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July 29, 2008

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OT - cnn.com reporting "Ted Stevens to be indicted on seven counts of making false statements to federal investigators."

"apropos"

Otherwise, applause. Doubtless, though, that 15% reduction will be way counterbalanced by the erosion of teenage morals. Because everyone knows that the availability of contraception will just encourage them to have sex more.

/snark, not directed at the author

Small point: as I understand it, Douthat and Salam don't claim to be solely interested in helping working class whites. Rather, they want to help working class whites while also (a) helping the GOP to a governing majority, and (b) refocusing the GOP towards becoming a natalist, nativist, traditional family structure party. So, of the set of policies that might help working class whites, they pick those that satisfy (a) and (b). Such policies might not be the best available policies for helping working class whites, but I'm not sure that Douthat and Salam claim otherwise.

Such policies might not be the best available policies for helping working class whites, but I'm not sure that Douthat and Salam claim otherwise.

Actually, they do claim otherwise.

They claim that it's in those voters' economic interest to vote for Republicans.

I can't say whether or not they actually believe that, but they do argue it in their book.

I'm highly skeptical of that 30% figure.

refocusing the GOP towards becoming a natalist, nativist, traditional family structure party

In other words, anti-feminism, right? I think anti-feminism is going to look economically attractive to males toward the bottom of the income scale, because it knocks more women *below* them, so raises them, relatively speaking.

There's an interesting discussion of this issue going on at Brad Hicks' journal, with reference to Adkisson and Susan Faludi's "Stiffed". Do Douthat & Salam cite "Stiffed"? Or are they being anti-feminist without mentioning feminism -- or women?

"I'm highly skeptical of that 30% figure."

So check it.

The cite: "Approximately 30 percent of teenage girls in the United States become pregnant and 20 percent give birth by age 20. Increasingly, policy makers and advocacy groups are recognizing that the high rate of unintended pregnancy among unmarried women in their twenties is also a major social issue. Half of all pregnancies in the United States are reported by the mother as being unintended. More than one-third of these (1.1 million pregnancies in 2001) are to unmarried women in their twenties. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy estimates that these pregnancies accounted for nearly half of the 1.3 million abortions in 2001."

How is the NIH:

[...] n 2005, the number of births for girls aged 15 to 17 was about 133,000, or 21 for every 1,000 girls. That number rose to nearly 139,000, or 22 for every 1,000 girls, in 2006.

Along the same lines, 1/3 of girls in the United States got pregnant before age 20, and more than 435,000 babies were born to teens between 15 and 19 years in 2006, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

I got that in 15 seconds by googling "teen" and "pregancy."

You can do it, too. More. That link via CDC.

Providing abortion through Medicaid would also tend to reduce unplanned pregnancies and ensure that women who needed an abortion didn't end up having a late abortion because first of all, she had to save the money to pay for it...

But. Pro-lifers will never support this: it's come up before, hasn't it, and they've always firmly stood out against providing contraception to prevent abortions.

Hell, even in the UK - which stands out in Europe for our high rate of unplanned pregnancy/abortion - we do better than that...

"Providing abortion through Medicaid would also tend to reduce unplanned pregnancies and ensure that women who needed an abortion didn't end up having a late abortion because first of all, she had to save the money to pay for it..."

And forcible tubal ligations at 13 would also tend to reduce unplanned pregnancies and ensure that women didn't end up having a late abortion.

Ohhh, and locking women up in harems would probably work pretty well too at reducing unplanned pregnancies and ensuring that such women didn't end up having a late abortion.

Of course there might in theory be moral considerations beyond "reduces unplanned pregnancies" which might make some of the actions more ok than others.

So for example I can support contraception without supporting for government paid abortions.

"Which directly contradicts the Douthat/Salam thesis that because "working class whites" are hit harder by the economic impact of things like teen pregnancy, it's rational for them to vote for conservative candidates who oppose things like contraception and an expansion of Medicaid, in favor or preaching about the values of abstinence."

Not so much direct contradiction as you might think. Do you believe that all possible 'family values' share precisely equal weight?

To take a liberal example you might think that torture is bad AND that smoking is bad. But if you hypothetically thought that your anti-torture stance was more important than an anti-smoking stance you might find yourself voting for a candidate a smoker but is also anti-torture (let's call such a candidate 'Obama').

You are positing a situation where people who don't vote at all like you, happen to exactly share your ordering in importance of values. This assumption seems rather hard to support as you have already noticed that they don't vote like you think they should vote.

It always amazes me when you weigh in on this stuff Sebastian. Shouldn't you as a gay man defer to the people who actually have to deal with the situation?

"So for example I can support contraception without supporting for government paid abortions."

Either abortion is constitutional and legal medical procedure, or it isn't. If it is -- and it is -- what are the grounds for Medicaid not paying for it?

Frank: "It always amazes me when you weigh in on this stuff Sebastian. Shouldn't you as a gay man defer to the people who actually have to deal with the situation?"

Sure, and since you're not in the military or the foreign service, you shouldn't weigh in on Iraq policy, and since you don't pay income tax in the any other bracket then the one you do, you shouldn't way in on what the rate should be for those brackets, and since you're not a farmer, you should defer to farmers on what farm subsidies should be, and since you're not a woman, you shouldn't weigh in on abortion policy, either. Etc., ad infinitum.

This is an interesting line of argument to be consistent about.

"It always amazes me when you weigh in on this stuff Sebastian. Shouldn't you as a gay man defer to the people who actually have to deal with the situation?"

That doesn't even make sense.

I'm also able to note that people shouldn't be mean to black people on the basis of their color.

I've never been murdered yet still know it is wrong.

I've never been tortured but I still know that is wrong.

I'll most likely never have children and was not molested as a child, yet I don't have any trouble noticing that is wrong.

Lots of relatively rich people on both sides have all sorts of opinions about what would be best for poor people to do.

This post is by a well off man criticizing how poor people vote.

All of which is completely appropriate if done properly.

And for the record, on abortion issues, men and women don't have markedly different opinions--i.e. you can't predict what their opinions are based on their gender.

Actually, abortion doesn't reduce unplanned pregnancies, it reduces births as a result of unplanned pregnancies. That's two different things.

And no, I'm not arguing for or against abortion, just arguing for a little clarity of facts.

"Either abortion is constitutional and legal medical procedure, or it isn't. If it is -- and it is -- what are the grounds for Medicaid not paying for it?"

All legal medical procdures should be paid for by Medicaid? Really? How about breast augmentation? Laser eye surgery? Cheekbone implants? What about quadruple bypass surgery to add an additional 2 days of life? Heroic measures to save my grandmother after she has already completely been destroyed by Alzheimers?

I don't buy your proposition that all constitutional and legal medical procedures should be assumed to be covered by Medicaid. (This proposition seems evident by your formulation "Either abortion is constitutional and legal medical procedure, or it isn't" as if that was a dispositive or relevant question. If that is not your intention, please clarify.)

All legal medical procdures should be paid for by Medicaid? Really? How about breast augmentation? Laser eye surgery? Cheekbone implants? What about quadruple bypass surgery to add an additional 2 days of life? Heroic measures to save my grandmother after she has already completely been destroyed by Alzheimers?
I'm content to leave the decisions to be made by qualified doctors as to whether it's medically advisable for the health and well-being of the patient, myself. I don't care to get into attempting to delegate my personal preferences as to what other people's medical treatment should be. YMMV.

"Providing abortion through Medicaid would also tend to reduce unplanned pregnancies and ensure that women who needed an abortion didn't end up having a late abortion because first of all, she had to save the money to pay for it..."

And forcible tubal ligations at 13 would also tend to reduce unplanned pregnancies and ensure that women didn't end up having a late abortion.

Ohhh, and locking women up in harems would probably work pretty well too at reducing unplanned pregnancies and ensuring that such women didn't end up having a late abortion.

Uhhhhhhh . . . OK. Who was that dude a few weeks ago who was complaining about Obama's proposed college grants in exchange for national service, who kept saying, "Well, if 100 hours is good, then why not 1,000? Or 10,000?" Because either that dude was a Sebastian sockpuppet, or Sebastian woke up dumb this morning.

You do understand that, out of these three items:

- A Medicaid-funded abortion
- A forced tubal ligation
- Locking women away in a harem

only one of them would be voluntary and uncoerced, right? You understand the difference between choice and force, right? Please tell me you just are cranky, because that's about the silliest thing I've ever seen from you.

"Who was that dude a few weeks ago who was complaining about Obama's proposed college grants in exchange for national service, who kept saying, "Well, if 100 hours is good, then why not 1,000? Or 10,000?" Because either that dude was a Sebastian sockpuppet, or Sebastian woke up dumb this morning."

You're going to want a quote, as I'm fairly sure I didn't comment on that issue at all.

I didn't say you did. I said based on the ridiculous thing you said above -- "If Medicaid-funded abortions are good, why not forced tubal ligations? Or locking girls away in harems?" -- you sounded just like whoever that was.

Seriously, are you OK? You seem, like, unable to read today.

Play nice, boys.

Phil, I suspect Sebastian is starting from the premise that the fetus is a moral agent as well, and can't possibly consent.

I said based on the ridiculous thing you said above -- "If Medicaid-funded abortions are good, why not forced tubal ligations? Or locking girls away in harems?" -- you sounded just like whoever that was.

Seriously, are you OK? You seem, like, unable to read today.

I didn't say any such thing. I said that reducing unwanted pregnancies isn't such a 'good' that doing any old thing was justified. And I illustrated it by mentioning things that obviously wouldn't be justified. And then you accused me of not being able to read.

:)

I have a question for Sebastian. Let's stipulate that it is bad to have people irresponsibly becoming pregnant or causing pregnancy. Let's also stipulate that it is morally wrong to abort a fetus.

Now assume we have a young woman who is pregnant and who does not want to become a mother. What percent of the reason for denying her an abortion is based upon the first stipulated reason, and what percent on the second?

I'm assuming that, as a"pro-lifer", you believe in the deterrence effect of not allowing abortions to reduce further unwanted pregnancies. I'm interested in understanding how MUCH of your concern for being against abortion is based upon this factor as compared to the moral factor of aborting a fetus.

I'm not trying to put words into your mouth. Please feel free to correct my stipulated reasons. They are my understanding and I assume they are yours, but I may be completely wrong.

I want to at least understand how at least one thoughtful pro-life person views the issue.

Half of all pregnancies in the United States are reported by the mother as being unintended.

I would point out that having an "unintended" pregnancy does not equal "did not use contraception."

A lot of people do get pregnant in spite of using contraception-I have two children who were conceived while on BC pills. I was taking mine correctly, but a lot of people do not take them correctly-they may miss pills or take them at varied times each day and fail to use a back up method.

So you can't assume the "unplanned" stat is the same as the "did not use any form of BC."

I think anti-feminism is going to look economically attractive to males toward the bottom of the income scale, because it knocks more women *below* them, so raises them, relatively speaking.

Good grief. I'm counting on finding a woman with a high paying job who wants to move into my very nice house that is in no danger of being foreclosed upon.

i like douthat a lot, but he creeps me out a bit on sexual stuff. his argument makes no sense, for precisely the reason eric mentions. but on some level, he shares the visceral evangelical aversion to sexual freedom. it's very illiberal

The term ‘teenage pregnancy’ is not useful in the study of the health of a society. It does not differentiate between married and unmarried girls. Married teenage girls having children is a healthy sign. It indicates a disciplined, vigorous society.

Unmarried teenage girls having children is an indication of problems ahead.

As an aside, kids are great and good people should have more of them. Can’t be bothered? Surrogate mothers go for $5,000. That price will go down. I bet Russia will set up some state surrogate program to deal with the low birth rate among ethnic Russians. They are already having state-sponsored fertility parties with flags.

Married teenage girls having children is a healthy sign. It indicates a disciplined, vigorous society.

Could you demonstrate the connection by comparing several nations, preferably with some metric for what constitutes "disciplined" and "vigorous"? Or are you just making it up?

Why do I even bother asking?

Japan is usually considered both disciplined and vigorous -- low violent crime, high job loyalty, very high productivity. Yet their average age of marriage has been high for some time, and rising steadily, up to 27 years for a bride in 2002. http://unpan1.un.org/intradoc/groups/public/documents/APCITY/UNPAN016635.pdf

Nigeria, in comparison, scores well on this important metric: 54% of Nigerian women have given birth by age 20, which correlates well with the average marriage age of 17. Yet oddly, the women and even the men die young, and Nigerian productivity has yet to set the world on fire.
http://www.iwhc.org/programs/africa/nigeria/facts.cfm

Clearly something is amiss. The facts are biased and must be vigorously disciplined.

Trilobite- The explanation for Japan must have something to do with Prussian sailor uniforms in school. I can't http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_school_uniform>elaborate, but it feels truthy.

Seriously, though, I don't know that I'd call Japan 'vigorous' in this context. It seems that BOB could be hinting at birth rates, or something similar, which Japan has http://www.stat.go.jp/english/data/handbook/c02cont.htm#cha2_2>a serious problem with.

But I dunno', he could also be talking about people that get exercise in the morning. Although http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwXSCzguSkM>morning exercise programs are common in Japan too.

Trilobite;

I was thinking of Mormons, Arab Muslims, and Mexican Catholics. It’s not fair to mainstream Mormons to say that most of their girls are married as teenagers, I doubt they are. The ones I know were married in the 20s and have lots of kids. But teenage marriage seems to be the case in the fundamentalist offshoots, who are growing in numbers quicker than the mainstream types. It should also be noted that a 9-yr old wife is OK under Sharia.

DNA that leads one to delay reproduction until the late thirties and then only have one kid will go away. It will get old and simply be replaced. That DNA, or its behavior if you want to go there, is undisciplined from a societal standpoint.

African marriages cannot be fairly compared with Catholic, Muslim, or Mormon marriages. The African relationships I’ve admittedly only observed on TV were pretty ‘casual’. This conclusion is backed up by the AIDS numbers in Africa and the behavior of Africans in North America.

One positive aspect of this for the West is that China is less of a threat. The one-child policy, along with the desire to abort females, along with strong Chinese allegiance to their families, will not free up young Chinese bachelors to expand. They will be taking care of their parents.

tomeck: Actually, abortion doesn't reduce unplanned pregnancies, it reduces births as a result of unplanned pregnancies. That's two different things.

Actually, yes, you have a point. ;-) Providing abortion on Medicaid would at least reduce the length of unplanned, unwanted pregnancies.

Making it illegal to refuse a woman emergency contraception, and requiring all pharmacies to have EC as part of their stock, would also help, of course - as it stands, it is legal for a doctor or a hospital to decide to force a woman to have an abortion rather than let her have emergency contraception, and legal for a pharmacy just not to stock it in order to avoid having to provide it when needed.

But Medicaid-funded abortions ought to let a woman who needs an abortion have it earlier, when it's a simpler procedure. It would also be useful to require all health insurance companies to cover abortion and contraception. This seems a no-brainer.

Pink cake. Demographics. Democracy. Sharia. Shut them up. A very interesting question in Britain. Request your opinion Jersurgislac.

Ugh, the troll is talking to me.

(No offense, Ugh.)

I said that reducing unwanted pregnancies isn't such a 'good' that doing any old thing was justified.

A claim which, of course, nobody had made at all, so you started out right away battling strawmen of your own creation.

And I illustrated it by mentioning things that obviously wouldn't be justified.

Yes -- forced, coercive actions which I doubt that anyone would have any disagreement were Bad Things.

So, given those two things, what exactly do you think you've proved?

Married teenage girls having children is a healthy sign. It indicates a disciplined, vigorous society.

From the hadith of mullah BOB.

The African relationships I’ve admittedly only observed on TV were pretty ‘casual’.

No more National Geographic specials for you.

Thanks -

A claim which, of course, nobody had made at all, so you started out right away battling strawmen of your own creation...So, given those two things, what exactly do you think you've proved?

Sebastian, I'm with Phil on this. Normally, I am quite impressed and often persuaded somewhat by your arguments (and I mean that sincerely - you're a pain in the ass, the good way), but the effort in this thread just seems beneath you.

It's as if you were confronted with inconvenient evidence, so you just departed from logical discourse.

Are you arguing that the government shouldn't fund contraception? If so, make that argument. If not, stop throwing straw around the joint. You're making a mess ;)

I defer to Beavis and Butthead with respect to British aristocracy.

Phil for someone who claims to be such a student of reading, you don't pay much attention to context.

My comments were in direct response to Jesurgislac, who extended the claim about contraception directly in to abortion for no logically articulated reason. You can see that because I quote her.

I support access to contraception. I don't think that forces me to support access to abortion just because the alleged 'aim' of reducing unwanted births is the same. And that is why I bothered pointing out that just because you have an aim that all possible means of getting that aim aren't acceptable.

I was RESPONDING to someone. I didn't just raise the issue for the hell of it, and I'm certainly not strawmanning. If you don't think Jesurgislac's comment is correct, say so. Or if you think it is correct, say so. But don't pretend that I just brought it all up in a vacuum.

Gary: "I'm content to leave the decisions to be made by qualified doctors as to whether it's medically advisable for the health and well-being of the patient, myself. I don't care to get into attempting to delegate my personal preferences as to what other people's medical treatment should be."

What does that have to do with abortions for unwanted children (i.e. not medically necessary) being paid for by the government? Just because a pregnancy was unplanned does not make killing a fetus medically necessary. Those are two very distinct topics.

(And I note again, this is a topic raised by Gary and Jesurgislac as if it was relevant, not a topic raised by me.)

Sebastian: What does that have to do with abortions for unwanted children (i.e. not medically necessary) being paid for by the government?

Well, Sebastian, it depends whether you prefer women who intend to abort, to have their abortion at >8, or if you think it's better that they should have to have the abortion much later in pregnancy.

Me, I'm a pragmatic pro-choicer: I want a woman who's discovered she's pregnant, knows she doesn't want to be, and therefore needs an abortion, to have that abortion ASAP - in the first trimester of pregnancy, when it's relatively minor, relatively easy, and unless you're religious about it, a morally easy choice.

You evidently prefer that a woman should have to spend weeks of her pregnancy financing her abortion - trying to borrow, save, or steal the money to get it done. Of course the longer this goes on, the more developed the fetus becomes, the more expensive an abortion can be, and the worse the problem gets - some women have died or become sterile because they ended up trying to self-abort because their health insurance would pay for any complications from an illegal abortion, but would not pay for a safe legal abortion.

But you evidently like the idea of women forced to have late abortions through financial need. Bizarre. I thought on a previous thread discussing forced pregnancy, you admitted you didn't actually oppose first-trimester abortions - but is this because you like the idea of women being unable to get a first-trimester abortion because they can't raise money to pay for it in the time available?

Or is this just another of your "why don't they get a rice cooker" failures to comprehend poverty below the level of a law student?

Exhibit A that I wasn't strawmanning can be found directly above.

Sebastian, having straw-manned, now points to a separate comment on the direct and obvious consequences of making pregnant women finance their own abortions, and claims this comment is evidence that his straw man was a real live scarecrow.

The thread will now dive into an argument about whether or not Sebastian was strawmanning, as Sebastian himself will prefer not to discuss the clear and obvious consequences of his views.

Shouldn't you as a gay man defer to the people who actually have to deal with the situation?

Not that I agree with Sebastian on this issue, but if you think that gay men don't have to deal with the consequences of teen pregnancy, you're crazy. I mean, here I am, a gay man in his 50's living with and helping to support four kids who were the product of teen pregnancy. Gay men have kids, and grandkids, too.

I agree with rea, actually.

I think men like Sebastian who want to force women through pregnancy and childbirth against their will are in the wrong. But so are women. Neither gender nor sexual orientation are relevant to this. The main difference between a man and a woman arguing for forced pregnancy is that the woman will usually have a private caveat about "it's okay for me to abort if I need to" and the man won't.

And that is why I bothered pointing out that just because you have an aim that all possible means of getting that aim aren't acceptable.

Great! Then we're all in agreement, because nobody -- quite literally nobody, in the strictest sense of the word -- argued that "all possible means" are acceptable. Right?

One person -- Jesurgislac, and possibly Gary -- argued for one particular mean -- Medicaid-funded abortions. From there, you decided to embark on a "Well why don't we just cut off people's penises? Huh? Huh?" flight of fancy that bore no relevance to anything anyone said, nor was it a logical extension of what was being argued. It was pure silliness for its own sake.

If you really think that, among the group of means that might be used to reduce live births to unmarried teens, "Medicaid-funded abortions" and "forced tubal ligations" are close enough in kind that you can simply leap from one to the other as a means of supporting an argument, you are being monumentally unserious.

My comments were in direct response to Jesurgislac, who extended the claim about contraception directly in to abortion for no logically articulated reason

Well, no, there was a logically articulated reason -- that easy access to contraception combined with easy access, via publicly-funded healthcare, to abortion has been the most successful means of limiting teen birth rates. That the former alone doesn't achieve what we might consider a worthwhile rate.

Exhibit A that I wasn't strawmanning can be found directly above.

Well, no, nothing that Jesurgislac said immediately above you, particularly within the first three paragraphs, all of which deal with the desirability from both a public policy and health standpoint for easy access to early-term abortion, has anything to do with "Why don't we just lock all girls away in harems?"

Seriously, you are way off base on this one.

2 people out of the 9 on this thread seem to think that abortion is pertinent to the subject, even though it pretty much isn't pertinent to the subject.

Me responding to them isn't strawmanning. My point remains that just because contraception is an effective way of curbing a social ill, doesn't mean that you have to subscribe to all possible means of curbing the social ill.

Supporting contraception as an effective method of reducing teenage pregnancies doesn't mean *at all* that I am logically required to support abortion as an effective means of reducing teenage motherhood.

Supporting contraception as an effective method of reducing teenage pregnancies doesn't mean *at all* that I am logically required to support abortion as an effective means of reducing teenage motherhood.

Neither does it mean that you are logically required to compare a teenage girl to have her unwanted pregnancy aborted and the abortion paid for by Medicaid (rather than any of the other less desirable options) with forcible tubal ligations at 13 or with locking women up in harems.

Neither does it mean that you are logically required to compare a teenage girl having her unwanted pregnancy aborted and the abortion paid for by Medicaid (rather than any of the other less desirable options*) with forcible tubal ligations at 13 or with locking women up in harems.

*Death; permanent damage to her health; sterility (all of which could be caused either by forcing her to have a baby too young or by forcing her to have an illegal abortion because she couldn't afford a legal one): or if she finances her legal abortion, what means does a teenage girl use to get a large amount of money without her parents' knowledge (if that's an issue): or lengthy delays as her parents figure out how to find the money to pay for her abortion, which may make the abortion itself more complex and expensive. All of this, Sebastian, you either have thought about and decided you're OK with - or you haven't thought about it at all and don't intend to, because all you care about is that no fraction of your tax shall be used to save a teenage girl from going through any/all of the previous.

(If this is a double post, I apologize.)

In favour of contraception but against abortion seems to become an even grayer area. Last week's Huffingtons post:

The Bush administration is up to its old tricks again, quietly putting ideology before science and women's health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is poised to put in place new barriers to accessing common forms of contraception like birth control pills, emergency contraception and IUDs by labeling them "abortion." These proposed regulations set to be released next week will allow healthcare providers to refuse to provide contraception to women who need it. We can't let them get away with this underhanded move to undermine women's health and that's why I am sounding the alarm.

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