Health Care for Children as a Pro-Choice (and Pro-Life) Policy
November 28, 2004 7:42 PM   Subscribe

Health Care for Children as a Pro-Choice (and Pro-Life) Policy Georgetown Law Professor Mark Tushnet suggests that if the government were truly interested in stopping abortion, they would do so by providing health care and other social interventions. Not by overturning Roe. His position makes sense, considering that abortions have gone up since Bush took office.
posted by expriest (57 comments total)
 
Tushnet just needs to pray harder. Hasn't he been reading the Washington Post?
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:43 PM on November 28, 2004


This is typical of the benighted reality-based community. Next they'll be insisting that sex education can reduce teenage pregnancy!
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:47 PM on November 28, 2004


Wow. I must be as smart as a Georgetown Law professor, since I've been saying exactly the same thing for years.
posted by Faint of Butt at 7:47 PM on November 28, 2004


They aren't pro-life - they're pro-birth. How many fetuses (and pregnant mother's) did george bush and his clan of republicons kill in Iraq? Meanwhile they ignore genocide in Darfur. I wonder how anyone who calls themselves pro-life can support these people - and then look themselves in the mirror?
posted by specialk420 at 7:52 PM on November 28, 2004


I freely admit to being anti-birth.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:53 PM on November 28, 2004


While I'm just anti-life?
posted by mek at 7:55 PM on November 28, 2004


I freely admit to being anti-faith and pro-reality.
posted by AlexReynolds at 7:57 PM on November 28, 2004


Glad you brought this up. As Catholic who feels that my chruch has been hijacked by fundamentalists, I'm happy to see someone going a little deeper than the typical black-and-white arguments for and against.

Two weeks back, NOW with Bill Moyers had a great interview with Sister Joan Chittister, former head of the Benedictine nuns...she hit on the same thing. Whether it's an original stance or not, I'm glad to hear it from someone who might at face be seen as firmly closed-minded...

" I do not believe that just because you're opposed to abortion that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking. If all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed and why would I think that you don't? Because you don't want any tax money to go there. That's not pro-life. That's pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is."

More: http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript346_full.html
posted by diastematic at 8:00 PM on November 28, 2004


I was pro-choice in college, after being indoctrinated by my college professors who confused their LSD flashbacks for lesson plans.
Upon studying fetal development in med school, and how early the nervous system develops, my views did a 180. This was further reinforced by my wife and I losing a baby at 21 weeks. She premature labor and the magnesium could not stop it. We had a funeral. I held my little girl until her heart stopped beating. It was the worst thing in our (my wife and I) lives.
To think people could just throw life away.
My view is not based on religion, but science. I do not believe that Roe should be overturned either. However, any women undergoing an abortion should have to see the entire procedure and a high resolution 3-D ultrasound of the fetus prior to making that decision.
I think that science, not religion, unless it is distorted by groups like NOW and Planned Parenthood, will ultimately lead to the decline in abortion.
Nothing will stop abortion. It's easy to kill those without a voice.
BTW I was baptist once... not now. For those who bitch about the alias... look up the punch line for "Why don't baptists have sex standing up?"
posted by dancingbaptist at 8:15 PM on November 28, 2004


To think people could just throw life away.
To think that a trained medical professional could dismiss a huge diversity of situations and contexts with a flip, sentimental platitude.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:19 PM on November 28, 2004


I think government social support for mothers and children is a great idea, but does anyone really think that a lot of women decide to have abortions because they're worried that a baby wouldn't have access to adequate health care, but would otherwise be happy to go through with a pregnancy and raise a child?

Also, a lot of conservatives who happen to be against abortion may take positions that would cause more children to live in poverty, but the pro-life movement in general seems very aware of the post-birth part of life. When I was an undergrad, I subscribed to most of the political mailing lists on campus, and the pro-life one was always having baby showers for low-income mothers. Now, I know a few donated baby items don't make up for lack of decent health care and education, but it reflected a commitment that I was impressed with (and from what I know of the group, it seemed like most of them would have favored the social policies that Tushnet suggests anyway.)
posted by transona5 at 8:23 PM on November 28, 2004


diastematic - that's a great quote, I'm going to use that one in my next pro-life/pro-choice political discussion.
posted by rdub at 8:23 PM on November 28, 2004


Perhaps as a trained medical professional, he's just as worried about a bullet in the back of the head from the prolife contingency.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:32 PM on November 28, 2004


dancingbaptist isn't utilizing a flip platitude. I would surmise that irrespective of what specialty he chose he endured the same clerkships and internship as every other physician and more than likely did encounter any number of individuals who approached the decision to choose abortion with the same gravitas (or less) as what to wear on a blind date. That, sadly, is the world we live in but which many are fortunate to not have to participate in.

The issue has become so politicized that it is impossible to discuss rationally without being branded in one extremist camp or the other the second you declare yourself of one mind or the other. I simply no longer feel as though one cannot be anti-abortion and pro-choice simultaneously.

That said, it's seems fairly paternalistic and punitive to feel it necessary to show someone the procedure as they undergo it. Why stop there? Maybe an artist's rendering of the fetus at their tenth birthday party? What, exactly, would be the point?
posted by docpops at 8:36 PM on November 28, 2004


but the pro-life movement in general seems very aware of the post-birth part of life.

yeah right.
posted by specialk420 at 8:40 PM on November 28, 2004


dancingbaptist, the issue here is not whether or not the pro-life stance is or is not ethical or where the life of a baby begins, but why those who are vociferously pro-life are usually also against those programs which would allow the child to live past birth because they require higher taxes.

That is, they're all about letting the babies live provided they don't have to sacrifice anything for it.
posted by schroedinger at 8:41 PM on November 28, 2004


diastematics's quote represents the classism pervades the liberal ideology. It's too bad poor children in inner cities aren't allowed to have vouchers so they could leave those shitty schools they are in. The Democratic party depends on this subtile racism/classism, to stay in power.
I do acknowledge that you could send someone to the best school in the country and if their mother was a crackwhore and their father an absent gang-banger has the cards stacked against her (which is what that quote basically states.) However, I think every kid deserves a chance.
I believe, vehemently, in a woman's right to choose. She has the right to choose whether or not to have sex or whether or not to have the child. If she chooses sex, she chooses to have the child. If she was raped, then she has the right to choose not to have the child.
Again, I am against the overturning of Roe and hope W's nominee is a Sandra Day O'Connor type justice. I'm against overturning Roe because I think it is futile... just like arguing pro-life and pro-choice. The argument is futile.
Again... I am, a rather shitty, Christian, but I believe in evolution, stem cell research, and don't take the Bible literally. I don't think my faith is affecting my argument. My argument is based upon science and ethics in general.
posted by dancingbaptist at 8:43 PM on November 28, 2004


Yes, docpops, but what about the many who agonize over this decision? What about those for whom the guilt never goes away, even as they believe themselves to have made the correct decision? Are they "throwing a life away"?

I don't know. I can't know. My point is that dancingbaptist doesn't and can't know, either, and does not have the right to characterize the decision this way.

That said, I also happen to believe that we fetishize "life" in the abstract, without - as others have ably pointed out upthread - much providing for the quality of that life. I find this distastefully hypocritical, and I very much also resent having to live on a planet filled with so many unwanted children.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:44 PM on November 28, 2004


I'm sorry, I hadn't seen dancingbaptist's latest comment in preview.

The Democratic party depends on this subtile racism/classism, to stay in power.

?????
Where, exactly, is the Democratic party in power? It certainly isn't here in America. (I will avoid engaging discussions of which party profits most from racism.)
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:46 PM on November 28, 2004


yeah right.

Because...all pro-lifers support Bush's Iraq policy? Like the Pope?
posted by transona5 at 8:48 PM on November 28, 2004


Where, exactly, is the Democratic party in power? It certainly isn't here in America. (I will avoid engaging discussions of which party profits most from racism.)

Even when Dems aren't in power, they're in power. Its part of the subtle, subliminal reinforcement of how the Right is always under attack from the liberal elite who run the country, even when they aren't running the country. Deliberately obtuse to people who aren't paying attention, and deliberately infuriating to those who are.
posted by AlexReynolds at 8:58 PM on November 28, 2004


The Democratic party depends on this subtile racism/classism, to stay in power.

As opposed to overt racism/bigotry, and overt class warfare? What, for fuck's sake, is your point? And why dilute the potential strength of your argument with a truly empty, tired platitude about a political party? And in case you've been sniffing glue for the past month, the democratic party is hardly in power any longer.
posted by docpops at 9:03 PM on November 28, 2004


This is good. As a Catholic Pro-Lifer, I totally agree with this. I kind of came to the conclusion a few weeks ago that the best way to prevent abortions is not by pushing to make it illegal- but rather to support the mothers who are going through pregnancy. Untill those efforts are stepped up and a mother who has a child is just left on her, I don't believe that overturning Roe is in the best interest of the mother and baby.
posted by jmd82 at 9:09 PM on November 28, 2004


Adam: (hi from Noel BTW) I see dancing's point...sure, it's not the Democrats who are in power today, but they still are the second largest party in the states. They gots power. And they use arguments like this all the time to retain power. If that's what dancing's saying, I agree with that. That said...I turn my head and raise one eyebrow...

Dancing: Democrats? Who said anything about Democrats? People, people: let's focus on the issues, not labels. You can't assume that just because I might give two loads about a child's life post-birth that I buy into whatever hollow drum Big Party B might be banging. Believe it or not, I thought that quote worked because it resonated with me...not because I read it in the Liberal Handbook (or saw it on NOW for that matter).

(Not that I wouldn't mind having a Handbook for Progressives now and then for bathroom reading.)
posted by diastematic at 9:10 PM on November 28, 2004


A "Catholic Pro-Lifer," mind you, who characterizes himself thusly in his profile:

"women ask for it
they act all old and mature
and then you stick your cock up their ass
and they get all bitchy
"I"M ONLY 13, I'M ONLY 13!!!"

Charmed, I'm sure.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:11 PM on November 28, 2004


Sorry, diastematic: who's "Noel"? And why the shoutout here?
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:12 PM on November 28, 2004


Ignoring the flaming, thanks, expriest, for the links.

A) I had read the Sojourners piece a month back, but had lost it, so thanks.

B) The point about abortion 1) being an economic issue; and 2) going up during Bush's first term; is really interesting. It's a perspective that is — sadly — ignored from both sides.
posted by Alt F4 at 9:17 PM on November 28, 2004


Like the Pope?

If the pope is against the killing of mothers, children born and unborn, grandmothers etc... and the razing of cities in Iraq - he needed to speak up a little louder before the war started, and at to his flock at election time this year ... if the hypocrisy of bush's pro-life/pro-death policies actually mattered to him and the catholic church.

hypocrites.
posted by specialk420 at 9:23 PM on November 28, 2004


If the pope is against the killing of mothers, children born and unborn, grandmothers etc... and the razing of cities in Iraq - he needed to speak up a little louder before the war started, and at to his flock at election time this year ... if the hypocrisy of bush's pro-life/pro-death policies actually mattered to him and the catholic church.

hypocrites.


Seems like the Bush/Hitler comparisons can extend even to the Catholic Church looking the other way today, just as they did in the 1930s and 40s.
posted by AlexReynolds at 9:30 PM on November 28, 2004


It's too bad poor children in inner cities aren't allowed to have vouchers so they could leave those shitty schools they are in.

Yeah it is too bad they can't get a voucher for the Federal money spent on their education, which is less than 10% of the total cost. That voucher might pay for about a third of the typical private school tuition, leaving them to pay for the other 2/3s out of pocket.

That's if they got a slot, considering that students elegible for vouchers would outnumber private school seats by 60 to 1.

Vouchers, they make sense, but only if you are not in the reality-based community.
posted by bashos_frog at 9:44 PM on November 28, 2004


what's your point alexreynolds?

bush and his pro-life supporters are hypocrites - if the pope is against killing - he needed and needs to do more to stop it.
posted by specialk420 at 9:45 PM on November 28, 2004


I think he agrees with you, specialk.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:48 PM on November 28, 2004


There was a great quote on This Week (ABC) where a panel of preachers discussed moral values in regard to abortion and homosexuality. One of the panel members said something along the lines of:

"Jesus never once mentions homosexuality or abortion, but poverty gets more than 2000 lines in the New Testament."

The religious right needs to crack open their Big Book and do s'more reading. I think they missed about 2000 lines.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:52 PM on November 28, 2004


Seems like the Bush/Hitler comparisons can extend even to the Catholic Church looking the other way today, just as they did in the 1930s and 40s.

FAIL. No! Oh crap, sorry dude, but FAIL. You FAIL.

dancingbaptist, you still haven't addressed the issue of federal aid programs. Vouchers are well and good, but they're not able to cover the complete cost of many private schools and hardly provide a total solution. You need to build familial and community support, something beyond sticking the child among a bunch of rich kids.
posted by schroedinger at 9:58 PM on November 28, 2004


Why does he have to, though? He's spoken his piece - not entirely coherently, true - but in any event I don't think it's his responsibility to design a coherent healthcare system in this thread when the combined minds of so very many have failed. It's enough to know where he stands, roughly.

I don't think any one of us is laboring under the delusion that we're engaged in some kind of comprehensive open-source policy development process, right?
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:03 PM on November 28, 2004


I don't want to pile on dancingbaptist, but I'm interested in a rather typical point he makes: I believe, vehemently, in a woman's right to choose. She has the right to choose whether or not to have sex or whether or not to have the child. If she chooses sex, she chooses to have the child. If she was raped, then she has the right to choose not to have the child.

Why do men keep talking about what rights a woman should have? As a woman, I don't walk around talking about what rights I believe a man should have. I wonder what a conversation about a man's rights would look like?

Maybe: "If a man chooses sex, then he chooses to support the child and care for it." Currently, about half of the child support in this country goes unpaid. By men. Our child support enforcement mechanisms are laughable.

Maybe: "If he chooses sex, he must donate a kidney, bone marrow, or blood or any other part of his body if his child ever needs it." After all, you think a woman's body should be used for the fetus's needs, but our country has no laws requiring fathers to sacrifice their body parts for their children.

Starts to look like a weird conversation, doesn't it?
posted by equipoise at 10:06 PM on November 28, 2004 [1 favorite]


Via Jane Galt, this link raises very strong questions about the whole "abortions have risen under Bush" meme. Weirdly similar to the Clean Skies fiasco [where pollution still declined, but at a slower rate, thus termed an increase in pollution]; abortions haven't declined as rapidly as expected, but have declined, and therefore the gap between actual abortions and the prognostication, for political gain, is portrayed as an increase.
posted by pabanks46 at 10:07 PM on November 28, 2004


I simply no longer feel as though one cannot be anti-abortion and pro-choice simultaneously.

Whew, that's a relief! I've been anti-abortion and pro-choice for simply ages: personally, I'd not choose an abortion but would either belly-up to the responsibility of raising a child or adopt the baby out. Non-personally, I don't really give a flying fig what someone else does with their body.

But, heck, I also believe that abortion should be allowed post-birth. Ya can't stuff 'em back in the hole, so whatcha gonna do if they just aren't working out? Make the age cut-off about, oooh, age six. That should be enough time to find out if the kid is broken.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:11 PM on November 28, 2004


FAIL. No! Oh crap, sorry dude, but FAIL. You FAIL.

Really?

You sure about that?
posted by AlexReynolds at 10:13 PM on November 28, 2004


Oh, I'm not contesting the Catholic Church's place in WWII and Nazi Germany. But I am of the opinion the minute one starts bringing Hitler and Nazi comparisons into discussions that do not involve WWII or fascism, one has displayed a degree of idiocy and lack of creativity so strong that it completely invalidates their argument.
posted by schroedinger at 10:34 PM on November 28, 2004


Hold on, folks. First off, issues like abortion, as they have come to exist in the American imagination, are usually not part of a broader public discussion about crafting a workable society in a coherent way. They're wedge issues, pumped up with illogic and emotion, to funnel votes in particular directions for particular candidates. I'm not saying that the issue of abortion itself is not shot through with the weight of big, big spiritual and philosophical questions for people. Hardly. I'm saying that, as the imperative to end abortion plays out in the public political conversation (the arena where the laws and policies eventually are formed), it's a cipher -- part of the conservative conceptual framework of social punitive-ism. Extending a hand to expectant mothers is decidedly not part of this impulse; indeed, it runs counter to it.

Progressives sometimes find ourselves tempted to seek out some kind of third-way approach, such as is getting bandied about here. But in the current political universe, such a third-way might be a pipe dream, because keeping the issue as ugly and scapegoat-oriented as it currently is provides a great deal of utility to the right-wing machine. Americans need to stop having gratuitous, wanton sex, you see -- they need to get married, conceive legitimate children, work hard, "pull themselves up by their bootstraps," spank those children ... and finally, instill fear in them that should they have premarital sex and "get in trouble," they will be cast out as objects of shame. Oh, and vote for the guy who promises to insure the perpetuation of this miserable, dismal existence -- sorry! I mean "moral values."

The right will not let go of this hermetically-sealed narrative easily.
posted by scatman at 10:50 PM on November 28, 2004


Linear thoughts : abortion kills babies. Women choose sex.

Complex thought: people kill people: 1) the Pentagon spent 480 million dollars on Viagra for troops and 8 million for combatting malaria (for troops who might acquire it while serving abroad); no pharmaceutical company is currently researching malaria; people are dying as a result. 2) typically there are factors influencing sexual behavior, one of them being poverty. Abortion is also influenced by wealth. We have massive wealth inequalities in our country. You'll lower abortions (and obesity) if you put wealth back into equilibrium.
posted by faux ami at 10:56 PM on November 28, 2004


good points, equipoise.

snarky comment:

If men would just stop choosing to engage in premarital straight sex, we wouldn't be having these problems. If a man chooses to have sex, he chooses to raise the child.

Of course, more gay sex would solve the entire problem ... can you see pro-life groups getting behind that plan? I'm sure it would make everyone happier!

serious comment:

I really appreciate the original article and especially diastematic's quote for bringing in the more complex issues surrounding abortion, and child welfare in general. I think they do correctly point out that if one's stance on abortion is linked to your desire to protect children, to be consistent those children should be a concern during the whole of the pregnancy (pre-natal care, supplemental nutrition) and their childhood.

That said, while I think that care for vulnerable mothers and children should be part of any logical pro-life platform, I wonder how much it would reduce abortions? Is there a great difference in abortion rates between the U.S. and Canada or other countries with national health care? What about in countries with a stronger social safety net?

Because so much of the decision a woman makes rests on her personal beliefs (which can be changed by the experience of needing to choose) and her situation (some are prepared to take on motherhood alone, some are not). Some women might not choose to carry to term because they believe that if they did so, they would not be able to give up the baby for adoption; the desire to hold and raise one's own child is a very power instinct. But they may also know that they cannot provide a good home or proper care for that child. It is not just money, but the fact that it is a very difficult for one adult, even a financially secure one, to raise a child on their own, without the support of another. Without a radical change in our society away from the atomised nuclear household, additional healthcare or social support may only make a small amount of difference in the choice on whether to carry to term of not - so long as women face the prospects of raising children alone, without support of the community or extended families, it will be overwhelming.*

*I'm not saying single parents, male or female, cannot succeed; I know too many who have done wonderful jobs. But I also know that it is extremely difficult, in ways that are more than just a matter of money.
posted by jb at 1:01 AM on November 29, 2004


Abortions per 100 pregnancies:
USA 0.69
Canada 0.49
Japan 0.40
from here

I know Japan's social services are pretty good, from experience. Canada is included for the previous poster. Many other countries available at the link - scroll down for tables.
posted by bashos_frog at 1:56 AM on November 29, 2004


Here are the countries with higher rates:
Belarus, 2.04
Bulgaria, 1.55
Cuba, 2.33
Estonia, 1.63
Hungary, 1.07
Kazakhstan, 1.32
Latvia, 1.33
Slovenia, 0.70

Not very impressive company. I think grinding poverty makes a bigger impact than government healthcare, looking at Cuba, for example. But the US isn't winning any prizes there either, as 16.3 percent of children live in poverty and that number is growing. 36% of poor people in the US are children.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:07 AM on November 29, 2004


Whoops - my numbers are from the wrong column. That statisic is not per 100 pregnancies, but is the number of abortions that would be experienced by the average woman during her reproductive lifetime, given present age-specific abortion rates.
posted by bashos_frog at 2:12 AM on November 29, 2004


Upon studying fetal development in med school, and how early the nervous system develops, my views did a 180. This was further reinforced by my wife and I losing a baby at 21 weeks ... It was the worst thing in our (my wife and I) lives.

Why do anti-abortion folks love to mention their miscarriage in some twisted analogy of abortion? No one cares. It's hardly rare, and mentally healthy people are disappointed for a while and try again. If they're analogous, then abortions aren't tragic or even noteworthy, either.

And your baby died because it was God's will, anyway. Seriously, up yours for bringing that up and trying to manipulate the rest of us. Miscarriages and abortions have nothig to do with each other except for a dead fetus and a temporary setback to humanity's goal of ten billion people starving to death in the dark.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:31 AM on November 29, 2004


The problem with this* is that it provides incentive to have kids young, and have them outside of a stable relationship. If you can make more money by having two kids and remaining unemployed than you can get by having zero kids and working a shitty entry-level job, well. If you're a teenager who doesn't actually understand what it means to be a parent, that option is going to weigh very heavily on your mind.

*increased benefits for single mothers.
posted by kavasa at 4:27 AM on November 29, 2004


On the other end of this is abstinence only sex education, another problem area for compassionate conservatives.
posted by effwerd at 8:04 AM on November 29, 2004


However, any women undergoing an abortion should have to see the entire procedure and a high resolution 3-D ultrasound of the fetus prior to making that decision.

You know, if someone had shown me a video of the entire procedure involved in my jaw surgery, including a high resolution 3-D ultrasound of the cyst that was growing in there, I'd probably have had second thoughts, too, and might have opted out of the surgery.

But then I'd have likely died a few months later.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:35 AM on November 29, 2004


why is it snarky to start talking about men's rights and responsibilities? why is it off-topic to talk about the social services that support new mothers?

conservatives in this country have done a great job of defining the issues and the boundaries of what's discussed. if they call themselves pro-life, that makes us...anti-life? if they call themselves anti-abortion, that makes us...pro-abortion? that's a clever and powerful rhetorical trick on their part.

let's start reframing these conversations now. instead of talking about abortion, let's discuss our society's response to conception. what do we require the couple to do? what do we allow them to do? what do we do to help them make those choices? and at what point do we step back and say it's none of our business?
posted by equipoise at 9:48 AM on November 29, 2004


dancingbaptist, just because you were sentimentally persuaded that abortion was wrong doesn't mean that anyone who goes through medical school would draw the same conclusions - in fact, that is obviously not the case at all, given that those who perform abortions are doctors themselves.

It is absolutely impossible to argue that early term fetuses have any sort of proto-consciousness at all. However, they have the potential to develop consciousness, and they visibly resemble babies, although they are about the size of your thumb... it is understandable that one doesn't want to destroy something. Still, it seems like a greater moral breach to destroy a healthy dog.

However, any women undergoing an abortion should have to see the entire procedure and a high resolution 3-D ultrasound of the fetus prior to making that decision.

or how about, anyone who eats meat should kill it themselves; anyone who puts a pet down should do it themselves; anyone who has surgery should refuse anesthetic? I appreciate the point, and generally tend to want people to be as fully aware of the consequences of choices they make as possible, but there are many many ways in which we allow for greater comfort and it is surely arguable that the decision is the decision, and making it more painful doesn't do anyone any good (and that pain is by no means necessarily the result of any moral equivocation).
posted by mdn at 9:54 AM on November 29, 2004


bashos_frong, isn't another issue in those countries also that abortions are used as birth control, and use of condoms or the Pill is eschewed or even discouraged? That's what my Russian teacher said--I dunno it for sure.

As effwerd mentioned, it's interesting that pro-life conservatives also often promote abstinence-only education. A combination of removing the right to choose along with discouraging safe sex practices by not informing people of how to do it seems suspiciously close to an attempt to legislate a moral judgement about sex itself, rather than promote the health and wellness of its practicioners.
posted by schroedinger at 10:00 AM on November 29, 2004


"...it seems suspiciously close to an attempt to legislate a moral judgement about sex itself..."

Seems suspiciously close, schroedinger? I'd say it's precisely what's being attempted.

That whole counter-meme never made sense to me, since we've got such effective means of preventing unwanted pregnancies, provided by medical science, as well as effective forums for teaching people how to use them -- not to mention how to handle sexuality. Seems to me it would be pretty easy to reduce the number of abortions to an absolute minimum by using these methods, eh? Since there's no way to reduce them to zero no matter what we do - obviously making them illegal doesn't work.

Oh, but then we'd be "encouraging" people, especially our young people, to actually have sex, possibly before getting married, and that's a horrible sin that God hates. Uh huh.

Circular "logic," don't you love it? *barf*
posted by zoogleplex at 1:06 PM on November 29, 2004


For what it's worth, Tushnet is thought to have influenced the Roe v Wade decision as Justice Marshall's clerk.
posted by ibmcginty at 2:26 PM on November 29, 2004


[Doctors] encounter any number of individuals who approached the decision to choose abortion with the same gravitas (or less) as what to wear on a blind date.

This is not the first time I've heard people talk about all the flippant sluts having abortions while getting their nails done or whatever. Maybe I'm just not reading the right newspapers, but is there actually any basis for this characterization? The (few) women I know who have had an abortion made a carefully considered decision, and understood the gravity of their actions. I don't think anyone of sound mental faculties actually wants to get pregnant and have to go have a medical procedure (one heavily laden with emotional repercussions, to boot) to end it.

I'm sure there have been cases of people having abortions without proper consideration. However, I also know of MANY cases where someone had children without careful consideration.
posted by jess at 3:52 PM on November 29, 2004


dancingbaptist : while i will conceed that any woman who elects to have an abortion should be well-educated as to the procedure she's about to undergo and the possible consequences, both physical and pyschological, i have to say that requiring her to watch the procedure first is a bit cruel.

would you want a patient undergoing any other elective surgery to watch the procedure first? watching surgery, to the layperson, is creepy and kind of squeamish. i don't think it would necessarily instill in the woman a value of the life of her embryo, but would be unnecessarily gut-wrenching and creepy. scare-tactics very rarely work effectively.

why not advocate for better sex education in schools to prevent future unwanted pregnancies instead?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:05 PM on November 30, 2004


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