Elected Teabaggers Poop On Planned Parenthood

The  Teabagging hordes that galloped to a U.S. Congressional majority last fall in a yeehaw cacophony of barnyard honks and Randian squawks voted to slash Planned Parenthood’s funding this afternoon. Oh hooray! From TPM:

By a vote of 240-185, the House passed Rep. Mike Pence’s (R-IN) amendment to strip Planned Parenthood of its federal funding.

According to MSNBC, ten Democrats voted to pass the measure, while seven Republicans voted against it.

The bill is not likely to make it through the Senate, where the Democrats have the majority, or to survive a veto by President Obama if it comes down to it.

Pence hailed the passage of the bill in a statement, calling it “a victory for taxpayers and a victory for life. By banning federal funding to Planned Parenthood, Congress has taken a stand for millions of Americans who believe their tax dollars should not be used to subsidize the largest abortion provider in America.”

Yeah. Or alternately ffffffffuck you assholes. Think abortion is wrong? Don’t have one! No problem! See? It’s easy to get along and respect each other’s different beliefs!

Still all agitated about this topic? Don’t like me flinging poop at anti-choice creeps? Afraid I can’t help you my poor crazy pro-life friend. Maybe see a counsellor? Whatever you do, don’t you dare push your bizarre, preindustrial superstitions (which you have a right to) on those of us who choose to live in the 21st century. Here in the present,  babies and fetuses aren’t the same thing and more importantly women get to make decisions for their own bodies and thank goodness for that.

(You know when abortions were illegal? Most of Western history. You know when  they became legal? After women were allowed to vote, work and choose their own destinies. Kind of says it all, don’t you think?)

All of this misses the point, since nobody wants abortions. Women want and need sex education, dependable birth control and doctors and health workers who can help them with their icky girlparts* issues. And that’s what Planned Parenthood is about. What this is,  is an attack on women’s health.

Again, from the TPM article:

Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, released a statement condemning the vote, calling the legislation “extreme and dangerous.”

“It is difficult to understand why people who say they are opposed to abortion would do so much to undermine the family planning and contraception that helps prevent the need for it,” Richards wrote.

I think Cecile understands quite well but is too smart to say “anti-abortion activists and politicians are disturbed freaks. I sure wish they’d take their psychological problems to psychiatrists instead of Congress.”

And this happens in the same week that South Dakota talked about making it sort of legal to murder abortion doctors. Sheesh. Be warned: if you are a woman [EDIT: or man!] person and you say “I am not a feminist” anywhere near my sensitive and angry ears today I will say mean, sarcastic things to you even if you are a complete stranger. Just sayin’!

*No, I don’t think girl parts are icky at all, and yes, some people don’t appreciate my particular style of humour. Sorry about that, people who don’t find me funny!

(This article has been edited since publication.)

About Stephen Whitworth

"The self-described 'handsome, wise and beloved' editor of the magazine..." --Faith Goldy, Sun News Network

168 Responses to Elected Teabaggers Poop On Planned Parenthood

  1. JB February 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    Apparently, federal funds can’t be used for abortion services anywhere in the US anyway, so they’re basically de-funding PP’s other services: you know, contraception, education, general reproductive healthcare–stuff that generally *decreases* the need for abortions in the first place. Again, these fuckwads like to squawk a lot about “saving babies,” when it’s abundantly clear that attacking women’s autonomy is really what they want to do.

    So basically, “hear, hear” to this entire post. Though I’d expand your warning to men who won’t identify as feminist (or at least pro-feminist) as well. Most of the people who voted for this defunded, and ALL of the nine Democrats who did, were men.

  2. Stephen Whitworth February 18, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

    I just posted a link to this website on Lifesitenews.com, an anti-abortion (and anti-same sex marriage and anti-lots of other things) site.

    I invited Lifesite readers over here to read my post.

    Wonder if any of them will take the invitation?

  3. Rhology February 18, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

    Hi! Linked over from Lifesite. You promised vulgarity and implied immaturity, and you didn’t disappoint!

    You said:
    –”Teabagging hordes that galloped to a U.S. Congressional majority”

    1) Saying “Teabaggers” and suchlike reveals you to be a leftist, biased tool. Just FYI. Can you really not resist the temptation?
    2) The Tea Party has no position on abortion. I unsuccessfully tried, for example, to have the Planned Parenthood vigil for victims added to my local Tea Party mailing list update.

    You said:
    –”Think abortion is wrong? Don’t have one! No problem! See? It’s easy to get along and respect each other’s different beliefs!”

    Think kidnapping is wrong? Don’t kidnap people! No problem! See? It’s easy to get along and respect each other’s different beliefs!

    You said:
    –”don’t you dare push your bizarre, preindustrial superstitions”

    Did you know that this is a logical fallacy, a derivative of the genetic fallacy, called the argument from modernity? Just b/c you come later in chronology doesn’t mean you’re right.
    Does it bother you that you’ve used a logical fallacy in your argument?

    You said:
    –”babies and fetuses aren’t the same thing”

    Tbh, I’d say that is THE central topic of the whole abortion debate. I’d like to ask you: When does a fetus become a baby? And how do you know?

    You said:
    –”You know when they became legal? After women were allowed to vote, work and choose their own destinies. ”

    Yes, a lot later. Like 54 years later, in the USA. That’s a pretty large separation of time to prove correlation. Do you have an argument that would compel us to accept your reasoning here?

    You said:
    –”since nobody wants abortions”

    Then why is Planned Parenthood requiring that all of its “clinics” PERFORM abortions by 2013, or else be cut off from PP funding?
    This is obviously false.

    You said:
    –”Women want and need sex education, dependable birth control and doctors and health workers”

    1) Defunding PP doesn’t mean that PP won’t get any money anymore. It just means the US gov’t won’t subsidise them. They’ll have to compete now.
    2) What about all those ppl who like to remind us that PP is all about contraception and raising awareness? Wouldn’t PP have to constrict, tighten its belt, in order to continue to offer its most important services, while trimming the fat? Or is it that, contrary to what we keep hearing from the PP apologists, abortions really are their stock and trade and their favorite activity? What happened to safe, legal, and rare? As far as I can tell, they and their ilk are only interested in the “legal” part of that triumvirate. So, if they stopped funding contraception and all that stuff and focused on abortions, seems to me that the blame would rest squarely on their shoulders, not on the shoulders of those calling for reform.

    You said:
    –”South Dakota talked about making it sort of legal to murder abortion doctors. ”

    Help me understand your reasoning here. It’s OK to kill fetuses b/c the law says so. It’s not OK to kill older fetuses b/c the law says it’s not OK. But what if the law were changed to allow killing of any and all fetuses? What’s your specific complaint?

    Peace to you,
    Rhology

  4. Abolitionist_4 February 18, 2011 at 8:49 pm #

    Let me rewrite a few of your major claims below the way they would appear in the mid-nineteenth century.

    You wrote: “Yeah. Or alternately ffffffff___ you, a__holes.. Think abortion is wrong? Don’t have one! No problem! See? It’s easy to get along and respect each other’s different beliefs!”

    19th century pro-choicer: “Yeah. Or alternately ffffffff___ you, you Northern a__holes. Think owning slaves is wrong? Don’t own one! No problem! See? It’s easy to get along and respect each other’s different beliefs!

    You wrote: “don’t you dare push your bizarre, preindustrial superstitions (which you have a right to) on those of us who choose to live in the 21st century. Here in the present, babies and fetuses aren’t the same thing and more importantly women get to make decisions for their own bodies and thank goodness for that.”

    19th century pro-choicer: “don’t you dare push your bizarre, medieval superstitions (which you have a right to) on those of us who choose to live in the 19th century. Here in the present, people and black people aren’t the same thing and more importantly Men get to make decisions about whose bodies they buy and own, and thank goodness for that.”

    Abolish Human Abortion,

    Ian John Philoponus, Abolitionist 4

  5. Amy Thibodeau February 18, 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    I love the goofy civil war sounding usernames the anti-choice people always come up with – Abolutionist I’m lookin’ at you. I would almost find it funny if they weren’t trying to strip women of the right to control their bodies.

    Let’s forget when a fetus becomes a baby and all that stuff. Are you really going to *force* a woman to carry a baby to term in her body, with all the health, social and psychological implications that implies, and then force her to push it out of her vagina? Are you going to tie her to a bed for nine month to ensure she doesn’t find a way to get rid of it by any means necessary? Does anyone want to live in a world like that?

    I also find it interesting that the same people who are anti-choice and anti-planned parenthood (i.e. contraceptives, sexual education) also tend to be anti-public health care and anti-social services that would help low income, single mothers who do decided to see a pregnancy to term, and their children. So you want to force women to have babies, but you don’t think society should have any responsibility for caring for them once they come into a world where they are not wanted? More care and protection is sunk into protecting a hypothetical ‘baby’ than real people.

  6. Stephen Whitworth February 18, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    Hello visitors from Lifesite! I’m off work for the night but I look forward to reading your comments over the weekend. thanks for taking the time to leave them.

    Hullo, Amy!

  7. JB February 18, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    Well colour me shocked that neither of you anti-choicers felt it necessary to mention women in your posts. If you’re going to blather on about how you think that I, me, JB, should be forced to carry a pregnancy to term against my will, you could at least stop glossing over the fact that there’s a pregnant person involved in abortion.

    And according to PP’s stats, 3% of their services are abortion services. Of course, I guess you might assume they’re lying and that they secretly love performing tons of abortions for the hell of it.

  8. Rhology February 18, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    So, you folks are upset b/c we think that you shouldn’t be allowed to dismember a baby w/o provocation?
    In 99% of cases (at least in N America), the pregnancy is due to consensual sex. Your parents DID teach you what happens when you have sex, right? Well, you don’t get to kill someone else just b/c you made a mistake.

    Amy said:
    –”So you want to force women to have babies, but you don’t think society should have any responsibility for caring for them once they come into a world where they are not wanted?”

    1) Smokescreen. This is irrelevant.
    2) No, not at all. My church is quite involved in helping such women. My wife volunteers at the Crisis Pregnancy Center. You should be ashamed of yourself for using this argument.

    JB said:
    –”3% of their services are abortion services”

    1) Remember what I said about 2013?
    2) Then if they stop offering abortions, it won’t be a big deal, right?

    Peace,
    Rhology

  9. Abolitionist_4 February 18, 2011 at 10:23 pm #

    Wow. Good Arguments Amy. Sorry for not mentioning Women in my post. I was born and raised by a woman. Used to be inside of a woman. I am married to a woman. Women are more likely to be aborted then men in China because abortion is a sexist tool (always has been). And women who have abortions are so deeply hurt by it that they either become rabid pro-choicers out to justify their actions and ameliorate their guilt, hide the pain inside of themselves and die a slow emotional death because of it, or find forgiveness and restoration from the giver and redeemer of life. Susan B. Anthony was a woman, who hated abortion. Margaret Sanger was a woman and hated black people.

    There, I’ve mentioned women.

    I also like your claim that a fetus is a woman’s body. Were you in any of my classes, I would give you an F. Learn some embryology.

    And do you really think that “Abolitionist” is a Civil War term. Another F. Learn some history.

    Yes there is a pregnant person involved in every abortion. Definition of pregnant:
    adjective
    1.having a child or other offspring developing in the body; with child or young, as a woman or female mammal.

    Interesting. A woman, a child, in the body. Do you need me to dictionary.com these other words for you.

    Perhaps a picture is worth a thousand words. Close up of a woman’s body at 14 weeks pregnant:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Baby-06.jpg

  10. Stephen Whitworth February 18, 2011 at 11:45 pm #

    Just popped in for a minute before bed. Or should I say “pooped in?” Ha ha.

    Abolitionist: Amy did indeed say “civil war-sounding.” I’m glad you corrected her by explaining that the term you use as your nickname, which refers to 19th-century opponents of slavery in the United States*, has nothing whatsoever to do with the American Civil War in the 19th century. (Are you a teacher!)

    I think she was a just attempting to express how “Abolitionist”, to her, sounded like a musty old dumb nickname. Please forgive her, she’s only female. Do you have a large moustache by the way?

    Rhology: You called me a tool! That makes me sad. Wait, no it doesn’t. Don’t worry about it, I’m fine.

    Abolitionist: your photo of a fetus does look more like a human than it looks like a, say, turnip. I can definitely see how the thingy depicted in that image could become a baby. Pretty amazing actually, I’m sure we can agree.

    Rhology again: my understanding is that a very high percentage of tea party politicians, probably over 100 per cent, oppose abortion. Am I mistaken? Please give me a more accurate idea of the numbers.

    And Rhology one last time: it wouldn’t have occurred to me to compare terminating a pregnancy to a kidnapping. but then again, I don’t know how one ransoms a turnip so maybe I’m just not a creative thinker.

    Thanks again for the visit, my kooky, anti-choice fellow human friends!

    *and elsewhere

  11. anonymous February 19, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    Free condoms! STD testing! Pelvic exams! Advice on safe sex! Cheap birth control pills! Witty ad campaigns!

    PPH is NEEDED.

  12. Abolitionist_4 February 19, 2011 at 1:12 am #

    Stephen,

    Umm. Yes, I teach history, and yes you are an idiot to think that Abolitionist is a distinctly American or civil war only related term. Even popular encyclopedias get this right. Just search Abolitionism on wikipedia. (I like their third sentence, ” In the 17th century, Quaker and evangelical religious groups condemned [slavery] as un-Christian; in the 18th century, rationalist thinkers of the Enlightenment criticized it for violating the rights of man.”)

    My political position on the issue of abortion is Abolitionist.

    PS: I only call you an idiot sir because such foinstering is the tenure of your blog, and also, because your thoughts betray you as an idiot. Oh, and no, I do not have a funny mustache. I know a guy who does, and he likes to keep 750 dollars in a separate bank account to pay for abortions. He is a real pro-choice feminist).

    Thanks For posting my comments.

  13. Anon February 19, 2011 at 1:42 am #

    I find something at once slightly funny yet quite troubling about both the article and the proceeding commentary.

    The article itself is obviously tripe, nothing but a rather flaccid attempt at satire, sans the intellectual bite and clever ideological riposte, but it illustrates an interesting phenomenon that has become far too common in today’s world: the drive to mock, belittle, and demonize one’s ideological opponents, resulting perhaps from confusion of “worthy adversary” with “enemy.”

    Although I found nothing of any value or substance in the piece, I find it a bit odd that the writer made a specific point of seeking out an anti-abortion site and provoking its readers into reading something in some rag in Canada, as if to trot them out in some perverse dog-and-pony show.

    What exactly were you hoping to accomplish? Did you assume that because of a shared opinion, we would shamble on over through our modems and spew nonsensical venom about abortion, guns and the Holy Ghost, showing you just how much “better” you are than us?

    I think that’s not terribly far from the truth, because: you are writing about legislation that made it through a relatively low hurdle, in a country you don’t even live in; when your little ruse succeeded, you and your loyal readers made only a cursory effort to engage in any sort of dialogue, ignoring major points in favor of making inane comments about the US Civil War and turnips (and, as it turns out, abolitionism had roots in 16th century Spain, and the term came to be in what was actually a British, not American, movement…I’m rather surprised that Crown-kissing Canadians would be so glaringly ignorant of that), or simply demeaning opponents either specifically or through implication.

    Don’t lie to yourselves. You enjoy thinking that someone who’s anti-abortion must be some brain-addled maniac who thinks women should be oppressed, the poor deserve misery and Sarah Palin is part of the Trinity. And when that convenient mould doesn’t fit, you throw shrill accusations and spew slogans until you think it fits.

    You’re no better than the “tea baggers” you hate so much. Not unlike Christ, we find ourselves in a spot with criminals to the right and the left.

  14. Amy February 19, 2011 at 1:57 am #

    @Abolitionist – Yes, good plan, focus on the history of your ridiculous *sounding* pseudonym instead of on the backwater arguments that make you think you have the right to curtail a woman’s right to control her body. Given the state of the history curriculum in the United States, you giving me an F would make me absolutely giddy.

    And FYI – just because you are a woman does not mean that you are incapable of espousing sexist policies – but gold star to you for having a vagina! Congrats, really.

    @Rhology – You should be ashamed. Women should not have to subscribe to your religious beliefs in order to feed and clothe the children you have forced them to carry.

    And now, I’m going to give a big fat donation to Planned Parenthood and encourage my friends and family to do the same. Big up to the anti-choicers for reminding me and so many others that this isn’t an issue we can afford to be complacent about. :)

  15. Glenn February 19, 2011 at 2:54 am #

    Re: #13 – you crack me up

    “I find something at once slightly funny yet quite troubling about both the article and the proceeding commentary.”

    “The article itself is obviously tripe, nothing but a rather flaccid attempt at satire, sans the intellectual bite and clever ideological riposte, but it illustrates an interesting phenomenon that has become far too common in today’s world: the drive to mock, belittle, and demonize one’s ideological opponents, resulting perhaps from confusion of “worthy adversary” with “enemy.”

    Ah yes, let’s call the kettle black, but do it with a somewhat well constructed sentence so as to avoid the obvious.

    “Although I found nothing of any value or substance in the piece, I find it a bit odd that the writer made a specific point of seeking out an anti-abortion site and provoking its readers into reading something in some rag in Canada, as if to trot them out in some perverse dog-and-pony show.”

    “What exactly were you hoping to accomplish?

    The proof is in the pudding as they say.

    “Did you assume that because of a shared opinion, we would shamble on over through our modems and spew nonsensical venom about abortion, guns and the Holy Ghost, showing you just how much “better” you are than us?”

    Well, apart from the guns and Holy Ghost thing, yeah, seems self-evident, duh! But now that you mention it, the guns and Holy Ghost stuff sounds good too! What’s that about?

    “I think that’s not terribly far from the truth, because: you are writing about legislation that made it through a relatively low hurdle, in a country you don’t even live in; when your little ruse succeeded, you and your loyal readers made only a cursory effort to engage in any sort of dialogue, ignoring major points”

    Which were the major points? Let’s engage!

    “in favor of making inane comments about the US Civil War and turnips (and, as it turns out, abolitionism had roots in 16th century Spain, and the term came to be in what was actually a British, not American, movement…I’m rather surprised that Crown-kissing Canadians would be so glaringly ignorant of that), or simply demeaning opponents either specifically or through implication.”

    I see you’re rather attached to the minor points.

    “Don’t lie to yourselves. You enjoy thinking that someone who’s anti-abortion must be some brain-addled maniac who thinks women should be oppressed, the poor deserve misery and Sarah Palin is part of the Trinity. ”

    Well, apart from Sarah Palin being part of some sort of Trinity (Holy Ghost thing again?) and the poor deserving misery, yeah. What’s your point?

    “And when that convenient mould doesn’t fit, you throw shrill accusations and spew slogans until you think it fits.”

    Spew? I haven’t spewed like, since eighth grade. How about yourself? ….

    ” You’re no better than the “tea baggers” you hate so much. Not unlike Christ, we find ourselves in a spot with criminals to the right and the left.”

    I’m not better than anybody. You must be in the exact fucking centre. What’s that like?

  16. Rhology February 19, 2011 at 7:06 am #

    Stephen W,

    Hopefully you’re bright enough to know there’s a diff between what most Tea Partiers hold to and what the Tea Party as a movement more-or-less officially stands for.

    Anon said:
    –”You enjoy thinking that someone who’s anti-abortion must be some brain-addled maniac”

    Don’t project, please. You have no idea what I think, so this is 100% unfair.

    –”Not unlike Christ, we find ourselves in a spot with criminals to the right and the left.”

    I get it. You’re a martyr b/c you think that we should be allowed to rip babies apart. Your nobility is flagrant.

    Amy,
    –”Women should not have to subscribe to your religious beliefs in order to feed and clothe the children you have forced them to carry.”

    I am sorry but this is ludicrous. I have never said anything of the sort. Rather, I don’t think ppl of any age or gender should be able to dismember other ppl w/o provocation.

    Glenn,
    –”Which were the major points? Let’s engage!”

    Read my first comment. I brought up several. Read Abolitionist’s comments. He brought up several.
    Let’s see how serious you are.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  17. Rhology February 19, 2011 at 7:11 am #

    Anon,

    Re: my last comments addressed to you. It’s early in the morning, haven’t had my coffee yet. Forget I said that stuff. Yikes.

    I will say that Glenn did a less-than-superb job in replying to you, though.

  18. JB February 19, 2011 at 8:21 am #

    Gosh, I’d love to keep playing, but I’m looking down at my card here, and I see that between the “abortion is always an emotionally devastating thing for a woman,” the implication that everyone is/should be Christian, the comparison of a woman terminating a pregnancy to someone owning a slave, the “pregnancy = slut penance” trope, the assertion that crisis pregnancy centres are somehow admirable, and the mocking of the suggestion that women be mentioned, it seems that I’ve already got a bingo! I was hoping for “Your baby might grow up to cure cancer!” so I could get the total blackout, but what can you do.

    Here’s a hint about when I’ll start to believe that the pro-life movement’s “people should be legally obligated to use their bodies to support the lives of other beings, no matter the financial/emotional/health/etc. cost of this enforcement”: when you start trying to pass bills that make bone marrow, and organ donation mandatory. Seriously, look at all these people walking around with perfectly useful lungs and kidneys, and our stupid liberal laws say that they get the “choice” to not give them to people in need! And even if someone’s a perfect match to give bone marrow to save someone’s life, they can legally refuse to have it taken from them! And don’t get me started on corpses–that corpses have the “right” to not have the pieces of their bodies used to support others? A travesty, am I right?

    Anyway, I’m sure that since you guys don’t prioritize the rights of corpses over the rights of living women, you’ll get right on that ASAP!

  19. Barb Saylor February 19, 2011 at 8:51 am #

    Well, that was fun. Be careful what you wish for, Stephen. Gotta say, though, that the responders from the link can put together coherent arguments, and they can spell “abolitionist”.
    While we’re at it, Happy Family Day, everyone.

  20. r.m. February 19, 2011 at 11:25 am #

    @#13: The “in a country you don’t even live in” argument you employ only works if you’re not an imperial superpower imposing your culture on the world at large. (That is, keep to yourselves and we’ll stop getting so worried about the implications of what you — as a country — do). As it is, though, your decisions affect us (i.e., the rest of the world) and I find it very frustrating that you dismiss the opinion of anyone outside your country.

    @Stephen: Love to see people engaging the other side of an idea. Thanks for this.

  21. Anon February 19, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Regarding comments to my previous post, #15 specifically, I’d point out that the theme – an apparent lack of respect for any sort of proper debate on this topic that doesn’t resort to mockery or thinly-veiled accusations of ignorance, callousness or sexism – was rather obvious upon re-reading my post. I’ll cop to the Civil War part being a minor point, but nevertheless nobody really addressed the main point, and instead made snide comments about my choice of phrasing or wording.

    To be fair, I didn’t outline my reasons for opposition to abortion. And in like fairness, abortion, per se, was not my target. My point, to state clearly, is that the writer’s evident intent in linking to this on an anti-abortion (I hope my subtlety in terms isn’t overlooked) website was not to nurture any sort of civil or productive response, and as such he seemingly intended to bring us over to get a rise out of us so we’d leave stupid, drool-soaked posts for all of the “enlightened” regular readers to laugh at.

    I don’t make this conclusion out malice, but a reading of the article shows that it is quite clear that it was not intended to give a fair – or even educated, really – assessment of the legislation, it’s motivation, or it’s context. Instead, the supporters are called names and their character immediately called into question, while the opponents are nearly deified in comparison.

    For instance, it is presumed as obvious that religious motivation or psychosis are the prime motivators behind opposition to abortion (and I’m sure the linking of those two as related was hardly coincidental). It doesn’t seem to matter that: this need not be the case, as purely secular argument could produce an anti-abortion conclusion, stemming mainly from the rather subjective definition of “personhood,” which is a question that cannot be answered scientifically in the sense of empiric foundation (that is, no one can point to embryonic science and say “it’s a person at this point” without first defining “person,” showing a circular form of reasoning); nor does the writer find it relevent that the pro-choice side, at least here in the States, has a sizable religious component, and while I do not mean to be cruel, I will point out that this seems to indicate I rather patronizing stance toward people of differing beliefs, as if to pat them on the head and say, “well, you may be stupid and backwards, but you agree with me so you aren’t so bad.”

    Furthermore, when people from lifesite did read and leave comments, their main points were generally ignored. For example, #3 pointed out weaknesses in the reasoning and the flimsiness of factual support in the writer’s argument, while #4 drew a relevent comparison to slave-owning by showing that legal definitions of “personhood” do not count fixed nor just as necessary conditions.

    They were greeted with accusations of sexism (#5, #7, and #10), lack of concern for people with hard lots in life (#5), or simply had their handles mocked or were otherwise derided (#5, #10, #14, etc). No more than a token effort was taken to address the issue-at-large.

    Which leads me back to why the writer deemed this necessary in the first place. Since the preceding demonstrates that nobody was interested in fairness or discourse, including the writer, it seems probable that a left-leaning magazine wanted to show it’s left-leaning readers how adorably upset “those backwards anti-choicers” get at the slightest provocation. When Lifesite readers came over and demonstrated that they were as literate and erudite as Prairie Dog readers, the latter took their only recourse and made fun of them.

    And then when I pointed out the lack of basic civility and consideration, and questioned the real motivation (not without cause, it seems), the response in #15 is basically a dressed-up “I know you are, but what am I?” The difference is I’m not out writing drab attempts at topical humor like a teenager doing a real bad Jon Stewart impression, and then trying to goad people with different beliefs into making fools of themselves or tacitly encouraging readers to do the same.

    However, #15 makes a point when admitting that it’s fun to belittle and demonize the opposition on a hot-button issue, which is basically what you do when you assume away any reasonable difference and chalk up someone’s opposition to “a case of the crazies.” If you want to see where that sort of disposition leads en masse, take a good look at what’s happening in the States right now. Political deadlock and heated rhetoric that explodes from the media and creates a country of one faction that can barely stand the existance of the other (and no matter what they say, both sides are guilty). Or consider the rising neo-fascist sentiment in parts of Europe, wanting to expel immigrant groups and havinh little faith in true democratic process.

    You’re right, I am in the dead center, inasmuch as I respect others enough to hear them out and try to understand their perspective. And I don’t resort to petty ridicule (and note there is a difference between ridicule and satire), no matter how much I disagree (their behavior is fair game).

    And since my point the first time around was too hard to extract, I’ll state it plainly: refusal to hear you opponent out, in fairness, makes you ignorant; mocking others based upon their beliefs doesn’t make you right, it makes you an immature twit; alienating people of different ideas simply through insult or self-righteous pretension tends to radicalize both sides, which no good ever comes of.

  22. r.m. February 19, 2011 at 11:34 am #

    …just checked out Lifesite, and they’re being sued. By a Catholic priest.

  23. Anon February 19, 2011 at 11:43 am #

    #20: give it a rest. That was a statement, not an argument, and if decisions here in the States somehow worm their way into Canada, that’s really Canada’s problem. We’ve got too many internal issues to worry about how much of American culture Canada might be soaking up. Until we barge in and make you don Levi’s jeans, an American flag shirt and a cowboy hat, maybe you should try to strengthen your own culture if you’re so worried about our “imperialist” machinations.

  24. Abolitionist_4 February 19, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    I agree with Stephen (weird). It is okay to comment on what is going on elsewhere in the world.

    Just think of the dehumanization of Jews in Nazi Germany and the sexist discrimination against unborn little girls in China.

    We can and should comment on the evil in the world wherever we see it.

    We can also comment on the inanity of anyones statements regardless of their country of origin.

    For instance, regardless of my geography or anyone else’s, the statement that “abortion is a woman’s right to control her own body” is stupid to the highest degree. Abortion is the destruction and removal of a male or female body (no matter its state of development or ability) from the womb of another persons body.

    To try to repel abortion abolitionists arguments with rejoinders such as “you are anti-choice woman haters” is in all truth, pathetic.

    If you have to resort to this type of thinking and argument, you have lost.

    You have lost. And I do not mean you have lost this little debate. I mean, in regard to this issue, you are on the loosing side and fighting for a lost cause. Please consider this fact and try an figure out why it is that you are so anti-abolitionistic in your stance regarding abortion. What is the real reason behind your attitude and position on this issue?

  25. r.m. February 19, 2011 at 11:57 am #

    @23: I’m wearing Levi’s and a cowboy hat as I type this, and I hold you personally accountable for my misery.

  26. Stephen Whitworth February 19, 2011 at 12:34 pm #

    Barb my friend! How many times did I misspell “abolitionist” anyway? Yikes.

    Rhology and Abolitionist: I didn’t have any goal or expectation when I posted this link on Lifesite. Just thought it might make something interesting happen. It did! If I understand you correctly, you both don’t want women to be allowed to choose an abortion because you confuse a fetus with a baby and abortion with murder. And you both support politicians and organizations actively working to end the legal option to terminate a pregnancy. Is this correct? I don’t like that at all.

    I do like seeing your reasoning in action and it’s good to see you as people rather than caricatures!

  27. Stephen Whitworth February 19, 2011 at 12:46 pm #

    @r.m. Lawsuit? Or… fundraising opportunity!

  28. Abolitionist_4 February 19, 2011 at 1:09 pm #

    Stephen, this is the last time I will post on your site so I will be clear. Following your last comment, and changing your assessment of my position (and possibly Rhology’s) where necessary:

    I don’t want women to be allowed to choose an abortion because a fetus is a human and I don’t think it is right to allow anyone the right to choose to end the life of any innocent human. People who think that fetuses, babies, children, adolescents, adults, and elderly homo sapiens are not humans are woefully ignorant of science and incapable of engaging in philosophy). People who think that pro-lifers or abortion abolitionists are confused about the difference between a fetus and a baby, and that this is the root of their position, are either stupid, uninformed, or so incapable of making a valid argument that they have stooped to attempting to rhetorically trick their readers with an ineffective debating trick. Learn the arguments of your philosophical opponents (I suggest Francis Beckwith’s “Defending Life). Abortion is legal in America and many other countries (though it is illegal in many other countries). Because it is legal, it is difficult to just define it as murder, as it was defined before it was made legal. So lets just agree on the definition of abortion being something like: the termination (caused death) of a human fetus that is developing within another person. I support the abolition of human abortion and actively work toward this end through both political and cultural means. I do not think it should be an option to terminate a pregnancy. Less than 1% of al abortions are carried out to destroy the unwanted child produced by Rape or incest, and even less to save the life of the mother. Most abortions are carried out because a woman has the legal right to terminate the life that she has in some very real sense chosen to create. Even if she chose to create it simply by becoming sexually active or being careless or the victim of failed birth control methods.

    The position is quite simple. Though people like yourself frequently misrepresent for the purpose of obfuscation.

    Please think.

  29. Stephen Whitworth February 19, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Uh oh.

    “People who think that fetuses, babies, children, adolescents, adults, and elderly homo sapiens are not humans are woefully ignorant of science and incapable of engaging in philosophy).”

    You’re just flat-out wrong about science. The science guys are on my team (actually I’m on theirs), not yours. I’ll let others who know what they’re talking about defend philosophy if they like but that sounds like a “because I say so argument” to me. What would Aristotle think?

    As for the rest of your position, well, I value grown up women more than fetuses. You don’t. That says everything anyone needs to know about both of us.

    I guess we really are enemies!

  30. Barb Saylor February 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    You’re not the misspeller, Stephen; one of the pro-choice debaters was.
    In another post, long ago, I noted that there is no middle ground in the debates on abortion or on climate change; that any attempt at discussion – even those which are not flat-out provocative, like the original post and link – descends very rapidly into namecalling and demonizing and general lack of edification. That has been amply demonstrated in this post, and Anon #21 nails it.
    By the way, responders, although a faithful prairie dog reader, I disagree with the opinions therein more than half the time. If I can respond civilly, I do; if I can’t, I use the wellworn blog technique of not taking the bait.

    For those not celebrating Family Day, Happy President’s Day.

  31. Rhology February 19, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    @Stephen W #29,

    I’d think you had a case to be made scientifically if you’d bothered to answer my question from before – when precisely, scientifically, does a fetus become a human, and how do you know?
    We both know you have no consistent answer to that question, and that’s why Abolitionist_4 was so right – the pro-baby-murder side has no scientific case and also is woefully inept philosophically speaking.
    Answer the question.

    Finally, you threw out a disanalogous but sadly common bugaboo – “I value women more than fetuses”. This is disingenuous. Almost zero abortions are choices between the life of the mother and the life of the baby. What you should have said is that you’d prefer to dismember a baby instead of telling a woman she’ll have to be inconvenienced for 9 months, b/c the alternative is murder. In no way is it putting the child’s value over the mother’s. The anti-baby-murder position thinks they both have the same value. They’re humans and you don’t get to deprive them of life w/o due process of law.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  32. Seanbot3000 February 19, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    Abortion makes me so sad, especially when it comes from educated people who clearly have no respect for life, and just take a “vacuum it” attitude after they completely blow off effective birth control. With this societies access to condoms and birth control pills, and all the awareness taught at such an early age, there should be no excuses. Birth control works. Why end a life just because (in most cases) the person was to lazy to use them?

    And it really pains me, Steven, that you think nothing of stopping a human heartbeat.

  33. Stephen Whitworth February 19, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    My friend Seanbot–and you’re an appreciated and welcome regular here so I’m going to try to be direct and not cute or sarcastic–a fetus is not a baby. And I don’t “think nothing of abortion” at all; nobody would have one for fun. But sometimes it’s the best decision for a person and it needs to remain a legal option.

    Remember, the reason we’re talking about this today is because Republican politicians (and a few dastardly Democrats) in the States are attempting to de-fund Planned Parenthood. That’s vicious and evil for a lot of reasons I’m not going to re-type right now (you would not believe how much work I have to do in the next three days!). This political act needs to be called out and condemned.

    Also, your characterization of people who have abortions (too lazy to use birth control?!) is not representative of reality. Birth control fails sometimes. All kinds of people have abortions.

    One big reason people like me get frothy, of course, is that when abortion is illegal women still have them but the procedure is inherently sketchier and dangerous because it’s illegal and underground. And illegal abortion literally kills women.

    A grown women is worth more than a fetus. If you think that’s not true, you’re cracked (with respect).

  34. Stephen Whitworth February 19, 2011 at 7:44 pm #

    Rhology: No, I won’t answer the question. It oversimplifies the discussion. If you want to learn about fetal development Google it yourself. To say that a fetus has the same value as a grown woman is absurd.

    (Okay, okay. anything less than 12 weeks is indisputably not a person. After that, the little creature slowly begins becomes more interesting. I’m not an expert (duh) but the final trimester seems to be the time when it starts becoming a legitimate entity. But until the thing is breathing on its own outside of its mom, its existence, such as it is, is vastly–and, in a sane world, legally–less important than its mom’s.)

    Also, it is insanity to describe an unwanted pregnancy as an “inconvenience” that someone should be legally forced to endure. If that’s how you view pregnancy, uh, you might want to have yourself checked out for psychosis.

  35. Rhology February 19, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    Stephen,

    Oh, b/c you asserted it, we’re just supposed to believe it, eh? Pardon me for not accepting your authority.
    WHY is it absurd to say a fetus is human, just like a grown woman is? Do you think that 80 year old women have a greater value than 3 year olds? If not, why not? They’re OLDER, and grown woman are older than fetuses. Apparently age is your deciding factor.

    The other thing you said is that when a baby breathes, it’s a human? So when ppl are on ventilators, they’re no longer human? If not, why so inconsistent?
    You refused to answer the question but then proceeded to tell us that “anything less than 12 weeks is indisputably not a person”. Why is it too much to ask that you explain your judgment call?
    If you ask why we think life begins at conception, we’ll be happy to tell you. When will you, the baby murder proponent here, man up and answer the question?
    Tell you what, let’s give you another chance, but only one. Make an argument, on pain of proving yourself just to be one more irrational proponent of dismembering babies for the hell of it.

    Peace,
    Rhology

  36. Stephen Whitworth February 19, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

    Are you sexually aroused when you type “baby murder?” And if so, do you feel shame?

    (I have to work now but I might have a little time to play again tomorrow. Thanks for the fun comments!)

  37. unappreciated and unwelcome irregular February 19, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    Woman mostly have abortions because they’re not prepared to have a baby. It seems like a personal choice I’d probably prefer not to make any of my business. As for the bullyinhg attitude that runs this site, pssh…

  38. prowomenwoman February 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    all this hooey about when is it a “person” when is it not a “person” is pretty darn silly and inconsequential. lets not forget that around 90% of abortions happen in the first trimester, about 1% of abortions are performed after 20 weeks and the incredibly vast majority (i don’t want to say all) are for the health of the mother or the fetus is not viable, and the canadian college of physicians have strict guidelines that regulate abortion after twenty weeks.

    so what are we REALLY arguing about here? well, it is pretty simple – we are arguing about the ability for women to make choices about their reproductive lives… whether that be getting a regular pap smear, accessing contraceptive, accessing sexual education, and yep, accessing abortion care. for example, one of the posters mentioned that PP would have to tighten it’s belts. well, it is sort of ironic that only 1% of PP’s services overall are related to abortion care and it’s one of the major FEE for service programs that they offer. so cutting back federal funding isn’t going to really um change that. the cuts in funding will just make it MORE difficult for women to access contraceptive, pregnancy care, sexual education, and life saving cancer preventive.

    i think what is really ironic here is that the same people who are opposed to full and comprehensive reproductive healthcare are also opposed to the kinds of programs that assist women and families in having children. i dunno, like maternity leave, treatment programs for families, affordable housing, pay equity, child care, food subsidizes, family friendly workplaces, shelters etc. i mean, higher power forbid that we actually make having children accessible for ALL women, men, and families in our society.

    the proof is in the pudding folks. if anti-abortion types want less abortiosn than maybe they better start putting their money and votes where their mouths are. Seems like a lotta them care about the fetus but sure don’t care about the child or the woman. Abortion is not going away though. Women have been practicing abortion since the beginning of time and we aren’t gonna stop now until contraceptive is 500% effective (and lemme tell you, it sure isn’t now!). I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind though. No anti would ever change my mind and I’m glad that science and most of society is on my side. As a woman, I am extremely happy and fortunate that I have been able to exercise my right to reproductive choice and control. I don’t know where I would be today if I didn’t have that right.

    Now, lets get REALLLLLY mad about CIDA not continuing to fund the International Planned Parenthood Federation. Enough about the US… we NEED to be mad about what is going on in our OWN country. Reproductive healthcare (from contraceptive to abortion to birth to in fact mortality) is dismal in Canada especially for women who experience multiple barriers to full inclusion in our society.

  39. Stephen Whitworth February 19, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

    What a sad name, “unappreciated and unwelcome irregular!” You say: “as for the bullying attitude that runs this site, pssh…” That’s not very nice. Besides, in my view there’s no room for delicacy when the barbarians are storming the gates! So I pish-posh your “pssh”.

    Prowomenwoman: what you said and thank you for it.

  40. Rhology February 20, 2011 at 7:35 am #

    prowomenwoman,

    W/o an argument that would lead us to think that the fetus is not a human, ***IT IS NOT OK TO KILL HUMANS FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN THAT THEY ARE INCONVENIENT***.
    Let’s recast your comment in the light of 19th century slaver.

    All this hooey about whether a slave is a “person” is pretty darn silly and inconsequential.
    So what are we REALLY arguing about here? It’s pretty simple – we are arguing about the ability for slaveowners to make choices about their financial lives and property. It’s ironic that ppl here who are opposed to slavery are also opposed to full and comprehensive education and job placement services that would guarantee every black person a white coller, high paying job and a mansion in Long Island. I mean, higher power forbid we actually make freeing slaves accessible for ALL slaveowners and make lots and lots of money automatically available for ALL freed slaves.

    If the proof is in the pudding folks, if anti-slavery types want less slavery then maybe they start better start putting their money where their mouths are. Seems like a lot of them care about freeing the slave but not about what comes after. Slavery is not going away though. Ppl have been practicing slavery since the beginning of time and we aren’t gonna stop now until freeing all slaves brings an automatic 500% profit to every slaveowner. No abolitionist will ever change my mind. I’m keeping all my slaves and I don’t care what arguments you pathetic anti slavery types make.

    IOW, this is a terrible set of arguments. It’s becoming quite clear none of you have any good ones. It’s sad that you keep holding to such evil practices w/o any care.
    pww, you are just an ignorant fool to say that pro lifers ONLY care about the fetus. Why are you indulging in your ignorance?

    Peace,
    Rhology

  41. JB February 20, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    “These nine months of nausea, pain, tiredness, losing my work income, difficulty taking care of my kids, my partner/parents/friends/co-workers potentially abandoning me, getting myself to pre-natal appointments, fear of complications like pre-eclampsia that could kill me, being stigmatized for having had sex while too young/poor/unmarried, having to drop out of school, fear of my abusive partner killing me, since murder is one of the top causes of death for pregnant women, and generally having my body used by 24/7 by another entity when I don’t want it to be is so inconvenient; it reminds me of that time I was driving to work and hit all the red lights.”

  42. Amy February 20, 2011 at 9:50 am #

    We could go back and forth forever about when a fertilized egg becomes a human being but I don’t think that’s terribly productive because it’s putting the focus on a philosophical question when this issue is tangible in its implications. The slave argument is flawed in so many ways – most all I don’t think you can equate the finances and property concerns of a slave owner with the right of a woman to not undergo the physical and emotional (not to mention potentially socially stigmatizing and financially stressful, especially in the US where there are so few safety nets) experience of growing another human being inside of her body. Pregnancy and motherhood are much more than just an inconvenience for those who do not want it. But yeah, did you really just equate a woman with an unwanted pregnancy to a slave owner? Maybe you should lay off the ‘pudding’.

    This focus on baby murder is a distraction from the real issue, which is curtailing the ability of women to control their bodies and their sexuality (i.e. closing down Planned Parenthood makes it harder for women to access affordable contraception and family planning information). This is evident in the massive cut to Planned Parenthood funding, despite the fact that well over 90% of their budget goes towards pregnancy prevention in the form of affordable contraception, STD testing and treatment and annual examinations, which are so crucial to detecting cervical cancer in its early stages. There is no plan in place to provide the 1.85 million low income women who access these services with alternative, non-religiously biased, affordable or free medical support. This decision will strip millions of women of their access to early detection for a cancer that kills thousands women annually – and would kill far more without early detection – now that’s murder.

    In law and medicine we often prioritize the rights of one person over another and it never plays out the way the abortion issue does. For example, you are not forced to donate your organs after you die, even though doing so will likely save a life – because even where a life is at stake, you have the ultimate right to make decisions about something as personal as how your body parts are used. But when it comes to prioritizing the rights of a woman, especially when reproductive choice is involved, it always comes down to murder.

    @Rhology – Let’s be honest, it wouldn’t matter how good the arguments are, you’ve made up your mind and those of us on the other side have made up ours. To us your arguments sound just as terrible as ours probably sound to you. Luckily we’ve got decades of legal precedent on our side and a fairly affluent base of supporters who will hopefully donate to this cause and lobby their politicians. Like I said earlier, I think those of us on the pro-choice side have become complacent in believing that the rights of women are secure. My hope is that this decision mobilizes us because the alternative return to back alley abortions for the poor (the rich can almost always find a way to get things done safely) and the increase in unwanted pregnancies because women no longer have easy access to family planning information or contraception, is too frightening to contemplate.

  43. Stephen Whitworth February 20, 2011 at 5:01 pm #

    The real, actual working and teaching biologist PZ Meyers has some worthwhile thoughts on the no-choice, pregnancy obligation perspective. Since I’m not a biologist, I’ll happily defer to him.

    This is a point absolutely and solidly established in biology. The embryo is not the adult. It does not contain the full information present in the newborn — that will be generated progressively, by interactions with the environment and by complex internal negotiations within an increasingly complex embryo. Pretending that 46 chromosomes in a cell is sufficient to define a person is the most absurd kind of extreme biological reductionism.

    The fertilized oocyte is a human cell, but it is not a human being.

    Way too many people think that is a sacrilegious idea — we have to cherish every single scrap of human tissue, especially the bits that have the potential to go on and develop into a child.

    No, we don’t. We don’t have to revere every block of rough marble because another Michaelangelo could come along and sculpt it into something as wonderful as his David; we don’t have to treasure every scrap of canvas because the next Picasso is going to use it for a masterpiece. The value isn’t in the raw materials, but in the pattern, the skill, the art put into it. Similarly, those cells are simply the raw clay that the process and time will sculpt into something that is worth love and care.

    Which is more important, the pigments or the painting? Even worse, do you think the pigments are the painting?

    The full link is here. Like I said before, the scientific perspective is pro-choice. What I don’t think I said is that no-choice is a religious perspective. And what do we know about religion and government? We know that the former ought to keep it’s pushy little superstitious-based agendas out of the latter.

    If this thread has any point at this point, it’s to remind and warn people about the Rhologys and Abolitionists out there, fighting to push their archaic mysticism-based beliefs on the rest of us. They’re a threat to civilization and reason and, though I hesitate to use a word that’s been ruined by Tea Party creeps and Libertarian loons, freedom. We mustn’t pretend otherwise.

  44. Justin Wagner February 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    I haven’t quite read all of the comments, but I find it odd how the abortion debate always seems to regress to arguments about whether a fetus is or is not a human being. In full disclosure, after studying the subject from a biological view for some time, I share the scientific view that a fetus in early developmental stages cannot possibly described as a human being. However, the point at which this developing mass of cells becomes truly human still seems to be a confusing issue, scientifically speaking. It reeks strongly of arbitrariness.

    It is more interesting, at least to me, to read something like Judith Jarvis Thomson’s famous philosophical essay on abortion (“A defense of abortion”, 1971). She argues – quite persuasively – that the pregnant woman’s right to life should override the fetus’s right to life. The amazing thing is that she all of this after assuming that a fetus is, in fact, a human being.

    http://spot.colorado.edu/~heathwoo/Phil160,Fall02/thomson.htm

  45. Rhology February 20, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

    @JB #41,
    Pregnancy is inconvenient when compared to having your skull crushed and your body dismembered by scissors. Think about it.

    @Amy #42,
    The question of humanity is THE MOST CENTRAL QUESTION HERE. If the fetus is a human being, it is murder to kill him.
    I can’t believe you’ve never thought about it, but if not, please let today be the 1st in a long string of wrestling with that question. Stop avoiding it.
    You complain about the slave question, but you didn’t give an argument. If I simply respond thusly:

    I don’t think you can equate the right of a woman to not undergo the physical and emotional experience of growing another human being inside of her body with the finances and property concerns of a slave owner, especially since in the 19th century South there are no safety nets for owners who go bankrupt, and many of whom own many, many slaves. It’s not as if they’re providing for just one mouth to feed. Pregnant women have it easy. Slave ownership, keeping them in line with physical force (you know, much like forceps, a scalpel, and a suction tube) and maintaining a cotton plantation is much more than just an inconvenience for those who do not want to go bankrupt. But yeah, did you really just equate a slave owner to a woman with an unwanted pregnancy?

    …have we gotten anywhere? And since you didn’t engage the topic meaningfully, isn’t that your fault?

    And no, I didn’t equate them per se. I was making an analogy between 19th century similar questions. I’m sorry if you’re not bright enough to catch it, but that’s typical – the pro-baby-murder side is built on emotion thru and thru.

    You want to cast the question in a light that you think is more favorable to you, but that fails badly too, for you are not permitting the baby the same ability to have a say over his/her own body. You never even ask him, do you? You’d just rather kill him so he can’t speak against your brutality and laziness.

    I’d like to ask all involved here – is it justifiable to kill a dog for any reason at all?

    @Stephen W, #43,
    Quoting PZ Myers is not a good way to get a leg up in a rational discussion, FYI. And the man is a teacher at a community college, not a “real actual working biologist”.

    Nobody is claiming the embryo is an adult. PZ Myers is either a liar or a fool.
    Nobody is claiming they have the same info. PZ Myers is either a liar or a fool.
    Nobody is claiming that 46 chromosomes “define a person”. PZ Myers is either a liar or a fool.
    PZ makes the naked assertion that the oocyte is not a human, but where’s the argument? How is this helpful to you, Stephen?
    PZ asserts a moral statement that we don’t have to cherish all humans. OK, fine. What if I don’t cherish him? Does that mean it would be justifiable for me to lobby to change the law to make it OK for me to kill him? And if I don’t get the law passed, can I resort to back-alley PZ-abortions and have y’all defend my “choice”?
    He asserts that value is in the organisation but doesn’t say why. FUrther, as a staunch Darwinian, he believes the design apparent in nature is merely an illusion foisted on us by our hyperactive agent-detecting instincts. PZ Myers is either a liar or a fool.

    By now it should be obvious that Stephen W, while not demonstrably a liar, is demonstrably a fool. Following a fool into something that involves ending lives by the millions is not the best idea I’ve ever heard.

  46. Justin Wagner February 20, 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    @Rhology: IF – and that is a big if – a fetus is a human being, you still must make a murder case. This is a special kind of situation we are talking about here (unwanted “stuff” house inside of a female’s body). Every anti-abortionist I’ve ever talked to has been so busy trying to defend the idea that a fetus is a human being that they have entirely forgotten to consider that, even if they are correct, they still have to argue as to why the act of abortion could be considered murder. If this idea confuses you, please read Thomson’s essay about abortion that I linked in my previous comment.

    One question for you: is an acorn a tree? Just curious as to your answer. Will help me understand your position on this issue a little better.

  47. Paul Dechene February 20, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    (Dammit. I’ve been trying to stay the hell away from this thread. Man, I must be in full on procrastination mode if I’m commenting here….)

    Rhology: Myers is an associate professor at the University of Minnesota. UofM isn’t a community college. It’s a university.

    And he’s an associate professor there, not a “teacher.”

    If you’ve never been to university (or if you weren’t paying attention while you were there) that “associate” label can be a little confusing. Associate professors are mid-level profs but professors nonetheless. You get the associate label when you get tenure and are promoted from being an assistant professor.

    You get tenure, by the way, by demonstrating that you’re actively publishing in your field, are well respected and a decent teacher.

    Associate in this sense is like an associate editor — you’re not going around getting people coffee, you’re an editor and you do all the editing stuff same as all your associates.

  48. Rhology February 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    #46 Justin,
    If the fetus is human, his killing w/o due process of law is murder. Simple as that. Maybe, tho, you have a diff definition of murder. I’d love to hear it.

    #47 Paul,
    No, Myers is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Minnesota_Morris
    Not the Univ of Minnesota. FYI.
    And OK, associate professor at a community college, that’s fair.
    And I have to question why you’ve been “trying to stay away”, yet the only thing that you said was to defend Myers’ honor or something. How about responding to the idiotic things Stephen cited from him?
    I mean, my guess is that you can’t, but I want to ask you to make sure.

  49. Paul Dechene February 20, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    Rhology: Dude. Chill. I’ve been staying away because there’s a deadline for the paper coming up and I don’t need to get sucked into this debate. Except that now that the deadline is actually looming — as in, imminent — I’m casting about for any — even the lamest — excuse to totally avoid the writing I’m supposed to be doing right now.

    As for defending Myers… I run into that “guy’s an associate prof so he’s not a real prof” nonsense all the time — comes up a lot in climate science denier circles. It’s a pet peeve of mine that people like yourself get that wrong.

    As for your stuff about UofM Morris… a “public liberal arts college” that’s part of a university is very different from what is generally called a “community college.” Same word used in very different ways. Again, if you’ve never been to university (or weren’t paying attention while you were there) subtleties like that can be confusing.

    However you want to slice it, though, the dude’s a fully-functioning biologist, whether you like it or not.

    Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go write something about why a universal, publicly-funded childcare system would have been awesome.

  50. Stephen Whitworth February 20, 2011 at 10:24 pm #

    “Pregnancy is inconvenient when compared to having your skull crushed and your body dismembered by scissors. Think about it”

    (thinks about it)

    Okay, first off, “having your skull crushed and your body dismembered by scissors.” Just ewwww. You have a sadistic imagination, Rhology. In fact, most abortions (90 per cent in Canada) are performed before the little alien uterus-creature is less than 12 weeks old and don’t involve surgical instruments. But thanks for attempting to terrorize and nauseate readers.

    To continue to insist as you do that the “needs” of a zygote, embryo, fetus are in any way comparable to the needs and rights of, say, a pregnant 15-year-old (who might not be ready, emotionally or financially, to give a prospective human any kind of life and isn’t willing to carry the little belly-crustacean to term in any case), is cracked and infantile. This all comes down to religion, right? This is about the soul. Right? You are entitled to your religious beliefs but you are not entitled to work to establish a theocratic dictatorship — seems to be your goal — without being called out as the ridiculous, superstitious, fascist ass you are.

    Keep your beliefs, Rhology, fine — but expect to be treated like the tyrant you are when you try to force them on others.

    In the end, life (from birth onward, to be crystal clear) is short and God or no, there is a lot of beauty in it. It would be good if you could get over your embryo-anthropomorphism and enjoy it. You should reconsider you entire philosophy of everthying, in my view.

  51. Abolitionist_24 February 21, 2011 at 12:46 am #

    Stephen, Paul, Justin, and other people who rationalize like them.

    Rhology is the only commenter here expressing himself clearly (though he is obviously becoming a little annoyed by your inability to reason about this issue).

    It is incredibly important to structure arguments properly, and the debate about abortion really cannot properly proceed until the question of whether the aborted fetus is a human person is settled. All attempts to avoid this only signal the fact that the interlocutor who suggests that the debate is really about something else, is losing the debate and knows it.

    If someone says, “A woman doesn’t have the right to kill a 7 week old fetus (the average aborted) because a 7 week old fetus is an innocent person and it is wrong to terminate innocent persons for any reason (including the fact that they will be unwanted, sickly, black, poor, or were produced by rape).” It is improper and unhelpful (not to mention, ignorant) to attempt a reply that goes something like: “This issue is not about whether a fetus is a person, your a religious retard, clearly this is about what a woman is allowed to do with her own reproductive machinery.”

    The only reason someone goes this route is because they know that if they began their argument where the argument was set up in the first place, they would lose it.

    Of course, some of you guys did try to say that fetuses aren’t persons but your retorts here were pretty pathetic. Rhology has been asking for someone to explain when a fetus becomes a person pretty persistently… and receiving mind numbing retorts in response or just silence and side-stepping.

    Arguments to authority really won’t do. PZ Meyers says a fetus isn’t a person. Aristotle says the earth is the center of the universe.

    Besides, PZ Meyers is (regardless of his academic standing and accomplishments) not gonna be the type of convincing scientific supporter that you want to appeal to. Though an associate professor, he is basically a professional atheist propagandist and christian basher and it is no surprise that this kind of stooge is incapable of following the embryology where it leads.

    I say that Embryology textbooks and lab manuals are good places to begin, though you will find that most of them shy completely away from philosophical topics about what constitutes a person. 100% of them are going to tell you that who you are biologically was there and began developing at fertilization (except in one type of twinning). 100% of them are going to then describe your development from this point until you are born. In 0% of them will you find some scientifically discovered line in which a fetus becomes a person.

    If you prefer video, check out: “The Biology of Prenatal Development” produced by the Endowment for Human Development and distributed by the National Geographic. http://www.ehd.org/

    When did I begin, and when did you begin? Embryologically, philosophically, theologically? This is an excellent topic. When I looked like an alien was I me even though I looked strange and can’t remember it. Was I me yesterday while I was napping, even though I looked funny and can’t remember it. If I was aborted in the womb a two week before I was delivered prematurely, would I, not have been aborted? If I was born in a less technologically advanced time or civilization that lacked the incubator and medicine I needed to survive the first week of my life, would I have not been a human?

    Don’t be afraid to do some thinking. And don’t begin to do some actually reading from the other side, if you will. Try Boston College philosopher Peter Kreeft’s entertaining and clear little dialogue “The Unaborted Socrates.” A fetus isn’t a person because Kreeft says so, but his arguments in that little book are convincing to me.

    Of course, if there are other reasons that you want, or need, abortion to be considered not only legal but morally justified etc, then you can attempt to think your way to that conclusion. But I don’t see any thinking here, just a bunch of rationalizing and rhetorical nonsense.

    Aristotle said that humans were humans because they had the ability to reason. On aristotle’s definition, and according to your “reasoning,” Stephen, Paul,and Justin, I conclude that a woman has the right to abort you.

  52. Paul Dechene February 21, 2011 at 1:10 am #

    Dammit, Abolitionist! Why are you lumping me in with Stephen’s little troll the Lifesite party? I just stepped in because Rhology was talking some shit about some guy’s credentials and I sorted him out. But now you’re all like, “Answer the man’s question about biology.”

    Can’t you see I’m trying to work here?

  53. Stephen Whitworth February 21, 2011 at 1:45 am #

    Well, I’m confident you absolutely weren’t “you” when you were a crustacean-looking glob, Abolitionist. When you were a zygote, an embryo, a fetus, you were NOT “you”. You couldn’t talk, you couldn’t think, you couldn’t love and you definitely couldn’t reason. (The day might come when you can’t do those things again but you’ll have tenure by that point, so no worries, you’re safe from abortion now.) You could probably kick my butt on Jeopardy, however. Good joke about Aristotle/reason/aborting.

    I will watch that link when I have a chance.

    (This comment edited to be less snotty)

  54. Stephen Whitworth February 21, 2011 at 2:11 am #

    And wait a second Abolitionist, why do I have to defend anything? You’re with the crew voting for politicians who are attacking Planned Parenthood, an organization providing services to (according to their website) 1.2 million Americans and valued by millions more, not to mention a lot of Canadians. You’re supporting an attack on a very-much admired and valued institution, and you’re doing it out of religious motivation (correct me please if I’m wrong about that).

    And how is it you get to decide which “experts” can and can’t be cited? You say: “[PZ Meyers] is basically a professional atheist propagandist and christian basher and it is no surprise that this kind of stooge is incapable of following the embryology where it leads.” Right. I see how this works. I cite a biologist and you dismiss him with a volley of value-judgey invective. And you’re really gonna say appeals to contemporary scientific authority don’t count because Aristotle, who lived over 2000 years ago, thought the earth was at the centre of the universe? Really?

    But what the heck, let’s pretend we’re making laws here. I’ll throw out that abortion on demand should be utterly unrestricted before 26 weeks (which Wikipedia says is the point at which thalamic brain connections develop), and on a doctor’s recommendation after that. Which, I understand, is slightly more flexible than Canadian regulations.

    I’ll add that except where the mother’s health is concerned, I dislike abortion after the second trimester.

    What’s your counter-proposal?

    (Might be awhile before I can get back to this thread, by the way–the next two days will be ridiculously busy.)

    (This comment edited to be more snotty)

  55. Desmond February 21, 2011 at 3:07 am #

    I’m just curious. Hypothetical situation here.

    Woman was just told she’s 6 weeks pregnant. Phones girlfriend to pick her up from the doctors office, and is all excited and happy about the news. Girlfriend picks her up but lets just say she’s had three beers but thinks she’s ok to drive. Pregnant 6 weeks woman gets in car and away they go, run red light, get sideswiped and knocked into the light standard on the passenger side. Pregnant 6 weeks woman survives but loses fetus. Everybody else is ok.

    Is the driver charged with impaired driving, or impaired driving causing death?

  56. Abolitionist_24 February 21, 2011 at 8:29 am #

    Stephen: when you said,

    “Nuh-uh. You absolutely weren’t “you” when you were a crustacean-looking glob, Abolitionist. When you were a zygote, an embryo, a fetus, you were NOT “you”. You couldn’t talk, you couldn’t think, you couldn’t love, you definitely couldn’t reason and you couldn’t post tedious, snotty and condescending fuckiness on this blog.”

    Aren’t you only really saying that I am much more developed now than I was then. If so, that applies to both of us all the way back to our conception (interesting word conception; when one was conceived). I am far more developed now than I was when I was a day out of my mother’s womb.

    And another difficulty. If I was not my fetus, when I became me, what was my fetus? Where did it go?

    (BTW, you are also stating very clearly that we humans are not just our DNA. Is that consistent with the rest of your worldview? It isn’t with PZ Meyer’s).

    You went and read a Wikipedia article (good job to go reading) but you didn’t think much about it. For instance, there are all sorts of important things that happen in the human brain and body after birth. And you could have drawn your allowed to abort line at some of these. Also, there was a whole lot more on that page that went against your arguments than you mentioned here.

    And, just so your readers know where you stand on euthanasia, if someone’s brain waves (say someone in a coma) cease for even a moment, do they cease being a human?
    And Stephen, do you “dislike abortion” the day before the second trimester? or the day before that? This line is a bit fuzzy when you are going in to get an abortion.

    But you did seem to lear something from your foray into the publicly produced internet encyclopedia. You think abortion after 26 weeks is wrong (except in the case of saving the mother). You know, some states have it in on the books that abortions cannot be carried out after 22 and others 26. My state, says abortion is permitted only up to 24 weeks.

    As you say however, it is pretty easy to get permission to abort after these scientifically rigorous dates. If you can’t, and you live in say, Nebraska… No worries, the baby you are carrying inside of you is still abortable in Oklahoma, and that is only 7 or so hours away.

    When you get to that documentary I recommended, pay particularly close attention to all video footage of fetuses before 26 weeks.

    You do not seem to want to reason your way to a more sound conclusion regarding this topic, but perhaps, the 14 week old fetus playing and sucking her thumb will move you in the right direction.

    I’m not trying to just beat you in an argument Stephen. I just think you are wrong about this, and would become right about it, if you would only follow reason and the evidence of science and arguments of philosophy where they lead. I suspect that your opinion on abortion is rooted in a much bigger mess than simple misinformation however.

  57. Abolitionist_24 February 21, 2011 at 8:38 am #

    Another thing, your consistently editing your prior comments in the name of making them more or less snotty has “rhetorical” advantages, and may make for a more entertaining blog, but, it calls you out pretty clearly as one who is not primarily interested in discussing this issue, but as using it as a platform to entertain. Entertaining is fine and good, but if you are not also a reasoner, but only a rationalizer, a bloviater, and a bulveriser, I do not wish to spend any more time writing on your blog.

  58. Amy February 21, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    “I just think you are wrong about this, and would become right about it, if you would only follow reason and the evidence of science and arguments of philosophy where they lead”

    Wow! It’s amazing that the VAST majority of people living the Western world disagree with you and follow philosophy and science to the same logical conclusion Stephen, myself and so many others are sitting. I guess you’re just misunderstood.

    And for the record, I’m also in favor of euthanasia. :)

    On that note, I really need to unsubscribe from this thread because Rhology’s reverb is giving me a headache. Don’t you have some fetuses to save? Some clinics to picket? Some women to traumatize? What are you doing spending so much time on here? Maybe that was Stephen’s master plan all along – all the time you’re spending blowing hot air on here is time you aren’t spending curtailing the rights of women. Good plan Stephen!

  59. Amy February 21, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    @Abolitionist – Didn’t you say you weren’t commenting anymore ten or so comments ago? #28 I think.

  60. Abolitionist_24 February 21, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    Amy,

    Define “VAST majority” … and BTW, my reasons don’t rely or depend upon their consilience with a vast majority. I was arguing from philosophy informed by embryological findings.

    But…

    It is not the case that an actual majority of people are pro-abortion or pro-euthanasia. I’de wager that more than half of all people do not think that abortion is even primarily a Womyn’s rights issue. I’de wager that a VAST majority of women who have had abortions think that this is the case because it helps with the pain, but one person destroying another person (no matter their level of development or ability) has very little to do with curtailing the rights of women (unless you are talking about the rights of unborn women).

    You see, we are back at the lynch pin question of whether the aborted developing human being is a person, and when the developing human being is/becomes a person and why. This is a necessary question to get out of the way before proceeding any further.

    Abolitionists and Abortion Advocates live in different worlds. The former begin thinking of potential names for their baby when they see a “plus sign” on a pregnancy test or look at the little bean shaped blurb on their first ultrasound. The latter view the “plus sign” as an unwanted attack on their personal autonomy and an invasion of their rights, they call the developing human being within their bodies a clump of cells or pregnancy tissue that they have the right to terminate up to a certain fuzzy point in embryological time. If they pass this point, the can seek out a Kermit Gosnell to extract the unborn clump of unwanted cells, and he can hold it down and cut through it’s neck with scissors.

    (sorry for the violent imagery, but this does go on and is logically entailed by your position. 26 week old babies do have little necks that, when cut, will kill them…)

    But, I also wager that Abortion Advocates carrying planned and wanted pregnancies think of their fetuses as their children (for example see “pro-choice” Rep. Jackie Speier’s speech on the House Floor) and protect them from death by avoiding undue exertions, alcohol, cigarettes, etc.

    I don’t think I am not misunderstanding Stephen and it is no surprise that people who are for abortion are also in favor of euthanasia and that people opposed to abortion are not in favor of euthanasia.

    Think about what this might mean. I will give you a hint.

    When a person seeks an assisted suicide is their suicide justified because it is assisted by a medical professional and is it justified because they are no longer human because they are close to death, or wanting to die? (I am assuming that your support of euthanasia goes beyond “passive,-end-treatment-and-die-peacefully-euthanasia”). Maybe they are just wanting to avoid the pain and inconvenience of a long death.

    Are people wanting to be euthanized or those in coma’s whose family or friends want to euthanize, no longer persons.

    According to Stephen’s logic, they might not be.

    There are other reasons that Rhology’s reverb is giving you a headache. I’m getting a headache from seeing questions and arguments go unanswered or met with rhetorical emotional statements rooted in party politics.

    Yes, we have “some fetuses to save.” Namely yours and others who read these comments and think about them long enough to look at an ultrasound before they abort their “body parts.”

    If you want me to picket a clinic, just draw me a map and tell me when.

    I’m not trying to traumatize women, I’m trying to help abolish the legal practice of human abortion and save little men and women. (yes the embryonic human has a sex from the moment of fertilization) (strange to think that some women before they have or abort their babies are transvestites according to “pro-choice” logic).

    What am I doing spending so much time on here?
    I guess I am traumatizing a women? If I could “traumatize” you enough to keep you from ending a life if the opportunity arises within your power, I have spent my time well.

    Stephen, Thanks for creating the venue to engage in this discussion.

  61. Amy February 21, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    @Abolutionist – I’m not engaging in your silly ‘truth’ arguments because you’re not genuinely interested – you’ve made up your mind and I’ve made up mine. Luckily I don’t have to convince you of anything, because the law protects my rights and those of millions of other women to have a safe, legal abortion if we need to make that difficult decision.

    I am far more concerned with your avoidance of the question: what are the nearly 2 million low income women who rely on Planned Parenthood for medical support to do? Without Planned Parenthood, where will they go to receive care such as pap smears that help to detect cervical cancer, which currently kills thousands of women in the US alone and would kill far more without early detection? But you don’t want to discuss that because you are obsessed with debating the theoretical and philosophical questions of when a life begins rather than looking at the very tangible reality that without PP many women don’t have access to affordable reproductive health care. Luckily this funding cut is highly unlikely to pass in the Senate. Thank goodness for checks and balances!

    But I suppose I should be thanking you. You’ve absolutely reminded me why I need to do more to support my local Planned Parenthood and why I need to call my local politicians to ensure the kind of absurdity that is happening in the US doesn’t happen in Canada. If you had the guts to use your real name on here, I’d make a donation in your name.

    And no, you haven’t traumatized me – just given me a bit of a chuckle really.

  62. JB February 21, 2011 at 11:11 am #

    I’m too chilled–and sure, maybe even “traumatized”–by the blase attitude about women’s lives in some of these comments to engage any further (I mean, you accept that women might fear being murdered while pregnant, and that evil folks like Gosnell are who women who can’t access legal abortion services turn to, and you just shrug?), but I will say that I’m giggling at the idea that pro-choice folks think that fetuses not only wear clothes, but also clothes that are typically not worn by fetuses of their sex.

    And now I have the hankering to go watch some Eddie Izzard clips on YouTube. Yay!

  63. Abolitionist_24 February 21, 2011 at 11:29 am #

    Amy,

    I didn’t mean to avoid your point about PP being awesome at helping women get health care. I was just responding to the other points that I thought were foundational to flow of this discussion.

    If PP did not sale abortion as a viable option of birth control, I wouldn’t be so hardcore against them, and neither would so many other abolitionists. I’m glad they help women with some of the services they offer. But I have seen ample evidence in the liveaction.org videos (I’ve watched most of them, have you) that PP is so focused on rendering help to women in difficult situations that they have ceased to properly identify ways to truly help them. It is undeniable that they turn a blind eye to girls who are working in the sex traffick industry, or being taken advantage of by men three times their age.

    If PP is defunded, they should change their policies and focus on providing poor women with pap smears.

    As for the other services they provide, women ought to look into crisis pregnancy center’s like The Eden Clinic. http://www.edenclinic.tv/AboutUs/tabid/283/Default.aspx

    JB: I said sex, not gender. I think you need to re-read my comments, and Rhology’s comments, and Abolitionist_4′s comments. They are not Blase about women. If they are, you are blase about human life; male and female alike.

  64. JB February 21, 2011 at 11:45 am #

    Oh, I’m definitely not going to re-read your comments, thanks. I was making fun of your mis-use of the word “transvestite.”

  65. JB February 21, 2011 at 11:49 am #

    Oh and I’m LOLing forever at the suggestion that crisis pregnancy centres, which don’t provide medical services (the one you linked to, for example, doesn’t even provide contraception), are supposed to replace PP.

  66. Abolitionist_24 February 21, 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    JB: Hey. Your right. I used the word transvestite incorrectly. You are right and I am wrong (about the usage of the term transvestite).

    But, you chose to argue with my word choice rather than what I clearly meant. Typing late at night and then early in the morning is my only excuse. The word I meant to use I suppose, was hermaphrodite.

    So, I admit I used the wrong term. Did it keep you from understanding my point or just give you an opportunity to feel like you were winning some kind of debate, or in the right for thinking that abortion is a reproductive rights issue.

    What do you say then to the corrected statement? To the following question?

    When a woman is carrying a male embryo inside her womb, is she part male? This follows from the standard abortion-is-about-choice argument (or statement), “a woman should be allowed to choose to do what she wants with her own body.”

    I didn’t say that crisis pregnancy centers should replace Planned Parenthood. That would be ridiculous if crisis pregnancy centers started doing abortions for 14 year old sex-trafficked prostitutes. I was suggesting that their are other places to get counseling, Pregnancy and STD testing, and discuss family planning options.

    If the government would subsidize health care centers that provide women with non-abortive contraceptive care, pap smears and sexual education, with 360 million dollars of taxpayer money, they could more than make up for the void left by PP.

    I think we should focus on providing care for women who need it. Not provide an out for them that destroy’s a life.

    Just curious, do you think that tax money should go to abortions. I realize that this is not what the Government funds are specified meant to go to. (I am asking a hypothetical on the subject that you want to focus on) If the Hyde amendment were struck down, would you be okay with taxing pro-lifers t pay for abortions?

  67. JB February 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    Like I said, I really can’t engage. I’ll explain a bit more about why once, because I’m nice.

    Your “male embryo” question indicates that you think the discussion is about whether the embryo is a part of the woman’s body, as if I and others haven’t said repeatedly that the central issue is whether a person can be legally obliged to use her body to support another being (I notice no one’s touched my organ donation question). The fact that you keep bringing up crisis pregnancy centres… Here’s a quote from the website of our local one:

    Once you are in a long-term, mutually monogamous and committed relationship with an uninfected partner (in marriage), you will have no reason to worry about getting an STD.

    I pasted that into Google and it turns out that sentence is on the websites of about 2080 CPCs. And that? Is fucking dangerous, and disgusting. The “in marriage” is a nice touch, too, in case anybody forgot that these organizations exist purely to promote one religion’s ideas of what sex should look like.

    And your “easy out” comment, in the face of what I said about the “inconvenience” of pregnancy, seriously just makes me so sad that such callousness exists.

    So there you go. The end.

    (And my answer to your last question is yes, of course. In this country, that is already the case. But we’re a bit nutty up here, in that we think that all healthcare should be publically-funded.)

  68. Stephen Whitworth February 21, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    Stephen: when you said,

    “Nuh-uh. You absolutely weren’t “you” when you were a crustacean-looking glob, Abolitionist. When you were a zygote, an embryo, a fetus, you were NOT “you”. You couldn’t talk, you couldn’t think, you couldn’t love, you definitely couldn’t reason and you couldn’t post tedious, snotty and condescending fuckiness on this blog.”

    Aren’t you only really saying that I am much more developed now than I was then.

    No, I’m saying that your previous state as a embryo was not you in any meaningful way. You might as well say you are your mother because 50 per cent of your DNA comes from an unfertilized egg she grew.

    (Also I thought I edited my comment to be less snotty…guess I didn’t.)

    Now if you want to wax poetic on the miracle of life’s continuum, Abolitionist, feel free. That’s a nice way to think of things. But to use genetic heritage it as a reason abortion should be illegal is pushing your religion on people who don’t share it.

    Won’t have time to write anything else today but will poke my nose back in tomorrow. Cheers Abolitionist and thanks for the discussion. It’s more pleasing to speak with people (even kooky ones) than to rant in a vacuum.

  69. The Chemist February 21, 2011 at 4:20 pm #

    Stopped reading the comments at the PZ Meyer quote and decided I’d comment on some of this. THE central issues here is whether or not the embryo/fetus is human life and whether or not all human life possesses an intrinsic right to life.

    The Penguin Dictionary of Biology defines life as “complex physico-chemical systems whose two main peculiarities are (1) storage and replication of molecular information in the form of nucleic acid, and (2) the presence of (or in viruses perhaps merely the potential for) enzyme catalysis.” This clearly places a fertilized egg as a living organism. Further, life begins from the moment of fertilization as marked by the slow block to polyspermy under this definition.

    It is simply untenable to claim that life does not begin at conception. This takes us to the next major issue here. Should the fetus enjoy the right to life? I think the answer is a resounding YES. The right to life is intrinsic to humans and is derived from their ontology. There is nothing that a human need possess or acquire to attain a right to life. If you believe otherwise, then please post your list and be very specific.

  70. The Chemist February 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Now the murder thing. This is a good point. Abortion is legal in the US. Now, let’s carry this line of thinking a tad bit further. At one point in the US, black persons did not possess the full set of rights that we all enjoy in the US. The important point is that this was legally sanctioned. Does that make it morally correct to do this? In the most basic sense, we realize that this denigrates the black persons rights, which are derived from their ontology. It has nothing to do with any attribute they possessed or lacked. In the same way, legal abortion is morally wrong. As such, the law must be changed.

  71. Rhology February 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    #49 @Paul,

    You had limited time to reply and out of all the massively important topics on the table, most of which have not been touched by the pro-baby-murder types in this combox, you chose to defend PZ. That says sthg about you, and since I’m familiar with the Pharyngula culture, my guess is you’re one of those mostly-pathetic fanboys.
    Anyway, remember how I accepted that he was a professor? That means your last swipe about associate profs is null. One wishes YOU’D been paying attention.
    And a college that does not offer any graduate programs seems to me closer to a community college than “the University of Minnesota”, which you originally claimed.
    All that aside, however, citing him as an authority when his arguments were clearly idiotic and then refusing to deal with them afterward shows something as well.

    Stephen W #50,

    About slavery, keep your beliefs fine, but expect to be treated like the tyrant you are when you try to force them on others.

  72. jill February 21, 2011 at 7:32 pm #

    lol @ but expect to be treated like the tyrant you are when you try to force them on others.

    c’mon now.

  73. Amy February 21, 2011 at 8:05 pm #

    “THE central issues here is whether or not the embryo/fetus is human life and whether or not all human life possesses an intrinsic right to life.”

    Nope, that absolutely isn’t the central issue here. Sorry. Try again later.

  74. curious February 21, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Just curious is the abolitionist posters are in favor of providing contraceptives and education to men and women? Seems like the best way to reduce the number of abortions.

  75. The Chemist February 21, 2011 at 9:07 pm #

    Amy,

    The entire abortion debate turns on whether or not the unborn child is human life, which possesses an intrinsic right to life. Framing the debate about choice, which is what I assume you mean, is simply wrong on just about every level.

    People’s choices about what they can and cannot do with their bodies is regulated in many tangible ways. For instance, I cannot sit in an automobile and drive down a neighborhood street at 80 mph because others who might be in the street have a right to life that trumps my right to do whatever I want. As an additional question, do you support Peter Singer’s claim that infanticide should be sanctioned? Why or why not?

    At any rate, I am waiting for you list of functional qualities that define when a person should be granted a right to life. If you can’t produce the list, then I strongly recommend that you sort this stuff out before denying an unborn child the rights that you so readily claim for yourself. This issue is incredibly important because if I am right then we have a government which is sanctioning the death of millions of people by defining them as non-human. Case in point, look at the numerous regimes that have sanctioned mass exterminations by classifying people as non-humans or sub-humans.

  76. The Chemist February 21, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Curious,

    I am all for comprehensive sex education when done properly. The problem is there is a debate as to what is meant by “properly”.

  77. Stephen Whitworth February 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    @Jill: Am I misunderstanding your understanding of my statement? Are you being dismissive of me?

    Because I’m not being silly at all. No-choice advocates are, literally, working (through political activism) to impose their religious beliefs — making abortion illegal — on others. They just scored a substantial, though fortunately symbolic, victory Friday in the United States when Congress voted to de-fund Planned Parenthood. That’s why I wrote my Tourette’s-esque blog post in the first place.

    Maybe I’ve misunderstood what your dismissive-sounding “c’mon now” means?

  78. Abolitionist_24 February 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    Quickly:
    No. I am not opposed to the use of contraceptives. I use them myself. I am opposed to all so-called forms of contraception that involve the termination of a conceived human embryo.

    Less Quickly:
    Is believing that human beings are created in the image of God and that it is therefore unjust to steal them from their homeland, enslave them, and work them like animals till their deaths in the West Indies so that British people can have sweets, a religiously informed and motivated argument.

    Yes it is. And thank God it motivated the abolitionists in their work. Go read the history, and see your arguments and ours being bantered back and forth in the past.

    The primary argument used to justify slavery?: the African was not fully human in the sense that the European and American Caucasian was. If they were in some sense human, the African slaves right to their own life was not as important as the right of the Westerner to own them.

    The primary refutation of this justification?: The African slave was a man and a brother, a woman and a sister. By asking whether they were men and women, the abolitionists were declaring that the bestial treatment of Africans was unjust and inconsistent with their status as human beings created in the God. By asking whether the African was a brother or a sister, the abolitionists were drawing attention to the fact that they were not only humans, but that they shared the same savior, because Christ died for all mankind. And his death and resurrection made brothers and sisters of us all.

    As a short testimony to what I am saying look at the abolitionists tokens that they tossed back and forth with one another to identify themselves as abolitionists in their legal-to-choose-to-own-slaves-society.

    On one side of the coin you usually had some version of the well known Wedgewood drawing of a slave in chains down on his knees, bound arms lifted up to heaven in prayer with the slogan “Am I not a man and a brother?”

    The other side of the coin usually included a verse from scripture such as,

    “whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” -Luke 6:31

    or,

    “He that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.” – Exodus XXI, 16.

    or,

    “Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness to undo the heavy burdens and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?” -Isaiah LVIII 6.

    or (after abolition was accomplished),

    THIS IS THE LORDS DOING; IT IS MARVELLOUS IN OUR EYES. -PSALM 118 V.23

    This was the Gospel engaging the culture. A religious movement with a theological basis and motivation.

    The pro-slavery group constantly to them to shut-up and to stop imposing their religious beliefs on others. They fought along and hard against the abolitionist who wanted to abort previous rulings upholding the legality of slavery.

    That is, they sounded like today’s “pro-choicers.”

    Thank God that they didn’t back down to the “you can’t force your morals on us” type of stupidity that Stephen and Amy are peddling here.

    Sorry if I am being mean when I call your thoughts stupid. But they are. And I wish you could see that. As for you yourselves, you are not stupid. But there is something at the back of your inability to reason properly about this issue.

    I hate to ask, and there really is no sensitive way to ask this, but have either of you been a part of an abortion? is that why your so passionate about this issue.

    I am passionate about this and passionately opposed to abortion because I think there really are rights and wrongs in the universe and that it is wrong to terminate (murder) the innocent life of a human being created in the image of God. It is a violation of their intrinsic rights as human beings and a blasphemous act against a Holy God who fashioned them. The legal practice of human abortion should therefore be abolished.

    Hence, my screen name, and the screen name of a few others; Abolitionist.

    What is your motivation in all of this? Do you even think there is such a thing as right and wrong?

    PS:

    I believe their is so much misinformation about abortion out there that many women who have had abortions cannot be considered murderers because they chose to do the wrong thing. I believe there is forgiveness for those who have had abortions and those who have carried out the procedure themselves. (such as the Pro-Lifer Jane Roe (Norma McCorvey), and the Former leading abortionist at the time of Roe, Bernard Nathanson).

    Get educated. Seek forgiveness. The only thing holding many people back from the truth is themselves. Thank God people can change.

    Decent short abolitionist history sites:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/education/hist/abolition/

    http://oll.libertyfund.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1573&Itemid=263

  79. Amy February 22, 2011 at 12:19 am #

    @The Chemist – That may be the central issue for you but it isn’t for me. For me the central issue is the belief that regardless of how you want to categorize the multi-cellular organism a woman is carrying around in her uterus, it does not trump her right to decide whether or not she has the right to terminate the pregnancy. So call it whatever you want: human, turnip, alien being, whatever. It still doesn’t change the central issue for me, which is that a woman should be allowed to make the very personal decision about whether or not she wants to grow a baby inside of her body. Your personal beliefs and the resulting endless philosophical debate on when a lump of cells becomes human are really of no consequence.

  80. Amy February 22, 2011 at 12:50 am #

    @Abolitionist – I am passionate about this issue because I’ve seen what happens to women in societies where abortion isn’t safe and accessible. Women with means are often still able to pay to have what they want done safely, and women without means are left to go to the butchers – or they try to take care of things themselves – often with dire consequences.

    These woman are far more important to me than your theoretical babies as are the nearly 2 million women who rely on Planned Parenthood for medical care unrelated to abortions. Again, you don’t seem to care about these women at all or have any contingency plan for where they are supposed to access live saving preventative care apart from the ridiculously ignorant: well, PP should just stop providing abortions then. You can’t possibly be that stupid when we’re talking about a nearly 100 year old organization that has at the core of its mandate that women should get to make their own reproductive choices. Right. Yes you are.

    If you want to continue with your delusions of grandeur that the work that you are doing is linked to the freeing of slaves, go for it. Whatever helps you sleep at night. I actually feel sorry for you.

    The very fact that at some point you have probably carried an ugly sign with the intent of intimidating and terrorizing a woman going through an already difficult experience – well, I think you are the one who should be seeking forgiveness. Good luck with that.

    PS: Your religious quotes and God talk have just completely reinforced all the worst stereotypes I picture in my head when I think about anti-choicers. Thanks – I was worried that I might actually begin to see you as multi-dimensional.

  81. Jill February 22, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    oh no… i was being dismissive and laughing at rhonology for saying that you were shoving your beliefs down someone’s throat because uh that is sort of what he (?) has done throughout this… discussion.

  82. Rhology February 22, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    @Amy #79,

    If whether a given action is murder is not a central issue for you, one wonders what planet you’re even living on. You do know what murder is, don’t you? Is it a big deal? How hard would you fight, given the opportunity, if someone were trying to murder you?
    A) Very, very hard, b/c your very life is at stake
    B) Somewhat
    C) Not at all

    Answer A) means that you are not allowing your empathy for others to play any role in this question. It belies a sociopathic tendency. Grow up, live in the real world, would you? There are other ppl on the planet besides you. The women you’re “championing” all started as embryos. Every one of them.

    #80,
    Why do you say abortions are safe now when there is easily-accessible documentation of so many bad ones that end up in serious medical complications? Is it just b/c you’re ignorant?

    You said:
    –”the nearly 2 million women who rely on Planned Parenthood for medical care unrelated to abortions”

    I’ve already dealt with this above. Were you planning on advancing the conversation or merely repeating already-refuted points?

    You said:
    –”delusions of grandeur that the work that you are doing is linked to the freeing of slaves, go for it.”

    If you want to continue with your delusions of grandeur that you’re actually engaging any arguments that we’ve made, go for it.

    You said:
    –”you have probably carried an ugly sign with the intent of intimidating and terrorizing a woman”

    I get it. So you can’t or won’t engage with most of our arguments but you are definitely ready and willing to demonise us. You knee-jerk fool. You should be ashamed of yourself. We have explicitly stated our motivations over and over again, and yet you equate us to “intimidating and terrorising women”. You owe us an apology.

    You said:
    –”completely reinforced all the worst stereotypes I picture in my head when I think about anti-choicers”

    Ditto. The difference here is that we’ve made rational arguments and refrained from demonising you, whereas you’ve got it exactly backwards.

  83. Stephen Whitworth February 22, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    @Jill: PHEW! Sorry, being a little over-sensitive.

  84. Amy February 22, 2011 at 8:39 am #

    @Rhology – I can’t or won’t engage with any of your arguments because they are stupid. I’m sorry if your fundamentalist beliefs don’t allow you to see that.

    Maybe Abolitionist will pray for you?

    Murder is not a central issue for me on this particular topic because I don’t believe it is murder, and thankfully the law agrees with me. I reserve my empathy for the women you want to force to carry unwanted children, the women who you would deny reproductive care to. Thanks anyway.

  85. Rhology February 22, 2011 at 8:45 am #

    I can tell it’s probably a waste of time for me to ask this question, but for the 4th time – how do you know WHEN the fetus acquires human rights? If you don’t know, how are you justified in making life and death decisions for him or her, w/o asking?

  86. The Chemist February 22, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    @Amy (79 I think)

    “that a woman should be allowed to make the very personal decision about whether or not she wants to grow a baby inside of her body.”

    I totally agree with this. Everyone has a choice about whether or not they want to have a child. It occurs before they choose to engage in sexual activity.

    I am still waiting for any kind of an argument as to what constitutes a person, thereby infering the right to life. Maybe a more basic question is in order. Do you even believe there is such a thing as a right to life? If so, then when does it begin and why? Let me give you a hypothetical that may help out. Suppose my friend decides to have a baby. At a routine checkup the doctors inform her that her baby has a disorder that will render the child horribly disformed and mentally retarded. She contemplates getting an abortion. In the course of making this decision, she gets several other opinions. Some doctors reinforce the original diagnosis, while others claim that it is highly speculative. My friend decides to hope for the best and carry the baby to term. Upon delivery, the new mother discovers that the diagnosis was correct. She now decides that she should have aborted the child and decides to kill the baby in the hospital. Now, what is it about this act of infanticide that is morally repugnant (and I am giving you the benefit that it is morally wrong, correct me if I am wrong) whereas aborting the child the day before birth is not?

    You completely ignored my claim that we do not have complete autonomy in how we use our bodies. Namely, we cannot use our bodies to take the life of another innocent human being. You declare this by fiat, but I want an actual argument. Why should choice be championed over the potential death of an innocent person in the specific of reproduction and why should it not be championed for everyone in general?

    The main issue I have here is that I strongly suspect cognitive dissonance. You claim choice trumps all for reproductive health, but I doubt that you support the apartheid or other similar activities where the choices of some people were valued higher than the intrinsic rights of others.

  87. Stephen Whitworth February 22, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    To be fair to our two galloping goblins of pro-fetal fervour, I did essentially invite Rhology and Abolitionist here so it’s really mean of me to call them names like “tyrant”. I appreciate their whirlwind tour of Dog Blog.

    It’s tough. The two sides have a difference of opinion that can’t be bridged without someone abandoning core beliefs, which isn’t going to happen. We need A & R to abandon their support of politicians and organizations trying to ban abortions and they require us to abandon a position they see as murderous. We can’t agree even on basic terms of debate. Their views make them crazy bastards to us and our views make us crazy bastards to them. Conflict is inevitable. I appreciate the touches of humanity that emerge between gusts of the howling hurricane of rage.

    And now it’s back to worksville for Whitworth.

  88. Stephen Whitworth February 22, 2011 at 8:59 am #

    Three galloping goblins! Sorry Chemist.

  89. Rhology February 22, 2011 at 9:03 am #

    This statement is very true:
    –”We can’t agree even on basic terms of debate.”

    Despite our best efforts, all of you have refused to deal with anything resembling the question of whether the fetus is human and how we know.

  90. Abolitionist_13 February 22, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    @Amy

    You said:
    “For me the central issue is the belief that regardless of how you want to categorize the multi-cellular organism a woman is carrying around in her uterus, it does not trump her right to decide whether or not she has the right to terminate the pregnancy.”

    Okay, make an argument. Grant the point that the “clump of cells” is a human – a person – and argue that you should have the right to kill that person.

    You seem to think we’re uncaring, flat (as opposed to “multi-dimensional”) people bent on terrorizing women. Perhaps thats because you see a disconnect between the philosophical arguments and the tangible implications. But we aren’t talking about “theoretical babies”, we are talking about real people! I know someone with only half an arm, who survived his mother’s attempted abortion. And does “God talk” (i.e. Abolitionist_24′s explaning the religious motivation for the abolition of the slave trade) really make us non-dimensional? It seems to me that the flat (even scary) person is the one who can say that the slaughter of millions doesn’t matter.

  91. Slave owner in the 19th century February 22, 2011 at 9:13 am #

    Negros aren’t human. Let’s just get that straight.
    And I won’t accept any argument that they are. I’m not even interested in talking about it.

  92. Abolitionist_24 February 22, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    Multiple choice test for Amy.

    1. Which of the following best categorizes the multi-cellular organism that a woman is carrying around in her uterus

    A). human
    B). turnip
    C.) alien being

    2. Is the statement (made by Chemist in #69) Life begins from the moment of fertilization as marked by the slow block to polyspermy under the definition of life taken from the Penguin Dictionary of Biology which defines life as “complex physico-chemical systems whose two main peculiarities are (1) storage and replication of molecular information in the form of nucleic acid, and (2) the presence of (or in viruses perhaps merely the potential for) enzyme catalysis.” Placing a fertilized egg as a living organism, a …

    A). personal religious statement
    B). an endless philosophical debate of no consequence
    C). scientifically informed definition of life

    3). Should a woman be allowed to make a very personal decision about whether or not a baby (your word) grows inside her body?

    A). Yes, but this decision precedes the conception and subsequent growth of said baby
    B). Yes, but she is only allowed to stop the babies growth before he or she has been alive for 1-4 weeks
    C). Yes, but she is only allowed to stop the babies growth before he or she has been alive for 4-8 weeks
    D). Yes, but she is only allowed to stop the babies growth before he or she has been alive for 8-12 weeks
    E). Yes, but she is only allowed to stop the babies growth before he or she has been alive for 12-15 weeks
    F). Yes, but she is only allowed to stop the babies growth before he or she has been alive for 15-18 weeks
    G). Yes, but she is only allowed to stop the babies growth before he or she has been alive for 18-22 weeks
    H). Yes, but she is only allowed to stop the babies growth before he or she has been alive for 22-26 weeks
    I). Yes, but she is only allowed to stop the babies growth before he or she has been alive for 26-36 weeks
    J). Yes, but she is only allowed to stop the babies growth before he or she is born.
    K). Yes, but she is only allowed to stop the babies growth up to the end of the first hour that the baby has left the womb.
    L). No, a woman is not allowed to make any choices about having sex or sexually reproducing.

    4) Is question #3 the same as the following question? Should a woman be allowed to kill a growing baby? (your words)

    A). Yes (Amy’s Answer)
    B). No. (Rhology, Abolitionist 4, Abolitionist 24, and The Chemist’s answer.)

  93. Amy February 22, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    @Rhology – Are you slow? That’s because we don’t think it’s the central issue to this discussion. You do. That’s good for you. But luckily you don’t set the terms of this conversation, or the laws that govern women’s bodies for that matter. If that upsets you, I’m sorry. Oh wait, no I’m not.

    @Chemist – Now we’re getting to the heart of the issue: “Everyone has a choice about whether or not they want to have a child. It occurs before they choose to engage in sexual activity.” Despite the fact that there is no form of contraception that is 100% effective, despite that fact that sometimes babies are the result of rape or incest? Right, if only women weren’t so stupid and just used the pesky contraception that, by the way, anti-choicers want to make more scarce by underfunding one of the only organization that offers family planning alternatives to low income women. Golly.

    This is really about punishing sexual women. Because let’s face it, men do not face the same level of responsibility when an unwanted pregnancy occurs – yes, they may need to pay for their child but they are not faced with the same physical or even social ramification that the mother does. If only women were less sexual everything would be fine and we’d not need these pesky abortions. Seriously dude (or dudette), go back to the 1950s.

  94. Stephen Whitworth February 22, 2011 at 9:18 am #

    Well Rhology, that’s a hard question. We can agree that a newborn baby is human, and the pro-choicers will be adamant that the little cell glob that exists at conception isn’t human. But no one can say when the exactly it becomes human. It’s unknowable. I even think both sides accept this. The anti-pro-choice side (how’s that for neutral, non-accusatory language!) isn’t willing to bet what they see as a human life on the question.

    Actually the pro-choice crowd is the same way, but for us the mom is the top priority.

    I have a solution! No more unplanned pregnancies ever!

  95. Amy February 22, 2011 at 9:20 am #

    @Abolitionist – None of the above. Probably algae. I’ll go with algae. Maybe a cross between algae and alien being actually.

    Now you on the other hand, you are definitely closer to a turnip.

  96. Rhology February 22, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    Ah, so it’s unknowable.

    19th century slaveowner says: Whether Negros are people is unknowable.

    I presume if someone were to go hunting and hear a rustling in the bushes, you would, by this reasoning, say it’s completely justifiable if they shoot first and ask questions later.

  97. Abolitionist_24 February 22, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    Oh, and I haven’t carried any ugly signs with the intent of intimidating and terrorizing any women going through an already difficult experience. I have hung up the following signs which you can see at:

    http://www.sankofa-me-lately.com/p/aha.html

    Do you find these posters terrorizing or ugly?

  98. Stephen Whitworth February 22, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    See to me, the comparison between abortion and slavery seems insane and kind of racist.

    (No! Must! Get! To Work!)

  99. Justin Wagner February 22, 2011 at 9:51 am #

    The development of a fertilized cell into a human being is not a binary process: there is not some magical point along the developmental pathway where the gods flick a switch and this mass of cells suddenly becomes the proud owner of Being. Many people, whether they realize it or not, think discontinuously in this way. It’s exactly analogous to how most laypeople misunderstand speciation: they imagine that at some point in the past, a fish grew legs and walked out of the sea, or that a chimpanzee gave birth to a human, or other such nonsense. The process of biological development is similar in many respects to the process of speciation in evolutionary biology. You start off with one thing, end up with something else entirely, with a huge grey area in between. A step-wise, gradual, continuous process connects point A with point B. Nature is not some neat little demarcated package. It is a sea of chaos. Just as paleontologists struggle to define where Homo heidelbergensis ends and Homo sapiens begins, so do biologists struggle to define where non-life becomes a living individual (and philosophers try to determine when a non-being becomes a being). Please refer to the Sorites Paradox. It is not as simple as locating an arbitrary point in the massive grey area and claiming that this is where the magic happens, because this resorts to the same issue of discontinuous thinking that I’ve already mentioned. The key is to recognize that there is a large period of development where the question “is this a living being?” may not even be a question with a meaningful answer (sort of like the measurement problem in quantum mechanics, where some of the most basic questions have no sensible answers). Just because you would like there to be an answer, or because you might expect one, doesn’t mean that the universe will comply.

    Thus, anyone who claims that the core issue is whether or not a fetus is a human being or not really doesn’t understand anything about developmental biology, philosophy, or the state of nature in general. They are imposing their own preconceptions of how nature works upon the world around them instead of taking a good, honest look at the way things really work (i.e., not in black and white). They also invent this ‘fetal status’ issue so as to avoid the real core of the problem: why should a pregnant woman be obligated towards an unwanted dependent? Even if you assume, for the sake of argument, that a fetus has all of the rights of a normal human being, you still have all of your work ahead of you to show why aborting it is murder. That is, where can you find – within the idea of a ‘right to life’ – the idea that it is OK for one being to use the body of another being against their will? As Judith Jarvis Thomson pointed out, it is not enough to claim that a fetus is a person and that killing it violates it’s right to life; you must go further, demonstrating that aborting a fetus is always an unjust killing. It is by no means obvious that killing a fetus is always or even mostly done unjustly.

    To close: as long as we’re bringing the opinions of scientists into the fray, here’s a great one:

    “You don’t walk into a Home Depot and see thirty houses. You see materials that need architects, carpenters, electricians, and plumbers to create a house. An egg and a sperm are not a human. A fertilized embryo is not a human—it needs a uterus, and at least six months of gestation and development, growth and neuron formation, and cell duplication to become a human. To give an embryo created for biomedical research the same status even as one created for in vitro fertilization (IVF), let alone one created naturally, is patently absurd. When a Home Depot burns down, the headline in the paper is not ’30 Houses Burn Down.’ It is “Home Depot Burned Down.” – Michael Gazzaniga (psychologist, neuroscientist, Ph. D. in psychobiology)

  100. Abolitionist_24 February 22, 2011 at 10:06 am #

    The comparison between abortion and slavery is not being made. The focus is on abolition.

    The connection that is being made is between the actions and motivations behind the abolitionists of slavery and the abolitionists of abortion.

    Anti-Slavery types living in a world of legal slavery trying to bring about change through legal, political, cultural, social and sometimes civilly disobedient and revolutionary means.

    Anti-Abortion types living in a world of legal abortion trying to bring about change through legal, political, cultural, social and sometimes civilly disobedient and revolutionary means.

    Anti-Slavery types living in a world of legal slavery being told to shut up and keep their religious and moral beliefs to themselves.

    Anti-Abortion types living in a world of legal abortion being told to shut up and keep their religious and moral beliefs to themselves.

    I’m not comparing abortion and slavery. I believe along with all other abolitionists (from then until now) that both slavery and abortion are wicked injustices that ought to be abolished.

    As for being racist or insane? You really have no clue who you are talking to, so I would stick to debating the propositions rather than assuming or attacking the person.

    A better question is whether abortion is racist. The abolitionist of slavery where horrified at the overwhelming occurrence of abortions going on in the South, as Plantation owners who raped their slaves attempting to cover up the evidence of their crimes against humanity by hiring abortionists to come destroy the mulattos they fathered.

    Abortion has always inflicted minorities far more than majorities. It has been particularly brutal towards people of color.

    Visit:

    blackdignity.org

    blackgenocide.org

    http://www.maafa21.com/

  101. Rhology February 22, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    AJustin Wagner,

    –”why should a pregnant woman be obligated towards an unwanted dependent?”

    Great question. Now back up a few years.
    Why should a woman be obligated towards an unwanted dependent who is 2 years old? It’s not as if the 2yo can care for himself. Left alone, he’ll die. So by your reasoning, I suppose it’s perfectly ethically acceptable for women to abandon their children to fend for themselves, b/c if they’re “tied down” to these children, they don’t have the right of self-determination.

    Right? If not, give me a consistent reason why not.

    –”if you assume, for the sake of argument, that a fetus has all of the rights of a normal human being, you still have all of your work ahead of you to show why aborting it is murder.”

    This is sheer idiocy.
    Tell you what, if you assume, for the sake of argument, that 40 year old man has all of the rights of a normal human being, you still have all of your work ahead of you to show why aborting him is murder.
    It is not enough to claim that a 40yo man is a person and that killing him violates his right to life; you must go further, demonstrating that aborting a 40yo man’s life is always an unjust killing. It is by no means obvious that killing a 40yo man is always or even mostly done unjustly.

    Have at it.
    This is why naturalistic materialism is hopeless when it comes to moral questions, but that’s another matter.

    So, let’s get this straight – you don’t know when fetuses become human and have human rights, but as long as you’re ignorant, you’re willing to kill the fetus. You are a member of the cult of death.

    @Abolitionist_24:
    To be fair, other Abolitionists and I have been making that very comparison in this combox.

  102. Abolitionist_24 February 22, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    @Rhology:

    True. Abortion and Slavery are comparable in that they are both evils in need of being abolished. Abolitionists in the past and the present are in no need of comparison, they are the same people.

    Also, you are dead right to point out that on the basis of Wagner’s genius quote, women can kill their two year olds because they are not persons. When a woman leaves her two year old home alone for a week and they die, the headline should be Woman kills her toddler.

    This Michael Gazzaniga, and his home depot analogy is absurd. I would say that its insane or racist, but I am not as stupid as Stephen Whitworth.

  103. Amy February 22, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    @Abolitionist – The reason that a disproportionate amount of minority women have abortions is because a disproportionate amount of minority women in your country are poor. Maybe if you focused your infinite energies on dealing with that injustice you would see the rate of abortions decline naturally, rather than by further entrenching poor women in poverty by taking away yet another of their already limited choices. You should be advocating a huge funding increase to an organization like Planned Parenthood, that provides education, medical care and affordable contraception to women who otherwise wouldn’t be able to access it.

    @Rhology – It’s amazing. Justin Wagner takes the time to answer your insistent questions respectfully and with solid thinking and (again) you resort to name calling. Again. Seems a bit desperate of you. But that’s why many of us have refused to engage you further on this issue. It’s a smoking gun, a bait, something that will allow you to continue to jerk off all over this page and little more.

    @Justin Wagner – For the record, you are my new hero. Truly, thank you for articulating those thoughts so clearly.

  104. prowomenwoman February 22, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    I think that pro-choice really is about a culture of life because instead of focusing on privileging the fetus, many pro-choice folks focus on the whole lifespan of a person from birth until death. from my perspective that means supporting women, men, and families in whatever reproductive choices that they might make whether that is parenting, adoption, abortion, sex education, contraceptive use, fertility use, same-sex parenting, etc, etc, etc. i believe in my culture of life, women and families have access to a variety of social services and support systems that provide for the economic, social, political, physical, and emotional needs of citizens. Women who choose to parent or choose adoption are given adequate supports. Women who have unmet contraceptive needs are given access. Women who need family doctors, regular cancer screenings, and preventative measures have access. In my culture of life, the needs, desires, wants, and dreams of individuals are celebrated instead of demmonzied and shame.

    I don’t really care though what the anti-choice said has to say about the personhood and the unborn or comparisons to slavery and genocide. I am secure in my belief that life begins at birth. I am secure in my belief that my own abortion was one of the best decisions I have ever made. If that makes me (and the other 1/3 of all women in North America) a murderer in a minority of people’s perspective than so be it. Of course, let us not forget all of the men that were partners in those pregnancy. That takes us to an entire 1/3 of ALL people! I’ve been there to support my friends through parenting, abortion, and adoption. I can tell you, the experience of unplanned pregnancy is never easy no matter what the ultimate decision is. I think the voice of women who have made the often difficult decision of what to do when an unplanned pregnancy occurs has been left out of this discussion (and mostly every discussion about abortion). Women from every background, age, socio-economic status have abortions (including anti-choice fundamentalists!). Most likely everyone in this thread has a loved one who has experienced an abortion themselves. For the most part, these women’s voices are utterly silenced within our society because of the perceived shame and guilt that the anti-choice side projects. I really don’t know what else to say… this has turned into a huge clusterfuck. I know it’s a rather used saying, but if you don’t abortions, don’t have one. To quote Trudeau, “The state has no business in the bedroom of the nation”.

    Good to see the pdog getting lots of attention though :)

  105. prowomenwoman February 22, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    @Justin Wagner – thank you!

  106. Rhology February 22, 2011 at 10:33 am #

    “The state has no business in the bedroom of the nation”

    Oh, I didn’t realise that aborticians had started plying their trade in bedrooms.

    IOW, disanalogous analogies aren’t very helpful.

  107. prowomenwoman February 22, 2011 at 10:36 am #

    @rhonology – don’t know what your internet speak means. Do you even know who Pierre Trudeau is or the context of the quote? A

  108. Stephen Whitworth February 22, 2011 at 11:04 am #

    I think IOW means “In Other Words”.

    Not here! Working!

  109. Rhology February 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    pww,

    Yes, I get it.
    My point is that abortions terminate the lives of human beings w/o due process of law. The state has EVERY interest in taking action against those who terminate the lives of human beings w/o due process of law. That’s why the question of when a human comes to be is essential, and why we prolifers just roll our eyes when, once again, pro-baby-murder types duck the question.

  110. wonluv February 22, 2011 at 12:19 pm #

    To all the pro-choicers who find it humurous to refer to the unborn as turnips, aliens, algae or anything else, since you care so much for the women who are having abortions, is this how you would refer to the aborted child of those women (who are many) who everyday suffer from the pain and guilt of killing what they considered to be their child? Are you really that despicable, insensitive and disgusting? Grow up and realize that you may have some of those very women reading this blog that you are doing further damage to by the way you are referring to the children they now grieve over having lost. If a friend of yours had a miscarriage and was devastated over her loss, would you tell her “suck it up, you only lost a turnip”? You all are pathetic.

  111. Stephen Whitworth February 22, 2011 at 12:31 pm #

    Well, I would say that anyone suffering guilt over an abortion should seek counselling and maybe steer clear of no-choice meanies who lay guilt trips on them. Fortunately lots of women who have abortions don’t feel guilty.

    As for women who wanted a baby but had a miscarriage and are heartbroken and hurt by my insensitive characterizations, I feel bad about that. I would recommend avoiding everything I ever write on this topic.

  112. Abolitionist_24 February 22, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

    @prowomenwoman

    You said, “I am secure in my belief that life begins at birth.”

    You are secure in your belief that the defining characteristic of life is being on the outside of a person. You are okay with dismembering a nine month old baby inside the womb fifteen minutes before its birth?

    You said: “I am secure in my belief that my own abortion was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

    I said earlier, that this does not make you a murderer. I believe that you too are a victim in this whole deal. You were manipulated and misinformed by an anti-women and anti-human culture of death in the same way that so many others have been. Please stop adding to the problem.

    I don’t know exactly how to ask, but was your abortion performed for the sake of saving your life? Were you raped? Did your baby have Downs or some other syndrome? Or did the decision to end the life developing within your womb follow from some other consideration?

    How long did your baby get to live?

    You have no real reason to believe us, but many of us within the pro-life community would have paid all of your medical bills, and adopted and raised your child, had you told us of your situation and that your baby was not wanted.

    We live in different worlds.

    I entirely agree with your statement that all of the men who are partners in the pregnancies which are aborted fully share in the responsibility, shame, and blame for what is occurring so frequently (as you point out) in this practice.

    Sadly, abortion has become one more way to make life easier for men.

    I understand why you would want the pro-choice arguments and community to be in the right here. I would too if I had played any part in any abortion. No one wants to be called a murderer and it is easier to deal with the pain of loosing a life that was and might have been if you think of it as just a clump of cells.

    I hope I have not caused you any pain in trying to share my thoughts on this subject.

  113. prowomenwoman February 22, 2011 at 12:50 pm #

    Ok fine I’ll reply even though I have a buttload of work to do… I think there is a really important distinction to make between pregnancies that are very much planned or very welcomed surprises and pregnancies that are not planned, cause undone hardship, and interruptions in school/career/work/etc. I would never (and have never) diminished the experiences of my friends who have had miscarriages.

    Now to address the issue of “post-abortion syndrome” or grief/pain following an abortion. This condition is not a recognized mental illness because there is absolutely zero research indicating that women experience abnormal mental health problems following an abortion. See the APA:

    http://www.apa.org/pi/women/programs/abortion/index.aspx

    From the significant amount of research ive done on this topic, I can assure you that no evidence based or peer reviewed credible source has indicated that women experience mental health problems, guilt, depression, etc after an abortion. I can, however, assure you that the anti-abortion types do a real good job of reinforcing the idea that women SHOULD feel guilt, shame, and depression after an abortion. As a result, women may perceive that they should feel those emotions even though they do not. Furthermore, there is a significant amount of evidence based and peer reviewed research indicating that women experience depression, anxiety, loneliness, poverty, unemployment, and health problems after giving birth. As a woman who has had an abortion, I can assure you that i have no experienced an ounce of guilt, shame, or depression as a result of mine and my former partner’s decision. So don’t put words in my mouth please and thank you :)

    I really don’t see how providing factual information that in no way condemns women who give birth or have had abortion could be damaging to women. I do, however, see how asserting that women who have abortions are murderers, fetuses are tiny children, and other such abortion is the evilest of the evil rhetoric could damage women. But I forgot, the antis only care about women when they think the pro-choice side is hurting them.

  114. Justin Wagner February 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    “Why should a woman be obligated towards an unwanted dependent who is 2 years old?”

    What you have done in your versions of my questions/statements is remove the key feature that makes fetal abortion a unique

    case: pregnancy, a.k.a. the time when a woman’s body is used as a physical home for something alien. By continually ignoring

    this fact and reformulating my arguments without this critical concept included, you’re just errecting strawmen and making

    yourself look foolish. I also notice that you failed to respond to the idea that abortion is not always an unjust killing,

    even if the fetus is granted rights.

    The only way I can think of making my point more clear is to quote Thomson’s analogy of the unconscious violinist:

    “I propose, then, that we grant that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception. How does the argument go from

    here? Something like this, I take it. Every person has a right to life. So the fetus has a right to life. No doubt the

    mother has a right to decide what shall happen in and to her body; everyone would grant that. But surely a person’s right to

    life is stronger and more stringent than the mother’s right to decide what happens in and to her body, and so outweighs it.

    So the fetus may not be killed; an abortion may not be performed.

    It sounds plausible. But now let me ask you to imagine this. You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in

    bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the

    Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type

    to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist’s circulatory system was plugged into yours, so

    that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. The director of the hospital now tells

    you, ‘Look, we’re sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you–we would never have permitted it if we had known. But

    still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it’s only

    for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you.’ Is it morally

    incumbent on you to accede to this situation? No doubt it would be very nice of you if you did, a great kindness. But do you

    have to accede to it? What if it were not nine months, but nine years? Or longer still? What if the director of the hospital

    says. ‘Tough luck. I agree. but now you’ve got to stay in bed, with the violinist plugged into you, for the rest of your

    life. Because remember this. All persons have a right to life, and violinists are persons. Granted you have a right to

    decide what happens in and to your body, but a person’s right to life outweighs your right to decide what happens in and to

    your body. So you cannot ever be unplugged from him.’ I imagine you would regard this as outrageous, which suggests that

    something really is wrong with that plausible-sounding argument I mentioned a moment ago.”

    I’m not going to claim that Thomson’s essay is flawless (there are some good criticisms out there), but she makes many

    strong points in defense of abortion. Most of these points, in my experience, are completely ignored by anti-abortionists,

    who usually seek to reduce the argument into some black and white debate about whether or not a fetus is a human being. Good

    luck arguing about that until the end of time.

    Just as a note, Thomson also makes some great points about abortion and due process of law. In brief, she points out that there’s no laws requiring us to be ‘Minimally Decent Samaritans’: that is, we are not legally obligated to help other people when they are in need and we are able to provide assistance. However, for some strange reason, every woman is expected to go beyond the call of duty – to be a Minimally Decent Samaritan – and be a “Good Samaritan” to what is essentially an endoparasite (technically speaking).

  115. wonluv February 22, 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    @Stephen,
    So your response is “steer clear of me” rather than, I “actually” care about and consider the feelings of the women having abortions, and if you feel bad about what you did then there is something wrong in your head.” Whew! It is comforting to kniw your are sincere when you claim to be uplifting women and and caring for them.

  116. Justin Wagner February 22, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    Note to self: don’t edit a post in notepad before copying and pasting it in a browser.

  117. Abolitionist_24 February 22, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    To return one last time to the Abolitionist analogy, it is a historical fact that pro-Slavery advocates told anti-slavery abolitionists that they didn’t have to own slaves if they thought it was wrong. Abolitionists were also told to keep their religious and moral beliefs to themselves. Thank God they did not.

    “If you’re against Slavery, don’t own slaves”
    - Says the pro-choice slave owner who owned slaves.

    “If your against abortion don’t have an abortion”
    -Says the pro-choice woman who had an abortion and the pro-choice doctor who pays his bills aborting babies.

    Abortion will be abolished if for no other reason than the fact that pro-lifers have far more children than pro-choicers, and that thousands of children are being adopted instead of aborted every year and grow up with this knowledge.

    But we don’t have to wait for these generations to right this wrong. We must seek the abolition of human abortion now.

    This exchange has been very engaging and enlightening. I hope that some of us will meet again in some other forum in the future.

    May God bless each one of you regardless of your position on abortion and feelings towards its eventual abolition. But make no mistake about it, we will not rest until we have effected its abolition.

    -Jay Shepherd

  118. Rhology February 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm #

    @Justin re: violinist.

    So many questions remain on the table that the baby murder advocates haven’t answered, but the violinist example seems to be your best shot in my estimation.

    The strength of this argument is that it grants the full humanity of the fetus and therefore throws most of the respondents here under the bus. The weakness of this argument is that it is an argument from analogy. Arguments from analogy destruct if they rest on fatal disanalogies.

    Besides many of the other problems pro-lifers have pointed out, here’s a big one. Thompson seems to make a distinction between consent to pregnancy and consent to sex (as F Beckwith and others point out). But it seems that pregnancy is the designed result of sex, even though it may not be the desired result. It would seem that our sex organs have the purpose of being ordered towards procreation. Applying this to the violinist then: What if I engaged in an activity, say, spelunking, that regularly created rare kidney diseases in violinists? Say that every time I dropped 50 ft into the cave, a violinist was almost sure to develop the disease that only I had the blood type to correct or fix. If I did so, should I not be hooked up to him, voluntarily or not?

    Say that there was protection, some kind of spelunking helmet. Say that it was not 100% effective. If my helmet ripped, should I be attached to the violinist? Or say I tried to “pull up” before I hit 50 ft. Unfortunately, it felt so good to decend that I pulled up a little too late and my right foot passed the 50 ft mark. Should I be attached to the violinist? I don’t see why not. Indeed, say that the statistical evidence was that the first two people that ever spelunked together would eventually cause 6 billion violinists to come down with rare kidney diseases, I dare say the Society of Music Lovers, and almost everyone else for that matter, would call for abstaining from spelunking unless you agreed to take care of the violinists until they got better. This seems fatal to Thompson’s argument.

    So, kudos for copying and pasting, but demerits for not trying to find out whether this has been answered in the many years since it was first formulated.

  119. prowomenwoman February 22, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

    @abolitionist

    “You are secure in your belief that the defining characteristic of life is being on the outside of a person. You are okay with dismembering a nine month old baby inside the womb fifteen minutes before its birth?”

    yes and yes

    “You said: “I am secure in my belief that my own abortion was one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

    “I said earlier, that this does not make you a murderer. I believe that you too are a victim in this whole deal. You were manipulated and misinformed by an anti-women and anti-human culture of death in the same way that so many others have been. Please stop adding to the problem.”

    Ok I’m not really sure what to say to this one. Please explain to me how I was manipulated and misinformed. I found out I was pregnant, called Planned Parenthood who explained that I could come there for pre-natal for information on parenting ora adoption or call the women’s health clinic to be self-referred for an abortion. I phoned the women’s health clinic who made me an appointment. I went to the hospital where the nurses explained to me what would happen, the risks of the procedure, what my other options were, and provided me with counseling to ensure I was not ambivalent about the procedure. A week later I had an ultrasound (which I choose to view) to confirm how far along I was. Then I came back three weeks for the procedure. Six weeks after that, I went to my doctor to ensure that there were no complications. There were none. And then I carried on with my life.

    “I don’t know exactly how to ask, but was your abortion performed for the sake of saving your life? Were you raped? Did your baby have Downs or some other syndrome? Or did the decision to end the life developing within your womb follow from some other consideration?”

    I would argue that it was performed to save my own life. As students in our last semesters of university, neither myself or my partner at the time had any income. I would have had to discontinue my degree program as I was about to complete an internship. I would not have qualified for any maternity benefits and would have had to go on social assistance. Adoption was not an option for the same reasons. We were in no way mature enough or ready to raise a child and had recently got back together after our millionth break up. I was not raped. The form of birth control we were using failed.

    “You have no real reason to believe us, but many of us within the pro-life community would have paid all of your medical bills, and adopted and raised your child, had you told us of your situation and that your baby was not wanted.”

    LOL riiiiiight. Please show me some examples of when this actually had happened. Why are there so many kids in foster care then?

    We live in different worlds.

    “I understand why you would want the pro-choice arguments and community to be in the right here. I would too if I had played any part in any abortion. No one wants to be called a murderer and it is easier to deal with the pain of loosing a life that was and might have been if you think of it as just a clump of cells.”

    I was very much pro-choice before I had an abortion and very much after. I don’t really care if you call me a murderer and I have experienced no pain as a result of my termination. I never viewed the fetus as a child and therefore never saw any kind of future for the, yes, clump of cells.

    Now I really need to get back to my real job which actually involves helping people (shocker!).

  120. Justin Wagner February 22, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    I hate to do it, but I’m reposting my previous disaster piece so as to be at least somewhat readable (wish we could edit, or at least delete, misformatted posts):

    “Why should a woman be obligated towards an unwanted dependent who is 2 years old?”
    What you have done in your versions of my questions/statements is remove the key feature that makes fetal abortion a unique case: pregnancy, a.k.a. the time when a woman’s body is used as a physical home for something alien. By continually ignoring this fact and reformulating my arguments without this critical concept included, you’re just erecting strawmen and making yourself look foolish. I also notice that you failed to respond to the idea that abortion is not always an unjust killing, even if the fetus is granted rights.
    The only way I can think of making my point more clear is to quote Thomson’s analogy of the unconscious violinist:
    “I propose, then, that we grant that the fetus is a person from the moment of conception. How does the argument go from here? Something like this, I take it. Every person has a right to life. So the fetus has a right to life. No doubt the mother has a right to decide what shall happen in and to her body; everyone would grant that. But surely a person’s right to life is stronger and more stringent than the mother’s right to decide what happens in and to her body, and so outweighs it. So the fetus may not be killed; an abortion may not be performed.
    It sounds plausible. But now let me ask you to imagine this. You wake up in the morning and find yourself back to back in bed with an unconscious violinist. A famous unconscious violinist. He has been found to have a fatal kidney ailment, and the Society of Music Lovers has canvassed all the available medical records and found that you alone have the right blood type to help. They have therefore kidnapped you, and last night the violinist’s circulatory system was plugged into yours, so that your kidneys can be used to extract poisons from his blood as well as your own. The director of the hospital now tells you, ‘Look, we’re sorry the Society of Music Lovers did this to you–we would never have permitted it if we had known. But still, they did it, and the violinist is now plugged into you. To unplug you would be to kill him. But never mind, it’s only for nine months. By then he will have recovered from his ailment, and can safely be unplugged from you.’ Is it morally incumbent on you to accede to this situation? No doubt it would be very nice of you if you did, a great kindness. But do you have to accede to it? What if it were not nine months, but nine years? Or longer still? What if the director of the hospital says. ‘Tough luck. I agree. but now you’ve got to stay in bed, with the violinist plugged into you, for the rest of your life. Because remember this. All persons have a right to life, and violinists are persons. Granted you have a right to decide what happens in and to your body, but a person’s right to life outweighs your right to decide what happens in and to your body. So you cannot ever be unplugged from him.’ I imagine you would regard this as outrageous, which suggests that something really is wrong with that plausible-sounding argument I mentioned a moment ago.”
    I’m not going to claim that Thomson’s essay is flawless (there are some good criticisms out there), but she makes many strong points in defense of abortion. Most of these points, in my experience, are completely ignored by anti-abortionists, who usually seek to reduce the argument into some black and white debate about whether or not a fetus is a human being. Good luck arguing about that until the end of time.
    Just as a note, Thomson also makes some great points about abortion and due process of law. In brief, she points out that there’s no laws requiring us to be ‘Minimally Decent Samaritans’: that is, we are not legally obligated to help other people when they are in need and we are able to provide assistance. However, for some strange reason, every woman is expected to go beyond the call of duty – to be a Minimally Decent Samaritan – and be a “Good Samaritan” to what is essentially an endoparasite (technically speaking).

  121. Justin Wagner February 22, 2011 at 1:21 pm #

    @Rhology: Just wondering if you read the entirety of Thomson’s essay. She anticipates and responds to your exact argument in the “people-seeds” analogy. Sorry for copying and pasting yet again (trying to get some actual work done this afternoon)!!

    “Suppose it were like this: people-seeds drift about in the air like pollen, and if you open your windows, one may drift in and take root in your carpets or upholstery. You don’t want children, so you fix up your windows with fine mesh screens, the very best you can buy. As can happen, however, and on very, very rare occasions does happen, one of the screens is defective, and a seed drifts in and takes root. Does the person-plant who now develops have a right to the use of your house? Surely not–despite the fact that you voluntarily opened your windows, you knowingly kept carpets and upholstered furniture, and you knew that screens were sometimes defective. Someone may argue that you are responsible for its rooting, that it does have a right to your house, because after all you could have lived out your life with bare floors and furniture, or with sealed windows and doors. But this won’t do – for by the same token anyone can avoid a pregnancy due to rape by having a hysterectomy, or anyway by never leaving home without a (reliable!) army.”

    Again, I’m not claiming that her arguments and analogies are immune from criticism, or that none exist. However, I think they provide new ways of looking at old problems, which is a good thing when the arguments tend to go round-and-round.

  122. Laurence Coventry February 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    Your style is vulgar without humour as abusive presumption of your rightness destroys humour.This is an ignorant juvenile rant. In an enlightened society Roe v Wade will follow Dred Scott out of the window. All your bile is aimed at the butchery of the innocent. All science proves the personhood of the unborn baby. Now we need emancipation. A start has been made in Nebraska where abortion after 20 weeks is forbidden on account of pain, which only a person can feel.

  123. JC February 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    abortion debates are so nuts.

    y’know, i should clarify a point made well up the page. susan b. anthony’s actual position on abortion is… ambiguous. her writings on the matter were really sparse. but an article published in ‘the revolution,’ the paper she owned with elizabeth cady stanton, she wrote, “When a woman destroys the life of her unborn child, it is a sign that, by education or circumstances, she has been greatly wronged.”

    and in full consideration of planned parenthood’s job, which is to mitigate that lack of education (or the circumstances that might lead to it), well – isn’t stripping their funding pretty much wronging everyone for whom planned parenthood serves a different function than abortion? and isn’t it greatly increasing their chances of unwanted pregnancy? and thus isn’t it likely going to increase the very thing that planned parenthood really doesn’t want to do, since it’s like morally quite difficult and really expensive and also horrifically traumatic for those involved, viz. abortion?

    i mean, how do you possibly justify that? how do you justify creating conditions where there are going to be MORE abortions? it just doesn’t make any sense.

  124. wonluv February 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Does anyone else find it odd that Justin keeps pointing out the shortcomings of the arguments he is.citing from Thompson, before anyone on here even offers a criticism of them. Is that an indication that even he does not buy them, but uses them to support his indefensible position? Hmmmm.

  125. anonymous February 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm #

    Whoa, a bomb went off in here.

  126. Justin Wagner February 22, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    @wonluv: It’s called modesty and humility. I don’t claim to have all of the answers, and I don’t claim that anyone else has all of the answers, either. If you’re looking for a bullet-proof argument in favor of or against abortion, good luck. It doesn’t exist. These are complex moral dilemmas that, when presented to individuals in reality, must be struggled with in a deeply personal way. Only a fool looks at issues like this and sees them in black and white.

    As for Thomson’s essay: it’s a work of philosophy. Its sole purpose is to make people think in new ways, to see the flaws in every-day assumptions and familiar questions. AFAIK, there has never been a philosophical work that is beyond criticism. If you see that as a flaw, maybe you should stop seeing things dogmatically. Personally, I don’t hold to any dogma.

  127. wonluv February 22, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    For those of you who have stated that “nobody wants more abortion,or that you would like less abortion” why? If abortion is merely a procedure undertaken to prevent unwanted symptoms of sex, that has nor moral aspect to it, why less abortions. It would kinda be like saying, I want less people buying aspirin. Do you only want less abortion because it would eliminate the inconvenience of having one? It sounds like at the core of your thinking, you are fully aware that there is a moral aspect involved.

  128. Rhology February 22, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

    Justin,

    Here’s the problem:
    –”As can happen, however, and on very, very rare occasions does happen, one of the screens is defective, and a seed drifts in and takes root.”

    IF YOU OPEN YOUR WINDOWS. You opened your windows. That’s the point made by my last comment. If you don’t know that opening your windows removes your best obstacle to pollen, that’s your mistake. It does not mean you get to hunt down and shoot the manufacturer of the mesh screen, which is what the pro-baby-murder camp’s argument amounts to.

    This sentence from you is totally disingenuous:
    –”I don’t claim to have all of the answers”

    But you don’t mind killing what you can’t be sure isn’t a baby. You admit you don’t know the answers, but you’re OK with dismemberment and death being the default position. You’re a blithe acolyte in the cult of death.

    To all,

    How in the world can one possibly prove that fetuses don’t feel anything? You don’t remember, and there is no way to enter into the fetus’ mind. If you doubt this, find me a machine that can read thoughts for adults. It doesn’t exist; it’s science fiction. I love how you base your argument on sci fi. So typical.

    JC,

    –”isn’t stripping their funding pretty much wronging everyone for whom planned parenthood serves a different function than abortion?”

    That was dealt with above.
    2) What about all those ppl who like to remind us that PP is all about contraception and raising awareness? Wouldn’t PP have to constrict, tighten its belt, in order to continue to offer its most important services, while trimming the fat? Or is it that, contrary to what we keep hearing from the PP apologists, abortions really are their stock and trade and their favorite activity? What happened to safe, legal, and rare? As far as I can tell, they and their ilk are only interested in the “legal” part of that triumvirate. So, if they stopped funding contraception and all that stuff and focused on abortions, seems to me that the blame would rest squarely on their shoulders, not on the shoulders of those calling for reform.

  129. wonluv February 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm #

    @ Justin, you said u r not dogmatic about anything. Is it always wrong to molest children or rape women. Dont be too dogmatic in your answer.

  130. Justin Wagner February 22, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    “If you don’t know that opening your windows removes your best obstacle to pollen, that’s your mistake.”
    I hope you don’t work for an insurance company. Say I open a window on a hot night and a burglar uses it to enter my house. Am I responsible for the burglary? I much prefer a humanistic approach: if an individual uses every reasonable screening material to keep pollen out, I don’t see how they can be held responsible for leaving the window open and having pollen enter via a defect in the screen. The point of the analogy is to illustrate how ridiculous it is to place responsibility on the individual living in the home when they have taken every reasonable precaution to keep pollen out. No one is thinking of hunting down and shooting anyone (besides you).

    “This sentence from you is totally disingenuous.”

    Thanks for telling me what I think.

    “But you don’t mind killing what you can’t be sure isn’t a baby.”
    My personal view of abortion is definitely not black and white. It is nuanced, as a complex moral issue should be. More importantly, I’m not going to judge a woman for her (or her partner’s) decision regarding abortion. In this regard, it appears that I am more Christian than a lot of Christians (“Judge not, lest ye be judged”).

    I can have an opinion on the matter, but I’m not going to direct it at any particular instance of abortion or declare that my view is the correct one. The true monsters here are the people who feel that they know ‘The Truth’ of the matter and seek to project their own dogmatic views onto those who face these issues in reality.

    The whole issue seems to me something that should be determined by the experts. You know, people who spend their entire lives studying biology, medicine, neuroscience, philosophy, ethics, morality, etc. The only reason people like me feel obliged to continue feeding the trolls on Internet blogs & forums is because of all of the batshit crazy ideas fluttering around, spread by people who have never opened a developmental biology or philosophy text in their life.

    Do I mind killing what I can’t be sure isn’t a baby? I wouldn’t know, as I’ve never faced such a situation. Are you sure that it is a baby? How do you know? I know that the concept is beyond some people (made quite apparently throughout these comments), but there is justified killing and there is unjustified killing. After you get past the “what if” human question, feel free to move on to the really important part of the debate, which has been going on for the last 40 years or so.

    @wonluv: “Is it always wrong to molest children or rape women. Dont be too dogmatic in your answer.”

    I don’t think those things are good ideas, but I can imagine hypothetical situations where they would, in fact, be more moral than the alternatives. This is one of the problems with absolute morality: if you want to suggest that something is ‘always’ the case, you’d better be prepared to deal with hypothetical situations which would suggest otherwise.

  131. anonymous February 22, 2011 at 4:58 pm #

    So prowomenwoman thinks it is okay to kill an unborn baby 15 minutes before its birth (#119) and justin wagner can imagine hypothetical situations where it is moral to molest children and rape women (#131).

    and the pro-lifers and abolitionists here are the ones being accused of being insane kooky and oppressive.

    reading this series of comments sure is an eye opener.

  132. prowomenwoman February 22, 2011 at 5:12 pm #

    for the record, i’m not actually cool with killing a baby after it is born because then it is actually a person and not a fetus. my apologies for any confusing in relation to comment 119, i was at my job (heh) and was trying to write something quickly in-between shit hitting the fan. i didn’t fully read the comment mostly cuz like, words were getting put in my mouth.

  133. John Hampton February 22, 2011 at 5:26 pm #

    @Rhology #35
    Wow, as a late comer to this debate it’s difficult to keep up, and I haven’t gotten through all the comments, but I just wanted to address Rhology’s comment:

    “The other thing you said is that when a baby breathes, it’s a human? So when ppl are on ventilators, they’re no longer human? If not, why so inconsistent?”

    The difference between life support and pregnancy is that life support uses a machine to keep you alive, while pregnancy requires a woman to do so. If it was possible to keep a full grown adult alive by connecting them to your body, using your nutrients and oxygen, then I believe this “human life support” system should have the right to end this arrangement, even if it means that the other person would die as a result.

  134. The Chemist February 22, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    Boy! Go to work and look what happens. I am way behind, so I’ll jump in where I left off, maybe picking up on a few threads here and there.

    @Amy
    “This is really about punishing sexual women.”

    Absolutely and patently false. This is about giving rights to a class of human beings which are being denied legal protection for their right to life.

    As I’ve already stated above. Nobody gets to excerise autonomous choice for every act they desire. In particular, some choices are restricted because they conflict with another person’s right to life. Claiming a woman’s choice in this instance is a de facto claim that either the unborn child is not a human or does not possess the rights of human. I have asked you repeatedly to either (1) challenge my claim that unborn children are human life and are so from the moment of conception or (2) the right to life is not an intrinsic property of human beings. The latter would be the list of functional qualities that specify when a human acquires these rights that we all hold to so dearly.

    Look, I get why such a list is not forth coming. In fact, I am more surprised when people supply the list (occassionally happens). Lists are frightening because they are incredibly hard to contain to only the groups that you want on the list. Moreover, one should immediately ask the follow up question, who gets to decide all of this anyway? Those are serious questions. All the more reason to adopt the position that rights are a function of ontology, not qualities.

    “If only women were less sexual everything would be fine and we’d not need these pesky abortions. Seriously dude (or dudette), go back to the 1950s.”

    This is a red herring.

  135. The Chemist February 22, 2011 at 10:31 pm #

    @Justin

    You are absolutely right about speciation and developmental embryology being a process. In fact, the entire concept of speciation is not settled at all among biologists. However, that does not mean that it is illogical or irrational to identify what a species is and classify organisms as species. To the contrary, you gather the relevant information and establish the criteria you think are relevant in defining what a species is and then you defend it. Of course, you might later be convinced a different set of criteria is better but that is another story. The key here is that the continuity among biological systems in no way paralyzes the ability of biologists to classify organisms.

    Now, let’s turn to the more central question here: human development as it relates to abortion. The important questions in the context of abortion are (1) does a right to life even exist for anyone? (2) if it does exist, how and when is the right to life conferred to an individual? (3) are there instances where a person’s choice has more value than another person’s right to their own life? I think the first is not controversial. If you disagree, then we can place all of this on hold because that is a foundation that must be settled first. The second and third questions are the central questions in the debate.

    As you correctly noted, life is a process from the moment of conception to death. We are all at different points among the spectrum. However, that does not mean that we are paralyzed when it comes to determining when life begins or whether or not that life possess basic rights. It seems to me that claiming rights are conferred at birth is rather arbitrary, and I am not alone in this assessment. Peter Singer seriously advocates infanticide precisely because using birth as the demarcation of rights is arbitrary. In the end, any list or criteria used to determine the conferral of rights becomes arbitrary. That is because basic human rights are not a function of some list that is determined by whoever has sufficient power to enforce the list. No, those rights exist because they are intrinsic to the person. Let me put it as a simple argument. That may clarify things,

    P1. The right to life is an intrinsic property of humans.
    P2. If human life begins at conception, then humans possess the right to life from conception.
    P3. Human life begins at conception.
    C. Humans possess the right to life from conception.

    You have asked for justification for calling abortion murder. Murder is the unjustified killing of an innocent human. If the argument above goes through, then what else would you call an abortion? Certainly the unborn baby is innocent. I realize that in the US abortion is legal, but that doesn’t make abortion any less immoral. Is lawfully killing a spouse in country where such actions are legal moral for those people? Clearly not, the law is in error and must be changed.

    Lastly, you asked for justification for women carrying a child to term, specifically arguing that it is immoral to force a person to use their bodies to sustain the life of another against their will. It’s not that I don’t see the tension here. I am sensitive to that, but it is not like the person did not engage in any activities that could have potentially led them to this outcome. Procreation is the purpose of sex. Furthermore, how else does anyone take care of an infant or elderly person other than using their bodies. My one year daughter and three year old son cannot care for themselves and if left alone they will die. Let me be clear here, I have to use my own body to care for and nurture these people. I go to work to earn the money that provides the basic necessities they need to live. I give what I have for myself to them (this includes my time, money, nutrition, etc.). In some cases, it is horribly inconvenient, and I think anyone with small children will agree with this assessment. If I fail to perform, I am culpable for their deaths due to my own negligence or malicious intent.

    This whole issue here turns on whether or not some choices may trump a person’s right to life. I think the answer is no, there are no choices that trump another person’s right to life. See how the right to life part is central to this? If the unborn child does not have a right to life, then I completely agree that abortion is moral. However, as I argued above, it does have a right to life that begins with conception.

    “Thus, anyone who claims that the core issue is whether or not a fetus is a human being or not really doesn’t understand anything about developmental biology, philosophy, or the state of nature in general.”

    This stood out to me because it is exactly how I have felt about this entire conversation. I have attempted to deal with people on both scientific and philosophical fronts only to be given non-answers and bluster.

  136. The Chemist February 22, 2011 at 10:33 pm #

    @Justin

    What exactly is the hypothetical situation where child molestation or rape is morally justified? I am struggling to find any.

    Thanks

  137. Justin Wagner February 22, 2011 at 11:08 pm #

    It’s late and I’ve had too much mead to drink, so I’ll just leave this here for now and read tomorrow: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzY0L2g1f64

  138. Abolitionist_24 February 22, 2011 at 11:26 pm #

    Ok, sorry to use the board in this way, but this has been a pretty good discussion here. For those of you who are interested in staying in touch over the years as we seek to abolish abortion together, please shoot me an email at: [email protected]

    Myself and a number of other people are trying to establish an abolitionist society in the local community that we live for the purpose of raising greater awareness and conversation about abortion and the presence of abolitionists within the culture.

    Though prowomenwoman says that she wasn’t a victim of social and cultural manipulation and misinformation, a quick perusal of her posts here reveal just how sadly misinformed about abortion that she was and still is; that is, both before and after she had her baby terminated.

    I can almost understand and excuse her thinking that the baby developing within her womb (if I am calculating her chronology at least somewhat accurately) was a clump of cells, and nothing like the photograph of this little ten week old fella ( -scroll down- http://www.clinicquotes.com/site/story.php?id=180 ).

    She likely didn’t know then the truth about what she was doing, or believed some lie that helped her justify her decision to think that finishing school the semester that she did was more valuable than knowing, loving, and being loved by her future child. (Our culture is replete with stupid statements like, “Its just a blob of cells,” or “its not a human, its like a fish, or a turnip, or an alien”, and other degrading anti-life non-sensensical claims). It is far more than likely that now that she has had an abortion, she will refuse to consider the overwhelming evidence against her position and run to other arguments such as abortion is about a woman’s right to choose to do with her “body” whatever she wants. She wants to think that being against abortion is somehow being against women. My wife, who just read comment #119, informs me that she is disgusted by such an assertion.

    Prowomenwoman, you break my heart when you say that you “were in no way mature enough or ready to raise a child” with the dude that you were sleeping with and breaking up with a for the “millionth” time. You befuddle my mind when you say that the fetus you led to death was not developing into a child that you were not mature enough to raise. I am glad that you were not raped and I am sorry that the form of birth control you were using failed and that you were to busy getting an education and a job when you chose to act like a mature woman.

    It pains me to know end that you really do seem to think that the hundreds of crisis pregnancy centers and adoption agencies were not their ready and willing to help you and help some couple who wanted to love and raise your baby.

    It is baffling to think that they so cavalierly admit that abortion is not a medical procedure to save the life of a woman in danger from pregnancy complications to having an abortion because she didn’t want to “discontinue” her “degree program” as she was “about to complete an internship” in her last semester and thought she would not be able to find any financial help or social assistance to carry the baby to term, and/or put him or her up for adoption. It is painful to consider the fact that this woman does not know how many Evangelical Abolitionists there are out there who desperately want to help and adopt the lives that are being aborted by this women’s rights issue.

    You act like this never happens but I know many families and children who exactly fit this bill. I am sorry that this in not more widely known than it is.
    (Here is a great book that’s popular at my church: http://www.crossway.org/books/adopted-for-life-tpb/ )

    Apparently prowomenwoman does not regret the decision she made to abort her baby and regards it as one of the best in her life, so I cannot be called callous or mean spirited when I ask her whether she has ever thought about the little hand she would never hold because she had his or her little body scraped out of her uterus. I suppose she finds it funny that I tear up thinking about her fetus and his or her inability to flee from the surgical instruments that destroyed them. But I do.

    I am deeply disturbed by the fact that prowomenwoman admitted that it was not wrong to kill an unborn baby fifteen minutes before labor and J. Wagner doesn’t think child rape is intrinsically immoral. As far as I can tell, Wagner is a pseudo-intellectual arguing with people far beyond his depth and frustratingly attempting to make use of rhetorical arguments that older and dumber than the pseudo-knowledge contained in Roe v Wade.

    But, while I hate the practice of human abortion, I am not angry with prowomenwoman or Amy or Stephen, or JB, or any of the other people who have posted here that may or may not have destroyed or helped to destroy the life of an unborn human in their care. I am angry with those who are seeking to encourage the practice of abortion by spreading lies about it.
    We are meant to destroy such speculations and that is why we have spent so much time writing on this blog.

    It is not for us to call people like prowomenwoman out as a murderers and demand that they acknowledge the horrendous nature of their lives. God is doing this through the Holy Spirit and bringing such people to their knees and offering them forgiveness by the power of his Gospel and the saving grace of the Cross of Christ.

    What we can do, is be more diligent about destroying the misinformation about abortion in our local communities. To carry this out, I believe we need to form Abolitionist Societies that meet on a regular basis and come up with ways to cut down the number of abortions occurring in the places that we live.

    We are starting an Abolitionist Society in our city, and if you want to start one in yours, we should make sure to stay networked and in touch. Sorry for the long and rambling comment, please shoot me an email if you would.

    Abolish Human Abortion,

    -Jay Shepherd

  139. the otaku February 23, 2011 at 1:29 am #

    Wow… so much for a light before sleep read…
    To Stephen- I love your commentaries. (I’m not saying I agree with everything you write, but its nice to read someone’s uncensored opinion).

    To everyone who has commented in this debate – I have no position and after reading this argument, am rather scared to think of having one; but I did find it insightful.

    All I can say is that I am for making my own choice and leaving everyone else in the world to make the choice that is best for them. I have been lucky enough to not be aborted despite being the product and incestual rape. I am fortunate to have a child of my own. I am sometimes regretful for not having seeing my second pregnancy to completion, but proud in that I did not have an abortion nor miscarrage (if you want to nitpick this point, I am a practitioner of the ancient ways and they work well for me). If anything I regret letting an overzelous doctor take away my choice of having children without my consent. I say this only to remind others that abortion is not the only thing some might seek to regulate when it comes to bodily functions and issues of feminine healthcare.

    Thanks for the food for thought.

  140. Rhology February 23, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    Justin,

    If you don’t want pollen in your house, don’t open your window. It’s that simple. If you do open your window, you MIGHT get pollen in your house. Like I said, you don’t therefore get to hunt down and decapitate the manufacturer of the filter that didn’t screen out 100% of the pollen.

    You said:
    –”when they have taken every reasonable precaution to keep pollen out”

    No they haven’t. THEY OPENED THE WINDOW.

    You said:
    –”No one is thinking of hunting down and shooting anyone (besides you).”

    Did you know that abortion results in the death of the fetus? And that the fetus is, by your analogy, the “responsible” party for letting pollen in the window?
    I was responding to you on your own terms. If you don’t like the way the analogy played out for you, drop it and try another argument. Thing is, y’all are running low on those.

    You said:
    -”I am more Christian than a lot of Christians (“Judge not, lest ye be judged”).”

    Sadly, it is apparent that you have no idea what it is to be a Christian.
    I would like, in all seriousness, to ask you to read this – http://carm.org/what-gospel

    You said:
    –”Do I mind killing what I can’t be sure isn’t a baby? I wouldn’t know”

    Then why are you even talking here? You sure have put out a lot of words and bluster for someone who doesn’t know.

    You said:
    –”there is justified killing and there is unjustified killing”

    If the fetus is human, then there’s no denying that s/he is a very young human. We call young humans “babies”. Are you saying that there are some circumstances in which killing a baby is justifiable?

  141. Amy February 23, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    Oh @Rhology – you’re so hopeless it’s almost laughable. No one is running out of ‘arguments’ – you just chose to select small bits of context to twist to your own purposes.

    Again, @Justin Wagner – thank you for what you’ve written. It actually makes eminent sense to me. People are not going to live without fresh air, people are not going to live without sex. Thankfully we have organizations like Planned Parenthood to provide those people who need it the best ‘screen’ they can to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

  142. wonluv February 23, 2011 at 8:55 am #

    @Amy,
    Did you seriously just equate having sex and the necessity if breathing fresh air for life? Unbelievable! Are you saying the an individual must have sex evert second of evryday to continue to live, are you sayimg that and individual could not possibly survive if they never had sex? Nobody is suggesting that people must stop having sex, only that they should stop doing so irresponsibly (ie outside of a mariage rekationship). If one is unwilling to foster the potential life that might be pro-created as a result of their sexual act then they are having irresponsible sex. Now your true motives surface. You are so self centered and selfish, that in order to fulfill your sinful lust you are willing to do so at the cost of innocent life. It is selfish, self gratification that drives youryour support of abortion rather than all the other reasons you have suggested. If people would have responsible sex (as defined above) then 99% of all the excuses given fir the need for abortion would be eliminated. Please excuse the misspells, im typing on my phone.

  143. AHA or die trying February 23, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    @wonluv.
    You put it quite bluntly…, but yes! what you just wrote is so very true. Most (if not all) of the arguments made by the abortionists here are just smoke and mirror justifications for selfish and sinful lives that have run amok.

    It sucks. But, you can’t really argue about the definition of a person or the status of a small human being with a person who so greatly values their autonomy over anothers.

    Of course, it is always worth arguing with abortionists even though they refuse to admit the real reasons they hold the position they do. We should argue nonetheless because it is clear that others are listening in.

    @the otaku

    Praise God for you, your existence, and your willingness to speak up here about your life. Thank you for keeping your children and pressing on with life. I pray God richly blesses and uses you for his kingdom and glory.

  144. the otaku February 23, 2011 at 11:33 am #

    @ AHA

    Thank you for your praise and blessings, but please… my deities and worship are uncomforted with your praise and worship.

    I simply feel people must make choices in thier life and understand that no matter what the choice is, once made you have to live with it.

  145. Amy February 23, 2011 at 11:37 am #

    @Wonluv- Yep you got me. Big selfish slut right here. Just as I said, at its heart this issue always boils down to women and the fact that religious fascists like you don’t like the fact that women have the same sexual freedoms men have enjoyed forever. Thank you for confirming that for me.

    FYI – do you know that the vast majority of women who have abortions in the US are married or in a long term relationship? No? Well, I suppose that’s because it doesn’t support your rather narrow world view.

  146. Amy February 23, 2011 at 11:41 am #

    @the otaku – I’d like to echo @Aha and thank you for sharing your story and importantly for respecting that everyone has to make their own very personal decision when it comes to the abortion issue.

  147. Justin Wagner February 23, 2011 at 11:48 am #

    This is gonna be a long one folks. Sorry. Don’t mean it to sound preachy or anything, but I’m trying to get more specific and personal with my replies as people are asking me for this information. It may also be my last post on this topic for a while as I have a shit-ton of work to do.
    @The Chemist:
    First off, thank you for your eminently readable and relatively sensible posts. After reading Rhology’s clueless replies, yours are a breath of fresh air.
    In regards to the biological species concept and life: I never meant to imply that it is impossible to define a species. My point was that there’s no obvious, universal, objective criteria by which to do so. I know enough biology to understand that there are multiple definitions of what it means to be “alive”, and multiple species concepts. Ask two different biologists and you may well get two extremely different views (e.g. ask around as to the ‘origin’ of Homo sapiens: you may get dates that range anywhere from 100,000 years before present to 250,000 years before present; this is primarily a boundary problem). Again, I don’t mean to imply that we won’t have a unified definition of life or a unified species concept 100 years from now. My point is that this is a hard problem (what I usually call a ‘grey area’) that must be taken seriously by people who are well informed about the relevant issues. Reducing the issues into black and white will only polarize and confuse the uninformed – which, when the issue becomes a political one (e.g., legalizing abortion, climate change, etc.), makes a huge mess of things.
    I wouldn’t necessarily agree with P1. It is by no means intrinsic. Especially if you claim that it is intrinsic to humans only. If this were true, you’d have to demonstrate why other species do not have an intrinsic right to life, and at what point in their evolution humans gained this trait. If, on the other hand, you think a right to life is universal to all beings, you’d have to explain why you don’t think twice about smushing a fly between your fingers.
    No – in my view, rights are something that we invent and develop for each other as we become more civilized; they are a wholly human concoction. I see evidence for this in the fact that our rights have evolved dramatically over time with the changing moral zeitgeist. It used to be considered OK to stone your wife to death if you found out on your wedding night that she wasn’t a virgin. It used to be considered hunky dory to own slaves, especially if they were members of the out-group (that is, if they weren’t technically your neighbor in the biblical sense).
    If I were to quickly re-word P1, it would say something along the lines of “humans have a right to life,” although even this is a bit anthropocentric for my liking. We have obviously already started gifting rights to other kinds of beings as well, which is why we frown on dog-fighting, mistreatment of pets, ‘inhumane’ slaughtering of cows, chickens, etc. This is a bit of a slipperly slope, because we could easy slide all the way into a discussion on which species should have rights and whether the rights of some species should have more weight than the rights of others.
    Now that I’ve stated my view on the nature of rights, I would further disagree with you on the point of conferral of rights. I think it actually is up to those people with the scientific (i.e. technical) and philosophical (i.e. ethical) training & expertise to come up with some sort of list; of course, being a democracy, they may want to take the views of the population into account as well. Just to toss some ideas out there: rights may be coeval with consciousness, which would require the existence of a brain and nervous system. Another criteria may be the ability to experience pain, or the ability to recognize one’s own existence. Yes, it’s basically another hard problem, and yes, it will by definition have to be at least somewhat arbitrary. However, I think that working hard on a list like this (which we could obviously hone over time) would be a step in the right direction. Obviously, it would give a pregnant woman (and her partner) enough time to decide whether to abort or not, while still providing some kind of legal and ethical cut-off date. Just to clarify, I don’t support the abortion of late-term pregnancies due to the fact that the evidence indicates that the fetus is somewhat conscious by then, albeit still not to the same degree as “normal humans”.
    Back to the whole just/unjust killing thing again. Let me make this resoundingly clear: what makes pregancy a special case is that the zygote/fetus/alien/whatever is physically housed inside of the woman, and she is by no means legally or morally obligated to provide it with the use of her body. You can take this idea of ‘no-obligation’ and cut/paste it into whatever context you’d like, but as soon as you remove the fact that a person’s physical body is being used as a house, filtration system, food source, etc., without their assent, you’re removing the crux of the entire debate. Anyone who claims that a woman must be required to provide the zygote/fetus/alien/whatever with use of her internal organs is holding her to an entirely different legal and ethical standard than they would hold anyone else. Is that fair to the woman? I don’t think so. Provided the absense of certain “responsibility factors” (e.g. engaging in sex without using condoms, birth control, etc, or waiting until late in the pregnancy before making the decision to abort), I don’t see how a case like this could be considered unjust. Certain cases of abortion may be unjust, yes, but not all of them.
    Let me summarize this again, just to be clear (because the red herring about caring for infants or elderly people keeps popping up): up to a certain point in a pregnancy, the zygote/fetus/alien/whatever does not feel pain, and is not conscious. It does not have a will to life, so I see no good reason to assign it with a right to life. In my view, a woman (and her partner) can decide to terminate the pregnancy during this period of time. This is a just killing, as she is essentially killing an endoparasite. Beyond some unclear-but-yet-to-be-determined-by-experts region of development, the fetus is relatively conscious, can feel pain, and may have some kind of will to life. From this point on it should probably be assigned a right to life. I don’t think that a woman (and her partner) can justly abort a pregnancy after this stage (although they may still decide to, and I won’t judge them or hold it against them, as it’s not my business – although the law may have something to say about this). A go/no-go call has to be made by a certain time in the pregnancy. If the decision is made to go (i.e. bring the child to full term, giving birth to it) you thereby accept responsiblity for the being that you are bringing into the world. Before that decision is made, I see no good reason to place responsibility on the woman or her partner, no matter what certain people here might think about opening a window.
    “Procreation is the purpose of sex.”
    This is another kind of statement that I have issues with. It is a very outdated, chauvinistic, mean-spirited idea that grows out of the male superiority complex. What, exactly, kind of purpose are you talking about? Biological? Ok, that might be the case. The problem is, we’ve moved beyond this paradigm. Most people in this part of the world no longer eat just for the biological purpose of providing nutrient for their bodies. They eat even when they aren’t hungry, and they often eat entirely for pleasure. We are not slaves to our biological nature. To borrow a term from Stephen Jay Gould, we can ‘exapt’ our basic biological functionality for extra-evolutionary purposes. I can use my fingers to type words into a keyboard, I can hold a fork between my toes and eat with my feet, I can eat food just because I enjoy it, and I can have sex purely for pleasure. To say that procreation is the only purpose of sex, or even the most important one, is to claim that we are determined entirely by our biology.
    There’s a lot of non-answers and bluster on this topic because a lot of people obviously a) aren’t aware of the wide range of issues involved, b) don’t fully understand the issues they are aware of, and c) are intimidated by the complexity of the issues. There are all sorts of concepts involved here, and it is easy to misunderstand what other people are claiming.
    “What exactly is the hypothetical situation where child molestation or rape is morally justified? I am struggling to find any.”
    Ok, so some digression from the main topic being discussed so far. No problem. Time to get silly.
    At first I was going to pull a Derek Parfit and write a complex story highlighting my point. However, it’s far easier to turn to the bible, as it already contains an abundance of such examples. Let’s look at an example of when rape would be morally justified: the story of Lot and his daughters in Sodom. Disclaimer: I don’t believe any of these events are actually historical, but I will use them anyways, as it’s easier than starting a new story from scratch (we’re talking hypothetical anyways, right?). Some people actually do believe they really happened, which only makes my use of them that much more powerful (I guess?).
    According to Christians, Lot was a good, righteous follower of god. In case you doubt me, the author of 2 Peter 2:8 calls him a “righteous man”. Unfortunately, Lot and his family were living in the “wicked” city of Sodom when god decided to destroy it. Before actually raining down fire and brimstone on it, God sends a couple undercover angels to the city, and Lot – being the nice guy he was – saw them at the city gates and invited them to his place for a dinner feast. These were some hungry angels. Although, to be honest, they did look like men, so there’s no reason to wonder why Lot would think other-worldly beings needed food.
    After eating what was surely a heavenly feast, the two angels were about to lay down at Lot’s place for a nap. Suddenly, a huge mob of what appeared to be homosexuals appeared outside of the house, banging on the front doors, shouting “bring out those two hot guys, so we can sodomize them!”. But good-old, god-fearing, righteous Lot had a better idea. “How about you take my virgin daughters instead?” he offered (I guess he was hoping they were actually a bisexual mob). Apparently, it was more moral in the eyes of righteous Lot to have a mob rape his two virgin daughters than to have these male guests harmed in any way. And he was rewarded for this! Not only did the angels strike the mob down with a sudden case of blindness, they warned righteous Lot that god was about to destroy the city – and when they lingered, the angels grabbed them and physically dragged them outside the walls.
    If this was all some kind of sick test, it appears that Lot passed it with flying colors. Regardless of whether or not he realized his two guests were angels, the moral of the story would appear to be that it is morally justifiable to have a mob rape your virgin daughters if the other alternative is for a crowd to sodomize a couple of male houseguests (heaven-sent or not).
    @Rhology:
    Nothing makes a point stronger than typing it in capital letters. Your logic astounds me.
    “Sadly, it is apparent that you have no idea what it is to be a Christian.”
    Ah, the ‘True Christian’ fantasy rears it’s head yet again. Every Christian thinks their own view of Christianity is true, and labels those views of Christians they don’t agree with false. Pretty air-tight system you’ve got there. As I’ve said before, there’s no way for one interpretation of a mythology to be more objectively true than any other interpretation of a mythology. The point of a myth is for everyone to take away their own subjective lessons and make use of them in facing the mysteries of life.
    That’s all folks! Lunch time for this guy.

  148. Trish February 23, 2011 at 11:53 am #

    Hey Stephen,

    I too do not understand how, when abortion is already legal- LEGAL- that they can introduce a law stating that it is justifiable homicide if you are murdering someone because you believe they have intention to harm a fetus.

    So, the security guard who works at the abortion clinic- he’s assisting in harming an unborn fetus. He’s a goner.

    The person driving a teenager to the clinic- they should be shot, too. They are assisting in the harm of a fetus.

    Basically fetuses rule.

    They would rather see the mother die, than let the fetus die. Ummmm..what century is this!??

    The thing that bothers me more than anything though, about the Tea Party, is they are actually not a party. They are a fringe on the right side of the conservative Republican Party.

    Just wait to see how much worse it gets… as more of the extreme fringe candidates continue to introduce legislation about taking away more Union rights, the “rights” of immigrants, the right to murder people if they trespass across your lawn.

    America is eating itself. Bite by bite.

  149. Stephen Whitworth February 23, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    Trish! Not to get hyperbolic but your last line is exactly what I’ve been thinking lately so I had a real “Yeah! Yeah! Like that!” moment when I read your comment. Watching the states self destruct is like watching a community descend into cannibalism. All the things that made the country strong are being destroyed.

    If I were American, I’d be using the phrase “un-American” to describe this hostility toward science and small-L liberalism.

    Of course it’s a complicated and dynamic situation. I just don’t want my country to go down, too.

  150. Tim Stobbs February 23, 2011 at 2:59 pm #

    Comment #150….oh must blink again…my eyeballs hurt from all of that. Wow, is that a record for comments on a post for the dog blog?

  151. curious February 23, 2011 at 5:53 pm #

    Ahhh the abortion debate. The Jeebus crowd wants women who don’t follow their rules to be punished.

    Want fewer abortions? – make comprehensive sex ed and easily available contraceptives accessible to all who want them. Of course thats not a possibility with these folks. People having sex outside of marriage is against their rules too.

    Hypocrites.

  152. The Chemist February 23, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    @Justin
    I’m all for letting this die down. I think I have made my points. For what it is worth, I think Rhology’s rebuttals are actually quite good and drive the point of what you posted. However, I am focusing on different topics. I plan to let the biology thing go vis a vis speciation. It is really not relevant to the main arguments here.

    Premise 1:
    I figured this is the one that you would contend. However, I find it shocking that you actually own up to it. I find Christian theism to be the only coherent, rational worldview. Under Christianity, humans have an intrinsic right to life because they are created in the image of God. That image is a unique imprint on humans and humans alone. I think this is enough for my personal beliefs about why humans have a right to life and other species do not. Further proof can be given but that ultimately comes down to a discussion about which worldview is correct. In my opinion, that is a by far the most important issue people can grapple with.

    I further think that an intrinsic right to life is something that secularists should adopt. Indeed, I believe they do by making moral judgements against those who do not value human life as they see fit. In other words, if human rights are merely something that we invent and develop then there really is no such thing as a right to life for anyone at any time. This means looking back in time and passing judgement against slave owners, the apartheid, those sanctioning the Cambodian killing fields, or the Holocaust to name a few is ultimately incoherent. Who are you to determine what another person thinks is right concerning killing another person, or in some way treating them as a means rather than an end, if that person does not possess any rights? This is the worst of moral subjectivity. The problem is that people don’t live like that. People have no trouble recognizing that slavery or the holocaust is immoral because they recognize that the rights of those people were violated. If this is ethic is something you want to sustain, then it appears you have a very heavy burden to shoulder in demonstrating that one individual (or culture) may pass judgement on another individual (or culture) in the absence of intrinsic rights.

    Here is the abreviated list of criteria that might you offered: consciousness, ability to experience pain, and the ability to recognize one’s own existence. The problem I have is that this list is not merely restricted to unborn children. People in a coma may not experience consciousness or their own existence. Are they less deserving of a right to life? The trouble I have with all of this is that you admit that a list is unavailable and not drawn up, yet we sanction the death of millions of unborn children BEFORE the list is made? That smacks of irresponsibility. What if the ultimate list shows that unborn children at 8 weeks and beyond deserve the right to life? Do we just say, “darn it, we probably should have figured that out sooner.” Going back to the issue of slavery, the list of properties that defined black humans as sub-human (3/5th human I believe was the legal status at one point) is totally obsolete! The point is that lists are dangerous. We have a clear precedent of getting the list wrong in the past, so why should we expect to get it right now? I think the answer is so clear. Human rights are not a function of lists of qualities; they are intrinsic.

    “Just to clarify, I don’t support the abortion of late-term pregnancies due to the fact that the evidence indicates that the fetus is somewhat conscious by then, albeit still not to the same degree as “normal humans”.”
    This is interesting. “Normal humans”? They are humans at the exact stage of development they are supposed to be for their age. Do you tell a new mother, “wow, in about 15 years that child will be a normal human”?

    “Provided the absense of certain “responsibility factors” (e.g. engaging in sex without using condoms, birth control, etc, or waiting until late in the pregnancy before making the decision to abort), I don’t see how a case like this could be considered unjust. Certain cases of abortion may be unjust, yes, but not all of them.”
    Here is the key to all of this. The responsibility factor is engaging in sex. A child is a natural consequence of having sex. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that they got pregnant after having sex. Now, I don’t think you have given a convincing argument for why rights are not intrinsic to humans. Instead, your rationale actually reinforces the idea that rights are intrinsic because we recognize those rights all the time when correcting social ills. This means a person who engages in an act of sex does have a moral obligation to deal with the consequences of that act. In this case, the consequence is the creation of a unique life with its set of rights that is innocent. It did not ask to be created. Extinguishing this life because of convenience is simply immoral. Incidently, do you advocate no abortion for women who have a child as a consequence of engaging in sex without any form of birth control?

    “the red herring about caring for infants or elderly people keeps popping up”
    That’s because if you make statements about what a human is and what rights a human has, then it should apply to all humans. It is not a red herring.

    “What exactly is the hypothetical situation where child molestation or rape is morally justified? I am struggling to find any.”

    So your response is to drag out a story that you don’t believe in? That is the best you can do? Anyway, the short answer is that Lot is wrong. Righteousness before God is a result of faith in God. Lot had faith in God. Righteousness does not mean that all actions of a righteous person are perfect. For example, David had a man murdered over a woman. That is a terrible wrong, but he still had faith in God and is credited as righteous. This sounds to me like you don’t really understand the concept of righteousness in a Christian setting. Anyway, let’s try again. Can you think of a persuasive argument where child molestation or rape is morally justified? Even Dan Barker was able to muster a meager answer. I am fine if you want to with draw the comment. I would even recommend it.

    Thanks for the conversation.

  153. Trish February 23, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    Yea. Watching America crumble is crazy.
    They are a plutocracy that is running off it’s rails.

    It’s too bad that some people don’t realize that the abortion issue only really gets put on the table when it is convenient for politicians on the right to galvanize the churchies. Did somebody say election?

    The American system doesn’t work anymore. If it ever did. Either way, I’d say it’s now offically broken.

  154. wonluv February 24, 2011 at 11:01 am #

    @Amy,
    Nobody called you a slut, that is a title you just applied to yourself. I could.never call you that, because my past us full of casual and irresponsible sexual encointers. I was in no way suggesting that I/we only desire for women to stop having irresponsible sex, I desire men and women alike to discontinue the practice. It was just as sinful and wrong every time I did it as it is for you to do it. Praise God that He is a gracious and merciful God who forgives those who trust in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus who died on behalf of sinners like you and I. If you repent of your sin, that same forgiveness is available for you as well. I was blunt and oerhaps harsh with my words about the actions of those engaging in such sexual activity, because God hates sin, as do I. I would describe my own sin in the same way, selfish and self centered. So my severity in wording equally applies to my sin as to anyone else. It seems very clear to me that the true motives of the debate came out from your response in being opposes to having your sexual freedom threatened. That is what it realy boils down to. Women and men alike dezire to have the freedom to enegage sexyally with whomever and enver they wish only without worry about the consequences of such actions. Many comments throughout this discussion treat pregnancy as if it was some kind of unnatural and undesirable by product of sexual intercourse. Pregnancy, child bearing, is the most natural and beautiful aspect of sex. God has created it to act in acordance with sexual intimacy between a husband and wife. To bring them into oneness and reproduce His image in their children. The way many of ypu all in this discussion have portrayed pregnancy and procreation is degrading not only to God, but to all women who have been blessed with the unique ability to foster a life within her. Why would you ever, as a woman, as a member of thehuman race everdesire to dgrade such a wonderful and God given ability? I will be praying specifically for you Amy, that the Lord would move upon your life and sensistivities to see His wondwrful design and your place on it. God bless.

  155. Amy February 24, 2011 at 11:03 am #

    @Wonluv – I’m agnostic, but knock yourself out.

    As for me, I’ll make a special donation to Planned Parenthood in your honor.

  156. wonluv February 24, 2011 at 12:24 pm #

    @Amy,
    Have you ever investigated the claims of Jesus Christ? If a God exists, do you think it is possible that this God has revealed Himself to us? Do you believe that humans exust for a purpose? At least you are open (I assume) to the possibility of a God. The next step might be to investigate to see if perhaps this God is knowable or if God has revealed Himself to us. I appreciate any response.

  157. prowomenwoman February 24, 2011 at 1:53 pm #

    @Amy – Great idea… I think I will doing the same!

  158. Abolitionist_24 February 24, 2011 at 4:18 pm #

    Amy and Prowomenwoman,

    I’ll be praying for you guys also. I know it sounds pithy and so many people say it without much of a thought to the great and terrible awe involved in the proposition, but, God loves you. And does not desire for you to always hate him so. God’s greatest gift is himself, and he truly loves you both, and will forgive and restore you unto him.

    If we become brothers and sisters let me know, keep in touch. [email protected]

    If you would also like to make a donation in my name to Planned Parenthood, please make it in the name of The Abolitionist Society of Oklahoma. I use a pseudonym on here because I teach at a secular university and do not represent their views (not to mention the fact that were they to know that I expressed my opinions on this topic they would seek to censure or reprimand me).

  159. Stephen Whitworth February 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm #

    END OF THREAD ALERT!

    I’m going to shut down comments on this post Sunday night or Monday morning–it’s been a good run but it’s time to give some other posts some love. So everybody get your last comments in over the weekend.

    And thanks, everyone, for taking the time to contribute! I think we’ve just about got this pro-choice vs. anti-pro choice question solved once and for all. Well done, everyone!

  160. Rhology February 24, 2011 at 8:17 pm #

    Stephen,

    Not everyone is willing to host an open discussion of controversial ideas like this w/o erasing dissenting ideas from their own. I applaud you for this. Thanks for having us here.

  161. Abolitionist_24 February 24, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    To true.

    Thanks Stephen.

  162. Stephen Whitworth February 28, 2011 at 1:11 am #

    And that’s a wrap, folks! Here are my final thoughts.

    If anyone had any doubt, let it go: there are interesting conversations to be had on the humanity of an unborn embryo/fetus. Is it human at conception? When does it become human? There’s nothing wrong with exploring these (unanswerable) questions. It might even be fun.

    However, the issue at hand is a political attack on Planned Parenthood by the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress.

    Congress’ recent legislative move to de-fund Planned Parenthood in the United States was the latest salvo in the ongoing battle to make abortion illegal, like it used to be back in the good ole days when everybody went to church and nobody’s daughter ever had sex before marriage.

    Congress’ move has to be ferociously condemned and resisted by all of us, unless we want to live in a world where righteous bullies and misguided church-goers get to force everyone to live by their religious values.

    So let’s not pretend this is an abstract intellectual debate.

    Opposition to abortion is inherently religious. The anti-choice commentators in this thread make that abundantly clear. Obviously, some people of faith object to a woman choosing to terminate her unwanted/unsafe pregnancy, which is absolutely fine. Their disapproval is their right, just like it’s my right to think they’re an irrational freak.

    And of course, they’re entitled to not have an abortion themselves.

    However, these freedoms are not enough for many abortion opponents, who insist that abortion is so immoral it needs to be illegal.

    Since they know opinions won’t be changed by their inane arguments (abortion is like slavery! Pregnancy is just an inconvenience! If you don’t want to become pregnant, just don’t have sex!), they support bastard politicians who use whatever legislative tools they have at their disposal to shove these religious beliefs into law.

    A recent New York Times editorial said the Republican bill was “just the beginning.” They’re right. The next two years will be rough for Americans who support freedoms like the right to choose whether to have a baby, the right to marry who you want, hell, even the right to collectively bargain through unions, apparently.

    This is a warning to Canadians. While it’s true we live in a more secular and sane country, these ideas can be found here too. In fact, they’re held by more than a few elected officials (in more than one political party, too), just waiting for a chance to force them onto all of us.

    Oh, abortion would never go back to being illegal in Canada. But abortion services can be (and have been!) defunded, access to abortion can be sabotaged and fetal-rights laws can be enacted. There are lots of dirty tricks in the anti-abortion tickle-trunk.

    We live in a fairly free society. A lot of us value that. Some don’t. And they’re working to undermine it.

    Be vigilant.

    One more thing: Later this week (I’m guessing Wednesday), we’ll have a special blog treat on this topic. I promise new heights of greatness! Look for it!

    I now pronounce this thread closed!

    Turns out I can’t disable posting without hiding ALL the comments so we’ll be going on the honour system, also known as the “any further comments will be deleted” system. Besides, there will be other opportunities to argue on Dog Blog in the future. (Like Wednesday’s surprise post!) See you there!

  163. Amy March 13, 2011 at 7:52 pm #

    I thought this thread was closed?

    Abolitionist – your condescension and the obvious fact that you – like so many other anti-choice people – don’t think powerwoman was or is intelligent enough to fully understand her choice is so gross.

    Start your little group and people like me will rise up to stop you from trying to enact laws that are tantamount to murdering women.

  164. Rhology March 14, 2011 at 6:13 am #

    tantamount to murdering women

    Hyperbole much?

  165. Stephen Whitworth March 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm #

    CEASE!!!

    I’ll try to arrange a new thread to bring discussions/arguments to soon. I have commissioned some delightful multi-media content that I really hope will be ready this week.

    Also, Amy: I can’t prevent people from posting without hiding all the comments so we’re on the honour system.

    THREAD CLOSED. DO NOT POST. NEW PLAYGROUND TO COME SOON. Thank you.

  166. Rhology March 14, 2011 at 2:31 pm #

    Oh, sorry. OK, I’m done.

  167. Abolitionist_24 March 14, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    I will not be engaging in any future dog blog posts initiated by Stephen Whitworth. His final comment and posts summation proved he was disingenuous and incapable of following what went on here or willfully misrepresented his “side.”

Leave a Reply