Posted by: bridget | 10 January 2008

Responses, Open Thread, Etc.

Under the theory that one should try, when possible, to give a good-faith response to good-faith arguments, this post (and the previous one, if things end up migrating over there) will be used to respond to some of the questions brought up on Jill’s thread.

The comment policy is in its own section (see above). Play nicely. Back yourself up. Argue in good faith. Don’t just say, “You are wrong! You are wrong!” Providing coherent reasons for one’s position is only half of the duty for good debate; the other half is to provide an alternate hypothesis or rationale.

Updates: LTI Blog has responses to questions 1-4 and 5-8. They also did a great post about the real issues hiding behind these questions – morality, bean-counting, and framing the debate. Excellent job, gentlemen.

Thread status has been changed to open thread. Comment, reflect, fine-tune my reasoning, answer the questions yourselves, ask more questions, debate me – just be civil. After my initial response, several dozen commenters asked questions. Some of those questions are here. They were chosen as the ones that I was not otherwise able to answer; were civil; or highlight an important point in the pro-life movement. If there were any missed, ask away in the comments (unless your moniker happens to be JackGoff or ElleBeMe).

Update 2, Friday evening: Done with all but one of the comments left on Feministe.  Respond away.



  1. Beppie said….

    I totally agree about the psychological factors involved. However, there are problems with your reasoning here– firstly, most rapes do not result in the transmission of HIV, particularly not in Western nations. Secondly, there is a “window” period of about six months before which HIV is likely to show up on tests, which means that any pregnancy resulting from a rape would be far advanced before a positive diagnosis could be made.

    Well, yes. However, if you abort and start immediate treatment, you don’t have that problem. If you wait until a viral load shows up at three or six months, you cannot start treatment for another six or three months and risk vertical transmission during delivery.

    Of course, you are probably suggesting that even the RISK of HIV is enough here– but then why don’t you extend that to women who had a consensual but unprotected casual encounter?

    Several reasons:
    1. The exception is just that – the exception to a general rule, not a statement of one itself. As such, it is read narrowly, with the idea of being an exception and not a mandate for everything under the sun.
    2. Ability to protect. If any person voluntarily takes a risk, they cannot then use that risk to justify an otherwise illegal/wrong/immoral action.
    3. Ability to diagnose. A woman can call the sex partner and ask him to be tested; she may lack that ability with her rapist, and he may refuse.

    Regarding psychological issues, what about women who suffer from non-rape related psychological conditions for whom carrying to term may well push them over the edge?

    I did mention that I do not see the rape exception as the only one and support those for life (and those health issues which rise to the level of life or disability). Same idea.

    On the note of psychological trauma resulting from rape– you are surely aware that many women find themselves unable to talk about what happened to them for months or years afterwards? And you are proposing a law that would require them to tell people who are complete strangers. Furthermore, you still haven’t addressed how it would be assessed that women were actually raped? What ordeals would you make women go through in order to satisfy doctors and lawmakers that they have been raped?

    File a police report and get a rape kit. Yes, I understand the problems and the difficulty, but if a person seeks to take advantage of a benefit from a law (not that which is a right), then it is incumbent upon him to go along with those procedures.

    Now, the word “ordeal” implies that I would want to make women jump through hoops. No, not at all. Head to the ER, get medical care (which you should anyway! Hello, this has a side benefit!), file a police report, and then be prepared to follow through.

    I wonder how many men, under such a system, would date-rape a woman in a frat house.

    And of course, you haven’t addressed my earlier question, regarding risk (whether that risk is psychological or physical): Why should the person who makes the final decision as to whether or not abortion is “okay” be someone whose body is not affected by that suggestion.

    To state the obvious: When a woman makes a decision about an abortion, the body affected most significantly is not hers. Temporary effect upon her body, permanent effect upon the body of her embryo/fetus/child.

    It’s the woman who has to carry the fetus for nine months, why is HER final say less important than the final say of some doctor or lawmaker?

    Because it’s not all about her. Parents, who have to raise a kid for 18 freakin years, don’t get the final say in all matters. Again, in 2008, women have all sorts of options on how to not be pregnant if they don’t want to be – the Pill, condoms, sheepskin condoms for the latex-allergic, IUDs, the patch, Nuvaring, foam, sponges, diaphragms, and heaven knows what else. Oh, yeah, abstinence is pretty effective. :)

    And this is the point on which we really disagree– How can a fetus “clearly” be a seperate, individual being when it is physically attached to a woman who is the sole person capable of sustaining it through HER breath, through HER food, with HER body.

    Even accepting that as true, how does it translate into a right to kill it? See above – she is the one who caused the condition by which it is attached, either deliberately, negligently, or recklessly. It is much like attaching a person to oneself, in such a manner that removal would cause death, and then complaining that you don’t quite like the situation. The embryo/child in question did not exist prior to her action, so the analogy is slightly off, but the fact that the action created the being in need of her care hardly creates a grounds upon which to deny that care.

    By the way, is an infant without access to formula “separate?” It still requires her body (breastfeeding) and her care.

    If it was clearly a seperate individual being we wouldn’t have instances in which her health/life and the health/life of the fetus were in conflict, we wouldn’t have a situation where giving a fetus the right to life compromised a woman’s control over her own body.

    Teenagers are separate and distinct from their parents, but I’m certain that every teenager is affected by the choices of his parents. (There is a saying that the best way to succeed in life is to choose good parents.) Parents who smoke, serve unhealthy food, live in Superfund sites, do not insure themselves or their children, or otherwise act in a bad manner effect their children. That does not change the fact that a woman and her unborn child can be clearly demarcated.

    Finally, my favourite analogy: what about Siamese twins?

    A woman and a fetus aren’t distinct– and at some point, the rights of one have to trump the rights of the other.

    Well, yes, but that happens with all humans.

    Going beyond that quick point, under the theory that you aren’t really arguing it anyway, well, yes, they are intertwined, but I don’t think that renders the woman, nor the fetus, any less human. The argument you advance could be turned around to argue that, as they are inextricably intertwined, she is not a separate entity from the fetus.

    I say that that “some point” should be defined by the woman who is actually pregnant, you say that it should be defined by someone else (doctors and lawmakers who are unlikely to be personally affected by the outcome of the pregnancy, one way or another).

    The analogy I have made is with end-of-life decisions. She is, clearly, ending the life of her child; if it’s not a child, she’s not pregnant; if it’s not alive, she has miscarried; if she isn’t trying to end it’s life, she’s not trying to get an abortion. When you act in the interests of another, to end a life, you usually must demonstrate that there is no hope of recovery and that you are acting in its best interests.

    When there is a conflict of interest between the parent and the child, normally, we allow the state (or other professionals) to intervene. Judges in divorce disputes appoint guardians ad litem. Ethics boards in hospitals review the medical decisions made by parents. If parents are to visit egregious harm upon their children, some form of child services steps in.

    The “other, uninvolved people” act as a needed check. It isn’t a sexist thing – I would think and feel the same way about this if men were the ones who were pregnant, or if it were not a gendered issue. The idea of having other decision-makers is nothing new in law, although the right to raise your children as you see fit has been considered a Constitutional right. Our theory, with every other law out there, is that parents have a right up to a point, but there are certain decisions that are simply not those made by caring parents who have the best interests of their child at heart.

    Consider all the ways in which we do not allow parents to contract out of child support rights, to remove parental obligations of the other – ultimately, to enforce the principle of non-aggression.

    Again, the decision she makes, by its very definition, will effect another being in the most profound way possible. It is not a probability, but a certainty. That is a frequently-used trigger for outside involvement.

  2. Wow! You have more endurance than I!

    Nice responses over there.

  3. Thank you, Vance. :) I lost it at the end… I can’t respond to nonsense like, “It’s human, but not A human, you moron!”

    I can, however, respond to good-faith arguments – even if the person will probably never, ever change his/her mind.

    Of course, you, Neil, QoS, Tammi, Tieki, etc are more than welcome to chime in. I just ask, however, that y’all try to understand if there are ten of you and one of them, it’s hard on the one of them.

  4. I love rational discussions, but I quickly lose interest in the emotional responses.

    I know what it feels like to be be ganged up upon. Happened to me a short while back on my blog. I thought, “Where did all these people come from?”

    I agree with you that it is hard to respond to every little comment. I also found that not a few are just “drive by bomb throwers” who make a cute (they think) remark, post a link, then never come back when you answer their question politely and rationally.

    I’m too old for the teenage behavior…

  5. I understand, completely. :)

    The cutsy thing gets to me after a while. “Oh, look, I made some argument that a child could see through, but I’m going to force you to break it down!”

    The other ones are those who ask, in conjunction with other people, about 100 questions, and then tell you that you’re a jerk when you refuse to answer.

    Seriously, please feel free to add whatever – but I think that y’all make others feel welcome, so I don’t mind you playing over at my place. ;)

  6. Here’s another comment posted that I never got around to responding to; I’ll edit this one when I do my responses.

    AHunt asked:

    Actually Theo…we are well on our way to fully understanding what causes the failure to implant and subsequent spantaneous abortion…google “stress and miscarriage,” and spend time looking at the most recent research.

    Again, I believe it is only a matter of time before we establish the direct relation between the body’s natural defense systems causing spontaneous abortions and external factors, specifically stress-inducing activities.

    What then? What if in fact we do develop protocols for insuring that all fertilized ovum implant?

    No. Abortion is the affirmative act of deliberately ending a human life. To equate that, with, say, non-implantation is just silly. Legally and morally, they are very different acts. There is a different duty of care of “do no harm” and “ensure best possible result.” There is another distinction to be drawn between prosecuting action (which we do) and inaction (which means that someone could inadvertently be subjected to our criminal system).

    In terms of miscarriage, I’m sure that a lot of people would LOVE to have ways to reduce it.

    A final thought: I’ve written about negative rights and positive rights. I’m sure that, if you are coming from the positive-rights camp (right to welfare, right to medical care, right to affirmative acts of other people), then the whole conservative construct of negative rights (right to exist without gov’t interference and the right to non-aggression by others, coupled with the duty of non-aggression) doesn’t make sense. When a woman aborts, she contravenes the negative right of her fetus to be free from aggression. It does not, however, have the right to force her to do any number of things – merely to leave it alone and let biology do its work.

    Every day, people in this country die, and you could stop them from dying. Yes, you, AHunt. You aren’t prosecuted for it, though. When you spend money on a stereo instead of on shelter for a homeless person who will die of exposure, you are contributing to his death. When you don’t ensure that the people around you eat well, you are not prosecuted when your coworker has a heart attack. If, however, you were to deliberately feed your coworker a substance which would cause a heart attack, you would be prosecuted. It is not the preventable death that we prosecute; it is the overt, deliberate action with a malicious intent.

    It would undermine every single legal and philosophical notion we have to prosecute pregnant women for being stressed. Preventing them for overtly attempting to harm their unborn children is something we can do, however.

    So the answer to your question: no, we wouldn’t develop regulations, protocols, and laws that would force pregnant women to do things that non-pregnant mothers don’t have to do. After all, feeding your kid McDonald’s isn’t child abuse, despite the demonstrable harm from many such meals; why should stress be?

    Correlate with what mothers of toddlers are allowed to do and not allowed to do. Think about the standards of care, the prohibitions against affirmative actions v. unconscious actions, and our requirements. Finally, think about the vast difference between not providing the best possible outcome (a literally impossible standard to reach) and imposing the duty of non-aggression.

    A woman who gets pregnant, eats reasonably well, and doesn’t bungee jump for nine months will be ready to deliver a healthy baby, most of the time. Pregnancy, as indicated in the Medical Tourism thread, is a very passive act – albeit one with ramifications for one’s health. We can require a woman to do nothing to harm her baby, but we cannot require her to do yoga.

    Finally, remember that last trimester, when abortion is not legal in many states. We don’t spontaneously require that women be on bed rest, avoid scary movies, and the like; we merely encourage them to be healthy and have regulations that require hospitals to treat them when in active labour.

  7. Another one, from bushfire (not because her arguments are particularly stellar, but because she makes an emotionally persuasive point that doesn’t withstand scrutiny):

    You know, I used to think you were just a sweet little innocent person who hadn’t really thought her position through enough, but now I think otherwise. This is a really disgusting and ignorant statement.

    I heart ad hominem attacks!

    If a woman gets an abortion because she already has four kids and her budget is stretched out to the max already and there is a good chance of death from blood clotting then SHE DOES NOT NEED COUNSELLING. She needs an abortion, for her sake, and for the sake of her already existing kids.

    Okay, where to start. This was in response to my statement that women who abort, under a pro-life system, ought to receive counseling to ensure that they do not get pregnant again. Okay, here’s the thing. This woman did not get her tubes tied; her husband did not get a vasectomy (despite the apparent desire to not have more children); she doesn’t have an IUD; if she is not married, she’s screwing around outside of marriage; many health centers and doctors give out free birth control, whether it be condoms or sample packs of the Pill. If she has blood clots, well, then, hon, figure out how to not get pregnant with blood clots. That isn’t a reason to not talk to someone in the know – that is MORE reason to talk to someone who can help you from being in the situation where you think your best option is to kill your unborn child.

    Oh, did I mention Natural Family Planning? More effective than the Pill, and, beyond start-up costs, totally free. So yes, this hypothetical woman needs a LOT of counseling – like how to manage her life so she isn’t getting pregnant in the age of ten zillion forms of birth control. Not excusable.

    Second, this argument assumes that it’s okay to make one child the sacrificial lamb for the others. Now, that was done back in the day, when the eldest got all of the goodies and left the younger ones to fend for themselves, but I think we ought to be a bit more civilised than that. If there is only enough money to send two kids to college, and you have three kids, what do you do? Here’s a quick multiple-choice test:
    a) send the eldest two to college, leaving #3 to deal on his own;
    b) give each kid 2/3ds of the money for college but tell them that you love them all and it’s the best you can do; or
    c) kill one kid.

    Some charities will pay the medical-related expenses for women who would otherwise abort and give the kid up for adoption. Medicaid pays for pregnant women who earn up to 133% of the FPL, which varies depending on the number of dependent children. SCHIP will cover the health insurance for the kids, if she is really that poor. So what’s the deal? You have the $400 for an abortion, but don’t have the $400 for good birth control? You have the five kids already, but don’t have the man around who is helping to support them? Right. Let’s figure out how people get themselves into these pickles in the first place – i.e. sit down with a counselor who tells you things your parents should have told you. /rant

    Finally, let’s remember something: if you wait until you’ve graduated from high school to get married, and don’t have sex until you’re married, you and your hubby tend to not think that they have to face situations where killing a kid is their best bet.

    It’s really easy for someone who is of child bearing age, in perfect health, who is MIDDLE CLASS, and whose family would help with baby sitting to be against abortion. It’s not easy to be against abortion when you are actually aware of the diversity of human experiences and the reasons why people might need them.

    Oh, ad hominem alert! Moving onwards, some Guttmacher statistics:

    Marital status. Two-thirds of women having abortions in 2000 had never been married, one in six were currently married and another one in six were separated, divorced or widowed when they became pregnant. The proportion of women having an abortion who had never been married increased from 64% in 1994 to 67% in 2000.

    Wow, keeping your knees together until marriage would reduce the abortion rate by over 80%! That aside, why should a woman’s circumstances allow her to kill her child? As stated in a previous post (about abortion and feminism), we don’t say that you are against poor people if you are against stealing, because poor people need to steal. It’s still wrong. This line of thinking takes money and elevates it about human life (odd to see this argument out of the pro-universal-health-care crowd, but moving onwards) – human life that is in no way responsible for the situation.

    Consider this. A man has a great life insurance policy out on himself, but not much else. His wife is the beneficiary. They are having trouble making ends meet when she gets pregnant. Can she kill him? If not, why would we allow her to abort her child in the same situation?

    Just to stick a personal anecdote in here- I would never get an abortion. However, I am PRIVILEDGED because if I became pregnant without planning to, I know that my parents would give me very much support. Not everyone has this priviledge, and being aware of this, I think that people in situations other than mine deserve the medical treatment that would enhance their lives and their families’ lives.

    Yes. The baby is part of the family, too, from the moment of conception. It is not an inconvenience. You wouldn’t off your grandmother to get your inheritance early to enhance everyone else’s lives, so why is it okay to kill your kid?

    No pro-lifer is against medical care for pregnant women. I’ll all for prenatal care, folic acid, NICUs, at-home births, hospital births, midwives, c-sections – it’s all fabulous stuff that we have in 2008. I’m not for saying that killing someone for the sake of other people is a “medical procedure,” simply because it is done by doctors.

    In the words of Henry Morgentaler, a famous Canadian pro-choice advocate, ALL CHILDREN SHOULD BE LOVED AND WANTED.

    Yes, they should. They should also be happy, healthy, energetic, sweet, and loving. We don’t kill the ones who don’t fit this mold.

    There are a plethora of people who would love to take an infant in for adoption and would give it a great home. There are also really depressed people who came from awesome families, and truly amazing, inspiring people who came from crappy families but have nevertheless managed to carve out for themselves a joy-filled life.

    This rhetoric assumes that the person advocating for the abortion can see the future – that it is, without a doubt, grim and bleak; it also assumes that such a future is worse than death. Humans, being free, may always terminate their own lives; why not give the little tyke a shot at being born and deciding for herself whether or not her life is worth living before deciding for her? I, for one, am all about giving her that choice.

  8. From Beppie:

    Theombromophile, I don’t know if you’re thinking that I’m posting here in bad faith or not, but I assure you that I am genuinely interested in dialogue; that dialogue is hard to maintain, however, when you’ll only give evasive answers.

    As a sign of good faith, let us examine the points on which we agree:
    1. That a woman’s bodily autonomy is important– we may disagree on what constitutes a threat to that autonomy, but overall, we both feel that a woman should be able to act as an autonomous individual.
    2. That a fetus has a different legal and moral status to a born child.

    Where we disagree is the point at which a fetus should be accorded the right to life: I (and many others here) think that it should be when it ceases to be a fetus. Before that, the fetus can only have rights insofar as the pregnant woman chooses to extend her own rights to it: she can choose to extend her own right to life to the fetus, or she can choose not to.

    You think that the right to life should be the default status for a fetus, although (due to the different legal/moral status of the fetus) this can be revoked upon the decisions and judgment of lawmakers and doctors– NOT the judgment pregnant woman. You do not believe that this constitutes a violation of a woman’s bodily autonomy.

    My question is: why do you think that doctors and lawmakers are in a better postion to judge when the right to life for a fetus should be revoked than the woman who is actually affected by the pregnancy? Why are they better qualified than the woman who is going to deal with the real and tangible consequences of being pregnant for nine months and giving birth? Why is the opinion of the actual pregnant woman essentially irrelevant?

    You suggest that there should be some sort of wishy-washy sliding scale whereby people who aren’t the pregnant woman can decide which risks are significant enough that they enable the fetuses right-to-life to be revoked, but no such scale can really take into account the unique situations faced by every woman who has an abortion. For instance, you suggest that the risk of permanently swollen feet is not enough to “allow” an abortion– but what if the woman’s education and skills are such that she can only find jobs in the hospitality or retail industries– jobs that require her to be on her feet for stretches of eight hours or more? What if the swelling will mean that she can no longer do this sort of work, increasing her chances that she (and the child when it is born) will be reliant on welfare? Who are you to tell her that this risk is insubstantial? Why should you, or a doctor, or a lawmaker, have MORE say than she does?

    I notice, by the way, that you blithely dismiss pregnancies that result from rape as rare, and therefore I’m guessing, morally insignificant. I beg to differ– while most pregnancies may result from consensual encounters, pregnancies from rape are very very real. So I am deadly serious when I ask you what you believe the legal provisions should be here– do you take the position that a physically healthy woman should be forced to carry to term if she was raped? If you believe it’s okay for her to abort, what is the woman going to have to do to “prove” that she was raped to the doctors and lawmakers? Can they just take her at her word? And if they can take her at her word on this, why can’t they take her on her word when she simply says “I can’t handle this pregnancy, I want an abortion”? The point of asking these questions is, that although these situations may not be the most common, they highlight the way that anti-choice positions undermine a woman’s autonomy in a more visceral way– they highlight the way that anti-choice positions take a woman’s life out of her own hands and place it in the hands of people who aren’t affected by the pregnancy.

    Will get to these after dinner.

  9. From Louise,

    Using this one because of the very good practical argument, although, IMHO, it does not address whether or not abortion is wrong, right, or as neutral as a condom.

    Then one day, I got a phone call that knocked me off of that pedestal. My little sister, a college nursing student, called me crying and told me that she had had an abortion. 6 months ago. And she wasn’t crying about the abortion; SHE WAS CRYING BECAUSE SHE WAS SCARED OF WHAT MY REACTION WOULD BE AND THAT I WOULD TURN MY BACK ON HER. For six months, she kept it in and told me nothing. I was (and am) ashamed of the anguish I caused her.

    Nothing that could upset her that much was worth that- my standards had put my sister there. That day changed me. We spoke for an hour and then later over the course of time, I shut my mouth, opened up my mind and LEARNED. I am now 100% pro-choice and am grateful my sister was able to access safe treatment. What I discovered was that when you take theoretical standards and apply them to the real people you love and care for in your life, sometimes they don’t mesh…

    Emotionally gripping. Does that mean it’s okay?

    Consider that the “real people you love and care for,” nine months after the girl got pregnant, would have included a niece or a nephew. Would Louise have supported her sister in her desire to kill her nephew two years after birth?

    To state the obvious: Louise’s niece/nephew was not able to access safe medical care. If abortion were to be illegal, Louise’s sister would still be able to access safe, excellent medical treatment – it just wouldn’t include suctioning her child out of the womb and through a knife blade. If abortion were not legal, Louise’s sister could have continued at school, but her baby up for adoption once she had it, or done what every single parent, from those in sub-Saharan Africa to Bill and Melinda Gates do: figure it out.

    By the way, 93% of women regret having an abortion. 38% of abortions are to women with “some college,” meaning those who are in college; 98% of college women abort. These women, presumably, are the ones with good families, access to good medical care, and access to some of the most outstanding education in the world. If they abort, maybe, instead of becoming pro-choice, we should tell the colleges to shape up and figure out how to educate students who become pregnant.

    Finally, not to go all Queen of Swords on y’all, but she has often made the point that you judge your behaviour (and that of others) by the standards that the people you must respect adhere to. The really honourable people conduct themselves in a certain manner, to be above reproach. If someone calls up crying and worried about disapproval, it is because she knows she has done something that is not kosher. I don’t worry about the disapproval of people whom I respect when I am doing the right thing. So should we all support, condone, and do the wrong thing so that no one ever feels bad about themselves? Talk about a time when the “Toddler Test” applies. If your sister killed her toddler, you would still love your sister, but you wouldn’t become “pro-choice” on the killing of one’s toddler, no matter how desperate young mothers may be.

  10. Blessings to you for going their. The first comment was an ad hom and I doubt it got much better. But you did a great job in your responses.

    I chimed in at the end but didn’t try to get into the particulars. If they were so dismissive to a non-theist woman who reasons better than I do, then this Christian guy wasn’t going to get through to them!

  11. There is a difference between argumentation and arguing. People who are emotionally attached to a position seem to resort to the latter.

    Ann Coulter has an atypical column this week. It is a eulogy for her father. She wrote:

    When I was bombarded with arguments for baby-killing as a kid, I asked Father about the old chestnut involving a poverty-stricken, unwed teenage girl who gets pregnant. (This was before they added the “impregnated by her own father” part.) Father just said, “I don’t care. If it’s a life, it’s a life.” I’m still waiting to hear an effective counterargument.

  12. Neil,

    Thank you. I particularly liked the last part of your response – you stated that the key with statistics is consistency.

    As for Jack’s “response” to you – I had stated that I was unlike a lot of pro-lifers in that I would not fight a rape exception. I might have said, at one point, that, if it is necessary to get pro-life legislation passed, then fine – given the choice between stopping 1 million abortions, or not stopping any in the attempt to stop 1.01 million, I’ll take the former, every time.

    I was pretty clear about saying “I don’t represent everyone,” so it’s not anything that needs a response. Furthermore, the idea of comparing the U.S. to a third-world country (via the link provided) is too freakin stupid as to be funny.


    I saw that column. I do wish Ann and Mrs. Coulter the best during this time – it must be incredibly difficult for them both.

    I doubt she’ll hear an effective counterargument.

  13. […] Theobromophile did a great job of debunking these at the original post.  […]

  14. Furthermore, the idea of comparing the U.S. to a third-world country (via the link provided) is to freakin stupid as to be funny.

    Risible. In El Salvador, they have brought your ideology to the logical (and legal) conclusion. They even treat women who abort with less prison time.

    given the choice between stopping 1 million abortions, or not stopping any in the attempt to stop 1.01 million, I’ll take the former, every time.

    So, 10,000 innocent deaths, as you see it, is ok in your book. Pro-life indeed.

  15. They even treat women who abort with less prison time.

    Whoops, I didn’t finish my sentence. Should say “less prison time than actual murderers.”

    Plus, I could tell you hadn’t read the story, as it quotes numerous pro-life people in America who were praising El Salvador, calling it a blueprint for a pro-life America. I understand you aren’t every pro-life person, but that’s really only because you aren’t willing to bring your logic to a logical conclusion, based on your own rhetoric. You say “A is B”. We say “we treat B this way in this country. Why not treat A like B?” You reply “A can be treated different than B.” This is contradictory nonsense.

  16. (unless your moniker happens to be JackGoff or ElleBeMe).

    Whoops, missed this. That’s cool. Go ahead and delete my comments.

  17. THIS is totally unrelated…

    But I must say ewww and whoops.

    Twins Marry

    This is a big problem with laws that keep children from knowing their biological parents.

  18. […] Abortion,choice etc.Discussion   Capital Punishment  Presidential Debates are Useless ?! […]

  19. Jack,

    I am not going to delete them (for my own reasons). That all said, since I would prefer that you not post on my blog, I will not respond to the substantive claims made therein.* It is, IMHO, not very just nor fair to say, “Please don’t post here, but I’m going to get the last word in.”


    *If my regular commenters want to, go ahead. You can also find Jack’s blog and argue with him, if such is acceptable to him, on his turf, if he is willing to make a thread for it.

  20. I’m sorry, Theo…copy and paste is not working on the addy since I installed the new explorer, dagnabit!…will get it for you later.

    The following is a brief from a recent study conducted by UoM researchers.

    “Fetal loss rates reported in humans range from 31% (37) to 89% (38) of all conceptions. This high rate of miscarriages has led health scientists to describe human reproduction as “inefficient” and, therefore, an evolutionary “paradox” (12). Evolutionary theorists, however, propose that aborting unhealthy, defective, or otherwise substandard embryos, or those gestating under “impoverished reproductive conditions,” can be reproductively advantageous (39–45). Our results indicating an association between high cortisol levels and increased risk of miscarriage should be considered within the latter context. “Impoverished reproductive conditions” refers to reductions in the quality of females’ environment and/or health status, such as droughts, infections, or social conflicts. Miscarriage under such conditions could help minimize the cost of pregnancies with diminished chances of success, preserve valuable resources to be invested in future offspring with higher fitness prospects, and free those resources to be used on a woman’s own survival and already existing offspring, which could be crucial during a crisis (43–45).
    Nonetheless, current “adaptive abortion models” propose that very early abortions would be better explained by problems with the embryo’s quality, rather than environmental challenges (43, 44). They argue that to reduce the risk of terminating pregnancies that could otherwise be successful (should the reproductive context improve), gestation should be allowed to continue for as long as possible (44). The contradiction between this prediction and our results may be explained by two factors. First, these models do not consider the different costs and benefits of interrupting reproduction for species with different reproductive schedules. Whereas for seasonal breeders, interrupting a pregnancy could imply losing an entire reproductive year, for continuous breeders such as humans, the opportunity costs of very early miscarriages are comparatively lower. Second, these models are primarily based on maternal cost–benefit analyses and ignore the potential constraints that fetal development imposes on maternal reproductive strategies. The threshold of conditions under which it would be beneficial for a fetus to be born should be lower than that for the mother. Each genetically unique fetus has but one opportunity to be born. Thus, it is not surprising that within hours of fertilization conceptuses begin secreting a battery of metabolites that reduce the risk of miscarriage (46). The physiologic maturation of the fetus, however, is necessarily gradual; therefore, fetuses should be most vulnerable to stress-triggered abortive mechanisms during the first weeks of gestation.

    Cortisol production rises in response to energetic, immunological, and psychosocial challenges (47, 48). Thus, cortisol increases could serve as a physiological cue to women’s bodies that conditions for reproduction are deteriorating. Beyond its utility as a stress marker, cortisol may also be directly or indirectly involved in some of the proximate mechanisms mediating the putative association between maternal stress and pregnancy loss. For example, cortisol may affect the production of luteal progesterone. Low progesterone levels can affect uterine maturation and pregnancy maintenance (12). Consistent with this “mediation” hypothesis, we have previously reported a negative association between cortisol and progesterone around the time of implantation (49). The discovery of corticotrophin-releasing factor receptors on the ovary (50) is also consistent with the possible existence of a down-regulatory effect of stress on steroidogenesis exerted at the gonadal level (51). Additionally, immune challenges in mice appear to promote a shift in the Th1/Th2 cytokine ratio, which has been associated with low progesterone levels and early spontaneous abortion (24, 52). Another possible mechanism is suggested by cell-culture studies in rabbits showing that glucocorticoids can cause degeneration and premature aging of the trophoblast (53, 54).

    Alternative explanations for our results should also be considered. First, an impending early loss could hypothetically lead to an increase in cortisol levels. Any cortisol increases during the first 3 weeks after conception would have to be maternal because embryos cannot produce glucocorticoids during that period (55). Although no conditions have been reported to date in which an impending loss could trigger an increase in maternal cortisol during the first 3 weeks after conception, the potential existence of such a condition cannot be discounted. Second, human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) can occasionally increase in the absence of pregnancy (56), which, if combined with a simultaneous raise in cortisol, could lead to spurious results. In vitro studies, for instance, have shown that exogenous hCG can stimulate cortisol production in adrenal tissue from individuals with Cushing’s syndrome (57, 58). In healthy women of reproductive age, however, hCG stimulation tests do not lead to increases in adrenal cortisol (59). Furthermore, both sustained high hCG levels in nonpregnant women and Cushing’s syndrome are rare conditions. Monthly medical examinations did not detect symptoms of either condition in any of our participants. Thus, although we cannot completely rule out alternative explanations, maternal stress appears to be, at this time, the most parsimonious interpretation for the observed relationship between increased cortisol and spontaneous abortion.

    Our finding of an association between increased maternal cortisol and higher risk of miscarriage within the first 3 weeks of conception, together with the failure of previous research to find such an association later during gestation (23), suggests that pregnancy may be particularly sensitive to maternal stress during the placentation period. Future longitudinal studies with larger samples will be necessary to both replicate our results and further test this hypothesis by comparing cortisol levels and risk of miscarriage across the entire duration of gestation. Further research will also be necessary to explore the physiological pathways that might mediate the observed association.


    Study Population. Data were collected over 12 months in a rural Kaqchikel Mayan community in the southwestern highlands of Guatemala. According to a census conducted in collaboration with the State’s Health Ministry, 1,159 inhabitants lived in this village in the year 2000. Women who met all five of the following criteria were invited to participate: (i) not pregnant at the onset of the study, (ii) cohabitating with husband, (iii) parity 1, (iv) not using any form of contraception, and (v) last birth >6 months before the onset of the study (49).

    Sixty-one women (75% of those eligible in the entire population) volunteered to participate. All of the participants were breastfeeding previously born children throughout the duration of this study. Of the 61 women, 24 cycled and the rest experienced lactational amenorrhoea throughout their participation. Over the course of the year, 16 of the 24 eumenorrhoeic (cycling) women conceived 22 pregnancies. Ten of the women conceived once, and six women lost their first pregnancy but then conceived again. Participants were medically examined once a month by a local medical doctor or professional nurse to determine their health status.

    Urinary Specimens, Hormonal Assays, and Hormonal Profiles. First-morning urine specimens were collected every other day, for a total of three times each week. Collection, preservation, transportation, and assay protocols have been published previously (49, 60). To control for urinary dilution, the concentrations of free cortisol, estrone conjugates, pregnandiol glucuronide, luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and hCG were divided by the concentration of creatinine in the same sample (38). Timing of ovulation was inferred by using the urinary ratio of estrone conjugates to pregnandiol glucuronide as well as luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone surges (49, 61). Chemical pregnancy was inferred when urinary hCG was >0.025 ng/ml for at least 3 days (i.e., in two consecutive samples) (62). Pregnancy loss was inferred when pregnandiol glucuronide or hCG values declined to follicular levels, whichever was first, or by personal reports after the collection of samples had ceased (approximately the 8th week after the last menstrual period). If a participant who became pregnant during the study experienced a spontaneous abortion after having left the study (i.e., >8 weeks after last menstrual period), she was invited to resume participation.

    Confounding Factors and Cortisol Standardization. Cortisol secretion can be affected by circadian rhythms, physical activity, food consumption, smoking, caffeine, alcohol, and steroid medications (63–67). None of the participants smoked or consumed alcohol. To reduce the influence of the other confounding variables, participants were requested to collect their urine samples as soon as they woke up each morning, before they consumed food or performed any major physical activity. Sometimes women forgot to collect their first-morning urine before they began with their daily chores or consumed one of the substances mentioned above (besides tobacco or alcohol) before producing their sample. In such cases, the specimen was discarded (20.7% of 1,645 samples).

    Nulliparous women tend to present higher cortisol levels than parous women (68); our protocol, however, included only parous women. Cortisol levels may be affected by age (69), but in our sample, age was not associated with cortisol (mixed-model ANOVA, P > 0.05). The lack of an effect of age on cortisol may be due to the youthfulness of our sample. The 16 women who conceived during the study ranged from 18 to 34 years, but the age distribution was heavily weighted toward the early 20s (x = 23.5 years; median, 21 years; SD, 4.5 years). Later stages of pregnancy are known to be accompanied by mild hypercortisolemia (70). We controlled for pregnancy stage by focusing on the first 3 weeks after conception.

    Cortisol production varies both between and within individuals. Thus, to make meaningful comparisons, we standardized the concentrations of this metabolite with respect to each woman’s cortisol baseline using the following equation:

    where observationij is the value of cortisol/creatinine for participant i on day j, OCBi is the OCB for participant i, which is calculated as the mean of cortisol/creatinine for all of the cortisol values available for that woman, and SDi is the SD of cortisol for individual i.

    Cortisol does not vary significantly across the menstrual cycle (49, 71) except, perhaps, after luteal day 14 in unusually long luteal phases (37). To prevent cortisol from prolonged luteal phases from introducing a bias in our calculation of individual OCBs, we restricted our calculations to days –15 to +15 of the menstrual cycle.

    It is possible that some of the cycles with prolonged luteal phases (9 of 92 cycles) could mask “hidden” pregnancies (i.e., conceptive cycles that did not fulfill all of the requirements to be classified as a pregnancy). Considering those “cycles” as pregnancies would have provided potentially spurious support for the proposed hypothesis because cycles with prolonged luteal phases presented higher-than-average cortisol levels. To avoid this bias, we excluded the above-mentioned data not only from our calculations of OCBs but also from our analyses involving cortisol and miscarriage.

    Statistical Analyses. Some participants contributed more than one pregnancy, so we controlled for individual effects in all statistical analyses. All analyses were based on standardized cortisol. We compared cortisol means between pregnancy outcomes using a linear mixed model (Proc Mixed in SAS 8.2; SAS Institute, Cary, NC) with a random effect term for “woman” to account for possible correlations among observations within women. Comparisons of cortisol levels between successful and unsuccessful pregnancies included all cortisol values obtained within the first 3 weeks of gestation (counting from the day of ovulation onward) or until the pregnancy was lost, whichever came first.

    We estimated the relative risk of pregnancy loss in relation to cortisol exposure using the Rao–Thomas modified F test (Svytab in STATA 7.0; Stata Corporation, College Station, TX). Each woman was treated as a “cluster” to adjust for individual effects. We compared the proportion of cortisol peaks experienced by women during successful and unsuccessful pregnancies using a Poisson regression analysis. In this case, individual effects were taken into account with Generalized Estimating Equations (Proc Genmod in SAS). We defined “cortisol peaks” as all values in the 90th percentile of the overall distribution of standardized cortisol (across women). In all cases, we used = 0.05 as the threshold for statistical significance. This research was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the University of Michigan. ”


    If in fact, this early research bears out, (and I suspect it will) and we discover that the body’s natural defense systems will kick in for purposes of protecting maternal health, resources, existing offspring and future fertility….then I see no reason why the thinking woman cannot evaluate her own circumstances, and affirmatively act to end a pregnancy for precisely the same purposes.

  21. No. Abortion is the affirmative act of deliberately ending a human life. To equate that, with, say, non-implantation is just silly. Legally and morally, they are very different acts.

    Why is it silly? What are the profound legal and moral distinctions? If the body’s natural defense system rejects pregnancy for purposes of preserving a woman’s health, internal and external resources-including the provisioning of existing children, and her future fertility…then why may not the thinking woman evaluate her own circumstances and affirmitively act for precisely the same purposes?

    It’s a valid question.

  22. The body’s defense system doesn’t THINK about rejecting pregnancy. It has no choice. The system does what it was designed to do. No more, no less.

    Legal and moral systems assume one is capable of making choices.

  23. The difference between cancer and suicide…

    …the difference between skidding on the ice while driving and gunning someone down…

    …the difference between drowning in a riptide and having someone tell you to sleep with the fish…

    …the difference between an allergic reaction and poisoning….

    I’m sorry, AHunt, but the question you raise is ridiculous.

    As an Onion headline said, “World Death Rate Holding Steady at 100%.” Yet we still prosecute people for murder, even though they would have died anyway, eventually; their own bodies may have killed them, or they could have died as the result of an accident or a natural disaster. We still draw that distinction.

    Why not draw it? Why not differentiate between deliberate acts to end human life early – life that would otherwise not ened – and those that deliberately take it? IMHO, it’s your burden of proof, not ours – you are the one who is carving out a rule that is entirely different from the way the normal rules (rules that allow us to live in a well-functioning society and reflect our morality) operate. Why? Becuase only women get pregnant?

  24. Vance, of course, is able to say the same thing in 1/4th as many words and much more eloquently. :)

  25. False comparisons. Specifically, none of the instances you cite is a naturally ocurring phenomenon that exists for the functions of preserving a “woman’s health, internal and external resources-including the provisioning of existing children, and her future fertility…”

    Now you may claim that nature is profoundly amoral, but all that tells me is that the affirmative act is a morally neutral one.

  26. AHunt, why do humans die? Why do we get cancer, heart attacks, and the like? Could the earth hold all of us? Does the fact that we must all die justify murder?

    Human mortality holds steady at 100%, yet we do not allow the corresponding affirmative action of murder. Why? Oh, maybe because it is immoral and wrong?

    Why should the fetus be a sacrificial lamb for other children?

    Why a special exception for soon-to-be-mothers, not granted to anyone else?

    See my wealthy grandparent and husband with life insurance examples above. Both may die naturally, but that does NOT justify their murder.

    Now you may claim that nature is profoundly amoral, but all that tells me is that the affirmative act is a morally neutral one.

    (says very quietly) Excellent. I’ll hold a gun to your head and you can tell me whether or not the affirmative act of doing to you what nature would do anyway is “morally neutral.”

    (Will let that settle in, for that is what you advocate. Not willing to put your money – or your life – where your mouth is?)

    To be serious: your conclusion does NOT follow rationally from your premise. In fact, it is what we would call a “non-sequitor.” We do not run our own laws and morals according to those which nature allows. If it were to be the case, I would be perfectly justified in killing you for my own gain – as your resources would help out my family, person, or friends. Via access to better health care, it would help out my health, my future fertility, and allocation of my current resources.

    Why should I care about the words in quotes? There is no reason to apply those to my examples… you, by including that totally arbitrary standard, are elevating women’s future fertility and current children above life – giving it special status above a man’s health, above a human’s health, and above every other value known to us. You are saying, “This is more important than any other value, and I’m going to put it in quotes, and not tell you why it should trump life of the individual.”

    May I laugh that, in order to justify abortion, you used the examples of future fertility and current children? Oh, it’s just THIS kid that isn’t okay!

    Finally – AHunt – if the fetus is going to die, the woman doesn’t need an abortion. If the fetus is not going to die, and she kills it, then your “nature” arguments are really strange red herrings that have nothing at all to do with the morality of her homicidal tendencies.

  27. Again…you holding a gun to my head is not a naturally ocurring phenomenom, the function of which is the preservation of your health, internal and external resources-including the provisioning of existing children, and your future fertility…”

  28. you holding a gun to my head is not a naturally ocurring phenomenom,

    Naturally, unborn children are not suctioned out of their mother’s wombs and through knife tips that shred them to pieces, surgically dismembered and then removed from the womb, or subject to having their brains suctioned out to collapse their skulls.

    The mechanism by which spontaneous abortion occurs and that which is performed by abortionists as as different as an an asthma attack and suffocation. The fact that spontaneous abortion may be helpful or beneficial does not justify the fact that humans do it, and it certainly does not justify obtaining the same result when those circumstances are not present. Clearly, AHunt, if those same circumstances were present, the woman’s body would have aborted… m’kay?

  29. P.S. Nice circular reasoning. “Abortion for causes X is good, therefore, women should be able to abort for reasons X.”

    You’ve yet to say that, morally, what happens in nature should be inflicted upon humans by each other. Again, why not suffocate people with asthma?

    Are you against the disabled? Do you think they should be denied basic civil liberties, because, in a natural society, they would be weeded out of the population for the benefit of everyone else? After all, Darwinism works to the benefit of the greater good, but that doesn’t justify us killing the disabled, slow, or crippled. In nature, cripples starve to death.

    Steven Hawking, watch out – AHunt doesn’t think you are worth your carbon footprint!

  30. “If the fetus is not going to die, and she kills it, then your “nature” arguments are really strange red herrings that have nothing at all to do with the morality of her homicidal tendencies”

    Bingo…I was waiting for this.

    Mom is both immoral and homicidal…but you are not willing to hold legally accountable.

    Why not?

  31. “she kills it”

    She kills it, but is not responsible for killing it.

    How does that work in the real world?

  32. Mom is both immoral and homicidal…but you are not willing to hold legally accountable.

    Well, AHunt, here are your two options:

    1) hold the abortionist accountable, only; or
    2) throw women in prison.

    Now, I know what your response to #2 would be, so spare me the crocodile tears. Here’s a question for you, Ms. Hunt: what do you think the pro-life response should be? The unmitigated slaughter of the unborn isn’t really an option, so how do you think we should stop it? What is the appropriate response?

    Here’s an analogy for you: Sweden had legal prostitution for many years. It didn’t work. The theory was that legal prostitution is safer, sex work is something women do when they have no other choices, blah blah blah. (Sound familiar?) Sweden, in changing their laws, made it illegal to solicit a prostitute (to pay for sex) but not to give sex for money.

    Inconsistent? Potentially, not necessarily. Effective at reducing prostitution? Yep!

    Ditto abortion. I’ve no desire to repeat myself about this “imprison women” nonsense and the idea that people who are not similarly situated need to be treated in a similar manner.

    You can look under “pro-life apologetics” if any of this does not make sense to you.

    Straight up question. Which choice (between #1 and #2) do you think pro-lifers should take?

    I’ll take the sound of crickets chirping – the same sound that greeted my point about executing grandmas or husbands for $ when faced with an unplanned pregnancy – as a concession to the point. Thank you. :)

  33. By the way, check out the title of one of Sherry Colb’s abortion articles:

    I think you’ll find it enlightening. :)

  34. “Now, I know what your response to #2 would be”

    It would be have to be legally and logically consistant. I’m not “down” with irrational law. If the law is consistant…

    …by all means, throw those sluts in jail. Let us know how it all works out…

  35. For cryin’ out loud…”insanity”?

    Yer reachin’ …for reasons all your own.

    ROFL. AHunt…. no one said insanity. I did a search on the comments in this section. There is exactly one mention of that term (prior to my typing this) and that is when you wrote it. There are zero mentions of “insane.” Now, I don’t know where you get off lying, but that is something I do not tolerate from people in life. I was initially suspicious of your post, because people usually quote the entire section and highlight the term in question (or similar), so it seemed like something you were taking out of context – or without context, in fact. Upon further review, I find out that you are lying. No one said that. If you don’t believe me, or if any other people reading this do not believe me, you can copy the text, paste into word, and do a find function. Sick that you would stoop that low – just making things up.

  36. So you would take bad law over irrational law?

    Well, not all of us feel that way, ma’am. That does not make us bad, irrational, illogical, or supporting a bad cause; it simply means that we think the law ought to function in a logical manner – and that includes results.

    Now, as I’ve stated before, prosecuting abortionists but not formerly pregnant women is not inconsistent; rather, it makes sense logically and within our current (and past) legal framework. You – and every other pro-abortion advocate out there – ignores this reality. When I say, “Not similarly situated, so they can be treated differently,” and “Prosecution of homicide ranges from giving someone a Congressional medal to the death penalty, ” and, finally, “We don’t prosecute based on the identity of the victim, at least not in a just society,” I’m greeted with the sound of crickets chirping. You can hear the crickets chirp from five miles away when I point out that, currently, pro-choicers don’t think that women ought to be prosecuted for the deliberate killing of their children, either – which makes them significantly more inconsistent, as they are usually all for the prosecution of murder. :)

    Well, glad to know that if pro-lifers get to pass laws, you would support imprisoning women.

    As Prof. Colb points out, though, it’s not the pro-lifers who want to do that! :) Your supposedly pro-choice, pro-woman side is all about tossing young, desperate women in jail.

    So nice try with the “gotcha,” but you’re going to have to work harder… or give up. I’ll even give top billing to the concession speech.

  37. Please…

    Bad law IS irrational, unenforceable law, and you know it.

    Editor: Keep it coming, dahlin. You aren’t even making sense right now – you’ve stopped trying to assemble a coherent argument and instead are proving my point. Thank you.

  38. “So you would take bad law over irrational law?

    Well, not all of us feel that way, ma’am. That does not make us bad, irrational, illogical, or supporting a bad cause; it simply means that we think the law ought to function in a logical manner – and that includes results. ”

    With your permission, I’d like to take this rationale elsewhere for examination. I won’t do it w/o your OK.

  39. For she who does not seem keen on reading material that I keep at the top of my page:

    Answering the first round of Jill’s nonsense questions; and sanctions for abortion.

  40. From the link, Editor

    “Take, for example, the case of insanity. If John Doe is caught shooting and killing his innocent and harmless neighbor George Roe, then a jury will probably find John Doe guilty of criminal homicide. If, however, Doe can demonstrate at trial that he was suffering from a mental disorder that generated in his mind the hallucination that George Roe was a rattlesnake poised to bite Doe (in the jargon of the insanity defense, if Doe’s mental disorder deprived him of the capacity to understand the nature and quality of his actions), then Doe may be acquitted of murder on that basis.”

  41. Let me clarify, and you may take this clarification away for examination. I just ask that anyone who return to comment here abide by my comment policy. (Also, just as I try to not swamp those with opposing positions by doing ten-on-one, I would appreciate it if the debate were in roughly proportional numbers.)

    You claim that a law that does not imprison women for abortion is irrational, and, from what I gathered, a law that does imprison women is bad.

    My stance is that the first is, on the surface, somewhat irrational; however, once you dig down, you can find the rationale for it, both in consistency (i.e. parties are not similarly situated, so you may treat them differently) and in policy.

    There is a saying that tough cases make bad law. There is a maxim that applying the law with ruthless consistency leads to bad results. While, philosophically, I am all for consistency, I’m also in favour of ensuring that a law does not produce unjust results; consistency is a means to an end, that end being justice. The latter does not get subvert the former.

    Of this, you’re more than welcome to take it elsewhere; please do so in its entirety, and feel free to link back here or not, as is your pleasure.

  42. Gotta hit the sack…

    But Editor is a new one on me…what the hell?

    It indicates that I am hitting the “edit comment” button that I have and responding directly to your remarks. I’ve often seen Ed. or the person’s name – but I prefer not to type out “theobromophile says,” so I just did that. If you would like to bold, add italics, or quote, you may do so. Replace the brackets with the keys immediately above the comma and the period.

    bold: [b] [/b]

    italics: [i] [/i]

    quote: [blockquote] [/blockquote]


  43. Similarly situated? We’re to the point that early abortion is a matter of swallowing a pill one day, and another pill the next.

  44. I don’t disagree with your Doe murder hypothetical at all. I just don’t think it applies.

    If, when driving sanely and under control, I hit a patch of black ice, skid across the road, and hit and kill a person, I will not be charged with homicide – usually not, at least.

    That is another exception: the person did not intend the act to happen.

    If someone tries to attack me with deadly force, and I have both a reasonable and subjective fear of imminent harm, I would not be prosecuted for homicide for meeting him with deadly force. Many jurisdictions, IIRC, apply the same to rape. (There was an interesting case about this in Texas recently.) Likewise, another person could step into my shoes and kill the person to save me.

    That’s exception #3.

    Believe it or not, these exceptions were not always in our laws. Even in tort law, one could be liable for actions not intended; furthermore, insanity as a defence was not accepted until the late 19th century, IIRC. Furthermore, the law once allowed a person to kill another who was intruding upon his property (or fornicating with his wife).

    Apropos of self-defence, it is a mitigating but not excusing factor to have been met with non-deadly force.

    Personally, I consider the case of pregnancy to be something like nine months of non-deadly force (except, of course, where her life is in danger, or her health severely endangered). We consider a few seconds of non-deadly force to be partially mitigating; what about nine months?

    To answer the question just posted (that I saw in my inbox), the abortionist is not subject to nine months of non-deadly physical trauma from the fetus/embryo, so is not similarly situated to the woman. The abortionist isn’t going to relieve massive physical discomfort; is not scared, frightened, or throwing up every morning. No, I don’t think it is right to abort under those circumstances, but I have enough compassion for women to not want to throw them in prison for it. What I cannot tolerate, however, is people exploiting them at the time.

    If you would like stories about exploitation, we’ll talk later.

    As for RU-486: who prescribed it? The same person who is not throwing up, worried about getting fired, dealing with a boyfriend pressuring her to “just abort,” etc. Still criminal, IMHO – especially considering that up to 10% of women need medical attention afterwards, and some haemorrhage so severely that they need hospitalisation and surgery.

  45. You make the mistake of assuming RU486 will be prescribed. No offense, Theo…but you have clearly never lived south of Seventh…in any town,

    Theobromophile responds: So you think that women will have access to what would be an illegal drug – which, of course, just drives up the price – but not have access to birth control (available legally, and for free or for discounted prices), which is how she got pregnant in the first place. ROFLMAO. This is the basis of your “argument?”

  46. “My stance is that the first is, on the surface, somewhat irrational; however, once you dig down, you can find the rationale for it, both in consistency (i.e. parties are not similarly situated, so you may treat them differently) and in policy.”

    You cannot have it both ways. Upthread, you were all over Mom’s homicidal tendencies. You cannot rationally backtrack from there.

  47. Excuse me?

    I am not backtracking. Yes, I do think that women do something gravely evil when they abort, as do all people who sanction the ending of innocent human life. I just don’t think that:
    1) they are similarly situated to their abortionist (and you seem to not understand what that means); and
    2) it’s bad policy to prosecute them (see example above of Sweden).

    Your definitions of consistency leave much to be desired. They also force unnecessary suppositions upon your opponents.

    Okay, AHunt, right back at you: why is it okay to not prosecute women and abortionists? After all, fetal life is life. You sanction the deliberate ending of human life and ask that the law turn its back entirely.

  48. ahunt says:

    January 13th, 2008 at 2:35 am – Edit


    Guys, I really, really need you all to go over hand have a look. Please trust me on this one. You need to see this.

    See what, Annie Hunt? I believe I asked that you not swamp my site with trolls.

    I mistakenly believed that you were interested in debate, not baiting and running behind your friends. My regular pro-life crowd has been very quiet – more than happy to not attack you, to not do the ten-on-one thing to you, yet you are either trying to do that to me or to hold me up for ridicule. Pathetic.

  49. Your are a much more patient person than I Bridget. Well off to church. Sadly, after church, instead of coming here and commenting I have to read an article about Europe in 1914. T.A.’ing can be such a drag.

  50. Theobromophile said: given the choice between stopping 1 million abortions, or not stopping any in the attempt to stop 1.01 million, I’ll take the former, every time.

    Jack said: So, 10,000 innocent deaths, as you see it, is ok in your book. Pro-life indeed.

    Neil says: So if one claims that it is better to have 10,000 deaths than 1,010,000 deaths they aren’t pro-life? It is hard to comprehend that anyone would use that argument. I can’t imagine a single middle of the road person disagreeing that 10,000 is better than 1,010,000.

  51. Great response re. the prostitution prevention, Theobromophile. As we’ve seen here they love the emotional “women in jail” argument.

    But of course the law has wide latitude in determing the most effective ways to stop undesirable behavior.

    So the question, as always, “Does abortion kill an innocent human being?” And they hate that question, which is why they invented the ever-elusive “personhood” distinction and usually divert attention to emotional issues.

  52. Thanks, TT. Have fun with that. :)


    Good points. Thanks for taking Jack to task on that one. Personally, I don’t understand that rationale – taken to its logical conclusion, we should never go to war, because people die in wars and that’s not pro-life. (Hum… I wonder what he thinks about the Civil War.)

    But of course the law has wide latitude in determing the most effective ways to stop undesirable behavior.

    Bingo. I’m borrowing that one for one of my next posts in the pro-life series.

  53. Theo,

    If in fact, this early research bears out, (and I suspect it will) and we discover that the body’s natural defense systems will kick in for purposes of protecting maternal health, resources, existing offspring and future fertility….then I see no reason why the thinking woman cannot evaluate her own circumstances, and affirmatively act to end a pregnancy for precisely the same purposes.

    Because she’s killing her child.

    According to your theory, it would likewise be acceptable for her to kill the following people if faced with an unexpected pregnancy that would strain her resources:
    1) her toddlers;
    2) her husband, if he is worth more dead than alive at that point;
    3) her elderly, live-in mother;
    4) her colleague who is first in line for a promotion, that she would get otherwise; or
    5) family memberes who would bequeath her money in their wills.

    I can hear you now. “But nature doesn’t do that!” Honey, nature kills everyone. That doesn’t justify murder. You’ve merely taken one instance where nature does kill people, and determined, without standard, for it to be acceptable for humans to do the same. Vance is dead-on: mechanisms don’t think. Humans do.

    Is that the sound of crickets chirping?

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