Jesurgislac’s Journal

December 16, 2009

Pro-life is what they call themselves, part 2

Catherina Lorena Cenzon-DeCarlo is an ER nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. Or was. She’s suing her employers because they forced her to save a patient’s life by a means DeCarlo disapproved of.

A woman was brought into ER at Mount Sinai, 22 weeks pregnant, suffering from preeclampsia.

Preeclampsia is the third leading pregnancy-related cause of death in the United States, after hemorrhage and embolism. Preeclampsia is the cause in an estimated 790 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. cite

The triage system at Mount Sinai’s ER figured there was a six-hour window to save this woman’s life. And, as this article in EMS Magazine makes clear in a shy kind of way:

If the patient is experiencing severe preeclampsia or eclampsia, consider rapid transport to an appropriate medical facility. The one definitive procedure to reverse preeclampsia or eclampsia is to deliver the baby and placenta. Thus, careful consideration must be given to transporting to a medical facility that is able to manage acute obstetric emergencies. cite

the only certain way to save a woman’s life if she’s suffering from severe preeclampsia is to perform an abortion.

The only person whose opinion matters in this case is the pregnant woman herself, or whoever she has granted her medical power of attorney: ER staff have the job of saving lives, and if the woman came in unconscious and without a decision-maker, it’s the medical staff’s responsibility to save her life by performing the abortion.

So what does this “pro-life” nurse do, asked to help save a woman’s life? She refuses, claiming (without any prior knowledge of the case: she first set eyes on the woman in the OR where the abortion was to be performed) that the preeclampsia isn’t advanced enough to warrant an emergency abortion. On being threatened with insubordination and patient abandonment for, well, being insubordinate and threatening to abandon a patient, DeCarlo went back and helped to save the woman’s life, under protest. (Apparently she wants everyone to know, this Nurse DeCarlo, that she was only willing to save the woman’s life after having been threatened with career-ending disciplinary procedures. Otherwise, she’d just have left the woman to die. But, if you threaten her career, under protest, she’s willing to help save a life. Nice.)

Pro-lifers by definition believe women (other women) are slaves, breeding animals, incubators: bodies to be used to generate babies, not entitled to full human rights. But even the owner of a breeding animal will agree to abort when continuing the pregnancy will kill: even the operator of a piece of machinery, a mere incubator, may take pride in the proper operation of a machine and ensure it is not “used till broken”. This kind of attitude, this belief that a pregnant woman can be left to die rather than save her life by performing an abortion: this is aggressive mistreatment of an enemy.

It is a horrid irony that these people call themselves “pro-life”.

23 Comments »

  1. I don’t think that in general your characterization of pro-lifers as “Pro-lifers by definition believe women (other women) are slaves, breeding animals, incubators: bodies to be used to generate babies, not entitled to full human rights.” is accurate. While a large fraction of pro-lifers have such attitudes and have attitudes that are even more misogynist, there are serious legitimate arguments which are both pro-life and that are pro-choice. The question of what rights what humans have and when there are conflicting rights which should take priority are very difficult questions. It isn’t helpful to make this sort of portrayal any more helpful than it is for extreme pro-lifers to portray people who are pro-choice as people who enjoy killing babies.

    That said, DeCarlo sounds like a complete shit. The fact that she’s willing to do it when her job is threatened but otherwise is disgusting. It is pretty close to impossible to construct good justifications for not letting this sort of decision be decided by the mother in conjunction with advice from doctors. Frankly, I hope that DeCarlo just gets fired. If someone was willing to do this in a circumstance like this, there’s no good reason to believe she won’t do something like this again with her delay actually resulting in someone’s death. There’s no good reason to keep DeCarlo as a nurse.

    Comment by Joshua Zelinsky — December 16, 2009 @ 3:07 am | Reply

    • I don’t believe you can be a pro-lifer – that is, someone who believes it isn’t ethically right and shouldn’t be legally allowed for it always to be pregnant woman’s decision whether to terminate or continue the pregnancy – without, on some level, regarding women (or at least other women!) as slaves, incubators, breeding animals – or as the enemy. If you regard women as human beings, then pro-choice is the only moral option.

      Frankly, I hope that DeCarlo just gets fired. If someone was willing to do this in a circumstance like this, there’s no good reason to believe she won’t do something like this again with her delay actually resulting in someone’s death. There’s no good reason to keep DeCarlo as a nurse.

      I agree: but she has the political power of the pro-life movement on her side, and she might even win her case and hospitals will be forced to allow women to die if the only people available who could save her life are pro-life. She was already lucky, the woman in this story, to be taken to a hospital which was not pro-life – many Catholic hospitals won’t perform abortions under any circumstances, and a woman in severe preeclampsia or with any other life-threatening condition taken to one of those ERs will end up in the US’s maternal mortality statistics.

      Comment by jesurgislac — December 16, 2009 @ 10:55 pm | Reply

      • I’m going to have to disagree there. One doesn’t need to see women “as slaves, incubators, breeding animals” to see a problem with very late term abortion for example. Someone could reason something of the form “A fetus past a certain point is sufficiently conscious that it should have rights especially a right to live. That right is strong enough to override a right of bodily control.” This doesn’t see anything about female nature in it at all but rather just an unfortunate aspect of human reproduction. To be completely consistent, such an individual would presumably argue that if one had a species of intelligent sea horses the males wouldn’t have a right to abort.

        The problem is that very often people who are pro-life really do see females as breeding units. But that doesn’t mean that the argument involved intrinsically requires that viewpoint.

        This would all be much easier if we developed the technology to breed children outside the womb. There’s surprisingly little research going into this. And I’d tentatively suggest that the lack of research is to some extent connected to the fact that most males really have very little reason or care for such research. (I saw an estimate a while back that there’s about times as much money yearly going to research for male impotency than for external uterine replication technology).

        Comment by Joshua Zelinsky — December 17, 2009 @ 4:24 am

  2. One doesn’t need to see women “as slaves, incubators, breeding animals” to see a problem with very late term abortion for example.

    Well, no. One could simply be massively uninformed about very late term abortions – that is, never have troubled oneself to find out why and under what circumstances very late term abortions are carried out. If so, one is merely an ass – and I say that in the spirit that really, everyone is an ass at least some of the time.

    Very late term abortions are carried out because there’s a medical emergency.

    Someone could reason something of the form “A fetus past a certain point is sufficiently conscious that it should have rights especially a right to live. That right is strong enough to override a right of bodily control.”

    Yes, but the problem is that “someone” never seems to reason that a woman is sufficiently conscious that she should have rights, especially a right to live, and that the right of a woman to live – and live in good health, with the prospect of having other children in the future – is strong enough that she’s the only person who should get to make the final decision about whether to abort or to continue a pregnancy. The fetus can’t – so who else has the right? And further, it is generally the case that if the pregnant woman dies, so will the fetus. Reasoning that the government or the courts ought to make a sweeping decision for all late-term pregnancies that are terminating in disaster, they ought to make the decision against giving women the right to decide, just means more dead people: the best means of preserving at least one life is to ensure that the medical staff have the legal right to prioritise the pregnant woman’s life, and the pregnant woman has the legal right to make her own medical decisions for herself and for her fetus.

    To be completely consistent, such an individual would presumably argue that if one had a species of intelligent sea horses the males wouldn’t have a right to abort.

    If we suppose a species of intelligent sea horses, pro-life sea horses probably would argue that no males (except themselves) have a right to abort.

    This would all be much easier if we developed the technology to breed children outside the womb.

    Well, yes – the Bujold uterine replicators solve everything except who’s going to care for unwanted children created by replicator. (Lois McMaster Bujold does tend to assume that along with uterine replicators goes foolproof contraception so that no woman ever conceives, or man engenders, unless both individuals have decided to do so: otherwise one would still have the problem of accidental conceptions where the woman decides she’d just rather not.)

    Comment by jesurgislac — December 17, 2009 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

    • Well, no. One could simply be massively uninformed about very late term abortions – that is, never have troubled oneself to find out why and under what circumstances very late term abortions are carried out. If so, one is merely an ass – and I say that in the spirit that really, everyone is an ass at least some of the time.

      Very late term abortions are carried out because there’s a medical emergency.

      It is a fact that the vast majority of late term abortions are carried out due to either 1) medical emergencies or 2) severe problems with the fetus.

      However, that’s a statement based on what we see in the real world. In that regard, it seems almost that you might be willing to have restrictions on very late term abortions if they were being used in other circumstances. So even someone as pro-choice as you might agree with the pro-life individuals in very limited circumstances. The difference is thus one of degree rather than kind.

      Yes, but the problem is that “someone” never seems to reason that a woman is sufficiently conscious that she should have rights, especially a right to live, and that the right of a woman to live – and live in good health, with the prospect of having other children in the future – is strong enough that she’s the only person who should get to make the final decision about whether to abort or to continue a pregnancy.

      There’s a bit of a strawman argument here. Sure there are fanatics who aren’t in favor of allowing abortion even if the mother’s life is threatened. One recalls for example http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1883598,00.html . However, most people who identify as pro-life don’t fall into that category. Only about 5% of the United States thinks that abortion should always be illegal. About 30% think that abortion should be restricted to health of the mother or cases of rape and incest. See for example http://www.pollingreport.com/abortion.htm and http://people-press.org/report/549/support-for-abortion-slips .

      There’s a related issue: The attitude that abortion is never acceptable even to save the life of the mother is really only found in Christianity. Most forms of Islam and Judaism don’t have this. Indeed, even under standard Orthodox Jewish beliefs, the mother has a moral obligation to to abort if the her life is seriously threatened. I actually know an Orthodox doctor who serves mainly Orthodox patients. The doctor is very pro-choice primarily because he doesn’t want to be in a position ever where halachah calls for an abortion, his client wants an abortion, but the secular law prevents it.


      The fetus can’t – so who else has the right? And further, it is generally the case that if the pregnant woman dies, so will the fetus. Reasoning that the government or the courts ought to make a sweeping decision for all late-term pregnancies that are terminating in disaster, they ought to make the decision against giving women the right to decide, just means more dead people: the best means of preserving at least one life is to ensure that the medical staff have the legal right to prioritise the pregnant woman’s life, and the pregnant woman has the legal right to make her own medical decisions for herself and for her fetus.

      No disagreement here. But that’s again very much a practical consideration. It isn’t based on a fundamental ideological agreement. There’s an agreement that late term abortions are connected to difficult ethical and moral issues.

      Well, yes – the Bujold uterine replicators solve everything except who’s going to care for unwanted children created by replicator. (Lois McMaster Bujold does tend to assume that along with uterine replicators goes foolproof contraception so that no woman ever conceives, or man engenders, unless both individuals have decided to do so: otherwise one would still have the problem of accidental conceptions where the woman decides she’d just rather not.)

      This seems connected to the fact that Bujold (or at least her characters) are surprisingly anti-abortion. Cordelia’s actions and attitudes for example. However, there’s a reasonable sociological explanation for this. In a society where uterine replicators or similar technology are available, it isn’t at all implausible that even a highly progressive society like Beta Colony would dislike abortion much more. Indeed, given current court rulings in the United States (especially Planned Parenthood v. Casey ) one could reasonable argue that from a legal perspective, if we developed Bujold style uterine replicators tomorrow then states would be immediately free to restrict abortion as they please since fetuses of any age would be viable outside the womb.

      Comment by Joshua Zelinsky — December 20, 2009 @ 8:15 pm | Reply

  3. In that regard, it seems almost that you might be willing to have restrictions on very late term abortions if they were being used in other circumstances.

    No. The only restriction I accept as morally valid is that the doctor who is to perform the abortion should be in agreement with the pregnant woman that the abortion is medically necessary for her physical or mental health. For the government or the courts to get to decide on a sweeping basis is just wrong.

    So even someone as pro-choice as you might agree with the pro-life individuals in very limited circumstances. The difference is thus one of degree rather than kind.

    No, it’s a difference of kind. I believe women are human beings with the right to make decisions, who should not be forced to risk their physical or mental health against their will. Pro-lifers believe that it’s okay to have the force of law compel women to damage their health. Enforcing a legal ban on late-term abortions is much more successful in pro-life terms than a ban on early abortions: while illegal early abortions are more risky than legal ones, the difference is slight: a legal ban on late abortions simply ensures that some women will die or become disabled, because their medical carers are required by law to give the woman’s medical needs a lower priority. Pro-life thinking kills pregnant women – and frequently causes the death of the fetus too, not that preventing fetal death ever seems to be a priority for the pro-life movement.

    However, most people who identify as pro-life don’t fall into that category. Only about 5% of the United States thinks that abortion should always be illegal. About 30% think that abortion should be restricted to health of the mother or cases of rape and incest.

    Indeed – that category of pro-lifer believes that women are slaves/breeding animals who ought to be forced through pregnancy against their will: or, in the case of pro-lifers who make exceptions for rape/incest, that pregnancy is an appropriate punishment for women who choose to have sex. Which thinking – pregnancy as punishment for sex – is ugly and nasty, but you’re right that it’s not as bad as the pro-lifers who regard women as incubators to be used till broken.

    But that’s again very much a practical consideration. It isn’t based on a fundamental ideological agreement. There’s an agreement that late term abortions are connected to difficult ethical and moral issues.

    Every late-term abortion is a difficult ethical and moral issue for the pregnant woman and for the doctors who treat her. The “fundamental ideological agreement” may be uncommon in the US, but it is quite simple: women aren’t slaves or animals or incubators. It’s not a difficult ethical and moral issue for anyone else, unless it’s difficult to accept that women are human beings.

    The practical consideration is that women deserve to live and be healthy.

    How many pro-lifers, after Doctor George Tiller was murdered by one, got up and said they now condemned absolutely the creepy talk about how abortion is “killing babies” which led directly to Tiller’s murder? Of course all hypocritically condemned his murder, and claimed that the murderer was not a pro-lifer, but I’m aware of none who said that they now realised they had been wrong in general to call abortion “baby murder”, and wrong in particular to condemn George Tiller as a doctor who was willing to risk his life helping women whose health was at risk by aborting a pregnancy where the fetus would have died at birth?

    This seems connected to the fact that Bujold (or at least her characters) are surprisingly anti-abortion. Cordelia’s actions and attitudes for example. However, there’s a reasonable sociological explanation for this.

    Yes – Bujold is writing in a culture – late-20th/early 21st century US – where the default presumption is that Abortion Is Bad. You very seldom get fictional characters who write positive, life-affirming stories about women choosing to have an abortion and this being a profound relief, even though many women will have had that experience. Just as in the 1950s, you very seldom got fictional gay characters who lived positive, life-affirming stories, because the default presumption was that Homosexuality Is Bad. I like Bujold, I enjoy her novels, but she’s not the kind of writer I see as able to overcome the default presumptions of her culture.

    In a society where uterine replicators or similar technology are available, it isn’t at all implausible that even a highly progressive society like Beta Colony would dislike abortion much more.

    Yes: and given that women in Beta Colony would probably have access to safe home abortion, I suppose they might be able to conceal their decision to have an abortion in the same way as women now are expected to do so. The issue would still exist, of course – because regardless of how highly technical a society becomes, human babies will still need to be cared for by human beings. It merely pushes the problem onwards a few months to enforce a law that all unwanted conceptions must be made into babies. (The infamous “orphanages” of Romania are a case in point.)

    Indeed, given current court rulings in the United States (especially Planned Parenthood v. Casey ) one could reasonable argue that from a legal perspective, if we developed Bujold style uterine replicators tomorrow then states would be immediately free to restrict abortion as they please since fetuses of any age would be viable outside the womb.

    Indeed – and it’s not so long since the US did in fact rear unwanted children in “orphanages” – which tended to have a fairly high death rate, and of course brought up children who, if they survived, were unaccustomed to human nurturance.

    Comment by jesurgislac — December 21, 2009 @ 10:11 am | Reply

    • Bujold also writes that the Beta Colony enforces enforces some legal hoops on the would-be parents, as in qualification standards (minimum IQ, support income, etc.), classes and licenses, to for the first child. With heavy implications that these legal requirements rise sharply for additional children.
      There were also the implications that an illegal child would be taken away (including, yes, abortion if the fetus was not yet viable) and enforced sterilizations of the parents in these situations. Much of this was in the context that the Beta Colony has a enclosed and limited ecology, where unrestrained growth would be detrimental.

      Comment by linnen — December 26, 2009 @ 3:20 pm | Reply

  4. Pro-lifers by definition believe women (other women) are slaves, breeding animals, incubators: bodies to be used to generate babies, not entitled to full human rights.

    Requiring people to take care of their children does not equal slavery. That’s some pretty extreme individualism. Anyways, what human right do pro-lifers believe that women don’t have?

    Comment by Austin Nedved — December 23, 2009 @ 4:05 am | Reply

  5. Requiring people to take care of their children does not equal slavery.

    A pro-lifer by definition wants women not to have the legal right to decide for herself whether to terminate or continue her pregnancy. A pro-lifer by definition wants it to be illegal for a woman to have the right to decide to refuse the use of her body: wants it to be legal to force a woman, against her will, at risk of her health and her life, to labor for nine months to produce a baby from a fertilised egg – work that hazards her life, her health, and makes use of all her bodily resources. That’s rapist, slave-owner thinking.

    Anyways, what human right do pro-lifers believe that women don’t have?

    Pro-lifers plainly do not believe that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” – since they do not believe women have the same dignity and right as men. “They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Pro-lifers plainly do not believe that women are endowed with reason and conscience, and they do not behave towards women “in a spirit of brotherhood” (or sisterhood, come to that).

    Pro-lifers by definition do not believe women are included in “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” – since they argue they have the right to violate women’s security of person, women’s personal liberty, and women’s right to life.

    Pro-lifers are demanding a direct violation of “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms” – since they think they have the right to treat women as slaves for breeding use.

    Forced pregnancy, which is the explicit motivation of the pro-life movement, is “torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”

    Pro-lifers, arguing that the fetus as a “person” has the right to use a woman’s body as an incubator, a use in which she has no say, are explicitly arguing they do not see a woman included in “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law” – since a woman who is a “person before the law” cannot be made use of by anyone, regardless of whether a fetus is a legal person or not.

    That’s Articles 1 to 6 covered above, and bluntly, pro-lifer arguments all rest on presumptions that violate women’s human rights expressed in those articles.

    The vile claims expressed by pro-lifers attacking any woman’s motivations for getting an abortion and attempts to prevent her doing so are in violation of Article 12: “No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation.”

    Many countries with pro-life governments (the US is not one of them, I will grant you that!) have attempted to violate Article 13 “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state. Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country” – in order to prevent a woman who needs an abortion from leaving her own country in order to get her abortion in a country with less restrictive pro-life legislation.

    Finally (though I could go on!) pro-lifers who claim religion justifies them in trying to interfere with a woman’s decision to have an abortion, are in direct violation of Article 18: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

    Comment by jesurgislac — December 23, 2009 @ 7:39 am | Reply

    • A pro-lifer by definition wants women not to have the legal right to decide for herself whether to terminate or continue her pregnancy. A pro-lifer by definition wants it to be illegal for a woman to have the right to decide to refuse the use of her body: wants it to be legal to force a woman, against her will, at risk of her health and her life, to labor for nine months to produce a baby from a fertilised egg – work that hazards her life, her health, and makes use of all her bodily resources. That’s rapist, slave-owner thinking.

      What about third-world countries, where adoption is not available? If they don’t breastfeed their babies, they will starve. That is to say, if they don’t let their babies physically attach themselves to their bodies, and use their bodies for their own survival, they’ll starve. Are you saying that women in those countries and in those situations have no obligation to breastfeed? But that would be infanticide.

      I’m willing to bet that being a mother in an impoverished, third-world country is a lot harder than giving birth in a medically controlled environment.

      Pro-lifers plainly do not believe that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights” – since they do not believe women have the same dignity and right as men. “They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” Pro-lifers plainly do not believe that women are endowed with reason and conscience, and they do not behave towards women “in a spirit of brotherhood” (or sisterhood, come to that).

      How do they not?

      Pro-lifers by definition do not believe women are included in “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” – since they argue they have the right to violate women’s security of person, women’s personal liberty, and women’s right to life.

      I’ve never heard anyone argue that requiring women to breastfeed their babies when there’s no one else to take care of them and nothing else to feed them amounts to violating women’s security of person, liberty, and right to life. Why is gestation and childbirth different?

      Pro-lifers are demanding a direct violation of “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms” – since they think they have the right to treat women as slaves for breeding use.

      Forcibly impregnating women would amount to treating women as slaves for breeding use. Once they’re pregnant, they’re mothers, and they have an obligation to care for their children.

      Pro-lifers, arguing that the fetus as a “person” has the right to use a woman’s body as an incubator, a use in which she has no say, are explicitly arguing they do not see a woman included in “Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before the law” – since a woman who is a “person before the law” cannot be made use of by anyone, regardless of whether a fetus is a legal person or not.

      Again, back to my breastfeeding analogy. If requiring women to gestate and give birth to their children is somehow a human rights violation, why couldn’t you say the same of “forced breastfeeding” in third world countries?

      Comment by Austin Nedved — December 23, 2009 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

  6. Austin asked: What about third-world countries, where adoption is not available?

    That question has so many false assumptions – or is based on so much ignorance – that it’s really unanswerable as it stands. Your fantasy country “where adoption is not available” does not exist. If you meant to say “where abortion is not available”, for information about family planning services in third world countries, which unfortunately were badly damaged/underfunded by the pro-life Bush administration, there’s a good beginning resource here, and for basic information about abortion rates in all countries here.

    Trying to compare a baby to a fetus, as you appear to be doing in the remainder of the paragraph, is scientifically and ethically a false comparison.

    I’m willing to bet that being a mother in an impoverished, third-world country is a lot harder than giving birth in a medically controlled environment.

    You would probably win the bet. But what is your point? Abortion rates in different countries vary by access to contraception, not by relative wealth or poverty. Women who have access to contraception and other family planning services, tend to have fewer abortions. Women who have access to safe legal abortion have lower maternal mortality/morbidity rates. Pro-lifers in the US have done an enormous amount of damage to family planning services in the third world, vastly increasing the number and rate of abortions, by denying funding to family planning services which provide safe legal abortions. Pro-lifers never seem to care much about preventing abortions, just about harming women.

    How do they not [believe that women are endowed with reason and conscience]

    Because anyone who believes women are endowed with reason and conscience is pro-choice, not pro-life.

    Why is gestation and childbirth different?

    If that’s a serious question, you understand too little about human biology for me to be able to help you here.

    Forcibly impregnating women would amount to treating women as slaves for breeding use.

    No: denying women access to a safe legal abortion because you believe women should be forced through pregnancy against their will, is treating women as slaves for breeding use. A slave has no right to decide when, or whether, she will bear children. Pro-lifers think women are slaves.

    Once they’re pregnant, they’re mothers, and they have an obligation to care for their children.

    Again with the mistaken assumptions! A woman becomes a mother when she gives birth, not before. If she has not given birth, she has no children to care for. Many women who have abortions do so because they already have all the children they can care for. Pro-lifers seem to think women have no obligation to their own children. In some countries with pro-life legislators, women who have abortions are jailed for years, even for decades, which removes them entirely from being able to care for their children. In some countries where women have no access to safe legal abortion, this ensures many children grow up orphaned because their mother died, giving birth or getting an unsafe abortion. In the US, so far from thinking mothers have an obligation to care for their children, the pro-life movement is heavily invested in the adoption industry, taking babies away from their mothers.

    Again, back to my breastfeeding analogy

    Ah: so you acknowledge here (assuming you understand what “analogy” means!) that your attempt to equate breastfeeding with pregnancy/childbirth is scientifically false. Pro-lifers never seem to be able to deal directly and without analogy, with the plain biological fact: pregnancy involves a woman making use of her uterus and all her bodily resources to grow a fetus from fertilised egg – a process which pro-lifers attempt to compare to all sorts of things in their attempt to claim it’s OK to force the use of woman’s body, apparently unable to cope with scientific reality.

    Comment by jesurgislac — December 23, 2009 @ 6:31 pm | Reply

    • That question has so many false assumptions – or is based on so much ignorance – that it’s really unanswerable as it stands. Your fantasy country “where adoption is not available” does not exist.

      Third world countries are not my fantasy. Adoption is not available in those countries, and if women don’t breastfeed their babies, the babies will starve to death. You insisted that no one had a right to use someone else’s body for their own survival, and I gave a counterexample. You didn’t respond to it.

      You would probably win the bet. But what is your point? Abortion rates in different countries vary by access to contraception, not by relative wealth or poverty. Women who have access to contraception and other family planning services, tend to have fewer abortions. Women who have access to safe legal abortion have lower maternal mortality/morbidity rates. Pro-lifers in the US have done an enormous amount of damage to family planning services in the third world, vastly increasing the number and rate of abortions, by denying funding to family planning services which provide safe legal abortions. Pro-lifers never seem to care much about preventing abortions, just about harming women.

      My point was that breastfeeding was analogous to gestation and childbirth, despite the fact that breastfeeding seems like much less of a burden. You wouldn’t have to donate blood to your baby, but you would have to breastfeed. The difference between donating blood and breastfeeding is the difference between organ donation and childbirth.

      Again with the mistaken assumptions! A woman becomes a mother when she gives birth, not before. If she has not given birth, she has no children to care for. Many women who have abortions do so because they already have all the children they can care for. Pro-lifers seem to think women have no obligation to their own children. In some countries with pro-life legislators, women who have abortions are jailed for years, even for decades, which removes them entirely from being able to care for their children. In some countries where women have no access to safe legal abortion, this ensures many children grow up orphaned because their mother died, giving birth or getting an unsafe abortion.

      No, a woman is a mother at the moment of conception. If you create an organism directly through the reproductive process, you are the parent of that organism, and she is your child. I don’t know what other relationship you could have with the organism you created.

      Women being jailed for abortions is about as rare as countries with anti-abortion laws actually enforcing them. (Poland is an exception – they enforce theirs somewhat, but don’t prosecute the woman.) As for women dying in illegal abortions, that may happen in impoverished countries where little to no medical care is available, but it doesn’t happen in countries like ours. In 1965, when abortion was illegal in every state, fewer than 1,000 women per year killed themselves trying to obtain one. If we made abortion illegal today, the number of women who killed themselves trying to abort would be similar to the number of people killed mowing their lawns every year. The “back-alley abortion” argument is based on a politically motivated urban legend.

      Ah: so you acknowledge here (assuming you understand what “analogy” means!) that your attempt to equate breastfeeding with pregnancy/childbirth is scientifically false. Pro-lifers never seem to be able to deal directly and without analogy, with the plain biological fact: pregnancy involves a woman making use of her uterus and all her bodily resources to grow a fetus from fertilised egg – a process which pro-lifers attempt to compare to all sorts of things in their attempt to claim it’s OK to force the use of woman’s body, apparently unable to cope with scientific reality.

      The unborn person has a right to gestation and childbirth, because they are normal and natural means of preservation. People don’t have a right to organ transplants or kidney dialysis from other people, because those things are artificial and extraordinary means of preservation. For instance, you can refuse medical treatment (you can refuse to preserve your life through artificial and extraordinary means), but you cannot refuse to eat (you cannot refuse to preserve your life through normal and natural means). Gestation and birth, like being breastfed by your mother when there’s nothing else you can eat, is therefore a natural right. Unborn persons are entitled to gestation and childbirth.

      Comment by Austin Nedved — December 23, 2009 @ 7:25 pm | Reply

      • Third world countries are not my fantasy.

        No? Yet more women are denied safe abortions in third world countries than in developed countries.

        Adoption is not available in those countries

        Bzzzt! There is no country in the world in which adoption is not available. None whatsoever. Why are you lying about this?

        Comment by jesurgislac — December 23, 2009 @ 8:21 pm

  7. My point was that breastfeeding was analogous to gestation and childbirth

    And it was a false analogy. Not to mention a stupid one. Any woman can breastfeed any baby: babies can survive without human milk. Any analogy that attempts to equate caring for a baby – or an adult – with gestating a fetus, is bound to fail, because there’s no analogy possible.

    You didn’t respond to it.

    I did. You just didn’t like my responses. I don’t suppose you’ll like this response to it any better than you liked my past responses, so you’ll continue to lie that I haven’t responded. Pro-lifers do tend to lie a lot.

    No, a woman is a mother at the moment of conception

    Bizarrely, then, many women are mothers without ever having had a child. Pro-lifers do tend to insist on their own definition of words, but demanding that a nine-year-old girl, made pregnant by rape, who had an abortion to save her life, is to be referred to as a mother, seems both cruel as well as stupid.

    A woman becomes a mother when she gives birth to a baby or adopts one. Obviously I would never dream of telling a woman who is looking forward to being a mother that she mustn’t call herself one yet, because that kind of crass, rude cruelty is the sort of thing pro-lifers do.

    If you create an organism directly through the reproductive process, you are the parent of that organism, and she is your child. I don’t know what other relationship you could have with the organism you created.

    Well, in the biological sense, sure… but in no common sense do we insist on testing the menstrual flow of a heterosexually active woman to see if she has miscarried early (fully half of all conceptions miscarry so early a woman not doing a home pregnancy test may well just think she had a heavy flow) and thereafter insistently referring to both man and woman as “parents” of the miscarried fetus. Most men don’t think of themselves as having a “relationship” with a girlfriend’s tampons, yet in the sense that she could have miscarried early of a tiny fetus, you’d doubtless insist that he has a relationship and should, er… what, carry them all around with him in case one of the used tampons has “his child” stuck to it in the discarded lining of the uterus, a dot too small to see? If you’re a heterosexual male, is that what you do with discarded tampons?

    Women being jailed for abortions is about as rare as countries with anti-abortion laws actually enforcing them

    Does that matter? How many mothers have to go to jail before you’ll concede that the attitude that says mothers should rot in jail for having an abortion is an evil one? Or how many women have to die of ectopic pregnancies or eclampsia because anti-abortion laws are enforced rigorously enough that no doctor or hospital dare provide an abortion? Look at the case in the original post – the nurse who, coming from a pro-life country, evidently honestly thought a woman suffering from pre-eclampsia ought to be left to wait until she was close enough to death to “justify” performing the abortion that would save her life? Without monthly pregnancy tests on all girls and woman, treating any woman who had a miscarriage – induced or natural – as a crime scene, and denial of the right to leave the country, no country can actually enforce forced pregnancy laws. What any country can do is ensure that the only abortion a woman can get is carried out in unsafe illegal conditions – and that women who are in medical need of an abortion will likely be dead before a doctor will agree to perform one. What pro-life legislation directly causes is the death of pregnant women. And of course, when a pregnant woman dies, the fetus she is carrying will die too.

    If we made abortion illegal today, the number of women who killed themselves trying to abort would be similar to the number of people killed mowing their lawns every year.

    Sure. Illegal abortions are still statistically safer than childbirth. Make abortion illegal, and most women who sought an illegal abortion would survive it. It would be the women who came to hospital with a wanted pregnancy gone wrong who would become suddenly much more likely to die.

    The unborn person has a right to gestation and childbirth, because they are normal and natural means of preservation.

    No one has the right to make use of another person’s body against her will. Your claim a fetus has the right to do so because it’s “normal and natural” is a rapist husband’s claim that he has the right to make use of his wife’s body against her will because that’s normal and natural.

    Comment by jesurgislac — December 23, 2009 @ 8:39 pm | Reply

    • I must have missed your last comment in my reply.

      And it was a false analogy. Not to mention a stupid one. Any woman can breastfeed any baby: babies can survive without human milk. Any analogy that attempts to equate caring for a baby – or an adult – with gestating a fetus, is bound to fail, because there’s no analogy possible.

      You were saying that the baby didn’t have a right to breastfeed. It all depended on whether or not there was someone willing to take care of it. I don’t think that’s true. If there was no one else who could take care of the baby, and there was nothing else to feed her, the baby would have a right to breastfeed.

      I did. You just didn’t like my responses. I don’t suppose you’ll like this response to it any better than you liked my past responses, so you’ll continue to lie that I haven’t responded. Pro-lifers do tend to lie a lot.

      I missed the response, my bad.

      Bizarrely, then, many women are mothers without ever having had a child. Pro-lifers do tend to insist on their own definition of words, but demanding that a nine-year-old girl, made pregnant by rape, who had an abortion to save her life, is to be referred to as a mother, seems both cruel as well as stupid.

      Many women have been mothers without ever having given birth. We don’t generally think of them as having been mothers, but they technically have been.

      The girl you’re speaking of was a mother. She had two children, who were killed in order to avoid a risk to her life. There were three lives at stake in the situation, and the doctors handled it by killing the two they didn’t care about to make sure nothing happened to the one that they did. If you have three people who are dying, you don’t kill two of them to save one.

      Well, in the biological sense, sure… but in no common sense do we insist on testing the menstrual flow of a heterosexually active woman to see if she has miscarried early (fully half of all conceptions miscarry so early a woman not doing a home pregnancy test may well just think she had a heavy flow) and thereafter insistently referring to both man and woman as “parents” of the miscarried fetus. Most men don’t think of themselves as having a “relationship” with a girlfriend’s tampons, yet in the sense that she could have miscarried early of a tiny fetus, you’d doubtless insist that he has a relationship and should, er… what, carry them all around with him in case one of the used tampons has “his child” stuck to it in the discarded lining of the uterus, a dot too small to see? If you’re a heterosexual male, is that what you do with discarded tampons?

      The word “mother” apparently has two definitions. One is “the female parent of a born person”. This is the “common sense” definition of the term. The other definition is “the female parent of either a born or unborn person”.

      Does that matter? How many mothers have to go to jail before you’ll concede that the attitude that says mothers should rot in jail for having an abortion is an evil one? Or how many women have to die of ectopic pregnancies or eclampsia because anti-abortion laws are enforced rigorously enough that no doctor or hospital dare provide an abortion? Look at the case in the original post – the nurse who, coming from a pro-life country, evidently honestly thought a woman suffering from pre-eclampsia ought to be left to wait until she was close enough to death to “justify” performing the abortion that would save her life? Without monthly pregnancy tests on all girls and woman, treating any woman who had a miscarriage – induced or natural – as a crime scene, and denial of the right to leave the country, no country can actually enforce forced pregnancy laws. What any country can do is ensure that the only abortion a woman can get is carried out in unsafe illegal conditions – and that women who are in medical need of an abortion will likely be dead before a doctor will agree to perform one. What pro-life legislation directly causes is the death of pregnant women. And of course, when a pregnant woman dies, the fetus she is carrying will die too.

      I don’t think that women who have abortions should be jailed until it’s well established that unborn persons have the same rights as born persons. We ought to treat it like suicide or self-mutilation until that day comes.

      Sure. Illegal abortions are still statistically safer than childbirth. Make abortion illegal, and most women who sought an illegal abortion would survive it. It would be the women who came to hospital with a wanted pregnancy gone wrong who would become suddenly much more likely to die.

      If two born people are dying, you can’t kill one of them to save the other. Why do you think this should be different?

      No one has the right to make use of another person’s body against her will. Your claim a fetus has the right to do so because it’s “normal and natural” is a rapist husband’s claim that he has the right to make use of his wife’s body against her will because that’s normal and natural.

      Rape exists in nature, that doesn’t make it natural. It’s unnatural, actually.

      If your baby would either breastfeed or starve, and there was no one else or nothing you could feed her with, you would have to let her breastfeed, i.e. use your body against your will for her own survival.

      Comment by Austin Nedved — December 23, 2009 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

  8. No? Yet more women are denied safe abortions in third world countries than in developed countries.

    They have better policies as far as the legal status of abortion goes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I like the country.

    Bzzzt! There is no country in the world in which adoption is not available. None whatsoever. Why are you lying about this?

    There are parts of the world where adoption is not available. I don’t know if there are entire countries that have absolutely no adoption services, but there definitely are parts of the world where it does not exist. This is a red herring, anyway. You said that people didn’t have to let other people use their bodies for their own survival. I gave a counterexample, and you ignored it along with the rest of my arguments.

    Remember: the abortion rate does not equal the rate at which unborn persons are killed. IVF kills large numbers of them, and contraception probably does too. We aren’t sure whether or not contraception kills unborn persons, or if it does, how many it kills. Data on the number of embryos destroyed by IVF are hard to come by as well. Again, the abortion rate does not equal the rate at which unborn persons are killed. The abortion rate equals the number of people whose sex lives are inconvenienced by having to go to the trouble of killing an unborn person.

    You didn’t respond to my argument about breastfeeding, or the rights of unborn persons. If they are to have the same rights that we have, then they have the right to gestation and birth. Why shouldn’t they have equal rights?

    You tell me what you think the basis is for treating them differently. Then, I’ll tell you why I think they’re treated differently.

    Comment by Austin Nedved — December 23, 2009 @ 8:46 pm | Reply

    • They have better policies as far as the legal status of abortion goes, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I like the country.

      Well, well. As noted above: you, as a pro-lifer, regard it as a “better policy” for women to die.

      There are parts of the world where adoption is not available

      Nope.

      This is a red herring, anyway.

      Thank you for your honesty: yes, it is. But it was your red herring, so I figured I would make you eat it.

      You said that people didn’t have to let other people use their bodies for their own survival. I gave a counterexample, and you ignored it

      Heh. As I predicted: because you don’t like my responses to your “counterexample”, you lie and pretend I made none. Why do you lie about this? Are you lying to yourself?

      Remember: the abortion rate does not equal the rate at which unborn persons are killed.

      Yet pro-lifers never picket fertility clinics, harassing the women and staff going in not to “kill babies” by having fertility treatment…

      and contraception probably does too

      That’s the silliest pro-lifer argument. Sure, you could claim that whenever a man uses a condom or otherwise forcibly prevents sperm from being ejaculated inside a woman’s vagina, that’s in some mystical sense “killing” the fetus that might have been conceived had sperm met egg. Or that whenever a woman has a period and bleeds out an egg, she’s in some hypothetical sense “killing” the fetus that might have been conceived if that egg had engulfed a sperm. But the most common kind of contraception for women involves preventing ovulation – which ensures that even in your hypothetical, mystical sense of bleeding out an unfertilized egg, she is not “killing unborn persons”.

      Plus, of course, it’s completely proven that if you actually want to prevent abortions (as pro-lifers demonstrably do not) the way to go is to ensure that all heterosexually active people have free access to contraception and the freedom to use it. Planned Parenthood is the most successful abortion-prevention organization in the US.

      You didn’t respond to my argument about breastfeeding, or the rights of unborn persons.

      Liar. I did. You just didn’t like my responses, and chose to ignore them and now – as I predicted you would – lie and claim I never made them.

      Comment by jesurgislac — December 23, 2009 @ 10:26 pm | Reply

      • This conversation is getting more heated than it needs to be. If you’re willing to be civil, I’ll reciprocate.

        Well, well. As noted above: you, as a pro-lifer, regard it as a “better policy” for women to die.

        I don’t look at those countries and say “oh great, women are dying! They must be doing something right!” I’m just glad that their laws protect everyone.

        Nope. [There are not parts of the world where adoption is unavailable.]

        If adoption was available everywhere, babies would never starve to death because their mothers ran out of breast milk. It’s a moot point, anyway.

        Heh. As I predicted: because you don’t like my responses to your “counterexample”, you lie and pretend I made none. Why do you lie about this? Are you lying to yourself?

        You didn’t respond to it. You just said “it doesn’t happen”, which is irrelevant and false as well. I said that if a baby was born into an environment in which there was nothing else for it to eat/drink except her mother’s breast milk, the baby would have a right to breastfeed. Refusing to breastfeed would equal infanticide. This is morally analogous to abortion.

        Yet pro-lifers never picket fertility clinics, harassing the women and staff going in not to “kill babies” by having fertility treatment…

        I guess that fertility treatments aren’t as icky as abortions. You can show people pictures of induced abortions and get them all riled up. You can’t do that with embryos. The fact that pro-lifers don’t picket fertility clinics doesn’t change the fact that destroying embryos through IVF is the same thing as having an abortion.

        That’s the silliest pro-lifer argument. Sure, you could claim that whenever a man uses a condom or otherwise forcibly prevents sperm from being ejaculated inside a woman’s vagina, that’s in some mystical sense “killing” the fetus that might have been conceived had sperm met egg. Or that whenever a woman has a period and bleeds out an egg, she’s in some hypothetical sense “killing” the fetus that might have been conceived if that egg had engulfed a sperm. But the most common kind of contraception for women involves preventing ovulation – which ensures that even in your hypothetical, mystical sense of bleeding out an unfertilized egg, she is not “killing unborn persons”.

        One of the ways contraception is believed to work is by preventing the implantation of a newly conceived unborn person. If this is brought about artificially as a means to an end, it is the same thing as an abortion. It might not be as icky, or what we stereotypically think of as being an abortion, but that obviously does not make it different.

        Plus, of course, it’s completely proven that if you actually want to prevent abortions (as pro-lifers demonstrably do not) the way to go is to ensure that all heterosexually active people have free access to contraception and the freedom to use it. Planned Parenthood is the most successful abortion-prevention organization in the US.

        Again, the abortion rate does not equal the rate at which unborn persons are killed. Saying that contraception has been proven that contraception can prevent abortions falsely suggests that it has been shown to reduce the number of unborn persons who are killed. It has not. I think that there are better alternatives and plenty of other reasons to be opposed to it, but I don’t want to get off topic.

        Liar. I did. You just didn’t like my responses, and chose to ignore them and now – as I predicted you would – lie and claim I never made them.

        You ignored my argument! Saying “it doesn’t happen” equals ignoring my argument.

        Comment by Austin Nedved — December 23, 2009 @ 10:46 pm

      • If you’re willing to be civil, I’ll reciprocate.

        If you’re willing to quit lying, I’ll stop calling you a liar.

        Comment by jesurgislac — December 24, 2009 @ 8:16 am

  9. Austin: I don’t look at those countries and say “oh great, women are dying! They must be doing something right!”

    No, you look at those countries where women are dying because they cannot legally access safe abortions, and you say “Oh good, they’re doing something right!” You ignore the pregnant women dying, because your idea of “protecting everyone” does not extend to protecting the lives of pregnant women.

    If adoption was available everywhere, babies would never starve to death because their mothers ran out of breast milk.

    Adoption is available everywhere. But not all babies are going to be adopted – and not all women will get to breastfeed even wanted babies. Of course one of the known effects of denying women access to abortion is, if successful, a rise in the number of infanticides. But then, pro-lifers never seem to care about what happens to babies once they’re born, unless – as your talk of adoption suggests – the babies can profitably be made part of the adoption industry.

    You just said “it doesn’t happen”, which is irrelevant and false as well.

    No, you claimed that there are countries in the world where there is “no adoption”, and I pointed out to you that this is false: you tried to make a false analogy between breastfeeding and gestation, and I pointed out to you that this is false and that you need to deal with the fact of pregnancy, of a woman’s body being used. You ignored my responses, and rather than deal with them, you lied and pretended they didn’t exist. Now you complain I’m “uncivil”? Lying about what I said is uncivil.

    The fact that pro-lifers don’t picket fertility clinics doesn’t change the fact that destroying embryos through IVF is the same thing as having an abortion.

    Both involve a woman having control over when and whether she decides to have children, true. For a pro-lifer who thinks women aren’t entitled to this, I can see they would be the same. But for me, the fact that the pro-life movement ignores fertility treatments in favor of campaigning against contraception is proof not only that pro-lifers don’t care about preventing abortion, but that the whole schtick about claiming they believe abortion is murder is a lie.

    One of the ways contraception is believed to work is by preventing the implantation of a newly conceived unborn person.

    But regardless of how ignorant people “believe” contraception works, it won’t change the fact that this is not how contraception works. Obviously it suits pro-lifers who don’t want to prevent abortions to promote the false belief. But it won’t make that true.

    Saying that contraception has been proven that contraception can prevent abortions falsely suggests that it has been shown to reduce the number of unborn persons who are killed. It has not.

    And yet, the abortion rate goes down whenever women have access to contraception. And while of course ignorant people promote the idea that contraception is somehow just the same as having an abortion – Catholic doctrine regards regular contraception use as worse than sporadically having to have an abortion after unprotected sex – this is scientific nonsense.

    You ignored my argument!

    You made two arguments, I responded to both. Now try responding to my responses, rather than just ignoring them.

    Comment by jesurgislac — December 24, 2009 @ 8:31 am | Reply

    • No, you look at those countries where women are dying because they cannot legally access safe abortions, and you say “Oh good, they’re doing something right!” You ignore the pregnant women dying, because your idea of “protecting everyone” does not extend to protecting the lives of pregnant women.

      I don’t ignore the pregnant women dying. If the countries that banned abortion enforced their laws better, lives would be saved all around. If they had sexual standards, lives would be improved and saved all around as well. I support both of those things.

      Adoption is available everywhere. But not all babies are going to be adopted – and not all women will get to breastfeed even wanted babies. Of course one of the known effects of denying women access to abortion is, if successful, a rise in the number of infanticides. But then, pro-lifers never seem to care about what happens to babies once they’re born, unless – as your talk of adoption suggests – the babies can profitably be made part of the adoption industry.

      If everyone in every part of the world could place their baby up for adoption, babies and children would never die of starvation. There are parts of the world where this happens regularly.

      No, you claimed that there are countries in the world where there is “no adoption”, and I pointed out to you that this is false: you tried to make a false analogy between breastfeeding and gestation, and I pointed out to you that this is false and that you need to deal with the fact of pregnancy, of a woman’s body being used. You ignored my responses, and rather than deal with them, you lied and pretended they didn’t exist. Now you complain I’m “uncivil”? Lying about what I said is uncivil.

      It’s not a false analogy. If there is no one and nothing else you can feed your baby, and your baby would either breastfeed or starve, you would have to let your baby breastfeed. You’re not responding to this. Instead, you’re just saying “it doesn’t happen”, which has no bearing on my point: refusing to gestate and give birth when your child will die otherwise is morally similar to refusing to breastfeed when you child will die otherwise.

      Both involve a woman having control over when and whether she decides to have children, true. For a pro-lifer who thinks women aren’t entitled to this, I can see they would be the same. But for me, the fact that the pro-life movement ignores fertility treatments in favor of campaigning against contraception is proof not only that pro-lifers don’t care about preventing abortion, but that the whole schtick about claiming they believe abortion is murder is a lie.

      They should pay attention to fertility treatments too. One of the reasons we hate artifical contraception so much is because it fuels the mentality that results in abortion being legal. (It also fuels the mentality that results in “feminists” arguing that rapist-glorifying obscenity should be legal, but that’s a discussion for another day.) We believe that sexual standards are an essential part of any long-term strategy to overcome abortion, and that contraception is to those standards what authentic feminism is to protecting obscenity that glorifies violence against women – the two really just aren’t compatible.

      But regardless of how ignorant people “believe” contraception works, it won’t change the fact that this is not how contraception works. Obviously it suits pro-lifers who don’t want to prevent abortions to promote the false belief. But it won’t make that true.

      Why do you say that this isn’t how contraception works?

      And yet, the abortion rate goes down whenever women have access to contraception. And while of course ignorant people promote the idea that contraception is somehow just the same as having an abortion – Catholic doctrine regards regular contraception use as worse than sporadically having to have an abortion after unprotected sex – this is scientific nonsense.

      The abortion rate does not equal the rate at which unborn persons are killed. Using contraception is more or less like having an abortion, because of how it’s believed to work. If there was an artificial contraceptive that worked purely through the prevention of ovulation, it would not be as serious of a mortal sin as, say, killing someone, but it would still be pretty bad.

      Comment by Austin Nedved — December 25, 2009 @ 12:58 am | Reply

  10. I don’t ignore the pregnant women dying. If the countries that banned abortion enforced their laws better, lives would be saved all around.

    Those two sentences contradict each other completely. The better a country that bans abortion enforces their laws, the more pregnant women die as a direct consequence of the enforcement of the ban. So when you say “lives would be saved all around”, you ignore all of the pregnant women – and the fetuses they’re carrying, if they matter to you at all – who die when such laws are enforced.

    If they had sexual standards, lives would be improved and saved all around as well. I support both of those things.

    Well, I agree with that – the sexual standards promoted in the Netherlands, that it’s important for everyone to decide for themselves when to have sex, and to have sex only when they want to, and to use contraception rigorously whenever they have hetero sex unless they intend to engender a child, have unquestionably prevented abortions and improved people’s lives in the Netherlands.

    Problem is, I’ve never, ever, met a pro-lifer who supported sexual standards of the kind which have the Netherlands abortion rate and STD rate at the lowest in the world. When pro-lifers talk about “sexual standards”, what they seem to mean is enforcing ignorance and exhorting to chastity – standards that ensure high STD rates and high abortion rates. Neither seem to bother pro-lifers all that much.

    If everyone in every part of the world could place their baby up for adoption, babies and children would never die of starvation.

    What, you think a mother placing her baby in the care of strangers somehow magically ensures that the baby will live? You should look up the death rates in the orphanages in Ceausescu’s Romania sometime – a regime which presumably you admire enormously, since Nicole Ceausescu certainly rigorously enforced a ban on abortions, and any woman could place her baby up for adoption. The death rate in some of the orphanages was as high as 50%. That’s a pro-life regime for you – high maternal morbidity and mortality, high infant death rate. Good, eh? No problem for a pro-lifer who can ignore pregnant woman and babies dying, just so long as the regime enforces a ban on abortion! Of course, since Ceausescu was overthrown, the ban on abortion was lifted – but far fewer pregnant women and babies die. To anyone but a pro-lifer, that’s a good result.

    There is no country in the world where adoption is not available. There is also no country in the world – none at all – where the number of people willing and able to be adoptive parents, is greater than the number of unwanted children in need of parents. There are always more children who need adoptive homes than parents willing and able to provide those homes.

    If there is no one and nothing else you can feed your baby, and your baby would either breastfeed or starve, you would have to let your baby breastfeed.

    But any woman who is capable of producing breastmilk can breastfeed any baby. Further, breastfeeding – if the woman can get enough calories to be able to breastfeed – does not kill or seriously damage a woman’s health.

    But let’s suppose your imaginary analogy, just for the sake of argument: a woman entirely alone, just herself and a baby, not yet old enough to be fed anything but breastmilk. Suppose that the woman is alone in the wilderness with just enough food for just herself to survive. In order to keep breastfeeding, she needs to eat twice as much food as she actually has. If she eats enough to keep herself in milk, she will run out of food before she can get to a community that will feed her and her baby and she and the baby will die. If she rations it out carefully and eats just enough each day to keep herself alive and walking, her milk will run dry and the baby will die before they reach a community.

    Now, your argument is that the proper course is for the woman to eat double rations, keep herself in milk for as long as possible, and then she and the baby ought to die together – just as you think that if a pregnant woman has a health problem and needs an abortion (see original post) the right course is for the pregnant woman and her fetus to die together.

    I think that, given either your situation of isolated breastfeeding woman and baby in the wilderness, or pregnant woman with eclampsia, the idea that someone else ought to decide for her is patently absurd: she’s the one faced with a life-or-death decision, she’s the only one who can decide. And it’s bitterly ironic that a movement that promotes the value that it’s better to enforce double-death on both mother and baby, or pregnant woman and fetus, calls itself “pro-life”.

    One of the reasons we hate artifical contraception so much is because it fuels the mentality that results in abortion being legal.

    Yes: the mentality that says woman are human beings, and it’s therefore wrong to treat women as slaves, or breeding animals, or incubators. I appreciate your being honest about why you hate contraception so much: it’s the mentality of an owner who hates the idea that people who used to be property are free human beings.

    We believe that sexual standards are an essential part of any long-term strategy to overcome abortion,

    Absolutely: see above about the Netherlands promoting sexual standards in a way that has succeeded admirably in ensuring the lowest rate of abortion in the world. Unlike the pro-lifer sexual standards which have ensured high abortion rates, high STD infection rates and high maternal mortality/morbidity rates.

    Why do you say that this isn’t how contraception works?

    Because I prefer to speak the truth and keep to scientifically verifiable facts.

    The abortion rate does not equal the rate at which unborn persons are killed.

    You’re right, actually. Homicide was a leading cause of death among pregnant women in the United States between 1991 and 1999. “Data taken from the Pregnancy Mortality Surveillance System at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the pregnancy-associated homicide ratio was 1.7 per 100,000 live births.” cite Abusive partners or ex-partners will target pregnant women for much the same reason as pro-lifers target pregnant woman – a need to control, regardless of who dies. It’s the same reasoning – that women aren’t really human, but only objects to be possessed and used – that feminists/pro-choicers reject.

    Using contraception is more or less like having an abortion, because of how it’s believed to work.

    No. Because it doesn’t matter how ignorant people believe contraception works: their belief won’t change how contraception actually works.

    If there was an artificial contraceptive that worked purely through the prevention of ovulation, it would not be as serious of a mortal sin as, say, killing someone, but it would still be pretty bad.

    Since Catholics believe that the use of contraception – whatever form – is a mortal sin, it’s obviously worse to commit a mortal sin on a regular and unrepentent basis than it is to once in a while commit the mortal sin of having an abortion, confessing, repenting, and returning to the unsinful intercourse that ensures another abortion will be needed in a few months. Using contraception is, according to Catholic doctrine, worse than having an abortion. Of course many lay Catholics no longer agree with this point of doctrine and prefer to prevent abortions by the regular commission of a mortal sin – but such is life: some people really do care about preventing abortions.

    Comment by Jesurgislac — December 25, 2009 @ 11:58 pm | Reply

  11. [...] human rights, as well as the doctors, nurses, and other clinic staff who live in fear of the ironically-named pro-life movement in [...]

    Pingback by Pro-life terrorist found guilty of first-degree murder « Jesurgislac’s Journal — January 29, 2010 @ 8:20 pm | Reply


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