opportunities.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:53 AM on June 3, 2009


their desire to move to the US has absolutely nothing to do with political stability and economic and educational opportunities.

Really? I would think their desire to move to the U.S. has everything to do with these opportunities. (Please remember that Americans don't understand irony or sarcasm.)

I just don't see why the story you bring up is odd at all. People in Iraq and Afghanistan have good reasons to curse America. They also have good reasons to want to live in America. Ignoring the latter to emphasize the former would be cutting off their noses to spite their faces.
posted by grouse at 10:10 AM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


I never claimed the dichotomy was particularly odd, paradoxical, or confounding, I mentioned it because it's similar to grapefruitmoon's observations, albeit the circumstances are far more extreme and the anti-Americanism far more justified.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:21 AM on June 3, 2009


"People in Iraq and Afghanistan have good reasons to curse America."

Yeah, women especially had it great in Afghanistan and it’s not like they want us to be there.
It surely was a land of a thousand splendid suns before we came along. Close family ties – so close in fact you practically can’t walk outside without a blood relative, plenty of fashionable full length Burkhas to wear, protection from strangers hearing your voice or taking your photograph or putting you on t.v. or in print or having any reference at all to your gender in public, – freedom from having to learn anything or work, or engage in basic hygiene, pretty sweet. Bet they wouldn’t kill an abortion doctor – at least not, y’know, one, they prefer to deal wholesale.

So explain to me how anti-Americanism is justified here - with a domestic situation in the U.S. with loads of people protesting that situation within the U.S. - exactly how the fuck does any other country in the world not have its extremist types and forces within the country that oppose them?
Ooh, ours get out of hand some times. Yeah? So do yours. We're f'ing trying to deal with it too. Thanks so much for pissing on ALL of us while we try to work it out.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:28 AM on June 3, 2009


Who are you talking to, Smedleyman? Is there a Swedish person in this thread I'm unaware of who has been pissing on America?

Yeah, women especially had it great in Afghanistan and it’s not like they want us to be there.

News flash: it's possible to dislike both oppressors and those who unseat the oppressors while killing thousands of your civilian countrymen.
posted by grouse at 11:58 AM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


For folks still thinking of donating to help the women Dr. Tiller himself helped, the National Network of Abortion Funds has just set up the George Tiller Memorial Fund to "provide assistance to the same women Dr. Tiller served: women seeking abortions in their second-trimesters, women facing extreme obstacles to abortion, and women who often must travel from their homes to obtain the abortion care they need. The Fund will assist with the cost of the procedures as well as the costs of travel and lodging. Notably, this Fund will be available to patients of the late Dr. Tiller's clinic, Women's Health Care Services in Wichita, at such time when the clinic is able to regroup and reopen."
posted by scody at 12:12 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Democracy Now had more stuff this morning: interviews with the manager of a clinic that Roeder vandalized before moving on to Tiller; a colleague of Tiller's on harassment by anti-choice protestors and lax law enforcement; violence against abortion providers in the context of social movements; clip of Tiller speaking on how we can achieve a more just society.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 2:40 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Who are you talking to, Smedleyman? Is there a Swedish person in this thread I'm unaware of who has been pissing on America?"

Matter of fact, there is a person from Sweden in this thread. Excellent reading skills. Also, nice job on the rhetorical trick there of inferring that I could only be speaking of the problems the Swedes have had, not using it as a general example in the context of other comments referring to problems other governments in Europe have had.
Plan to correct my grammar next in rebuttal? Or did you have something substantial that refutes, say, France's torture and brutality in Algeria or did you want to demand a comprehensive list of some sort without addressing the point at all?

"News flash: it's possible to dislike both oppressors and those who unseat the oppressors while killing thousands of your civilian countrymen."

News flash: then don't ask the U.S. to foot the bill for security worldwide. So the cops then are the oppressors when they go to stop a domestic battery?
So we're totally right in just sitting here letting folks in Darfur kill each other? Ok, nice to know. Thanks. I'll keep that in mind next time someone criticizes the U.S. for not doing anything about humanitarian crises.

Oh, but how about answering the fucking ON TOPIC question I had instead of seeking to exploit my disadvantage in my reluctance to further derail the topic there Seattle?

Justify the anti-Americanism in this case when it's an internal U.S. situation that a great many people in this thread and in society at large have expressed outrage at, that *all* Americans are at fault for the actions and views of some extremists in our society - where that case does not apply to other countries who clearly are also working their own shit out.

I'm not exactly notorious for kissing ass. But I will back Jessamyn on characterizing the anti-U.S. rhetoric here - and by 'here' I mean in this thread - as ranting.
How is that at all legitimate comment? If I waltz into every thread and start talking about how bad Mayonnaise is, it'd get pretty damned tiresome. Works in a thread on Mayonnaise tho. I don't see where this thread hits on foreign policy though. And gosh, I know some things about foreign policy. I start running my yap about computational biology in every other thread, feel free to tell me to STFU on your terms as well.

So I ask - again - without your rhetorical dodge-em "oh look how fucking cute my quips are, I'm so smart, favorite me everyone!" bullshit and bearing in mind other countries have assloads of their own internal problems as well - anti-U.S. sentiment and negativity and foreign policy criticism is relevant in any way here - how?

The topic itself - sure. *Those* pro-choice assholes. *This* particular Scott Roeder balloonhead. Those operation rescue bastards. This particular social trend in the U.S. - yeah, open to criticism. Hell, done plenty of it myself and packed full of venom and willingness to push politically (y'know 'doing' something, other than living in the country I'm bitching about and feeling morally superior to all Americans).

But explain to me how France being great or Sweden being swell, or any country in the E.U. or anywhere else in the world - has anything to do with an internal matter in the U.S.?

Or do you have nothing beyond axe grinding for three comments of four when folks are talking about something else?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:08 PM on June 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jagoff attack made me lose my whole train of thought why I cam back here:

Abortion Clinic Manager Reveals He Warned FBI of Suspect in Murder of Dr. George Tiller, Says Killing Could Have Been Avoided

posted by Smedleyman at 3:10 PM on June 3, 2009


Jagoff Attack

That term is just rife with possibilities.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:11 PM on June 3, 2009


Hope you don't own anything that's Made In China.

This would only be relevant if I decried the Chinese government, its foreign policy, or American jobs being lost to China. I have never said any of those things. You are missing my point.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:21 PM on June 3, 2009


And meanwhile, I do decry the impact of globalization and dependence on China's labor on America's economic health - so for that reason I actually am involved in a local economic development campaign and avoid buying anything made outside the US, have done so for about 5 years.

All of this is called practicing what one preaches and, amazingly, many people do manage it.
posted by Miko at 3:31 PM on June 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


so for that reason I actually am involved in a local economic development campaign and avoid buying anything made outside the US, have done so for about 5 years.

Including things like electronics? How do you find a computer with all American parts?

I'm not being snarky, I'm just curious how far you take it.
posted by Justinian at 4:48 PM on June 3, 2009


Plan to correct my grammar next in rebuttal?

No, only your odd personalization1 of this discussion and your nasty attitude. Looks like I really hit a nerve. I understand you didn't appreciate being called on your poor argument but there was really no need for you to go on your unprovoked "jagoff attack," as you referred to it.

The thread of your argument here can be characterized by two fallacies. First, the straw man characterization of anyone who disagrees with you on one line of argument as automatically disagreeing with you on others which they have not discussed. It's possible for people to criticize the actions of the U.S. government or individual Americans without having anti-U.S. sentiment in general. For some reason you put me in the "anti-American" camp which I just find baffling, especially considering my history on this site of robustly decrying the painting of large heterogeneous groups with a broad brush (which I will note is exactly what you are doing here).

Second, you engage in the fallacy of false dichotomy. It really is possible for an Iraqi to think it's good to be rid of Saddam while upset that U.S. forces tortured Iraqis in Abu Ghraib. It is possible for an American to think that it was right to intervene militarily in Afghanistan while thinking it would have been better if fewer civilians had died. These viewpoints are totally consistent, yet you want to force people into a false choice, which is simply that—false.

If you feel these matters are not germane to the discussion, you are welcome to stop discussing at anytime. Looks more like you want to have your cake and eat it too though. You want to argue with others' opinions, but when they point out how you are wrong, you rant about how it's so off-topic. You don't get to decide what the topic is for everyone else.

1 Although I have to say I chuckled a bit when you called me "Seattle."
posted by grouse at 4:52 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


There's also a ridiculous double standard that I experienced most pointedly living in German in '99: criticisms of American policy (specifically military policy) and how we're destroying the world followed by listening to The Backstreet Boys and watching Friends.

I don't know how anyone could misunderstand this, grapefruitmoon. I was just trying to succinctly point out absurd your comment was.

The idea that there is somehow any double standard whatsoever (let alone a ridiculous one) in consuming US media culture (and my congratulations to you if you've managed to somehow avoid doing that all these years) and yet maintaining at the same time that "American policy (specifically military policy)" is worthy of criticism - that idea, to me, suggests a wholly ignorant view of not only the way the world works, but more specifically the way American military policy works.

Just to name two things off the top of my head -- one, the US is the only country in the world ever to use nuclear weapons, and two, the US has, in the last decade, pretty much shredded the working concept of Westphalian sovereignty that the world had been operating under for some 350 years previous.

So, offhand, I'd say anyone anywhere has the right as a human being to criticize 'American military policy', regardless of what music or TV shows they consume. They're doing you a favour when they consume those things by the way, not the other way around.
posted by stinkycheese at 5:57 PM on June 3, 2009


*how absurd
posted by stinkycheese at 5:58 PM on June 3, 2009


stinkycheese: Right, if they were simply criticizing American military policy, I would agree with that. BUT. I'm talking about whole-sale "Amerika sux!" ranting. That America, itself, is a pollutant unto the world. Which, if that's how you want to roll, fine, but I'd like to see a little consistency.

Also: Why on earth would I be avoiding consuming US media culture? I'm not making any kind of statement one way or another about the US, other than to say, I live here and by and large, I think that we're a pretty swell crowd of people. No better, no worse than any other crowd. This just happens to be the crowd I was born into and thus feel the most familiarity with, so I get kinda cheesed off (so to speak) when people go around flinging poo at *American citizens* for the actions of the *American government.*

If you want to talk about The Treaty of Westphalia (and/or put it on a t-shirt), there are plenty of places to do that. I'm not making any broad statements for or against American military action. I neither condone nor decry the choices of the American government. All I'm saying is to take it out on ALL AMERICANS, most of whom were not alive during aforementioned nuclear weapon usage, is childish.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:09 PM on June 3, 2009


"News flash: it's possible to dislike both oppressors and those who unseat the oppressors while killing thousands of your civilian countrymen."

News flash: then don't ask the U.S. to foot the bill for security worldwide. So the cops then are the oppressors when they go to stop a domestic battery?


News flash: nobody, but nobody, was asking the US to go into Afghanistan or Iraq. In fact, the rest of the world was saying "Don't do that, you stupid fucks!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:52 PM on June 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you want to talk about The Treaty of Westphalia (and/or put it on a t-shirt), there are plenty of places to do that.

You brought American military policy into the conversation, not I.

Why on earth would I be avoiding consuming US media culture?

I meant anyone, not you specifically. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

This just happens to be the crowd I was born into and thus feel the most familiarity with, so I get kinda cheesed off (so to speak) when people go around flinging poo at *American citizens* for the actions of the *American government.*

I feel like you're changing your tune here. Now you're no longer talking about ridiculous double standards, you're taking the tack of why are you picking on me, the innocent USian.

As to that, well... Maybe it's difficult as someone living in the US to understand, but for a long time your country has been shoving its ways and mores down people's throats the world over. Not just the military but corporations and culture, as well.

People get angry, they complain. As a citizen of the US, they complain to you & you feel it's nothing to do with you & it makes you made & you go on Metafilter & say don't do that here. But Metafilter isn't your state or city, it's the whole world. A lot of people in the world are mad as hell at the USA.

This isn't likely to change in our lifetimes. The US has blown through buckets of goodwill in spectacular fashion, flaunted its wealth, advertised its good living the world over, kicked in heads in every continent except Antarctica (as far as I know), and is now seeing what happens when all that goes down.

It may not be fair to complain to you about it but it makes sense. People don't complain about the Algerians and how Algeria is ruining the world.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:58 PM on June 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


This derail is really disappointing.
posted by agregoli at 8:01 PM on June 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


A lot of people in the world are mad as hell at the USA.

1. And rightly so.

2. And many of those people actually live in the USA.

3. That said, do you have anything constructive to contribute to the discussion regarding Dr. Tiller and how to move forward in ensuring abortion rights in the U.S. and around the world?
posted by scody at 8:09 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Including things like electronics? How do you find a computer with all American parts?

Well, so, long answer. These choices are a part of a generally local-first, frugal-Yankee, anti-consumerist lifestyle that I've arrived at which depends heavily on not buying stuff I don't need, and when I do need something, buying it as locally as possible, as locally made as possible, and/or secondhand. I have mainly become serious about adopting this lifestyle intentionally for about 5 years.

I still use the same desktop computer I bought new in 2002, so that hasn't been an issue since I've gotten on this bandwagon. Soon, I will want to upgrade; but that will consist of me taking my boyfriend's used laptop when he decides to purchase a new one. If I didn't have access to his I'd purchase a used one from someone else. If he doesn't upgrade I'll be using this a long time - I don't need fancy computing ability.

There really aren't many other electronics in my life that this has been an issue with. I have an iPod Nano made in Taiwan, but quite luckily, I won that. Before that I used a hand-me-down Shuffle, and before that I was about the last human in the gym to actually be using a cassette Walkman. My home 'stereo' is a Magnavox boom box bought in 1993, hooked up to a solid-state Sears radio receiver and turntable set from about 1980, and some Clarion speakers of the same vintage (they sound awesome). My cell is a Motorola, made in the US with some foreign component parts.

Other places electronics appear: the kitchen. I've got a bread machine I got on Freecycle. My appliances are on the older side - I have a Cuisinart mini prep that was made in New Jersey but no doubt has components from elsewhere. My Mr. Coffee dates from about 2000 and I haven't had to replace it yet. My mixer is Hamilton Beach. My toaster is from China, and my hair dryer probably is too. I've had all these things for years. That's about the extent of my electronics, apart from a couple Black & Decker power tools and a 1970s Singer sewing machine.

To me, the question is not "do I have them" - these things were in the product stream already and mostly in my ownership already at the time I began to understand the impact of sending manufacturing jobs overseas. So for me, the question is "when it's time to replace stuff, what do you choose?" For many of these things, you can find a US made version. For things that aren't made in the US, I'll make the effort to track down the sourcing. I'll also make the effort not to replace things before it's necessary. I believe in using things as long as they work and not throwing something away because it's old. And in many cases I might be able to find a replacement that's already been made - I was interested to read in a recent AskMe that 1970s Sunbeam toasters are supposed to be really long-lasting and indestructible. They show up at yardsales a lot, so when my China toaster burns out, I may look for one.

I've come to embrace an idea that comes out of the local food movement of graduated choice - in local food it goes "if not family farm, then locally grown; if not locally grown, then locally owned business; if not locally owned, then regional; if not regional, national; if not national, fair trade." This system can be extended for durable goods. When replacing the mixer, I'll likely spring for KitchenAid (or find a secondhand one). Ohio isn't 'local' to me but it's within my country. If I can't find, say, a coffeemaker made in the US, I can still buy a coffemaker from a locally owned hardware or kitchen store rather than from a global chain that's exporting more of the profits out of my community. And anytime I get something secondhand or free, I know I haven't added anything to the product stream or invested in any systems I don't support.

If everybody does what I do, yes, people will buy less new stuff and used products will also become scarcer and less often cheap or free. That's when we might see the dinosaur known as the 'repair shop' spring back up in local neighborhoods. (Jobs!)

The point is not that there are perfect solutions; we don't have that yet - - just as, coming back to the actual thread topic, we don't have perfect solutions for the problem of unwanted pregnancy, just pragmatic ones. We don't have to throw up our hands and come up with a black-and-white, condemnatory "go or no go" response like "outlaw abortion!" or "you have to buy stuff from China or live like a peasant!" There are a lot of potential shadings in between. Conscious consumption is a big step away from unthinking purchases.

Interestingly, though people always bring up electronics as a problem, you might be surprised that it's really not the high-tech, durable goods like electronics and appliances that pose the problem for someone looking to buy from the local economy. Those tend to last a long time (as you can see) and don't need replacing often if you're not using them as status markers. Where the challenge really lies is in the grocery store and in stores like the Christmas Tree Shop, Target, etc. Finding ceramic dishes, silverware, food storage containers, tea towels, lamps, bike pumps and stuff like that that's not made in China is tough. Those supply chains just go right to China for the most simple-to-produce stuff; it's crazy. And in the grocery store, it's kind of weird to realize that a ton of the seafood, especially frozen shrimp and salmon, comes from China, as does an increasing amount of fresh produce, juice and canned goods. Mexico and Canada also send a ton of produce our way.

So contrary to expectations, it's not that I'm hard up for expensive electronics - it's the more prosaic things, sometimes, that you have to work harder to source closer to home.

Ultimate point being: sure I rail against this global situation. But I also think about it and do something about it. So accusations of unthinking hypocrisy, while they might apply elsewhere, don't further an argument that there's a double standard here.
posted by Miko at 8:38 PM on June 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sorry to add to the derail. I would rather be discussing Tiller as well, and am only responding in hopes of quelling the discussion of US foreign policy.
posted by Miko at 8:40 PM on June 3, 2009


in local food beans it goes "if not family farm, then locally grown; if not locally grown, then locally owned business; if not locally owned, then regional; if not regional, national; if not national, fair trade."
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:58 PM on June 3, 2009


Bill O' Reilly, classy as always:
Monday night we told you about the murder of George Tiller, the late-term abortion doctor in Kansas shot dead by an anti-government militant while he attended church last Sunday. We also told you that NBC News and other ultra-liberal outlets were blaming me and FOX News for inciting the killer.

Now we have the murder of 23-year-old William Long, an Army private allegedly murdered by a Muslim militant in Arkansas. Police say 24-year-old Abdulhakim Muhammad, aka Carlos Bledsoe, a convert to Islam, told the cops he killed Private Long and wounded another soldier because of what the military had done to Muslims.

So here is my question: Is NBC News complicit in the murder of Private Long? After all, that network has relentlessly branded the United States as a torture nation, a country run by human rights violators. Didn't NBC News incite Mr. Muhammad to kill the soldier?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:05 PM on June 3, 2009


One can only expect such things from O'Reilly. His is a disappointing mindset.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:08 PM on June 3, 2009


Mary Alice Carr would agree:
You cannot claim to hold no responsibility for what other people do when you call for people to besiege Tiller's clinic, as O'Reilly did in January 2008. And this was after Tiller had been shot in both arms and after his clinic had been bombed.

O'Reilly knew that people wanted Tiller dead, and he knew full well that many of those people were avid viewers of his show. Still, he fanned the flames. ... That is why I made a personal pledge to no longer sit across from him after he called for people to converge on Tiller's clinic. I realized that appearing on the show with him would only legitimize his speech and that no good would come of my efforts.

So on Tuesday morning, when an O'Reilly producer called and asked me to come on the show to "discuss the reasons why women have late-term abortions," I held fast to my pledge. I told his producer what I thought: that I had had that conversation on air with O'Reilly five years earlier and that he agreed with me at the time that the decision was between a woman and her doctor. That O'Reilly then went on to pretend we had never talked about it and continued condemning women and doctors.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:12 PM on June 3, 2009


nobody, but nobody, was asking the US to go into Afghanistan or Iraq. In fact, the rest of the world was saying "Don't do that, you stupid fucks!"

I could have sworn our respective governments were saying "Oh hey, can we come too?!?"
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:12 PM on June 3, 2009


that's a very different thing, Alvy, to asking the US to intervene.

siding with the schoolyard bully only becomes an option if there's a bully in the first place, and can be driven by ulterior motives - like getting goodies in return for loyalty, for example.

in our case, it was a free trade agreement. i have no idea what Britain was after.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:28 PM on June 3, 2009


that's a very different thing, Alvy, to asking the US to intervene.

Fair enough.
(Damn you and your facts!)
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:34 PM on June 3, 2009


You brought American military policy into the conversation, not I.

What? No, I most certainly did not. This derail has indeed become ridiculous. I apologized before for my part in continuing it. Apparently, some people are really intent on keeping this going. I find it hard not to respond to comments wherein I am being completely mis-read, but this isn't going anywhere productive and this isn't the right place to go off onto this particular tangent, we've been on it for too long as is.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:24 AM on June 4, 2009


I find it hard not to respond to comments wherein I am being completely mis-read

oh, come on! that's such a long bow to draw, alleging that Hitler invented Krispy Kreme donuts.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:19 AM on June 4, 2009


You brought American military policy into the conversation, not I.

What? No, I most certainly did not.


See:

There's also a ridiculous double standard that I experienced most pointedly living in German in '99: criticisms of American policy (specifically military policy) and how we're destroying the world followed by listening to The Backstreet Boys and watching Friends.

Also, this derail was going on a long time before I even commented in this thread. I hate to bring Jessamyn up again but she did make a comment (which had some 53 favourites the last time I looked) that was part of the derail, so I figure if it's OK for her to comment on, it's fair game.

That said, do you have anything constructive to contribute to the discussion regarding Dr. Tiller and how to move forward in ensuring abortion rights in the U.S. and around the world?

Already made a couple of suggestions to that effect further up the thread.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:20 AM on June 4, 2009


Apparently, some people are really intent on keeping this going.

This is ridiculous BTW. You're commenting because you don't want your words mis-read. Well, same here. If you're commenting, you're keeping this going just as much as I am.
posted by stinkycheese at 6:22 AM on June 4, 2009


You brought American military policy into the conversation, not I.

What? No, I most certainly did not.


Sorry, stinkycheese. Grapefruitmoon didn't bring Americaan military policy into the thread. That goes way back to the original comment by fff that inflamed all this:

I am tired of the USA being the most dangerous, misguided, fucked-up country in the first world. Nice people and I like many of them on a personal level, but the nation itself is a godawful global citizen.

She made a statement, it was challenged, she clarified. It's okay to drop it now. Really. How stupid that after we returned to the topic for a couple of substantive comments about new developments on the post topic, we got dragged back into the derail.
posted by Miko at 7:12 AM on June 4, 2009


I don't share your POV there Miko, and I don't like your tone either.

It's okay to drop it now. Really.

So how come you had to comment then, I wonder?
posted by stinkycheese at 7:16 AM on June 4, 2009


Stinkycheese, I'm begging you: drop it. This is not the thread for your argument, and the back-and-forth "you started it! no YOU did! No, I was merely responding to YOU, who started it!" is tiresome, obnoxious, and is about as massive a de-rail as I've ever seen.

There is a fascinating, mostly civil discussion going on here about the very real tragedy of Dr. Tiller's death and the status of abortion rights in America. Please don't sully that with your anti-American obsession. Start a new thread. Educate we USAians about how horrible and imperialist a nation we are, and how much we are teh suck. But don't do that shit here, please. Please.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:47 AM on June 4, 2009


If no one else has anything to say to me, I don't intend to post in this thread anymore, shiu mai baby. If they do, I will probably respond. That's only fair.
posted by stinkycheese at 7:50 AM on June 4, 2009


HEY HOW ABOUT THAT TILLER SITUATION EH?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 7:50 AM on June 4, 2009


Consider this a peace offering then - relevant links on anti-abortion terrorism.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:04 AM on June 4, 2009


If no one else has anything to say to me, I don't intend to post in this thread anymore, shiu mai baby. If they do, I will probably respond. That's only fair.

I don't give a flying aborted fetus about fairness. I'm asking you to act like a grown-up, realize that this is not the place for your argument, and walk away, regardless of whether or not someone responds to you. The end.
posted by shiu mai baby at 8:16 AM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not the end (guess you don't read too well then, all you had to do was not talk to me about this and I wasn't going to comment anymore).

This is not the best place for my argument? It's not my argument, shui mai baby. fff got pummeled in this thread & I came in to comment on a discussion already going on.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:23 AM on June 4, 2009


I don't suppose you noticed this part then.

In more related matters, George Tiller shooting spurs churches to review security plans.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:28 AM on June 4, 2009


If I started a thread on metatalk, would it help us stop having this discussion here?
posted by craichead at 8:29 AM on June 4, 2009


I don't think starting a Metatalk thread is the answer to yet another episode of What's Wrong With You Americans. How about we all self-innoculate for lastworditis and discuss the thread subject?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:31 AM on June 4, 2009 [4 favorites]


I posted some links!
posted by stinkycheese at 8:32 AM on June 4, 2009


Atlantic Monthly Essay Calls Tiller Murder OK
I was sent a link to this essay for the Atlantic Monthly online condoning murder. This is not journalism. It is not responsible. It should be recanted, deleted, and the person writing it (who calls herself pro-choice, but there's no evidence of same in this article) should be taken to the woodshed by her editors.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:34 AM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


collection of Kansas City Star photos of Roeder, Tiller, the vigil following the murder, and even some photos from the 80s and 90s of events concerning Tiller. I found them very, very moving and in fact somewhat galvanizing. I feel more sure than ever that this is the time to start talking to people about why late-term abortions, in fact all abortions but especially these extreme and horrific cases, are complicated and private and must remain available. Talking to people about why the fatuous self-righteousness of the pro-life movement should never be mistaken for anything but exactly what it is - ignorance in combination with simple old-fashioned busybodyness.

The gall of assuming you can make a moral judgement about someone else's life! Unbelievable, and look what it leads to. Harrassing women who are already deep in the midst of the most miserable experience of their life, enduring its inevitable conclusion, something for which they did not ask and would never have wished, something that has already dashed their dreams. Look into the faces of these men and women in the photographs who showed up for the Tiller vigil. I can't help but wonder what connects them to the story. How many of them were his patients? How many know and love someone whose life presented this difficult choice? How many of them have looked into the painful, miserable reality of a pregnancy that can't continue? How many just believe that women and doctors are equipped to handle their personal medical difficulties?

-- as opposed to how many of the protestors? The sheer ignorance that I'm seeing from "pro-life" commentors on message boards shows me that most of them hold their positions reflexively and are responding only to propaganda, not reality or fact. Their lack of knowledge of pregnancy, family planning, contraception, the law, arguments against outlawing abortion, and late-term abortion itself show how very little knowledge they're working with. They're either profoundly uninformed, or shockingly convinced that they should be allowed to make moral decisions for other people.

These people at the vigil in support of Tiller's family are regular people, good people, compassionate people. They know a thing or two about life. They are humble enough to know they can't understand every situation, or that faced with such situations they aren't sure themselves what they should do. They can negotiate complicated situations. They have compassion.

The idea that people who support a "pro-life" agenda do it out of compassion is dead to me after this week. If you are a compassionate person, you should run, not walk, away from this movement and from the label "pro-life." If you are compassionate, there are about a hundred ways you can help women and children - even help save their lives - that don't call upon you to stick your nose into other people's personal lives, ignoring all their experience and personal knowledge of themselves and their families, and imposing on them an oversimplified and naive moral structure. If you are compassionate, you will understand that you have no power to understand or dictate someone else's life. If you are compassionate, you will feel only love and concern for these families who had to use Dr Tiller's clinic - not one of whom, I guarantee you, wanted to be there.

If you want to help women and children, help women and children. If you want to share moral views with self-aggrandized murderers and people who have an unhealthy obsession with others, then the "pro-life" movement is for you.
posted by Miko at 9:05 AM on June 4, 2009 [11 favorites]


Oh, I meant to add that the part in the photos I found most galvanizing is that he had some KS legislators over to his clinic for a "clinic experience" to show what the place was and what happens there. I can only imagine the horrors they expected, only to have their image resolve into oh, this is a medical center, a sensitive and intensive clinic with psych and medical services for women in the worst of circumstances. We just need to be highlighting this fact: people who really care about women and children do this kind of thing. These people aren't evil monsters, mad scientists, cartoon villians. And the procedures happening in these places are not at all as described in the grisly and totally misleading "pro-life" propaganda. Props to Dr. Tiller for trying to educate people about these situations. That's the work left to the rest of us, now.
posted by Miko at 9:16 AM on June 4, 2009


all you had to do was not talk to me about this and I wasn't going to comment anymore

Please do not play this game here. Go to MetaTalk if you have to.
posted by jessamyn at 9:24 AM on June 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


They are humble enough to know they can't understand every situation, or that faced with such situations they aren't sure themselves what they should do. They can negotiate complicated situations. They have compassion.

Yes. YES. This is the fundamental difference.
posted by scody at 10:53 AM on June 4, 2009


Just ran across a quote attributed to Naomi Klein:

"...people fall in love with what seems to be a perfect theory, a set of rules, and they love those rules more than they love people or places. In fact they begin to see the messy reality of life as interfering with the beauty, the imagined beauty, that exists only in their text, only in the sacred texts, whether they’re economic texts, or religious texts, or some dream of racial purity - I think we need to fear people who love systems more than people because the flip side of the love is the hatred for anything or anyone that interferes with the realization of that system, and this is the other thing about dangerous utopias, is that they can’t coexist with other ideas. They need the whole stage."
posted by BrotherCaine at 11:52 AM on June 4, 2009 [10 favorites]


If you're commenting, you're keeping this going just as much as I am.

Oh dear lord. I commented to say that I was done commenting. I am now commenting to say that I already commented to say that I'm done commenting.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:51 PM on June 4, 2009


grapefruitmoon - please. let. it. go.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:13 PM on June 4, 2009


"If you stop talking to me I'll go away."
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:22 PM on June 4, 2009


I am surprised to see this thread devolve into what is evidently a Canadian comedy routine.
posted by scody at 1:22 PM on June 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


I feel like I am stuck in The Song That Doesn't End.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 1:23 PM on June 4, 2009


Please don't play this game here.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:25 PM on June 4, 2009


"No, YOU let go first!"
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:37 PM on June 4, 2009


This are serious thread. Please play games elsewhere.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:40 PM on June 4, 2009


Metafilter: a thread that devolves into what is evidently a Canadian comedy routine
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:48 PM on June 4, 2009


“News flash: nobody, but nobody, was asking the US to go into Afghanistan”
So - “UN Urged to Prevent More Killings as Taliban Offensive Continues” doesn’t count? Meh. It doesn’t matter. The larger sentiment is correct. All points on foreign policy ceded for the sake of this discussion.

“I understand you didn't appreciate being called on your poor argument”

So it’s completely appropriate to derail the thread then?

“It's possible for people to criticize the actions of the U.S. government or individual Americans without having anti-U.S. sentiment in general”

In a thread concerning killing an abortion doctor?

“It really is possible for an Iraqi to think it's good to be rid of Saddam while upset that U.S. forces tortured Iraqis in Abu Ghraib.”

Because that’s relevant to this topic – how?

“These viewpoints are totally consistent, yet you want to force people into a false choice, which is simply that—false.”

I see. So my assertion that this foreign policy argument does not belong in this thread is the result, not only of my nasty attitude, but my desire to force people into a false choice.

“If you feel these matters are not germane to the discussion, you are welcome to stop discussing at anytime. You want to argue with others' opinions, but when they point out how you are wrong, you rant about how it's so off-topic.”

Yes, I do want to argue the point. I’d be happy to argue the point – in another thread on that topic. You seem to be engaging in the fallacy of false dichotomy. It really is possible for a commenter to have a different opinion on foreign policy matters while upset that they’re being discussed in a thread on the killing of an abortion doctor.
These viewpoints are totally consistent, yet you want to force people into a false choice, which is simply that—false.

“You don't get to decide what the topic is for everyone else.”

I’m questioning why it’s being discussed. Granted – I disagree. But you have yet to make any connection between Iraq, Abu Ghraib, or any other foreign policy matter with this topic. Were my questions not clear? Yes, I disagree. Yes, I wish to address it. But no, not here. So I ask you, and others generally speaking – what’s the foundation for those matters in this thread.
You addressed my nasty attitude (boo the fuck hoo) instead of answering, y’know, anything I brought up.

“This derail is really disappointing.”
“That said, do you have anything constructive to contribute to the discussion regarding Dr. Tiller and how to move forward in ensuring abortion rights in the U.S. and around the world?”
“Sorry to add to the derail”
“This derail has indeed become ridiculous.”

I’m sorry agregoli, scody, miko, grapefruitmoon,etc., you don’t get to decide what the topic is for everyone else. You want to force people into a false choice.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:48 PM on June 4, 2009


Well, this has been fun and all, expanding the murder of a doctor into What's Wrong With America, but it seems to be hopelessly mired. I tried tossing in some new material there but I guess this truck is in park.

*removes thread from activity*
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:54 PM on June 4, 2009


“If you feel these matters are not germane to the discussion, you are welcome to stop discussing at anytime. You want to argue with others' opinions, but when they point out how you are wrong, you rant about how it's so off-topic.”

Yes, I do want to argue the point. I’d be happy to argue the point – in another thread on that topic


Yes, please do. Please, if you must keep discussing this, start a MetaTalk thread.

I’m sorry agregoli, scody, miko, grapefruitmoon,etc., you don’t get to decide what the topic is for everyone else. You want to force people into a false choice.

No, I don't want to force anybody into anything. Anybody is free to continue discussing whatever they like. I am simply stating that for my part, I'm done. For the fourth time. Apparently, I am having internet translation issues, even when I say "I'm sorry for continuing the derail, I'm commenting to say that *I* AM DONE COMMENTING" I am mis-read.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 2:07 PM on June 4, 2009


I’m sorry agregoli, scody, miko, grapefruitmoon, etc., you don’t get to decide what the topic is for everyone else. You want to force people into a false choice.

I like how your list of Nefarious Free Speech Squelchers and Blue Meanies, Inc. seems to purposely exclude the moderator whose very job is, in fact, getting to decide what the topic is. (Unless you are lumping in jessamyn with the "etc." part of that sentence, in which case you A) are wrong and B) actually meant "et al.", not "etc.")

Anyway, I'm done too. I advise anyone who's still grinding their Take-That-Yankee-Scum axe to go outside and chop some wood or, alternatively, practice throwing it at a target to which you have affixed a picture of Uncle Sam.
posted by scody at 2:14 PM on June 4, 2009


Oh, you're all totally free to ruin decent conversations by climbing on your hobbyhorse with your jousting poles. Free as the wind. No false choices here. And this bird, we'll never change. If you love a thread, set it free. If it comes back to the topic, it was meant to be; if not, well, we're all pretty clear what went down.
posted by Miko at 2:20 PM on June 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


grapefruitmoon, are you done commenting? Please let me know.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:23 PM on June 4, 2009


I hate all of you.
posted by shiu mai baby at 2:25 PM on June 4, 2009


"actually meant "et al.", not "etc."
Ok, that's what I mean. I'll throw myself in there if you like. Not handing myself an exemption just because I'm on the opposition side. But I was arguing, y'know, against the derail.

Also, it's pretty much a reference to what grouse said.
But not a lot of reading going on generally, so...
posted by Smedleyman at 2:40 PM on June 4, 2009


"I was sent a link to this essay for the Atlantic Monthly online condoning murder."

Bonnie Erbe is way off there. The essayist is making the oft made point (made upthread here in fact) that pro-lifers don't truly believe a fetus is a baby in that they don't respond the same way as they would if an actual child (say 4 years old to be solid) were murdered.
I mean, if Dr. Tiller did, in fact, show up at a schoolyard and opened fire, we would be happy he was stopped by whatever means including someone shooting and killing him to stop it.
And he's right about using political force to stomp on the fringes rather than engaging them. At the very least a dialogue gives you some information as to who might be thinking of using violence.
But there's a lot of doublethink in pro-life thought as Miko, et.al point out.
I would be in the pro-life camp were they actually, y'know, pro-life. I do support education, etc. - and hope to eliminate as many unwanted children as possible so there are less abortions.
I do consider an unborn enough of a potential to merit being called a child, but I don't think anyone has the right to demand another support their lives with their own bodies so - moot point as it shakes out for all legal and practical purposes the same way. (As said above, you can't make laws that force people to give up their kidneys, etc. - you do not have to - legally - give an organ to your own child - end of story).
posted by Smedleyman at 2:57 PM on June 4, 2009


This cheered me slightly. But he's getting up there in age too - we need younger doctors to be able and willing to continue to provide these services. There is already a frightening lack of access to them.
posted by agregoli at 3:37 PM on June 4, 2009


And then on the other side of the coin, we have Jill Stanek, who decided to post the photos and addresses of the remaining two doctors who perform late-term abortions in the US. But the anti-abortion movement is not responsible for the harassment and subsequent murder of doctors like Tiller. Of course.
posted by shiu mai baby at 3:51 PM on June 4, 2009


Yep. shiu mai baby, unless you want to be really aggrivated, don't click on this.
---
"In part, it's a power struggle — conservative Republicans, many of them evangelical Christian, battling over abortion and other hot-button social issues with moderates of their own party and with the Democrats."

----
Derwha?
Roeder can't be held without bail because he is charged with first-degree murder, a non-capital offense
Y'know, I oppose the death penalty, but if we're talking what crimes should be eligible for it, I'd've thought premeditated murder would make the cut.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:12 PM on June 4, 2009


Ellen Goodman, Myth of the Lone Shooter
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:26 AM on June 5, 2009


Sometimes, after a good meditation, I have a force field that extends about 15 feet in front of me and puts everyone who enters into a good mood. Sometimes.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:30 AM on June 5, 2009


At Obsidian Wings, verb's been expanding on his position, to explain why the mainstream "pro-life" movement is complicit in Tiller's murder (I'm having trouble linking to specific comments over there, so I'll just note that the following has a time stamp of June 3, 1:33 pm; other comments are at June 3, 1:07 and 6:38 pm, June 4, 2:01 pm...; and verb's permission was requested and granted):

The pro-life movement has, for decades, explicitly worked to harass and intimidate clinics that provide abortions because they are the weak link of "legal abortion." If they cannot change the law, they can make it impossible or dangerous to actually exercise those legal rights.

Tiller in particular had been threatened, chased, and shot. His family was targeted for intimidation. He received regular death threats. His employees were stalked and harassed and threatened. His employees' families were stalked and harassed and threatened. His daily movements were tracked by networks of volunteer stalkers who posted the information online, on websites emblazoned with dripping blood. Groups of pro-lifers relocated to Kansas just to participate in the ongoing campaign.

US presidential candidates publicly called him an inhuman monster. Church members taught their children that he was evil. Television and radio pundits campaigned against him. Radicals called for his murder and mainstream pro-lifers held thoughtful, abstract discussions about the moral implications of murdering abortionists. Was it justified? Probably not... But certainly, it was a question to be grappled with.

For decades.

The groups and individuals conducting this campaign were explicit about their motives: because they could not convince the rest of the nation that a specific medical procedure should be illegal, they would force those who performed the procedure to stop. By intimidating them. And in some cases by threatening them. And in some cases, by killing them.

Tiller's killing was an act of terrorism. It was an attempt to terrorize a group of people.

I couldn't stop reading that discussion last night. Thanks for your insights.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:38 PM on June 5, 2009


Ellen Goodman, Myth of the Lone Shooter

By the way, surely this will put an end to the insistence that terrorism is Muslim phenomenon.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:52 PM on June 5, 2009


I am Dr. Tiller is an amazing site devoted to profiling those who have dedicated themselves to continuing Dr. Tiller's work.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:53 AM on June 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


For those still following along, Andrew Sullivan has assembled the late-term abortion stories he published on his blog in this post.

They are heartbreaking, gut-wrenching, and have led him to admit that:

I have to say I am beginning to believe that these abortions, given their excruciating moral and personal choices, may be the most defensible in context of all abortions. And yet they seem to be taking life in a more viscerally distressing way. I need time to think and rethink these things. I would not have without reading these extraordinary accounts.
posted by lalex at 1:08 AM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also related, John Cole's excellent treatise on abortion rights: Time to Rethink Your Conscience.
posted by lalex at 1:13 AM on June 7, 2009


Why is it everytime Andrew Sullivan comes to recognize the sane position on a subject, we're supposed to congratulate him instead of wanting to hit him over the head with all the nasty things he's said about liberals on that subject for the past 20 years?
posted by hydropsyche at 4:32 AM on June 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


"According to papers Roeder filed today, his possessions amount to a 16yr.-old Taurus and $10, and he only works occasionally at minimum-wage jobs. Yet he managed to finance several 400-mile round trips to Wichita from the KC area in the last month to case the church and know Dr. Tiller by sight, bought a handgun, gas and meals etc. Also, he asked- begged- for bail to be set today, despite his total lack of assets. Obviously, the poor bastard expects someone to post it, all of which leads me to believe that he is not the solitary nutcase the fundies claim he is.

"Somebody had to put him up to it, help him plan it and pay his expenses, and will now feed him to the sharks. Hopefully, and maybe with a bit of psych help, he will realize how he was used and name names."
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:46 AM on June 7, 2009


Blogger Brad Hicks has 14 questions for anybody who thinks Scott Roeder acted alone (and more specifically without the help of Operation Rescue).
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:14 AM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Andrew Sullivan is dumber than dirt about the reality of many things. He supports flat tax, which is an ideal that requires being wholly ignorant of how much that hurts the lower income classes, and wholly ignorant as to how much the wealthiest classes gain by having a publically-supported infrastructure.

He is also against public health care. Again, you have to be some special stupid to think that for-profit insurance will ever work out in favour of keeping people healthy; and especially stupid to think that it is possible to have lower costs while simultaneously having high profits.

So of course the man is ignorant about abortion. I mean, hell, he's only had some 45 years to take the time to actually learn about the people who are using abortion. It's only now that he finally pulls his head in and finds out that, hey, those late third-term abortions are no fucking fun at all! And, hey, almost all of them are done because something really bad is going down.

Ignorant damn asshole. It's a crying shame he's got so much influence.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:03 AM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


"I know there are many other similar events planned around the country as long as abortion remains legal," Roeder said.

He would not elaborate.

posted by vibrotronica at 11:21 AM on June 7, 2009


Roeder also said also wanted the public to know he has been denied phone privileges for the past two days, and needed his sleep apnea machine.
PROTIP: if you have sleep apnea, don't commit murder because you might have trouble getting your APAP machine in jail.
posted by grouse at 11:43 AM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Surely the use of an APAP for the treatment of sleep apnea is a private matter between a man and his doctor?
posted by hippybear at 12:23 PM on June 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


What really pisses me off is that in the wake of the assassination of Dr. Tiller, President Obama has decided to appoint a rabidly anti-choice Catholic woman, Alexia Kelley executive director of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, to head the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the Department of Health and Human Services.

So, in essence, Obama has just said "hey you anti-choice terrorists, kill some more doctors, it won't do shit to stop me from appointing your sympathizers to important government jobs!"

I knew Obama was a center-right, pro-establishment, tool when I voted for him, but I thought he'd have a bit more liberal leanings than this.

In the wake of Dr. Tiller's assassination every single appointment of any anti-choice individual should have been put on hold until, ha ha, the anti-choice groups seriously start opposing violence, renounce their vicious, incendiary, language, and pledge to obey the law WRT not blocking access to abortion clinics.
posted by sotonohito at 2:32 PM on June 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Obama could be doing a "more in sorrow than in anger" bit on the topic.

"When I was elected President, I pledged to reach out to the Pro-Life community, and I have been working to appoint Pro-Life individuals to important positions in my administration. Sadly, those on the Pro-Life side have not attempted to meet us halfway. In the wake of the assassination of Dr. Tiller, Pro-Life groups across America have denied responsibility, and continued to use the language that lead to his murder.

"I cannot continue to work to find common ground with the Pro-Life community, until they renounce violence, pledge to obey the law and stop blocking access to clinics, and stop using the language of hate to describe their opponents. I have done my part, I have reached out to them. Now they must do their part and reach out to us."

Anything but his mealy mouthed "I don't like assassination, but I'll keep appointing anti-choice goons" bullshit.
posted by sotonohito at 2:43 PM on June 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


So, in essence, Obama has just said "hey you anti-choice terrorists, kill some more doctors, it won't do shit to stop me from appointing your sympathizers to important government jobs!"

Oh for fuck's sake, dial it down a notch. There's not a whit of evidence she supports violence against anybody. Her organization isn't even officially for overturning roe v wade. It's official policy is that it wants to reduce the number of abortions, which happens to be the same policy endorsed by both Obama and Hillary Clinton.
posted by empath at 5:56 PM on June 7, 2009


It's official policy is that it wants to reduce the number of abortions, which happens to be the same policy endorsed by both Obama and Hillary Clinton.

But her organization's official policy is also to oppose contraception, which happens to be the only actually effective way to reduce the number of abortions.
posted by hydropsyche at 3:19 AM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


empath First of, as hydropsyche said, her group is also opposed to fact based sex ed, and contraception, which makes her "reduce the number of abortions" line hollow at best. It also makes it terrifying that Obama has decided to put an avowed foe of contraception in a position to deny funding to pro-contraception religious groups.

Not one single anti-abortion group in America has yet apologized, has yet promised to end its use of incendiary language, to stop calling doctors "baby killers". Not. One.

More to the point
"Each abortion constitutes a direct attack on human life, and so we have a special moral obligation to end or reduce the practice of abortion to the greatest extent possible."
That's a direct quote from Ms. Kelley. She is, self evidently, not seeking common ground.

But that's still not the main thing. The main thing is that Obama reached out to them, and they murdered Dr. Tiller. At the very least that calls for a period of not reaching out to the evil slime. Actions must have consequences, and one of the minor consequences for the murder of Dr. Tiller must be an immediate end to the practice of attempting to appease the anti-abortion loons, starting by withdrawing all anti-abortion appointees.

Their side just committed political assassination, an act of outright terrorism. For Obama to continue to court their votes, to continue to appoint their hate spewing slime to important posts, is an act of monstrous cowardice, and a horrible example of wasting a golden political opportunity. Dr. Tiller's death could be a hammer to break the back of the so-called "Pro-Life" movement, and Obama is pissing it away and in the process pissing on the memory of Dr. Tiller and his heroic actions.
posted by sotonohito at 6:49 AM on June 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


The main thing is that Obama reached out to them, and they murdered Dr. Tiller.

No one is going to take you seriously if you spout nonsense like that. You're basically slandering every Catholic in the country with a murder accusation. That's mainstream Catholic dogma. Are you saying that no devout Catholic should be allowed to have a government position?
posted by empath at 8:42 AM on June 8, 2009


Dr. Tiller's death could be a hammer to break the back of the so-called "Pro-Life" movement, and Obama is pissing it away and in the process pissing on the memory of Dr. Tiller and his heroic actions.

This, also, is ridiculous. A lot of decent, good and moral people are pro-life. You're not going to 'stamp-out' the pro-life movement. There's nothing wrong with being pro-life. It's a political position, and a perfectly legitimate one (although one which I happen to disagree with).

My position re:abortion has actually changed somewhat because of the torture issue. Because I feel like I'm on the opposite side now. I find torture to be a great moral wrong that legitimizes the moral authority of the entire government. And yet it's legal. And I find myself thinking that those who support torture are inhuman monsters, evil even. I think that most of those people who support torture (Cheney and his cabal aside) believe that they are just being pragmatic, and are for the greater good.

Now, torture is currently being played out in the political arena, so torture opponents are generally being patient. But imagine if the Supreme Court declared that the president does, in fact have the right to detain and torture and even execute 'terrorists' at will, and that there is no way to change this.

Now, some people say, this is just fine -- torture away, they're just terrorists. They're not Americans, even as the government starts rounding up accused terrorists dozens at a time, and executing them.

Now, I've put myself in the position of an abortion opponent. There's no argument to be had here -- one side is evil -- and there is no recourse in the political sphere. What, then, do you do?

I think it's wrong to ignore people's genuine moral revulsion at abortion. And its wrong to attempt to marginalize a mainstream position. I think that putting moderately pro-life people in a position where they can impact policy in a generally pro-choice administration helps release the pressure somewhat.

The only way that we're actually going to 'resolve' the abortion issue is when people are convinced that fetuses are not human beings. That's a long term process. In the mean time, the only thing we can do is try to resolve it politically.

Pro-choice people are often lazy rhetorically, because they spend all their time talking to each other. You're much better off if you actually LISTEN to what pro-life people say and treat their opinions with respect instead of just walling them off as an 'other' who needs to just go away. They're not going to go away.
posted by empath at 9:05 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are you saying that no devout Catholic should be allowed to have a government position?

Was that sonohito's position? I think the type of position was critical to his point. It seems you've severely straw-manned here.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:16 AM on June 8, 2009


I find torture to be a great moral wron ...And yet it's legal.

It is?
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:17 AM on June 8, 2009


Well, rewind a bit to the Bush administration, if it makes the argument work better. The point is, I can understand on some level where abortion opponents are coming from.
posted by empath at 9:21 AM on June 8, 2009


A lot of decent, good and moral people are pro-life.

What other disgustingly immoral positions can you hold and still be "decent, good, and moral"?
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:21 AM on June 8, 2009


Are you saying that no devout Catholic should be allowed to have a government position?

Was that sonohito's position? I think the type of position was critical to his point. It seems you've severely straw-manned here.

---------
"Each abortion constitutes a direct attack on human life, and so we have a special moral obligation to end or reduce the practice of abortion to the greatest extent possible."

That's a mainstream Catholic position.

Their side just committed political assassination, an act of outright terrorism. For Obama to continue to court their votes, to continue to appoint their hate spewing slime to important posts.

I'm sorry, I guess she thinks that appointing them to unimportant government positions is fine. I'm sorry if I overstated the case.
posted by empath at 9:24 AM on June 8, 2009


What other disgustingly immoral positions can you hold and still be "decent, good, and moral"?

You really, honestly think that being pro-life is disgustingly immoral?

There are two ways to get to a pro-life position-- one is sexual puritanism. I find those people to be repugnant.

But a significant percentage of pro-life people are pro-life because they genuinely see a fetus as being a human being. It's not immoral to want to protect human life, if you sincerely believe that a fetus is a human being.

I don't happen to believe that, but I understand why people do. You can't ignore them, and you can't demonize them, you can only engage with them, one at a time.

Everyone in my family is both Catholic and 'pro-life'. They get visibly agitated when the subject even comes up -- but yet, when you press them, not one of them thinks that girls should go to jail for having an abortion, or that they should be forced to get back alley abortions.

They just have a very strong moral sense that it's wrong. And it's fine to acknowledge that, and move on to 'so what do you want to do about it' and present them with real-world consequences of making it illegal. Many of them will take more moderate positions in the face of the reality of teen girls dumping babies in trash cans or doctors going to jail.

But you can't engage people if you won't even talk to them and don't make an effort to empathize.
posted by empath at 9:43 AM on June 8, 2009


empath Not that it matters, but I'm male.

That's a mainstream Catholic position.

Well, its definitely the official Church position, but the vast majority of Catholics in America use contraceptives. While I haven't seen figures on Catholics specifically, I do know that the abortion rate among anti-choice activists as a whole is identical to that of the general population. I'd be incredibly surprised if the Catholic abortion rate was particularly lower than that of the general population.

The membership of the RCC is radically out of step with the leadership of the RCC on reproductive issues. Its purely anecdotal I know a Catholic OB/GYN who not only prescribes contraception, but performs hysterectomies and refers patients seeking abortions to abortion providers without any moralizing, slut shaming, or any of the other things the RCC mandates.

My point is that while Kelley's position is well within the mainstream of the Church hierarchy, its not really the position of many, and perhaps even most, American Catholics.

Are you saying that no devout Catholic should be allowed to have a government position?

No. I'm saying that no anti-choice zealots should be allowed to have government positions. That door should have closed the instant one of theirs shot Dr. Tiller, and it should not re-open until they have accepted responsibility for that act, and changed their actions and rhetoric to prevent similar acts in the future.

There are many devout Catholics who are pro-choice. President Obama, should he desire to keep that position filled by a Catholic, could easily pick one of them for the job.

I'll address your other points in a few hours.
posted by sotonohito at 9:45 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Jezebel has a story today about donations coming into the Medical Students for Choice organization following this murder. Just in case you missed Jez's follow-up or the link posted above.
posted by crush-onastick at 9:52 AM on June 8, 2009


Oops, Jezebel link. preview only helps those who help themselves
posted by crush-onastick at 9:53 AM on June 8, 2009


But a significant percentage of pro-life people are pro-life because they genuinely see a fetus as being a human being.

but yet, when you press them, not one of them thinks that girls should go to jail for having an abortion

One of these things is not like the other! One of these things just doesn't belong!
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:54 AM on June 8, 2009


But a significant percentage of pro-life people are pro-life because they genuinely see a fetus as being a human being.

but yet, when you press them, not one of them thinks that girls should go to jail for having an abortion

One of these things is not like the other! One of these things just doesn't belong!


Hooray, you found a logical inconsistency!

*pats head*

No one said that there's anything logical about the abortion argument. There is no completely rational position to be had here.
posted by empath at 10:32 AM on June 8, 2009


You know, and this might just be a whole 'nother can of worms... but it seems like a large amount of the debate about abortion and whether it's killing and whatnot could easily be solved by instituting a test for brain wave activity from the fetus. No brain waves? It's not a person. Brain waves? Much more likely that it might be a person. Or is that too simplistic, to base beginning of life questions on some of the same metrics we use to determine death?
posted by hippybear at 12:36 PM on June 8, 2009


Obama's poor choice for faith leader: Why did a pro-choice president appoint someone to HHS who is against abortion AND birth control? Political payback?

Trojans And Horses
posted by homunculus at 12:53 PM on June 8, 2009


Brain waves can be detected at about 40 days. You might not even know you are pregnant at that point, much less have time to make a very important life decision.
posted by caddis at 1:20 PM on June 8, 2009


Brain waves can be detected at about 40 days.

Brain waves can be detected in all manner of creatures as well. Do you propose to give them human rights as well?
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:13 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is no completely rational position to be had here.

I vehemently disagree. There is a completely rational argument for letting medical decisions affecting one person be left entirely in the control of that person.
posted by agregoli at 2:52 PM on June 8, 2009 [8 favorites]


How about "medical conditions" that affect the lives of two persons, one who will kill the other?
posted by caddis at 3:01 PM on June 8, 2009


I am a fully functional human being, with rights, feelings, and experiences. A fetus is not. My worth is not equal to a fetus, sorry to say.
posted by agregoli at 3:33 PM on June 8, 2009 [6 favorites]


There are rational arguments for assigning "personhood" to the one. The arguments for assigning "personhood" to the other are theological (which is to say, its rationality remains consistent within "[My] God says so" premises, and not beyond), or based on distortions of biological realities, or both.

The following may be slightly tangential since caddis's comment may not have been meant to include zygotes at all, but it's helpful for clarifying certain arguments from biology or genetics (I'm sure these details have been mentioned before in one of the abortion threads, but not recently as far as I recall). L. Lewis Wall and Douglas Brown, "Regarding Zygotes as Persons: Implications for Public Policy," Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, Autumn 2006, 49 (4), 602-610:
If the minimal prerequisite for human personhood is simply the union of human gametes, then gestational trophoblastic disease -- both in its noncancerous form as a hydatidiform molar pregnancy and in its aggressively malignant version as chloriocarcinoma -- are human persons, and the surgical operations and chemotherapy used to kill such tumors are acts of homicide. If we are to allow a genetic definition of personhood to stand, those who advocate this position must be able to tell us what specific characteristics of the human genome constitute the minimal prerequisites for personhood.

If the human genetic package required for personhood means having a 46,XX or 46,XY karyotype, then women with Turner's syndrome (45,X0), Down's syndrome (trisomy 21), or any of a large number of other non-lethal chromosomal abnormalities are not human persons because . . . their genetic makeup is something other than 46,XX or 46,XY. If an attempt is made to get around this problem by specifying that a genetic package somewhat less than a 100% of a normal human chromosomal definition is allowable -- say 98% of a normal human genotype - then we must be exceptionally careful to write our genetic definition of human personhood in such a way that we do not inadvertently include within this category other nonhuman primates such as chimpanzees and bonobos . . .

Without clear specifications as to exactly what constitutes genetic personhood, any line of demarcation drawn on the human genome is both arbitrary and insufficient for the task it is being asked to perform.
The authors go on to explore consequences in law and health care of conferring personhood on zygotes.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 3:51 PM on June 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


There is no completely rational position to be had here.

There is, but you're too committed to unreason to acknowledge it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:54 PM on June 8, 2009 [4 favorites]


There is no completely rational position to be had here.

How about: Women will seek abortions and perform them, sometimes at the cost of their own lives, regardless of what laws are passed about abortion.

Though that's not so much a rational position as empirical observation.
posted by GuyZero at 3:59 PM on June 8, 2009


Let's follow the money and acknowledge that

1. More people in the religion = more power + $ for the corresponding church.

2. Human children growing in religious environment are indoctrinated with religious beliefs before they can make a choice, usually in contrast with their own relationship with their own divinity. More children in religious families results in more adults indoctrinated and conditioned at a very early age, believing the church-fed dogma to be reality. This is very very powerful and is central to religious organizations maintaining and growing their power.

3. The logical approach for churches is to outlaw safe sex as it will result in fewer indoctrinated followers.

If we look at the actions of the Church, we can see what it stands for: wealth, power, control, with all the darkness, abuse, cruelty and destruction that pave the road to more.

Of course, I would never contradict the fact that there are amazing, brilliant, compassionate people with pure hearts serving others as a part of that organization. Same stands for the government, the police force and the military, organizations that have caused more death and suffering than anybody else.

"Should abortion be legal" is not the question.

"What should I do with my own baby" is the only question.

Abortion has been, and will be. Making decisions based on indoctrination is a recipe for a big disaster (just look around).
posted by andreinla at 4:13 PM on June 8, 2009


If the minimal prerequisite for human personhood is simply the union of human gametes, then gestational trophoblastic disease -- both in its noncancerous form as a hydatidiform molar pregnancy and in its aggressively malignant version as chloriocarcinoma -- are human persons, and the surgical operations and chemotherapy used to kill such tumors are acts of homicide.

You're using big words. That's proof that your argument is all scientific and hinky and stuff, which means my God wins!

Besides, "hydatidiform molar" sounds like some sort of tooth, and your talking about it being in a woman's naughty parts, so obviously you're spouting sinful knowledge, because everyone knows there aren't any real teeth down there. Again, my God wins!
posted by five fresh fish at 4:26 PM on June 8, 2009


There is, but you're too committed to unreason to acknowledge it.

I don't know if you missed this, but I'm actually pro-choice.

I vehemently disagree. There is a completely rational argument for letting medical decisions affecting one person be left entirely in the control of that perso.

In order to accept this argument, you have to accept the fact that a fetus is not a person. And there is absolutely no objective reason to state that 'personhood' starts at birth (or even after birth!).

Personhood is a fuzzy concept, and putting the dividing line at childbirth is arbitrary. It's a postion that I'm willing to accept for pragmatic reasons, but I realize that it's a position that's on very shaky ground, particularly when you're talking about fetus's past the point of viability.

I happen to think that abortion should be legal up to birth EVEN IF the fetus is a person, but I also think that's a very tough position for a lot of people to take.

I think everyone would do better to acknowledge that their opponents in the debate might be arguing in good faith.
posted by empath at 4:31 PM on June 8, 2009


I don't know if you missed this, but I'm actually pro-choice.

Good for you, but that doesn't make you a reasonable person.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:51 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Being a smart-ass doesn't mean you've made any sort of argument.
posted by empath at 5:20 PM on June 8, 2009


I'm really more in the mood right now to be a smart-ass than to engage arguments which have been refuted time and again, sooooo
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:34 PM on June 8, 2009


In order to accept this argument, you have to accept the fact that a fetus is not a person.

Uh...no, I don't. In fact, I get really tired of anti-abortionists insisting that I don't see the fetus as human.
posted by agregoli at 5:44 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


There is no completely rational position to be had here.

This is the most rational statement in the whole thread. To very many people the act of abortion is wrong, but it is a balance between how wrong that is versus how wrong it is to bring an unwanted child into this world. There exists a minority of people who essentially view the fetus from conception until birth as some sort of wart in a woman's body that has no worth upon it's own until it emerges and takes first breath at which point it is inviolate. That is weird. More popular is the sort of uncomfortable in between position that many people carry that at the beginning it is really just so many cells despite the potential and then at some point it is not that. Even then, brain waves at 40 days, well we might make a policy decision that it is still legal to terminate for any reason. As things progress perhaps the reasons for termination need to be stronger than mere convenience. Saving the life of the mother, preventing the birth of a severely deformed baby these might still qualify. If you want to kill your baby into the late stages, and it is a baby, not a mere fetus at this point (if you don;t think so ask yourself how you would feel if someone decided to kill it by punching you in the stomach to achieve that result) then things have better be pretty severe to support that. You not wanting it, sorry. It is not just your body. You are not acting alone here. You have a baby inside, a life. There are no rational positions as we can not seem to balance the importance of that baby's life, the mother's convenience, her health and all the other difficult positions. If you think it is just an easy decision then you are either a moron or you have failed to think and you have failed ethics.
posted by caddis at 6:04 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


You said 'one person'. It's not 'one person' if the fetus is also a person.

I'm not making the argument that the fetus IS a person. But you have to accept that the fetus is NOT a person to make the argument that the decision only affects ONE person.

Anyway. The point here wasn't to make a pro-life argument (I'm not anti-abortion). Only to make the case that there are reasonable, well-intentioned pro-life arguments to be made, even if you choose not to recognize that.

Just because you're tired of making the arguments, that doesn't excuse you from engaging your opponents as decent, reasonable human beings, worthy of respectful consideration of their views, particularly when they are willing to reciprocate.

Now, obviously, this Tiller guy is a nut, and the baby-killer Operation Rescue people are not reasonable people. But 50% of the population self-identifies as pro-life. I think it would benefit people who are pro-choice to understand and acknowledge that it may be a position arrived at honestly.
posted by empath at 6:08 PM on June 8, 2009


(uh-- sorry, the guy that killed Tiller is a nut)
posted by empath at 6:09 PM on June 8, 2009


But you have to accept that the fetus is NOT a person to make the argument that the decision only affects ONE person.

No, I don't, stop defining what the positions are. All I could say is still encapsulated within what I already wrote: I am a fully functional human being, with rights, feelings, and experiences. A fetus is not. My worth is not equal to a fetus.
posted by agregoli at 6:20 PM on June 8, 2009 [2 favorites]


I didn't define your position. You said:

There is a completely rational argument for letting medical decisions affecting one person be left entirely in the control of that person.

Implicit in that statement is the idea that the fetus is not a person, am I wrong?
posted by empath at 6:42 PM on June 8, 2009


As I thought I made clear, yes, you are mistaken about what is implicit in my statement.

Your statements imply that the fetus has the same worth as a fully grown woman. I am asserting that this is not so, and that the only person that should be considered in the equation, in my opinion, is the one who has achieved full personhood - the woman. If we were talking about Grown-Up A and Grown-Up B and you asked me which one had more worth, I would say they were equal. But I cannot and will not accept that a fetus who has no consciousness, life experience or legal rights is of equal status as me with all that it lacks.
posted by agregoli at 6:53 PM on June 8, 2009


I didn't actually make a statement about the personhood of the fetus at all. I don't really know if it's a person or not, and I kind of think it's irrelevant.

You're making a reasonable argument. But it's not the only reasonable argument that can be made. And there are still problems with it. (again, none of these invalidate your position, i'm just pointing out that this is NOT an easy question to figure out and there are no right and wrong answers)

To say that it doesn't have legal rights is begging the question a bit -- why doesn't it?

Do you know for sure that a fetus doesn't have consciousness?

What's the difference between aborting a viable fetus and smothering a newborn in the crib -- a newborn has no rights, no life experience, and no more consciousness than a fetus in the womb just before it's born.

Again, there are reasonable pro-choice answers to ALL of those questions-- but there are also reasonable anti-choice answers to all of them. This is philosophy and politics, not science. Everything is shades of gray.

I don't think, practically, there's an iota of practical difference in my position on abortion and yours. I'm a bit squeamish about late-term abortions, but I don't think any abortions should be illegal, ever. My position is pragmatic, though, not moral.

I just think that government should not be allowed to intrude into people's private lives, and I'm not overly concerned with the rights of a fetus -- person or no, there aren't any practical negative consequences to ME from an abortion, and there are plenty of potential negative consequences from an overly intrusive government into family planning decisions.

I'm also pro-choice because of women that I know who have had to deal with the issue personally, and I care about them.

But I can very well see that other people might come to a different conclusion on the issue, and that doesn't make them bad people, or stupid, or hateful or bigoted.
posted by empath at 7:14 PM on June 8, 2009


It doesn't have legal rights because our rights start at birth. Which is why your statement about smothering a newborn in a crib doesn't make sense - a newborn has rights.

And...you seeing that other people coming to a different conclusion on the issue doesn't make them bad people, stupid, hateful or bigoted means what? That I do? We are, in this thread, however, discussing many people that ARE bad people, ignorant, hateful and bigoted. It doesn't mean that all of us blanket every person who holds an anti-choice position with those labels.
posted by agregoli at 7:20 PM on June 8, 2009


50% of the population self-identifies as pro-life. I think it would benefit people who are pro-choice to understand and acknowledge that it may be a position arrived at honestly.

MetaFilter has many strengths, this is not one of them.


Your statements imply that the fetus has the same worth as a fully grown woman. I am asserting that this is not so,

Well, a very significant portion of people would disagree with you there. You are not really that special. Sorry. The country's population is getting more liberal on almost every issue except abortion. Pragmatism seems to be winning. This means people realize the horror of killing the fetus, yet acknowledge the horror of bringing an unwanted child into the world. In th past cavalier attitudes about the worth of a fetus were accepted, now they are considered more like cavalier attitudes about the worth of blacks or other minorities. The ball has moved and intelligent people have acknowledged that abortion is not some simple bursting of a pimple that some simpletons seem to portray it as.
posted by caddis at 7:24 PM on June 8, 2009


Shrug. No point in discussing positions if insults are going to be slung around.
posted by agregoli at 7:30 PM on June 8, 2009


That's right folks, abortion is just like racism!
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:33 PM on June 8, 2009


No point in discussing positions if insults are going to be slung around.

It's only an insult if you believe that abortion is the moral equivalent of popping a pimple. You haven't said anything to the contrary so I don't know.
posted by caddis at 7:59 PM on June 8, 2009


This means people realize the horror of killing the fetus, yet acknowledge the horror of bringing an unwanted child into the world.
Gosh. There seems to be a person missing from this explanation of the situation. You really think the abortion debate is about weighing the horror of killing a fetus versus the horror of bringing an unwanted child into the world, and not at all about the horror of forcing an unwilling woman to act as an incubator for nine months and then undergo the trauma of childbirth? I mean, really?
posted by craichead at 8:12 PM on June 8, 2009 [3 favorites]


Implicit in that statement is the idea that the fetus is not a person

As a fetus, albeit an extremely large one, I resent that implication.
posted by MikeMc at 8:16 PM on June 8, 2009


Yeah, if you look at right-wing political cartoons about abortion, there is a constant that women are generally voiceless, and very often faceless, which pretty much says it all.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:21 PM on June 8, 2009


It doesn't have legal rights because our rights start at birth. Which is why your statement about smothering a newborn in a crib doesn't make sense - a newborn has rights.

Well, that may be (except you aren't born with all your civil or human rights). However there's no logical reason why a fetus that's happens to be born is more worthy of rights than an identical fetus still in the womb. It's not like some consciousness light-switch goes on when they're born. If you don't think a viable fetus has feelings, then there's no reason to think that a premature newborn does -- after all, they're physically identical outside the womb and inside the womb, so it should be no more wrong to kill a newborn than to abort a viable fetus -- or at least not dramatically more wrong.

(I'm kind of focusing on viable fetuses here, because those are the more 'interesting' cases)
posted by empath at 9:24 PM on June 8, 2009


By every pragmatic argument, abortion bans cause much more harm than they do good. While the body count might drop, the amount of human suffering skyrockets by orders of magnitude — and abortions still happen because the means are myriad and absolutely beyond our ability to control.

An abortion ban is attractive only to sadomasochistic people who believe man must suffer. I suggest they kindly fuck off back to their theocratic nation and leave us civilized people alone.

There is no debate to be had over the issue of choice. It is a plain and simple fact. You and I and all our efforts can not stop women from choosing to abort. They can accomplish it a hundred different ways.

The only debates to be had are on things like: Does a doctor have to mandate the abortion as "medically necessary"? Can morning-after be OTC? Which procedures are approved, and at which developmental stages? Etcetera.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:01 PM on June 8, 2009


By every pragmatic argument, abortion bans cause much more harm than they do good.

It is sometimes easy to forget that what you call pragmatic reason to allow abortions some moral theories would call deeply, deeply moral reasons. If you hold a consequentialist theory such as utilitarianism, then what decides whether or not an act is moral is whether it produces happiness or unhappiness, or some good consequence in general. If you accept that the morality of an action is decided by what good is produces, then the availability of abortion is (given every statistic I've ever seen) a moral good.
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:24 PM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


However there's no logical reason why a fetus that's happens to be born is more worthy of rights than an identical fetus still in the womb. It's not like some consciousness light-switch goes on when they're born. If you don't think a viable fetus has feelings, then there's no reason to think that a premature newborn does -- after all, they're physically identical outside the womb and inside the womb, so it should be no more wrong to kill a newborn than to abort a viable fetus -- or at least not dramatically more wrong.

The "light switch" is simply that a newborn and a fetus are not physically identical in one important way: it is no longer inside a woman's body, sucking nutrition from her, sending its waste back into her, relying on her for every bit of its growth and development, squishing her organs, permanently altering her body. If it gets sick, she gets sick. If she gets sick, it gets sick. If she dies, it dies. If it dies, she might well die without heroes like Dr. Tiller.

As long as it relies on a woman for absolutely everything, she has absolute say over it. Once someone else (actually many, many other people) are providing a newborn with food, water, shelter, heat, then the "light switch" has been switched.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:17 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yeah, unwilling incubator. Too bad there aren't specific acts one can avoid engaging in that would cause the "parasite" to take root, huh?

And heaven shudders at our heartlessness.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:41 AM on June 9, 2009


As long as it relies on a woman for absolutely everything, she has absolute say over it.

That is one opinion, held by a very small minority and at odds with the law.
posted by caddis at 4:42 AM on June 9, 2009


Yeah, unwilling incubator. Too bad there aren't specific acts one can avoid engaging in that would cause the "parasite" to take root, huh?

Yeah, there's that sexual puritanism that I personally find a bit obnoxious. There are lots of cases where that particular act is not avoidable (rape, etc)
posted by empath at 5:07 AM on June 9, 2009


The "light switch" is simply that a newborn and a fetus are not physically identical in one important way: it is no longer inside a woman's body, sucking nutrition from her, sending its waste back into her, relying on her for every bit of its growth and development, squishing her organs, permanently altering her body. If it gets sick, she gets sick. If she gets sick, it gets sick. If she dies, it dies. If it dies, she might well die without heroes like Dr. Tiller.

As long as it relies on a woman for absolutely everything, she has absolute say over it. Once someone else (actually many, many other people) are providing a newborn with food, water, shelter, heat, then the "light switch" has been switched.


I don't disagree that those are all perfectly valid reasons to allow abortions. You rather neatly avoided the point, though.

She said that fetuses have no feelings and no consciousness, but newborns do. Nothing you said had any bearing on that.
posted by empath at 5:11 AM on June 9, 2009


Too bad there aren't specific acts one can avoid engaging in that would cause the "parasite" to take root, huh? And heaven shudders at our heartlessness.

And I shudder at your repeated insistence that your religion has any say whatsoever about if and whom I fuck.
posted by shiu mai baby at 5:48 AM on June 9, 2009 [5 favorites]


fuck all you want, just use birth control. Using abortion as your primary form of birth control is just so wrong.
posted by caddis at 7:00 AM on June 9, 2009


Oh do tell us, wise one -- where has anyone on this thread suggested or even advocated using abortion as a primary form of birth control? Last time I checked, this thread was about Dr. Tiller, who was gunned down for performing late-term abortions. Which, in case you missed it, aren't about birth control at all, you freaking nimrod.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:04 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


And furthermore, who the hell are you to say or judge how a woman gets an abortion in the first trimester? Are you going to stand at the clinic and subject her to a 100-question test? "Did you use the pill, yes or no? No? Ok, you get to carry to term!" Good lord.

It is none of your damned business the reasons a woman might have for getting an abortion in the first trimester, and, saints be praised, the law of the land agrees with me on this point.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:08 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Using abortion as your primary form of birth control is just so wrong.

SURELY this is wrong... Do people do this? The cost of abortion plus the time it takes plus the risks to any such medical procedure... there's nothing about using abortion as PRIMARY birth control that makes sense, even without the whole "is this killing a person" debate.

I mean, really? Do people do this? Or is this just another canard like Reagan's mythical welfare queen?
posted by hippybear at 8:01 AM on June 9, 2009


However there's no logical reason why a fetus that's happens to be born is more worthy of rights than an identical fetus still in the womb.

Yes, there is. That's our legal structure. You can't give rights to something with no independent existence.

You're right that there may not be a large moral difference between aborting a fetus at late term and killing an infant of about the same age. However, for pragmatic purposes, we need to draw a line at which the rights of citizenship begin. You can say the same about whether minors are really ready to be allowed to drop out of high school at sixteen, or drive at seventeen, or serve in the military at eighteen, or drink at twenty-one. All such lines are necessarily arbitrary and aim for the mean. But in the case of birth, we have a very clear, singular event - the cutting of the umbilical cord and the start of independent life - to draw the legal line that determines whether there is an independent life or not.

And heaven shudders at our heartlessness.

Oh, can it. I think we established in the last abortion thread that you really don't care at all about infants or women, just about obeying your religious laws and avoiding personal punishment for it. Go worry about yourself - since you've been clear that your opposition is all about you and your individual salvation - and leave the rest of us alone.
posted by Miko at 8:24 AM on June 9, 2009 [13 favorites]


I mean, really? Do people do this?

I have two answers to that:

1. No, they don't. Abortion is for when everything else failed that woman for whatever reason. That can be a lot of reasons and they can be complicated. See below.

2. However, abortion IS birth control. It is! It stops a baby from being born. It is a method of controlling the number of births that happen.

So there's a semantic game going on when people talk about "using abortion as birth control." What they really mean is using it as birth control in the absence of all other methods. That's why some wise folk in the thread mentioned that the term meant is really "primary method of birth control."

In cases where that does happen, where abortion is the only means of birth control applied, I suspect that the woman is handicapped in ways that might not immediately be evident: youth, ignorance certainly, poverty, lack of access, developmental disability, shame, being lied to about birth control or forced to have sex, impairment, etc. All those conditions, rampant now, need to change before we can confidently say that everyone has the ability to procure and properly use birth control. In the meantime, as we work toward that, we have to assume that if a woman has never used any other form of birth control and has become pregnant, there is a real reason, one which at the personal level is absolutely none of our business, but at the societal level needs to be addressed to prevent more instances of that.
posted by Miko at 8:31 AM on June 9, 2009 [7 favorites]


Miko: you are a treasure.
posted by crush-onastick at 8:34 AM on June 9, 2009


But a significant percentage of pro-life people are pro-life because they genuinely see a fetus as being a human being....I don't happen to believe that, but I understand why people do. You can't ignore them, and you can't demonize them, you can only engage with them, one at a time.

I understand the goodwill in your argument, but in a lifetime of probing the views of people who actually advocate ending legal abortion, when we get down to brass tacks I find that is very rarely about seeing a fetus as a human being. In those rare cases where they do actually see it as a human being, then they are certainly best off supporting a pro-choice agenda, since that will result in fewer unwanted pregnancies, and therefore abortions. It's the only reasonable stance to take if you are concerned about fetuses. So those who argue for prohibition should also be pro-choice; and the fact that it's morally uncomfortable for them personally that abortions take place has really nothing to do with the public policy issue.

So to me, the fact that lots of people decry abortion as a moral ill does not matter that much, since ultimately if they are capable of thought they are pro-choice. There are plenty of legal things that are moral gray areas, and many such battlegrounds related to issues of life and death, such as euthanasia, brain death, organ donation, etc. For this reason I don't agree that anyone favoring legal abortion actually needs to come to agreement or 'resolution' with a religiously informed view of the fetus. If we are working toward the same ends in terms of public policy, it's perfectly all right, in a civil society, to accept that we have different views of the nature of life.
posted by Miko at 8:52 AM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


Personhood is a fuzzy concept, and putting the dividing line at childbirth is arbitrary.

Not really arbitrary, but rather based on autonomy, a pretty strong, clearly defined principle in ethics.

fuck all you want, just use birth control. Using abortion as your primary form of birth control is just so wrong.

The ball has moved and intelligent people have acknowledged that abortion is not some simple bursting of a pimple that some simpletons seem to portray it as.

Worst. Straw. Man. Ever.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:04 AM on June 9, 2009


And heaven shudders at our heartlessness.

Well, I knew eventually we would hear from someone who talks directly to those magical guys up in the mythical skies. Please, tell me what the stock market is going to do. Or anything that proves you have any insight into your magic people. Or, you know, keep it to yourself.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:08 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


But a significant percentage of pro-life people are pro-life because they genuinely see a fetus as being a human being....

You know, I have VERY close relatives who are resolutely anti-choice, as well as several acquaintances, and I have discussed this in detail with most of them more than once. And whenever I try to get to the bottom line about the rights of the fetus vs. the rights of a woman, it always comes down to the idea that the woman has to bear the responsibility for her actions. Well, yes, don't we all. But that goes beyond their "pro-life" stance to a slut-hating stance. To do this, they have to elevate the value of the fetus up above that of the mom. "Yes, you have rights but, awwww, look at the little aborted fetus picture I have, it's so ghastly. I guess you're just going to have to turn your life upside down to suit my refined moral sensibilities." If they could just leave it at the moral imperative of preserving the life of the fetus whenever possible, they would win the moral superiority game every time. But they can't, because that would mean abortion is permissible under a variety of circumstances and the mom would "get away" with something at the expense of a fetus, a creature without a name, without consciousness, with only the potential to develop into a human being if all goes well. And this animosity toward the mom is what is behind the characterization of those who elect abortions as using them for primary birth control. It ain't about the fetus, it's about sticking the mom with the consequences of her action, i.e., slut-hating.
posted by Mental Wimp at 9:23 AM on June 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


Taking the "what's the difference between born and viable but unborn" another step, it's rare that you meet a would-be prohibitionist who actually does put even a fraction of the concern and energy about children's lives into those lives after they come into existence. I can barely think of a prohibitionist pro-lifer who works as hard or harder to pass laws that support the feeding, health care, comfort, and education of children and their mothers who already exist. That lack of political action after birth belies the supposed concern about the humanness of babies. For some odd reason, children are only a pro-life anti-choice person's business when they're in someone else's body; once they're out, they're on their own - or at least, on the resources the mother is able to mobilize, or on the state.

I know that a few of those sincere people are out there. But those who moralize about the badness of abortion greatly, greatly outnumber those willing to do something about helping real children. There are children's lives in danger in Rwanda, Afghanistan, Iran, right here in the USA. Lots and lots of work to do. Once the innocent fetus has fallen into this filthy world and begins living their own moral existence, we find much, much less concern for its "humanity."
posted by Miko at 10:09 AM on June 9, 2009 [4 favorites]


For some odd reason, children are only a pro-life anti-choice person's business when they're in someone else's body; once they're out, they're on their own - or at least, on the resources the mother is able to mobilize, or on the state.

This is a common view, but not necessarily universal among pro-lifers.
posted by caddis at 10:31 AM on June 9, 2009


Anticipating that statement, I made a solicitous point of saying there are "a few of those sincere people out there." Unfortunately, much more is made of them by apologists for pro-lifers than they are actually able to do.

I would have respect for the Democrats for Life, except that they oppose legal abortion. That is just not logical for people who want to see the number of abortions and deaths from abortion reduced. It's an anti-life stance, and ignores research showing what policy factors are effective in reducing abortion. So it's not a well-thought-out platform. I certainly welcome their help in supporting programs for poor women and children and the like, but again, their stance that the way to oppose and reduce abortion is to outlaw it is internally contradictory and bound to fail in reaching the stated mission.
posted by Miko at 10:50 AM on June 9, 2009


Roeder's clinic will be closing permanently.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:12 PM on June 9, 2009


Roeder's Tiller's clinic will be closing permanently.

FTFY.

This is really terrible news. I thought that a dead abortion doctor was "what it looked like when the terrorists win." Now I realize, that actually looks like a permanently closed abortion clinic. The Dr's death was simply the tactic.
posted by hippybear at 5:32 PM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


What's alarming are the comment threads in the newspaper articles about the clinic closing. There are a lot of people who are delighted that Tiller was murdered and that the clinic is closing. I think the USA — or parts of it at least — is in for a very frightening summer for abortion providers and abortion clients.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:28 PM on June 9, 2009


Tiller's clinic will be closing permanently.

Now that is just sad, especially given the stakes. Here's hoping some really rich person will establish a scholarship fund for people who promise to perform late term abortions upon graduation. If you haven't guessed so far I am extremely uncomfortable with many aspects of abortion, yet supremely supportive of continuing the right tho have them. It's the most difficult social issue facing our country today.

A lot of people on either side think it is not difficult, that it is easy. They are simple. I can respect where they come from, but I have a hard time respecting their intellect. Bottom line, we need this option for so many reasons, and by this option I mean the late term abortions. It is good that they are rare. It is good that they are available.
posted by caddis at 7:48 PM on June 9, 2009


Rachel Maddow and NWHF President Susan Hill on the clinic closing.
posted by homunculus at 8:09 PM on June 9, 2009


It's the most difficult social issue facing our country today.

I'll argue that the most difficult social issue is that of consumption. If we don't reign in our consumption of resources, abortion rights will be the very least of our worries.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:52 PM on June 9, 2009 [3 favorites]


The irony is that the only effective way to limit overconsumption is to restrict population growth, and we're back to fighting the pro-birth movement.
posted by BrotherCaine at 1:53 AM on June 10, 2009


A lot of people on either side think it is not difficult, that it is easy. They are simple. I can respect where they come from, but I have a hard time respecting their intellect.

Assuming you might be referring to me, I don't care what you think of my intellect. Let's just say that it's a lot easier for a woman to see it as uncomplicated than for a man to, particularly in our misogynist society.

If you never will actually have to face this choice in any real sense, you get to sit back comfortably and talk in hypotheticals and question the intellect of those who disagree with you knowing it's not your lifestyle, health, or life that will ever be threatened.
posted by hydropsyche at 4:01 AM on June 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


According to gallup, there's only a 5% difference between men vs women on this issue, and the majority of both men and women identified themselves as 'pro-life'.

So, I don't think all women see it as being uncomplicated, and it's unfair to throw that out there.
posted by empath at 10:36 AM on June 10, 2009


the majority of both men and women identified themselves as 'pro-life'

How many of those identify themselves as "anti-choice"? I mean, I'm for life (yea, life!), but I also know there are competing ethics and sometimes (self-defense, e.g.) taking life is the right answer. So if someone asked if I am pro-life, I would have to say yes, yes I am. But I am also pro-choice.
posted by Mental Wimp at 10:50 AM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's just that "pro-life" does not equal "pro-prohibition," as we discussed above.
posted by Miko at 10:52 AM on June 10, 2009


Now the anti-choice loons are threatening to purchase the clinic. Sick.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:23 AM on June 10, 2009


How many of those identify themselves as "anti-choice"?

The survey is here

On the anti-choice issue:

22%: legal under any circumstance
15%: Legal in most curcumstances
37%: Legal in a few circumstances
23%: illegal in all circumstances

Not broken down by gender, though.
posted by empath at 11:51 AM on June 10, 2009


23%: illegal in all circumstances

Frightening that 23% of my fellow Americans think that putting people in jail is a solution to the problems of unsustainable pregnancies.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:03 PM on June 10, 2009


By the way, according to this post, 90% of women with prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome elect to abort. Methinks the "few circumstances" is a pretty large bucket.
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:27 PM on June 10, 2009


More far right-wing domestic terrorism today, apparently.
posted by scody at 12:27 PM on June 10, 2009


Frightening that 23% of my fellow Americans think that putting people in jail is a solution to the problems of unsustainable pregnancies.

But encouraging that 77% of Americans are pro-choice, to some extent, whether they call themselves that or not. Despite the misogyny, sexual puritanism, and misinformation/lies about abortion in this country, a very large majority of Americans still think abortion should be available.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:30 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, and in case it isn't clear, women can and do engage in misogyny, just like men. Self-hate is a powerful force actually, as is exceptionalism.
posted by hydropsyche at 12:31 PM on June 10, 2009


Anti-Abortion Group wants to buy Dr Tiller's clinic to create a memorial museum -- not in honor of Tiller, of course, but to memorialize "the babies".
posted by rottytooth at 1:46 PM on June 10, 2009


I think they should probably be investigating OR as accomplices to murder.
posted by empath at 1:54 PM on June 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


23%: illegal in all circumstances

Frightening that 23% of my fellow Americans think that putting people in jail is a solution to the problems of unsustainable pregnancies.


MORE frightening is that people believe that a woman with a pregnancy that that could kill her should have to die.
posted by agregoli at 2:40 PM on June 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


And this loon not only prayed for (and encouraged) Tiller's death, he just went on Fox TV to say that he prays for the death of Obama.

The nutbars, normally just noisy, chirping grasshoppers, are undergoing a radical change to become locusts, rising up in a black, all-devouring plague across the nation.

Best nail 'em with some insecticides.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:29 PM on June 10, 2009


Praying to whom, Satan? Praying to God for another's death, that is not very Christian. Enjoy an eternity of flames Drake.
posted by caddis at 6:37 PM on June 10, 2009


And another: "Drop abortion rights and your doctors will be allowed to live."

I suppose if there is anything good to be said, it is that the most extreme of the batshitinsane are making themselves extraordinarily easy to identify these days.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:47 PM on June 10, 2009


I suppose if there is anything good to be said, it is that the most extreme of the batshitinsane are making themselves extraordinarily easy to identify these days.

That would be a good thing if anybody in Washington had the grapes to do anything about it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:03 PM on June 10, 2009


caddis: abortion is not some simple bursting of a pimple that some simpletons seem to portray it as.

I can see that my comment about personhood and zygotes could be interpreted as "Another one who thinks abortion is like popping a pimple, check." That interpretation would be wrong. I recognize the humanity (which I consider a different matter from personhood) of fetuses, the potential of those cells / that tissue to become babies and later, children and adults, and I feel the emotions around and long-term implications of making the decision to close off that potentiality. That recognition and feeling coexist peacefully with my views that the more moral position upholds primacy of women's bodily autonomy over fetal rights.

The more women I hear from, about abortions that they or loved ones have had, the more confirmation I get that the "casual abortion decision" interpretation couldn't be more wrong. The reason we don't hear more from women about the thought and care they put into their decisions to abort is that it's, you know, private. Also, talking about it at all tends to open the door to criticism and attempted shaming from judgmental assholes (I don't mean anyone here personally). Also, re your remark that some people portray, and by extension many supposedly think of, abortions like bursting pimples: people don't bother announcing, "Oh no, you're wrong, I don't think deciding to abort is like deciding to burst pimples, at all!" because the charge is ludicrous. A caricature.

The simpletons are the people, whether they proclaim themselves "pro-life" or "pro-choice," who talk like most women's decisions to abort are made casually, whimsically, thoughtlessly, and selfishly. On what evidence do they come to the conclusion that this is a fair characterization of how most, or half, or, say, less than half but more than rare, of those decisions are made?
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 12:49 AM on June 11, 2009 [3 favorites]


Mental Wimp: if someone asked if I am pro-life, I would have to say yes, yes I am. But I am also pro-choice.

One Episcopal minister puts it this way: "It is enough to say, blurring intentionally the categories of pro-life and pro-choice, that I am in every sense pro-life by being pro-choice."

Some of his reasons for this:
Second . . . What I knew, through parish experience, was that women with money and connections could get a quiet and safe abortion. It was never called an abortion; it was a D&C (dilation and curettage). Poor women were denied that option. . . .

Finally, the Gospel message of Jesus was convincingly clear to me. Jesus wept over the people of Jerusalem. Life there was not as it was intended by God. Sin was clearly reflected in the lives of the people, in the way they lived at one another’s expense. Time and time again, Jesus stood with, and reached out to, people trapped with no choices about their own health. On countless occasions he shocked people by reaching out to women living under the domination of male structures. For me, that was justification enough to stand with women as they chose, for numerous reasons, not to bring an unwanted child into the world.

posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:00 AM on June 11, 2009 [6 favorites]


From here:

“The responsible white separatist community condemns this,” [John de Nugent] said. “It makes us look bad.”

Not from there:

I bring this up because the quote seems to mirror, at least in intent, those of the "coathanger coalition" following the murder of George Tiller... and yet this one is absolutely ludicrous on its face because everyone who's worth a damn knows there is no responsible white separatist community. In today's American society, if you publicly admit to being a white separatist, you're pretty much fucked up by definition.

So why does abortion retain its usefulness as a wedge issue, while racial separatism does not? I think it's a problem of imagery; white separatism is indelibly linked to white robes and hoods, cross-burnings, and intimidation and terrorist acts against black people. I would argue that a deceptively large segment of white america is xenophobic to some extent, but only a very small subset of them would care to be associated with such violence and torment.

The challenge facing the abortion rights crowd, then, is to humanize the women who have abortions, the doctors who perform them, and other people who work in the clinic via testimonials while simultaneously working to dehumanize the opposition by exposing the torment and harassment they inflict on patients, doctors, and workers, which is quite substantial, even for those that manage to survive it.
posted by The Confessor at 9:06 AM on June 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Another case of domestic terrorism. Bomb threat against a clinic.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:51 AM on June 11, 2009


The challenge facing the abortion rights crowd, then, is to humanize the women who have abortions, the doctors who perform them, and other people who work in the clinic via testimonials

I agree this is important and effective. A byproduct of the privacy issue and the vitriol, though, is to keep women silent about the abortions they have had. Recent research revealed that something like 1 out of 4 women will have had an abortion by the time she reaches the age of 45 - that's intentional abortion, not related to the 1 in 4 pregnancies that spontaneously miscarry. But you'd never know the numbers were so high. Even if we have not had an abortion ourselves, we all know women who have had abortions. We just don't know that they have. They are in your family, your workplace, your church, your schools, among your friends. They're everywhere. Even among people who campaign against legal abortion - many have had or will have abortions. It's not at all rare, but the fact that most people are driven into silence about it because of the name-calling, which makes some people think that only a strange, exceptionally callous monster of a woman would do this. When, in fact, your own mother might have done it. Your own wife or girlfriend. Your best friend, your cousin, your kid's teacher, your doctor, etc. If we could put on a pair of glasses that showed how many people - sympathetic, human, loving and responsible people - have needed and had legal abortions, I suspect that there would be some very interesting revisions of personal opinion about the legality of the act.
posted by Miko at 11:06 AM on June 11, 2009 [5 favorites]


I agree with you, at least in principle, Miko, but on the other hand one of the most basic tenets of the pro-choice movement is that abortion is an issue of privacy -- it is a medical decision that is between a woman and her doctor, and exactly no one else.

I very much want abortion to not be a shameful thing, something that woman feels she must conceal at all costs from her community lest she be judged as some calloused slut, but nor do I think that any woman should feel pressure to go public with her decision, either. Which, to be clear -- is not what is being proposed here, and no one here has suggested it, but I worry that to accomplish my ideal-world scenario, some women would feel that pressure. Does that make any sense whatsoever?

This falls kind of into the same incredibly complicated and thorny territory for me as the debate about rape victims who choose to keep their trauma a private affair, dealing with it in the best way they can, versus those who would say that every rape victim has a moral obligation to press charges against her attacker and subject herself to the justice system, and that those who don't do so bear the implicit blame for every victim that her rapist attacks thereafter.

I guess what I'm saying is that I believe that every woman should be permitted to address what has happened to her (in the case of rape) / the choice she has made (in the case of abortion) without feeling the weight of the entire feminist movement on her shoulders.
posted by shiu mai baby at 11:39 AM on June 11, 2009


And how's this for jackassery:

She's too young to get a tubal ligation. So instead, she's going to have to go against her morals and risk abortions. WTF, Canada?

We've had a long struggle with abortion issues, coming pretty close to banning them as recently as 1990. (!) But as the ruling that gave women the exclusive right to choose says:
Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction, to carry a fetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman's body and thus a violation of her security of the person.
Only here, the doctor is forcing her to have abortion surgeries, which must surely be a profound interference etc.

Supreme Court, here we go again.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:29 PM on June 11, 2009


Oh come on, that story is ludicrous. If one doctor won't perform a tubal ligation on a 21 year old woman (who has one child already and another on the way), then she just needs to find one who will. Not hugely difficult. And anyway, why doesn't her husband get a vasectomy, instead? It's a lot less invasive.

Sorry, but my outrage meter barely registers this.
posted by jokeefe at 9:40 PM on June 11, 2009


There are doctors in Canada who are kidnapping this young woman every time she gets pregnant and giving her abortions against her will?

Oh, no. She's just not willing to use birth control? Hard to tell from that article, but if the choice is either tubal ligation or abortion in her mind, maybe someone should introduce her to Norplant.

Still, I'm not sure that article has quite the content it was purported to have.
posted by hippybear at 9:53 PM on June 11, 2009


If one doctor won't perform a tubal ligation on a 21 year old woman (who has one child already and another on the way), then she just needs to find one who will.

I know a handful of young women who have had or sought tubal ligations, and their anecdotes appear to support the idea that most doctors who do the surgery think they know better than women what women want. "You don't really want that, you're too young!" appears representative.

So saying "she just needs to find one who will" is about as convincing and useful as a Libertarian saying "So your job is massively unsafe and you're in physical danger while you're there? Just find a new one!"
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:06 PM on June 11, 2009


It's a lot less invasive.

RTFA. The doctor is already going to be rooting around in there, fixing another problem. In this case, the vasectomy would be more invasive.

As for "just find another," (a) she'd have to delay the surgery she is already scheduled to undertake, or (b) have a second surgery once she'd found another doctor. If she can find another doctor: there are places in this country where that would be extremely difficult.

It is insane that an adult woman's reproductive choices are being vetoed by her surgeon.

So, hippybear, you would force her to take drugs rather than let her choose to have a tubal. That makes sense, if you're into forcing women to do things to their bodies that they don't want to do.

I hope this is taken to the courts. Should be a cinch, given the judge's ruling on elective abortion.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:22 PM on June 11, 2009


Wait? Where in my post did I say anything about forcing anyone to do anything???

She's living within a health system where they have refused to give her the method of birth control she is requesting. Your post implied that this decision made against her wishes left her with only one other method of birth control. There is nothing within what I wrote which said anything about forcing her to do anything at all. Just suggested that there might be options beyond the ones you mention.

If you're going to put words in my mouth, at least draw your hyperbole from my actual content, please.
posted by hippybear at 11:04 PM on June 11, 2009


Where in your post do you provide an alternative that does not force her to take drugs or take the risk of an undesired pregnancy?

Celibacy is not a realistic nor healthy alternative. Plus, it is no guarantee that she won't be impregnated (rape).

The effective contraceptives require her to take drugs she does not want to take.

The other contraceptives are too susceptible to failure, subjecting her to a risk she does not want to take.

Vasectomy forces her husband to undergo a medical procedure, though she is already under the knife and desires a tubal. So that doesn't wash as a legitimate option.

And, finally, all that is moot because it is her damn body, and it is not a surgeon's place to tell a woman that she must remain fertile. Voluntary sterilization should be a protected elective surgery, just like abortion: it is up to people to decide for themselves whether to bear children.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:10 AM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not disagreeing with your point that she should be able to get whatever surgery she wants in order to control her sexual reproduction.

What I AM saying is that your posts regarding this matter have presented the false dichotomy of surgical sterilization or abortions.

Being unwilling to select a choice does not mean that choice does not exist. Your statement was that "the doctor is forcing her to have abortion surgeries", which is what I questioned.

If I have to list each and every possible method of birth control in order to have this conversation, I will do my best, but I think most reasonable readers, when encountering my full statement, would draw the conclusion that I was using Norplant as a carrier term for all birth control.

I would love to have an actual discussion about this, but that is impossible when I am forced to spend my time making certain that others don't look at what you said I wrote and mistake that for what I actually put on the Blue.

In an attempt to move the discussion into actual content... How does the Canadian system work in a case like voluntary tubal ligation surgery? Does the patient have to pay for it out of pocket as elective surgery?
posted by hippybear at 12:26 AM on June 12, 2009


shiu mai baby: every woman should be permitted to address what has happened to her (in the case of rape) / the choice she has made (in the case of abortion) without feeling the weight of the entire feminist movement on her shoulders.

Hopefully, there would be less pressure of that sort upon women re abortion stories, since it's less susceptible to framing like "You, and only you, can stop this one person from committing more horrors!" Anyway, we're a long way away from conceptualizing of abortion stories as having any inherent obligation, under any circumstances, to be shared. Even aside from the vitriol, there's such a taboo against saying "I had an abortion." That is one helpful thing from Tiller's murder, that it brought stories like the ones at A Heartbreaking Choice to public attention.

Not that public attention necessarily means anything, considering that "pro-life" doctors are getting equal airtime announcing that there are no medical reasons for late term abortions. I heard one on NPR the other day and the host let it slide as if it was fact. But it's a step better than the complete silence that lets people, whether from malice or ideology or thoughtlessness or a taste for judging others, blithely assume or announce uncontested that women who decide to abort 1. don't include anyone they know and love, and 2. are heartless, thoughtless, evil, harbour a casual disregard for the value of human life, etc.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 1:28 AM on June 12, 2009


.
posted by aniola at 4:02 AM on June 12, 2009


In Canada tubals and vasectomies are free. I know people that have had both in the their twenties without argument (sometimes they had children, sometimes not). The Doctor is an ass, she is requesting a normal surgery and unless he has contradictory statements from her such as "I don't want the surgery but my husband won't wear condoms" or has indicated that she plans to try and reverse it in future then he should provide the service.

However, considering the story is written by Michele Mandel I have no doubt it is just a tiny bit slanted.
posted by saucysault at 5:46 AM on June 12, 2009


Well, colour me dumb as dirt, hippybear, and explain to me using small words exactly what options this woman has that do not force her to do things to her body that she does not wish to do.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:03 AM on June 12, 2009


And here is a religionut group that is going to web cam clinic entrances.

So chances are that we'll see another Roeder-like fanatic go into action, but this time hunting down women who have had an abortion. Or even just walked into a family planning clinic.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:28 AM on June 12, 2009


fff: you're not reading anything I've written; you're putting words in my mouth. I'm moving on to another thread now. Have fun making others who agree with you look like asses, as that seems to be your style in this thread.
posted by hippybear at 10:09 AM on June 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


Come on. I have friends who have had tubal ligations in their twenties and they were all able to obtain them, with a minimal amount of "are you absolutely sure about this" because it's entirely possible that, in fact, the decisions you make when you are 21 might, in fact, not be the way you're going to feel for the rest of your life. Some of my friends were perfectly happy with having their tubes tied at 21 or 24; others have, in their thirties, been going in for surgery to try and have the ligation reversed, sometimes sucessfully, sometimes not. This kind of overreaction, fff, is unwarranted. (And yes, I read the FA. "The doctor is already going to be rooting around in there, fixing another problem"? You're referring to a C-section, which is major surgery, and would be complicated by doing the ligation at the same time. But if she wants this, then find a doctor who will do the surgery-- it's possible that her GP isn't going to be the one actually performing the surgery in the first place. Get a grip, please-- we're on the same side, you and I.)
posted by jokeefe at 10:34 AM on June 12, 2009


Uh, in fact. Delete one of those. [/more coffee]
posted by jokeefe at 10:35 AM on June 12, 2009


jo: Seymour's family doctor was not surprised by the obstetrician's refusal. He warned her that while he would keep looking, he doubted he would be able to find any ob/gyn willing to perform the procedure.

hippybear, let's go back to your original, then:
There are doctors in Canada who are kidnapping this young woman every time she gets pregnant and giving her abortions against her will?

Oh, no. She's just not willing to use birth control? Hard to tell from that article, but if the choice is either tubal ligation or abortion in her mind, maybe someone should introduce her to Norplant.
You state that she should be forced to choose to drug herself, with all the not-inconsequential health risks and risk of pregnancy. And should the drugs fail, she is faced with having an abortion or a child she does not want.

How is that a pro-choice stance?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:45 AM on June 12, 2009


Aren't there, you know, options besides drugs for birth control? I certainly read hippybear's "Norplant" as "one variety of birth control, which includes barrier methods."

It is her body. Her doctor's being a (cautionary, but still) dork, and yes, she should be able to get her tubes tied if she wants, and she shouldn't have to take hormonal bc if she doesn't want to.

FFF, your statement that that hippybear said she should be "forced to choose to drug herself" is inaccurate, just as your statement that she is being "forced" to have abortions is. She has other choices. One of those choices involves finding a doc who will actually listen to her. Another choice is barrier birth control until she can find a doc who will listen, or engaging in sex that doesn't risk pregnancy.
posted by rtha at 12:27 PM on June 12, 2009


I'd also like to point out that from what I have read, a tubal is less effective if done at the same time as a c-section-meaning a slight chance a woman could still get pregnant afterward.

Seems like the husband needs to man up and get the big snip. Why should she have all the procedures?
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 5:02 PM on June 12, 2009


Why shouldn't she have all the procedures? She wants to. It's her choice.

And bperhaps she screws other men, so having her hubby snipped isn't going to do any good. Or maybe she lives in a horrible neighbourhood full of rapists.

It is her body. If she were a 23 year-old tranny, they'd cut out all sorts of things.

And, hey, isn't her hubby about the same age? So why is there no hassle about him getting snipped, but nothing but hassle for her to get snipped?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:36 PM on June 12, 2009


Why I Plan to Emulate Dr. George Tiller: As a future OB/GYN, I dream of delivering healthy babies. But as part of my practice, I also plan to provide abortions to women who need them.
posted by homunculus at 5:01 PM on June 15, 2009 [2 favorites]


Seems like the husband needs to man up and get the big snip. Why should she have all the procedures?

I know a couple that both got snipped, after his first vasectomy failed. Even surgical sterilization isn't foolproof, and if a couple carries the genes for something like Tay-Sachs disease, sterilization should be an easy option for them (it should be easy regardless).

Also, speaking from personal experience, it's more like a little snip. I've had shots that were less comfortable.
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:16 PM on June 16, 2009


Mythbusting Right-Wing Domestic Terrorism
posted by homunculus at 4:13 PM on June 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


Conspiracy theory analyst Chip Berlet was on Fresh Air last week. He mentioned this murder, the Holocaust museum murder, and seven other murders by right-wing extremists that have taken place just since Obama's inauguration. He definitely seemed to see these as connected.
posted by Miko at 8:49 AM on June 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Feministe: "An anonymous Republican senator has put a hold on a resolution condeming clinic violence. . . . [the hold] lends credence to those people who do commit violent acts. It leads them to believe that they are supported by the Republican party, corporate media and the pro-life establishment."
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 6:11 PM on June 23, 2009


Disgusting, CI. As is the information about Scarborough, and the information about the senior policy advisor of Operation Rescue.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:54 PM on June 23, 2009


I had an unpleasant experience this weekend, while visiting friends who have teen/youth daughters. Apparently the kids have hooked up with a local church or bible group. And they were at a pro-life event of some sort. And in they come with friends, babbling about it.

And this leaves me in an awkward position of trying to correct their horrific misconceptions. In front of their mom and her spouse. In their house. And stranger's kids. Do I really want to ruin two friendships because her kids are being brainwashed with batshitinsane religious idiocy? No. Do I really want to let this go unchallenged? No.

I chose the friendship over causing a scene. And so our culture takes another tiny step towards increasing the amount of harm caused to its citizens. Fuck.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:07 PM on June 23, 2009


I bet your instincts were accurate. Some times and places are much, much better for voicing contrary opinions on touchy topics, if we want to not just say our piece but have the people we're talking to actually hear at least some of it. Your weekend situation really doesn't sound like that would've happened (especially considering they were freshly revved up and with their friends). There will probably be other, maybe better times to have that kind of airing of views.
posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 4:02 PM on June 24, 2009


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