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June 01, 2009

Comments

"You're very careful with your words."

Thank you.

Far be it from me to claim that a Megan McArdle post on any topic is making a coherent point.

Aye, there's the rub. After all this endless rumination, no one--including McArdle herself--can say with any certainty just what her point is.

May I suggest Occam's Razor? McArdle's point in this instance, as in so many others, is "HEY! LOOK OVER HERE! I'M PROVOCATIVE, CONTRARIAN, AND CONTROVERSIAL! I'M WHAT EVERYBODY'S TALKING ABOUT! WHAT DO I STAND FOR? WHO THE HELL CARES--I'VE GOT ZAZZ!"

And boy howdy, has she been reaping the rewards these past few days.

It's so damn sad. As if one Camille Paglia in this world wasn't already one too many.

Abortion becomes a major concern of the conservative US Protestant world, when ERA begins to take off.

When the body of the woman was still viewed as belonging to her husband, abortion was a “necessary evil,” once 2nd wave Feminism gains major steam and ERA is on the table, abortion became a threat.

"As if one Camille Paglia in this world wasn't already one too many."

brilliant

von: "Megan writes as though this was not a cost: as though once you see the innocent life at stake, that settles things. I think there is something more to be taken into account: commitment to democracy. I do not think that this can never be outweighed. But I do think that it's value is not zero.

I don't see that anywhere in Megan's writings, Hilzoy."

Megan: "We accept that when the law is powerless, people are entitled to kill in order to prevent other murders--had Tiller whipped out a gun at an elementary school, we would now be applauding his murderer's actions. In this case, the law was powerless because the law supported late-term abortions."

http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/06/the_war_on_the_war_on_abortion.php

So: when "the law is powerless", people can kill in order to prevent other murders, and the law is powerless when it is a law that has been interpreted in such a way as to permit what you take to be murders, even when the interpretation has taken place via the appropriate procedure.

I don't see how this is not equivalent to saying: when I believe that the law permits the killing of innocents, I am justified in taking it into my own hands. That settles things.

It's a matter of opinion, but it's not some sort of ethical dilemma.

The dilemma I was presenting hilzoy with was structured as follows:

If she didn't think killing 1 million Vietnamese (or probably closer to 3.5 million) people was worth overthrowing the government, then she would either have to agree that the US government killing 1 million US citizens would not merit a revolt, or else come up with some formula that would explain why a Vietnamese life counts for less than a US life.

"The point is, though I love Sebastian dearly, he doesn't know much about Constitutional law, or history. James Madison opposed a Bill of Rights on the grounds that it would lead to claims that only rights expressly mentioned in the Constitution were protected or enforceable. The 9th Amendment makes it plain that there are all kinds of enforceable rights not mentioned explicitly. The basic premise of the Declaration of Independence is that human beings have inalienable rights not granted by the government. Sebastian, more worried about judicial tyranny than by the tyranny of the majority vote, thinks the founders were wrong, and should have written the Constitution according to a different scheme."

If you want to go back to the "Natural Law" concept where rights are derived from discerning God's moral code from the universe, I suppose you CAN. I'm surprised that you want to though. Citing Madison and the 9th amendment doesn't get you to new rights unless you are willing to let Natural Law back in.

The framers weren't worried about judicial tyranny because they never would have considered that judges would take so much authority to themselves as to dispense with the need for amendments. They dealt with the problems they forsaw, not the ones they didn't forsee.

uncle kvetch--

i think that's right; she's basically a troll.

the trouble is that she's a troll with major support from the mainstream media. so not feeding her is not an option. if we don't respond to her, if hilzoy does not smack her down and show the emptiness of her posturing, she will still get fed--indeed, she gets fed plenty.

one of the central problems with discourse in america is that the media has a rule that no right-wing voice can ever lose its place in polite company. no matter how wrong it is. no matter how hopeless its predictions are. no matter how morally repellent its values are. see: billy kristol, rush limbaugh, tom delay, megan mccardle, karl rove, chuck colson, gordon liddy, and on and on.

several of them are felons. several of them are war-mongers. several of them are outright unabashed racists.

but they still get as much air-play, and as many column-inches, as their little hearts desire.

the amazing thing is that many people on the left actually get their press-pass revoked. they not only lose their free access to the op-ed page, they lose all right to represent themselves in public discourse. they are only talked about: they may never talk themselves.

i can peruse the newspapers and never fear that i'll see an op-ed by ward churchill: he was banned from polite society. i never have to worry about seeing bill ayers on the tv giving news analysis: he was banned from polite society. i no longer have to worry about michael moore or al sharpton or jesse jackson or many many of the left-wing voices who were deemed to have gone "too far" and so lost their place in polite society.

and, in my opinion, i'm just as glad not to hear most of the people on that list.

but the amazing thing is that there is no comparable list on the right. no matter what trash you spew, if you are a right-winger, you have a guaranteed public voice, for life. felony convictions don't tarnish it. utter imbecility doesn't tarnish it. as long as you are "provocative", you get a microphone and an op-ed page.

so i'd say that we're going to be hearing a lot of little megan's easy-listening venom for many decades to come. she has a right-wing sinecure, the only kind that the media grants.

and that means that we have to keep engaging her.

thank you, hilzoy, for showing exactly how vicious and vacuous she is.

not that this horse is worth beating any more, but ...

I'm surprised no one has commented on just how irrelevant her analogy is. When someone goes on a shooting spree at a mall, it is not the case that the law is "powerless"; it is the case that law enforcement is not "present". Which is why the act of shooting the shooter is a crime, to which there is a defense.

Law enforcement was, in fact, present in Dr. Tiller's offices. He had been charged with 19 violations of Kansas's law on late-term abortions AND ACQUITTED.

Sebastian: Kansas has precisely the kind of law you wish -- late term abortions are difficult to obtain. Just how many abortions did Tiller do in a year that do not meet your standard?

"If you want to go back to the "Natural Law" concept where rights are derived from discerning God's moral code from the universe, I suppose you CAN. I'm surprised that you want to though. Citing Madison and the 9th amendment doesn't get you to new rights unless you are willing to let Natural Law back in."


the idea that natural rights must be grounded in god's moral code, or even that they historically were always so grounded, is simply false.

it is also false that "natural law" concepts are always tied to god's moral code.

there are all kinds of ways to ground substantive natural rights. divine command theory is only one of them.

and you can bet that tom paine and tom jefferson, who both believed in natural rights, did not believe that they were based in special revelation via stone tablets.

kid blitzer

Well, I suppose there's Michael Savage, but even without polite society -- and I think I can safely say there's nothing "polite" about his society -- he does more than ok for himself.

@ DB Cooper

No, she is right.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-tiller_timelinejun01,0,3249738.story

Re: cleek @ 11:38

Christ, cleek, how could you read
to the bottom of that screed?

This just follows the pattern of denial they have been playing for the last 10 years: never admit anything, ever. Someone somewhere came up with the ridiculous idea that if you never admit defeat, then you never lose. They simply are refusing to accept the verdict. This and the teabags are their way of letting the rest of us know that we are not legitimate in their eyes. When the system says they lost, they reject the system entirely.

That is until they win again, when they will return to insisting that the rest of us eat shit.

I think what McCardle was saying was "if you accept the premise that abortion is the taking of innocent human lives and if the law is unwilling or unable to prevent those lives from being taken, then--based on those premises and from that person's perspective--shooting Tiller would be morally justified."

It is similar to positing: if you believe that killing a woman for having an affair is murder, and if the law is unwilling or unable to prevent that murder, then--based on those premises and from that person's perspective, shooting the woman-killer would be morally justified.

The issue lies in the first premises, equating abortion with murder and equating killing a woman having an affair with murder. Our country is split on whether the first premise, or a more diluted variant, e.g. abortion terminates a life that would be fully human if allowed to remain in the womb, but only a small minority (strict adherents of Sharia law) subscribe to the second.

Just how many abortions did Tiller do in a year that do not meet your standard?

We can't know for sure. Thanks to Doe, neither Mr. Bellmore nor Mr. Holsclaw is permitted to pry into these families' private medical affairs and decide yea or nay. This is the result of obviously unsupportable judicial activism.

Well, let's just agree on the point of Tiller's murder. All of us agree that it is unjustifiable. Hilzoy is vehement on this point, calling it terrorism, and arguing for a program to enhance abortion rights. Megan is more like, "Well, its in the end unjustifiable, but I can see his point". She argues that pushing for such a program would inflame the radical anti-abortion fringe further. I think she is exactly right on this, but let us agree to disagree on this. (The Obama Administration is not going to push any such program right now-take that to the bank).
The real nub is whether there should be limits on third trimester abortions, which are actually allowed in Roe v Wade.

This turns on your view of whether the fetus are to be accorded any rights. The pro-abortion rights crowd in effect argues that a late term fetus has no legal rights and that a woman should be allowed to terminate a third term fetus for any reason. I ( and Sebastian) would argue that a late term fetus is in some sense a human being and ought to be afforded some protection. I would argue that the majority of Americans actually agree with me and would pass laws limiting third trimester abortions. Sebastian sees Roe v Wade as obstructing a democratic solution to the abortion controversy, and deplores this. The ObiWings majority thinks that Roe V Wade should be read precisely to bar any restrictions on abortions, because a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy for any reason at any time is or should be an absolute right, guaranteed by the Constitution. Is this where we are ?

I think what McCardle was saying was "if you accept the premise that abortion is the taking of innocent human lives and if the law is unwilling or unable to prevent those lives from being taken, then--based on those premises and from that person's perspective--shooting Tiller would be morally justified."

She gets paid to make a "point" that utterly, screamingly, jaw-droppingly banal for the Atlantic?

"If you believe abortion is murder, then you might also believe the killing of a doctor who performs abortions is the preemptive killing of a murderer, and therefore justified."

Really? That's it?

"see: billy kristol, rush limbaugh, tom delay, megan mccardle, karl rove, chuck colson, gordon liddy, and on and on."

I just don't see Megan as being remotely in the same category as these others. Sorry. I have disagreements with her, but I think they're honest disagreements. And all of the rest other than Kristol are simply thugs, of one degree of smoothness or another, while Kristol merely supples the rationale for their thuggery. I don't see Megan as belonging in their company.

Megan: "We accept that when the law is powerless, people are entitled to kill in order to prevent other murders--had Tiller whipped out a gun at an elementary school, we would now be applauding his murderer's actions. In this case, the law was powerless because the law supported late-term abortions."

http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/06/the_war_on_the_war_on_abortion.php

So: when "the law is powerless", people can kill in order to prevent other murders, and the law is powerless when it is a law that has been interpreted in such a way as to permit what you take to be murders, even when the interpretation has taken place via the appropriate procedure.

I don't see how this is not equivalent to saying: when I believe that the law permits the killing of innocents, I am justified in taking it into my own hands. That settles things.

Hilzoy, you are taking McArdle out of context. The following is the complete quote. I've italicized the part that you omitted, and bolded a particularly relevant part of your omission.

We accept that when the law is powerless, people are entitled to kill in order to prevent other murders--had Tiller whipped out a gun at an elementary school, we would now be applauding his murderer's actions. In this case, the law was powerless because the law supported late-term abortions. Moreover, that law had been ruled outside the normal political process by the Supreme Court. If you think that someone is committing hundreds of gruesome murders a year, and that the law cannot touch him, what is the moral action? To shrug? Is that what you think of ordinary Germans who ignored Nazi crimes? Is it really much of an excuse to say that, well, most of your neighbors didn't seem to mind, so you concluded it must be all right? We are not morally required to obey an unjust law. In fact, when the death of innocents is involved, we are required to defy it.

As I say, I think their moral intuition is incorrect. The fact that conception and birth are the easiest bright lines to draw does not make either of them the correct one. Tiller's killer is a murderer, and whether or not he deserves the lengthy jail sentence he will get, society needs him in jail for its own protection.

Stonetools: No. As I pointed out, Kansas already has restrictions on late term abortions, designed to limit them to those that are truly medically necessary.

I am not aware of a single state that, during the Bush admin, took the opportunity to pass a law that sought to impose additional burdens on late-term abortions while still recognizing that in some cases such procedures are medically necessary.

SH tends to make much of exceptions for the mental health of the woman. But where are the recent amendments to state laws that try to impose additional (but not "undue") burdens on women who seek to invoke impacts to their mental health as a reason for obtaining late-term abortions?

**crickets**

i understand your hesitation, gary.

she's so smooth, it takes a while to see what she's up to.

but just keep watching the views she advances and the people she gives cover to.

like kristol, she supplies the rationale for others' thuggery.

she has earned her place in that list. while earning a lot of money doing it.

Hmmm...

"The pro-abortion rights crowd in effect argues that a late term fetus has no legal rights and that a woman should be allowed to terminate a third term fetus for any reason."

and

"The ObiWings majority thinks that Roe V Wade should be read precisely to bar any restrictions on abortions, because a woman's right to terminate a pregnancy for any reason at any time is or should be an absolute right, guaranteed by the Constitution."

Interesting, stonetools, that you began by criticizing a strawman argument, and then proceeded to construct a caricature.

But von, in your extended quote, Megan equivocates on whether Tiller's killer deserves a lengthy jail sentence. As if there are mitigating factors that should reduce it. Only societal protection - and not necessarily the morality of the unerlying crime - justifies the lengthy sentence.

Von: Megan is wrong twice over. It is just wrong to say that "the law supported late-term abortions." Supreme Court jurisprudence allows for regulation of late-term abortions. And the Supreme Court is part of the normal political process.

Or were Griswold, Brown and Loving all also wrongly decided? Put more broadly, is it ever appropriate for the Sup. Ct. to defy the will of state legislatures and establish civil rights? What the f*ck do the words "equal protection" and the Liberty Clause of the 5th amendment mean? And why is your interpretation correct and the Roe court's interpretation wrong?

The ObiWings majority thinks that Roe V Wade should be read precisely to bar any restrictions on abortions

I doubt that very much, as Roe states rather plainly that the state has authority to restrict third trimester abortions, at tleast of the life or health of the mother are not issue.

That is, after all, how Kansas could prosecute Tiller (unsucessfully, but not for constitutional reasons) on 19 counts of illegal abortion.

But von, in your extended quote, Megan equivocates on whether Tiller's killer deserves a lengthy jail sentence. As if there are mitigating factors that should reduce it. Only societal protection - and not necessarily the morality of the unerlying crime - justifies the lengthy sentence.

Eric: Whether McArdle equivocates or not, McArdle does not take the position that Hilzoy ascribes to her.

(The Original) Francis: as I said above, McArdle's piece contains some errors.

Citing Madison and the 9th amendment doesn't get you to new rights unless you are willing to let Natural Law back in.

I think Hilzoy posted on this a while back--certainly, it would be bold of me to start making assertions about the metaphysical basis of ethics on her site. :)

But no, Sebastian, it is not necessary to believe in God in order to have a concept of right and wrong.

"Whether McArdle equivocates or not, McArdle does not take the position that Hilzoy ascribes to her. "

She does. Hilzoy is saying that McArdle argued that the killer would be justified in taking the life. McArdle says just that (first explicitly, then through a caveat), but then concedes that the killer should be subject to some prison sentence nonetheless.

Your added excerpts don't contradict that. They reinforce it.

Although in your defense, McArdle is sort of all over the map on this one, and her follow up post only succeeded in muddying the waters further.

The ObiWings majority thinks that Roe V Wade should be read precisely to bar any restrictions on abortions

I doubt that very much, as Roe states rather plainly that the state has authority to restrict third trimester abortions, at tleast of the life or health of the mother are not issue.

I'm not so sure about that, rea, have a look at the comments in this thread.

Novakant, I don't see anyone in that thread contending that either that Roe allows third trimester abortions when the life or health of the mother is not involved, or that a right to such abortions ought to be recognized. Maybe I'm missing something?

She does. Hilzoy is saying that McArdle argued that the killer would be justified in taking the life. McArdle says just that (first explicitly, then through a caveat), but then concedes that the killer should be subject to some prison sentence nonetheless.

Your added excerpts don't contradict that. They reinforce it.

McArdle's statement is directly to the contrary. McArdle writes: "As I say, I think their moral intuition is incorrect." Who's moral intuition? The people who assert that the "killer would be justified" in killing abortionists.

But even if McArdle wrote "I think their moral intuition is correct" instead of what she actually wrote -- "I think their moral intuition is incorrect" (emph. added) -- it still would be contrary the position that Hilzoy ascribed to her, namely, that "when I believe that the law permits the killing of innocents, I am justified in taking it into my own hands."

"But no, Sebastian, it is not necessary to believe in God in order to have a concept of right and wrong."

What does that have to do with it, I was talking about the roots of the 9th amendment. And you were suggesting that I didn't understand what the framers were talking about. And Natural Law isn't strictly about a religious God anyway (which is why your appeal to the deists among the framers makes no sense in context--the whole point of deism is that Natural Law can be derived from examining the universe to receive the creator's framework).

"Novakant, I don't see anyone in that thread contending that either that Roe allows third trimester abortions when the life or health of the mother is not involved, or that a right to such abortions ought to be recognized."

Really? What about the whole gist that under no circumstances whatsoever ought the government interfere in the woman's right to choose?

Although in your defense, McArdle is sort of all over the map on this one, and her follow up post only succeeded in muddying the waters further.

By the way, McArdle is all over the map on this issue, but not on this particular point. McArdle provides two specific reasons why Tiller's murderer should be punished:

1. The murder is immoral ("As I say, I think their moral intuition is incorrect."), and,

2. Even if the murder wasn't immoral, the rule of law demands it ("society needs him in jail for its own protection.").

Novakant, I don't see anyone in that thread contending that either that Roe allows third trimester abortions when the life or health of the mother is not involved, or that a right to such abortions ought to be recognized. Maybe I'm missing something?

If you need a target, I don't think there should be any state restrictions on third trimester abortions, other perhaps than those that would make the procedures safer for the woman.

That is not of course what Roe says, and Roe is wrong.

@Eric

OK, Eric, prove that my characterization is all wrong. Give me a reason or circumstances in which YOU think that the state should restrict a woman's right to a third trimester abortion.

@(The Original) Francis

The reason that states don't pass those laws is that most restrictions on abortion tend to be struck down as unduly burdensome.Generally, all a woman has to do is claim that it adversely affects their mental health and if any doctor signs off on it, thatr's the end of thje inquiry. Have you ever heard of a situation in which a woman could NOT find a doctor to claim that her mental health would not be adversely affected by continuing her pregnancy?

(waits in silence, watches tumbleweeds go by)

As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, every unwanted pregnancy adversely affects the mental AND physical health of the mother, even if the fetus is eight months old and is completely healthy.

all of the rest other than Kristol are simply thugs, of one degree of smoothness or another, while Kristol merely supples the rationale for their thuggery. I don't see Megan as belonging in their company.

Gary, back in '03, during the big protests before the war, she advocated beating antiwar protestors with 2X4's. Rather thuggish, and why I find her so hard to take, even when she's pretending to be reasonable.

As far as Planned Parenthood is concerned, every unwanted pregnancy adversely affects the mental AND physical health of the mother, even if the fetus is eight months old and is completely healthy.

It seems to me that it would be a very rare case that being forced to carry a child to term and then going through childbirth with the attendant risk of death and substantial risk of c-section (major surgery) and other subsequent health issues did not "adversely affects the mental AND physical health of the mother."

"OK, Eric, prove that my characterization is all wrong. Give me a reason or circumstances in which YOU think that the state should restrict a woman's right to a third trimester abortion."

Wait, that's not what you said. What you said was that us pro-choicers think that a woman should be allowed to abort at any time, for any reason, and that this is an absolute Constitutional right that cannot be restricted in any way.

Thus, to disprove your point, I would not need to come up with restrictions that I FAVOR, but merely to acknowledge that a given legislature COULD come up with restrictions that would pass Constitutional muster.

Which legislatures have. And which exist in law.

And for the record, I am amenable to restrictions on third trimester abortions other than in cases of rape, incest and risk to the mother's health.

@Eric

Both Jesurgislac and Bob Macmanus clearly and proudly hold to the absolutist position , as judged by the comments on these threads. I'm sure that they have plenty of company, so I think my characterization is correct. i'd like to hear your response to my question, though. Thank you in advance

"McArdle's statement is directly to the contrary. McArdle writes: "As I say, I think their moral intuition is incorrect." Who's moral intuition? The people who assert that the "killer would be justified" in killing abortionists."

Parts of that statement are as you say. Parts aren't (the part where she suggests that there are mitigating circumstances). Also, the statement before that is as Hilzoy describes it. And as I describe it.

The problem here is that McArdle says two seemingly contradictory things in two paragraphs (and actually contradicts herself within those two).

So your quote supports your reading. Hilzoy's supports hers.

I think there is a lot of unnecessary debate being provoked by the word 'justified'. I’m pretty sure that Megan is using it to mean self-justified.

Think for example of a sentence like "We can understand why Palestinians might become terrorists after generations of feeling attacked and oppressed by Israel."

'Understand' could be "excuse" but it doesn't have to be.

"Both Jesurgislac and Bob Macmanus clearly and proudly hold to the absolutist position , as judged by the comments on these threads. I'm sure that they have plenty of company, so I think my characterization is correct. i'd like to hear your response to my question, though. Thank you in advance"

There are undoubtedly some pro-choicers that hold the view you ascribed to pro-choicers as an entirety. I would stipulate that there are others besides Jes and Bob. But that's not my argument. My argument is that you took the positions of some, and applied them to the pro-choicers as a whole, and to a majority of ObWi readers/writers.

Hence, my claim that you constructed a caricature.

Both Jesurgislac and Bob Macmanus clearly and proudly hold to the absolutist position , as judged by the comments on these threads. I'm sure that they have plenty of company, so I think my characterization is correct.

Uh, you do realize that Bob and Jes are decidedly not in the ObWi majority, but constitute its lefty fringe, right?

Note: this is not a slam at all on Bob or Jes, just an observation that their politics are generally at the leftmost extent of the range of opinions on display here.

Eric, I am a pro-choicer and have laid out in that thread a position that is standard in most European countries and would probably conform to a conservative reading of "Roe". Considering the backlash my position provoked, I think it's fair to say that I'm in the minority here and that the majority at ObWi would prefer a far more liberal reading.

Francis beat me to one of the things I intended to say: a fetus in the last trimester of pregnancy has protections under US and Kansas law, and Dr. Tiller (as a grand jury investigation affirmed) complied with them.

I'll clarify another point, which I alluded to earlier: I do not find Ms. McArdle's comments on Roe v Wade relevant or persuasive. If you truly consider a fetus a full and absolute human being from conception onwards, you must logically want to see laws on abortion that (based on the results of the South Dakota votes among others) no state in the union will ever pass. The murderer of George Tiller, and those who condone that murder, do not have an issue with the nine justices who sat on the Supreme Court in 1973; they have an issue with the American people.

I didn't see Eric or any other member of the silent majority come to novakant's rescue in the earlier threads.

Where can I read more about the prosecutions of Tiller? Last I heard (2 maybe 3 years ago) Planned Parenthood was fighting the examination of the patient records in those cases. They had won the last battle that I read about.

You can't really use those as a vindication of Tiller if the medical records were never examined.

@Eric
OK , I assume you won't answer my question. Speaks volumes, Eric.
I'll amend my characterization of \from the majority of Obi Wingers to "many". I'll goi that far, although, I really haven't seen ANY of the pro choicers here(hilzoy apart) admit to considering ANY restrictions on a woman's right to abort in third trimester. hilzoy seems to want to make an exception for Down's Syndrome fetuses, but the rest pretty much seem to say that if the woman wants an abortion, she gets one. THE END.

What's astonishing about this is when you contrast this to the First Amendment. Its in the Bill of rights in black and white-Numero Uno. Its the freakin' First Amendment! But even the ACLU acknowledges restrictions on the First Amendment. You can't shout " fire in crowded theater", you can't defame, you can't sell child pornography, etc.
In contrast, the right to abortion sits huddled in the shadows of the Bill of Rights. You could read every word of the Constitution and miss it-as indeed everyone did till 1973.
Yet this right is to be interpreted in an absolutist fashion. Well, OK...

I didn't see Eric or any other member of the silent majority come to novakant's rescue in the earlier threads.

Indeed, our failure to engage Jes in a long, interminable discussion about the nuances of abortion is proof positive that we agree with her completely in all regards.

Alternatively, people might have decided that it wasn't worth their time to engage with Jes on this issue since they had little confidence that anything productive would result and, in any event, they agree with Jes on most aspects of abortion policy.

"OK , I assume you won't answer my question. Speaks volumes, Eric."

Which question? I answered this one:

"Give me a reason or circumstances in which YOU think that the state should restrict a woman's right to a third trimester abortion"

With this:

"I am amenable to restrictions on third trimester abortions other than in cases of rape, incest and risk to the mother's health."

Well, this matter could have been resolved rather easily, if people would have simply said what exactly it is they want, instead of slinging mud.

"I didn't see Eric or any other member of the silent majority come to novakant's rescue in the earlier threads. "

What Turb said. Also: You didn't see me comment on those threads at all.

"Considering the backlash my position provoked, I think it's fair to say that I'm in the minority here and that the majority at ObWi would prefer a far more liberal reading"

To be honest, I didn't read that thread or your position. But we have thousands of readers, and hundreds of commenters.

From what I can tell in cursory research, the records weren’t turned over, so the trial was solely on whether or not Tiller’s in-house secondary physician was an employee of his. The jury found that she was independent of Tiller in that sense which satisfied the narrow independence charge for a second signature required for the abortion.

So far as I can tell, I wouldn’t use that trial to support the proposition for example that a jury found that those abortions were medically necessary, or that a court has investigated his abortions and found them medically necessary.

The reporting is really sketchy however, so if someone finds a good case study or something I’d be happy to read it.

@Eric

I'm sorry Eric. I missed it. You did answer. I'm running errands between posts, but I did miss it and you did answer. Mind you, I think your answer is somewhat coy, but OK.
You are conceding more then just about pro choicer on this thread, though. Mind you get read out of church :-).

I think Jes is preparing an anathema even as we type...

Notice how concepts of justice we feel in our gut tend to lead to radical conclusions about the legitimacy of laws and states?

Preserving a dog-and-pony show democracy cannot logically be the highest ethical priority--democracy is just a means, not an end. political stability is perhaps an end, but only indirectly insofar as it prevents larger human travesties than would otherwise occur if there was instability fostered by political violence.

Remember though, politics proper IS violence, or, more technically, coercion under threat of violence. The State is the gun we point at each other to impose our preferences when we're too lazy to persuade.

Worried about civil war? With the all-powerful state, democracy is already perpetual "cold" war between domestic interest groups, albeit in a contained and predictable theater.

But we have thousands of readers, and hundreds of commenters.

Obviously I cannot see into the mind of ObWi's hundreds of commenters, but maybe you want to take a look at the thread we were discussing.

"Gary, back in '03, during the big protests before the war, she advocated beating antiwar protestors with 2X4's."

Y'know (or maybe you don't), she didn't. This was a dumb post, but it didn't advocate beatings, and I'm a big believer in the notion that everyone gets to stuff their foot in their mouth now and again, and not have that be the end-all of their life's writing.

She subsequently said it was a pretty stupid thing to write.

I've written some dumb and regrettable things, myself, and I'd be very annoyed if people never let me forget them.

novakant: Considering the backlash my position provoked, I think it's fair to say that I'm in the minority here

No: the backlash was, as I recall, mostly me. I think it's fair to say that I'm in the minority here. Your opinion is probably mainstream enough to fit in: Bob McManus and I are the two extreme "Don't kill women for your morality" people, and I'm the one prepared to argue about it at length.

(I'm from the UK, and while I appreciate the hard-won change that a woman can have an abortion pretty much whenever she decides she needs one, up to 20 weeks, I do object to the change in the law that cut 24 weeks to 20 weeks out of a misplaced idea about fetal viability, and the recent attempts by alarmingly many misogynist or misinformed MPs to restrict 20 weeks to 16 weeks.

But at least the pro-life movement in the UK never developed into terrorism.

And European women who live in countries with more restrictive laws on abortion have a right protected by law to travel to the UK and get an abortion here.)

novakant, I point this out not to take a shot at you, but given that (if memory serves), you had previously weighed in beside now_what on the problematic ethical nature of Memorial Day, your comments on abortion seemed like another excursion along those lines, where the point seemed to be to use logic to demonstrate some sort of moral superiority to everyone else. I mention this not because I think this is what your intention is, but because that's the way it has come across.

btw, I am most definitely to the right of Jes and Bob McManus on this issue. I imagine this is probably why some folks hang out at liberal blogs even though they don't seem to agree anything on offer-there is no way they are going to get outflanked and find themselves attacked from the right.

I pretty much weigh in with Jes and Bob on this one. Even to the extent that I would personally be morally queasy about a late-term abortion, I don't see a compelling reason to restrict people who are not me from getting them.

To be honest, I have a hard time finding a real point in McArdle's article.

Here's my paraphrase:

If you stipulate that abortion is murder, then killing abortionists makes perfect sense.

But folks who are pro-choice are only making things worse because they're stomping on anti-abortion folks.

Except she doesn't stipulate that abortion in murder, in fact she claims to believe the opposite, especially in early stages of pregnancy.

And nobody's actually doing anything remotely like stomping on the anti-abortion folks.

So, whatever.

I have friends who are Buddhists and who think it's morally wrong to kill any sentient being. Some of them go so far that they will not kill a mosquito that is biting them.

That's their sincere, profoundly held religious belief.

Even though their every day is, from their point of view, a parade of unending slaughter of precious innocent souls, they do not gun meat eaters down in the streets.

They don't do so because *that is also wrong*. No matter what John Brown did.

If we're going to start gunning each other down when we have profound disagreements, we are going to have a very, very big problem.

I'd really like to see conservative people stop bitching about the arrogance of the Supreme Court and start getting their nuttier colleagues in line before some serious shit hits the fan.

They can start by getting @ssholes like Savage, Coulter, et al off the air. I'm not talking about censorship, I'm talking about not listening to their damned shows and buying their damned books.

Somebody's ponying up for that swill. Those folks aren't doing it for laughs.

So far this year we have Unitarians gunned down because some gun crazy idiot believed the liberals were out to get him, and a doctor gunned down for performing legal operations in the interest of saving the lives of women with really, really problematic pregnancies.

That crap will not stand.

Speaking purely for myself as someone on the left, I'm not putting up any longer with the kind of bullying, poor-mouth, faux-victim crap that has been the regular form of discourse from the conservative movement for the last 30 years. I'm not putting up with it because it leads to this. The cause and effect is obvious, and if you can't see that you either have a serious cognitive deficit or you're engaging in some serious and willful denial.

It's on the conservatives in this country to knock this stuff off. Ain't no liberals or lefties shooting people down in the streets, and hasn't been for about forty years.

Y'all need to get your act together. Dig?

McArdle is a smart woman. Whenever I see her on the TV I'm impressed with her general thoughtfulness and unwillingness to chew the red meat.

But her blog posts are frequently exercises in sloppy thought and moral idiocy. I count this most recent one among those.

My personal view, fwiw, is more or less as follows:

Post-viability abortions should be limited to protecting serious impacts to the mother's mental and physical health. The decision is to be reviewed by another ob/gyn who must both meet with the woman and have no financial benefit from the procedure.

Was she raped & kept prisoner for 6 months, but the fetus is now healthy? Mental health exception applies. Did she knowingly and willingly commit incest and now wants the abortion only because she got caught and is embarrassed? I think the doctor should probably say no and talk about adoption.

In all cases, the law should pretty much keep the DA away. These are not processes in which the heavy hand of law enforcement is likely to do much good. The law instead should act to force doctors to police themselves.

I'm to the right of the Jes and Bob McManus in theory but with them in practice. That is: I would be comfortable with a legal regime where third trimester abortions were heavily regulated if I thought there was a chance in hell that it could be administered fairly. Given how abortion restrictions were administered before Roe v Wade and given what we know about how fairly current abortion restrictions are administered, I can't imagine that happening. No matter what happens, upper middle class suburban adult women will always have an unlimited right to procure abortions while other women will face a host of restrictions. As a society, we let the upper class suburban women face no restrictions because we don't really think abortion is a big deal. Our need to control abortion access by the disfavored classes has a lot more to do with our own anxieties than anything inherent in the act.

These anti-abortion extremists are indeed much like the weather underground of the 60's. They are self-rightous and out of touch with mainstream society.

The problem here is that 'personhood' isn't a determination that can be made scientifically or theologically. Personhood (somebody correct me if I'm wrong) is a legal status. I'm amenable to to legislation that will declare such and so to be a person . . . but there has to be a justification for it that's not circular.

So we need to declare when legal personhood has been reached, and there has to be justification for that decision, but that justification can't be reached via science, or theology, or circular reasoning. I believe you have set us a very difficult problem.

btw, I am most definitely to the right of Jes and Bob McManus on this issue.

I would love to hear this one.

I look like a reactionary Calvinist when it comes to TULIP, but look like a poststructuralist Marxist in my political strategies.

...and I'm the one prepared to argue about it at length.

Oh, cause This is the kind of choice argument I like.

You know, I’m so used to seeing conservatives claim that liberating women by limiting state control over our reproductive functions is a “power grab”, so I tend to gloss over it. But if you think about it, really, it’s quite possibly the most incoherent wingnut position to date, and that’s even when you take the “Obama’s got a jihad against car dealerships” into consideration. But reading Douthat, I have clarity. Apparently, conservatives understand the struggle as that between the rightful owners of uteruses (conservative men, who know how to use a firm and punishing hand against women) and illegitimate thieves (the federal government, which has stolen Douthat’s rightful uterine property and spoiled the silly women by allowing us to run around contraceptin’ and abortin’ in much the way a bad dog owner can’t stop his dog from peeing on the carpet). The idea of liberty for women just doesn’t compute.
...Marcotte

(checked for extreme PR violations, but minor ones may have gotten thru)

The problem here is that McArdle says two seemingly contradictory things in two paragraphs (and actually contradicts herself within those two).

When you're faced with an apparent contradiction, I submit that the first thing you should do is not to toss out one reading in favor of the other (or throw up your hands). You should see if the readings can be reconciled. And, in fact, a reconciliation is easy here.

Megan is making an argument (I think this behavior is immoral) and an argument assuming arguendo (I will put myself into the shoes of the other side and show why this behavior is still incorrect). The apparent conflict is no conflict at all, but rather the effect of putting an argument and assumption-arguendo-argument (to coin an awkward phrase) next to each other. I actually think that's quite clear from the text, but, even if there's some ambiguity, Megan is crystal clear in her later posts (as well as elsewhere in this one).

I don't get the assumption that defining a fetus or ferilized egg as a person therefore means its life should be protected and its abortion should be considered murder.

What makes fertilized egg people and pre-born people so special that we can't kill them? We execute innocent people all the time in ths country. Heck in the name of fighting terrorism we have tortured innocent people to death. We have killed all kinds of post-birth people who never attacked us or threatened us in any way in a whole bunch of unnecessary wars. We have killed lots of post-birth people in the necessary wars, too.

Who really believes that human life is sacred? Not the self-proclaimed pro-lifers, that's for sure. The truth is that almost everyone thinks it's Ok to kill people sometimes. That's why the whole question of when life begins is moot. So what if the pre-born are people? The question isn't whether or not it's OK to kill people. The question is under what circumstances is it OK to kill people.

I don't think the moral issues around the killing of a person who has no consciousness due to not having a brain yet are any where near as serious as the moral issues around killing a sentient post-birth person.

BTW in spite of the cynical glib tone of my comment I do think the moral issues around the death of a fetus or a fertilized egg are serious ( and i think it is obvious that life begins at conception). However, I also think that if we as a society really want to fight the human tendency to be barbaric and really want to create a more moral society, the place to start is with our arrogant disregard for the lives of the living.

We execute innocent people all the time in ths country

No we don't. How many innocent people have been executed by the government this year in the US?

On the other side of the ledger, there are currently around 1,000,000 abortions performed per year in the US, with a total of around 50,000,000 since 1973.

And yes I am opposed to capital punishment in most cases.

The question is under what circumstances is it OK to kill people

What exactly do you think has been under discussion here for the last month?

I do not much like third-trimester abortions. I suspect no one does. That said, I would also like them to be allowed in cases of serious problems with the fetus, whether or not the mother's life or health is endangered. That fetus without a face, for instance. If it were my child and I knew that it would die a horrible death, I would want to anaesthetize and kill it before it encountered a world in which it could not breathe. And I would want this done as early as possible.

At least, I think that's what I'd want, putting myself in a position I hope I never encounter. If someone did want it, I would not want to say: no, your own health is not in jeopardy.

"McArdle's out here is that she is not actually agreeing that Tiller was a murderer. She's just saying that if one believes that Tiller was a murderer, assassinating him is not only acceptable, but possibly morally required. And that's what I meant by "semi-advocacy.""
-- Ben Alpers

Not a good "out." By this logic people would be morally required to kill OJ.

Following on Hilzoy's comment here I think that our policies regarding late-term abortions should be framed with the idea that it not place undue burden upon any woman who needed one -- not place her in any further medical risk and not add a lot of bureaucratic hoops in the face of a person or family that is already faced with a terrible situation. I think that is the compassionate thing.

I'm not going to throw over that compassion because I think that someone might use that loophole as justification for getting an abortion under circumstances I do not believe rise to my personal standard of risk.

Functionally that comes out looking like what Jes and Bob want because I can't trust the other side to value the woman's life and health as highly as they value their own commitment to life-in-principle.

@ Wonkie @8:36

I do think the moral issues around the death of a fetus or a fertilized egg are serious ( and i think it is obvious that life begins at conception)
If you learn a little biology, this proposition becomes very hard to defend; and if you learn about how IVF is done, it becomes even harder to reconcile this notion with the policy aims of the anti-abortion movement.

The question of just when the entity developing from a fertilized oocyte becomes a human being is a difficult one, which is why there is extremely little support for third-trimester abortions that aren't necessitated by the health of the mother or the inviability of the fetus, and why I recognize that earlier abortions can be a thorny decision that I wouldn't wish on anyone, even as I prefer to see it remain their choice. But the only way to argue that a totipotent cell is a human being is to rely on theology, not on any understanding of the science; and as regards such theologies, while I am a devout atheist I would nonetheless presume to declare that any theology whose ethical framework I could respect would surely provide protections for such innocent "humans". As you really should already know, something like half of all fertilized oocytes never implant and progress to become pregnancies, and in the US and most of the world IVF clinics routinely make supernumerary embryos that they then consign to the slow death of permanent storage.

There is a weird, *sick* idea amongst some of these posts that we need to *force* women to care for their children, born or no. What crazy scenario are you imagining where someone will carry a child seven or eight months then seek to end the pregnancy on a "whim"?

No, actually. Please don't tell me what you imagine. Just.. You don't have to legislate to make mothers to love their babies. If your argument assumes that we do, I think you've gone far, far astray and please reconsider.

someotherdude,
I'm pretty comfortable with the caveats given by Turb, hilzoy and others, and the point that the debate position and the real-life effect of certain policies is not the same is something that I was trying to aim at. Nous' comment of

Functionally that comes out looking like what Jes and Bob want

is really interesting, because it acknowledges that there is an Overton window effect, and perhaps, with this assassination, they have been proven more correct than me. Though I wonder if they heard Obama's Notre Dame speech and said 'geez, what a load of fascist codswallop'.

With due respect to Bob and Jes, I don't think they represent the solid center of opinion here at ObWi (and I think they would be offended if they were claimed to be), which is what novakant seems to think.

The reason I said 'on this issue' is that I didn't want to make a stronger claim that I am on the right of them on every issue.


As far as the TULIP goes, I don't think I'm Totally Depraved, but opinions may differ...

LOL, thanks, I totally misunderstood your meaning.

...while I am a devout atheist I would nonetheless presume to declare that any theology whose ethical framework I could respect would surely provide protections for such innocent "humans".

Not me. I think any respectable theology would disdain the wishy-washiness of those who merely champion the "unborn", and would take up the cause of that far-more-vulnerable class, the unconceived!

--TP

"Though I wonder if they heard Obama's Notre Dame speech and said 'geez, what a load of fascist codswallop'."

Well, I think only Mr. mcmanus would include the "fascist" part. And God bless him for it.

And TULIP? Bah! TCURP all the way. Modified Arminianism FTW!

Sebastian: let's try to apply Occam's razor to the question of Dr. Tiller's ethics. It only seems reasonable, since Dr. Tiller can't defend himself any more. Occam's razor, in this case, suggests that if we have no evidence for a proposition, we should not try to rely on evidence that "might" exist. As I understand it, a grand jury no-billed Dr. Tiller. Unless we have actual evidence that they did so in error, or evidence (beyond simple assertions by partisans) that the courts suppressed evidence unfavourable to Dr. Tiller on narrow partisan grounds, then that verdict has to stand.

Likewise, unless unfavourable accounts of Dr. Tiller's practices emerge to challenge the favourable accounts posted at web logs such as Andrew Sullivan's, we should not infer that such unfavourable accounts exist.

In other words, whatever you or I want to believe, I suggest we only rely on the evidence of Dr. Tiller's character and willingness to abide by the law that we actually have.

When it comes to the law, consider the case of Canada. In Canada, no criminal sanction prevents a woman from having an abortion under any circumstance. Even after a child has drawn his or her first breath, a special law covering infanticide means that a woman who kills her baby in the first year of life faces a maximum of five years, with no mandatory jail time at all. The result? Canada has a slightly lower incidence of abortion than the United States. If restrictive laws have an effect on abortion rates, the Canada-US comparison doesn't show it.

I was thinking of theological protections, not policy protections; i.e. if you are going to posit a soul for fertilized oocytes, knowing that the majority don't become people in any case, you'd better give those souls a fallback plan other than, say, baptism.

But, yeah, it would be theologically consistent if some of the more religious anti-abortion activists were also to call for legislation banning onanism.

von - "McArdle writes: "As I say, I think their moral intuition is incorrect." Who's moral intuition? The people who assert that the "killer would be justified" in killing abortionists. "

Huh? On the contrary: isn't it clear that the "moral intuition" McArdle's talking about is the ordinary pro-life intuition that abortion is murder?

She thinks assassination is fine if lives are on the line; she merely rejects the anti-abortion intuition that lives are on the line. If they were, McArdle thinks, the assassin would be justified.

Modified Arminianism FTW!

You guys should just convert to the Papist side and be done with it!

;-}

Richard, your reading of McArdle is not plausible.

"As I understand it, a grand jury no-billed Dr. Tiller. Unless we have actual evidence that they did so in error, or evidence (beyond simple assertions by partisans) that the courts suppressed evidence unfavourable to Dr. Tiller on narrow partisan grounds, then that verdict has to stand."

I don't think you read what I have already wrote. So far as I can tell the jury ruled ONLY on the narrow question of whether the 2nd doctor had too much of a financial relationship to Tiller. So far as I can tell they did not see any documents on the actual fetuses. If you have other information please feel free to link it.

"There is a weird, *sick* idea amongst some of these posts that we need to *force* women to care for their children, born or no."

Shane, this will shock you, but there actually are weird, *sick* people out there, and some of them are women. IOW, there really are some non-negligible fraction of women who do need to be forced to care for their children.

Any argument about abortion which starts out with the premise that "no woman would seek an unnecessary abortion" is stark nonsense.

von - why do you think my interpretation is "not plausible"? It seems pretty obvious to me, and certainly far more consistent with the rest of her post than your weird interpretation (which seems downright inconsistent with the rest of her post).

McArdle began: "Let me start off, in the obligatory way, by announcing that I am pro-choice... Now I can move onto the observation that if you actually think late-term abortion is murder, then the murder of Dr. Tiller makes total sense."

She then goes on about how "people are entitled to kill in order to prevent other murders."

Then she concludes: "As I say, I think their moral intuition is incorrect. The fact that conception and birth are the easiest bright lines to draw does not make either of them the correct one."

Notice the two features that conclusively establish my interpretation is correct:
(1) The "as I say" indicates that she is merely repeating a disavowal already made earlier in the post; she's not making a new claim at this point. This is consistent with my interpretation, and inconsistent with yours.

(2) Even more obviously, she goes on in the very next sentence to indicate the 'moral intuition' she's talking about, namely where to draw the line of personhood.

How much clearer can you get?

Any argument about abortion which starts out with the premise that "no woman would seek an unnecessary abortion" is stark nonsense.

An "unnecessary abortion" would be what, exactly? Perhaps an abortion in the absence of pregnancy? I don't think women seek "unnecessary" abortions any more than men seek prostate surgery for the hell of it. The phrase "unnecessary abortion" is itself "stark nonsense".

Granted, you may have a different definition of "necessary" than a pregnant woman does. You're entitled to your definition. But guess what: I may have a different definition. Shall the pregnant woman go by your definition, or mine? I mean, assuming you and I both agree that the woman hasn't got the right to tell both of us to piss off, you and I still have an argument on our hands.

If I happen to judge, from the way you construct your anti-abortion argument, that you are more concerned with OUTLAWING abortions than you are with REDUCING them, my inner libertarian comes to the surface, and we REALLY have an argument on our hands.

--TP

"Granted, you may have a different definition of "necessary" than a pregnant woman does. You're entitled to your definition. But guess what: I may have a different definition. "

This is an interesting argument in a thread about how a bad man defines fetus in such a way as to think there is murder going on....

your comments on abortion seemed like another excursion along those lines, where the point seemed to be to use logic to demonstrate some sort of moral superiority to everyone else. I mention this not because I think this is what your intention is, but because that's the way it has come across.

Well, I sometimes happen to hold positions that seem to diverge from those held by the majority of ObWi commenters. And while I'm generally a "live and let live / I might be wrong" kind of guy, I also sometimes believe that my position is superior to other positions, otherwise I wouldn't spend so much time defending them. And yes, sometimes I even use logic, gasp, to defend my position and point out flaws in other positions. Sorry if that's all a bit much for some.

Novakant: Well, I sometimes happen to hold positions that seem to diverge from those held by the majority of ObWi commenters. And while I'm generally a "live and let live / I might be wrong" kind of guy, I also sometimes believe that my position is superior to other positions, otherwise I wouldn't spend so much time defending them. And yes, sometimes I even use logic, gasp, to defend my position and point out flaws in other positions. Sorry if that's all a bit much for some.

Well, this corresponds roughly to how I see my position. Which is probably why we were getting into such a fight.

I know at least one prominent woman (a co-founder of the German Green Party) that went on the record that she does not consider 'convenience' abortions to be illegitimate (and more or less implied that her own abortions up to that time belonged in that category). She definitely is in a tiny radical minority there but a single example suffices to disprove a rule.
---
I am a convert from the condition-based to the time-based abortion rights model as used over here because I had to realize that the restrictions were not applied fairly. Given the situation in the US, I would, for that reason, vote for a no-restriction rule as long as reasonable restrictions are widely abused.
---
The personhood debate does not necessarily change the situation for the worse. When the topic came up over here, I read a rabbinic argument that I found at least plausible and consistent: If a pregnancy/fetus threatens life or health of the pregnant women, then the fetus can be seen as a person with murderous (or at least harmful) intent against which self-defense is justified. This may include killing the attacker (abortion), if no reasonable alternative exists. That right to self-defense ends at the moment of birth (head of the baby out of the mother's body).
This does of course not cover non-medical reasons for abortion but it is an example how personhood of the unborn does not mean that the woman is without rights.
---
The debate about when the conceived human-to-be becomes a person is at least 2400 years old since Aristotle discussed it. The idea that only the moment of conception is that point, is rather new and, in Europe, closely connected to not medicine but theology (Mariology to be precise). Even in the Dark Ages the legal view on that were quite complex.

Sebastian, right now a fair number of the more extreme anti-abortion campaigners have embarked on an effort to trash Dr. Tiller's memory. I find that highly inappropriate in general, but if you want to evaluate the facts behind their charges, you have to follow Occam's Razor, which means you go with the simplest explanation and stick close to the evidence. The grand jury no-billed Dr. Tiller after an investigation. Fact. Did they see all of the relevant evidence? Unknown. Would the evidence they did not see have changed their decision? Unknown. You must not speculate, either implicitly or explicitly, about evidence that "might" exist, that "might" prove a point. If other evidence about Dr. Tiller's practice surfaces, then point us to it and I will try to evaluate it fairly. Until then, the grand jury no-billed him. Full stop. Until and unless you have positive evidence that might have changed their decision, any reference to the possibility that other grounds for an indictment might exist (which the claim the grand jury only no-billed on "narrow" grounds implies) takes you an impermissible step from the evidence.

Brett, let me suggest that if the women you posit do indeed exist, then legislation, or at least American legislation, does not appear to restrain them. Canada, which has no abortion statute has an abortion rate just under that of the United States.

Richard, I have no idea how you're interpreting McArdle. I don't see the point in further debate on this topic with you.

And yes, sometimes I even use logic, gasp, to defend my position and point out flaws in other positions. Sorry if that's all a bit much for some.

You may wish to consider that there is a difference between using logic to get at flaws in an opposing position and believing that pure logic ultimately and completely determines the best moral position.

von - to clarify, I'm interpreting McArdle as claiming that:

(i) "people are entitled to kill in order to prevent other murders"

(ii) abortion isn't murder. ("I think their moral intuition is incorrect. The fact that conception and birth are the easiest bright lines to draw does not make either of them the correct one")

I've provided reasons why this is a natural and compelling interpretation. You haven't provided any countervailing reasons. If you don't want to support your position, I guess that's up to you. But the fact remains that hilzoy was exactly right to interpret McArdle as she did, and nothing you've pointed to suggests otherwise.

"The grand jury no-billed Dr. Tiller after an investigation."

I don't know what you are talking about. I don't know what charges you think he was cleared of.

The only thing I know about is the trial (not a grand jury) in which the only issue was the extent of the financial relationship between him and the doctor who was second signing his late term abortions.

So far as I can tell it was NOT a trial on whether or not the late term abortions were otherwise appropriate, and it did involve records that would tend to prove that one way or another. This doesn't seem to be what you are talking about, but I can't find out anything about this grand jury.

If you have further information, please link to it. But you are responding to an issue that I did not raise, am not talking about, and which has limited if any connection to what anyone else was talking about.

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