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April 09, 2006

Comments

You're right that I'm eliding some differences in what we see as appropriate enforcement of such laws. Those differences, however, are based more about desagreement about the facts of who has late term abortions and why than about valuing the ability of third-trimester non-medically indicated abortions.

I shouldn't speak for Jes (although I did in my last comment -- sorry if I got you wrong!), but my own position will do, because I think we're pretty close. I think aggressive, punitive enforcement of a ban on elective third-trimester abortion is unnecessary and likely to do more harm than good.

I think it's unneccessary, because it appears wildly unlikely to me that there's anyone out there seeking an elective third-trimester abortion. For all the reasons everyone has gone over at great length -- it's major surgery, by the time you've reached the third trimester, you've already been pregnant for a very long time, most people share the same sense that such an abortion is at least morally troubling -- it appears highly unlikely to me that anyone would want an elective, rather than medically indicated, abortion in the third trimester.

Of course, it's a big world with a lot of strange, strange people in it, so let me say that it is possible, at least, that there are at least some women seeking elective third-trimester abortions. For such an abortion to take place in a state where a ban exists now, the woman in question would have to find a doctor willing to ignore the law, which most people don't do even in the absence of draconian penalties. The necessary combination of very, very peculiar woman and scofflaw doctor convinces me that this is something that is vastly unlikely to happen.

The statistics gathered by the AGI, showing 600 or fewer abortions performed in the third trimester nationwide, a number which is consonant with what you'd expect if such abortions were only done for good medical reasons, further reassure me that preventing elective third-trimester abortion is not a significant problem. I recognize that you are unhappy with the source and quality of these statistics, and I support any political efforts you might want to make to collect better ones.

Punitive enforcement of laws against elective third-trimester abortion, on the other hand, seems to me likely to create a great deal of hardship and suffering among women who need third-trimester abortions for medical reasons. Such services are hard to find now, and frightening doctors with the risk of legal liability for error or poor record keeping seems likely to me to reduce their availability. So you and I do probably disagree about the best way to enforce a ban on elective third-trimester abortion.

Nonetheless, that's a pretty fine-grained disagreement. If we agree on what behavior should be prohibited by law, and disagee only about the most socially beneficial way of enforcing that law, we are basically in agreement.

I crossed with your last comment. I would like to point out that this:

If NARAL in Kansas finally wants to release redacted data as a tactical move because they were worried that they might lose a case and be forced to release even more data, great.

isn't the attitude of the Kansas Attorney General, who rejected the clinic's offer in that case. He was going after personally identifying information, which is quite a different thing from statistics on indications for abortion.

My point remains that NARAL has successfully resisted providing the not-personally-identifying information on any useful basis for decades. It has done so by first resisting attempts to collect abortion information at all--California. The next tactic is to restrict the abortion information collected on the contentious points--restrict it to number of abortions. This is pretty much the state of information all over the country. The next tactic is when forced to suggest that the abortion is medically neccessary to merely state it as a conclusion without medically useful documentation which would tend to prove or disprove the conclusion. That is why even in the states where theoretically you can't abort a viable fetus, nothing stops you from doing so. In none of these three situations are we collecting information that would let pro-choice advocates say (though they regularly do) that same-as-infanticide abortions are not being performed.

"The statistics gathered by the AGI, showing 600 or fewer abortions performed in the third trimester nationwide, a number which is consonant with what you'd expect if such abortions were only done for good medical reasons, further reassure me that preventing elective third-trimester abortion is not a significant problem."

So if only 1% of them are questionable, (a percentage you would find laughable in a prison guard situation if I an advocacy group insisted on avoiding scrutiny for 40 years--and in those cases there are living witnesses who are not implicated in the crime) that is 6 possible infanticides that you think aren't worth investigating? Of the 100 or so people executed each year would a 1% error rate make it worth avoiding investigation? Clearly it hasn't in fact. Would you be ok with a form by prosecutors which said "Execution Procedures Valid" and leave it at that? Would that count as adequate oversight for intentionally killing someone?

To me, the restrictions on first trimester abortion make further restrictions on later abortions less, not more, morally defensible.

A very valid point, and often overlooked in the debate.

Sebastian: our system seems more or less what you would be happy with. But it works in a system where unplanned/unwanted pregnancies are a lot more rare than in the US - so one should work on that area. Also: first trimester abortions are legal, free and accessible.

As a country we are rather strict with third trimester abortions. At the same time we do not prosecute 'mercy killings': active euthanasia for babies that will die soon and are suffering enourmously. We think we are consistent though...

Another point that plays a role: if you do have a handicapped child, the medical care will be a burden but not bankrupt you. Operations for neural tube defects are free for instance. Having a handicapped child in a society where health costs are one of the mayor causes for personal bankrupties might increase the need/tendency towards abortion.

It's possible I'm balancing the societal costs wrongly. When I look at it, though, the costs in danger and distress to women in need of medically necessary third-trimester abortions, combined with the fact that I don't have any strong belief either (a) that there are any elective third-trimester abortions being sought or that (b) a punitive approach to law enforcement would be successful at identifying such elective abortions, leads me to think that such a punitive approach is ill-advised.

socratic_me: The way you reduce everything down to the choice of a woman without any consideration to any other factors really bothers me.

Do you feel such contempt for women that it bothers you to have to acknowledge that a pregnant woman takes all relevant factors into consideration when she makes a decision about whether to terminate or continue her pregnancy? Or is it something else about women making independent decisions that bothers you? Either way, it seems a little absurd to me that it bothers you to think that women make choices: even when legislation makes abortion illegal, women make choices. You cannot stop pregnant women from thinking and making decisions by sitting there saying it bothers you that they do.

Once more into the breach (yikes, bad pun) on late term abortions as infanticide:

1. It's going to be a crime very difficult to prove. Unless the nurse confesses, the mother and the MD are going to claim the fetus was dead already / the mother was in grave danger.

2. As a society, we want to encourage women who are about to or have just delivered unwanted babies to give them up. So, we have confidential dropoffs at fire stations and hospitals. Making late term abortions a crime is more likely, not less, to drive women with unwanted babies into delivering in secret and sticking the newborn in the dumpster.

3. Take a look at the press coverage of women who kill their living children. Inevitably, a woman accused of killing her fetus will be seen as mentally ill, not worth prosecuting. After all, what sane woman is going to carry around a fetus for 8 months or so, then decide to get an abortion because she can't go one more month?

4. To the extent people think about the issue at all, I'll bet that the majority would believe that the act of carrying the fetus to late term then going through the process of a late term abortion is punishment enough.

5. Changing the legal status quo requires building coalitions and demonstrating to legislators, especially in a hot-button area like abortion, that the issue is worth political capital.

The pro-choice community sees no need for reporting laws on abortion. Given what's going on in Kansas, the pro-choice community is likely to resist any attempt to have the State monitor late-term abortions, on the grounds that the information (a) isn't useful or relevant and (b) is likely to be misused.

So, yes, in theory, we liberals should care about the poor murdered late-term fetus because our doctrine is about providing assistance to the under-privileged. But that theory has run straight into the practice of the Kansas AG.

When the pro-life community is willing to start serious negotiations about creating conditions to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, I'll be willing to agree to laws that prevent late-term abortions that are the equivalent of infanticide.

The system we have currently ain't great but it's acceptable (this may be changing). If you want pro-choice support to change it, you're going to need to make the first move.

When the pro-life community is willing to start serious negotiations about creating conditions to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, I'll be willing to agree to laws that prevent late-term abortions that are the equivalent of infanticide.
Sounds like a great plan to me.

Wait, no, scratch that. It sounds like a terrible plan. I support creating conditions to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies regardless of what third-trimester laws others are willing to support. Reducing unwanted pregnancies through better access to and education about contraception is a moral good, not just a negotiating tactic.

Yeah. The thing is, with someone who only wants to stop elective third-trimester abortion, there's no need to do much negotiating -- their position is not particularly far from most pro-choice activists.

The problem is negotiating with people who want to ban all abortions. At that point, there's not all that much to talk about.

"Making late term abortions a crime is more likely, not less, to drive women with unwanted babies into delivering in secret and sticking the newborn in the dumpster."

Considering that the choices you offer me are in-the-womb infanticide and out-of-the-womb infanticide I hope you don't mind that I'll choose none of the above.

"If you want pro-choice support to change it, you're going to need to make the first move."

If you insist on the politics playing that way that is your choice--and it certainly is consonant with the hard core pro-choice community. The problem is that you force me to choose my allies among those who want to limit abortion much more than you do. Since the choice is apparently no allies or the pro-life allies I will choose the pro-life allies. I don't believe they will ever get what they want with respect to very early abortions so I don't see much of a risk in doing that. If you don't want to take that kind of risk it might be better to address the infanticide concerns.

"The problem is negotiating with people who want to ban all abortions. At that point, there's not all that much to talk about."

Why is that the problem? You claim that a huge majority of people are pro-choice and that a huge majority of them wouldn't have a problem with addressing my concerns. If that were true you don't need to negotiate with the pro-life people at all.

The serious answer to that is that there are huge issues of affiliation around abortion rights, which ends up with a lot of people strongly attached to a side of the controversy that doesn't necessarily well represent their desired policy outcomes.

The median voter is (as far as I know, I'm guessing here, but I don't think I'm too far off) someone who roughly agrees with Jeff, favoring a legal regime where elective abortion is legal through the first two trimesters, but has strong moral or emotion concerns about abortion even in that timeframe.

This is a policy position that pro-choice people are very happy with: pretty much it's the Roe regime. Unfortunately, people who hold this position often seem to identify more strongly with the pro-life rather than the pro-choice side of the controversy. As far as I understand this, it's because they do have moral qualms about abortion, and they see an absolutist pro-life position, even if they disagree with it in terms of desired legal outcomes, as meaningfully addressing those qualms.

I don't know what do about this other than pointing out the degree of policy agreement pro-choicers have with this sort of 'pro-life affiliated but not in favor of a total abortion ban' voter whenever I can. We've got a lot in common, particularly favoring easy access to good sex ed and contraception, to avoid unwanted pregnancies insofar as it's possible.

SH wrote: I hope you don't mind that I'll choose none of the above.

not an available option. once again, isn't it conservatives who are the hard-nosed realists who understand the law of unintended consequences?

If women believe they could go to prison for a late term abortion [prosecutors are known to make mistakes], some percentage will choose the delivery-alone-and-dumpster route.

this is, SH, your own argument turned back on you. you argue that with so many late term abortions in this country, some must be murder. A realist would argue that some percentage of the murderers will choose a different route to achieve their goals, once a safe abortion is denied to them.

LizardBreath, I'd say that's roughly my reading of the situation too. Although I'd say that I'm more comfortable with 'legal first trimester' than 'legal first and second trimester,' the numbers in the second trimester are about as small as the third, and it's one of those points of negotiating in regards to the desired-legal-outcome-versus-moral-qualms realm.

That was a little convoluted, thanks for the clarifying points. Honestly, I think the biggest thing that could happen (if I'm dreaming) is the emergence of a 'different kind of pro-life movement' that marglinalizes the absolutist 'Our Nation Must Embrace A Total Judeo-Christian Perspective On Sexual Mores, Period, End Of Story' branch of the movement. It's that branch (dominated, if we're to by honest, by those who group contraception and abortion in the SAME category) that makes the discussion even more difficult. Think of the emergence of so-called 'sex-positive feminism' for an idea of the sort of transformation I dream of.

I'm not really talking policy at this point, just sighing to myself and thinking about long-term goals.

"A realist would argue that some percentage of the murderers will choose a different route to achieve their goals, once a safe abortion is denied to them."

And?

You ask me to choose between not prosecuted infanticide and prosecuted infanticide. Please explain again why I should choose the unprosecuted infanticide because I'm not seeing your argument.

I suspect you didn't remove as much from your mind as you thought.

That's entirely possible, except that a) I arrived at the conclusions through different reasoning, and b) I was absolutely flabbergasted by the similarity (as opposed to the usual spark of "Oh yeah, *that's* where I came up with that!"). YMMV.

Accepting first premises - that a fetus is a human being, with all the rights of a human being - it occurs to me to try a thought experiment, in which I posit that a fetus should also have all the responsibilities of a human being, too.

If I'm in my house, minding my own business, and someone enters my house uninvited, I have the right to tell them to leave.

If the intruder doesn't leave, and instead makes itself at home in my house, to the point of destroying its structure and taking my belongings, I have the right to call the police and have the intruder removed, by force if necessary.

In extreme situations, I have the right to defend myself by killing the intruder. I don't even have to tolerate "merely" being assaulted in order to justify killing the intruder. All I need, legally and morally, is the conviction that the intruder intends to do me bodily harm.

An unwanted fetus is an intruder, one that threatens its host body's health, life and well-being. An unwanted fetus that was created in the act of rape or incest is an accessory to a violent crime, one that might also have involved death threats.

If abortion is homocide, then in what way is it not justifiable homocide?

"one that threatens its host body's health, life and well-being."

"Threatens" here is a sign of argumentative weakness, but then with "intends" you indicate frivolity so whatever.

Also note that killing a non-violent intruder on one's property is murder.

Also note that killing a non-violent intruder on one's property is murder.

Are you stating that from a moral perspective, or a legal one? If it's a legal one, I'd really like to know on what basis you make it.

IANAL, but my understanding is that the use of deadly force against a non-violent intruder is legally considered murder (though of course in many or most places hard to prosecute). Putting landmines in one's rosebushes is not lawful.

Consider the case of the I think Japanese tourist who was trick-or-treating, picked the wrong doorstep, was ordered off, and shot to death when he didn't respond. The homeowner was iirc tried for murder (or homicide or what have you) but got off.

To continue the stupid analogy above, if I come home to find someone collapsed comatose in my garden, and I order her to leave, and she doesn't get up and go or even respond - if I then hack her to pieces with a chainsaw, I think I'm morally liable for murder.

If I'm in my house, minding my own business, and someone enters my house uninvited, I have the right to tell them to leave.

If the intruder doesn't leave, and instead makes itself at home in my house, to the point of destroying its structure and taking my belongings, I have the right to call the police and have the intruder removed, by force if necessary.

Now try that with your own toddler...

Consider the case of the I think Japanese tourist who was trick-or-treating, picked the wrong doorstep, was ordered off, and shot to death when he didn't respond. The homeowner was iirc tried for murder (or homicide or what have you) but got off.

That was Yoshihiro Hattori, who was an exchange student rather than a tourist. The shooter, Rodney Peairs, was tried and acquitted of manslaughter, though the parents won a civil suit.

dangerous analogy.

crim law 1: when threatened you must first retreat before using self defense. but, homeowners have no obligation to retreat IN THE FACE OF A THREAT. the shooting the trick or treater cases turn on the homeowner's view that he was being threatened.

real estate 1: generally, you do NOT have the right of self-help to evict a squatter. Only the police can do so.

so: when fetus=threat, then self-defense applies. but when fetus not a threat, gotta get an eviction warrant.

I went and looked up the Maryland statute, and reprint it here just for reference:

§ 20-209. Intervention; regulations; liability.

(a) Definition.- In this section, "viable" means that stage when, in the best medical judgment of the attending physician based on the particular facts of the case before the physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus's sustained survival outside the womb.

(b) State intervention.- Except as otherwise provided in this subtitle, the State may not interfere with the decision of a woman to terminate a pregnancy:

(1) Before the fetus is viable; or

(2) At any time during the woman's pregnancy, if:

(i) The termination procedure is necessary to protect the life or health of the woman; or

(ii) The fetus is affected by genetic defect or serious deformity or abnormality.

(c) Regulations.- The Department may adopt regulations that:

(1) Are both necessary and the least intrusive method to protect the life or health of the woman; and

(2) Are not inconsistent with established medical practice.

(d) Liability.- The physician is not liable for civil damages or subject to a criminal penalty for a decision to perform an abortion under this section made in good faith and in the physician's best medical judgment in accordance with accepted standards of medical practice.




And for comparison, here's the Colorado statute, much of which has currently been deemed unconstitutional, but remains on the books should the Supreme Court overrule Casey and/or Danforth.

18-6-102. Criminal abortion.

(1) Any person who intentionally ends or causes to be ended the pregnancy of a woman by any means other than justified medical termination or birth commits criminal abortion.

(2) Criminal abortion is a class 4 felony, but if the woman dies as a result of the criminal abortion, it is a class 2 felony.

18-6-101. Definitions.

As used in sections 18-6-101 to 18-6-104, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Justified medical termination" means the intentional ending of the pregnancy of a woman at the request of said woman or, if said woman is under the age of eighteen years, then at the request of the woman and her then living parent or guardian, or, if the woman is married and living with her husband, at the request of said woman and her husband, by a licensed physician using accepted medical procedures in a licensed hospital upon written certification by all of the members of a special hospital board that:

(a) Continuation of the pregnancy, in their opinion, is likely to result in: The death of the woman; or the serious permanent impairment of the physical health of the woman; or the serious permanent impairment of the mental health of the woman as confirmed in writing under the signature of a licensed doctor of medicine specializing in psychiatry; or the birth of a child with grave and permanent physical deformity or mental retardation; or

(b) Less than sixteen weeks of gestation have passed and that the pregnancy resulted from conduct defined as criminal in sections 18-3-402 and 18-3-403, or if the female person is unmarried and has not reached her sixteenth birthday at the time of such conduct regardless of the age of the male, or incest, as defined in sections 18-6-301 and 18-6-302, and that the district attorney of the judicial district in which the alleged sexual assault or incest has occurred has informed the committee in writing over his signature that there is probable cause to believe that the alleged violation did occur.

(2) "Licensed hospital" means one licensed or certificated by the department of public health and environment.

(3) "Pregnancy" means the implantation of an embryo in the uterus.

(4) "Special hospital board" means a committee of three licensed physicians who are members of the staff of the hospital where the proposed termination would be performed if certified in accordance with subsection (1) of this section, and who meet regularly or on call for the purpose of determining the question of medical justification in each individual case, and which maintains a written record, signed by each member, of the proceedings and deliberations of the board.

It may have been addressed in the lower depths of this rather long thread, but I want to comment on the relation of spatial contiguity and thinghood. Apologies if I'm beating a dead horse.

Spatial contiguity is neither necessary nor sufficient for something to count as a thing. A paradigm case of a noncontiguous thing, it seems to me, is a bikini.

Spatial contiguity seems to be an important factor in our carving out objects from the visual field, that is, in our distinguishing things from nonthings. But it's not a hard-and-fast principle.

Shoot. I should have said: It's not a hard and fast principle for even that purpose, much less for constructing an ontology. How widely accepted is the notion that a set is a thing?

Jeff Eaton: Jes, I have to say that I think this statement:

The "other side" is the anti-choicers, Charley. They are not "pro life": they want women to die rather than have the option of safe legal abortion.

...is insulting and untrue

Unfortunately, not untrue.

Don't forget--an abortion kills a baby. A human baby. If abortion supporters can justify that, then that is sad indeed.

Don't forget to ignore the entire conversation that is this thread, and every single message in it, because your thought is entirely original, and no one has ever considered it.

Now that they've read your observation -- doing you the courtesy you have not extended by first reading the comments others have made, rest assured that they will slap themselves upside the head, because your contribution is something no one has ever considered before. It is a stunning revelation. What could anyone have been thinking?

Thank you, so, so, so very much.

The risks of pregnancy bear repeating.

Gary: I'm afraid the proper argument is the converse. It is not that the discussion in the thread has been ignored; it is the thread discussion that, in fact, ignores the obvious. An abortion kills a baby. No tortured rationalization of lifestyle choices can change that fact.

rilkefan: Nor can the certainty of abortion be ignored. A baby dies.

An abortion kills a baby. No tortured rationalization of lifestyle choices can change that fact.

Except for the fact that it's false. Embryo != fetus != baby, which is pretty much the entire point of this debate in the first place.

Anarch: It is truly a shame that you defend the tortured rationalization with the most blatant rationalization of all. You may try to sweep it under the rug by playing a linguistic shell game, but it is a baby. And, at present, you have a right, under most circumstances, to kill that baby.

but it is a baby

Well, only in the sense that it is also a 5-year-old and a teenager and an adult -- i.e. it will potentially become all of those, but it's not there yet. The term "baby" properly refers to a particular stage of life; you can argue about at what point a fetus qualifies as a "baby", but there's no way an embryo does.

Feel free to argue that human embryos are as deserving of life as human babies if you like, but don't misuse the language in order to make an emotional appeal.

Kenb: Correct. And the unborn deserve their place in your 5-year-old to adult spectrum. My argument is not emotional--it is a fact that an abortion takes a life. If you are OK with that, I am saddened.

it is a fact that an abortion takes a life.

Absolutely. So does having ham for Easter dinner. So does pulling weeds from the garden. What is it about some kinds of life that we give them special protection? At this point I'd recommend that you actually read hilzoy's post.

kenB: I find your response confusing. You're not suggesting an equivalence between human life and that of weeds and livestock, are you?

You're not suggesting an equivalence between human life and that of weeds and livestock, are you?

'An equivalence'? Absolutely. Complete equivalence? Well, that would be silly.

Had Enough?: "(Superficial) similarity"? Yes. "Equivalence"? No.

You may try to sweep it under the rug by playing a linguistic shell game, but it is a baby.

No, it isn't. It has nothing to do with a "linguistic shell game" and everything to do with using words in accordance to their actual meaning. An embryo is not a fetus is not a baby is not a toddler is not a teenager is not an adult is not a corpse. The lines there aren't clear-cut, of course, but to call one the other -- to refer to a toddler as an adult, or a fetus as a teenager -- is to commit a linguistic sin; and when the purpose of the debate is to clarify instead of obscure, an ontological (and possibly ethical) sin as well.

That said, since you're clearly uninterested in actual debate, I'm done here. Should you wish to address the original post, or indeed to substantively address any of the points raised subsequently, I'm all ears; until then, enjoy the silence.

buck, perhaps you can give us a rational, coherent explanation of why we should work so hard to protect unfeeling clumps of cells as long as they have a certain pattern of DNA, and yet accept and encourage the slaughter of fully sentient creatures unlucky enough to be non-human? Then perhaps we can move the discussion forward. So far, you've relied pretty heavily on assertion, which really doesn't get us anywhere.

kenb: In an earlier post, you refer to yourself as an "ethical vegetarian". What does that mean? If I declared myself a "fetal carnivore" and consumed only unborn (read: aborted) chimps and dolphins, would you be offended? And if so, why do you so cavalierly dismiss the abortion of human LIFE?

anarch: The linguistic shell game is the use of the word "fetus" to sanitize the killing of a human life. That said, I'll somehow muddle through life without your response.

So, buck, what is your opinion of IVF, where multiple eggs are fertilized in order to maximize the chances? And if you personally feel it abhorrent (you might even know people who have had the procedure and therefore have benefitted from taking a 'life'), what do you think is the likelihood of stopping the procedure, given societal trends? Also, what is your position on capital punishment?

Maybe it would be good to wait to engage until buck reads the post and responds to it...

To all: Buck has read the post. It seems clear that the posters on this board prefer to live in a sanitized microcosm in which human life is no more inherently valuable than that of crabgrass and gophers.

IVF, capital punishment, etc. are red herring arguments intended to divert attention from the numbers. Abortion has killed literally orders of magnitude more people than all the others combined. On top of it all, abortion is racist, in that the African American community is the procedure's most frequent victim.

Rilke: Maybe it would be good to wait to engage until buck reads the post and responds to it...

To do that, buck would have to admit that women are more than incubators, and it would appear that to buck women are not only just incubators, we're invisible incubators. I don't see any way to engage with buck: he's a classic anti-choicer. For him, I don't really exist.

Jes, my guess is that buck is less a classic anti-choicer (whatever that is) than a troll. You're getting poked in the eye, therefore you exist.

Apologies in advance to buck if he or she actually engages the community here, which after all includes people who believe full human life starts at conception and try to work out consistent ethical frameworks based on that, and others (i.e., almost everybody else) who respect that approach while disagreeing with its axiom to varying degrees.

If I declared myself a "fetal carnivore" and consumed only unborn (read: aborted) chimps and dolphins, would you be offended?

No, I'd wonder how you got consent from the chimps and dolphins to perform abortions on them. You do realize that people who are pro-choice are against forced abortion, don't you?

Rilkefan: Jes, my guess is that buck is less a classic anti-choicer (whatever that is) than a troll. You're getting poked in the eye, therefore you exist.

I suppose on a meta level it matters whether Buck really holds the anti-choice opinions it expresses, or if it is merely pretending to do so, but either way, it's pretty clear Buck is here to troll Obsidian Wings, yes.

Seems pretty sincere to me (so probably not a "classic" troll), just more interested in preaching than debate.

BTW, anyone know what a "sanitized microcosm" is? I'm trying to figure out if I should enjoy living in one or start thinking about moving.

kenB: I think one was depicted in The Andromeda Strain. Didn't look too comfy to me. I seem to recall some treatment that involved incinerating the outer layer of skin, to destroy any bacteria that might be living there.

All: I appreciate the spirited discussion. I am not a troll; I am a member of that majority of Americans who believe that
1. Human life carries more value than that of other animals, and
2. Each abortion claims one of those lives.

You can talk about choice, but that choice involves the taking of a life that is not yours. Your rationalization that having your choice is more important than the unborn life thereby taken is truly disturbing--you place convenience and lifestyle above the life of another.

You can have choice: choose adoption after birth.

kenB: Seems pretty sincere to me (so probably not a "classic" troll), just more interested in preaching than debate.

I think you're right. And from my Quaker heritage, one thing I still carry with me: I cannot bear preachers who are unwilling to listen. ;-)

buck: Can you give a definition of human life that:
1. Includes all post-conception entities with human DNA except:
a. molar pregnancies
b. the fetal component placental tissue
2. Excludes brain dead people (or gives an alternate definition of death)
3. Does not count twins as 1/2 a person apiece or insist that one twin is not a person
4. Excludes cancer cells, including teratomas
5. Is not based on simple prejudice?

I've yet to see a pro-lifer who could do this, yet if any of them could, I would find that a highly convincing argument for their side.

Diane: Your post provides an elucidation of a concept that has eluded other readers: the "sanitized microcosm (SM)". In the SM, the purpose of logic is to derive the convenient, and all herrings are red. I believe that you are posting from the SM.

A fetus growing within a woman is human. Her obligation to nurture it is a greater duty than society's obligation to provide her a choice to kill it.

"Her obligation to nurture it is a greater duty..."

hmmm.

"greater duty?"... according to whom?

xanax: Is it not a supreme duty to protect innocent human life?

Evidently not. How many spontaneous abortions were induced in Baghdad by George Bush's shock and awe? It's mighty hard for me to believe that number was zero.

buck: that depends on your definition of human life. Human cancer cells are genetically human, and they are alive, but it is not a duty, supreme or otherwise, to protect them. If you say they're not "innocent" (despite their not having the mental wherewithal to incur guilt), then substitute some other living human cell.

This is not a trick question. The answer to your non-trick question depends on it. So answer Dianne's last question, and I'll let you know whether I think that protecting human life is a supreme duty..

buck: "supreme duty?"

Honestly unclear on the concept.
But off the top of my head?
Either "no" or no such animal.

xanax: "Her obligation to nurture it is a greater duty..."

hmmm.

"greater duty?"... according to whom?

A "greater duty" than protecting innocent human life, plainly, since Buck is arguing on the side of those who want women to die.

(Dianne, while I doubt Buck will answer your question as put, there needs to be a 6th point to make anti-choicers entirely consistent: their definition of human life to be protected explicitly excludes all pregnant women.)

"No, I'd wonder how you got consent from the chimps and dolphins to perform abortions on them. You do realize that people who are pro-choice are against forced abortion, don't you?"

Diane, my question to you is:
Do you honestly believe that it is a greater wrong to abort a fetal chimp without the mother chimp's consent than it is to abort a fetal human with the mother's consent? If your answer is "yes", then the value you place on human life is much less than that which the majority of Americans, no, the majority of people, place on that life. As I believe that your answer will in fact be "yes", it renders your question to me irrelevant. You can't see the forest for the obfuscating trees.

"buck: "supreme duty?"

Honestly unclear on the concept. "

xanax: Are you equally unclear about the concept of choice? It's the obverse of the same coin.

"A "greater duty" than protecting innocent human life, plainly, since Buck is arguing on the side of those who want women to die."

Jesurgislac: Live Journal is not a credible source. But, to be precise, I argue on the side of babies who deserve a chance to live. It is disingenous to equate that position with one that champions the death of women. Come on, what is the maternal death rate associated with childbirth? Less than that associated with driving on the Interstate, I'm sure...

buck: "Are you equally unclear about the concept of choice? It's the obverse of the same coin."

Choice? The obverse of the "supreme duty" coin?

Nonsense.

As I believe that your answer will in fact be "yes", it renders your question to me irrelevant.

So you're basing a refusal to answer on a bizarre argument based on your assumption about what I'm going to say to your question? My question must have scared you very badly. But why should it? In essence, all I asked was how you know what is human and what is not? That's not so hard, is it?

buck, you responded to a link to the maternal mortality rate above...

buck, one last try from me: I'm not at all close-minded to the pro-life view -- in fact I'm not wedded to any particular position on the issue, although my default position is pretty close to hilzoy's. However, preachy assertions aren't going to convince me of the rightness of your views. If that's all you've got in your toolbox, then I'll bow out, though others may stay and play.

Oh, one final word: by dismissing logic as a device to "derive the convenient", you're left with no way to convince anyone who doesn't already agree with you. So what exactly do you expect to accomplish with these comments?

All: I believe it's simple--do you value all human life? If you do, you cannot defend a pro-choice position.

You all seem to refer to my posts as "preachy". Is that a synonym of "contrary"? I clearly hold the opposite position, in that I value all human life equally, and place human life above that of other animals. My questions to you are as valid as yours to me, yet no one has answered.

"...all I asked was how you know what is human and what is not? That's not so hard, is it?"

Diane: You REALLY can't answer that question yourself? You REALLY can't identify human life? You can't distinguish between human life and pathological cellular growth, or tortured meta-language constructions of personhood that border on slavery-era definitions of blacks?

You REALLY can't answer that question yourself?

I'd REALLY like to see how you would answer the question.

buck: "do you value all human life? If you do, you cannot defend a pro-choice position."

I think you left out at least one important step in your equation: i.e. ..."and you consider an embryonic collection of cells to be a human life..." (as opposed to say, a potential life).

Just out of curiosity, is a pupal caterpillar in a cocoon a butterfly?

do you value all human life?

Nope. Silly question really, considering that it was answered in hilzoy's original post, above the fold.

Your posts are preachy because you don't make any arguments. We're all horrible people in your eyes because we don't respect all human life, but you haven't told us why we should respect all human life. Explain why we should, and then you'll have stopped being preachy.

"...but you haven't told us why we should respect all human life."

All: That sums it up. I've enjoyed the chat, but if you (pl), by your own admission, don't hold to the fundamental tenet of respecting all human life, then we can go no further. I wish you peace and enlightenment, and I am happy that your mothers made the choice to deliver.

All

But how can we believe that you respect all human life when you can't even tell us what you mean by all human life? Do you respect the still living cells in a brain dead person's body as human life? Suppose someone showed you two sets of cells growing in petri dishes. One is an embryo at the eight cell stage. The other is a cluster of human lymphocytes. Why is one, in your view, human life, the other not? (Or are they both? I apologize if I misrepresented your views here.)

Another question for buck or any other pro-lifer out there who might want to answer (no one has so far.) Ok, so suppose we assume that every conceptus is a person. Up to 80% of concepti fail to implant or die shortly after implantation, such that a "clinical pregnancy" (ie one identified as such by the woman who is pregnant) never occurs. If every conceptus is a person, then 80% of the population is dying in their first few days of life! Isn't this a bigger public health problem than a relatively small number of homicides (ie abortions)? Why aren't you lobbying for funding of a crash NIH program looking into the causes of these deaths and searching for cures to end the epidemic? I have never, ever seen or heard of a pro-life group lobby Congress for more funding of the causes of miscarriages, muchless failed implantation or setting up a private foundation to fund researchers who would look into the issue or even supporting existing research.

This seems strange. Surely if, say, a new mutant flu was sweeping through the country, infecting essentially the whole population and killing 80% of those it infected, there would be calls for an immediate, massive program to search for the cause of the pandemic (that is, why this flu was so deadly) and look for cures and preventative measures. Yet no one is interested in saving the 80% of "babies" that, according to the pro-life movement, die every day. Why is that? I can only conclude that it is because, really, the pro-lifers don't believe that a single celled organism or even an eight celled organism is a person. But they can't admit that to themselves either, lest they have to look at uglier motives for wanting to restrict abortion.

but if you (pl), by your own admission

Awesome, I have the power to speak for all the members of this community. I promise to use this newfound power for Good and not Evil. Well, unless it's the sort of Evil that happens to make me rich in the process.

kenB: Awesome, I have the power to speak for all the members of this community. I promise to use this newfound power for Good and not Evil. Well, unless it's the sort of Evil that happens to make me rich in the process.

And if it makes you very rich in the process, share! At least we could have a big ObWing party and toast your newfound wealth in the cause of Evil. ;-)

No, no, no. This is and old thread (I've been on vacation), and there are hundreds of comments, yet all I can do is add one more.

Hilzoy, you do consider valuable someone that once was conscious, but now lies in a coma, as long as he has a hope of reawakening.

Consider a hypothetical medical situation. A patient has been put into a helpless, comatose state as a result of an accident. To help that someone, a woman has been crudely hooked up to this patient as some sort of life support, through some obscure medical machine. Being hooked up to this patient is at times very painful, but it's very unlikely that she will die, because the doctors will take whatever steps they can to save her, including disconnecting, as a last resort.
Given enough time, the patient will regain consciousness, and she will be disconnected. That is practically certain.

Now, if that woman had been connected to the patient against her own will, no one could blame her if she disconnected herself. It would be a sad thing to do, even immoral, as not helping someone in need is immoral, but not criminal.

Unless she was responsible for the car accident that placed the patient in a coma in the first place.

And that what it comes down to. The foetus has never been conscious, but it will be, with a high degree of certainty, higher than for comatose patients. It will be like me and you, that process is set into motion already. The machine is connected. If it wasn't, it would be immoral to connect it against the woman's will, but it is.

You do admit that an unconscious person can have rights, if he has a hope of gaining consciousness. In that you have come further than most abortion advocates. What you unfortunately do, is make the arbitrary demand that the unconscious person has to have been conscious in the past in order to have rights. I can't see that this is relevant or reasonable, when it's clear that he/she will. It's wrong to deny someone a thing that is rightfully theirs, even if they don't know about it, or won't miss it.

In the vast majority of cases, the woman had an option. Abortion would still be wrong if she hadn't, but then at least it would be understandable. People (women AND men!) should not have sex unless they are willing to take the small chance that prevention fails. You can drive a car even if you don't want to crash, but if you know you are unwilling to accept your responsibilities if you were to crash, you shouldn't, no matter how happy driving makes you, or how unhappy the consequences might make you.


(There are other things that should be mentioned, like the problem of pressure and regret. As much as one in four norwegian women who had abortions felt pressure to have an abortion from their boyfriends, according to one study. Restrictions on abortion, or even attitudes against abortion in friends and relatives would give these unhappy women a line of defense. And regret: of women who have abortions, very many regret it. Even if you think abortion is OK, that means those women made a bad choice. Of women who decide against having an abortion, almost no one regrets it. You mentioned some women who had abortions, I could mention some who didn't, despite serious medical and social "reasons". They are now very happy that they carried their children to term, even though they have other problems, and need help caring for their children. A third argument against one of your minor points: It's not OK to kill someone just because they can't feel pain, otherwise, murderers would use anasthesia, I suppose. Children born before the date they supposedly can feel pain have survived and live normal lives today.)

Harold; Unless she was responsible for the car accident that placed the patient in a coma in the first place.

So (hypothetical): you're driving a car, and you knock down a pedestrian, and the pedestrian will require a couple of pints of blood and a new kidney. You feel that the government ought to have the legal right to have one of your kidneys and a couple of pints of your blood removed and transplanted/transfused to the pedestrian. You do not have the right to refuse to donate a kidney and a couple of pints of blood: you only had the right to decide not to drive a car in the first place.

That's not the way the law works - but it's how you feel the law ought to work? All car drivers legally liable to become involuntary blood and organ donors if they are ever involved in a car accident?

Harald: I, too, know lots of women who have not had abortions, and have wonderful children. I am not saying that I think everyone should have abortions. That would be insane. I just think it should be the woman's choice, at least in the first two trimesters.

Likewise, I think that regret, pressure, etc. are beside the point. In any case that does not involve harm to another person or costs to society, we let people make their own choices, whether or not they might be pressured, regret it, etc. Lots of people are pressured into buying things, for instance, and lots of people make purchases they come to regret. We don't think that this is a reason to deprive them of their choice.

Now: as I said, we do this when no harm to others is involved. If someone believes that the fetus is not "another" in this sense, and/or that ending its life before it can realize that it has one does not harm it, then regret would not matter here, any more than it does in the shopping case.

That's the crucial question: does the fetus count as a person (morally), or more generally as a being to whom moral consideration is due, or not. I explained my reasons for thinking not, at least before sentience, in the post. I don't think it's arbitrary to say that a person whose ongoing consciousness has been interrupted is disanalogous to a fetus who has never been sentient or conscious at all. For one thing, the comatose person has all sorts of plans and projects, an ongoing history (that is: her self has an ongoing history, not just her body), etc., that should be respected because we respect her autonomy. A fetus that has not developed sentience has never had any autonomy, and thus there is nothing of the kind to be respected.

Jes, let me ask you this question in return: If it was you who did that, and your blood, and your kidney was the only thing that worked, perhaps because it was your twin you ran down or something (that's not an entirely unreasonable comparison if family closeness has any meaning), would you give? Of course you would, and I think you would be shocked at someone who didn't. As it is, in real-life car accidents who gives the blood and the kidney (OK, it has to be a pretty weird car accident to hurt a kidney) is not important. You might take care of that part of your moral obligation by becoming a blood donor if you weren't one already.

However, only the mother can save the life that is her child. If others could, we wouldn't have the problem of abortion at all.

If I hurt someone or put them in a helpless state, deliberately or accidentally, I feel I have a duty to give whatever is needed to right the wrong, and is in my right and power to give. That's my answer, Jes. Asking the same of others is not unreasonable. (Giving someone back the ability to walk is not in my power, unfortunately, and giving someone one of my vital organs is not my right, as I am morally prohibited from killing myself).

Hilzoy, I'll try to answer in order. Lot of people indeed are pressured to buy things, and regret it. But at least here in Norway, they get propotional protection, through legal mechanisms the people themselves have instated. In the most extreme case, this protection does indeed restrict your right to choose what to buy: we have laws against quackery, since it exploits people's desperation.

If we look at the other side, the selling side, in Sweden they have laws against prostitution. They argue that this actually protects women's freedoms, since it gives some measure of protection from being forced into prostitution. Since this applies to a large number of swedish prostitutes (the film Lilja 4 ever is recommended), they reason that the small protection it gives to victims of sex trafficking is more valuable than some women's "freedom" to sell sex. I'm inclined to agree with them, both in this particular case, and in the general case, that this sort of criminalisation is reasonable. Some people had a freedom the majority of swedes though were abhorrent to use, and which indirectly hurt other people. They restricted this freedom.

By the way, only buying sex is forbidden, to not add to the burden of trafficking victims. I believe some countries have laws against abortion that work in a similar way - that performing them is illegal, but having them is not punished. Such laws could perhaps be defended even if you don't give full rights to foetuses, by the swedish thinking, so it's not completely irrelevant.

I agree that the crucial question is what you say above, yet many people speak as if the crucial question is something about women's freedom. If the foetus doesn't have the rights of a person, of course no one but the woman should decide. If it is, the woman still has a choice, but one of the options is deeply immoral, so it's by no means clear that it should be legal.

You say that the comatose person has all sorts of plans and projects, her self and not just her body. That can be disputed. It may be reasonable to say that she had them, and will have them again if and when she wakes up.

But the more important issue is that it is not our plans and projects that make us valuable, that give us a "self". Autonomy is well and good, but people have differing amounts of it, so unless we want to categorise mentally handicapped people as less than fully valuable, it is also a poor indicator for our worth.

Incidentally, the norwegian abortion law makes no secret of thinking handicapped people less valuable. Abortion is on-demand to week 12, but this is extended in cases of "eugenic indication" - the law's words, not mine. It was written only 16 years ago.

Let's see, Harald: You refused to answer my question - should getting a driving licence mean you are automatically an organ donor - and when you ask me a question, you then answer it for me.

Are you going to answer my question? Should getting a driving licence mean that you no longer have the right to refuse if a car accident victim needs your kidney? If you refuse to donate your kidney, do you think you should be prosecuted for murder?

It's kind of a neat thought, though, if we just declare human freedom to be unimportant - as unimportant as women's freedom is to anti-choicers. When you pass your driving test and qualify for a license, that carries with it the obligation to go to your nearest blood donor center every six weeks to two months and donate a pint. No exceptions permitted, unless your blood is tested and found unsafe to use. If you resist or evade your obligation, you are subject to prosecution.

If you are driving a car which is involved in an accident, you are promptly tagged as an organ donor - any organs you can lose without actually killing you (part of your liver, a kidney, bone marrow) can be removed from your body without your consent and donated to someone who needs them. If you resist, you will be prosecuted, jailed, and your organs removed anyway. If the person who needed your kidney or your liver dies because you resisted, you are prosecuted for murder, executed, and all your organs become available.

And of course, if you die, no worries about getting your consent or your family's consent - if you have a driving license, that doubles as an organ donor card.

How about it, Harald: is this the law you would like to see imposed on everyone in the US with a driving license?

Harald: Let's extend your analogy a little further. The life support connection between the woman and the unconcious person is, as you say, crude. So crude, in fact, that it fails in the first few days in up to 80% of cases. Even if the first few days are passed successfully, there's still quite a high chance, maybe 10-20% of failure (that is, 10-20% of the 20% who survive the first few days will die later in the process without ever becoming concious.) Furthermore, traffic is so terrible that essentially everyone can expect to be in an accident once in their lives that will require this set up. So, in effect, 80+% of people are dying because of the inefficient life support provided. What would you be willing to do about it? Would you be willing to devote your life to researching ways to improve the life support techniques in order to improve survival? Would you expect the NIH to spend most or all of its budget on such research? Would you expect the government to fund the NIH at very high levels in order to improve the survival rate as quickly as possible/ Would you expect private foundations to spring up to increase funding, perhaps to provide funding for ideas that are too high risk for the government to bother with yet might lead to dramatic improvements? Would you use your money to fund such a program?

I'm a medical researcher. My field is cancer and blood research. But if, say,a mutant avian flu came through and started killing 80% of the population, I would cheerfully abandon my usual research in order to work on treatment/prevention measures to stop the pandemic. I would expect the government to fund all researchers doing so to the point that the Pentagon got jealous. I would expect private citizens to want to donate money and time to the endeaver.

Up to 80% of concepti die within the first few days after conception, usually after failing to implant. A fair number of the survivors fail later in the pregnancy. Yet I've never heard of any pro-lifer dedicating his or herself to finding a cure or preventative for these miscarriages and failed implantations. Why don't they? If abortion is murder then surely miscarriage is pandemic illness. Why is it not important? Perhaps because you don't really believe in the personhood of a morula?

I expected you would accuse me of dodging your question Jes, that's why I indicated in my post just where my answer was.

To repeat: Yes. If you drive a car, I say you implicitly take the responsibility that if you cause an accident, and you're the only one who can help, then you have a duty to help. Whether it's with a kidney or not. If other people can, it's a little more complex, we can take that another time.

If you drive a car, I say you implicitly take the responsibility that if you cause an accident, and you're the only one who can help, then you have a duty to help. Whether it's with a kidney or not.

So, you are in favor of the law changing so that if you have a driver's license, the state has a right to take organs you can spare to help people who need them - one of your kidneys, regular pints of blood, etc? And prosecuting you for murder if you resist donation? It's all very Larry Niven, and quite hard to take seriously: it's notable that the anti-choice brigade are invariably in favor of these horrendous sacrifices to be made by other people - never by themselves.

Harald: I notice you're dodging my question. What are you willing to do about the failed implantation pandemic going on around you? Are you willing to donate money, time, or body parts (probably blood, maybe sperm, less likely other tissue) towards finding a cure?

Harald, not to gang up on you, but here's my question: You say to hilzoy that "it is not our plans and projects that make us valuable, that give us a "self"." So then, what *does* make us valuable? In particular, what makes the life of a non-sentient clump of cells with human DNA more worth preserving than the life of a fully-sentient farm animal?

And of course, along with that, are people without plans or projects now disposable?

Correction, because I think this is the nub of it:

We talk about organ donation, blood donation. The change to the law proposed, which would make owners of driving licenses compelled by law to surrender pints of blood or non-essential organs while living, and make their cadavers publicly available after their death, would remove that concept of donation completely. No such thing as an "organ donor" any more, or a "blood donor" - not when the state makes it a legal requirement backed up with courts and jail if you don't surrender parts of your body to whoever needs them. Larry Niven wrote a sequence of stories in which the most trivial criminal offense meant that a criminal got the death penalty and went to the organ banks: a idea which seems to have come true in China, where executed criminals are - it is reported - used for "organ donation".

I carry an organ donor card. I used to donate blood regularly. I stopped because the veins in my arms were collapsing, and I thought I might need them at some point. I do believe in the principle that once I'm dead, I'm dead, and my organs might as well be of some use to someone else.

But: I cannot say how profoundly I object to the idea that people can be forced by law even to donate blood - the most renewable of organs. Let alone that someone should be forced to undergo surgery and lose a kidney or half a liver or fertile eggs. Or, of course, that any woman should be forced to endure unwanted pregnancy or be compelled through unwanted childbirth. My body belongs to me - as yours does to you. Despite your arguing for just that, I cannot feel it right that the police should be allowed to arrest you, hand you over to a surgeon, and have one of your kidneys removed, without your consent ever having been asked - but just because you drive a car. You may think that in principle you'd have no problem with this - but in practice, I suspect you are thinking that you would voluntarily donate a kidney to help a stranger, and have not thought through the difference it would make if you were not asked to voluntarily donate your kidney, but simply arrested, anesthetised, and a kidney removed without your consent ever having been asked.

Jes: You conveniently removed the italics when you quoted me. I said that yes, you have implicitly agreed to help when you cause an accident __and no one else can help__. Then you have a clear duty, meaning it's reasonable to make it illegal to not help. If others can help, we have more options, and you can do your duty implicitly through paying your taxes, insurance or whatever.

That is not the same as saying the state should force someone to donate, only that it should severely sanction those who don't. If you are refusing to help in a situation as described, you are violating a pretty important social contract, so of course there are consequences.

Diana, I am not dodging your question, just answering an earlier post first. (How many posts are there on this old thread by now? 200?)

What you must understand is that I have never disagreed with hilzoy about what makes us sad. The death of someone I don't know in China does not provoke the same reaction in me as the death of a beloved pet (not that I approve of holding pets), or even the death of one of my Sims, if I accidentaly get attached to them the way the game creators want me to (not that I play the Sims). Millions of zygotes die a natural death, I don't know them or what they would have become, so I'm not sad. But if I thought I had a chance of saving them, I might well have tried, because I realize that they are what I am, just like the unknown chinese (and unlike the Sim, or the pet).

But unless you have entered into an agreement of some sort, informal or formal, or incurred an obligation to someone, I don't believe there is a duty to save someone's life. I might want to, nonetheless. For emotional reasons, if nothing else. Those are strong for you, Diana, wrt. bird flu, but to me and other pro-life people, dying from failed implantation is similar to someone I don't know dying from natural causes or old age. If I had a cure, or a hope for one, I might give it a try. Since I don't, I will not worry about it.

Why do I worry about abortions then? Because I worry more about the killers than the killed.

That is not the same as saying the state should force someone to donate, only that it should severely sanction those who don't.

Huh? If the state is severely sanctioning those who don't donate blood or organs, of course they are forcing people to surrender blood/organs - the "severe sanctions" you envisage are their means of forcing them to do so.

Just as a state that "severely sanctions" women who choose to terminate an unwanted pregnancy is trying to make use of women's bodies against their will, and this is as unacceptable to me as it would be were you forced to "donate" a kidney because you drive a car, someone needed a kidney transplant, and you were the only healthy "donor" who could supply one.

Harald: Why do I worry about abortions then? Because I worry more about the killers than the killed.

So this gross and abhorrent abuse of women who decide to terminate unwanted pregnancies (it is disgusting to call a woman who decides to abort a "killer") is motivated, you claim, by "worry" for these women?

You don't realize, evidently, how unconvincing it sounds to insult someone and claim you're only abusing them because you worry about them.

Telling someone that what they do is wrong, is that gross and abhorrent abuse?

Although some don't seem to believe it, I do in fact mean what I say.
Would you make it a general rule that people should hide their beliefs to comfort those who they believe are doing something terrible? You're not exactly an icon of non-confrontation yourself, you know.

By the way, it is usually the doctors who are the killers. To me, a general who commands soldiers to kill is not a killer. He is not technically responsible for murder. However, he is responsible for asking people to kill, which is just as bad. A woman who requests abortion is in a similar position.

I realise that sometimes, both asking to kill and killing is understandable - so I don't call someone a killer to insult them. However, killing is never justifiable.

It was mentioned above, and you know it well if you have a whit of personal experience with these things, that women who have abortions regret it way more often than women who don't. Don't you worry about these women? The large group, who by all measures make the wrong choice?

The apothesosis of the idea that people don't have the right to make decisions about their own bodies: let the poor sell the rich their organs.

It was mentioned above, and you know it well if you have a whit of personal experience with these things, that women who have abortions regret it way more often than women who don't.

It was mentioned, yes: it's a standard invention by anti-choicers, based on no real data. All the women I know who have had abortions have never regretted it: all the women I know who had a baby and gave the baby up for adoption have since regretted it.

Don't you worry about these women? The large group, who by all measures make the wrong choice?

Well, for starters; we actually have no idea how many women who have abortions later regret having the abortion. Despite the lies of anti-choicers claiming otherwise, there is only anecdotal evidence, the plural of which is not data. Anti-choicers can come up with a handful of women who say they made the wrong choice: many, many more women say they know they made the right choice. This isn't data, but the anecdotal information, as well as logic and morality, is firnly on the side of being pro-choice.

For the women who think that they should not have chosen to have an abortion: I am feel for them, as I feel for the women who think they should have chosen to have an abortion rather than have a baby to give him/her up for adoption. As I would feel for a woman who donated a kidney and regretted it later, or didn't donate half her liver and regretted that later. But adults get to make our own choices - and regret them.

You've argued that car drivers shouldn't be allowed to make a choice about handing over blood or kidneys at need - or, once they die, being dissected for other organs. You've argued that women shouldn't be allowed to make a choice about staying pregnant or giving birth. You seem to feel that people don't own our own bodies - that organs belong to the community, and the use of them is to be determined by law and government, not individual choice. I think this is repulsive.

"You seem to feel that people don't own our own bodies - that organs belong to the community, and the use of them is to be determined by law and government, not individual choice. I think this is repulsive."

What do you think about research with fetal tissue?

In abortion the question of individuals comes down to a question of which individuals count under the law.

What do you think about research with fetal tissue?

If the fetal tissue is donated by the woman, I don't have a problem with it. It's her fetus: her choice.

In abortion the question of individuals comes down to a question of which individuals count under the law.

Yes, and somehow for some people, it appears fetuses count as individuals, and women don't.

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