Join 3,514 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Pro-abortion?
July 13, 2001 2:47 PM   Subscribe

Pro-abortion?
"I'm getting fat because I'm eating a lot," said the 12-year-old with a mental age of 8, who conceived four months ago after being raped by her father.
Anyone against abortion?
posted by nonharmful (75 comments total)

 
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/world/europe/newsid_1437000/1437335.stm
In this story, posted today, France now allows for law suits against doctors who help in giving birth to a child who is born with defects (should have know about this in advance). Which goes to show how cultures can differ, though there are many Catholics in France. Now suppose a child with serious defects is born because parents want this, then, later, the child sues, both the doctor and his parents?
What is the mental age of the father in the Mexican case, and why isn't he in America illegally and working for some wealthy family as gardener?
posted by Postroad at 2:58 PM on July 13, 2001


It must be crowded under that bridge...
posted by CrazyUncleJoe at 3:00 PM on July 13, 2001


[Anyone against abortion?]
Yes, why do you ask?
posted by revbrian at 3:01 PM on July 13, 2001


This made me cry.
posted by jennak at 3:03 PM on July 13, 2001


That's really confusing.
posted by Cavatica at 3:06 PM on July 13, 2001


This made me cry.

I agree. Both the story, and the manner in which it was posted. Remember Friday the 13th. It has been MeFi's unlucky day.
posted by J. R. Hughto at 3:10 PM on July 13, 2001


See what happens? You feed one troll, and it just encourages others to come crash the party. Presumably, they all have the same disability? (Read the first 3 paragraphs of the post.)

Don't feed the trolls.
posted by gd779 at 3:13 PM on July 13, 2001


In my mind right now, all trolls are buried up to their necks in cement. No, wait -- up to their noses. That's much quieter.

(Apologies to Edward Albee.)
posted by bilco at 3:19 PM on July 13, 2001


I am against abortion.

However, that doesn't mean I think people who have abortions are evil or will be sent to hell. I appreciate that people are thrown into all sorts of situations, and they need to do whatever they do.

However, many anti-abortionists believe that everyone on the planet should live by their views, and that everyone else is wrong. I don't think that's fair, and while I am against abortion (and would urge anyone I know not to do it), I can appreciate that it might be the 'only way out' for others in situations I do not understand.
posted by wackybrit at 3:21 PM on July 13, 2001


This is a bad thread.
posted by rodii at 3:21 PM on July 13, 2001


how was the above post a troll?

sounded like anothe example as to why abortion should be kept legal to me.
posted by jcterminal at 3:24 PM on July 13, 2001


If the poor kid could handle the pain of birth, surley adoptions not out of the question.
I personally dont think dont think that this (any) child should be brought up in a family such as this..

quiet a hard (if not worthy) thread to comment on
posted by monkeyJuice at 3:25 PM on July 13, 2001


surley adoptions not out of the question

adoption of which child?
posted by jpoulos at 3:31 PM on July 13, 2001


Okay, I admit, I may have posted this another way. However, these things happen. There is no way someone can be against or pro abortion in all cases. It is not black and white. Sometimes, the things that happen in the world show me that there is no right and wrong, just individual cases. I do not want to provoce, but I do think that in this case abortion (lege artis) is better for the child.

Just my opinion. I hope you respect it. As I respect all of your opinions against abortion.

This is just my way of dealing with news. I really hope you respect that..........

Love,

Roel

posted by nonharmful at 3:31 PM on July 13, 2001


monkeyJuice: Keep in mind that in Mexico the odds of dying due to pregnancy or childbirth are 1 in 130 for an adult woman, compared to about 1:600 in the USA. I don't know how good the odds of a twelve-year-old would be, really.
posted by Jairus at 3:33 PM on July 13, 2001


1:600? 1:6000 is what I meant. Damn.

Oh, and those figures are from a '96 UNICEF study, BTW.
posted by Jairus at 3:35 PM on July 13, 2001


Wow. That's one of the saddest things I've heard in a very, very long time. I really feel for the poor girl.

Still, the supposition that, because of situations like this, abortion must not be a black and white issue is incorrect. No matter how terrible the crime, no one here would (I assume) claim that this poor girl has the right to murder her rapist. If we protect the life of the criminal, shouldn't we also protect the life of the innocent child? What did the child do to lose her right to be born?

This assumes, of course, that you accept that an unborn child is alive in the first place. That's probably an issue for science to resolve. To me, however, the science seems remarkably clear on that point: life begins sometime before birth.

Though I rarely advocate this, in this case the state should have a support system in place to deal with this sort of thing.
posted by gd779 at 3:50 PM on July 13, 2001


...life begins sometime before birth

Again, "yeah, but when.....?"

It's al arbitrary, not black and white......
posted by nonharmful at 4:01 PM on July 13, 2001


gd: this girl was not afforded a choice to have this child -- indeed, she was in no condition to make such a choice, even if she was not raped. you ask what did the child do to lose her right to be born -- i ask what did the girl do to lose her right to decide to have a child?

the answer to both questions is, of course, nothing. therefore, the matter of upholding the rights of people here is a stalemate, at least from the standpoint that all people should be treated as equal: regardless of what we do, we fail the rights of someone. (i hope no one suggests that rape and death are, in some way, comparable on anything but a legal scale.)

in my opinion, i say that abortion must be made available to the child and the family should they so choose. i feel that way because, in ideal situations with people, the woman has the option to say "i do not want to have this child." what nature dictates as the initial choice of the woman should be respected. it's an imperfect solution, but i am not sure where else to turn.
posted by moz at 4:08 PM on July 13, 2001


the matter of upholding the rights of people here is a stalemate, at least from the standpoint that all people should be treated as equal: regardless of what we do, we fail the rights of someone.

People should be treated as equal, but that doesn't mean all rights are considered equal. Courts often have to decide which rights outweigh other rights. They do this by submitting the rights in question to some sort of legal hierarchy.

The most popular example of this is the whole yelling-"fire"-in-a-crowded-theater thing. You have a right to free speech, but that right is reconsidered when it goes up against the rights of others to stay alive, in this hoary example to not be stomped on and trampled by a frightened mob.

Given this, it's entirely possible that this case doesn't present the "stalemate" of rights you mention.
posted by bilco at 4:38 PM on July 13, 2001


you ask what did the child do to lose her right to be born -- i ask what did the girl do to lose her right to decide to have a child?

moz: Agreed, somebody here will have their rights infringed upon. So, which right is more important? Which do we value more? Human life, or a woman's choice?

Seems like a pretty clear-cut decision to me. However, I do admit that reasonable people can have different opinions on the issue of abortion after a rape.

What is more clear is consensual sex cases. Let's say that a woman get's pregnant, but doesn't yet want a child for some personal reason. If you accept that an unborn child is alive, then it is clear that any abortion carried out after the beginning of life is murder, pure and simple. You're choosing to end a life (again, assuming that an unborn child is life) for the sake of your convenience. That's not your right.

So, where does life begin? That seems to be the central question. Let's begin by analyzing partial-birth abortions. In this case, birth is induced by the doctor. Just before the baby leaves the canal, however, the doctor reaches inside the woman and terminates the baby.

Key point: if you had cut open that woman and taken out the baby (or if you had simply let it be born) it would very likely have been viable. In other words, it would have survived on it's own just like any other baby. Do you really believe that life begins the moment leaves the woman's womb? Is the difference between life/nonlife really the space between the woman and the world?

Clearly, the baby is alive at that point. If you accept my reasoning, then partial birth abortion is murder.

So then you begin to track the development of the baby backwards in time. Now, I'm no doctor, so I can't give you all of the answers. From what I understand, however, I can tell you this:

The fetus has a heartbeat at least 18 days after conception. (That's 4 days after the typical woman misses her period).

Brain waves become detectable 6 weeks after conception.

Though the mother generally doesn't notice, the baby begins to have independent movement (kicking, etc.) 6 weeks after conception.

At about the 8th or 10th week, the baby can respond to sound or touch. It will also recoil from pain and other stimulus (such as the pain caused by certain types of abortions).

The baby's lungs are functional by the 14th week.

Again, I'm no doctor, so if the above facts are incorrect, please correct me. I'll let you judge for yourself their importance.
posted by gd779 at 4:44 PM on July 13, 2001


Oh, shoot, I almost forgot. I deeply apologize if my beliefs offend anyone here. I recognize that these issues are not as simple or as easy in practice as they are in theory. In fact, I've had some small amount of indirect exposure to these issues in practice myself. But I still call 'em like I see 'em.

Again, no disrespect is intended, and I apologize for any offense.
posted by gd779 at 4:54 PM on July 13, 2001


Stem cell research. Heard of it? The arguments being made in its favor by some usual abortion foes are most peculiar (in relation to their former arguments and in re to logical consistency) and intriguing. Slate has an excellent article on the subject this week.
posted by raysmj at 5:41 PM on July 13, 2001


So, which right is more important? Which do we value more? Human life, or a woman's choice?

This is not the issue gd779. The already viable human being, the girl, (you can't convince me that this "child" could live out of the girl's womb at 4 months), well her life is gravely in danger here as well. this isn't simply a matter of "life v. choice". It's life versus life. This girl's life has already been irreparably screwed up, now imagine that she has the baby("Mommy!! What's going on? What's happening to me?!?!") and it is put up for adoption, which is a very very difficult thing for any woman who has been affected by those hormones to do, this is assuming that she actually makes it through the birth, which is more than unlikely given her age, her level of physical developemnt, and her level of poverty. Anyway, imagine that she actually does make it through the birth and the baby goes up for adoption. There is a girl, left with a life full of ruin. I would certainly want to prevent all this in the first place if it were my daughter/neice/sister. Nobody deserves her life being put in danger foran unviable fetus at the age of 12. To say that she should go through the mental and physical trauma for the sake of an ideology is rubbish.
posted by raintea at 6:05 PM on July 13, 2001


To say that she should go through the mental and physical trauma for the sake of an ideology is rubbish.

Not for the sake of an ideology, for the sake of another's life. Big difference. A life and an ideology are not the same thing.

The conflation of the two seems to indicate a bit of confusion on your part.
posted by bilco at 6:23 PM on July 13, 2001


Please reread my posts, raintea. My first post dealt with the article, and I specifically mentioned that reasonable people could disagree on the proper course of action in a case like this (and I'll triple that if the mother's life is put in danger by the potential of childbirth.)

My second post, by contrast, was widened in response to moz's comments to include a more common scenario: a woman gets unintentionally pregnant, and doesn't want to bother with the disruption in her lifestyle. I argued that, while viability is ONE test of life, it is not the only test... there are other signs of life that begin very early in the pregnancy. I therefore concluded that even an unviable baby was alive. (As a really strange illustration, parasites cannot survive without their host, yet are very much alive in their own right.)

Assuming you accept that the baby is alive prior to birth, then the "common" abortion is the taking of an innocent life for convenience sake. And that's murder.

Again, I'm sorry if this offends anyone.
posted by gd779 at 6:32 PM on July 13, 2001


Man, bilco. You keep beating me to the punch!
posted by gd779 at 6:32 PM on July 13, 2001


This girl's life has already been irreparably screwed up, now imagine that she has the baby ... and it is put up for adoption, which is a very very difficult thing for any woman who has been affected by those hormones to do

I'm not sure I understand this thinking. Giving a kid up for an adoption may be tough once the maternal instincts kick in, but is it any easier for a mother to abort her child? From speaking with women who have had abortions, I've learned having an abortion is a very difficult thing for many women to go through. It's never an easy decision.

this is assuming that she actually makes it through the birth, which is more than unlikely given her age, her level of physical developemnt, and her level of poverty.

This is always tricky. If the mother's life is at stake, action should be taken. Even the Catholic Church -- an institution devoted to the pro-life stance -- accepts that when trying to save a mother's life and the child dies as a result that no "sin" has been committed. In this sense, the procedure that takes the life of the child is not an abortion. An abortion is an operation performed with the sole purpose of taking a life, which is different than a procedure that is performed as a way to save one life but accidentally causes another. I'm not sure why this isn't being addressed by the Mexican officials.

(If I'm misstating the Catholic opinion on this matter, I apologize in advance. Please feel free to correct me if I'm in error here.)

Anyway, imagine that she actually does make it through the birth and the baby goes up for adoption. There is a girl, left with a life full of ruin.

Again, I'm confused why adoption leads to a "life of ruin" for the mother. I've known two people who have given their children up for adoption, and I don't think they consider their lives ruined.
posted by bilco at 6:46 PM on July 13, 2001


gd:

if a woman is unintentionally impregnated, but the option to take contraception was available and unexercised, then the baby ought to be born and the mother and father both held financially responsible. that's my opinion. if you had the choice to use contraception and did not use it, then it's your own damn fault.

the interesting case is what happens if contraception fails. clearly you chose not to have a child. i think abortion should also be available in those cases as well. the original choice should be respected, in my opinion.
posted by moz at 7:15 PM on July 13, 2001


the original choice should be respected, in my opinion.

Do you agree that an unborn child becomes a living being sometime before birth? If so, do you accept any limitation on when the abortion can be morally performed?
posted by gd779 at 7:33 PM on July 13, 2001


I wonder how many of us would be around to write posts if our parents had the option to choose abortion(I refer to those of us born before 1973).

I see it as ironic that when I was a young girl, one of the most shameful things a woman could do was be pregnant out of wedlock......now, with single mothers all the rage,
people are willing to choose abortion.....

Obviously I think that elective abortion is a horrible thing, and what is even more horrible is how we have all been desensitized to how horrendous killing one's own progeny is.....many of my friends have had abortions, and they all regretted it.

And just so you know I am consistent, years ago I informed both my parents and my husband that if ever I was raped and conceived a child, I would have the baby.

I will not condemn those who would choose otherwise, but at least be honest with yourself about what an abortion actually puts a stop to.......
posted by bunnyfire at 8:20 PM on July 13, 2001


---flame on---
False morality is worse than no morality.

Anti-abortionists talk a good game about murder, but don't actually do anything about the real slaughter that goes on daily. They're perfectly willing to ruin the life of a twelve-year old, while sitting at home in front of a DVD player that is worth more than the average yearly salary of someone in Vietnam (for example).

...and don't talk about contributions to charity. You're reading this site on a computer, aren't you? Do you really need it to stay alive -- no. Coulda saved that cash and fed a few starving kids in Africa then, couldn't you? Don't need that water heater in the basement either, nor the fancy Nikes, and certainly not the Dale Earnhardt Memorial Wall Clock with Real Racing Sounds.

Someone let me know when all the anti-abortionists are living on the street scrounging for food because they've given everything to feed the Sudanese -- then they'll be worth listening to.

...until then they at least ought to have the guts to admit they're living on top of a pile of corpses and like it that way. Apparently murder is only murder when the victim hasn't been born yet -- otherwise it's just Good Business.
---flame off---
posted by aramaic at 9:03 PM on July 13, 2001


I know that I'm monopolizing this thread, and I'm sorry. But I want to make one more point.

The following comments do not apply to situations in which the mother's life is threatened, and may well not apply to extreme situations such as rape. They are aimed at the "common" abortion, a simple unwanted pregnancy.

raintea: I deeply sympathize with the plight that many of these women find themselves in. An unplanned pregnancy can really screw up a person's life in a lot of different ways. However, assuming that an unborn child is alive prior to birth, an abortion means that a baby is going to die. No amount of pain, no amount of heartache, no amount of trouble or disruption or embarrassment could ever possibly justify that. No way.

So the question seems pretty simple. Is a fetus alive prior to birth? If the answer is no, abortion is a terrific way to deal with a pressing social problem. If the answer is yes, abortion is unjustified murder.

Just prior to birth (as in the case of partial-birth abortion) the answer seems pretty clear: yes. Earlier in the pregnancy the answer is more questionable. But if you want to defend a woman's right to choose, don't talk to me about her pain and her suffering, bring on the scientific evidence that establishes that fetus's are not alive in the first place. If you can do that, I promise that I'll start donating money to Planned Parenthood every month.
posted by gd779 at 9:58 PM on July 13, 2001


bunny:

it is an admirable gesture to say that you would have a child if impregnated during rape, you have a husband and i presume a loving family -- a structure well in place that would be better able to cope with the ensuing stress than many others in your position. i am not judging you on that, but i am pointing out that not all situations are equal.

on the other hand, it's quite offensive that you suggest that "single mothers [are] all the rage." i think that there are plenty of single mothers, as well as women who have been through abortions, who would deeply resent those words, or any suggestion that their situation came about lightly.

gd:

i'm not a doctor, and despite my bioethics course, i don't remember much about the distinctions between trimesters during the course of pregnancy. i'll say this: third trimester abortions should probably not happen in most cases, because it's incredibly unlikely (though not unheard of) that you did not know you were pregnant. (that said, i've heard of some cases of women honestly not knowing they were pregnant -- i think most of these women were severely obese, and the baby did not show as distinctly as with other women. no offense intended of course.) in other words, if you know you're pregnant, you need to get something done.

as to when fetuses are alive or not, i don't know. we can state beliefs on this issue until our faces turn red, but as a matter of science we really don't understand too much about the cognitive development of fetuses, so i feel i and most people are probably very unqualified to answer your question without taking a leap of faith.
posted by moz at 9:58 PM on July 13, 2001


gd779: While your logic is faultless, I have to argue with your terminology -- I don't think "alive" is quite the word you're looking for here. After all, germs are alive, and yet I don't worry about being a mass-murderer everytime I take a dose of antibiotics. What you mean to ask, of course, is is a fetus should be considered a human life, with as many rights as you or I.
posted by webmutant at 10:36 PM on July 13, 2001


Do you agree that an unborn child becomes a living being sometime before birth?

Yes.

If so, do you accept any limitation on when the abortion can be morally performed?

Morally, yes, I have such limits. They aren't the same as other people's, though.

My morals, however, apply only to myself. Laws like the ones you appear to favor are imposing your morals on others. Thus, I do not accept any limitation on when abortion can legally be performed.
posted by swell at 11:12 PM on July 13, 2001


gd779: "So the question seems pretty simple. Is a fetus alive prior to birth? If the answer is no, abortion is a terrific way to deal with a pressing social problem. If the answer is yes, abortion is unjustified murder."

Yeah, it seems mighty simple when you put it that way, doesn't it? The third law of thermodynamics seems pretty simple when you just say "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." Pi is pretty easy when you just say 22/7.

Unfortunately, reality isn't so easy. The action/reaction explanation works, but there's more to it than that. Most people will never need more precision than 22/7 gives, but some applications need 3.1415926.....

And sometimes a fetus is a human life, and sometimes it's not.

Obviously, you've got a human life there before the kid pops out. And I don't think that anyone is going to claim that a few million sperm swimming towards an egg is a bona-fide human being. So where's the distinction?

Personally, I think it's at the point where the child could be removed from the womb and still survive with minimal help. Children are born prematurely all the time -- in fact, I was -- so it's pretty much a given that there's some leeway there.

Of course, it's still not a perfect definition. You can't use it to say, "Well Mrs. Johnson, you and your husband finished having sex at 11:28pm on December 14, 2000, so that means at around midnight today, your fetus will be a baby boy."

But then, there's a lot of things you can't be that precise with.
posted by CrayDrygu at 11:24 PM on July 13, 2001


Laws like the ones you appear to favor are imposing your morals on others.

Not to split hairs, but that's what laws are -- encoded, enforcable morals. They define which actions within a community are right and wrong, permissable and nonpermissable.

You'll always have a portion of any population that disagrees with any given law. Some Americans don't have a problem with theft. Some men would like to be able to molest kids or marry 10 women. Some folks would like to be able to legally smoke some weed every once in a while. Some people feel private schools should get federal funds. Some gays and lesbians would like to be able to legally marry. Some citizens would love to see people with drug addictions sterilized.

Right wing, left wing, moderate, or downright crazy -- any group within a larger community will have members that feel some laws are unfair. Many laws are unfair.

But it's important to recognize that all laws are moral codes set in canonical form.
posted by bilco at 11:38 PM on July 13, 2001


No matter how terrible the crime, no one here would (I assume) claim that this poor girl has the right to murder her rapist.

Why not?

No, seriously, why not? I'm not pro death penalty...I fear the power of the state too much. But I would shed no tears if this girl killed that human waste of skin. Not a one. Why is it immoral? If she'd killed him while he was raping her, this would be a non issue.

According to Espinosa, the psychologist, the increasing risks associated with Lucila's advancing pregnancy have only heightened the doctors' reluctance to get involved. "If anything happened to the child during the abortion, they would be blamed, but if she dies in childbirth, nobody is responsible," Espinosa said.

So this man...I have to keep going back and editing out my names for him...has put his daughter's life in jeopardy by raping and impregnating her. The reason no one will abort this fetus is not because they care about the idea that it is alive or not (at four month, it certainly could not survive outside of her, that is for certain) but because they would rather she die in a way that would indemnify them from risk.

Why, exactly, would it be so horrible if she killed him? She won't, of course...for one thing, she sounds like she doesn't really understand what has happened, so she probably wouldn't want to. Doesn't make what he did any less than an abomination, but it does mean that it's possible that this event won't shatter her...provided, of course, that the doctors don't decide to let her die rather than perform the operation.

Because he's a human being? Well, hell, Timothy McVeigh was a human being, and we killed him. And as horrible as his actions were, they were done to strangers. This man raped his twelve year old daughter, and has created a situation that may lead to her death. Note, also, that I am not addressing the idea of the state killing this man, but of his victim. I realize it is a violation of due process, that it takes the punishment out of the hands of the people and places it in a context that could easily lead to vigilantism. I know that.

But to act like the idea that this man should be killed is somehow immoral, no. Screw that. He betrayed the parent-child compact in a manner that cannot be repaired. What he did was the kind of thing that we don't understand, talking about it in language that conceals, so I'm going to lay it out in graphic tems in the following paragraph. If you don't want to read it, you should skip ahead. If this gets me booted from MeFi, I don't really care.

He took his adult penis and forced it into a tiny hole, one not physically mature yet, and burst her hymen while she most likely shrieked "Daddy, stop hurting me!" or something equivalent. He continued to penetrate her while either ignoring or perhaps even enjoying her piercing shrieks, tearing the flesh and drawing blood, possibly even fracturing a few bones with the force of his attack (and it was an attack) until he managed to ejaculate, thus placing her life in danger as well as destroying what childhood she had. Then he most likely left her there, weeping and bleeding and frightened. He may have raped her multiple times, the article does not say. It does, however, say that she already had a mental age of 8. So, just in case that wasn't a big enough strike against her, the man who was supposed to be protecting her from the horror of this sick freakshow of a world brought it home. Unless anyone thinks she was somehow asking for this, or enjoyed it, in which case there's nothing to discuss.

Now that I've made the argument for killing him, I will make the counter-argument as to why she shouldn't have the right, why no one should have the right to just kill their rapist, as understandable as I think it is to want to. Because I do understand. Without talking about it, I know whereof I speak, and at a similar age. Thankfully, I'm male and cannot conceive, and as shitty as my father was, at least it wasn't him. To have a parent do that...well, the reason a rape victim shouldn't have the right to kill their rapist is because in many cases, they would. I know I would. And then I'd have, on top of all the shit pumped into my psyche by this most personal of violations, the knowledge that I was a murderer. Perhaps I could overcome that, and perhaps the act of killing the person who destroyed my whole world at that point would somehow magickally fix me, but somehow I doubt it. There are plenty of other reasons why not...the occassional false rape claim, the fact that the average citizen is expected to give over their right to vengeance to the state in order to prevent bloodthirsty mobs and the like, the idea that all are equal under the law...but let us not pretend that it is unthinkable that a rape victim should have the right to kill the person who has made them a dweller in a body that they no longer feel at home in, that has used them like a tissue and thrown them aside like trash, that has torn their body and taken joy in their agony.

If anyone ever tried it again now that I am an adult, they would die. And I would feel no shame at all. Not even a tiny blotch of it. I would feel fear, and rage, and I would probably be trembling and crimson, but shame would be absent. I would kill them. I would even have the right to kill them, in that moment. Beyond it...emotionally, my heart screams yes, but my mind says no, that I am unfortunately forced to cede that ancient right to the state now. But it is not unthinkable, and it should not be assumed that no one would assert it. I am right on the line.

As to the morality of abortion, the definition of the beginning of life, and so on: If you do not have a uterus, it is quite simple to make sweeping moral pronouncements as to the beginning of life, the idea that if you accept that at any point a fetus is alive than abortion is wrong, and so on. It is theoretically possible to implant a fetus into a male through extensive surgery...why aren't we perfecting this technology? That way, any male who wants to can carry an unwanted fetus to term, and abortion can be done away with. Any takers? Let's get to work on that, then. Or if we're too squeamish to have artificial wombs surgically constructed inside of us, how about womb tanks? The Japanese have successfully grown a goat fetus to term in a tank...why aren't we perfecting that technology, if we want to save every aborted fetus? They could be removed from the women who do not want them, raised to term, and then put up for adoption, because as we know every child is adopted.

A fantasy, you say? Yes, but only because we haven't spent the time and money to perfect either of these options.

A blastule is not a viable organism, nor is a month old fetus. Certainly a fetus in the first trimester is not. The second trimester is trickier...I was born a month and a half into the third trimester, one of the earliest births to survive at that time, according to my parents. (Not surprisingly, I don't remember it.) But the fact is, in the Mexican state where this child lives, abortion is legal in cases of rape and serious danger, and this case falls under both categories. Yet it is being denied, not on moral or ethical grounds as to the nature of abortion, but because people would rather this little girl die than test the law's parameters or risk being held responsible.

That is reprehensible. In the end, I agree with the mother of this child. This abortion needs to occur.
posted by Ezrael at 3:37 AM on July 14, 2001


(putting on asbestos suit)

There is one thing that people either do not talk about or maybe don't believe.....that above man's laws or opinions there is an Almighty God-His opinion on abortion is the only one that ultimately matters......

as to the single mother thing being all the rage-have y'all not seen a recent issue of US magazine-the cover story was all about all the celebrities who were single moms-to my recollection Katie Couric was the only widow-most if not all of the rest had chosen to be single mothers.
What I meant was that our society treats unwed mothers entirely differently than they did 30 or 40 years ago....many women would have done ANYTHING back then to avoid the stigma-and believe me, there used to be a stigma.

As for ruined lives and convenience-shall we go around killing all the Alzheimer's patients, all the physically or mentally challenged children, etc.?

We forget that this younger generation is the one that will be consigning us to nursing homes when we are old......I hope respect for life has not continued to slide down that slope...
posted by bunnyfire at 5:46 AM on July 14, 2001


There is one thing that people either do not talk about or maybe don't believe.....that above man's laws or opinions there is an Almighty God-His opinion on abortion is the only one that ultimately matters......

I don't believe that. I'm not going to flame you for saying it...if it's what you believe, why shouldn't you express it? I simply don't agree. If there is a God (a proposition I am as yet unconvinced of) than He made me with a brain and a soul and free will to make my own decisions based on the available information. If He wanted otherwise, He should not have made me the way I am.

What single mother are we talking about? This woman is not a single mother. She was married, and then her husband raped her daughter. There's nothing trendy here. As for your suggestion about convenience, all of the people you list are already here. None of them are non-viable fetuses conceived by the father of the pregnant twelve year old in question. Now, while I personally want to be euthanized if I come down with Alzheimer's, I am not advocating that we apply my wishes to anyone but myself. In this case, the young rape victim is in danger, and they are willing to kill her by inactivity rather than take action that might require someone to be held responsible. In this case, when the choice is between the already present and viable twelve year old and a pregnancy that endangers her life, is the result of incestuous rape and which is legal according to the law of the state she lives in, I see no great difficulty.

Respect for life is taught by example. A cult that reveres mere biological existence is not what we need: an ethic that states that life is more than merely breathing and eating would be a nice start.
posted by Ezrael at 6:40 AM on July 14, 2001


Ezrael: I'll be honest. I tried to read your description of the crime; I couldn't force myself to finish. Your points on both sides of what I'll call the vigilante argument are very well taken.

A blastule is not a viable organism, nor is a month old fetus

It is true that a fetus is generally not viable outside the mother until very late in the pregnancy. However, that is where the similarity seems to me to end. A blastule, after all, doesn't have brainwaves or a heartbeat. It's not capable of independent movement, it can't independently perceive sound, and it doesn't recoil from pain. A 2 month old fetus can generally do all of these things.

Webmutant: You're right, my language could have been more precise. Good call.
posted by gd779 at 7:45 AM on July 14, 2001


First off, that monster that raped his daughter should be executed.
Second of all, I would like to think that with all the publicity this is getting, someone with some dinero (or good medical connections)could help this girl.
My comments were directed more toward the general topic rather than this specific case....



Oh-and would you mind telling me when a baby becomes a human? 5 minutes before birth? 5 months before birth? Three? Two and one half?

But then I believe people have spirits and souls as well as bodies....perhaps you do not (no flame just an observation).

To me elective abortion dehumanizes us all.
posted by bunnyfire at 7:50 AM on July 14, 2001


Twenty bucks says bunnyfire and tweek! are the same dude.
posted by dong_resin at 8:11 AM on July 14, 2001


bunny:

ok, let's examine your evidence for believing that single mothers are "all the rage." you say that because there are many more celebrities that are single mothers now; well, that is true. of course, having said that, you must now realize how incredibly little abortion has to do with celebrity single mothers: these women by far have the financial means to accomodate children, married or not. many ordinary single mothers do not have those same means.

i agree that there's not as much of a stigma now than there was many years ago. single motherhood happens for a lot of different reasons, but one strong factor seems to be low income. so my question is, despite a stigma in the past of single mothers, were there really so few single mothers 30 or 40 years ago? i honestly don't know, but i do know that there was certainly poverty then.

But then I believe people have spirits and souls as well as bodies....perhaps you do not (no flame just an observation).

on this note, i'll just assume you've run out of any useful points to make.
posted by moz at 8:25 AM on July 14, 2001


I don't know who tweek is-but you lose.


So who gets the $20?
posted by bunnyfire at 9:34 AM on July 14, 2001


Moz,

Sorry I was not plainer-the point I was trying to make is that it is a lot less likely that someone will get an abortion because of the shame of being pregnant and not married.

I am probably a lot older than you, so I remember the social climate at the time of my youth.

One other note. I was the result of one of those pregnancies-my parents got married.

(Stayed married, too-for 43 years now.)
So in a way you could say I take this thread a bit personally.
posted by bunnyfire at 9:40 AM on July 14, 2001


BunnyFire has been around a while, Dong. She's not tweek.
posted by Doug at 10:28 AM on July 14, 2001


why do people care so much about unborns and so little about the people already here? we fight like hell to save every single "life" regardless of the adversity of conditions some of them are born into but at the same time murder the crap out of each other. there are already millions of children in the US alone who need help. they're already here! i guess once a person is born and proves themselves to be worthless, they are no longer worth helping? so let's bring a bunch more people into the world (in the name of trial and error), especially the ones born into these healthy situations, so we can all sit at home and watch tv and feel good about ourselves b/c we "saved" a life when in actuality they are heading into a lifestyle that will probably be as crappy as the mother's. joy! now let's outlaw all abortions all over the world and just pack people in like sardines until we all die of starvation and disease, all in the name of saving lives.

i idea of abortion is pretty sick and i hope to never have to deal with it but all this talk about the value of human life and saving 2 week old fetuses is goofy. we have no track record as a species that leads me to believe that this is our true motive. everyone can get teary eyed when reading about this stuff but in practice we all contribute daily to the conditions from which these things spring forth without even blinking. in a week most people won't remember this story even existed. it'll be business as usual.

move along, move along.
posted by ggggarret at 11:02 AM on July 14, 2001


I see many of you using the nebulous criteria of "being alive" to determine your views on a moral course of action here. Setting aside for the moment the fact that even biologists cannot fully agree on what it means to be "alive," and the question of independent sustainability (which, obviously, does not even apply to a 3 year old), what is so special about the state of living that translates into a moral imperative? Bacteria, amoeba, fungi, algae, ants, roaches, weeds, trees...these are all "alive," and yet virtually all of us feel little hesitation or remorse in killing them when it suits our needs or purposes.

Clearly, being alive is not, per se, the critical factor here. Perhaps we should work to establish what is.
posted by rushmc at 1:56 PM on July 14, 2001


Clearly, in this case, being alive and human.
posted by Dreama at 2:21 PM on July 14, 2001


Another innocent question:

Why does helping the children already here preclude caring about the unborn? Or vice versa?

The debate , if boiled down, will always come to this:
We are either human animals, with no higher significance than that. or we are beings created in the image of God....if human life is sacred, then it is sacred at all stages.
posted by bunnyfire at 5:02 PM on July 14, 2001


Exactly, bunnyfire. When I started making my posts, I kind of assumed that we could all agree of the inviolate sanctity of any human life. I need to remember that, without a religious foundation, many will not accept that argument on it's face. So the debate about abortion becomes about more than just the "science" surrounding the issue... it also becomes about who we want to become as a nation and as a people.
posted by gd779 at 5:27 PM on July 14, 2001


Okay, so I'll pose one final question before you all stop visiting this post; most everybody here seems to agree that an unborn child is a living human being just prior to birth. In other words, if you could deliver it and it could survive on it's own, it's probably a child.

Can we all agree, therefore, that partial-birth abortion should be illegal? We'll leave the more grey issues of earlier-term abortions for another time.
posted by gd779 at 5:30 PM on July 14, 2001


gd779: if you have a good link that explains, without propagandizing one way or the other, the partial birth abortion procedure and especially how often in the united states that procedure has been performed--how many times in each year for the last, say 20 years. or 10-- I'd be happy to see it.

because I've never been able to find out that information. no one, on either side of the issue, seems to want me to know exactly how many times this procedure has been done.

and I'd also like to know under what circumstances a doctor might choose to perform the procedure, and what the alternatives would be, and what the consequences would be to the mother if the procedure was not done (death?)
posted by rebeccablood at 5:57 PM on July 14, 2001


Rebecca: I did some quick research on the Journal of the American Medical Association. The AMA recommends a ban on partial-birth abortion. There will be a couple of different posts for readibility's sake. All emphasis is my own. [source]

"Ron Fitzsimmons, executive director of the National Coalition of Abortion Providers, had stated in November 1995 that "women had these abortions only in the most extreme circumstances of life endangerment or fetal anomaly."[3] However, he later admitted that his own contacts with many of the physicians performing intact D&X procedures found that the vast majority were done not in response to extreme medical conditions but on healthy mothers and healthy fetuses.[3]

In newspaper interviews, physicians who use the technique acknowledged performing thousands of such procedures a year. One facility reported that physicians used intact D&X on at least half of the estimated 3000 abortions they perform each year on fetuses between 20 and 24 weeks' gestation.[3] In another report, Dayton, Ohio, physician Martin Haskell, MD, who had performed more than 700 partial-birth abortions, stated that most of his abortions are elective in that 20- to 24-week range and that "probably 20% are for genetic reasons, and the other 80% are purely elective."[4] The late James T. McMahon, MD, of Los Angeles, Calif, detailed for the US Congress his experience with more than 2000 partial-birth abortion procedures. He classified only 9% of that total as involving maternal health indications (of which the most common was depression), and 56% were for "fetal flaws" that included many nonlethal disorders, some as minor as a cleft lip.[5]

These accounts indicate that the estimates of performing intact D&X have been grossly understated. The absence of accurate data is at least partly due to the erratic nature of the data collection process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, Ga, collects annual abortion data, but these data are incomplete for several reasons. First, all states do not provide abortion-related information to the CDC. Second, data gathered vary widely from state to state, with some states lacking information on as many as 40% to 50% of abortions performed within their jurisdictions. Third, the categories CDC uses to report the method of abortion do not differentiate between dilation and evacuation (D&E) and intact D&X.[6-8]"
posted by gd779 at 9:12 PM on July 14, 2001


{Another source]

"Abortion Rights activists... have consistently claimed it is done only when the woman's life is at risk or the fetus has a condition incompatible with life. And the numbers are small, they said, only 500 to 600 a year. Furthermore, they said, the fetus doesn't die violently from the trauma to the skull or the suctioning of the brain, but peacefully from the anesthesia given to the mother before the extraction even begins.

The American Society of Anesthesiologists debunked the latter claim, calling it "entirely inaccurate." And activists' claims about the numbers and reasons have been discredited by the very doctors who do the procedures. [Emphasis mine] ...Doctors who use the technique acknowledged doing thousands of such procedures a year. They also said the majority are done on healthy fetuses and healthy women.

One of the doctors was quoted as saying, "We have an occasional amnio abnormality, but it's a minuscule amount. Most are Medicaid patients … and most are for elective, not medical reasons: people who didn't realize, or didn't care, how far along they were."

A Washington Post investigation turned up similar findings."
posted by gd779 at 9:15 PM on July 14, 2001


From the same article:

An ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists) policy statement emanating from the review declared that the select panel "could identify no circumstances under which this procedure [D&X, a.k.a. partial-birth abortion]...would be the only option to save the life or preserve the health of the woman"
posted by gd779 at 9:18 PM on July 14, 2001


And, finally, to be fair I've provided an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association advocating partial-birth abortion. As a summary, it argues that "the fetus gains increasing human worth as pregnancy advances".

Huh? So it's kind of a living human being, but not worth as much as a full grown adult because it's still a fetus? Anybody want to explain this to me? Further, as I mentioned before, any article which admits that a fetus is a human but weighs the value of that human life against the inconvenience that it will cause women loses all credibility in my book.

Not that I have an opinion on this, or anything. ;)

Hope all this helps, rebecca.
posted by gd779 at 9:25 PM on July 14, 2001


Okay, one more. From the JAMA:

"The intact D&X procedure involves literally delivering the fetus so that only the head remains within the cervix. At this juncture, the fetus is merely inches from being delivered and obtaining full legal rights of personhood under the US Constitution. What happens when, as must occasionally occur during the performance of an intact D&X, the fetal head inadvertently slips out of the mother and a live infant is fully delivered? For this reason, many otherwise prochoice individuals have found intact D&X too close to infanticide to ethically justify its continued use."
posted by gd779 at 9:28 PM on July 14, 2001


FYI: I only spent about 15 minutes throwing this stuff together, so if I missed any pertinent facts, it was unintentional. Just point 'em out.
posted by gd779 at 9:36 PM on July 14, 2001


A few thoughts on partial birth.

The ban has *nothing* to do with the viability of the fetus, the D&X(partial birth) procedure can be done at any point in the pregnancy. That said, it is the safest procedure when we are dealing with later term abortions. When the fetus is larger, it takes more drugs to kill it, putting the woman's life at risk.

If we are going to nit-pick on when the fetus is a human, bringing up partial birth abortions is moot.

As for viability, I believe that if a fetus cannot live outside the womb it is not a child. If pro-lifers would like to extend viability, they should pursue such technology that Ezrael was mentioning. Though really I think the last thing we need is orphanages filled with unwanted children just so people can go to sleep feeling they've vanquished one more 'injustice'.
posted by witchycal at 11:21 PM on July 14, 2001


Yep, whatever we don't want we should kill....right?
posted by bunnyfire at 5:12 AM on July 15, 2001


I don't think she's saying that at all, bunnyfire. I think she's saying that if we ban abortion, we must be ready to deal with the sudden influx of 1.5 million unwanted children a year into our decrepit foster care and state orphanages, especially at a time where we are continuously cutting back on Head Start programs and Welfare in order to pay $8 billion dollars for a missile defense system that violates our treaty obligations.

I'm all for ending abortion if it can be done without enslaving women. I still believe, as I stated earlier, that if we would put the money into programs to develop an artificial womb or a male pregnancy alternative, or both, than we would have an alternative that would not require that we give to the state the ability to enslave a human being for nine months of her life. I am not arguing that a fetus does not become a human being at some point during pregnancy...which, as I am sure we all know, is the reason abortion becomes illegal after a certain point...but to demand the revocation of the right to have an abortion without an alternative is to effectively tell someone that they are a slave, and their body is not their own but rather the property of the communal state. And where will it stop? A blastula is a microscopic collection of cells, without varigation or differentiation. It is not human yet: it has no heart, no eyes, no brain. Will these become sacrosanct?

What about Sperm Cells? Will we eventually make masturbation a crime? Why shouldn't sperm be as protected as a blastula? Without the interaction of sperm and egg, there would be no more people. And we all know that having more and more people is the ultimate ethic of humanity. Six billion, twelve billion, twenty-four billion...let's just keep cramming the people in. There's no limit to how many people the earth can support, after all, and no reason to ever decide you don't want to give birth.

One of the reasons I am baffled by the enormous resistance to RU-486 is because it would, if used effectively, put an end to the use of abortion as casual birth control. I am no fan of the procedure, I merely think that the ability to control the reproductive cycle taking place within her body is something we must accept if we wish to pretend that we have control over our own bodies. Limits have already been placed on it, and those limtis are sufficient. Like birth control pills (which effectively end the chance for the meeting of sperm and egg...if from the moment of conception the fetus is human, why is it all right to block that moment and abort the potential human?) and condoms (same deal) abortion is the ending of something that is not a viable infant yet. If vasectomies are permissible, so are abortions, up to that moment of viability. There must be a balance.

If abortion ended tomorrow, there would be 1.5 million children someone would have to care for, each and every year. Likewise for my suggestions towards the creation of alternatives, the artifical womb and the male pregnancy. If there is serious desire to implement a solution, one that addresses this is vital. Like I said before, I am all for ending abortion if it can be done without enslaving anyone. Then the right to life movement can parcel out each and every one of these children and raise them as their own, because they would exist entirely due to their wishes, and be their children. Just as they do for every child born because a woman listened to them and then gave the child up for adoption, of course. Because no movement that so cares for children would allow them to be thrown like roulette balls into the wheel of our foster care and state child welfare systems, as repeatedly underfunded and understaffed as those are. Then, after those children are taken care of, they of course give generously to Head Start programs to ensure that children raised in poverty are cared for as well, and they make sure that welfare programs exist and are not repeatedly gutted so that the children will be safe there as well.

Oh, wait. No, they don't do any of that.

What is the solution, in a nation where money is always there and the expense of any decision must be counted? Well, simply put, the solution is to put the money up and devise the alternatives, and then to put still more money up and pay for the 18+ years of those 1.5 million a year. I am not trying to discourage this. I would welcome it. Pay for what you want. It's very American, isn't it? Pay both in money, and with your bodies if need be. If you believe a fetus is human from the point of conception, is it too high a price to pay?

As for me, I do not believe that. I do not believe in the God expressed in the expurgated, edited and incomplete Bible of King James and the Council of Nicea. I do not believe that human beings are more important than any other lifeform (I do believe that human beings cannot expect to hold a social compact with other life, as they are not human and cannot understand it...but being smarter does not make one better, merely smarter) nor do I have a problem with the idea of birth control, because as I have stated before there are already too many of us. A species that has no natural control like a predator must control its own population, or be destroyed. And that would be us. So I have no problem with abortion as it is currently applied in the United States, or any other form of birth control either (indeed, if the other forms of birth control were more rigidly applied, abortion would be much less neccessary) and I see no reason to modify or destroy the system, as much as I might personally wish to see it become unneeded.

I am not a woman, but if the state were to decide that it could tell me that I must impregnate and then raise the offspring of that impregnation, I would not do it. I feel I have the right to decide what I do, reproductively. Therefore, I must extend that right to others. If you disagree, then come up with the alternatives. They are within our grasp. Don't waste money dumping butyric acid on the grounds of clinics that do more than offer abortions, or what have you...spend that money to develop the technology to implant the unwanted fetuses into the bodies of these men who would make such attacks, so that they can show us how brave they really are by undergoing two surgical procedures in nine months. Now that is brave, and it is a bravery that will not only save the life of that fetus, but of the doctors and security guards and nurses at various woman's health clinics.

As my aunt Jeanie would say, shit or get off the pot. Put up the money to exact your will without infringing on the rights of others.
posted by Ezrael at 6:49 AM on July 15, 2001


if the state were to decide that it could tell me that I must impregnate and then raise the offspring of that impregnation...

Umm, who's forcing anybody to get pregnant here? Given my potential exception for rape cases, aren't we just forcing women to deal with the natural and predictable consequences of their actions?

I am not arguing that a fetus does not become a human being at some point during pregnancy...which, as I am sure we all know, is the reason abortion becomes illegal after a certain point... ...but to demand the revocation of the right to have an abortion is to effectively tell someone that they are a slave

I do not mean to offend you, but I'm frankly startled that you and some of the other pro-choicers here are willing to admit that a fetus becomes a human being, then trade off that human life in order give a woman "control over her own body". I think that she gave up that control when she had sex, knowing full well the potential consequences. (And yes, more men should be held financially accountable as well.)

Next, you argue that ending abortions would swamp us with a lot of unwanted children to take care of. You therefore conclude that, absent a good support system, these children are better off dead. That's stunning to me. I've had extensive personal experiences with the adoption system in America, and I will admit that it's pretty poor. But it's not so bad so as to justify the taking of a human life on humanitarian grounds. Further, once you argue that it is, you are only two steps away from termination of disabled children and other "undesirables" (for their own good, of course) and that's a very slippery slope.

If I may call a spade a spade for a minute, I think that very often these sorts of arguments are just excuses to keep "giving the woman control of her own body". I know some who actually believe these sorts of things, perhaps you are one. Either way, I'm very sorry but I think it's sad that human life is deemed to have so little inherent value.
posted by gd779 at 7:33 AM on July 15, 2001


Next, you argue that ending abortions would swamp us with a lot of unwanted children to take care of. You therefore conclude that, absent a good support system, these children are better off dead.

I have read what I've argued, and that is not what I said.

What is the solution, in a nation where money is always there and the expense of any decision must be counted? Well, simply put, the solution is to put the money up and devise the alternatives, and then to put still more money up and pay for the 18+ years of those 1.5 million a year. I am not trying to discourage this. I would welcome it. Pay for what you want. It's very American, isn't it? Pay both in money, and with your bodies if need be. If you believe a fetus is human from the point of conception, is it too high a price to pay?

That is what I argued. Save them, and pay the price, is what I argued. You keep ignoring that. You keep saying that because a fetus eventually becomes a human being, we must protect it even when it is not. But the cost of that will be high, and it is those of us who argue a pro-life standpoint who must pay it.

Why is this so hard to grasp? We let people die on our streets if they cannot pay for food and shelter. We let people die of illness if they cannot pay for medical care. If this is too horrible for you to conceive of, I will put it for you in a different way. In America, all life has a price. I am not fond of this, but I must acknowledge it. If you don't like it, address the free market economy.

If you wish to pay for the research that can effectively end abortion, do so. If you wish to pay for the lives of these fetuses as they mature into human beings, do so. Because in America, life is neither sacred nor cheap...it is very, very expensive. A two month old fetus is no more a living human being than sperm is. I have outlined a combination of approaches that could end abortion entirely, and you have ignored it.

I am not offended by your expressing your view, so there is no need for you to apologize. If you wish to have one of these fetuses implanted into your body, you have my support. In essence, I am shifting this onto you, and all others who argue for an end to abortion. If it is so monstrous, why not spend the money to end it? I admit that fetuses will become human beings because it is manifestly so. But sperm cells will become human beings, as will egg cells, under the right conditions. Halting those conditions in the case of, say, a 7 week pregnancy by means of RU-486 is no different. Nor is a surgical procedure in the third or fourth month of that pregnancy. Nature does it all the time. Of my mother's nine pregnancies, six were miscarriages. She did not bury them, for they were not babies yet. Indeed, she was urged to abort me, for she was told repeatedly that I would not be viable, and she refused. That was her choice. If it had been up to the doctors, I would not be here. I recognize this. But at the time they spoke, neither my dead twin brother nor I were babies yet. We were lumps of cells so small that my lump was capable of absorbing his lump in utero. Does that make me a pre-natal murderer? No, because he was not a baby yet. He was nothing. I was nothing. Eventually, I was born, and I became something.

If you think that these lives are so valuable, pay. That has always been the message, especially now that America has decided to slash its social programs to the bone. The private sector will step in, we are told. Well, they haven't. People die every day because they are poor. If America considers life to have inherent value, this would be an issue of great importance, but it is not.

I speak of America because I am an American. Other nations have different laws that I am unfamiliar with. But this is the lassiez-faire jungle we have chosen, and if you wish to change it, there is always, always, always a cost. It is up to everyone to decide if they are willing to pay it.

That is my argument. I will restate it again, if need be. It is hard, and bitter, because I have become hard and bitter at the idea that life is only worthwhile up until it is born. I feel exactly the opposite, that until that fetus is a viable life capable of surviving outside of the womb, it is not a baby yet. I realize we will probably never agree on this, but please do not say I have said what I have not. I have not said we should kill children because the adoption system is fucked up. I have said that it is time for those of you who do not believe in controlling the human population to pay for your beliefs. All things cost in America, land of the free. If you want to end abortion, create the alternatives and pay the price. I don't care how you do it...convince the Government that it is a priority, arrange the private sector to give you grants, collect it from your friends, but do it, if you believe it to be right. There is a way to do it without making people prisoners of the state.

This is my argument, that everything costs. No more, no less.
posted by Ezrael at 10:23 AM on July 15, 2001


In other words, if you could deliver it and it could survive on it's own, it's probably a child.

Again, no child can do this.
posted by rushmc at 11:03 AM on July 15, 2001


I haven't had time to read the articles you linked closely, but it does seem that you're conflating d&c with "partial birth abortion", and I don't think they're the same thing. as a result, the numbers quoted there still don't answer my question. abortion is legal through the first trimester, and legal through the second trimester under certain circumstances.

here are a couple of points:

1) while the passages you quote say that the procedure is supposed to be used only to save the life of the mother, it's often used when the life of the mother is not at risk. (again, is this conflating two different circumstances?)

however, the other part of that is that it often is used in order to save the life of the the mother (just not in every case).

I am unwilling to outlaw any procedure that is legitimately used to save a mother's life; again, I don't have good enough numbers to say with certainty that this procedure is almost never used for that, is usually used for that, or is used for that half of the time.

2) did you know that the first abortion laws in this country were enacted because the procedure was so risky to women? it was in the 1800s, and sanitation was so bad that women regularly died when the procedure was done. the initial reasoning had nothing to do with "saving a child's life" only with keeping pregnant women safe.

3) the result of outlawing abortion would not be millions of children in orphanages; it woiuld be the same as it was before abortion was made legal, millions of illegal abortions performed every year, often resulting in death or near-death to the women involved.

this is the single strongest reason I support keeping abortion legal and safe. even if you believe that a fetus is a person, with legal abortion you can at least ensure that one of those lives is saved.

reasonable people obviously disagree about what abortion means, but I think it's also reasonable to say that what all of us need to do is to promote sex education and universal access to birth control, with no questions asked.

no one wants to have an abortion. some people want no one to have an abortion. what we can all agree on is that if everyone having sex would and could use contraception, the incidence of abortion would decrease exponentially.
posted by rebeccablood at 11:24 AM on July 15, 2001


Rebecca: Perhaps I should have selected the quotes a bit more clearly (I was exhausted when I made all of those posts.) If you read the first three paragraphs here carefully, I believe you'll find that the "thousands per year" estimate refers to intact D&X, not D&C.

And I agree that an abortion, even a partial-birth abortion, should be legal if it is necessary to protect the health of the mother.

Ezreal: I must not be understanding your position even now. But I hate it when people try to put words in my mouth, and I didn't mean to do that to you. Sorry 'bout that.
posted by gd779 at 2:13 PM on July 15, 2001


3) the result of outlawing abortion would not be millions of children in orphanages; it woiuld be the same as it was before abortion was made legal, millions of illegal abortions performed every year, often resulting in death or near-death to the women involved.

I had forgotten to say that because I was pushing for my "artifical womb/male pregancy" option, wherein abortion would be replaced by the removal of the fetus and its implantation in a new host or a wombt tank. In that case, there would be an eventual million or so additional births a year. The outlawing of abortion without any such alternative would indeed lead to death or injury for many, or flight overseas for those who could afford it.
Obviously, we've moved well past the original case of the twelve year old.

Ezreal: I must not be understanding your position even now. But I hate it when people try to put words in my mouth, and I didn't mean to do that to you. Sorry 'bout that.

Well, while I don't know how to make my position clearer (if you wish to end abortion, then alternatives such as artifical wombs or male pregnancy to transfer the fetuses out of the bodies of the women should be developed, and then there would be a need for someone to pay for and raise those children as well, and I think the pro-life movement would be the people to pay for this since they are opposed to abortion) but I respect your statement that you sincerely misunderstand it.

I think Rebecca's dead on about birth control being applied properly, and the need for honest, no BS sex education. If people are going to be having sex, and they are, we should arm them with the information they need to be responsible.
posted by Ezrael at 12:19 PM on July 16, 2001


than we would have an alternative that would not require that we give to the state the ability to enslave a human being for nine months of her life.

I had to come back to this point, because it stymies me. Pregnancy is now enslavement? Pregnant women are not free to continue their lives with only minor adjustments? They are held captive to some force?

This is the kind of melodramatic exaggeration that deflates arguments, but certainly hikes the sentimentality behind the concept that access to abortion is equivalent to some exceptional freedom that dare not be abridged, regardless of the full consequences.
posted by Dreama at 1:19 PM on July 16, 2001


I had to come back to this point, because it stymies me. Pregnancy is now enslavement? Pregnant women are not free to continue their lives with only minor adjustments? They are held captive to some force?

Not now, they aren't. They have access to contraception and abortion. They are allowed to choose if they wish to continue with pregnancy. If we start telling them they can't, then yes, they are reproductive chattel, unable to make basic decisions about their bodies.

This is the kind of melodramatic exaggeration that deflates arguments, but certainly hikes the sentimentality behind the concept that access to abortion is equivalent to some exceptional freedom that dare not be abridged, regardless of the full consequences.

Actually, it's not an exaggeration at all, if you actually examine the statement. Either you can do what you like with your body up until the point where that inhuman parasite crosses the threshold into viability and becomes human, or you cannot. If you are forbidden to do so, you are under the control of another. And that is slavery. Look it up.

slavery n 1: the state of being under the control of another person [syn: bondage, thrall, thralldom, thraldom] 2: the practice of slaveholding 3: work done under harsh conditions for little or no pay


Source: WordNet ® 1.6, © 1997 Princeton


Number one. The state of being under the control of another person. If you want your body to be under the control of another for the entirety of the time from the successful fertilization of an egg cell onward, that's up to you. One of the reasons I support contraception, sex education, and RU-486 is that these options allow us to eschew endless debate about the exact moment wherein a fetus becomes a viable human being. Same for my arguments (which even you ignore, Dreama...why do you all ignore them?) about developing artificial wombs and male pregancy options. Hell, you've got a womb, right? Would you participate in a transfer of a fetus? It can be done if the demand is raised? Would you bear someone's unwanted fetus to term, and raise it as your own? Or even simply then give it up for adoption?

I'd like to hear someone address this. So far, no one will.
posted by Ezrael at 7:52 AM on July 17, 2001


Ask someone who isn't an adoptive and foster parent, Ezrael. (In other words, not me. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt. It says "I Love my Mommy" on it.)
posted by Dreama at 8:32 AM on July 17, 2001


But would you allow them to use you as an incubator? I'm entirely serious. One of my biggest problems in all of this debate is trying to understand where people's borders are and what they believe. I don't know, for instance, if you believe the egg cell is human when the sperm enters it, or if you have a later date. I don't really know your religious beliefs or how you feel about the concept of fetal transfer. So I need to ask. Would you do it if you didn't have to raise the child or pay for its upkeep? Is there any circumstance in which you would allow for fetal transfer?

I might as well be honest now and admit that I wouldn't do it. I would be terrified to have to have two surgeries in nine months, and I wouldn't want to raise any child, for a number of reasons. But then again, I don't believe in any special status for human life at all, other than that which humans have defined. I don't apply the standards of any organized religion to my decision. And I know that I am not in the majority here. So I am sincerely interested in hearing peoples reactions to these proposals. Would they be willing to have a fetus implanted if they think that the fetus is endowed with a soul, even if they were a man? Would they do this to save it? What about an artificial womb? Would they be willing to spend the money to develop one, or is there something in the Bible that forbids it that I have missed?

Seriously, I'd really like to know.
posted by Ezrael at 10:03 AM on July 17, 2001


Also, on an unrelated but yet related note, does discussing all this make anyone else feel sick? I'm not picking on a side here. Does it bother those of us who take the other side to try and convince people, and come away from it knowing that you didn't, perhaps even couldn't?

Is it this feeling that leads to clinic bombings and death threats to right-wing figures? Both sides have their extreme fringe. I wonder if a debate about this is even possible. This one has been relatively civil, even if it is way, way off the original track. But I don't think anyone has been convinced of anything that they weren't convinced of before. I even wonder how much people are even reading these posts, and how much is just Oh, it's gd779, he's just talking about the same stuff as always or Man, here comes Ezrael with his bizarre solipsistic shite again without reading? Are we exchanging ideas or just pontificating, myself included?

Is this a discussion that leads anywhere? This is not a call to end it, not at all, merely an attempt to understand. I want to try and see things differently, try and encompass the opposing viewpoint. I'm usually very good at it. So why don't I understand this one? Are we using the same language (I don't mean are we writing in english, I mean more generally, do we understand what those who do not share our view mean by the same words we use?) at all?

I hope people are still reading, and willing to discuss this.
posted by Ezrael at 10:11 AM on July 17, 2001


« Older July 17th - The Day That Counts....  |  Bush to Waive Helms-Burton Law... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments