Ohio’s War on Reproductive Care
October 21, 2015 3:26 PM   Subscribe

During Governor John Kasich’s tenure, abortion access in Ohio has dramatically decreased from 14 abortion providers to 8 as Kasich and the GOP-led legislature have passed a startling number of restrictions on Ohio’s abortion providers and Planned Parenthood.

Ohio has been a battleground for a number of laws designed to make abortion care more difficult or intimidating to access, and in recent years has ramped up to regulating abortion out of existence. In 2008, the state required physicians to provide ultrasound images to women seeking an abortion. In 2011, Ohio passed major restrictions on abortions performed after 20 weeks. In 2013, Ohio passed a new regulation that required abortion providers to have a transfer agreement with a local private hospital, by prohibiting public hospitals from entering into transfer agreements. This put clinics in southwest Ohio in a very difficult position, as the vast majority of private hospitals in the Cincinnati area are Catholic affiliated. Providers can apply for an exemption (known as a variance) from the transfer agreement. This past summer, the legislature passed a budget that included a new regulation that if the Ohio Department of Health did not make a decision one way or another on a variance application, the request would be automatically denied after 60 days.

As a result of the variance drama, Cincinnati has repeatedly been on the verge of becoming the largest metropolitan area in the United States without abortion access. On October 13, a federal judge banned a new state rule from going into effect that would have forced Cincinnati’s Mt Auburn clinic to stop providing abortions. One week later on October 21, the Ohio State Senate voted along party lines to cut off state grant funding to Planned Parenthood under SB214. A similar bill, HB294, is currently in committee in the Ohio State Legislature.

In the first half of 2015 alone, 51 abortion restrictions were enacted in state legislatures across the United States.
posted by mostly vowels (118 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
 
I hadn't heard of Kasich before the first debate, and I took him as the republican most concerned about policy over ideological compliance or building a brand. It's really disappointing to hear he's not much better than the alternatives on social issues. The rest just felt like they were pitching the same policies, but with different marketing.

I mean, I'm probably not going to vote Republican at the federal level any time soon, but I'd sleep better knowing both sides had sane candidates.

Sidenote: I also wish he had a better appreciation of the Cohen brothers.
posted by mccarty.tim at 3:45 PM on October 21, 2015


I'm so angry.

I'm just ... so angry. Angry about my rights being taken away. Angry at being treated like a member of an underclass.

Angry that people try to justify this bullshit with such transparent lies. Angry that they get away with it.

Fuck them. Fuck them and their stupid fucking misogynist ideology and fuck anyone who votes for them.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 3:49 PM on October 21, 2015 [62 favorites]


As a young woman of reproductive age who doesn't want a baby right now in Ohio, this makes me so angry. I'm hoping the Senate's horrifying vote to defund Planned Parenthood today will bring a little more national attention to Kasich and his anti-women policies to keep him from looking like the reasonable moderate conservative candidate folks would like him to be. I'm also hoping the House of Representatives does not pass the bill, because we sure as hell can't count on a Kasich veto.
posted by ChuraChura at 3:54 PM on October 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is all so fucking stupid, and hurts the state of Ohio ITSELF. Forcing women to have children they don't want, can't afford, and oh, wait, DON'T WANT? Genius.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 3:57 PM on October 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


As an Ohioan, let me say this: Kasich is terrible. His anti-union stance, reproductive health, the corrupt Third Frontier group. Ugh. He's been an utter disaster for the state. About the only good thing he has done is to expand Medicare. He is anything but a sane candidate.
posted by combinatorial explosion at 4:01 PM on October 21, 2015 [11 favorites]


Angry at being treated like a member of an underclass.

um
posted by mhoye at 4:02 PM on October 21, 2015


Shit like this is why there've been various heads exploding in election threads every time someone said, "Gee, Kasich seems like a fairly moderate responsible Republican . . . . "
posted by soundguy99 at 4:07 PM on October 21, 2015 [15 favorites]


A bunch of abortion in the news lately.
No matter how much you shame and scare them, women will still come for abortions. Pretty recently I had this young woman, 15 maybe, and we did the procedure. I said, ‘Your uterus is empty, the procedure is over. I have to go check to make sure we got everything,’ and I left the room to examine the tissue. Then I came back and told her, ‘Everything’s fine, your uterus is healthy.’ And she said, ‘So … when are you going to use the steel ball?’ I picked my jaw up off the floor and said, ‘Steel ball?’ She said, ‘Well, I went to the crisis pregnancy center and they told me you’re going to put a steel ball that’s covered with sharp blades into my uterus and twirl it around.’
Or:
Pregnancy crisis centers often are operated by abortion opponents, and critics say workers imply the facilities provide a range of medical care and have credentials they do not possess.

Under the new law, the centers will be required to offer information about affordable contraception, abortion and prenatal care. Those that are unlicensed also must inform clients of their status.
(I am pretty relieved that my new Prime Minister is pro-choice.)
posted by jeather at 4:17 PM on October 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


They are effectively creating a permanent "reproductive underclass" and the fuckers are so brazen about it. GRRRRRRRR.
posted by Annika Cicada at 4:18 PM on October 21, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was at the Planned Parenthood rally yesterday at the Statehouse, and it was somewhat depressing. We knew we were going to lose (it was "The senate will vote this into law tomorrow" not "The senate will vote this into law if we don't make ourselves heard!"), and other stuff that came up-- like, guess what? Pro-choice people only get 90 seconds to testify during the hearing!-- but that was (somewhat) mitigated by Nina Turner, she of the Viagra bill, being there and just about kicking ass during her speech.
posted by damayanti at 4:19 PM on October 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


Related post: The End of Abortion Access in Red America
posted by homunculus at 4:58 PM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]




How do you fight it anymore?

This isn't a case of needing fancy political footwork. They literally hold every card. Even if the electorate vote democratic in the presidential to soothe their guilty conscience, they still vote a Republican statehouse to lower taxes, brutalize criminals, and rule them like a king.

And it's killing social progress. Sending it backwards.
posted by Talez at 5:16 PM on October 21, 2015 [9 favorites]


From an earlier fpp:

"Additionally, we will be submitting a bill similar to one in Massachusetts, prohibiting the state from paying benefits for any additional child born after the recipient has been accepted into General Assistance."

The forced birthers want you to know that you are on your own as soon that fetus takes its first breath.
posted by peeedro at 5:23 PM on October 21, 2015 [30 favorites]


I hadn't heard of Kasich before the first debate, and I took him as the republican most concerned about policy over ideological compliance or building a brand. It's really disappointing to hear he's not much better than the alternatives on social issues.

They're all the same flavor of Ted Cruz, there's no such thing as a moderate Republican. It's theocratic bootstraps all the way down and people should really stop pretending like both parties are the same. Every single elected Republican would repeal Roe v. Wade and roll back every last vestige of the Great Society and the New Deal tomorrow if given the chance. Kasich is the same kind of monster as the rest, dressed up like a boring old white dude.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:48 PM on October 21, 2015 [13 favorites]


How do you fight it anymore?

At this point, you fight it by making sure a Democrat is the next President so they can tip the balance in the Supreme Court enough that they might strike down some of the onerous state laws.

Taking over a state government is hard, and I suspect it's going to get harder the more money enters into the equation. I'm not so scared of big money influencing Presidential elections, they would be big money anyway, but when outside money funds local and state candidates it can make challenging those candidates very difficult for someone who can't find the money for it. Plus, gerrymandering and a sometimes dysfunctional party organization.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:53 PM on October 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


How do you fight it anymore?

At this point, you fight it by making sure a Democrat is the next President so they can tip the balance in the Supreme Court enough that they might strike down some of the onerous state laws.


This is the only answer until after 2016. If a Republican wins and they get 5 votes, SCOTUS will repeal Roe. They've been promising to do it for 35 years, and now it's within sight. If they get a 5th vote on the Court, it's happening, probably followed shortly by a national abortion ban if they have control of Congress. Vote Democrat, even if you can't stand Hilary.
posted by T.D. Strange at 5:58 PM on October 21, 2015 [28 favorites]


I would suggest fighting it like this, but we on the left are above such methods. (Also, I don't want to end up on a watchlist.)
posted by delfin at 6:16 PM on October 21, 2015


probably followed shortly by a national abortion ban if they have control of Congress.

That would require 2/3 control of both houses. They're projected to have unilateral control of 33 state houses after this election. One extra and they get a constitutional convention. Then all they need is laser like focus on states that are within reach but not quite over the line to get ratification.

Plan B is well within sight for them.
posted by Talez at 6:38 PM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


That would require 2/3 control of both houses.

If Roe is over turned all they need is a simple statute, not an amendment.
posted by T.D. Strange at 6:41 PM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm so sick of this passive-aggressive bullshit. Couldn't they just go ahead and pass a federal law that prohibits unmarried women (and especially poor, unmarried women, and unmarried women of color) from having sex? Just criminalize the sex. Make it illegal for dirty, dirty women to have the dirty, dirty sex, thus dirtifying them and making them evil sinful Eves, unmarriageable and responsible for the downfall of Man. That's what this whole fucking charade is about. Call a turd a turd already.
posted by mudpuppie at 7:06 PM on October 21, 2015 [23 favorites]


I'm so sick of this passive-aggressive bullshit. Couldn't they just go ahead and pass a federal law that prohibits unmarried women (and especially poor, unmarried women, and unmarried women of color) from having sex? Just criminalize the sex. Make it illegal for dirty, dirty women to have the dirty, dirty sex, thus dirtifying them and making them evil sinful Eves, unmarriageable and responsible for the downfall of Man. That's what this whole fucking charade is about. Call a turd a turd already.

The laws are still on the books in quite a few states. I wonder how long until they start prosecuting for adultery again.
posted by Talez at 7:15 PM on October 21, 2015


I'm sympathetic to people being sad about abortion. But I feel like being pro-life at the cellular level in a wonderful aspirational goal for when we have the capacity to keep humans, organs and cells within humans alive and healthy throughout their lifespan, and we learn to eat without killing millions of cells and plants and animals...

Like as an empath who is sad about abortion, I am the kind of person who asked my friends in elementary school not to walk on grass because they would hurt the grass and I remember crying while my friends laughed and jumped on the grass. I wrote poetry about the sadness of a piece of grass dying after it grew up through a crack in a pool and had to be pulled out.

(I still remember that sorrow! It struggled and strived, to reach the light, only the be snuffed out!!!)

I think that some people who care about abortion really do think this is about babies, I just can't wrap my head around why these are so often the same people who think a living cow being slaughtered in front of it's calf, before or after the calf is slaughtered, is not horrific? How can you think a tiny being being snuffed out is a tragedy in all sincerity and not see all the atrocities humans commit to human and animal and plant life as huge atrocities?

If you believe a complete and complex spirit can exist within a tiny group of cells (which I do) then why would you not then apply that realization to the sacredness of all life, to considering the capacity to sense may even extend beyond what we think of as "life".

I also guess people who think every clump of cells must become a human BECAUSE THEY CARE, haven't lives as a poor person with no hope out. Like live in some crackhouses. Not as a weekend retreat, I mean, give up your possessions RIGHT NOW and go get a job at a minimum wage job, get rid of all savings, give up all your money. And agree to live the rest of your life that way. Make new friends with your upstairs neighbor who got out of prison for 20 years for bank robbery, and your other neighbor who does heroin, and the squatters who live in that empty room down the hall off and on. And then watch them, and yourself, not just die, no that would be too easy. A few will make it out. And the rest you watch waste away, insane, broken, aching. Body slowly broken down. Drugs help, smiles still come.

And you find your couchserfing roommate on the streets one day and he's crying, ina ball sobbing hysterically, he doesn't want you to see him like this, crying because they're raping his mind he says. They're raping him. And years later here maybe he OD'd. Nobody knows. You'll never know. This guy who would blast the Cure and dance around with roses and write poetry all over the wall in the bath. Whose heart was good and smile radiant even though they beat him and make him bark like a dog for bones they threw him in the basement, even though his fucking priest grandfather sexually abused him making him pray to YOUR PIECE OF SHIT GOD WHO DARES NOT INTERVENE IN THIS REALM- DON"T TELL ME YOU FUCKING CARE ABOUT LIFE YOU EVIL SHITS BECAUSE YOU LET HIM DIE. YOU DESTROY AND YOU KILL THOUSANDS OF LIVING PEOPLE BY DENYING THEM HOUSING, FOOD, TRAUMA CARE, HEALING, RESOURCES, AND LIVING WAGE JOBS AND YOU DO IT WITH PRIDE.

No, dear conservative religious assholes who overwhelmingly represent the "pro-life" (what a JOKE!!!) movement--you don't give a shit about life. When you fix all these other horrendous atrocities you are causing in the world, you come back to me and tell me you have learned how to care about life, you have assisted all the living beings who in states of suffering at levels that far exceed what a tiny embryo in wombspace (which is highly debatable state in terms of self awareness and capacity to feel) and now you're ready to help the embryos. And you will help the embryos by making sure everyone woman has all contraception, medical care, housing, food, enrichment and educational resources to stay home with her children as long as she needs and bond and live an amazing supported life, and you will STILL respect reproductive CHOICE for anyone who still is just not in a place they are ready or able or interested in parenting. You will NOT force women to create children for people who want to adopt. You will not force women to create and rear children they can not bond or attach to because they are not there at that point in their lives, most often in the poverty you have dictated they and their children must endure. BACK OFF.

Anyone who thinks that life with a single poor or struggling mother is so bad these women should place their children with better people should both be acting and voting to change these horrible conditions for children, and to support reproductive choices for women because you yourself agree these conditions are terrible for children. Yet they are the conditions you decide to put children through by blocking adequate resources being provided to them.
posted by xarnop at 7:18 PM on October 21, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is how you fix it.

Today there was a flyer on the light post about volunteering to work a couple classes a week in the local schools to help the kids write better. That has shit all to do with this particular injustice, but it is everything to do with empowering kids to make their own decisions about righting it when they are big. I'm way over qualified for this program, and so are you. But that's how we fix it.
posted by notyou at 10:59 PM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


If I had billions of dollars, I'd pay every woman in Ohio to GTFO of Ohio.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:34 PM on October 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I just got back from driving someone home, during which we had an argument about about abortion (I'm f he's m). I was saying how Planned Parenthood was really important for women's health, and it's not just about abortions - his argument was "well why don't men have something just for them?". Also to prevent abortions "people shouldn't rape".

I am seething. Ugh.
posted by littlesq at 11:50 PM on October 21, 2015 [6 favorites]


In a June 14, 2003 interview for www.salon.com, Erica Jong, a master wordsmith in her own right ("Fear of Flying"), had this to say about words and politics: "The right wing has redefined reproductive choice. They've captured the language. They say that they're 'pro-life' and many young people think that they are pro-life, too. They (the right wing) won the linguistic debate. And when you win the linguistic debate, you've won the debate. Period."
posted by lazycomputerkids at 2:47 AM on October 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


I think really pro choice should be more like pro resource or pro thrive. Because at this point it is way past just abortion, but a systematic deconstruction of our already very poor welfare system and safety net.
posted by AlexiaSky at 6:45 AM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


After having slept on it, I think what particularly upset/s me is that the perception that being pro-choice equates to being some sort of monster in people's eyes.

I am an extremely empathetic person, charitable, do unto others type of person, but that doesn't matter to a lot of people (not being religious doesn't help either I suppose).
posted by littlesq at 7:42 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


You are pro-choice or forced-birth.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:55 AM on October 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


If even one single antichoicer was working to promote legitimate sex ed in schools, working to make birth control free and widely available, working to extend and enhance state and federal benefits available to moms and children, working to enact laws protecting and expanding paid family leave nationwide, working to grow on a state or even local level the available subsidized childcare options for low-income families, working in some single goddamn way to help ease the social and financial burden of unplanned pregnancies and single motherhood, working to enact and enforce laws punishing parents skipping out on child support, maybe then I would have the slightest amount of respect for their alleged "deep religious convictions".

Instead they're more interested in passing laws to enforce medical rape in the guise of wanting women to see an ultrasound of their unwanted or unviable fetus.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:25 AM on October 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


Couldn't they just go ahead and pass a federal law that prohibits unmarried women (and especially poor, unmarried women, and unmarried women of color) from having sex? Just criminalize the sex.

This isn't about sex, this is about whether or not women are property.

Not to put too fine a point on this, but this would be a fine time to get your intersectionality on and start toeing the line for minority rights of all stripes. My "um" above was mostly about my deep discomfort with the whole notion that someone is upset _they're_ the ones being treated _like_ an underclass, when the realization should be the fact there _is such a thing as an underclass_, and that you only now have the misfortune to be lumped in with.

If you allow injustice to persist, eventually the systems and people who perpetuate that injustice are coming for you, full stop. That is how power perpetuates itself. I'm a middle class, straight, white guy, and I don't try to support women's right to choose or anti-discrimination laws or Black Lives Matter out of some vague, daydreamy sense of naked hippie altruism, I do it because eventually I'll be the next one up against that wall and when that day comes I'll need all the friends I can get.
posted by mhoye at 8:35 AM on October 22, 2015


. I'm a middle class, straight, white guy

Perhaps best not to tut tut about women saying they feel like an underclass, then.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:59 AM on October 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


This isn't about sex, this is about whether or not women are property.

No, actually, a lot of it is about our still-Puritanical weirdness about sex, and particularly women's having of it.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:02 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Just piping in to say, it's not only about weird Puritanical ideas about sex. Some of us believe that fetuses are human beings with rights, sincerely. Had to be said.
posted by fraxil at 9:09 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


Perhaps best not to tut tut about women saying they feel like an underclass, then.

A fair point, and the reason I stopped at "um", above. But if we treat any group's infringed rights like they're their own, isolated problem, and not part of a larger spectrum that we're also a part of, then we're going not going to win this one.
posted by mhoye at 9:13 AM on October 22, 2015


If any group of people recognizes intersectionality and the ways that belonging to disenfranchised groups has an exacerbating effect on discrimination, it's going to be the women campaigning for reproductive rights. Look at women like Nina Tuner, mentioned up above. Have you heard the speakers at the pro-Planned Parenthood rallies? Or spoken to the women staffing and being served by Planned Parenthood in urban Columbus and Cleveland? A lot of the women who are VERY active in Ohio are women of color, and many of them are also poor women, who are experiencing discrimination along multiple axes.

You're preaching to the choir here, I think, and it is condescending to tell women who are experiencing the negative consequences of anti-women legislation and fighting against it that we're not doing it right - and to assume that we're not already thinking about it and fighting for it in a way that takes intersectionality into account.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:25 AM on October 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


Some of us believe that fetuses are human beings with rights, sincerely. Had to be said.

That's fine, and I won't argue that point with you because you're entitled to your beliefs. But, you also have to accept that when a woman's only option when faced with an unplanned/unwanted pregnancy is to carry that fetus-with-rights to term -- thus facing the dangers, pain, expense, and body-altering experience of childbirth -- that's basically her cross to bear for having gotten pregnant in the first place. It's essentially forcing her to 'deal with the consequences' of her actions, and it is fundamentally punishing her for being a grown-ass woman (or hell, teenager) who had sex.

Trying to divorce the two things is disingenuous, and maddeningly dismissive of women's health and women's rights when it comes to their own bodies.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:28 AM on October 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


I agree that it recognizing the rights of women to bodily integrity and autonomy is critical. If you are a conservative who accepts that premise along with the premise that a fetus is a human being with rights, it becomes a matter of adjudicating rights that are in conflict, which is a complex and messy task. I have no patience for conservatives who refuse to recognize that aspect of the debate, and I applaud liberals who are willing to come out and say that they don't agree with the premise that fetuses are persons. That allows us to understand each other, agree to disagree, and remain civil while also remaining committed to our points of view.
posted by fraxil at 9:49 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


You're preaching to the choir here, I think, and it is condescending to tell women who are experiencing the negative consequences of anti-women legislation and fighting against it that we're not doing it right

That's a good point, and certainly not what I'd intended. I apologize for how I wrote that, it was unhelpful.
posted by mhoye at 10:03 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


criminalize the sex. Make it illegal for dirty, dirty women to have the dirty, dirty sex

I think this is a very dangerous mislead of the issue. As identity politics/flag waving, that's what you see, but it's the furthest from why the ground game has had the funding/backing to be successful. It's also why it seems so strange to have fundamental christians so closely aligned with business interests, but no one really says why.

As an end game, reproductive rights are entirely about labor force control.
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 10:33 AM on October 22, 2015


What kind of fetus, though, fraxil? I find most prolifers (like the one I used to be) are picturing a near-term, baby-shaped fetus. But most abortions are sought (and if women are lucky to get through all the obstacles) obtained in the first trimester, before that stage. It makes sense, if you think about it; most women would rather end an unwanted pregnancy as early as possible. Women who've already made it through 6-8 months of pregnancy are more likely to just get through the rest than seek a late-term abortion...unless, of course, they are facing a threat to their health and possibly their lives. Does that matter to you?

So when you say "a fetus is a person!" you need to define your terms.

Do you believe fertilization is when humanity appears? Medically speaking, a woman is not considered pregnant till that fertilized egg implants. Is implantation when you also think a fetus has the full rights of a born human being?

If not, at what time in pregnancy?

The follow-up to this is: At what point in a pregnancy do you view a woman obtaining an abortion as a murderer? How will you investigate, prosecute and punish her?

What about miscarriages? Are they manslaughter, and should woman be prosecuted for them? Even if she didn't know she was pregnant? What if she drank, or took drugs? How much alcohol, or how many drugs, constitute a crime agains that fetus person?

If you wish to prevent such crimes, how will you monitor women to know if they are pregnant, are taking care of that fetus/person properly, are not neglecting it or harming it or secretly seeking to eject it? Will you force women of childbearing age/able to reproduce to be in a registry? Perphas install a device in their bodies that sends a signal out regarding her status as pregnant or nonpregnant, so bartenders and bosses and cops can scan her? Restrict her abilities to take certain jobs, or perform certain activities? Jail her if she fails to comply?

I'm sure you're a kind and compassionate person, fraxil, but I am done letting people off the hook on this one. Define your terms, think through the consequences of your stance. Don't stop at fuzzy mental pictures of adorable babies saved; see the whole picture of what you're proposing.

And defend it, if you can.
posted by emjaybee at 10:40 AM on October 22, 2015 [18 favorites]


I think this is a very dangerous mislead of the issue. As identity politics/flag waving, that's what you see, but it's the furthest from why the ground game has had the funding/backing to be successful. It's also why it seems so strange to have fundamental christians so closely aligned with business interests, but no one really says why.

As an end game, reproductive rights are entirely about labor force control.


Females, listen up:
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 10:45 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


@Rustic, that's almost like a non-sequitur. I really don't get your angle here.

My comment seeks to amplify the importance of the issue and not just for females, but for a whole lot of other people who can start to see it in a larger context. Am I missing something?
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 11:26 AM on October 22, 2015


Those are difficult questions to answer, and I don't have answers to all of them emjaybee. Clearly, sperm and egg, when separated, do not constitute a person. Yet it is nearly universally recognized that after they fuse and develop into a 40 week old fetus, once that fetus exits the mother's body alive and healthy, it is a person. I think the burden is on abortion advocates to demonstrate that is not the case, against the moral intuition of nearly everyone. I do not think most abortion advocates even attempt to make that argument, though some do. So we have defined our endpoints at least, excepting some fringe viewpoints that I really don't think are worth addressing (ie Peter Singer/infanticide advocates). So can we move the window back to the beginning of "full-term" at 36 weeks? Intuition says that if the baby can be delivered intact and healthy at that age, without the need for medical intervention, it was still a "baby" when inside the womb. So we have narrowed our endpoints.

How far does increasingly invasive medical intervention get us in calling a fetus a "baby" with human rights if the only relevant difference is the location of the baby, inside vs outside of the womb? I do not know of any 16 week old fetuses who have ever survived. The 20-24 week range is where the cutting edge of neonatology is at right now, but those outcomes are often quite sad. On the other hand, some children develop normally after being born that early. I approach these questions from a medical perspective that is concerned with balancing those hopeful outcomes with the reality that not all turn out so well. Neonatology and maternal-fetal medicine continue to advance, and there may come a day when we can "transplant" a second or even first trimester fetus to an artificial womb.

Turning to the very beginnings of life, I am not sure I would call an embryo a person, but it is a "human" organism with the potential to become a person. It is difficult for me to explain, but I that "potential" is important and morally significant. Barring intervention, if the mother remains in good health, eats, drinks, sleeps, breathes, and copes with her pregnancy as all mothers must do, the "potential" will be actualized into a person. I will make no attempt to reduce the mysterious and miraculous nature of this process to a functional, cross-sectional definition of personhood. I do not believe that would be wise or a strong argument to make. It seems intuitive that our society invests huge effort, cost, and hope in every stage of the process, as evidenced by fertility clinics and our high level of OB care, because the expected outcome is, miraculously, a person. I speak from first hand experience in this. And yet while we do not feel that person is "complete" at birth in terms of their development, and they continue to require the total support and care of their parents, they are still a person. I do not remember my own infancy or time in the womb, but I was still "me" at both those times in a way that is distinct from my level of cognitive development or ability to sustain my own life. When a person loses many of their "human" faculties due to dementia, they are still a person. I care for individuals with intellectual disability and associated medical syndromes, and relish the fact that I can provide them with care that they can never pay for themselves through their earnings, because I believe they have intrinsic worth.

I am not interested in defining every punitive aspect of the law with respect to women and their pregnancies because those are secondary issues distinct from the definition of personhood. And yet I cannot give you a time when personhood is achieved or even a descriptive, functional definition of personhood. Does a woman or abortionist who kills a healthy, full-term newborn baby with scissors after they emerge from the womb commit murder? Yes. Current law supports this. Is a woman who goes into premature labor at 20 weeks morally obligated to have their child undergo invasive medical procedures to save their life? I am not sure. If they do, and the child lives, they are not then free to kill the child a week later, because that would be murder. If the child had stayed in the womb for two more weeks and the mother then gotten an abortion, would that be murder? I am not sure. These are grisly questions. The concern with defining the latest possible moment it is morally permissible to kill a healthy fetus or child is nauseating to me. At a certain point, we simply are not speaking the same language and have to admit irreconcilable differences. I doubt I will convince one reader of this forum by argument. I choose to respond to your question for my own purposes. At the same time, I am confident I will be much more successful at my local youth group in helping children understand what they already know: when you were inside your mother, you were still you, still a person. If you lost a brother or sister to miscarriage, it is natural to feel sad and to grieve. It will not be a hard job.
posted by fraxil at 11:29 AM on October 22, 2015


My comment seeks to amplify the importance of the issue and not just for females, but for a whole lot of other people who can start to see it in a larger context. Am I missing something?

I don't wholly disagree with you, but I thought it was obnoxious to frame women who object to fundamentalists' war on their sexual freedom as the dupes of identity politics. A corollary of your point is that the capitalists need the fundamentalists because the capitalists could never get support for an attack on abortion on the grounds that it makes workers more free, whereas an attack on abortion on the grounds that it's an affront to God can attract much broader support. I think the "superficial" fundamentalist enemy is still important, even if the capitalist behind him is often ignored.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 11:40 AM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's so easy to not have to really think it through and make the hard decisions. Especially when those decisions will only affect people you will never meet. So easy to just shrug, say "I don't know" and them force all those people to bear children. The costs and consequences are literally someone else's problem.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:41 AM on October 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


I will make one more comment. I do not agree that the costs and consequences are "someone else's problem." They are society's costs and consequences in addition to those of the mother and the father, along with the privileges and joys. The modern frame of radical individualism should be challenged. If you father a child, you are a father, whether or not you had informed consent about what could happen, have adequate resources to care for it, want it, or whether or not it would be an undue imposition on your lifestyle to do so. You bear some responsibility toward the child, depending on your ability, and the rest of the responsibility for caring for the child must be taken up by the extended family, local community, state, and nation in a subsidiary manner. At the end of the day, attribution of responsibility is less important than how we meet the needs of vulnerable individuals, but at the same time, if you father a child, you are a father and specifically that child's father. I do not support Republican policies that disavow all the levels of responsibility above that of the mother and the father. As I have remarked to my wife on numerous occasions, it would be so easy for me to be a Democrat if they would align their concern for society's vulnerable adults and children with a commensurate concern for the unborn. Alas.
posted by fraxil at 11:54 AM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am not interested in defining every punitive aspect of the law with respect to women and their pregnancies because those are secondary issues distinct from the definition of personhood.

But those aren't secondary issues to the debate about the laws regarding abortion in the US. It's fine to have your preferences and beliefs. It's fine to use those beliefs to make your own choices regarding your own pregnancies and it's fine to not know how you'd draw lines and make decisions in your own situation. But laws are necessarily about drawing lines. The questions emjaybee listed are basic legal questions that flow from criminalizing abortion or defining a fetus as a legal person. We aren't discussing theology, we aren't discussing whether a fetus has a spirit or soul, we are discussing laws - laws that often need to have brightline rules, laws that may have unintended (or, for many Republicans, intended) consequences for miscarriages, laws that raise real, tangible questions about enforcement.

Does legal life begin at fertilization, at implantation, at the blastocyst stage, at the embryo stage, at the fetus stage, after birth? If at or before the embryo stage, what about frozen embryos? Do the genetic parents have a right to determine what happens to those embryos, or will they be forced to give them to the state for implantation into another woman? I've known several women who miscarried/had a stillbirth at 8-9 months - will they be investigated? What about a first trimester miscarriage, which is often indistinguishable from a medication abortion? What about danger to the life and health of the mother? Are there exceptions for that, and who gets to decide if it's a good enough danger?

We are not talking about abstract ideas of personhood. We are talking about real, actual laws. Laws draw lines. Laws have wide-ranging effects that must be considered.
posted by melissasaurus at 11:58 AM on October 22, 2015 [14 favorites]


I would dearly love to see medical science make it dead easy to transplant embryos and fetuses to the wombs or bodies of anti-abortion activists. Put up or shut up.

My guess: all of a sudden they shut up.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:59 AM on October 22, 2015 [6 favorites]


As I have remarked to my wife on numerous occasions, it would be so easy for me to be a Democrat if they would align their concern for society's vulnerable adults and children with a commensurate concern for the unborn. Alas.

so just because most democrats are pro-choice, you'd rather screw over everyone but the rich and powerful by aligning yourself with conservative policies that decimate the social safety net? that seems a bit...vindictive.
posted by burgerrr at 12:05 PM on October 22, 2015 [9 favorites]


Fair point melissaurus. And to your point, I grant that we inhabit a specific historical and legal context with specific legal(istic) questions at issue. But ,realistically, they are not really all "at issue" at once. I am not a lawmaker and I do not have time to answer all these questions even to myself. And I would like to have answers! But what I do plan to do is pay attention to what new laws are proposed and the ethical reasoning underlying those laws, and decide on a case-by-case basis who I will cast my vote for. For starters, decreasing the availability of elective abortion in which the fetus is healthy, there is no harm to the mother, and no entangling issues such as rape or incest (those are tricky and I have not fully made up my mind on them), while also promoting increased services for pregnant women, mothers, and children would be a good. I have a moral framework that I have tried to explain that allows me to make judgments, and I acknowledge that I may change my mind about some things the more I learn about them. I also acknowledge that fully exploring the intended and unintended effects of policies is critical, and advocate incremental rather than sweeping changes in abortion laws. But I do want our country to move in the "right" direction, in which fewer abortions of healthy fetuses occur, and am willing to look at a variety of ways to accomplish that, including increasing access to sexual education, contraception, and supporting the safety net. I am more than willing to vote against my own pocketbook to do so. I hope I can garner some sympathy for my concern for the vulnerable here. What Democrats need to understand about socially conservative / fiscally liberal (think Pope Francis) voters is that some of your language about abortion is so viscerally repellent that I feel I would simply rather spend my time convincing Republican friends to spend more on the poor, whether through charity or governmental redistribution, than hear one more person talk about how happy they are about their abortion.
posted by fraxil at 12:17 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


it would be so easy for me to be a Democrat if they would align their concern for society's vulnerable adults and children with a commensurate concern for the unborn. Alas.

But we really do, you know? We're trying to show our concern for all the unborn women who haven't even been conceived yet.
posted by valkane at 12:20 PM on October 22, 2015 [8 favorites]


fraxil, in that wall of text were answers to none of my questions, therefore I have to assume, you are simply unable to face...or simply don't care...about the consequences of antichoice laws on the lives of women (and by extension, anyone who cares for them).

I'm not sure which one is worse.

But, thank you for proving what I already knew, that "prolife" beliefs are a toxic blend of scientific ignorance, unaddressed sexism, and highly questionable religious/philosophical assumptions improperly (and tragically) inserted into a serious discussion on the rights of 51% of humanity.

Meanwhile, Purvi Patel rots in prison, and if people like Kasich get their way, lots more women will be joining her.
posted by emjaybee at 12:30 PM on October 22, 2015 [16 favorites]


there is no harm to the mother
All pregnancy carries a risk of harm to the gestational parent. And the rate of severe maternal morbidity has been steadily increasing in the US over the past 20 years.

It's important to recognize that restricting legal abortion does not actually reduce the incidence of abortion -- it just restricts access to safe abortion. Worldwide, an estimated 68,000 women die of unsafe abortions annually and 5 million have life-long health consequences as the result of unsafe abortions.

"[I]t’s not a question of whether abortion is legalized or not, it’s a question of whether women are going to have one that’s medically safe or terribly unsafe. Every society that we know of, there have been abortions. Women are just as desperate not to have children as they are to have children."
posted by melissasaurus at 1:07 PM on October 22, 2015 [10 favorites]


All pregnancy carries potential risk, and it is reasonable to weigh that potential for risk against asking a mother to remain pregnant for the life of the fetus. How you balance those things depends greatly on how you weigh the life of the fetus. If you assign zero weight to it, then the risk of harm to the mother clearly prevails.

To your second point, it is one I take seriously and happens to be the viewpoint of my wife who I respect greatly. However, I do not agree with the unstated premise that demand for abortion is fixed. I believe it is modifiable to an extent by providing contraceptive services and more support for pregnant women and families in need. The abstract cited specifically notes greater contraceptive use as a driver of demand for abortion.

Will there always be some demand for abortion? There will be, but we have to weigh that risk against the definitive outcome of abortion, the death of the fetus. Again, it depends on how you assign weight to the status of the fetus. And of course there will likely always always be true medical needs for therapeutic abortion, for which they should continue to be safe and available.
posted by fraxil at 1:31 PM on October 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


The first thing you do is get education, access to contraceptives, equality rights, and all the other facets of the issue solved. Then you might have cause to tackle abortion. Doing it any other way guarantees that women will die.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:03 PM on October 22, 2015 [16 favorites]


**Ponders yet another rehash of this discussion**
**is too tired**

Today, in Texas, the state sent government agents into Planned Parenthood in San Antonio with a warrant for information about their employees.

Lambrecht said Texas had requested what Planned Parenthood sees as unnecessary information such as the home addresses of all its employees as well as their salaries and bonuses.

This is after viciously cutting Medicaid funding for all PP clinics regardless of whether they did abortions or not.
posted by emjaybee at 2:46 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


As futile-seeming as these discussions can be, I am quite hopeful that technology will have a significant impact in reducing abortion and increasing women's bodily autonomy. Think the Internet of Things (eg Nest networked thermostats), but for your Hoo-Ha. Women will be able to prevent unwanted pregnancy much more effectively or at least be aware of egg fertilization and embryo implantation very early on, and if necessary terminate the pregnancy, without having to even leave their own homes. Once this technology is widely adopted and we are not dealing with late 2nd term or 3rd term pregnancy issues (not to mention the potential for monitoring of fetal health), I think the issue will become much less vexed, if not completely solved. It will be a true advance for womens' rights...as long as the cybersecurity issues are appropriately addressed of course.
posted by fraxil at 3:40 PM on October 22, 2015


Could there at least be an equivalent device that men carry around in their balls for this Internet-Of-Things hypothetical? Why is the first assumption always that women should be the ones to shoulder the burden of fertility decisions?
posted by um at 6:52 PM on October 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Once this technology is widely adopted and we are not dealing with late 2nd term or 3rd term pregnancy issues (not to mention the potential for monitoring of fetal health), I think the issue will become much less vexed, if not completely solved.

This is a nice thought, but it assumes that most other anti-choice people are primarily motivated by some sort of repulsion at the idea of aborting fetuses past a certain stage of development. Which is simply not what's going on with most pro-lifers, so your techno-utopia is just pie in the sky and does nothing to comfort or provide for women needing viable options right now.

but for your Hoo-Ha

"Uterus" is the word you're looking for.
posted by soundguy99 at 8:33 PM on October 22, 2015 [17 favorites]


For starters, decreasing the availability of elective abortion in which the fetus is healthy, there is no harm to the mother, and no entangling issues such as rape or incest (those are tricky and I have not fully made up my mind on them)

Do you have a uterus? Then you do not get to dictate what anyone else does with theirs.

Cases of rape and incest aren't 'tricky' in the slightest--forcing a woman to give birth to a child that is the product of rape is punishing her for being a victim. And, frankly, punishing the putative child.

It's really simple: your beliefs are totally irrelevant when it comes to the right of women to decide if or when they decide to bear a child. Your right to an opinion stops at the level of opinion, period, and cannot ever be elevated into law, because it is forcing women to be baby factories without their consent.

The very simple fact of the matter is that not all pregnancies are wanted. And neither you nor I, as non-uterine humans, nor indeed anyone except the woman who is putting her body at risk by electing (or not) to have a baby has any right whatsoever to tell her what she can do.

The only way in which you or I have the right to tell her what to do is if we also acknowledge that women aren't allowed to make their own decisions. For tolerably obvious reasons, this is unacceptable.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:11 PM on October 22, 2015 [7 favorites]


Or, simpler: don't like abortions? Then don't have one. Since you can't have one, you're all set.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:12 PM on October 22, 2015 [5 favorites]


But if we treat any group's infringed rights like they're their own, isolated problem, and not part of a larger spectrum that we're also a part of, then we're going not going to win this one.

I didn't respond to your initial comment because I wasn't sure what you meant, but now that you've explained, I'm actually pissed off.

You made one hell of a faulty assumption about what I meant - and then decided that what this thread needed was a man explaining how my expression of anger at being oppressed was insufficiently aware of other oppressions.

My "um" above was mostly about my deep discomfort with the whole notion that someone is upset _they're_ the ones being treated _like_ an underclass, when the realization should be the fact there _is such a thing as an underclass_, and that you only now have the misfortune to be lumped in with.

This is such an uncharitable, condescending fucking reading. Here's an explanation, in case you still need it: Being angry at being like a member of an underclass because of my gender? Not an acceptance of the existence of underclasses. Being angry for myself? Does not preclude being angry for others.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:06 AM on October 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


asking forcing a mother to remain pregnant for the life of the fetus

FTFY

If you're going to argue for forced pregnancy and childbirth, you should at least use honest language. This isn't about asking women nicely to carry fetuses to term; this is about forcing them to.

This is about forcing women live through a painful, invasive, and traumatic experience that has permanent consequences for their bodies and their lives.

If you assign zero weight to it, then the risk of harm to the mother clearly prevails.

Assign it equal weight to an adult. Pregnant women are still the only humans we think we can force to donate the use of their bodies to another human being.

This is not just about the fetus and whether it is a life. This is about a fundamental lack of respect for women's freedom and bodily autonomy. It's a lack of respect that cuts very deep.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 12:21 AM on October 23, 2015 [17 favorites]


Pregnant women are still the only humans we think we can force to donate the use of their bodies to another human being.

What a good way to think about this. As far as I'm aware, no one is ever legally forced to, say, give up a kidney to anyone else against their wishes, while both those parties are people with full rights.
posted by Hal Mumkin at 8:06 AM on October 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


no one is ever legally forced to, say, give up a kidney to anyone else against their wishes, while both those parties are people with full rights

Even when the kidney donor is a parent. I've long been waiting for pro-life people to explain why they don't believe that parents should be legally obligated to donate organs once the fetus is born.
posted by jeather at 8:15 AM on October 23, 2015 [5 favorites]


What a good way to think about this. As far as I'm aware, no one is ever legally forced to, say, give up a kidney to anyone else against their wishes, while both those parties are people with full rights.

Yes. Even if it's your child, and only your kidney will save them, the law cannot force you to take the risk of donating a kidney to them.

Why? Well, mostly because then a man might have to experience the reality of having their body turned into property. Can't have that.
posted by emjaybee at 8:15 AM on October 23, 2015 [8 favorites]


Assign it equal weight to an adult. Pregnant women are still the only humans we think we can force to donate the use of their bodies to another human being.

100% this. It was this thinking, that no one has a right to force you to donate the use of your body that opened my eyes. I was, in general, not anti-abortion but not necessarily pro-choice in all circumstances. It was this line of reasoning that helped me realize that, unless you believe in forced organ donation for everyone, the anti-abortion line of reason was really just punishing women.
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:18 AM on October 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


And certainly even if you don't believe in forced organ donations for living people, it would be absurd to believe in allowing people to opt-out of organ donations of their dead bodies, if we're playing "balance competing rights". It's fairly clear that the right to bodily integrity of a corpse should come below the right of anyone currently alive to continue to be alive.

But again, not something I see anyone call for.
posted by jeather at 8:34 AM on October 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Some more evidence that closing Planned Parenthood significantly affects women's access to healthcare in ways which are far more insidious than just not being able to get abortions - many of the "alternative care providers" being suggested by right wing groups DON'T ACTUALLY PROVIDE CARE:
The receptionist at the clinic at Washington D.C.’s Correctional Treatment Facility seemed baffled to receive a call last week from a reporter asking whether she could schedule a breast exam at the facility.

“This is a jail,” the receptionist said. The reporter asked whether people from the community could nonetheless make appointments at the facility for a breast exam, a Pap smear, or a test for sexually transmitted infections. “Ma’am, this is a jail,” she said again, before suggesting that the reporter contact doctors’ offices nearby.

Indeed, most people would consider it unusual to pick a corrections facility if they were in the market for a breast exam. But that’s exactly what is suggested by a new website launched last month by some of the nation’s most prominent anti-choice groups.
posted by ChuraChura at 10:33 AM on October 23, 2015 [4 favorites]


Forcing people to do things is the essence of living in a civil society, even if we place an extremely high value on personal and bodily and autonomy. I will not shy away from using the word "force" for that reason.

It is one thing to agree to treat the rights of the fetus as existent and that they should be weighed against the woman's rights not to remain pregnant. But if you treat any and all violations of bodily autonomy as off-limits, you are really just treating it as an absolute than a right in conflict with other rights.

Bodily autonomy is not an absolute right. Someone who has drug-resistant TB and is at risk of spreading it to others is not free to remain untreated and infectious, as has been shown. Elective amputation is still generally illegal and for good reason -- people who desire to cut off healthy limbs are mentally ill and need treatment. Anorexics can be involuntary committed for weight restoration, and evidence shows that it works. Crazy people can be made sane chemically in order to stand trial. The list goes on.

At the same time, we do not harvest healthy organs from non-willing donors, even inmates on death row. Their rights must be weighed as well. China sees this issue differently.

I do not think the organ transplant analogy is a strong one. In the normal course of things, which is most of the time, healthy pregnancies will end with a healthy baby, without any permanent loss on the part of the mother. Pregnancy remains a risky thing, but it is not on average akin to permanently losing an organ to be pregnant for 9 months, even with some complications. I am not minimizing the discomfort and risks of pregnancy, believe me I am well aware of them, and in some cases they do call for decisive medical action either to save or end the pregnancy. But the analogy is weak.

The ethics of pregnancy, excepting a few circumstances, are fundamentally different than much of medical ethics. This is to be expected because the process by which we get new human beings is fundamentally special and important. But to deny that there is an ethics of pregnancy, in other words actually weighing rights against other rights rather than treating one right as absolute, is idiocy.
posted by fraxil at 10:53 AM on October 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Your examples are one of a disease that if spread can kill many people and three other examples that have, at their core, some kind of mental illness. Terminating or continuing a pregnancy will neither harm many people nor is it a sign of mental illness. Try again.

If you say losing an organ is more extreme than pregnancy, what about blood donation? No one is ever forced to donate blood in this country, even though the risks are minimal and the damage to the body is almost nil, and the number of lives that could be saved is enormous.

Why does a fetus have a right to use a person's body if that person objects to that use? Why is pregnancy a special exception to the right to use or not use your own body as you see fit? Believing that the ethics of pregnancy are different means you believe that a woman has less of a right to her body than a man does to his, as there are no circumstances where a man will ever be (legally) forced to provide his body for someone else's use.

You have stated multiple times that you are married to a pro-choice woman, so I'm sure you've either gone through these arguments with her (or maybe you two just don't bring it up, and that's totally fine too). I just need better reasoning than "because [babies]...are special".
posted by LizBoBiz at 11:17 AM on October 23, 2015 [6 favorites]


You are right: having a baby is utterly unlike donating an organ. You're not responsible for your kidney's wellbeing after you donate your kidney. You don't have to nurse your kidney, or keep it alive, or care for it, or put aside your needs to make sure its needs are met. You're not responsible for finding kidneycare, educating it, feeding it, considering the environment it grows up in. Making sure it doesn't grow up in an abusive household. Making sure it is clothed. Making sure it makes good choices. All of this while keeping a job, managing your own life, staying alive and healthy and happy in a society which structurally disadvantages women, women of color, poor women, working women, etc. All of this in a society which shows basically no interest in supporting women after they, uh, donate kidneys in a meaningful, government-program kind of way.

Pregnancy has consequences that FAR OUTLAST the 9 months of actually carrying a fetus in your uterus, and the anti-abortion movement basically ignores those consequences. You just ignored those consequences. Women's lives don't stop being impacted by being pregnant once they actually have a baby.
posted by ChuraChura at 11:24 AM on October 23, 2015 [14 favorites]


Think the Internet of Things (eg Nest networked thermostats), but for your Hoo-Ha.

And that's when conservatives will start demanding that the Department of Homeland Security start monitoring them all.
posted by homunculus at 11:28 AM on October 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


The Texas raids today are reportedly also seek patient records. How long before those names and address are "leaked" and turn up on Operation Rescue?
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:31 AM on October 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Someone who has drug-resistant TB and is at risk of spreading it to others is not free to remain untreated and infectious, as has been shown. Elective amputation is still generally illegal and for good reason -- people who desire to cut off healthy limbs are mentally ill and need treatment. Anorexics can be involuntary committed for weight restoration, and evidence shows that it works. Crazy people can be made sane chemically in order to stand trial. The list goes on.

It's a telling argument, anyway. Pregnant women are the equivalent of people who are infectious, mentally ill, or the criminally insane. We can forcefully medicate or treat those people, against their wishes (because we know better than they do!), so of course we can logically force women to carry pregnancies to term.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:48 AM on October 23, 2015 [9 favorites]


I do not think the organ transplant analogy is a strong one.

I disagree, but let's take that as a given. I'll even accept the argument that parents shouldn't be obliged to donate organs (which I think is a fairer comparison than "everyone in the world should be obliged").

So what about bone marrow or blood transplants? Those are very low-risk procedures, less risk than pregnancy. Why are people allowed to opt out of those?

And again, what about organ donation? That's zero risk! The person is already dead.
posted by jeather at 12:34 PM on October 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Solomon et al., Compelled Organ Donation [pdf], Gender Medicine Dec 2009.
posted by melissasaurus at 2:49 PM on October 23, 2015


First, I would like to reiterate my intention to engage in this argument in good faith. It is an emotional topic for me and I apologize if my language gets heated.

I believe I have made my argument that bodily autonomy is not an absolute right. I don't think that I was, in fact, equating pregnancy with mental illness. You might want to check your reasoning there. I agree that terminating a pregnancy may not cause direct, medical harm to "many people", but my argument is that the harm (death) to only one person is sufficient to be worth considering .

A fetus has a right to continue to develop into a person unless there are significant countervailing factors, which there certainly are in some cases. That right does place a burden on a woman's body that men will never have to experience (with current technology). If technology allows us to remove that burden from women at their discretion, I would not be opposed, but for the moment, it is their burden to carry, and yes, pregnancy is a "special exception." That is the argument I am trying to make and I am not running away from it.

Adoption is still an option. I suspect I would have a hard time convincing secular conservatives to spend their pennies on orphanages unless I could make a strong utilitarian argument, but I might have more luck with religious conservatives. A child raised in a suboptimal environment or orphanage still gets a chance at life. I suspect progressives would struggle to advocate for anything in the name of reducing abortions, unfortunately. It is well worth increasing our support for orphanages and women who are struggling with infants and children, regardless of and ideally before any changes in abortion law.

I am listed as an organ donor and would donate a deceased child's organs even if they did not consent to it. I do not have a romantic attachment to dead flesh.

Have to run and pick up the kids now, but I will try to log on later for responses.
posted by fraxil at 2:56 PM on October 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bringing adoption into a discussion about abortion is not engaging in good faith, because abortion is for when you don't want to be pregnant, adoption is when you don't want to be a parent.
posted by mostly vowels at 3:04 PM on October 23, 2015 [10 favorites]


If you want to make abortion illegal (possibly not in the case of medical necessity), do you want to make it illegal to bury perfectly good organs? If not, why not? I'm not asking if you personally would donate organs, just like I am not asking if you personally would have an abortion.
posted by jeather at 3:08 PM on October 23, 2015 [3 favorites]


I don't think that I was, in fact, equating pregnancy with mental illness.

When your only examples you can come up with are disease and mental illness, and then for some reason say pregnancy falls into this same category, it does seem to me to be equating pregnancy with mental illness. If there are other examples that don't involve the protection of many people or mental illness, I'd love to hear them.

I suspect progressives would struggle to advocate for anything in the name of reducing abortions, unfortunately.

They advocate for more access to birth control, more support for families, better parental leave, etc. all of which are factors that reduce abortion rates.

It is that "special exception" that is so hard for me to grasp my head around. I am having a hard time with the belief that a fetus/potential person has more of a right to a woman's body than any other actual people. Why does a fetus get special privileges to her body while someone who needs a blood transfusion to live does not?


(I do believe you are acting in good faith. You have stated multiple times that no changes to abortion laws should be made until other problems are fixed first, which is the best attitude for an anti-abortion person to have, IMO. Also, I hope you are not reading my comments as heated or hostile as they are not how I intend them.)
posted by LizBoBiz at 3:50 PM on October 23, 2015 [1 favorite]


Why does a fetus get special privileges to her body while someone who needs a blood transfusion to live does not?

In the cases that aren't rape, because the person who is pregnant consented to the activity that created the fetus that is now dependent on their body. Pro-life people see that as consent to pregnancy which they do not feel can be withdrawn because it would mean the death of the fetus. An exception for rape being popular is exactly because in that case it is viewed more like a forced blood transfusion rather than a voluntary donation. (And even pro-life right wingers can usually have empathy to the horror of it all in that case.)
posted by Drinky Die at 5:39 PM on October 23, 2015


I do not think the organ transplant analogy is a strong one. In the normal course of things, which is most of the time, healthy pregnancies will end with a healthy baby, without any permanent loss on the part of the mother. Pregnancy remains a risky thing, but it is not on average akin to permanently losing an organ to be pregnant for 9 months, even with some complications.

I'm going to point out that things like living-donor liver transplants exist.

Your liver regenerates over time, so you're not suffering a permanent loss of an organ. It still presents a significant risk (surgical intervention and all), and you have a recovery time afterwards.

How is forcing someone to donate a piece of their liver ethically different from forcing someone to carry a baby?
posted by mikurski at 6:11 PM on October 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


A fetus has a right to continue to develop into a person unless there are significant countervailing factors

Such as the woman in question not wanting to be pregnant, yep. Good, glad you agree.

I suspect progressives would struggle to advocate for anything in the name of reducing abortions, unfortunately.

And here come the true colours. You seem to think, from that statement, that we're like YAY ABORTIONS FOR ALL.

Nope.

Fact based sexual education. Contraception available to everyone who wants it. A culture of informed and enthusiastic consent. Ending rape. All of those things are things that us progressives agitate for on a regular basis.

And all of those things reduce abortions.

Fact: a sexual health curriculum in high schools that is based in science and fact reduces teen pregnancy. Indeed, it raises the age, across the board, at which the average teenager first has (heterosexual as in penis + vagina) sex. We fight for those things.

Guess who doesn't? The forced-pregnancy brigade. They regularly fight against all of those things, with the result being more unwanted pregnancies.

So just... smeg off with this whole progressives don't want to reduce abortions thing. Because we do. We want fewer women being put in a position where they have to choose.

At the same time, we also believe that any woman has the absolute right to choose. And another fact: women will have abortions whether they are legal or not. Legal abortions are safe. If you need a reminder, go watch Dirty Dancing, ffs, which features illegal abortion as a significant plot point.

And, frankly, once again: you don't have a uterus so your opinion is irrelevant.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 1:21 AM on October 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Funny how the abortion opponent hasn't adopted a bunch of children. Why, it's almost as if he doesn't feel he should be forced to have these children!

Forced-birthers are the most dishonest people out there. As I said, the moment it becomes possible to implant unwanted embryos or fetuses into forced-birthers, we'll see their true colors. You can bet they will insist that they shouldn't be forced to give birth.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:21 AM on October 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


It has been awhile since I watched dirty dancing, thanks for the tip.

As for not having a uterus and therefore having nothing to contribute to the discussion, that is a bald-faced assertion rather than an argument, and doesn't hold up functionally in our society either. As for what might happen when we can transplant wombs/embryos -- who knows. But that is a counterfactual.

I still think the organ-transplantation line of arguments is weak. Several key differences can be pointed out.

First, pregnancy/birth is the single most universal human experience. It is literally the beginning of life. Forcing a discussion of pregnancy, though it is indeed a biological process, entirely into a medical ethics framework is begging the question because it assumes the primary issues at stake are about disease. Pregnancy in its essence is a healthy process, as is being a developing embryo or child. Medical ethics is one part of the ethical dialogue about pregnancy but it is not fully sufficient to answer all of the relevant questions. An honest reading of the human experience in art, literature, or history speaks to this as loudly as words do.

Second, organ transplants are a new phenomenon, while pregnancy is older than our entire species. It would be strange if the entire ethical discussion of pregnancy were to change the moment someone got someone else's kidney. But that is more of an intuition than an argument.

The organ transplant argument rings false for other reasons. From the perspective of both the fetus and the woman's body, and in many cases by the woman herself, consent to sustain life has already been given. Therefore a better analogy would be if there were only one suitable match for a person's kidney/liver in the entire world, the transplant was a success, and the donor individual then demanded the organ back. Both would require active, invasive action by a medical specialist as opposed to both individuals simply continuing to work to maintain their health independently. I don't see why that analogy is weaker than what has been proposed above.

A related difference is that when someone needs an organ, no one individual can be identified as the only possible provider, which is still the case in pregnancy. We have an imperfect system but it recognizes that we all collectively have some responsibility for people in need of organ transplants. I believe we have a similar social obligation toward the unborn, but because there is only one "suitable donor" and in a sense the "operation" has already been completed, the burden of sustaining life (which in most cases is accomplished with a woman simply eating, drinking, and coping with the state of being pregnant) and not actively ending it does lie on the pregnant woman. I am not trying to conceal this with false equivalencies.

I have enjoyed this interchange and thank those of you willing to dialogue with me, though I wish there were a few more people willing to speak up for the unborn on this forum.
posted by fraxil at 8:13 AM on October 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


As for not having a uterus and therefore having nothing to contribute to the discussion, that is a bald-faced assertion rather than an argument, and doesn't hold up functionally in our society either.

Why do you think you have the right to tell a woman what she can do with her body?

I wish there were a few more people willing to speak up for the unborn on this forum.

For someone who literally just made some snarky point about 'that's not an argument,' you sure do love using emotionally loaded language, eh.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:22 AM on October 24, 2015 [5 favorites]


pregnancy is older than our entire species

And women not wanting to be pregnant/abortion is about as old as civilization, maybe older depending on your definition of civilization.

From the perspective of both the fetus and the woman's body, and in many cases by the woman herself, consent to sustain life has already been given.

The only time there is consent for a pregnancy is when the woman wants to be pregnant. Otherwise, where is the consent?
posted by LizBoBiz at 8:24 AM on October 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


consent to sustain life has already been given

Having sex is not consenting to having a child. The very thought of something so fundamentally violating disgusts me beyond words. It's like 2,000 years of hateful misogyny and smug patriarchal bullshit distilled into a single revolting sentence, and the fact that you present it as something obvious and inoffensive, the fact that you have so little understanding of consent, is horrifying to me.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:45 AM on October 24, 2015 [23 favorites]


I have enjoyed this interchange and thank those of you willing to dialogue with me, though I wish there were a few more people willing to speak up for the unborn on this forum.

I have not enjoyed this interchange. I do not enjoy interacting with people who believe I should have my rights taken away. I think it's awful.

I don't want you to come out of this discussion feeling good about having a nice, respectful exchange with women who disagree with you. I want you to come out of this discussion feeling the full, horrifying weight of what you think we should be forced to do - even though that seems to be impossible, because your arguments are full of tone-deaf, smarmy, minimizing language that contains very little actual empathy for us.

I do not enjoy interacting with people who believe that my female biology is grounds to give me less rights than men, that having female biology is the same as consent. And that is what your arguments about pregnancy being a "natural" and "healthy" process boil down to.

You're an agent of a patriarchal belief system that thinks I'm less than. You might not admit it to yourself, but that's what you are. Don't you dare tell you us that you enjoyed this interchange. I didn't enjoy it at all, and a world where such interchanges never fucking happen anymore will be a much better one.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 9:21 AM on October 24, 2015 [26 favorites]


while pregnancy is older than our entire species.

This is ridiculous. Bacteria and viruses are older than our species, too, and no-one's going around saying "Welp, no point washing our hands, folks, E. coli was here firstest."

From the perspective of both the fetus and the woman's body, and in many cases by the woman herself, consent to sustain life has already been given.

Holy shit, you have no idea at all what "consent" means, do you?

Here, let me help - Consent @ Wikipedia. Consent @ Dictionary.com.

Fetuses don't have perspective and can't give consent.

A woman's body cannot "give consent" to pregnancy in some mystical biology way completely separate from the woman's actual conscious intelligence as an actual human being. And the fact that you seem to think it does is strong evidence that you don't view women as actual people.
posted by soundguy99 at 9:48 AM on October 24, 2015 [9 favorites]


I have enjoyed this interchange and thank those of you willing to dialogue with me, though I wish there were a few more people willing to speak up for the unborn on this forum.

We've had others speak up from the anti-abortion side over the years, and though you still seem to have plenty of blind spots that you refuse to acknowledge, you are at least talking the talk when it comes to contraception and safety net programs. This isn't nearly enough for me, not by a damn sight, but many of the remaining differences are a result of bedrock first principles around when life begins, what role $DEITY plays, etc. and those are issues that no amount of dialogue here will change in any substantial way.

However, as many have mentioned, the really frustrating bits of this particular discussion revolve around your refusal to meaningfully grapple with the downstream effects of limiting access to abortion. Even if we temporarily set aside the issue of the mother's rights solely for the sake of argument, your position only makes on your own terms if you include as preconditions unfettered access to all forms of contraception provided by the state at no cost, a massive expansion of support for adoption services for the mothers who, in your ideal world, after being forced by the state to carry a pregnancy to term, don't want to raise that child, and an unprecedented expansion of the safety net to help the mother and child live something other than the bare minimum definition of "life".

Without even raising the (in my opinion unassailable) notion that the mother's rights trump those of the fetus, you don't deserve the right to even have your opinion on the legality of abortion taken into consideration until our society has these other supportive policies in place. Without them, limiting access to abortion will harm not only the mothers, but even if you believe that this harm to the mothers is unavoidable in the name of protecting the fetus, you'd only be giving these children an existence, not anything that could be meaningfully called a "life", rendering your argument about the child's rights totally moot without even having to balance those rights against the rights of the mother.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:52 AM on October 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


The biological functions of my body do not give consent. I give consent. My body does all sorts of shit I don't want it to do. Right now, for example, that includes ovulating. The existence of a menstrual cycle doesn't mean that every time I have sex, I am getting ready to be pregnant. In humans, having sex and reproducing have been basically decoupled and suggesting that sex means your body "consents" to pregnancy ignores all sorts of nonprocreative sex. Gay sex, post-menopausal sex, sex that isn't PiV sex, etc. etc. etc. And the fact that pregnancy often occurs despite the best efforts to the contrary (BC failures, for example).

Having sex does not equal consent to pregnancy. That, right there, is evidence of the puritanical and punitive "Well, if you have sex you deserve the consequences," slut-shaming approach that lurks at the base of the anti-choice movement's feelings about women.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:58 AM on October 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


I think the confusion on that point comes from the fact that men do consent to parenthood (or are at least legally treated as if they did) when they have sex. It ignores the reality that consenting to pregnancy and consenting to child support if the woman decides to keep the baby are very different things.
posted by Drinky Die at 1:24 PM on October 24, 2015



I think the version of consent that is being advocated here is too narrow. It is not reasonable to ask or expect people to consent to become pregnant. What adults can consent to is sexual activity (which I feel is absolutely required). In the setting of healthy physiology, it is reasonable to expect that consequences such as pregnancy may occur, even though it is also reasonable to take precautions to reduce that likelihood. In the eventuality that a woman does become pregnant, multiple ethical considerations apply and need to be balanced, as I have previously stated. Consent to all the consequences of our actions is not required for us to have some responsibility for them.

Although I do not feel analogies can really get at the weight of this matter, compare sex to eating. We consent to what we eat, but we do not consent to specific amino acids or sugars being absorbed. And yet ultimately we are responsible for how our bodies work, at least to some extent. That is what I was trying to get at. I am not sure if "implied consent" is a good word for it, but in any case, yes I am advocating that women take some responsibility for the natural consequences of their sexual activity and recognize that the lack of consent to every consequence of their actions does not absolve moral responsibility. That doesn't mean that I don't also advocate for their partners to share that responsibility, or for their families and societies to share it as well.

I do not agree that it is dehumanizing or makes women less than equal to state the fact that biology works different in men and women, and that this may entail different ethical obligations. The basis of equality does not rely on eliminating all difference, but in what is most important that is shared between people.

Asserting that with angry words does not scare me off or convince me otherwise. And I am not advocating a radical change in current laws at any rate. Conservatives like me need to do more to prove their good intentions and put their money where their mouth is.
posted by fraxil at 1:27 PM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


I do not agree that it is dehumanizing or makes women less than equal to state the fact that biology works different in men and women, and that this may entail different ethical obligations.

When actual women in great numbers for thousands of years express a practical disagreement with and a desire to do other than what you suggest they are ethically obliged to, and say that they feel dehumanized by the argument for that obligation over their bodily autonomy, it should call into question for you the worth of your opinion on the subject, however sure you otherwise feel about it from a bystander's safe remove.
posted by cortex at 1:37 PM on October 24, 2015 [12 favorites]


It is not reasonable to ask or expect people to consent to become pregnant.

Hi, you're wrong, and your repeated insistence that women's basic fundamental bodily autonomy does not exist is unspeakably vile.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:40 PM on October 24, 2015 [15 favorites]


Asserting that with angry words does not scare me off or convince me otherwise.

Similarly, your perhaps more polite language does nothing to convince anyone that you have a monopoly on deciding what the ethical obligations of women are.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:50 PM on October 24, 2015 [6 favorites]


I do not agree that it is dehumanizing or makes women less than equal to state the fact that biology works different in men and women, and that this may entail different ethical obligations. Asserting that with angry words does not scare me off or convince me otherwise.

Advocating anti-women policy and morality with an air of polite fatherly concern and dispassion isn't particularly convincing either, for what it's worth.

Possessing functional ovaries does not mean that you are morally obligated to carry a pregnancy to term should one occur. Follow that train of thought through to its logical conclusion. That is Handmaiden's Tale level dystopia.
posted by ChuraChura at 1:57 PM on October 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


Asserting that with angry words does not scare me off or convince me otherwise.

I didn't think that my angry words would change your mind. You are past having your mind change.

You think that my right to control my body can be fairly taken away just because that body is female. That is your explicit position on my rights: I do not have the same rights as you to refuse the use of my body by someone else, because in your view sustaining someone else's life is a natural function of my female body.

I like what soundguy99 said upthread:

A woman's body cannot "give consent" to pregnancy in some mystical biology way completely separate from the woman's actual conscious intelligence as an actual human being. And the fact that you seem to think it does is strong evidence that you don't view women as actual people.

I am not my female body, although it is part of me. I have a mind. I cannot be reduced to the natural functions of my body, or my will overridden, whatever you think.

But again, I didn't think that my angry words would change your mind. I wanted my angry words to make you feel. You seemed pleased with yourself about having a "productive" discussion, and I wanted to take that feeling away. I did not want you to think you did something positive by airing these vile, misogynist viewpoints. I did not want you to pat yourself on the back for scoring one for the positive representation of conservatives.

You shouldn't be allowed to think that this is just a civil disagreement over philosophy. I saw your little sentence about how you enjoyed this interchange and saw red. You should know the weight of your arguments, but that little sentence showed how much you don't. You "enjoyed" this. How fucking clueless.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 2:06 PM on October 24, 2015 [13 favorites]


[One comment removed, this is now getting weirdly out of scope if you're complaining about web fora gripes and echo chambers and so on. Feels like this has pretty much run its course as far as making your position on the core subject clear, fraxil.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:15 PM on October 24, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ok so my post lamenting a lack of civil engagement was off topic. Moving on. Surprised to find myself saying this, but this thread has been instructive for me and I will be thinking about it for awhile and am leaning toward changing some of my positions. I do thank you all for your frankness.
posted by fraxil at 2:47 PM on October 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


What saddens/angers me the most about Koch-funded Republicans focusing so fiercely on reproductive coercion is that they can easily gin up support because of something good; most people's desire to protect babies from harm, an easily triggered emotion. And also something bad: many people's desire to punish other people (especially women) having sex in a way they don't approve of.

Angers me because actual babies, as well as actual women, suffer greatly as a result of their policies, which are as cruel as possible to women who do give birth and to the children they have. To force someone else to deal with the heavy, expensive, sometimes dangerous consequences of your punitive ideals/sentimental fuzzy thinking is a particularly twisted kind of evil. To work every day to make that burden heavier on those people, who would not be burdened if not for you, is to be something I can only call sadistic.

Much as the colonial missionaries cared much for saving souls but very little for the health and welfare of those native populations they claimed to "help", antiabortion types spend their time in a fuzzy cloud of warm feelings, patting themselves on the back about the imaginary children they have saved, while the homeless shelter population and the food pantry line and the foster care system swell to bursting with very real children thanks to the policies they support.
posted by emjaybee at 3:00 PM on October 24, 2015 [10 favorites]


Possessing functional ovaries does not mean that you are morally obligated to carry a pregnancy to term should one occur. Follow that train of thought through to its logical conclusion. That is Handmaiden's Tale level dystopia.

Or real-world El Salvador.
posted by homunculus at 3:21 PM on October 24, 2015 [2 favorites]


the colonial missionaries cared much for saving souls but very little for the health and welfare of those native populations they claimed to "help"

Excellent parallel there.

I did not find this discussion enjoyable. It was disgusting.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:37 PM on October 24, 2015 [7 favorites]


...the fact that biology works different in men and women...

I have some dude-bro friends who harp on this all the time.

They're peeved that as soon as they ejaculate, they legally consent to 18 years of financial and (maybe) emotional support; but a woman's reproduction system is completely opaque to them. Are they ovulating, are they on birth control*, would they have an abortion after an unplanned pregnancy**?

When I press them, my dude-bro friends will admit that what they're upset about is that women hold the trump card, how can you call it a conquest if you're not always in the driver's seat?

It's just unfair, they say, we should all be playing by the same rules. And they want to be the ones to set the rules.

These are grown men in their thirties and forties. They're not pro-choice or pro-life, or even politically active or aware. But they are pro-misogyny and pro-patriarchy. Perhaps that's why they are, and, hopefully, will forever be single.

I'm sure you're a decent person fraxil, and I hope you can re-evaluate some of your positions keeping in mind that they are an eloquent version of some of the worst opinions of some of the worst people I know.

* always the woman's responsibility.
** they're decent guys, they'll pay for it.

posted by peeedro at 5:42 PM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


This conversation and the anger and frustration I felt after having it spurred me to watch After Tiller, which is streaming on Netflix (it made me angry, but more resolved, I guess). And, if anyone is interested, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio have a number of different ways to help support Planned Parenthood in our state.
posted by ChuraChura at 8:41 PM on October 24, 2015 [1 favorite]


fraxil, here's a thought experiment for you.

Let's say I'm someone with a uterus. I am on hormonal birth control. My penis-enabled partner always uses condoms. We are careful. Our birth control methods fail--this happens. We are neither interested in, nor financially able to, raise a child--I can't even take the time off work necessary to have a child.

Please explain, precisely, why I must be forced to bear a child that I tried everything I could to not have in the first place.

(I would also like to point out that lots of female-identified people have been telling you exactly why you are wrong, and I want my voice to be in support of theirs, not to drown them out.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:56 PM on October 24, 2015




Becca Andrews: How the Deceptive Videos Attacking Planned Parenthood Are Hindering Cures for Deadly Diseases
Thirty-eight states explicitly permit fetal-tissue donation for research, while six states currently ban such research, including Ohio, which is now also moving to make reimbursement for fetal-tissue samples illegal. In mid-October, Planned Parenthood announced that it would no longer accept reimbursements for its fetal-tissue donations in order to "remove beyond the shadow of a doubt the ludicrous idea that Planned Parenthood has any financial interest in fetal tissue donation."

Now, lawmakers in nine states are proposing bans similar to the one on the table in Wisconsin, and more are likely to follow, says Elizabeth Nash, a state policy expert at the Guttmacher Institute, which studies sexual and reproductive health. Americans United for Life, a prominent anti-abortion group, has included a fetal-tissue ban in its model legislation for 2016, and Nash anticipates that AUL's language will surface in a wave of legislation proposed in 2016 in light of the group's past collaborations with conservative lawmakers. (In 2010, for example, AUL's Federal Abortion Mandate Opt-Out Act was used as a model in Tennessee and Louisiana for opting out of insurance coverage for abortion in any circumstance.)

At the federal level, Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin has sponsored a bill expected to be taken up at the beginning of next year that would outlaw fetal-tissue research nationwide.

"I would ask the public to reflect on family members—people you care about who have been saved by this technology," Robertson says. "Think about the unanticipated implications of supporting these kinds of legislation."
posted by zombieflanders at 7:30 AM on October 26, 2015


Shit like this is why there've been various heads exploding in election threads every time someone said, "Gee, Kasich seems like a fairly moderate responsible Republican . . . . "

That sounds uncannily similar to what I said in response to someone who asked: "if you had to choose one candidate from the current Republican field to become the next president, who would it be?" I didn't say Kasich was my favorite presidential candidate, or even my favorite Republican candidate. I put Kasich third — these were my top 3:
George Pataki — the only pro-choice Republican candidate

Rand Paul — libertarian, anti-war, anti-drug-war

John Kasich — well-experienced, seems moderate and thoughtful
Notice that I didn't say he's moderate; I only said he seems moderate. So I left open the possibility that he isn't actually moderate.

But I agree with you, so I've reconsidered this and I'd no longer rate Kasich so highly. As of now, if I had to pick a Republican candidate to be president, here's how I'd rank them: Pataki, Paul, Trump, Graham.
posted by John Cohen at 9:43 PM on October 28, 2015


Rand Paul is vehemently anti-abortion. It's cloaked in that usual states rights fart symphony; the sentiment is clear.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:05 PM on October 28, 2015


Not trying to speak for JC there, but I don't think he was trying to suggest he isn't anti-abortion. He acknowledged Pataki as the only pro-choice which puts him #1 and then ranked the rest of the Republicans who are not pro-choice on other criteria. (Questioning the relevance of a such a ranking in this thread is valid.)
posted by Drinky Die at 10:29 PM on October 28, 2015


I know, my point is that if Pataki is the only pro-choice person in the clown car, then the list goes:

1) Pataki
2) There is no 2
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:31 PM on October 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


I would drive that car.
posted by clavdivs at 5:36 AM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]


Not trying to speak for JC there, but I don't think he was trying to suggest [Rand Paul] isn't anti-abortion. He acknowledged Pataki as the only pro-choice which puts him #1 and then ranked the rest of the Republicans who are not pro-choice on other criteria.

Yes, that's right. There's some stuff I like about Rand Paul and some stuff I don't like; he's against legal abortion and I'm for it. I was responding to a question posed to all Mefites (who obviously lean left and don't tend to vote for Republicans) about which Republican candidate you'd prefer if you had to pick. In reality, as I said in my original comment, "I'm a registered Democrat and I've never voted for a Republican for president." Since I became eligible to vote in 2000, the people I've voted for in presidential elections are Gore, Kerry, Obama, and Gary Johnson. (Johnson is a libertarian who's pro-choice.) I'd be very averse to voting for someone who's against legal abortion. Now, I've voted for Republicans for New York state-level positions, where abortion wasn't a factor — which shows how important the issue is to me, since it can have a big effect on which party I vote for. Of course, abortion is only one important issue among many important issues, and I always try to weigh each major candidate as an individual, so I'm going to consider the Democratic, Republican, and Libertarian candidates for 2016 and I don't know who I'll vote for.
posted by John Cohen at 9:54 AM on October 29, 2015


« Older How do you get to Denmark?   |   The Final Experiment Is Nigh Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments