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June 29, 2004

Comments

As I wrote over at Tacitus.org, it's a thorny issue. One of the things that bugs me about the issue is that both positions on it are deserving of respect but the sophistry and gamesmanship that both sides engage in makes it difficult to have an intelligent conversation.

I read that, Dave. And agree completely. (BTW, Schuler has been doing true yeoman's work on the Iraq war. I've not blogged on it yet, but it deserves attention. Click on his name and scroll around.)

From 26 weeks, they appear to exhibit a whole range of typical baby behaviour and moods, including scratching, smiling, crying, hiccuping, and sucking.
Until recently it was thought that smiling did not start until six weeks after birth.

Erm, well, of course newborns (and, apparently, fetuses) can "smile", in the sense that the corners of their mouths occasionally curve upward. However, I think it's relatively well established that these are involuntary movements unrelated to any internal state of contentment (as I recall, for my two it was usually a sign that we'd be changing a diaper soon). I guess "anthropomorphism" isn't quite the right term here, but the same principle is at work.

Anyway, taking your title at face value, I think these baby pictures are by themselves a rather thin reason for someone to be pro-life -- are you saying that because a 12-week fetus seems babylike, it deserves our protection? What if it seemed more fish-like, would you then not be pro-life?

Not to attack you in particular -- I think many if not most people's views are formed by such impressionistic and sentimental criteria, and these pix could definitely sway a lot of people. But the desire to read too much into these kinds of photos is the same sort of thing that people accuse animal rights advocates of; so, since my observation that cats exhibit almost as much individuality as people isn't enough to persuade our society to stop letting them be used in torturous experiments, I'm not inclined to accept similar arguments in defense of fetuses.

I find the extremes on this debate repellent. The Kos poster Tacitus refers to is an example on the pro-choice side--an extreme example, but in general I don't like the lack of respect for pro-life views among feminists and the left.

But on the other side--it's not just the clinic bombers. I also find repellent the certain view that life begins at the moment of fertilization & there shall be no exceptions except maybe the life of the mother & that those who disagree are coldblooded baby killers. (I know von does not hold that view; I think, though I am not certain, that Tacitus does.) It is a view that would outlaw the birth control pill, and outlaw the morning after pill for rape victims--and these steps, bad enough in themselves, would probably increase the number of full fledged, later term abortions. And of course they would be more dangerous on top of that.

(ignore the link in that post, I don't know where it even came from.)

Aw, you just want to pinch those cheeks.

"I think it's relatively well established that these are involuntary movements unrelated to any internal state of contentment "
Actually, it's reasonably well established that, like gurgling, having big eyes, and making lots of eye contact, smiling is an evolved tendency that increases bonding with the mother and decreases the chance of the baby being abandoned.

"I guess "anthropomorphism" isn't quite the right term here, but the same principle is at work."

Actually, the question of whether 'anthropomorphism' is the right term is the essence of the debate :).

"I think many if not most people's views are formed by such impressionistic and sentimental criteria, and these pix could definitely sway a lot of people."

I don't see their value as being emotionally manipulative. I see them as more accurate information for the people (and I believe the majority of people) who, thanks to ultrasound, think of pre-term babies as kind of scratchy grey peanut things, and conduct themselves appropriately. In other words, for those who are going to base their decision on their evolved gut reactions (and I agree that that is not always the best course), they should at least do it fully informed. And more accurate depictions are simply more accurate information.

My fistful of cents:

I used to be pro-life. I'm not anymore. I respect and understand the pro-life view, but I came to the conclusion a few years ago that it was extreme, unfair, and ultimately wrong to demand that a fertilized egg be given the same legal standing as the body in which it forms, and on which it is still utterly dependent for survival.

The distressing fact is that there is no such thing as a chemical soul formed within the tissue of the developing embryo, no magic moment when it becomes more or less of a person. At fertilization, a single-celled zygote is no more or less human than the sperm and ova which formed it. All that's happened is some molecules were exchanged.

On one side of fertilization we have living, human cells whose rights no one is willing to defend; on another we have living, human cells whose rights are the bases for one of the neverending battles in the culture wars. Neither sperm cells nor zygotes can survive independently of the bodies in which they reside, even with all the medical technology in the world (unless you count being frozen, which really just halts the growth process in its place). Neither can perform any of the functions essential to human survival. And at no point in the fertilization process has the hand of God reached down and blessed these cells with Humanity.

(Nor do early embryos behave at all like late-stage fetuses; the difficulty of assigning singular identity to an expanding cluster of cells which may split into distinct embryos much later than at the point of fertilization.)

I don't stand by tests of how much a fetus looks like a person at stage X, how developed its brain is a stage Y - those are specious arguments which merely open the door for the counterargument of showing how inhuman an embryo looks at stage P or Q. The only test I can stand by is the test set up in Roe, which is viability. At what point can the fetus survive - with or without medical assistance - independent of the mother? At what point does it have a life separate from its mother's to defend? From that moment, it's viable. From that moment, it's an independent life, and has more protections than we give to sperm and ova. Reaching beyond that and you get into a game of scraping away seconds and cells, until consistency would demand that a fertilized egg - or a sperm cell - receive the same legal protection we extend to a newborn infant.

By this standard, the fetus in this photograph could very well be protected, if it's as far along in its development as the link suggests (and in fact probably is under Roe, except for in extraordinary circumstances).

I can't say how much this issue bothers me. I don't like the idea of abortion, of interrupting a potential independent life. I don't like reaching into the embryonic timeline and mucking around in there; just being forced to take a look at where we all come from reminds me how unpleasantly of how there's not nearly as much of a difference between living and unliving matter as I'd like. The idea of extinguishing any kind of life for any reason disturbs me on the most fundamental level, but this is an area too murky for a dogmatic position to slice neatly through. To any objective observer, a fetus at eight months is clearly an unborn child; to any objective observer, a single fertilized egg is not. I don't have the capacity to say when that clump of cells is a child; I can only go with what I believe the law should count as a standard, absent of a better one. If a better test comes around, I'd be more than happy to revise my view.

And I have to say, as much as I don't like abortion, I like the debate and the rhetoric much less. The complete lack of empathy that people like Tacitus have for a single woman with a five-week pregnancy who simply can't afford to care for a child for the next eighteen years is nothing short of astonishing in its ugliness, especially when considering the fact that the same extremists are usually agitating against measures that would vastly reduce unwanted pregnancies. At the same time, the complete dehumanization of the fetus by the opposite extreme is equally apalling.

As usual, this subject's tapped me out. That's all I have to say.

I am with Iron Lungfish: there is a difference between the fertilized egg and a fullgrown baby. In the Netherlands it is seen as a 'scale'. Abortion is always possible till 12 weeks pregnant, between 12 weeks and 24 weeks it can only be done at a medical indiction and after 24 weeks it is no longer possible, because the child is viable outside the womb.
80% of our abortions are done before the woman is 8 weeks pregnant, 2.5% of abortions after 12 weeks.
Our methods differ too. If you have to terminate a pregnancy before 12 weeks it is done by curretage/vacuum, after 12 weeks you are brought into labour and you have to give birth. Partial abortions disgust me. I am pro-choice, but not unlimited.

For another side of the issue: I get very frustrated about women who have fertility treatments, have 4, 5 or more embryo's implant and than refuse to abort some. If you know that you do not want to abort, you should not have run the risc of having quads or more. For unborn babies being singleton is always best, and being with so many highly increases the change that the babies will die or be severely handicapped.

Iron Lungfish: complete agreement.

Further point: I would be more willing to call pro-lifers pro-lifers if they were not, as a group, so focussed on making abortion illegal.

We can all agree that abortion is a bad choice to have to make. Where are the pro-life Republicans calling for free health care for pregnant women and for all children to the age of 18? That basic, human help alone could make the difference between "Can afford" and "Can't afford". Where are the pro-lifers calling for free contraception to be available to all? For free daycare and nursery schools available to all low-income parents? For good, detailed, thorough sex education (the Netherlands have an excellent model) available to all children, well before they're old enough to be actively interested in sex themselves, and regardless of their parents' opinions on how much their children ought to be kept in ignorance? How many pro-lifers - Republican or Democrat - are actively campaigning for parents to have federal employment rights enabling them to maintain a career and be good parents? (I'm not just talking maternity leave or paternity leave or even "children's sick days". I'm talking an end to the work culture that says you don't get promoted unless you're putting in 12-hour days at your desk and always have unused leave at the end of the year.)

Making abortion illegal only increases the number of illegal abortions. Work to make fewer abortions happen - fewer accidental pregnancies, and no women having abortions because they can't afford a child, and that's a goal that both "pro-lifers" and pro-choicers can support.

"Making abortion illegal only increases the number of illegal abortions."

I doubt this is completely true. Some people would be willing to have a legal abortion and not an illegal one--whether out of safety concerns, being unwilling to risk breaking the law, being unable to break the law period, or something else.

I have no idea how many women would decide this--I just maintain there would be some.

There also would be many illegal abortions,
they would be more dangerous, & I'd guess abortions would tend to be later-term.

Are there any reliable statistics on the number of abortions before and after Roe, and/or the number of hospitalizations or deaths of women undergoing illegal abortions? My guess is there aren't.

Actually, it's reasonably well established that, like gurgling, having big eyes, and making lots of eye contact, smiling is an evolved tendency that increases bonding with the mother and decreases the chance of the baby being abandoned.

But thinking back to my own children's babyhood, "real" smiles due to recognition didn't start for a few months. There was an easily-discernable difference between the coincidental mouth curls of the newborn and the genuine smiles of the two-month-old (and only the latter really tugged the heartstrings). The bit of the article I quoted is confusing two different phenomena.

am in the same boat with you von but in reverse. my significant other is pro-life and i'm a person who wishes people wouldn't choose abortion but won't agree to put women in jail for murder. and if it is indeed murder, they should go to jail for life or get the death sentence (i'm anti-capital punishment to boot) like every other murderer. one big mess but until we are ready to put our daughters/wives/mothers/sisters and friends in jail for the rest of their lives for this, this debate needs to be somehow reconsidered.

"Making abortion illegal only increases the number of illegal abortions."

I doubt this is completely true.

As a matter of pure logic, Katherine (though I'll admit I phrased it confusingly) if abortion is made illegal, clearly the number of illegal abortions will increase.

You're right to point out that the total number of abortions (which is what I think you meant to say) might increase, decrease, or stay the same. But that's not what I said.

I inferred it from "only". Sorry if I misunderstood.

well said, Iron Lungfish. I love babies and children as much as anyone - I have one and I loved being pregnant, following along with every moment of what was happening inside of me. But I have to be pro-choice for one central reason: it is too important a decision to be taken away from the woman on whom the embryo depends for life.

If a woman and her husband find out, for example, that their child will be critically ill or deformed, it is absolutely their lives that will be affected, and their choice, one way or another, is one they know they must live with forever. Not easy. Or if a woman has been raped, or her own health is at stake -- never easy to decide. I want to have the ability to decide my values and my morality for myself; I believe every woman has the same right. How can such a decision be imposed against one's will?

I am pro-choice and also I am religious enough to believe that the soul cannot be destroyed; that God gives us the power to make choices, and ultimately, God forgives us for those choices when they are made solemnly and with heartfelt consideration.

Not that I originally felt this way (product of my evangelical upbringing that I am), but my partner (who was raised in the Soviet Union) finds the way Americans project some kind of advanced personhood onto fetuses and zygotes to be more than a little perverse.

I have to say that I think he has a point.

I'm anti-abortion and pro-choice. The biggest tragedy, I think, is if the two groups worked together we could reduce the number of abortions in this country dramatically.

Why has the decision been identified as either abortion or life-long parenthood?

Wouldn't adoption work for those women whose life is not endangered by the pregnancy, but prefer not to raise the child herself?

Tacitus referred to pro-choice advocates as cold-blooded baby killers.

The principal reason I'm pro-choice is that I don't want to be a cold-blooded poor girl killer.

Because there can be NO DOUBT that illegalizing abortion will result in a measurable number of young women who die as a result of a botched illegal abortion.

So whose blood do you want on your hands? I've made my choice.

more to the point, why is it that the pro-life group are so damn reluctant to discuss the consequences of implementing their vision?

here's another opportunity to the pro-life camp: tell me what kind of country you want. yes it'd be nice if everyone who ever got pregnant was willing to give the kid up for adoption. while you're making wishes, I'd like a raise.

but given the current american landscape, what would you change? where would you stop?

putting my own view on the line, i don't have a big problem with the federal government preventing late-term abortions, so long as there is an exception for the health of the mother. (i think that law would be unconstitutional as beyond the scope of the fed govts constitutional powers, but that's a different post.) i'd even require the doctor to get a second opinion from a doctor specifically licensed by the state to consult on that issue. but i pretty much stop there. and i'd expect in return a willingness to fund effective sex ed and birth control subsidies.

so, sebastian, what kind of country do you want? do you see a state-by-state system, with pro-choice advocates smuggling poor young girls to California, and rich Texas women taking long weekends? what consequences are you willing to impose on poor women to satisfy your morality?

Francis

"so, sebastian, what kind of country do you want?"

I don't mind long posts, per se, and I don't mind, ah, the 'frank exchange of views', provided that actual and over-the-top personal insult is avoided. But I really do think that it's only polite to aim personal questions like this towards people actually participating in a particular thread.

Yeah. . what kind of country does Gary Farber want? That's what I want to know.

crionna asked: Wouldn't adoption work for those women whose life is not endangered by the pregnancy, but prefer not to raise the child herself?

If a woman prefers that choice, surely, yes. But forced adoption is just yet another evil.

I know a woman who gave up four of her children for adoption one after the other when she couldn't manage to take care of them. Three of them got back in touch with her in adulthood: one is still missing, lost to her. She regrets the choice she felt she had to make: she wishes she had received the kind of support that would have helped her look after her own children, rather than the kind of support (this was back thirty years ago) of "Why don't you just give up your child to these nice (richer than you) parents who will look after them so much better than you can?"

I realize that sometimes non-biological parents will be better for the child than the child's own parents. And that, most of the time, adoptive parents will be as good as biological parents. But parting a child from his or her biological family is something that, I feel, should be done only as a last resort - not just because it's the cheapest, easiest way out.

Jesurgislac, I'd appreciate it if you would not imply that I support forced adoption.

Crionna, I apologise for any implication that you support the evil of forced adoption. Of course you're pro-choice.

Jesurgislac, from what do you infer my position on abortion? Are you mind-reading or is this simply an un-tagged bit of sarcasm thrown my way?

I admit to being curious about this myself.

Tacitus referred to pro-choice advocates as cold-blooded baby killers.

I should really take this up with Tacitus (again), but wilfred has convinced me that until Tactius is ready to send his cousin or niece or daughter (or any woman he knows who might, in desperation, decide to abort a pregnancy) to the death chamber, he really needs to stop short of calling anyone a "cold-blooded baby killer" because that's the logical conclusion of that overwrought rhetoric.

Agreed, Ed. I intend to take it up with Tacitus myself at an appropriate time.

Jesurgislac, from what do you infer my position on abortion? Are you mind-reading or is this simply an un-tagged bit of sarcasm thrown my way?

Neither one. If you are against forced adoption, obviously, on adoption, you are pro-choice. As you made very clear, you are against forced adoption, and I completely agree with you. Pro-choice is plainly the only moral route to follow.

The curious thing, Edward, is that Tacitus said in that thread that if his wife had to have an abortion to save her life, he'd choose that she have the abortion. As far as I know no one asked him if that made him a cold-blooded baby killer.

"no one asked him if that made him a cold-blooded baby killer."

Check it and see.
Does he have a fever of a hundred and three?
Come on baby, does he do more than dance?

If you are against forced adoption, obviously, on adoption, you are pro-choice.

Ah, come off it Jes. If you stretch, you might be able to argue that a pro-lifer who did not recognize an exception for rape or incest was for "forced parenthood." Otherwise, you're a dance, a leap, and a tap-dance beyond a step too far.

Jesurgislac, let's just say that I hope and pray that Pro-choice is plainly the only moral route to follow., or has at least some redeeming quality in the eyes of my maker. I'm not at all sure, in fact I’m ever more doubtful, but I’ll keep my opinion out of it in terms of demanding laws against abortion. Still, I’m deathly afraid that being pro-life, but not standing up to demand laws against abortion, makes me an even worse sinner than the women who choose abortion, in that my sin helps the killing to continue. I don't expect to find out whether I’ve made the moral choice until St. Peter opens the gate...or slams it in my face.

Further, I can't agree that adoption is the cheapest, easiest way out. I believe that abortion holds that position. In fact, and here I admit I'm up for a big Carnak award myself, I agree with whoever commented thusly: I believe it is an easy way out of a difficult situation and as a culture we've come to feel we're entitled to easy ways out, to the extent that we're willing to rationalize terminating a pregnancy as avoiding being a parent when in fact you are already a parent. *

Finally, even though I disagree with, well, just about everything you have to say, I’m truly sorry that I read your comments with suspicion and defensiveness. Were I able to read your comments from the POV of the Civility post, I might see them as honestly trying to make people think hard about their positions rather than trying to put another gotchya notch in your mouse. However, given our recent exchange regarding Iraqi “resistance” I’m having a hard time doing so. In fact, given that exchange, I’m having an even harder time not labeling your quick and hearty “Good Job” on Civility as just…hypocrisy, I guess.

*Sorry I don’t recall who commented this. And, the bolding is mine and only to imitate the highlighting that the original commenter placed in italics.

Crionna, I will confess that my point that you're plainly pro-choice was a rhetorical trick, and the light of the On Civility post, I apologize for it.

I do feel as strongly as Von evidently feels that it's profoundly morally wrong to be anything but pro-choice, because whatever your personal feelings on abortion, it must be wrong to force another person to make a moral decision about their own lives in line with your morality, not their own. And this makes me edgy when I see people apparently advocating (as "pro-lifers" frequently seem to be advocating) that a woman ought to be forced to stay pregnant against her will. (There's a famous science-fiction story by Raccoona Sheldon, who also wrote as James Tiptree Jr, called "Morality Meat", about what that line of thinking leads to: and a novel by Margaret Attwood, The Handmaid's Tale, about the line of thinking that suggests women who get pregnant ought to have the baby and turn it over to someone else to raise. If you haven't read either or both, I do sincerely recommend them to your attention.)

I am not a religious person myself, but I do appreciate and feel for your conflict in terms of your religious beliefs.

At the same time, and I see no contradiction in this, I do think that abortion is a bad choice to have to make. I just see no good in denying women the legal right to make that choice. My version of being pro-life is to argue and vote and occasionally (not as often as I perhaps should) do activist stuff that will minimize the number of abortions: that is, not campaign to have the choice removed, either legally or by getting rid of clinics that will perform abortions, but by trying to create a society and a culture in which fewer abortions will take place. See my first comment on this thread, if you're interested in what that is.

I find when discussing things on Obsidian Wings that, weird as it may seem, it's best to react to people on each thread according to their responses on that thread. I've had set-tos with Moe and Slartibartfast in the past on political threads: yet I've enjoyed discussing films and science-fiction with them on less serious threads. (I do make an exception for one thing concerning Moe's declared opinion, but it's a pretty big thing that is coloring my opinion of him, and I try to keep it to political threads only.)

Further, I can't agree that adoption is the cheapest, easiest way out. I believe that abortion holds that position.

Yes. And No. (Conflicted?)

NO matter how sophisticated our technology, I believe there will always be with us the problem of unwanted pregnancies. Even setting aside the issue of rape or of medically-necessary terminations, and assuming that we live in a culture where no woman has to worry about caring for a handicapped child because there is an infinite amount of social support to draw on, including whatever financial support is necessary - even then, I think, some women are always going to accidentally get pregnant and discover that they really don't want to be. And we are very, very far from being in that culture.

In the 19th century, many such unwanted children who were illegitimate or whose parents couldn't afford to support them were warehoused in "orphanages": Jean Webster describes one such in Daddy Long Legs / Dear Enemy. (And to make the novels publishable as children's books, she glossed over or did not touch on some of the most horrible aspects of these institutions.)

In the 20th century, more and more, we have been tending towards having unwanted pregnancies terminated as early as possible if the woman wants it done, or else providing a minimal and grudging state support for a woman who wants to have the child and rear him/her even if she can't afford it: but with a long stretch of time during which it was considered officially best to have the child taken away from the mother ASAP and adopted, or quite often not adopted: but the result of that meant more children growing up in institutions from babyhood.

I think that the cheapest, easiest method for officially "pro-life" politicians is to fulminate against abortion while refusing to do anything to make it less likely that abortions will happen. (President Bush's family-unfriendly policies, for example, make him less pro-life than Clinton.... IMO.)

Fulminating against abortion, and offering adoption as a solution, is a cheap, easy way out. (I am thinking of a persistent troll called Charlie on Kevin Drum's blog, rather than you, Crionna: and various other public figures.) Actually working for policies that would minimize the number of abortions while still refusing to prevent women making their own moral decisions for themselves - that's neither cheap nor easy. Any genuinely pro-life politician who tried it would find themselves under attack from pro-lifers who vote with their wallet rather than conscience, because these policies won't be cheap. It's much easier to advocate criminalization and fulminate about "babykillers" (I'm not going to read Tacitus's post) than it is to risk being called a socialist.

"about their own lives"

Jes, you offer this as axiomatic, but it's the fundamental disagreement. Pregnant women choosing adoption are making decisions for two lives, not for one. Nobody disputes that a woman should be allowed to do with her own body what she wishes (except put recreational drugs in it, apparently), it's what she's doing to the other body that's the problem.

Jes, you offer this as axiomatic, but it's the fundamental disagreement.

I know.

But, self-evidently, anyone making a decision on abortion but the pregnant woman is making an enormous decision for that woman's life. Why should anyone but the woman get to make that kind of decision for her, contradicting her own life-decisions? That's why I'm pro-choice.

We've gone through the claims for fetal personhood at length on the thread Sebastian Holsclaw started, and I don't really want to go through it all again. If it's inevitable: take it that I'm aware that there are people who disagree with me, but that I don't and never will believe that a fetus can or should be considered a person, and cute fetal photos do not convince me otherwise, any more than cute cat photos convince me that cats are people too. (Speaking as a cat lover.)

The Netherlands, incidentally, thanks to excellent sex education policies AND a good single-payer health care system AND a number of other socialist policies too many to go into, has one of the lowest abortion rates in the world.

Without getting into yet another futile argument about fetal personhood, I would like to see a right-wing pro-lifer justify their antagonism to a system which has proven to be a successful way of reducing the number of abortions, and their support of a system (criminalization of abortion) which has proven to be an unsuccessful way of reducing the number of abortions. Consider it a challenge to Von and Sebastian and any other right-wing pro-lifer reading this...

"Why should anyone but the woman get to make that kind of decision for her, contradicting her own life-decisions? "

For the same reason we don't let women choose whether or not to kill their parents because they are unfairly treating them, thus limiting their career and economic prospects. And yes, I realize you don't consider the fetus a person and therefore won't find this comparison meaningful. But the people who disagree with you do, and therefore your arguments are equally unmeaningful (I won't say meaningless. . everyone understands what the words mean).

The two options that get argued about most are a) the woman wants to get an abortion but may not, or b) the woman wants to get an abortion and may. You and I both agree that the real answer is c) the woman does not want to get an abortion, and there are actions that both sides can take to help create that situation, which would be much more possible if they stopped pissing away all of their energy on screaming matches.

You and I both agree that the real answer is c) the woman does not want to get an abortion, and there are actions that both sides can take to help create that situation, which would be much more possible if they stopped pissing away all of their energy on screaming matches.

One of the things I love you for, sidereal, is your beautifully balanced sentences. However, it seems to me that the situation is unbalanced: "pro-lifers" at all levels are wasting their energy screaming at women who want abortions, from those who hang around outside public health clinics to those who put idiot bills through Congress. There is no similar degree of energy-wasting going on on the pro-choice side of the argument, except where legal defense is needed against the "pro-lifers".

I'm probably not going to convince anyone who's not already convinced, but hey, I wrote this and I'm not going to waste it:

Trying to convince me that the fetus is a person and that a woman choosing to terminate her pregnancy is a cold-blooded babykiller who deserves the death penalty isn't going to walk: it's a lost cause: don't even try to convince me. All you'll convince me is that you are a raving nutter.

And I'm already convinced that it's a bad idea that women should feel they have to have an abortion because they can't deal with having a baby because they can't afford to devote the next 18 years of their lives to bringing up a child. (Neither will I ever be convinced that forced adoption or routine institutionalization is the solution.)

But if any pro-lifer wanted to get behind a campaign to make certain that no girl or woman ever got pregnant out of ignorance or inability to get/use contraception (good sex education, free contraception to students/low income) no girl or woman ever had an abortion because it was that or drop out of school (free daycare for students): no woman ever had an abortion because she didn't have health insurance and an abortion was far cheaper than pregnancy care (national health insurance): no woman ever had an abortion because she couldn't combine having a baby with holding down a job (free daycare, good public nursery schools, family-friendly employment rights guaranteed by federal law)... well, I'm just saying: if pro-lifers were really in favor of "saving babies", they could try campaigning for real pro-life policies, not just take the easy way out by condemning women who have abortions without ever trying to change the reasons why they do. And given that there were women having abortions illegally (many of them) in the years before abortion became legal, it's obvious that the reason why women have abortions is not "it's legal" but "it's necessary".

What to do about women who are pregnant accidentally, who could afford to spend the next 18 years of their life bringing up a child, but who just don't want to?

Sorry. At that point, again, we fall out of touch. I am not prepared to condone forced pregnancy or forced child-rearing or forced adoption: I'm unalterably pro-choice on all three. But I've outlined the area in which I believe pro-lifers could expend useful energy and get pro-choicers working with them, because it would mean adding to the useful choices a pregnant woman has, not taking them away.

Permit me to be cynical: the right-wing pro-lifers I've met would never vote, campaign, or work for such a set of socialist/feminist goals. I'm prepared to believe that there are right-wing pro-lifers out there who really do put their vaunted pro-life principles above their hatred for anything that looks like socialism or that fosters independence and equality for women, but thus far, I've never encountered any.

"Consider it a challenge to Von and Sebastian and any other right-wing pro-lifer reading this..."

Ah, trying to cut me off at the pass I see :). Except I'm pretty right-wing when it comes to state control of welfare services.

The comments are going long, so I've migrated to South of Real. Not blogwhoring, I swear. Just trying to save poor Moe some bandwidth.

sidereal, as far as I'm concerned regulars are not only permitted to blognegotiatedaffection: they are encouraged to do so. :)

Fair enough Jes. Allow me to raise a Friday glass to hatchets buried in the ground rather than in each other.

However, permit me to be cynical. I have yet to meet a proponent of socialist programs that is interviewing for jobs that pay more but offer less in the way of personal satisfaction in order to help pay for the programs they support.

I have yet to meet a proponent of socialist programs that is interviewing for jobs that pay more but offer less in the way of personal satisfaction in order to help pay for the programs they support.

Well, I'm not about to fax you my payslips to prove it, but ... *grin*

*raises glass*

Slainte!

Hello

For all Pro-lifers(support) and pro-choice... I hope i be heard. I am a woman 31 of age whois main occupation is writing poetry however studying now... Am from Sweden..
got to say this.

Well. I have known for awhile that world's natural forest are down to 10% and have known some animal spices get distinct every singel day...pure water we have less then 2%..What's that got to do with babies....is - life is somethnig that we can NOT be decided when start and when to end. rather - we look for beauty..and seeing a child not even born delight our hearts. To be a femisnist as to be non comformist , conformist - has nothing to do with not keeping a child. it's quite cowardice to escape the responsibility of raising a child while you learn you have it. and I believe life shuld be sanctified. it's not as independant woman don;t need to have kids. she - if refuse havnig kids should just use PP(pills against getging pragnant). and i think the world need to protect those helpless fetuses by force! or would you ever like to see all this corrupted rivers and all the pollution...that is OUR deed that is made out lack of responsibility this is the result of our OWN free will. the same thing as with aborting babies. lack of responsibility and evilness. of course - the next generation of teenages watch all this...personaly I think the ability to abort was wrong one when it came out in the 70's.
I feel we should embrace all this little ones keep them safe as Jesus would have want us to do..this is the basic NEED of life. isnt it? keep the next generation safe?

Yours sincerley

Clarice

Hello

For all Pro-lifers(support) and pro-choice... I hope i be heard. I am a woman 31 of age whois main occupation is writing poetry however studying now... Am from Sweden..
got to say this.

Well. I have known for awhile that world's natural forest are down to 10% and have known some animal spices get distinct every singel day...pure water we have less then 2%..What's that got to do with babies....is - life is somethnig that we can NOT be decided when start and when to end. rather - we look for beauty..and seeing a child not even born delight our hearts. To be a femisnist as to be non comformist , conformist - has nothing to do with not keeping a child. it's quite cowardice to escape the responsibility of raising a child while you learn you have it. and I believe life shuld be sanctified. it's not as independant woman don;t need to have kids. she - if refuse havnig kids should just use PP(pills against getging pragnant). and i think the world need to protect those helpless fetuses by force! or would you ever like to see all this corrupted rivers and all the pollution...that is OUR deed that is made out lack of responsibility this is the result of our OWN free will. the same thing as with aborting babies. lack of responsibility and evilness. of course - the next generation of teenages watch all this...personaly I think the ability to abort was wrong one when it came out in the 70's.
I feel we should embrace all this little ones keep them safe as Jesus would have want us to do..this is the basic NEED of life. isnt it? keep the next generation safe?

Yours sincerley

Clarice

I am a Catholic who is personally against abortion but doesn't believe that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. The question of the legality or illegality of abortion (i.e. is it the same as murder?) depends on one's religious belief. Does life begin at conception or at birth? Since the answer is based on religious opinion and I am a firm believer in the separation between church and state, abortion should remain legal.

That being said, the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church for condemning Catholic pro-choice politicians (i.e. John Kerry), despite the institution's own grievous failure in protecting children from pedophilia is infuriating. What I find more offensive are reports alleging that the staunchly pro-life President Bush paid for an illegal abortion in 1970 of a 15 year-old girlfriend he impregnated. What this election should be about is each man's actions and not the rhetoric that comes out of his mouth.

Julie, That being said, the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church for condemning Catholic pro-choice politicians (i.e. John Kerry),

It's both worse and better than that. The Catholic Church has not condemned John Kerry: what has happened is that a few prominent right-wing Catholic bishops have taken it upon themselves to condemn John Kerry for refusing to agree that abortion should be made illegal again. That this is political, rather than religious, is clear: these bishops have not condemned right-wing Catholic politicians who are more openly pro-choice than Kerry.

It is indeed, as you say, a matter of the separation of Church and State: some Republicans are using Kerry's faith quite cynically to attack him.

The reason pro lifers oppose abortion is not to save babies, but to put women back in their place. Many pro life organizations are also opposed to contraception and sex education, please do not take my word for
it check it out: http://www.legis.state.wi.us/assembly/asm76/news/Press%20Articles%20and%20Speeches/Articles/2005/The%20Capital%20Times1.htm

http://www.prevention.com/article/0,5778,s1-1-93-35-4130-1,00.html

http://www.christiananswers.net/life/home.html

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