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June 01, 2009

Comments

That said, large elements of the anti-abortion movement have never done nearly enough to distance themselves from the violent and/or crazy parts of their movement.

Careful. That sounds suspiciously like "Where are all the moderate Muslims? Why don't they denounce terrorism?"

A friend of mine who is pro-life said a few years ago that he opposed Bush's anti-terrorism policies because he was afraid of what might happen after an abortion clinic bombing, especially in a Democratic administration. He didn't want to wind up on a watch list or have his phone tapped as long as he is peaceful, and he respected the desire of Muslims to likewise be left alone as long as they are peaceful.

Is it time to turn it right back around and start picketing operation rescue houses with pictures of murdered doctors?

Or of faceless babies, mothers bleeding out, etc. Their churches, too. Also, people should go INTO the churches and ask these ayatollahs during their sermons why they want women to bleed out at the ER. It won't change their minds, but many of their congregants will be shaken.

I am strongly pro-choice, but I think it is perfectly possible to be opposed to abortion on principled grounds

Oh, for heaven's sake.

Being pro-choice says nothing whatsoever about your personal principles or feelings about abortion.

Being pro-choice says that you consider it wrong to force women - or nine-year-old girls! - through pregnancy and childbirth against their will.

Being pro-choice is about being against the state or other forces getting to decide for women whether they will, or will not, bear a child.

Being pro-life means you are strongly opposed to other people having the freedom to decide for themselves, for each pregnancy, whether or not to carry the fetus to term. This is frequently described as being a "principled opposition to abortion", but it's actually a violent and deadly attack on women's lives - and it is unsurprising that the people who strongly profess the belief that women should die rather than be able to choose abortion, are part of a movement that includes terrorists and murderers.

This is an absolutely clear moral distinction which is frequently muddled in people's minds, and which you are, in this concluding sentence, doing absolutely nothing to clarify.

Is it wrong to kill people to stop them from killing?

Thoreau, I realize that you may have a point when you complain that sincere and peaceful anti-abortion activists are being sullied by association with monsters who many of them abhor. Still, Randall Terry and Operation Rescue and a bunch of other folks are far more muddled in with the terrorist fringe of the anti-abortion movement, and they are given far more credibility and accorded more acceptability than any other domestic group about whom comparable issues could be raised.

In fact, other than the anti-abortion movement, is there another domestic activism movement that has both major-party influence and a terrorist fringe? The animal-rights groups and the environmentalists have vandal fringes, I guess, but they're not as violent and not as closely affiliated with the mainstream movements in question, nor are their movements, especially the latter, as powerful within a major political party.

Really, Thoreau?

Has Hilzoy said or implied that people with anti-abortion views should be put on watch lists or have their phones tapped? Has she urged that the government infiltrate meetings of anti-abortion groups?

Because unless she has, expressing the hope that people with genuinely "pro-life" views will make it harder for assassins and terrorists to feel (or pretend) that they are acting on behalf of millions of such people seems like a pretty reasonable and mild thing to say.

At Notre Dame, Obama said it's unfair to impute to individuals who oppose abortion a right-wing, ideological zeal to control women's bodies and sexuality. And he's right, as long as we're dealing with people on the individual level.

But the anti-abortion movement, as a political entity, is about coercive control of women's bodies and sexuality. The extremists at the edge of that political constellation are using harassment and terror in the service of those goals.

I'd think that an assassin who guns down a doctor in his own church would cause some self-reflection on the part of most people who are actually pro-life (as opposed to Pro-Life).

Now_what, that's an interesting question. If you discover that the guy next door is a mass-murderer, and will continue to kill, then maybe it is ethical to murder your neighbor? But you may notice that I've skipped a few steps there with that word "discover": after all, if you sincerely believe that your next-door neighbor is on a killing spree, is it still OK to snuff him? And what if you're convinced that the schlub next door is using his mental powers to telepathically force people to kill each other - is offing him still a good thing?

I'm being flip, and that's not entirely fair, because you're asking a genuinely important question, and it's one that does trouble me: if you are convinced that an atrocity is going on, and that you have the power to hinder it, how can you justify not taking almost any action to do so? And I don't have a really good answer to that.

But it's very important to ask why you're convinced of this, whether you're right to be so convinced; I'm not inclined to debate religion here, but my opinion of it, and of people who seek to impose a worldview formed by their religion on others, is not high. And it's worth asking whether murder is the best way to achieve your aims, whether by setting a higher example and refusing to let the ends justify the means you can accomplish more.

A personal anecdote about George Tiller and the late-term abortions that pro-lifers decided to kill him for.

Being pro-choice says that you consider it wrong to force women - or nine-year-old girls! - through pregnancy and childbirth against their will.

Being pro-choice is about being against the state or other forces getting to decide for women whether they will, or will not, bear a child.

Very few countries allow and only a small minority of people want abortions without any restrictions. That certainly doesn't mean that all the countries which impose and all the people who favour certain restrictions are anti-choice, because a lot of them respect a woman's right to choose - just not as a totally unrestricted right. I don't think it's accurate or very helpful to alienate all these people by calling them anti-choice and insisting on an absolutist position.

Warren Terra's response to Now_What gets at something interesting:

Subjectively -- subjectively, mind you -- is there a difference between "discovering" or knowing an atrocity to be going on, and "sincerely believing" that one is? Wouldn't both be treated as true?

Why does this seem to remind me of something ?

Is it wrong to kill people to stop them from killing?

IMO, no. but it is against the law.

and it may violate my favorite law: USA PATRIOT 802 (c).

Very few countries allow and only a small minority of people want abortions without any restrictions.

Very few women need to be able to have an abortion at the eighth month. Those that do, though, really do. The belief that women in such need should be forced through the rest of the pregnancy and experience childbirth is, I believe, rare: certainly Sebastian Holsclaw has made clear in past discussions he believes such women should be chained to the bed in the maternity ward or have early induced labor forced on them against their will, but most people don't believe that would be right, and do affirm this, if asked.

I don't think it's accurate or very helpful to alienate all these people by calling them anti-choice and insisting on an absolutist position

I don't think it's very accurate or very helpful for people who are pro-choice to identify themselves with the political movement that wants the state and the courts to decide whether a woman needs an abortion, not the woman herself in consultation with her doctor.

I must admit to being a little bit confused: Certainly, so long as abortion is going to be legal, (And I agree that most abortions ought to be legal. Just as some should be illegal.) people who oppose abortion ought to be prevented from stopping abortion by genuinely coercive means, such as assault or murder.

But if you work at an abortion clinic, and your neighbors are informed that you work at an abortion clinic? I find it hard to file that under "coercive". What are we positing here, some generalized right to keep your neighbors in the dark about what you do for a living? Just so that you can continue to enjoy good relations with them despite working at a job they consider reprehensible?

Not that I really mean this, but why doesn't Obama use some of his executive powers granted to the President during the Bush Administration to lock these people up, refuse them habeas corpus and torture the holy hell out of them. After all, they are religiously inspired domestic terrorists.

Can we invade Kansas and turn it into a wasteland?

But if you work at an abortion clinic, and your neighbors are informed that you work at an abortion clinic?

you don't see a difference between "informed" and parking a truck with "twenty-foot-long images of dismembered fetuses" in front of the house ?

Very few women need to be able to have an abortion at the eighth month.

Yes, but once you grant the right to unrestricted abortions at any time, you cannot deny it to anyone for any reason. It's silly to grant an absolute right in the hope that it will only be used in cases you approve of. And while the vast majority of women are certainly not interested in having abortions at late stages of the pregnancy, you simply cannot rule out cases were women would take advantage of such a right, just because they have decided that they don't want the baby after all. Such cases would provide fodder for the "pro-life" activists and the tabloids.

Ironically, by insisting on an absolute right to unrestricted abortion, you are making it easy for "pro-lifers" to focus the discussion on such rare cases, thus weakening the pro-choice position in the discussion. Why not instead put all that energy into assuring that all women on this planet have access to safe abortion within the first trimester and are not punished for exercising that right?

I don't think it's very accurate or very helpful for people who are pro-choice to identify themselves with the political movement that wants the state and the courts to decide whether a woman needs an abortion

I'm not associated with any movement.

I'm sure many of you have seen this, but in case you haven't, over at TPM, Josh Marshall links up Tiller's assassination with the questioning of his donations to the Sebelius campaign.

What are we positing here, some generalized right to keep your neighbors in the dark about what you do for a living?

Yes. It's called "a right to privacy."

Are you OK with me informing all your neighbors that you are affiliated with right-wing militia groups?

novakant: Yes, but once you grant the right to unrestricted abortions at any time, you cannot deny it to anyone for any reason.

Correct. Once you decide that the pregnant woman herself is the only one who can be trusted with the right to decide whether to terminate or to continue her pregnancy, and her physician is the person best placed to advise her, you are then in the position of having to accept women's decisions.

If you decide that this is too much power for a pregnant woman to have, and the state ought to decide on her behalf without permitting either her or her doctor any say, then you are in favor of the state forcing women through pregnancy and childbirth against her will.

Most people, when they're actually presented with the kinds of situation that make a pregnant woman decide for abortion in the 8th month, tend to feel this should lie with the woman and her doctor, and not with the government.

you simply cannot rule out cases were women would take advantage of such a right, just because they have decided that they don't want the baby after all.

Ah, that old pro-life fiction: women simply can't be trusted with powers of life or death because they will only take advantage.

Why not instead put all that energy into assuring that all women on this planet have access to safe abortion within the first trimester and are not punished for exercising that right?

Because that will leave the women and girls who need abortions later to suffer and/or die. I respect human life too much to do that, unlike pro-lifers.

I'm not associated with any movement.

Yet you happily repeat the falsehoods and nastiness of the pro-life movement.

Abortion: Legal! Safe! On Demand! No Questions Asked!

"Pro-life" until birth. After that, ummmm, not so much.

Paul Rosenberg on Open Left has an apt analysis.

I'm not associated with any movement.
Posted by: novakant

nor are you associated with any rational species, as far as I can tell.

Do the women in your life--if any--really know how contemptuously you regard them, in what low esteem you hold their humanity? Because whatsoever malign motives you attribute to "women...(who) would take advantage of such a right, just because they have decided that they don't want the baby after all. Is that the kind of women with whom you associate?

Jesurgislac has IMO hit upon the crucial truth: The "pro-life" movement is not in fact "pro-life". It is a death-cult ordained (it thinks) by God to fetishize the unborn and violate whoever gets in the way of their theoretically well-meaning mania - up to and including murder.

They are unrepentent for their actions, unquestioning of their motives, their actions or the outcomes thereof...and willing to add anyone with an intact moral sense to their list of "persuadees".

Women I have loved have chosen abortion (I was not in any case the father) and I have sat with them while they have agonized over the horrific choice they felt compelled to consider - and eventually force themselves to go through with their choice, and endure the aftermath of guilt & loss.

Anyone who believes that these women have not gone through enough - have not suffered enough, been punished enough, been shamed enough - HAS NO MORAL STANDING in my eyes; their position deserves no consideration, and their self-righteous brutality deserves my contempt, my oppostition - and the back of my hand.

Ah, that old pro-life fiction: women simply can't be trusted with powers of life or death because they will only take advantage.

The law cannot be based on trusting people doing the right thing, it has to cover all eventualities. Parents have the right to raise their children, but it's not an absolute right, sometimes the state restricts
it or takes it away altogether.

Because that will leave the women and girls who need abortions later to suffer and/or die. I respect human life too much to do that, unlike pro-lifers.

Women are not left to suffer or die in civilized countries that generally restrict the right to abortion to the first trimester or similar. They have laws to cover cases where the woman's life might be in danger etc. and that's what I'm arguing for.

Yet you happily repeat the falsehoods and nastiness of the pro-life movement.

As far as nastiness is concerned, your post is hard to beat, and I'm not going to bother refuting your aspersions, because they no basis in fact. But do go on pissing off pro-choice people like myself and thereby marginalizing your extremist position.

The law cannot be based on trusting people doing the right thing

Jail everyone for life from the age of criminal responsibility onwards, then. Remove children from their parents at birth and rear them in institutions.

They have laws to cover cases where the woman's life might be in danger etc

Pro-choice laws, yes. To protect a woman's right to decide, for herself, if she wants to have an abortion.

But do go on pissing off pro-choice people like myself

Novakant, if you believe a woman ought to have the right to choose, why on earth would you assert that women can't be trusted with that right because we might use it badly?

Ah, that old pro-life fiction: women simply can't be trusted with powers of life or death because they will only take advantage.

Exactly, even though it's blatantly obvious that women are, on the whole, far less violent than men, and far more supportive of policies that would extend care and protection to others. If reproduction was entirely in the hands of women, I'm sure there'd hardly be any abortion at all, save for the (not infrequent) cases of medical necessity.

It's a statistical fact that abortion rates plummet when contraception, medical services and social support services are extended to all women, but poor and young women especially. Yet I'm pretty certain the anti-choice crowd correlate pretty closely with the anti-healthcare, anti-contraception, anti-social support crowd.

Ah why do I bother ranting...

The zealots have won the rhetorical war waged over the last 25 years. Instead of calling what Tiller did 'Emergency Termination' it's called 'Late Term'; instead of 'Forced Childbirth' (which is what their movement actually militates for), it's called 'Pro Life'. Liberal rhetorical lassitude has real life and death consequences, from Iraq to Kansas. I'd like to see Obama give *another* speech about abortion, but I'm not holding my breath...

"Woody" is clearly violating the posting rules, btw.

@byrningman:

"It's a statistical fact that abortion rates plummet when contraception, medical services and social support services are extended to all women, but poor and young women especially."

And do you really think that any consideration of "statistics" - however valid - has any real influence on the obsessive fixations of the anti-abortion fanatics?

It ain't about "services" or "support" to the forced-pregnancy nuts - they have convinced themselves that "life" issues are ones of black-and-white, good-vs-evil absolutism; with no shadings or counter-arguments permitted. And, of course, arguments presented via a gun are the least easy to counter.

It is a death-cult

I wasn't a huge fan of "death cult" when it was used as a generalization against Islamic extremists, and I'm not a huge fan of it in this context, either.

It doesn't serve any end other than to make yourself right. Hooray for our side!

I pretty much agree with what novakant has been saying, but it's absolutely futile to have this discussion with Jesurgislac.

In fact, other than the anti-abortion movement, is there another domestic activism movement that has both major-party influence and a terrorist fringe?

Both the gun rights movement and anti-immigration movement have links to the broader far-right "patriot movement" which certainly has a terrorist fringe.

Slarti, you don't trust women to make good decisions either, and feel the government is more likely to make the best decision for a pregnant woman than she is?

You do surprise me. Ah well.

I pretty much agree with what novakant has been saying, but it's absolutely futile to have this discussion with Jesurgislac.

While I agree on the latter, I disagree on the former. I don't think it's fair to argue on one day that military personnel should be able to pick and choose for themselves whether to obey a lawful order to fight in a way; and on the other to argue that abortion rights need to be restricted because women just can't be trusted to do the right thing. Which is what novakant has done here.

Woody: stop it. Make arguments, but do not attack commenters personally.

Brett: I don't think that parking a 20' van in front of someone's house should be illegal, nor did I ever say anything about that. I do think it, and the other OR tactics described here, are wrong. But that's different from thinking they should be banned, that people have a right not to be subjected to them, etc.

Slarti, you don't trust women to make good decisions either

Thanks for telling me what I think, Jesurgislac. I'm not sure how I'd know, if I didn't have you to tell me.

I don't think it's fair to argue on one day that military personnel should be able to pick and choose for themselves whether to obey a lawful order to fight in a way

I haven't said anything at all regarding my agreement/disagreement with things novakant has said on other threads, Phil. That was another discussion entirely. I'm perfectly ok with novakant being wrong over on that thread (if that is the case) but saying things I agree with here.

Thanks for telling me what I think, Jesurgislac

What? Wasn't Novakant saying women can't be allowed to make these kind of decisions because we just can't be trusted to make them right, and weren't you agreeing with Novakant?

Or is this another of the times when Slarti gets Cryptic, and the rest of us had better just accept you're never going to explain yourself?

Have at it, Phil, nothing there to be ashamed of. If my neighbors disagree, it will be a great teaching opportunity, to explain to them how the Clinton administration used the OK bombing, committed by people who weren't militia movement members, as an excuse to attack a political movement that had been a thorn in it's side.

Oh, the posting rules. I have no problem saying that I do object to the terroristic and intimidatory tactics used by the far right religious fringe to whip up anger, hatred, and violence. Why should I? The people on this board who applaud these acts should not be surprised that they get called out on them, and certainly should'nt be surprised if those of us who object to them see no reason to be shy about rhetorically enjoing the same protection.

Brett and others think there's no legal or moral problem harrassing and threatening violence to the nurses and patients of a Doctor whose lawful practice they dislike? And then they run for cover behind the "posting rules" because its just too, too, divisive and cruel and hateful to even observe that they themselves are perhaps not morally on the highest of ground?

Good god, hilzoy, when will you stop pretending that one can have an honest conversation with people so hateful--and I don't hesitate to use the word--and dishonest that they celebrate the brutality their political party inflicts on ordinary citizens (up to and including the murder of a grandfather in his church sanctuary) while weeping over a few harsh words on a public board?

How pathetic are these tough guys?

aimai

Brett: I don't think that parking a 20' van in front of someone's house should be illegal, nor did I ever say anything about that. I do think it, and the other OR tactics described here, are wrong. But that's different from thinking they should be banned, that people have a right not to be subjected to them, etc.

I'll say it, then. As far as I'm concerned, parking a vehicle on a residential street in front of anyone's house that's plastered with graphic images the likes of which would require an R rating if it was in a movie, trespassing in order to exorcise someone's lawn, harassing someone at their place of employment, and many of the other tactics in use by OR very clearly constitute criminal harassment, and a form of child abuse in the case of exposing every child in the neighborhood to graphic bloody images of death and dismemberment.

That's not "free" speech. That's so far over the line of harassment it's appalling that anyone has to make the argument. At the absolute bare minimum it should be grounds for a protection order barring them from coming within a certain distance of the family's home or places of employment. If it was a former boyfriend stalking her like this instead of a bunch of anti-abortion domestic terrorists, he'd be spending a night in jail and slapped with a no contact order.

I'm sympathetic to free speech concerns, especially where they involve the right to protest. This isn't free speech. It's a campaign of terrorism and intimidation.

This is way, way, way over the line, and it's long since overdue for the law to come down on them just as hard as it does on other terrorists and stalkers.

"Brett and others think there's no legal or moral problem harrassing and threatening violence"

Is there some other "Brett" commenting here? Because I don't think I've said anything of the sort.

I don't believe people are really entitled to the high regard of their neighbors on false pretenses, but that's not to say any means of informing said neighbors of something they might be unaware of is fair game. A tasteful letter consisting of text could accomplish that end as well.

From two years ago: a pro-lifer defends criminal harassment of hospital staff.

(Incidentally, virtually every fact that Sebastian asserts in the post I linked to was debunked, and Sebastian eventually downthread acknowledged that he'd got it wrong, but he never returned to the front page post to update it.)

The thug who killed Doctor Tiller almost certainly did so because Tiller routinely performed emergency late terminations for women who desperately needed them, and this thug had been told, over and over again, by pro-lifers ranging in vehemence from Von and Sebastian to Troy Newman, that such essential medical care for women was murder.

Have at it, Phil, nothing there to be ashamed of.

OK. Is it also fine if I print out all your postings from here and mail them to your neighbors? And drive around your neighborhood with a 20' truck with a sign saying "BRETT BELLMORE THINKS HOMOSEXUALITY IS A BIRTH DEFECT?" And park it in front of your house, and then throw things on your lawn? And then find our where your wife works, and promise to do the same at her workplace? All of that is OK with you?

Wasn't Novakant saying women can't be allowed to make these kind of decisions because we just can't be trusted to make them right, and weren't you agreeing with Novakant?

No. You're either deliberately or accidentally misreading novakant; I'm not really concerned which. Novakant didn't say anything about decisions, or trust.

Phil: All of that is OK with you?

...it wouldn't be okay with me, but if Brett says it would be okay with him, I'll be awesomely tempted to ask Brett to e-mail his postal address so we can do that...

No, no. Malicious harassment is wrong. Even when it's of Brett.

"Not volunteering information to your neighbors that is none of their damned business anyway" is now "false pretenses?" I can't even imagine the paranoia one has to live under to come up with that one.

I don't know what ANY of my neighbors do for a living, nor do I much give a shit, provided they aren't operating a meth lab.

Novakant didn't say anything about decisions, or trust.

*nods* In exactly the same way as Bush never actually used the words "imminent threat".

Jes, Brett's physical address is easily obtainable if one were so inclined. Which I am not.

See, unlike our resident "libertarian," I actually believe it is up to people themselves, and not to complete strangers who wish them harm, to decide what information they wish to reveal about themselves to the world.

Phil - Brett knows perfectly well that is intimidation and harassment. Somehow, I doubt he would be smirking benignly about it being fair game if a pro-same-sex marriage group went to a "Yes on 8" voter's house, went through their trash looking for embarassing personal information, leafletted their neighbors, picketed their spouse's workplace, "exorcised" their front yard, parked a 20-foot trailer across from their house plastered with photos of Matthew Sheppard...

So how about it, Brett? Mind posting your address and phone number and your wife's employer for us? Or is it OK with you if we just asked the Internet lulz crowd to dig up that information? Surely you aren't offended at the idea of anyone merely informing your neighbors about your hateful views.

Mythago, oddly enough, right now I'm not in favor of advocating malicious harassment of anyone, even as a joke.

(And yes, I might have realized this 15 minutes ago, but your scenario was alarmingly realistic for certain values, so... I just realized. No. Not even Brett, not even though he's made a big deal out of how people shouldn't mind.)

I'm not advocating malicious harassment of anyone, and I hope my comment was not taken as a hint that anyone should do so.

I am noting that Brett's comment was a perfect example of the sort of disingenuous crap that feeds people like Dr. Tiller's murder. Minimizing, justifying and excusing violence and harassment, and pretending that it's merely a benign application of free speech, is precisely why anti-abortion terrorists have gotten away with their behavior for so long.

There's a violent anti-abortion group in Portland that believes in 'imprecatory prayer' and supports those wanted-poster websites. I remember reading an interview with one of their leaders, where he justified the same kind of harassment Brett justifies - and then absolutely refused to provide any personal information about himself. Why, it's almost as though he knew what they were doing was illegal harassment, and assumed he might get a taste of his own medicine.

I have to agree with Catsy here.

This seems like stalking to me. There are indeed laws against that. And while we are on the subject, how about those aiding and abeting domestic terrorist laws. Seems like there should be some traction there. Like everyone who contributes to OR? (Maybe a bit extreem, but I think everyone will get the drift.)

This was a deplorable action. But not one unexpected or one that will not happen again with the level of hate masqerading as political discourse.

As far as nastiness is concerned, your post is hard to beat, and I'm not going to bother refuting your aspersions, because they no basis in fact. But do go on pissing off pro-choice people like myself and thereby marginalizing your extremist position.

I can tell you're very... concerned. I can't discern any other thoughtful message in your comments here, though.

"Why not instead put all that energy into assuring that all women on this planet have access to safe abortion within the first trimester and are not punished for exercising that right?" But they do, and it's well-known. Abortion is a small fraction of what Planned Parenthood does. Pro-choice politics correlate very highly with support for national health care. So what's your point? Of course, there are lots of cases where the medical need doesn't become apparent until after the first trimester, so there's not much anyone can do about that.

"Very few countries allow and only a small minority of people want abortions without any restrictions." This isn't true*. About 40 percent of the population consistently supports abortion on demand or whatever politically biased phrase you want to describe it. That's a minority, but not a tiny one. In fact, it's a plurality, more than twice the percent opposed to abortion in all situations. But either way, so what? What is right is often unpopular.

"It's silly to grant an absolute right in the hope that it will only be used in cases you approve of." This is true. Personally, I don't hope for anything so stupid. It's how we handle freedom of speech**; there are basically no restrictions on content. Nazis can parade down Main Street if they have a permit. I think a person's character shouldn't have anything to do with his or her legal rights, even if that person is a woman. Do you disagree with that?

You say you're pro-choice and I get that you're concerned, but I don't understand why. All the reasons you give for being concerned just don't make any sense.

* Unless you mean "only a small minority" of the world population, which is probably true but you don't offer any evidence of it, and either way it's even more beside the point.

** There are lots of time-place-manner restrictions, of course, some of which I don't agree with, but it seems like restrictions on content are the relevant type.

I knew I could count on hilzoy to respond intelligently to the murder of Dr. Tiller. What I didn't predict was that this thread would relapse into an examination of abortion itself. And that the same ol' same ol' suspicion of women re: reproduction would be so prominent. GUYS! Although I don't know the statistics of Dr. Tiller's practice, I would bet that the majority were represented by the couple's story hilzoy included in "Dr. Tiller."

Fetal defects resulting from genetic and epigenetic causes, such as the left ventricle development issues of Down syndrome or the neural tube closure defects that range from spina bifida to anacephaly, cannot be reliably diagnosed and their severity assessed until long after the first trimester. There are also various reasons, also genetic and epigenetic, that fetuses die in the womb partway into the second trimester, even up to 8 months into pregnancy. Parents struggle with decisions because the baby, if delivered, undergoes real suffering, death, or severe disabilities (usually multiple). Not to mention, since to you guys it's just collateral damage, injuries to the woman's reproductive capacity. The stories coming out of the Tiller clinic are not so-called "partial birth" stories; and they do not involve women offhandedly waking up one morning to say, maybe I don't want this baby after all.

But hilzoy I think I disagree with you about controlling privacy invasions at doctors' and employees' homes. What are harrassment laws for, if not such situations. And especially to address the stories of Operation Rescue trailing children around with the intent to shame them. I don't think, for instance, that Fred Phelps should be able to invade dead soldiers' funerals.

You have a weird view of the law, Jes.

Is the existence of social services, the police or the IRS an affront to good parents, honest citizens or taxpayers, implying that they "just can't be trusted"?

Kathie - this isn't simply 'privacy invasion'. It's terrorism. If the same actions were done to a researcher who experimented on animals as part of their scientific work, the conservative pundits would be up in arms about domestic terrorism. Years of conservatives in power and hesitancy to call these people what they are has meant that it's perfectly OK to be a terrorist, as long as you pick abortion providers as your victims.

This topic is damned difficult to discuss, particularly in the aftermath of Tiller's murder.

In Hilzoy's prior post, she notes several anecdotes of justified late term abortion, which is a rare procedure, whether compelled by medical necessity or elective.

Few disagree that non-elective, medically-compelled terminations are appropriately between patient and physician and that no one, especially the state has any business intervening.

Trying hard to step away from the visceral debate, it seems to me that the battleground issues, except for absolutists on either side, are (1) is elective abortion a constitutional right or (2) should citizens have the right to vote on the issue as a matter of state law?

I favor No. 2 and believe that a lot of the confrontation we see today--I am pro-life regarding elective abortion, but would decide the issue by a vote, not judicial fiat--including Operation Rescue's appalling tactics would diminish significantly if the issue was returned to the states, where by the Constitution, I am convinced it belongs.

I also favor aggressive teaching of birth control, etc. Those who think that opposing elective abortion have some kind of issue with women controlling their bodies are, with respect to people like me, way off base. I know people who approach that level of fervor, but most that I come into contact with simply believe that the child/fetus/occupant of any woman's womb is human and should be brought to term. The imposition on the woman, while great and even perhaps oppressive in cases, still is outweighed by the imposition on the child/fetus/occupant, which is death.

Lets get real here. There is one and only one doctor left in this country to whom a desperate woman and her family can resort if they require a late term abortion. One. That isn't an accident and its not a bug. Its a feature of a right wing campaign of violent harrassment.

I've been pregant, twice, and was lucky enough not to need an abortion. But I asked my ob-gyn, the woman I was trusting with my life and health and with that of my unborn child, whether if I ended up needing an abortion or, say, currettage if the fetus died in the womb, I could continue to rely on her care. She said, bluntly, "no." And that I would have to find myself some kind of "clinic" to care for me.

This is not some abstract problem for naughty women. Its a problem for *families*, for men and women, for fathers and mothers, and siblings and children. Because the "choice" that women are faced with in late term abortions is between death for themselves or death for themselves and the fetus.

In killing this compassionate man the right wing--yes, all of the hysterics and the anti choicers and the nice people who get squicked out by abortion but who don't get squicked out by the gunning down of an elderly doctor--have put adult women's lives at risk. And for what? The fetuses that are terminated in late abortions are almost uniformly fetuses that will not survive outside the womb.

The anti abortion movement turned poor Dr. Tiller and his patients into a caricature and into targets in order to intimidate other doctors and women from gaining access to lawful medical care. What they could not gain politically, or legally in a court of law, they chose to try to gain through out and out terrorism and int imidation. There is simply no question about that.

Whether individual posters like x, or y, support that level of intimidation, or why they prefer violent and non violent intimidation over (say) rational discourse and polite political action, is not for me to say. I don't even really care. They have said they see nothing wrong with stalking and harrassing medical professionals, and they have refused to condemn the murder. That says enough about them as people and there's nothing any of the other posters need say.

aimai

The imposition on the woman, while great and even perhaps oppressive fatal in cases, still is outweighed by the imposition on the child/fetus/occupant, which is death.

Fixed that for you. Also, says you re: outweighed. I'm sure actual women who are actually pregnant might not feel that you, a complete stranger, are in the best position to weigh those options for her.

Is it OK with you, though, if we all vote as to what your wife can and can't do with her uterus?

if a pro-same-sex marriage group went to a "Yes on 8" voter's house, went through their trash looking for embarassing personal information, leafletted their neighbors, picketed their spouse's workplace, "exorcised" their front yard, parked a 20-foot trailer across from their house plastered with photos of Matthew Sheppard...

In fact, if the same sorts of harassment were aimed at the families of, say, the officers in charge of Abu Ghraib, I suspect the full power of the law would be used to end it.

Nova: Is the existence of social services, the police or the IRS an affront to good parents, honest citizens or taxpayers, implying that they "just can't be trusted"?

You are the one asserting that no woman can have the legal right to make decisions about terminating her own pregnancy on account of you presume that some women will use that right without what you perceive as a good cause.

Why bother with police or social workers, then, according to this way of thinking? Just lock everyone in jail the minute they reach the age of criminal responsibility - given that if you let everyone remain free, some of them are bound to do bad or stupid things with that freedom.

Mckinneytexas:Few disagree that non-elective, medically-compelled terminations are appropriately between patient and physician and that no one, especially the state has any business intervening.

Novakant disagrees. So does Slartibartfast, apparently.

I know people who approach that level of fervor, but most that I come into contact with simply believe that the child/fetus/occupant of any woman's womb is human and should be brought to term.

But the woman isn't human, so it doesn't matter that forcing her through pregnancy and childbirth may kill her, and that imposing a law that requires her to give birth against her will does nothing to reduce the number of abortions, and more than anything to raise the maternal mortality/morbidity rate. At least, so I've always had to conclude from the pro-lifers who assert "the fetus is human" and leap from that to deny basic human rights to the pregnant woman, regardless of the known, lethal consequences.

Mckinneytexas, a doctor was murdered yesterday because (almost certainly - I do find it unlikely that it was pure coincidence) the thug who shot him had been told, over and over again, by people like you, that this doctor was a murderer.

And you feel not the slightest guilt or regret about returning to the rhetoric that justified Doctor Tiller's murder.

Nova: Is the existence of social services, the police or the IRS an affront to good parents, honest citizens or taxpayers, implying that they "just can't be trusted"?

You are the one asserting that no woman can have the legal right to make decisions about terminating her own pregnancy on account of you presume that some women will use that right without what you perceive as a good cause.

Why bother with police or social workers, then, according to this way of thinking? Just lock everyone in jail the minute they reach the age of criminal responsibility - given that if you let everyone remain free, some of them are bound to do bad or stupid things with that freedom.

Mckinneytexas:Few disagree that non-elective, medically-compelled terminations are appropriately between patient and physician and that no one, especially the state has any business intervening.

Novakant disagrees. So does Slartibartfast, apparently.

I know people who approach that level of fervor, but most that I come into contact with simply believe that the child/fetus/occupant of any woman's womb is human and should be brought to term.

But the woman isn't human, so it doesn't matter that forcing her through pregnancy and childbirth may kill her, and that imposing a law that requires her to give birth against her will does nothing to reduce the number of abortions, and more than anything to raise the maternal mortality/morbidity rate. At least, so I've always had to conclude from the pro-lifers who assert "the fetus is human" and leap from that to deny basic human rights to the pregnant woman, regardless of the known, lethal consequences.

Mckinneytexas, a doctor was murdered yesterday because (almost certainly - I do find it unlikely that it was pure coincidence) the thug who shot him had been told, over and over again, by people like you, that this doctor was a murderer.

And you feel not the slightest guilt or regret about returning to the rhetoric that justified Doctor Tiller's murder.

"I am pro-life regarding elective abortion, but would decide the issue by a vote, not judicial fiat...Those who think that opposing elective abortion have some kind of issue with women controlling their bodies are, with respect to people like me, way off base."

Actually, you are confirming jes' point here. If you think abortion should be legal in some circumstances (mother's life threatened, say) but not in others, but that late-term abortions should be banned entirely because some of those abortions might not be carried out for reasons you consider valid, then you imply that you do not trust women or their doctors to make the decision to abort.

There have been several people on this thread (or perhaps one of the other ones) complaining that we don't know the reasons for this abortion or that abortion, who I suspect typically virulently oppose the government's invasion of individual privacy in practically every aspect of life.

I am glad that mckinneytexas provided us with the way out on this issue; namely, let women's rights be decided by majority vote in individual states. This would eliminate "judicial fiat" declaring that people have individual rights despite the actions of legislatures, which has a deplorable history of abuse in this country. Courts have already used their judicial fiat on behalf of the rights of blacks and gay people; with women's reproductive autonomy, we must draw a line in the sand.

And just think: once late-term abortion restrictions were up to the states to decide, the impetus to murder the providers would go away. Oh, wait, state-by-state restrictions are already the status quo, and yet Dr. Tiller got gunned down at his church anyway. Oh, well.

That said, large elements of the anti-abortion movement have never done nearly enough to distance themselves from the violent and/or crazy parts of their movement.

And why should they? What's the downside for not doing so?

Now_what, that's an interesting question. If you discover that the guy next door is a mass-murderer, and will continue to kill, then maybe it is ethical to murder your neighbor? But you may notice that I've skipped a few steps there with that word "discover": after all, if you sincerely believe that your next-door neighbor is on a killing spree, is it still OK to snuff him? And what if you're convinced that the schlub next door is using his mental powers to telepathically force people to kill each other - is offing him still a good thing?

I'm being flip, and that's not entirely fair, because you're asking a genuinely important question, and it's one that does trouble me: if you are convinced that an atrocity is going on, and that you have the power to hinder it, how can you justify not taking almost any action to do so? And I don't have a really good answer to that.

Iow, the law, authority, the establishment, has got to come in at some point and exercise it's power. That it's not doing so is something like the local cops standing by and watching the local rowdies beat up gays. Maybe this is lawsuit time? Would it be possible to sue (successfully, that is) Operation Rescue for wrongful death?

Let me go back to this question, as it concerns motivations: "if you are convinced that an atrocity is going on, and that you have the power to hinder it, how can you justify not taking almost any action to do so?"

The problem is, these people aren't doing any such thing. Watch the video through to the end; it's a hoot to watch these 'serious' people try to squirm out of the elementary consequences of making abortion illegal.

The difference is that the officers in charge of Abu Ghraib are valued members of their communities, who are constantly thanked for their service in defending freedom.

As it ever was. It wasn't William Calley who had to go into hiding for fear of attack from his fellow Americans. It was Hugh Thompson, who tried to stop him.

At least England and Graner and Karpinski didn't get a best-selling single dedicated to them. I suppose that's progress.

To the group, I pose the following questions:

1. How many women, per year, get an abortion of a healthy, well viable fetus when the available scientific evidence shows that she could carry the fetus to term with minimal physical and mental risk?

2. What should the state do when those circumstances present themselves? a. Illegalize the procedure and prosecute the doctor, the woman and the nurses for murder. b. Illegalize the procedure and develop mandatory reporting procedures that put heavy pressure on doctors not to conduct the procedure. c. Declare the woman temporarily insane and civilly confine her until delivery. d. Do nothing.

3. If the answer to 2 is anything other than do nothing, how do you solve the problem of the law (a) creating an environment where it is impossible for women to get needed late-term therapeutic abortions (over-inclusivity) and (b) still allowing the wealthy to travel to jurisdictions where the procedure is available (under-inclusivity).

Yes, virtually every law is both under- and over-inclusive as regards the behavior the state is trying to regulate. But this is an area where those issues are critical: an over-inclusive law can result in death to the woman, an under-inclusive one would be just cruel as well as contemptuous of the idea of equality before the law.

Phil, no you didn't fix anything. One of my problems with your responses is that you don't read what you think you are fixing. Quite plainly, I do not oppose medically-compelled terminations. I do oppose elective abortions, i.e. by choice, usually as a means of birth control. Normal pregnancies pose no meaningful risk of fatality to women. Your point is ridiculous. Try intellectual honesty, for a change. Similarly, restricting abortion to cases of medical-necessity (and rape and incest) isn't telling a woman what she can and cannot do with her uterus, but it is telling a pregnant woman that she must carry the child to term.

Slightly off-topic, in my world, the father would play a major role in what happens from conception through college, whether he wants to or not, incarceration being the ultimate sanction for noncompliance, so I suppose I am controlling my and every other male's penis too?

1. No idea.

2. No ideas here, either. No good ones, anyway. So I pick d. That doesn't mean I particularly like d, but I dislike the other options more.

Yes, I suppose this makes me a guy who's interested in forcing pregnant girls to give birth. Or it so it will undoubtedly be claimed, even though it's far from true.

"But if you work at an abortion clinic, and your neighbors are informed that you work at an abortion clinic? I find it hard to file that under "coercive". "

Try harder.

These people are bullies. They haven't been successful getting their point of view enshrined in law, so their goal is to harrass people into doing what they want them to do. Where "harrass" extends to murder.

"once you grant the right to unrestricted abortions at any time, you cannot deny it to anyone for any reason"

No such right has been granted.

McKinneyTexas: Normal pregnancies pose no meaningful risk of fatality to women.

Absolutely true. The problem is, figuring out in advance which pregnancies are normal, and there's no risk in the state forcing women to give birth against their will, and which pregnancies are not normal, and the state will find that it forced those women to die.

It is interesting, in a sickening kind of way, that the far left in China and the far right in the US meet at this point: both agree that the state, not individual women, should get to decide when and if women have babies. McKinneyTexas in the US thinks that the state should have the right to force women to give birth: XuFengFujian in China thinks that the state should have the right to force women to abort: but both agree that it's the state's right to decide, not a matter for individual freedom.

Statistically, whenever you decide that the state shall have the right to force women through pregnancy and childbirth, that simply means that women who just want to terminate because they don't want to have a baby, will find a crooked health care provider and have an illegal abortion. Illegal abortion is statistically less safer than legal abortion, but carries far less risk than childbirth.

" Courts have already used their judicial fiat on behalf of the rights of blacks and gay people; with women's reproductive autonomy, we must draw a line in the sand."

Or, pull your head out of the sand and read the Constitution, which provides for equal treatment under the law, but does not provide for elective abortion. If you want to amend the constitution to allow for elective abortion, fine by me. We all get to vote on it. But finding a 'right' hidden in a penumbra, besides being extra-constitutional and incongruent with the rule of law, is a knife that cuts both ways, with the end result being what we have today: a highly politicized judiciary. The extreme pro-lifers would love to pack a Supreme Court with five justices who would extend due process protection to fetuses and outlaw any abortion by judicial fiat. Right now, pro-choice has a 5-4 majority. My sense is that if the vote shifts against Roe, the issue will be returned to the states. Fine by me. But, if you think this is an issue that should only be decided by the courts, then you accept that, someday, the issue might be resolved against choice of any kind.

XuFengFujian in China

Uh, as should be obvious, I made this name up as a Chinese parallel to McKinneyTexas: no connection with any actual Xu Feng in Fujian or any other province is intended or applied.

jesurgislac, you are consistently wrong in nearly everything you say. If a normal pregnancy becomes abnormal and a threat to the mother's life, then termination is not only appropriate but probably within the bundle of inchoate due process substantive rights. I don't expect you to understand the last part, BTW.

As for your stunningly brilliant PRC/USA analogy, try this on for size: in the US, we have free and open debate prior to a vote, and we have 50 states, each of which would be free, through its citizens to decide the issue.

mckinneytexas - you're making the same argument for the terrorists as many apologists. If only those silly pro-choice advocates would get over Roe v Wade, maybe the violence would let up is victim-blaming, full stop.

By the way, I've never understood the 'except for rape and incest' exception. We don't allow a woman to murder her two-year-old because she's related by blood to the child's father.

Slarti: No ideas here, either. No good ones, anyway. So I pick d. That doesn't mean I particularly like d, but I dislike the other options more.

So you now disagree with Novakant? That was a quick change. Or was the original agreement just your being Cryptic?

So you now disagree with Novakant?

No.

You can have as much time as you want to try and reconcile those two things.

Hint: novakant is arguing against a right for unrestricted abortion. That's something I might tend to like, if it could be justly and fairly implemented. I don't see an acceptable implementation, so: I choose the do-nothing approach.

Now, novakant may argue for some particular legal implementation, and that might provide a future opportunity to agree, or not.

I don't have any trouble distancing myself from the violent and crazy elements of the pro-life parts of the movement.

Bombing clincs is wrong, and not just in some technical sense, but in an "you are being evil" sense. Harrassing administrative staff at their homes is wrong, even if not illegal. Vigilante tactics against abortion providers are wrong even if you believe that the law ought to make what they do punishable in some severe fashion.

And for those who don't buy moral arguments, the tactics are counterproductive. The middle ground of the American public is significantly more pro-life than the current state of the law. You don't need to have a revolution, you need to convince those people to get their ideas on the topic enacted into law. These same people aren't going to like your cause better if you are murdering people.

You are only setting back your cause if you take such action or support it. Stop it. You're not helping.

As for your stunningly brilliant PRC/USA analogy, try this on for size: in the US, we have free and open debate prior to a vote, and we have 50 states, each of which would be free, through its citizens to decide the issue.

Novakant ignored it when asked, so I'll ask you - so what? Which other rights should be subject to 50 percent plus one vote? The legality of interracial marriage didn't break 50 percent approval in some polls for years after it was legalized by judicial fiat.

Phil, no you didn't fix anything. One of my problems with your responses is that you don't read what you think you are fixing.

No, actually I did.

Quite plainly, I do not oppose medically-compelled terminations. I do oppose elective abortions, i.e. by choice, usually as a means of birth control.

My suggestion to you, then, is not to have one.

Normal pregnancies pose no meaningful risk of fatality to women. Your point is ridiculous. Try intellectual honesty, for a change.

If it's the kind that requires one to believe that the government should not be allowed to tax income above $350,000 at a rate any higher than 33%, but should be allowed to tell women when they can and can't have abortions, I'll skip it, thanks.

Similarly, restricting abortion to cases of medical-necessity (and rape and incest)

Whoa, Hoss! Are the concepti of rape and incest suddenly not innocent human beings deserving of protection?

isn't telling a woman what she can and cannot do with her uterus, but it is telling a pregnant woman that she must carry the child to term.

After which you will do your damnedest to make sure that your tax money doesn't ever go to its upkeep no matter how impoverished the family is, I'm quite sure. In any case, yes, telling a woman that she will be forced to bear a child is, in fact, telling her what she can and can't do with her uterus.

If you want to amend the constitution to allow for elective abortion, fine by me. We all get to vote on it.

As an alleged officer of the court (which I begin to doubt more and more), you are aware that the state legislatures, and not the citizens, vote on amendments, yes?

You are the one asserting that no woman can have the legal right to make decisions about terminating her own pregnancy on account of you presume that some women will use that right without what you perceive as a good cause.

That's not what I'm asserting, but since you, ahem, asked:

Up to the end of the first trimester, or some similar timeframe, women should be allowed to have abortions for whatever reason and without having to give one, and if they are not insured, the state should pay for it. Any abortions requested at a significantly later date in the pregnancy should need approval by medical professionals and/or social services and these in turn have to base their decisions on criteria laid out in the law, which should grant the right to abort in the case of danger to the woman's health, rape, incest, terrible social circumstances and so on. If none of these criteria apply, the right to abort should be refused.

novakant, have you read "Roe"?

"The extreme pro-lifers would love to pack a Supreme Court with five justices who would extend due process protection to fetuses..."

Pro-life, my ass.

Can we please stop using their propaganda term?

I hope that people will stop using the term "pro-life" now and will object when anyone else uses it. The root cause of thhe murder of the doctor was arrogance--the arrogance of a person who believed that he had the godlike powers to judge. And where did that arrogance come from?

"Pro-life" is a term designed to promote arrogance and to polarize. Opinion polls show that most self-proclaimed "pro-lifers" are in favor of choice under some circumstances. They don't like abortion but, when it comes down to specific situations, they can see the need for it. The sad thing is that there is probably a lot of common ground in our society on this issue. It's likely that most people think that it's morally icky to get an abortion for birth control but a tragic necessity under a wide range of circumstances. That's the thinking behide "safe, legal, annd rare". Reduce abortions by reducing unplanned, unwanted pregnacies. But, no, that is too reasonable! Doesn't feed into pridefuness! Better to polarize the debate by calling oneself "pro-life"! The use of the term "pro-life" forces the discussioon into an either/or debate with one side claiming exclusively to occupy the moral highground.

Arrogance. Anti-abortion people have been promoting themselves as superior based on on issue for decades now. They are "pro-life" and everyone else is, by implication, pro-death. It's a get-moral-superiority-free card. Be "pro-life" and one doesn't have to think about torture or global warming or the moral implications of any other issue. Just vote for the Republicans, and be a fighter against barbarism!

When people start thinking of themselves as part of a morally superior crusade it is a slippery slope to rudeness, intimidation, and, eventually, violence.

All of us normal people-regardless of how we feel about abortions--need to stop feeding into the arrogance that fuels extremism. Please stop enabling that extermism by excepting the language of extermism.

have you read "Roe"?

Yeah, but what I've laid out above falls squarely within the consensus in much of Europe - and compared to the US it's not a major issue here anymore (exceptions like Ireland or Poland proving the rule).

The law cannot be based on trusting people doing the right thing, it has to cover all eventualities. Parents have the right to raise their children, but it's not an absolute right, sometimes the state restricts
it or takes it away altogether.

The law does generally trust people to do the rational thing, which is why criminal codes use prison sentences as a deterrent. Can you come up with a rational reason a woman might postpone a voluntary, non-therapeutic abortion for four or five months after she found out she was pregnant? It's not like growing a bean sprout in a milk carton.

Novakant: Any abortions requested at a significantly later date in the pregnancy should need approval by medical professionals and/or social services and these in turn have to base their decisions on criteria laid out in the law, which should grant the right to abort in the case of danger to the woman's health, rape, incest, terrible social circumstances and so on. If none of these criteria apply, the right to abort should be refused.

And a woman who needs an abortion and was told instead that the state intended to force her to have the baby, would then get an illegal abortion: the wealthier she or her family was, the more likely this abortion would be not to kill her along with the fetus, but it's always a risk. (Very wealthy women would simply fly to another country where forced-birth isn't supported.)

Of course, illegal abortions tend to take longer to organize than legal ones, and the later an abortion takes place the riskier it is, but hey: I guess if the important part is taking a moral stand in favor of forced childbirth, and not under any circumstances preservation of human life, the deaths of women involved will not be of any concern to you.

Slarti, I think it should be clear that you are in disagreement with Novakant...

By the way. I'm not sure if I'm allowed to inject mild humor, but when I first read about the murder of George Tiller, I read it as "George Tillman". And I couldn't for the life of me understand why he would have gotten murdered. (Didn't like "Soul Food"?)

It's about an hour back and a way's up, but I had to get back to this:

"[T]his isn't simply 'privacy invasion'. It's terrorism. If the same actions were done to a researcher who experimented on animals as part of their scientific work, the conservative pundits would be up in arms about domestic terrorism."

As a general rule of thumb, never expect conservatives to respond rationally to anything.

The corollary: you should never imagine how conservatives respond or would respond to an event if you're looking to understand it.

"And a woman who needs an abortion and was told instead that the state intended to force her to have the baby, would then get an illegal abortion"

What about the woman who doesn't need an abortion and was told instead that the state wouldn't let her have it.

Alright, alright, the EU is a misogynistic hell-hole systematically denying women basic human rights and I'm a rabid pro-life zealot.

Or, pull your head out of the sand and read the Constitution, which provides for equal treatment under the law, but does not provide for elective abortion.

So the "judicial activism" crowd has suddenly abandoned Brown as one of their examples? And gay marriage is in the Constitution? Both of those are good news, thanks. Though someone who thinks that the Constitution is an explicit and exhaustive enumeration of rights is probably not the most reliable source for these bombshells. Still, allowing individual states to ban abortion again would have the positive effect of restoring safe abortion purely as the prerogative of the rich, while poor women unable to travel thousands of miles can just die in back alleys instead, thereby reducing the surplus population. Fortunately, we're already getting steadily closer to that goal, even with activist judges and their penumbras.

The middle ground of the American public is significantly more pro-life than the current state of the law.

Does the expletive "horsefeathers" run afoul of the comment rules?

Hint: novakant is arguing against a right for unrestricted abortion. That's something I might tend to like, if it could be justly and fairly implemented.

Great idea. Perhaps there could be a series of Supreme Court cases that put restrictions on abortion and allow states broad leeway in imposing additional restrictions. Meanwhile, out here in reality, this is already the status quo. Seriously, all the moaning about the unrestricted right to abortion in the US gets kind of tiresome. Which I suspect is why russell asked if novakant had read Roe, since it certainly doesn't seem like it. Roe places restrictions on abortion based on trimesters, while still guaranteeing some degree of access to it. And with O'Connor gone, pretty much any restriction short of an outright ban would have a fair shot of passing muster. Now, it's true, as Mr. Bellmore has asserted, that women could currently be dirty liars about their desire to undergo an uncomfortable medical procedure on a lark, but does the law really have to take that tack?

And yes, money for alternatives, such as comprehensive sex ed and contraception, would be great. Too bad most Congressional Republicans, Operation Rescue, etc, oppose those things, too.

"Jes, Brett's physical address is easily obtainable if one were so inclined."

And phone number, middle initial, list of political contributions, location on Google maps, a list of relatives, as well as lots about his past and current employers and jobs. Heck, you don't even have to find out which state he's in, as there's only one Brett Bellmore in the U.S. It's as simple a couple of searches as can be.

The same for me, too. This happens when one posts under one's real name.

"I knew I could count on hilzoy to respond intelligently to the murder of Dr. Tiller. What I didn't predict was that this thread would relapse into an examination of abortion itself."

Haven't been reading here long, I take it.

"But finding a 'right' hidden in a penumbra, besides being extra-constitutional and incongruent with the rule of law...."

Amendment 9 of the U.S. Constitution: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

This happens when one posts under one's real name.

Assuming a real-sounding name is, in fact, one's real name, and not a name yanked out of a phone directory, or the name of a kid you didn't particularly like from third grade, or a name that you got off a random name generator for d20 Modern. Just sayin'.

The "penumbra" idea did not originate with Roe. Those who scoff at the implied right of privacy must also be saying they think it is perfectly acceptable for the government to outlaw the sale of contraceptives to married folks, or to send a man to jail for decades for engaging in oral sex with his wife.

This happens when one posts under one's real name

And it's an uncommon one. I, on the other hand, am legion.

"Assuming...."

Who are you accusing of assuming?

"...a real-sounding name is, in fact, one's real name, and not a name yanked out of a phone directory, or the name of a kid you didn't particularly like from third grade, or a name that you got off a random name generator for d20 Modern."

Those aren't real names, as in "the real name of the actual writer." I was referring specifically to Brett and myself. The Brett for whom all that info is immediately available on the internet is the Brett who posts here. That, or someone who has been working on a false persona for decades which has involved living in those places, working those jobs, making those political donations, and writing the many blog comments on the many blogs that he has for so many years. Which would be a difference that makes no difference.

I didn't assume.

And it's an uncommon one.

mine is uncommon enough that i know where in the country the other people with my name live. and we're all related, because we all descend from one guy who moved to northern PA from Strasburg Germany, in 1841.

and so, to keep nosy employers off my trail... i am cleek.

OK, this conversation on releasing Brett's address has gone on long enough -- if it's a joke, it's already old; if it's a point, it's made; if it's an actual idea someone's thinking of doing, it's immoral.

"I, on the other hand, am legion."

Taking a shot: do you live on Torreypines Cir?

If not, Mike, I could take a better shot at tracking you down, with more time, based on knowing that you're an sf fan, who does lots of java programming, who lives on the West Coast (California?), who has a political brother, etc.

People who post a lot commonly end up giving a lot of details about themselves. Anyone who spends years and years posting to Usenet and blogs tends to leave enough clues to track them down.

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