Jesurgislac’s Journal

January 13, 2011

How prolifers actually live out their beliefs

“to understand how seamlessly and humbly we actually live out our belief in the sanctity of human life”Pterodactyl, on FamilyLifeNZ

On Nov 6 2010, a Walgreens pharmacist in Boise, Idaho – apparently one of those prolifers “living out his belief seamlessly and humbly in the sanctity of human life” received an order for a prescription for Methergine, a medicine used to prevent or control bleeding of the uterus following childbirth or an abortion. She asked the Planned Parenthood nurse practitioner whether this was for a patient who had had an abortion, and in accordance with the HIPAA Privacy Act, the nurse refused to tell her and asked for a referral to a pharmacist who would fill the prescription. The prolifer hung up.

To Pterodactyl, and to other followers on that blog who approve of pharmacists being legally entitled to deny women contraception or medical aftercare in order to “seamlessly and humbly” show how much they support “the sanctity of human life”: the patient’s privacy was not deserving of respect. To prolifers, women who might have had abortions aren’t entitled to medical privacy: women aren’t entitled to freedom of conscience. Women aren’t entitled to respect or dignity.

The pharmacist might seem arrogant and brutally uncaring as he put the phone down on a patient who was bleeding and might die, but really, to if you’re Pterodactyl, that’s just seamlessly humble behavior. Because letting a woman bleed to death is the way “to live out your belief in the sanctity of human life”.

This is part of the issue that the Catholic Church objected to when Amnesty International decided to support the right of women who had been raped to abortions and to medical aftercare: to AI, a human rights organisation, a girl or a woman who has been forced to have sex has the right to decide to have an abortion, and whether or not the abortion is legal, to have aftercare post-abortion. To the Catholic Church, it is only right for women to risk death in illegal abortions, and to be denied healthcare for complications afterwards. And this is what Pterodactyl calls “respecting the sanctity of human life”.

Following on to the conclusion: prolifers are llying hypocrites, or prolifers believe women aren’t human, and so aren’t included in the “sanctity” clause.

48 Comments »

  1. And that saves the baybeez how, exactly? Oh, wait, it doesn’t. Because this whole thing has fuck all to do with baybee saving.

    Comment by Personal Failure — January 13, 2011 @ 9:12 pm | Reply

    • Kind of rubs in the point:

      Being prolife about : 1. Telling other people what to do; 2. Punishing women for having non-reproductive sex; 3. Making a big screaming deal about how much they hate abortion.

      Yeah. “Saving babies” doesn’t really come in it.

      Comment by jesurgislac — January 14, 2011 @ 10:52 am | Reply

  2. One of the most dangerous stereotype about abortion (one of the many “icons” which I deemed should be knocked down or broken) is that is NOT about killing the blastocyst/embryo/fetus. It’s about pregnancy, something which is up till now exclusively reserved for women. When pregnant, ONLY the bearer (in this case a woman) may choose to continue her pregnancy or terminate it, even if that amounts to killing the fetus.

    A typical MRAs’ arguments against female abortion (or for male “abortion”) is that men don’t have the rights to kill their young (well, we need both sperm and egg to form a zygote, which will move on to become a blastocyst, then an embryo, then a fetus [before given birth] and finally a child after birth, anyway) so men should have it too (or vice versa, because women can choose to kill their young so men can do that too). It boils down to this: Men must have the right to COERCE women into having an abortion. Coercing women into terminating their pregnancy, or vice versa, continuing their pregnancy, against their will is highly anti-choice and anti-woman.

    Perhaps some MRAs (for coercive male “abortion”) will say: what about a woman raping a man, getting pregnant, giving birth to a child, and then demanding child support from the victim? Their argument is: because the man victim also contributes to pro-create the child, he can force the pregnant rapist to abort that child so that she would not give birth and torment him financially. Mine answer: She’s solely responsible for the child because she in fact placed the burden upon herself, but you can’t force her to terminate her pregnancy against her will. Let her raise the child she herself produces (with an involuntary other party, of course) on her own.

    Comment by The Unrepentant Iconocclast — January 14, 2011 @ 6:53 pm | Reply

  3. A correction: “men don’t have the rights to kill their young… so WOMEN SHOULD NOT HAVE THAT RIGHT.” Well they seem to forget about Susan Eubanks who was convicted because she killed her four children so as to torment her two ex-husbands. If MRAs say that women are given full rein to kill their young at will, how come Susan Eubanks was convicted?

    Comment by The Unrepentant Iconocclast — January 14, 2011 @ 7:01 pm | Reply

  4. “Being prolife about : 1. Telling other people what to do; 2. Punishing women for having non-reproductive sex; 3. Making a big screaming deal about how much they hate abortion.”

    Yeah, if a woman, to use anti-choicers’ terminology, “choose life,” if she is single, then they will coerce her into giving her child for adoption. They make her to think of herself as an unfit mother who should make a sacrifce for her child by giving it to any loving, caring infertile couples who will provide for the child better than she could ever do.

    If a single woman has sex (rape doesn’t matter much, since many still believes that woman is somehow responsible for being rape anyway) and gets pregnant, if she choose to terminate her unwanted pregnancy (thus killing the child in the process), she is called an irresponsible slut and a murderess. If she carries the baby to terms, she is still an irresponsible slut but choose to “redeem herself” by giving the child for adoption. To boot, there’s some further allegations that she only gives up her child for adoption because she is an irresponsible slut who doesn’t want to undergo all the hardship of bringing up a child.

    Comment by The Unrepentant Iconocclast — January 14, 2011 @ 7:14 pm | Reply

  5. Yes, I did say go ahead and quote me on your blog.

    But this only shows your utter refusal to understand.
    I am not a pharmacist and I am barely Catholic by some
    measures.
    The identity of being Pro-Choice is far easier to live
    out if you can view all opposition as a simple binary.
    And in that moment I am uncerimoniously lumped together
    with the above illustration.
    I don’t view pro-choice as a binary but as a myriad of
    subjectivities and I am grateful to my friends when they
    can express how humbly they live outtheir convictions.
    That is the challenge, to listen long enough.

    Comment by Pterodactyl — January 20, 2011 @ 8:48 pm | Reply

    • First of all, thanks for responding here: I appreciate it.

      The identity of being Pro-Choice is far easier to live out if you can view all opposition as a simple binary.

      I identify myself as a human rights activist. As an integral part of that, I identify as pro-choice.

      As that applies to the right to have an abortion, there is a simple binary issue here. (Obviously to the woman who is pregnant, who is making the choice, the issue is not a simple one.)

      If you are pro-choice, it’s the pregnant woman’s right to decide.

      If you are pro-life, someone other than the pregnant woman should get to decide.

      and I am grateful to my friends when they
      can express how humbly they live outtheir convictions.

      By definition, to be pro-life is to declare, arrogantly, that you are wiser and more moral and make better decisions than every pregnant woman who ever needed to decide whether to terminate or continue. (Or if not you yourself, someone else other than that pregnant woman – but in fact most pro-lifers seem to have arrogantly decided that they themselves are better at making that kind of decision than any pregnant woman could be.)

      That is the challenge, to listen long enough.

      Why do you suppose prolifers are incapable – quite literally so – of humbly listening to the pregnant woman who is making the decision, and honoring her choice?


      Update: you may also find this post of interest – Why pro-choice is the only moral option

      Comment by jesurgislac — January 20, 2011 @ 9:17 pm | Reply

  6. There is a simple binary issue here. If you are pro-choice,
    it’s the pregnant woman’s right to decide. If you are pro-life,
    someone other than the pregnant woman should get to decide.

    Well, if you had something other than a binary to look at things
    would you invest any energy at all in its pursuit? I think we
    can agree that in cutting open any person on Earth that we won’t
    find the human rights inside them like we find blood and bone.
    Those are ascribed from the outside by the various discourses
    of power.

    In as much as that may be accurate, then I suggest that as co-
    human rights advocates that we exist on the same spectrum as we
    actively interpret, ascribe and communicate a body of rights to
    human beings. We may be the same when it comes to marriage
    equality, the death penalty, marginalised persons in Islamic
    states, and so forth but when it comes to a belief in the
    application of rights to the incidence of human origin there is
    a dissonance – and it is also in that moment that we can make
    visible our relationship to the powers of this world.

    We both attempt to realise the best possible rights with the same aim
    of venerating human life. If you insist on seeing me as binary in
    opposition then I believe that there are automatic and invisible
    countermeasures enacted that make understanding me far, far harder.

    By definition, to be pro-life is to declare, arrogantly, that
    you are wiser . . .

    Do you not find it arrogant when you say that to even consider the
    humanity of the unborn is “irrelevant” as your attachment to pro-choice
    ideas requires that these discussions are pre-emptively trumped by the
    dogma of choice?
    The reason why is what I am after. I suppose I am actually less interested
    in what people do with their bodies and am more interested in what they
    do with their minds.

    One out of many examples of where the mind is implicated more
    than the body is in allegory and illustration. Specifically with you
    it is the invocation of forced-organ-transplant scenarios.

    Why do you suppose prolifers are incapable – quite literally
    so – of humbly listening to the pregnant woman who is making the
    decision, and honoring her choice?

    For this to be true in my experience, there would have to be some
    real magisterial tribunal where all/some pregnant women come to
    make their petitions only to have the pro-life spokespeople not
    listen and then actively dishonour the choice of the mother. But
    if women in New Zealand can obtain an abortion without going through
    this panel first – I don’t see how it depicts the reality of things.
    Perhaps you could narrow the question down and I can re-answer.

    I will tell you how it really is. Women who choose to abort are not
    given financial aid, but they are still loved, listened to and given
    free post-abortive counselling if sought. I think it would be a
    difficult task to convince anyone that any/all non-profit pregnancy
    related organisation be mandated to give financial aid to those who
    choose abortions – wouldn’t that take away their freedom of choice?

    My aim, as always, is to continually raise in estimation the value
    of human life and to promote the conscious responsibility of this
    estimation to anyone who is cognizant.

    Comment by Pterodactyl — January 22, 2011 @ 10:43 pm | Reply

    • Well, if you had something other than a binary to look at things would you invest any energy at all in its pursuit?

      1. Pregnant woman gets to be the one who decides whether she terminates or continues her pregnancy.
      2. Someone other than the pregnant woman gets to decide, overruling or disregarding what the pregnant woman herself wants.

      Sometimes there really is just a binary. Where exactly is your third option here?

      Comment by jesurgislac — January 23, 2011 @ 8:08 am | Reply

    • Do you not find it arrogant when you say that to even consider the humanity of the unborn is “irrelevant” as your attachment to pro-choice ideas requires that these discussions are pre-emptively trumped by the dogma of choice?

      Where do you find the “arrogance” in saying: In each individual case, it is the pregnant woman’s right to decide?

      Comment by jesurgislac — January 23, 2011 @ 8:10 am | Reply

  7. I put my two most important questions to you in individual comments so that should you choose not to answer them (and I suspect you will not answer them even if you respond to the comments!) that will at least be clear.

    Let me respond to your other points at more length.

    I think we can agree that in cutting open any person on Earth that we won’t find the human rights inside them like we find blood and bone. Those are ascribed from the outside by the various discourses
    of power.

    True, and relevant to this discussion. I do not regard any individual declaration of human rights as the final and absolute dogma on the issue. The best ones were, in my opinion, put together by people who were working towards an aspiration for individual liberty and common welfare. I think the Universal Declaration of Human Rights aspirational and well worth working towards – But yes: no matter how many Nazis cut us open they will not find the rights that say “You may not do that” written on our uterus or our liver.

    In as much as that may be accurate, then I suggest that as co-
    human rights advocates that we exist on the same spectrum as we actively interpret, ascribe and communicate a body of rights to human beings. We may be the same when it comes to marriage equality, the death penalty, marginalised persons in Islamic states, and so forth but when it comes to a belief in the
    application of rights to the incidence of human origin there is a dissonance

    No, there isn’t. The dissonance between us is not ” the application of rights to the incidence of human origin” – it is the removal of rights from human women.

    – and it is also in that moment that we can make visible our relationship to the powers of this world.

    True. Prolifers argue against human rights for women, and in that, they are frequently supported by many powers of the world who find it convenient to declare that “their” women do not have the right to decide how many children to have, and when.

    We both attempt to realise the best possible rights with the same aim of venerating human life.

    When you argue agaianst a woman’s right to choose abortion, you are not “venerating human life”: you are declaring her human life is irrelevant.

    If you insist on seeing me as binary in
    opposition then I believe that there are automatic and invisible
    countermeasures enacted that make understanding me far, far harder.

    But it seems to me, with your persistant claims that the issue is whether the fetus is granted human rights, that you have made not the slightest attempt to understand me or pro-choice values. (I recommend again that you re-read my post Why Pro-choice is the only moral option.) And if you make no attempt to understand those who oppose prolifers, how can you complain that they haven’t gone out their way to understand you?

    Do you not find it arrogant when you say that to even consider the
    humanity of the unborn is “irrelevant” as your attachment to pro-choice
    ideas requires that these discussions are pre-emptively trumped by the
    dogma of choice?

    I excerpted a section of this for you to respond to separately, but I will acknowledge here; I am that arrogant, and so are you. You think the human rights of women are irrelevant, as that discussion is pre-emptively trumped by the dogma that that the fetus a woman is pregnant with is human, she’s got no right to decide to terminate her pregnancy. I think human rights are never irrelevant, and that the determination of prolifers to override a woman’s human rights in order to force her through pregnancy against her will is profoundly wrong.

    The reason why is what I am after. I suppose I am actually less interested in what people do with their bodies and am more interested in what they do with their minds.

    70,000 women die each year because of what prolifers do with their minds to women’s bodies.

    One out of many examples of where the mind is implicated more than the body is in allegory and illustration. Specifically with you it is the invocation of forced-organ-transplant scenarios.

    Forced use of organs against the person’s will is not an allegory. It is a direct statement about prolife values. The uterus is a human organ. To be prolife is to declare that this organ can be used against the will of a human. You keep trying to lose track of this, but fetuses are not gestated in mid-air.

    For this to be true in my experience, there would have to be some
    real magisterial tribunal where all/some pregnant women come to
    make their petitions only to have the pro-life spokespeople not
    listen and then actively dishonour the choice of the mother.

    Yes. In prolife countries, that’s exactly what there is. That tribunal is what prolife legislation seeks to set up: a judgement of pregnant women who wish to terminate, to see if by the tribunal’s judgement, she may have an abortion.

    But
    if women in New Zealand can obtain an abortion without going through
    this panel first – I don’t see how it depicts the reality of things.

    Do prolifers in New Zealand, in your experience of them, think that it’s an extremely good thing that no woman in New Zealand need do more than tell her doctor (or walk into a clinic and tell the doctor there) that she wants an abortion? If so they are genuinely different from prolifers in any other country in which I have experience of them. And I cannot say that the handful of NZ prolifers I have debated with on Brendan’s blog come across as championing a woman’s legal right to obtain an abortion without having to petition for it to a tribunal.

    But such tribunals exist, all over the world, and are supported and praised by prolifers according to how often they turn back women who seek abortions.

    This is the reality.

    Perhaps you could narrow the question down and I can re-answer.

    Well, bluntly: to be prolife is to be for state-mandated childbirth. Someone who thinks it’s extremely good that women in their own country have only to ask and have an abortion, is actually prochoice, regardless of their own personal feelings about abortion. Are you in fact prochoice?

    I will tell you how it really is. Women who choose to abort are not
    given financial aid, but they are still loved, listened to and given
    free post-abortive counselling if sought.

    In your experience as a gay person, is it comforting or supportive for someone to say “Obviously your sexual orientation is just wrong. But I’ll still love you, listen to you, and you can have counselling if you want to help you become heterosexual.” Because when prolifers claim they “love, listen to, and offer counselling” to women who wanted to terminate their pregnancy, that is what I think it sounds like.

    I think it would be a
    difficult task to convince anyone that any/all non-profit pregnancy
    related organisation be mandated to give financial aid to those who
    choose abortions – wouldn’t that take away their freedom of choice?

    Any non-profit organization has a right to direct its funds and its volunteer work wherever they choose, obviously.

    Prolifer non-profits set up purely for the purpose of trying to talk women who need abortions out of having them, “Crisis pregnancy centers” as they’re called in the US, tend to be either singularly pointless – existing merely to let “sidewalk counsellors” sit down in the warm as they bully women – or else actively dangerous, attempting to divert vulnerable women into the adoption industry.

    No crisis pregnancy centers in North America provide any help (beyond some free nappies, maybe) to a woman who opts to have and to keep her baby. People who volunteer for CPCs have sometimes claimed they do, but tend to vanish when asked direct questions about daycare, after-school groups, campaigning for paid maternity leave, helping women with children find good jobs… etc.

    My aim, as always, is to continually raise in estimation the value of human life and to promote the conscious responsibility of this estimation to anyone who is cognizant.

    What value does a woman’s life have? Why do you not wish to promote the value of women’s human lives? What is your conscious responsibility towards women?

    Comment by jesurgislac — January 23, 2011 @ 8:55 am | Reply

  8. Here’s a Use of Organs Without Consent scenario for you.

    A man is driving down a country road late and night and sees bright lights in the air above him. He stops the car, and swears he can see a UFO. His next memory is of standing beside his car in the same spot on the road, and the sun is coming up. A little freaked out, he goes home and goes on with his life, dismayed to have become a UFO abduction victim.

    A couple of months later, he is experiencing nausea, exhaustion, and general discomfort. He goes to see his doctor and discovers that he’s pregnant. The UFO had implanted a human fetus in him for some unfathomable reason. And for the sake of this argument, the fetus is completely, 100% human.

    His options are to carry to term and eventually give birth surgically, or have the fetus aborted.

    Given that there is no chance of natural childbirth and his physiology is not designed to deal efficiently with pregnancy, his doctor tells him he has a 40% chance that he will be killed or permanently damaged or disabled if he carries to term.

    Does he not have the sole right to make the decision of whether to give birth or abort?

    My point, in case I’m being too subtle, is that the potential rights of a potential person DO NOT override the actual rights of an actual person.

    Also, the method of implantation, and the degree of cooperation a woman has in the activities that result in implantation, are completely irrelevant. Once a person is aware that she’s pregnant, it is ENTIRELY up to her to decide whether the risks TO HER of carrying to term outweigh the benefits.

    Comment by Wahoo — January 24, 2011 @ 3:52 am | Reply

  9. Wow, that is a lot of text. Maybe, uh, *rubs eyes* these points
    need to be numbered. Let’s start with one as you have indicated
    that it is your main point:

    (1) Perceptions of Binary Positions
    This post was about “How prolifers . . .” and it was in reference
    to positioning of ProLife Vs ProChoice that I objected to. It is
    my perception that treating identities as binary and oppositional
    is an activity that might be internally self-rewarding. That means
    that when people say all ProChoice people are X, Y and Z that
    they are seeking, not to inform or share knowledge, but to delineate
    the boundary of their own identity, which I think is a pleasurable
    activity.

    Not only is it concerned with pleasure but it is concerned with
    simplicity. Scientific research into attitudes about morality show
    that the simpler something is to think about, the stronger moralistic
    associations can be. The example of this is the attribution of guilt
    to a black man who engages in an armed hold-up of a convenience store
    verses the corporate executive involved in credit derivative default
    swap fraud.

    Look at the majority of televised sport and it is easy to see the thirst
    people have for simple, clear, binary oppositions. But if there is to
    be an fruit to our discussions I do not expect it to be found in the
    un-critical mobilisation of difference for difference sake. That is why
    I look for a common ground first. I don’t blame you for my frustration
    that I now I have to contend with this below quote. A legislative act
    is what I consider to be a very distant extension of my, shall we say
    ProLife preoccupation with the veneration of life. I have never voted
    based on an anti-abortion agenda, it may be a relevant point.

    1. Pregnant woman gets to be the one who decides whether she terminates or continues her pregnancy.
    2. Someone other than the pregnant woman gets to decide, overruling or disregarding what the pregnant woman herself wants.
    Sometimes there really is just a binary. Where exactly is your third option here?

    I admit that it is extremely hard for me to see without priveledged eyes,
    to see a world that is of impoverished education and industry. When I
    speak of a pregnant woman, it is best that I refer only to an average
    woman who might live in Auckland. That is my experience.

    I think that it is an unfair overestimation to say that all ProChoice
    adherents would be comfortable with your depiction in as much as it is
    vague and sweeping and might confuse the individual concerning their
    beliefs about when it is too late in the pregnancy for a woman to make
    that decision. Certainly someone other than the woman has decided many
    things about what practioners can and cannot do – but that is not really
    the argument I want to get into.

    Let me contrast this with the person who says blacks are this, or
    whites are that. I hope that you would be able to see that while
    the subject does have sensory access to a skin colour binary, that the
    observation of race is of little merit when comparted to the what can be
    produced when someone with a critical eye begins to unpackage the harder
    to get at ‘construction’ of race within language and power.

    So to answer your question – it is not about discovering a third position
    but it is about politicising position itself. What that means to me is
    that it takes a particular relationship with language that you (all) have
    that gives you access to the way you think about bodies, persons, rights,
    laws, foetuses and babies. I lack that relationship, and I won’t be able
    to come close to it if I am to be treated as a hypothetical pharmacist.

    Perhaps I could ask a question here that might make that relationship a
    little more visible:

    An average pregnant female, who is a friend, comes to you and says that she
    is trying to come to a conclusion about how she will enact her reproductive
    autonomy - but she says that her decision rests solely on a valuation of the
    worth and humanity of the object she is carrying.  What advice might you offer?

    I truly cannot predict your answers.

    Comment by Pterodactyl — January 25, 2011 @ 8:02 am | Reply

    • An electric light switch has three states: On, Off, or Mu. (Mu being the state when the switch is disconnected from any power source.) Your determined resistance to accepting that if a woman is pregnant either she gets to decide or someone else does is classic “mu” – you wish to retreat from any real-world damage caused by prolife thinking/values and pretend this is all just abstract. Which it is not.

      Certainly someone other than the woman has decided many
      things about what practioners can and cannot do – but that is not really
      the argument I want to get into.

      But that is what being prolife is about. It sounds like you’ve just decided to take that for granted, without wanting to think about it. Indeed, you seem to have constructed quite a lot of very verbal defenses to avoid thinking about it.

      I admit that it is extremely hard for me to see without priveledged eyes,
      to see a world that is of impoverished education and industry. When I
      speak of a pregnant woman, it is best that I refer only to an average
      woman who might live in Auckland. That is my experience.

      I find that fairly telling in itself – that you are really uninterested in the experience of anyone outside your class & locale. You could find out for yourself how people live and die outside your immediate circle, but you just don’t want to know.

      I lack that relationship, and I won’t be able
      to come close to it if I am to be treated as a hypothetical pharmacist.

      It’s odd, because that seems to me a very clear example – you really do just not want to think about it. If you’re the pharmacist, and someone asks you for a drug that can be used to help a woman recover after an abortion or childbirth, do you provide the medication or don’t you? There are a bunch of responses – it’s not a binary answer: “Yes, if there’s a prescription/payment”: “Only if there’s a prescription”: “No, not unless I’m SURE she’s bleeding to death from childbirth, if she had an abortion she ought to suffer the consequences” – which latter appears to be the pharmacist’s answer, and is also the Catholic Church’s answer, but which would not I think be every prolifer’s answer – even if they were Catholic. Your name came up because I had literally within minutes read both this story of the prolife pharmacist “humbly living out their beliefs” and your self-satisfied praise of you/your friends “humbly living out their beliefs”.

      On to your specific question!

      Comment by jesurgislac — January 25, 2011 @ 9:17 am | Reply

      • It’s not that I don’t want to think about it, it’s
        that such a discussion is like two people debating
        the carbon trading scheme without first discussing
        in any way their attachment to notions of the
        environment.
        Abortion is the end of a very very long discussion
        and I’d rather – as you are illuminating below –
        know a little bit more about that discussion before
        I can get to the ends it implies.

        Comment by Pterodactyl — January 25, 2011 @ 8:39 pm

      • It’s not that I don’t want to think about it, it’s
        that such a discussion is like two people debating
        the carbon trading scheme without first discussing
        in any way their attachment to notions of the
        environment.

        Actually, it’s like two people discussing whether they’ll support cutting down a tree at the end of their street. I keep trying to get you back to discussing that tree. You refuse to discuss that tree, instead you declare that before you can discuss carbon trading schemes I have got to explain my attachment to the notion of “environment”. In vain I point out to you that this is a very specific tree, you keep replying “no, no, I refuse to discuss this kind of specific issue, I want to know how attached you are to your idea of ‘environment’.”

        In the real world, if a neighbor was refusing to discuss the tree until I’d spent enough time to satisfy him on carbon trading schemes and “notions of environment”, I would conclude that the neighbor did not, in fact, care one way or another about the tree, and move on.

        In the blog world, I conclude you don’t care one way or another about whether women live or die: and what that says about your ethics, your morality, that you are indifferent to the welfare of half the human species, would make me wonder – though as all prolifers are like that, more or less, I do also just accept that; you can’t be prolife without thinking it doesn’t matter if women live or die.

        Comment by jesurgislac — January 25, 2011 @ 11:14 pm

      • Your presumption that a pregnant woman cannot make (a choice) other
        than a
        “subjective, emotional appraisal” is … noted.
        :D oh really?

        Well, your presumption that There is no way to decide for her what
        that (value) is
        is also noted for it’s implicit support of the idea
        that whether a woman is making a subjective/emotional decision or a
        rational or pragmatic decision is of no consequence whatsoever. So there
        is no point noting what I think about it when you are actively invested
        in not caring either way. Choice requires that you and I, as men, not
        think. And this is one of the biggest reasons why I would reject anti-thought
        choice. I value women too much to say nothing, if I think that the
        pedagogy of (way of learning about) life that they are offered is insufficient.

        Because She has to figure out what the right decision is for her.
        without any criteria at all, in fact – actively rejecting any criteria
        other than self-evidence, for assessing whether she actually is or is not
        making the right decision for herself is a befuddling and counfounding
        proposal.

        It creates the problem whereby a woman who aborts and then decides that
        she wants the child is told – oh, but you made the right decision
        already
        . And the woman who carries her child well into the third
        trimester but then wins a free trip overseas and wants to abort the child
        is told oh, but you already made the right decision already.

        (Okay, I don’t mean to sound combative, as my second belief is that
        identities in conflict will always prioritise opposition over trying
        to access each other’s subjectivity. It was very tempting to be rewarded
        by the use of language above, sorry. Combativeness creates a sense of
        self that is cohesive and pleasurable – and well, unfortunately, I must
        negate pleasure as a tool within such a serious subject.)

        The reason why I find this befuddling and counfounding relates to my
        enculturation within language and society. For I know that as soon as
        that baby is born any sole reliance on self-evidence as a tool for ascribing
        value, humanity and rights to the child is unthinkable. The infant’s
        value seems to both magically and suddenly appear in your narrative.

        Once born, there is no other decision, it has vanished, the only
        right decision is the care, protection and valuation of the child. To me
        personally it is entirely valid to consider the immutable value of the child -
        the shared belief of both ProLife and ProChoice camps – and work backwards
        to include the consideration of this as part of the criteria for knowing
        whether or not you have done enough to arrive at the ‘right’ decision.

        How do I get from where I am to where you are? If you can see where I am
        standing, can you see how many steps there are between us?

        I want to get away from this Catch-22 piece of unproductive discussion
        (don’t quote this, it’s an example):
        J Life beings at birth. P Life begins at conception.
        J you simply cannot comprehend a value system in which women are human
        beings
        . P But what kind of value system allows women to be destroyed
        before they are born? J you simply cannot withold reproductive autonomy
        from a woman without completely devaluing her
        . P But a woman will never
        come to possess a reproductive capacity if she is destroyed before she is born.
        J Having someone use your organs without consent is the worst thing
        ever
        .P Being killed in the name of subjective choice is the worst
        thing ever. J your value system appears to be locked into thinking
        of women as lava lamp blobs.
        P You value system requires that we all must
        have a completley uncritical embrace of dehumanising dogma, nor consider the
        secondary effects of what dehumanisation does to society or how it disadvantages
        minorities.

        This kind of discussion is unlimited. There must be another way to trade information.

        Comment by Pterodactyl — January 26, 2011 @ 1:49 am

      • So there
        is no point noting what I think about it when you are actively invested
        in not caring either way.

        Well, if you can dismiss my entire comment as “you obviously don’t care either way” I’m at a loss. I can’t communicate with you, because you are locked into your idea that because I value my friends and want them to do what’s right for them, I must not care about them, since apparently you think “caring” can only be expressed by lecturing them and telling them what they ought to do.

        Because She has to figure out what the right decision is for her.
        without any criteria at all, in fact

        So again, while claiming to “value” women, you think women are essentially just passive lumps? What makes you think that a woman can have no criteria for making a decision unless a man tells her what those criteria are?

        It creates the problem whereby a woman who aborts and then decides that
        she wants the child is told – oh, but you made the right decision
        already. And the woman who carries her child well into the third
        trimester but then wins a free trip overseas and wants to abort the child
        is told oh, but you already made the right decision already.

        Right, because in your view women are inadequate, flighty creatures who need a man’s guidance. That line about how a woman will have an abortion in order to claim a “free trip overseas”? Perfect illustration of how prolifers hold women in contempt. (The first prize for “most contemptible reason dreamed up by a prolifer for why a woman would decide to have an abortion” still goes to a man who said that if women were allowed to have third-trimester abortions they’d abort so they still fitted into a favorite dress for a party: but yours is a close contender for second place.)

        For I know that as soon as
        that baby is born any sole reliance on self-evidence as a tool for ascribing
        value, humanity and rights to the child is unthinkable. The infant’s
        value seems to both magically and suddenly appear in your narrative.

        “Magically”? Childbirth is not magical. You are the one claiming that if a mere woman can have the right to decide that she will terminate or continue, this means the fetus can have no value. (Prolifers do seem awfully eager to declare that the right to choose abortion must make all fetuses absolutely worthless. It appears that you regard a fetus as having no inherent value except as you can use a fetus as a means of challenging human rights for women.)

        How do I get from where I am to where you are?

        Doctor Tiller said: “Trust women.”

        You don’t.

        Comment by jesurgislac — January 26, 2011 @ 2:55 am

  10. Oh, and if you say that it is only up to her to decide then she
    will ask you to suggest what tools are available to her to come
    to such a conclusion.

    Comment by Pterodactyl — January 25, 2011 @ 8:28 am | Reply

    • An average pregnant female

      I’m going to assume that to you “average” means neither very rich nor very poor, just getting by like the most of us.

      who is a friend, comes to you and says that she
      is trying to come to a conclusion about how she will enact her reproductive
      autonomy – but she says that her decision rests solely on a valuation of the
      worth and humanity of the object she is carrying. What advice might you offer? Oh, and if you say that it is only up to her to decide then she
      will ask you to suggest what tools are available to her to come
      to such a conclusion.

      I can’t imagine anyone I know telling me she wants to “enact her reproductive autonomy”. She would tell me, I would guess, she’s pregnant, she isn’t sure what she’s going to do. And I wouldn’t offer advice unless she asked it: I’d be supportive. If she seemed to want to talk about it we probably would. What we would talk ABOUT is really situational, and one of the things I would definitely say right away was that I wouldn’t ever tell anyone anything she told me unless she explicitly said it was okay for me. But there’s a whole bunch of things that might come up that would clearly telegraph whether she was thinking in terms of “I’d really like to have this baby but it’s going to be really difficult” or “I want to get referred for an abortion and I don’t know how to say so”. But let’s say nothing she says clearly telegraphs what she wants to do, she really is just completely “I don’t know”.

      Often when someone really doesn’t know what to do about an important decision, the best thing is to advise them to take time to think about it. The thing with pregnancy that many prolifers really don’t seem to understand is that pregnancy has non-postponable deadlines. It’s easy and very safe to get an abortion in the first 12-14 weeks. It’s often far less easy (both biologically and legally) after 15 weeks. There’s always a certain amount of bureaucratic delay, and the more prolife the state (or country), the more bureaucratic delay. In a very prochoice state or country, a woman may be able to take weeks to consider her decision, especially if she finds out she’s pregnant early: in a brutally prolife system, even if abortion is legal, she had better make up her mind in days.

      But let’s suppose she has a week’s grace before the decision must be made. If she asked me for advice I would ask her to think about what she wants, before anything else – when she thinks about having an abortion, or when she thinks about having a baby, does this make her feel good – feel relieved, feel comfortable with herself? If she told me “well, I could always have the baby adopted”, I’d ask her to consider seriously how that would make her feel – having the baby and losing the baby, possibly without even getting to see him/her. I’d be open and non-judgemental. I’d support her in valuing herself and her feelings about what the right thing is for her.

      If she’s worried about the costs of an abortion, and her issues seem to get stalled on that specific worry, I’d tell her that I can and will help with that if that’s what she wants. No strings, I’ll just help: she should get that worry out of her mind. I’m not rich but I can afford to incur a one-off payment on my credit card in a real emergency.

      If she’s worried about the expense of having a child (about her job, about maternity leave, about her mortgage) well, that’s a lot more financial commitment than I could just say definitely “I’ll help” (I can do babysitting, I can find legal advice to help her with her job, I can help her claim whatever benefits she’s entitled to) – but I’d tell her that if she wants to have the child then I feel she should – but if she decides she has to have an abortion because she can’t afford to have a child now, and that feels right to her, I’ll support her in that decision too, while being thoroughly angry at a callous system that means money has to affect her decision. (You said “friend” rather than “close friend” – I’m assuming she’s not so close I’d just ask her & the child to move in with me for 18 years. That would have to be a fairly close friend indeed!)

      For each pregnant woman, the decision to terminate or continue is a big decision, different for each woman, for each pregnancy. Her tools to help her make the decision are her own evaluation of her situation, her own feelings about abortion or having another child. Each woman must make her own judgement call. Friends give support, listen, and offer what help they can for her to make and to accomplish her decision.

      I love it when my friends have babies: I like kids. But I can’t imagine ever trying to talk someone into having a baby because I wanted her to have one, regardless of what she wanted.

      Comment by jesurgislac — January 25, 2011 @ 9:52 am | Reply

      • Heh, I have discovered the Reply button.
        If I could just entertain this line of discussion one step more.
        Thank you, it was quite comprehensive.

        Let’s say that this woman’s personality on the Meyers-Brings is
        an xNTx which means in this case, as an iNtuitive she looks to
        abstract patterns more than direct physical sensations, and as a
        Thinker – that she appreciates rationality more than emotion or
        social consensus. For this example I would say that she is a
        little philosophical but this is tempered with pragmatism.

        She says that with the changes occuring in her body she feels
        many emotions but puts them aside in her decision making because
        she fears that they are chemically produced and slightly irrational
        at times. She tells you that she had never deeply subscribed to
        feminism other than to take hold of the idea that never getting
        pregnant would mean she could hold onto a certain autonomy in her
        life. She is ProChoice but now the choice is put to her she does
        not know how to choose.

        Now that she is pregnant she is trying to gain a perspective
        on her pregnancy as, until now, she has never invested much time
        thinking about it. She finds that many in her peer group are
        supportive of her no matter what she wants, but she finds that
        instead of an end (keeping, aborting) – as finance is not an issue,
        what she truly wants is to know how to value this foetus.

        “Do you know how I can think of its value?”

        Comment by Pterodactyl — January 25, 2011 @ 8:35 pm

      • “Do you know how I can think of its value?”

        I already answered this, at some length, here.

        Comment by jesurgislac — January 25, 2011 @ 11:04 pm

      • So the answer to the value of unborn life is purely a subjective,
        emotional appraisal of one’s own feelings, baises, expectations,
        desires and judgements. No other external body, measure, or
        value system has any real bearing on making this evaluation other
        than your own decision to participate in those systems if that
        matches your world-view. If you insist on trying to look outside
        yourself for meaning then you simply place yourself in the path of
        potential harm because you might encounter views that will
        contextualise the choice of abortion.

        Life has no inherent value as long as the location of that life is
        inside the body of another. The decision to keep and the decision
        to abort are equivalent decisions and there is no way to tell them
        apart other than self-evident means.

        Is this accurate?

        Comment by Pterodactyl — January 25, 2011 @ 11:48 pm

  11. So the answer to the value of unborn life is purely a subjective,
    emotional appraisal of one’s own feelings, baises, expectations,
    desires and judgements

    The answer [to the value of a fetus] is the [pregnant woman]‘s appraisal of her own feelings, biases, expectations,
    desires and judgements. Yes.

    Your presumption that a pregnant woman cannot make other than a “subjective, emotional appraisal” is … noted.

    No other external body, measure, or
    value system has any real bearing on making this evaluation other
    than your own decision to participate in those systems if that
    matches your world-view

    True, and self-evidently true for you too! Yet you say it as if the systems you have decided to participate in, and which you allow to have bearing on making your decisions, were somehow outside your world-view, “objective”, “unemotional”.

    If you insist on trying to look outside
    yourself for meaning then you simply place yourself in the path of
    potential harm because you might encounter views that will
    contextualise the choice of abortion.

    Huh? Everyone has views that “contextualise the choice of abortion”. Everyone has views that contextualise the choice to have a child, too. You seem to think that a pregnant woman, asked how she feels, will do so floating in an utter vacuum – without past, present, or future contexts. This is a concept of a pregnant woman as a kind of lava lamp!

    Life has no inherent value as long as the location of that life is inside the body of another.

    You appear to feel that a woman’s life has no inherent value, since you argue that a woman can be left to die at the whim of another, according to their “conscience”. Or so you argue here, though on this blog you avoided making that explicit a statement by giving me a runaround about how no, that was like talking about carbon trading.) So what’s your issue? If the woman’s life to you has no inherent value, why do you feel the fetus within her should be given an inherent value you deny to her?

    The decision to keep and the decision
    to abort are equivalent decisions and there is no way to tell them
    apart other than self-evident means.

    No, they are not equivalent decisions: for each woman, for each pregnancy, there will be a right decision. There is no way to decide for her what that is. She has to figure out what the right decision is for her.

    Is this accurate?

    So inaccurate that I conclude you simply cannot comprehend a value system in which women are human beings, uniquely to be valued, endowed with reason and conscience: your value system appears to be locked into thinking of women as lava lamp blobs.

    Comment by jesurgislac — January 26, 2011 @ 12:08 am | Reply

  12. I want to get away from this Catch-22 piece of unproductive discussion
    (don’t quote this, it’s an example):
    J Life beings at birth. P Life begins at conception.

    But I’ve never said “Life begins at birth.” Really, not ever. Not even once. Nowhere. You can search the entire bloody Internet and I swear, you will never find me saying that. You’ve just got it locked into your head that I must have said that… because you can’t comprehend (or want to) that a values system exists of trust & respect for women.

    J you simply cannot comprehend a value system in which women are human
    beings. P But what kind of value system allows women to be destroyed
    before they are born?

    Reality. Half of all human conceptions are destroyed before they’re born – most by spontaneous abortion in the first two or three weeks of pregnancy. We do not know what proportion of those “destroyed” would have been women, men, intersex… we just don’t. But that’s reality: it’s not a “value system”.

    If you mean the “value system” which exists in some countries where pregnant women who are thought to be pregnant with a female fetus are forced to have an abortion (which would in earlier times have been a forced infanticide), that is not my value system: it’s another anti-choice value system running in parallel with your own: what they have in common is the utter devaluation of women.

    J you simply cannot withold reproductive autonomy
    from a woman without completely devaluing her. P But a woman will never
    come to possess a reproductive capacity if she is destroyed before she is born.

    True, fetuses can’t get pregnant or engender children. What on earth you mean to convey by this random statement I do not know.

    J Having someone use your organs without consent is the worst thing
    ever.P Being killed in the name of subjective choice is the worst
    thing ever.

    Given that you value a person’s right of conscience over saving a human life, this strikes me as pure prolife hypocrisy: you approve subjective choice (aka “conscience”) allowing women to die, but you object strongly to the idea that a woman can have a right of conscience with regard to her pregnancy. So while you’re happy to define abortion as a form of killing which is the “worst thing ever”, your objection to killing isn’t because it values human life.

    <J your value system appears to be locked into thinking
    of women as lava lamp blobs. Your value system requires that we all must
    have a completley uncritical embrace of dehumanising dogma, nor consider the
    secondary effects of what dehumanisation does to society or how it disadvantages
    minorities.

    My point was that your value system requires that we are suopposed to embrace your dehumanizing dogma uncritically, and not consider the primary or secondary effects of what such dehumanization does to society or how it disadvantages minorities. You seem to have borrowed my point, evidently thinking it sounded well, and claimed it for your own!

    Comment by jesurgislac — January 26, 2011 @ 1:30 pm | Reply

  13. Jesurgislac:

    After an unexpected trip out-of-town, I finally and belatedly returned to the InsideCatholic thread in which you had participated.

    It seems to have gotten unfocused a bit; in any event, I had never responded to your moral argument, which I had intended to do before work intruded.

    I have posted a three-part reply to your moral argument. If you remain interested, head back over there.

    Comment by R.C. — March 23, 2011 @ 11:50 pm | Reply

  14. i commented over there, with my story.
    i do actual expect to be called a liar again – as i generally am when i tell rabid pro-lifers that i have a disease that means pregnancy WILL kill me.

    but hey – i have to try, too.

    i just can’t, CAN NOT, understand pro-lifers. they’ve been shown the proof, over and over, that abortion saves lives, that outlawing abortion doesn’t mean there are no abortion, or even LESS abortions, just more dead women.
    they’ve also been shown the proof, over and over, that the ONE WAY to lower abortion rates is more and better and easily accessible BC.
    yet the fight against BC, too.

    did you mention Georgia’s new attempted “miscarriage” law? the one that says ANY and ALL miscarriages HAVE to be reported within 72 hours, so that they can “investigate” and make sure it was a “natural” miscarriage and not an attempt to force a miscarriage? that’s pretty damned close to your “gathering forensic evidence from her vagina” scenario…

    Comment by denelian — March 29, 2011 @ 5:57 am | Reply

  15. Both sides seem to make this more complicated than it needs to be.

    What we need to do is form a commission of legal and medical experts (not religious)to settle once and for all when in the process a baby, fetus, potential life etc.. is afforded legal protection as a human being. Whether that would be at 20 weeks or whatever would be up to the commission.

    This would be distatseful to both radical sides, which practically proves its the right thing to do.

    Comment by Topsider — April 22, 2011 @ 7:27 pm | Reply

    • is afforded legal protection as a human being

      What would that have to do with the issue of whether or not a woman has the right to choose abortion?

      Making use of another human being’s body against her will is not a human right. A fetus can have no legal protection against abortion, because a fetus has no right to make use of a human body, even to stay alive, without that person’s consent.

      Any attempts to give fetus legal protection as human beings are invariably thinly-disguised attempts by the prolife lobby to control, use, and abuse women.

      Comment by jesurgislac — April 22, 2011 @ 9:55 pm | Reply

      • That’s a nice try, Topsider.

        But babies, foetuses, potential lives . . . are discursive entities.
        They are validated through validation, not by any external force.
        This is not a strictly objective question like ‘what is oxygen?’ or ‘has fertilization occured?’
        Medical experts don’t agree. One will validate, one will invalidate.

        Jesu – how do we know that a woman that wants to have a child isn’t using the body of the foetus against its will?

        Comment by Pterodactyl — April 23, 2011 @ 2:52 am

      • Hi Ptero!

        Nice try. But in order to stop a woman who has decided to have an abortion, force must be used. To be prolife is to support the use of force to invalidate a woman’s humanity. It has nothing to do with your clinical “validating a fetus”. The use of force and abuse of women is objective, and is always wrong.

        As to your second point, as a fetus, objectively & scientifically, has no will of its own, arguing that a woman is using her body to make a fertilised egg into a baby “against it’s will” is nonsense: where no will exists, there is no possible measurement of whether something is done against or with a non-existent “will”.

        Comment by jesurgislac — April 23, 2011 @ 1:56 pm

  16. It is not of much interest to me if it is a nice try or not. A reasonable person could not believe that life begins at the moment of fertilization or first cell division. A reasonable person could also believe that it is immoral to stab an infantin the head as it exits the birth canal.

    Since both sides seem to object to my opinion, it reinforces my notion that I am on the right track. At some point it is the woman’s body, at some point it is more than that. Most practical solutions exist in the middle. We just have to deal with it.

    Comment by topsider — April 23, 2011 @ 4:38 am | Reply

    • Do you think that drawing the line at any moment of development
      is somehow not going to be a discrusive or arbitrary distinction?

      We have single celled organisms that are alive on Earth,
      why is it not reasonable to consider single cells alive?
      It seems stranger to say that we must wait until X number
      of cells exist to call a human life alive.

      Even if you could pinpoint exactly and unanimously a “reasonable”
      moment of life, Jesur would not be bothered. He/She does not care
      if it is real life or not. If you look at the argument Jesur makes
      it is about property – that the foetus, alive or not, is trespassing
      temporarily on the property – the body of the woman. Regardless of
      the status of life or humanity of the baby, it is perfectly okay to
      kill a baby if you haven’t given it permission to be on your property/womb.

      What that means is property is more valuable than life,
      (I am not commenting on the rare cases where pregnancy may be life threatening)
      pregnancy is physical abuse,
      slavery is a worse crime than murder.

      Comment by Pterodactyl — April 23, 2011 @ 6:34 am | Reply

      • slavery *IS* worse than murder.

        murder happens and then is over. if you’re Christian, said fetus now goes to Heaven – which, btw, if said fetus was born and lived, might not happen. probably wouldn’t, if i understand Christian Theology correctly.
        murder is a one-time thing.

        slavery? lasts and lasts and lasts – slavery can be the death of the SOUL.

        but we aren’t talking about “property” [although - if you live in a "red" area, you'll find that gun proponents DO feel property is worth more than death - that's why they can kill "invaders" to their property.]

        we are talking about our BODIES. our SELVES.

        i will seriously, no-kidding no-backing-down, stop fighting for abortion rights the SECOND either A) it becomes REQUIRED LAW that anyone who is adult and the “best match” for organ donation MUST donate [because life is more important than an organ, right?] or B) there is a way for the fetus to be placed *somewhere else* – a uterine replicator, a man, i don’t CARE.

        in the meantime – as one of those women for whom pregnancy *IS* a literal death sentence – i’ll keep fighting. not just for me – because if we go back to a “only the health of the mother”, at some point someone’s going to say “wait! there’s only a 50% chance that you’ll die TODAY” [ignoring the CUMLATIVE and INCREASING danger of continuing pregnancy] and then i’ll be dead – but because NO ONE has the right to force you to do ANYTHING with YOUR BODY. ANYTHING.

        also: where the hell are all these “pro-life” people AFTER the baby is born? right now, they’re cutting WIC and foodstamps and TANF and HUD and medicaid/medicare and all those programs that keep at LEAST 25% of the children in this country ALIVE! “pro-life” apparantly ONLY applies pre-birth – i challenge you, specifically,Pterodactyl, to do some REAL pro-life work – in a soup kitchen, foster care, SOMETHING. do you? at all? i mean, i’m apparantly “pro-death” but i’ve worked to save lives – with the Red Cross, at soup kitches, at women’s shelters, with homeless kids – what have YOU done? not “what money have you sent”, because if it’s in the US chances are it didn’t pay for any help for the people who NEED it, but “What have you yourself done to save a life? a life that you can SEE, directly, that you don’t need an ultrasound and a tech to show you, a real-live-living-BREATHING-human-life”

        Comment by denelian — April 23, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

      • Do you think that drawing the line at any moment of development is somehow not going to be a discrusive or arbitrary distinction?

        Agreed. For prolifers, the line is drawn the instant a girl or a woman can get pregnant: at that point, she ceases to be a person worthy of life and human rights, an individual who makes her own decisions, and becomes merely an object, an item of property to be used.

        For people who care about human rights, that line is unacceptable.

        Comment by jesurgislac — April 23, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

    • the problem with this line of reasoning is that it ASSUMES that women wait until the “last minute” to get an abortion.

      MOST abortions – somewhere around 90% – are done in the first trimester.

      if they happen later, in the SECOND trimester, it’s because the women either A) didn’t know until then [and yes, that CAN and HAS happened] B) had to go to someplace that WOULD do an abortion, and it took her that long to be able to get there or C) it took that long to get thru all the BS red-tape. 2nd trimester abortions are rare, and aren’t LEGAL most places.

      if they happen in the THIRD trimester, there are two, and ONLY two, reasons. and, quite LITERALLY, it is IMPOSSIBLE to get a 3rd trimester abortion without one of these two reasons. which is A) life of the mother or B) the fetus is somehow incompatable with life. as in, *IF* it makes it, it will be in agony for it’s INCREDIBLY short and painful life – there is NO HOPE that said baby will live long enough to do anything, and it is MUCH kinder to do it now.

      we ALREADY have a point at which abortions CAN NOT take place [unless mother at risk of death or infant would be incompatable with life]. actually, we have 2 sets of that – the 1st trimester, the 2nd trimester, depending on where you are.

      i have to say, though – there has NEVER been a baby born younger than 30 weeks [7.5 months] that has LIVED. [and there's LESS than a 1% chance that a baby OF 30 weeks would live - and it would cost MILLIONS. i know - i have friends who did it. they will never pay it off. they CAN'T]

      i’d say any abortion before there’s a chance, a REAL chance, not a “miracle of god” chance, of the infant being able to LIVE outside the womb is an “ok” abortion. and any abortion that hits the “marks” of the current 3rd trimester abortion requirments is an “ok” abortion.
      and, oh, look! that’s what we ALREADY HAVE.

      Comment by denelian — April 23, 2011 @ 12:20 pm | Reply

      • Yes, but your way of looking at it prioritises the individual pregnant woman’s needs and choices, puts the welfare of the woman at the centre of the abortion debate. And to prolifers, that’s unacceptable.

        Comment by jesurgislac — April 23, 2011 @ 1:59 pm

    • The woman’s body is ALWAYS the woman’s body. Arguing that at some point in pregnancy, people ought to get to use and abuse her body against her will, is just not acceptable.

      Comment by jesurgislac — April 23, 2011 @ 2:00 pm | Reply

      • Look, I had no expectation that either side (in this case jesurgislac or Pterodactyl) would find what i proposed acceptable. Like I said, the fact that neither of you do only reinforces my position. I aasume that jesurglac would defend the right to live for an infant who was 5 seconds old. I would also assume that she would find stabbing it in the brain as it exits the birth canal at least moderately disturbing.

        I would also assume that Pterodactyl would find it at least moderately less disturbing to terminate a pregnancy very early in the fertilization process. My instinct tells me that neither of you will be willing to acknowledge the above for fear of being viewed as “giving in”.

        In my opinion, it is far more reasonable and takes far more courage in some cases to seek a compromise that recognizes the valid points being made by both sides. Holding the hard line blindly easily allows moderates to dismiss your arguments as radical. Like it or not, most people are more moderate than anything else.

        Comment by topsider — April 25, 2011 @ 2:51 am

      • “I would also assume that she would find stabbing it in the brain as it exits the birth canal at least moderately disturbing. “

        I’m assuming by that you’re making the usual ignorant prolife reference to what they call “partial birth abortion”? If so, you can’t really pretend you’re not prolife, just less extreme than Pterodactyl.

        “In my opinion, it is far more reasonable and takes far more courage in some cases to seek a compromise that recognizes the valid points being made by both sides.”

        There is no compromise with prolifers; you can’t agree to have women enslaved “just a little bit”.

        Comment by jesurgislac — April 25, 2011 @ 9:19 pm

      • Hi Topsider.

        The level of disturbance felt about abortion the younger the foetus is – is a bias in human perception. That the bias of smaller = less signficant exists is no bearing on the morality of the act. Neither of us are asking you to go away or be silent, I think there is the opportunity for humour in that you have gotten us to agree on something for once (how arbitrary it is to draw a line during development) :D

        So your argument is actually more about the enforcement of early abortions with reference to feelings of disgust or disturbance?
        I am not your typical pro-lifer. I don’t support the right to life because I believe it is cosmically or divinely mandated, or because of disgust or distrubance.

        I simply place the priority of rights upon the things that are most universal to human flourishing and wellness. I can’t understand how any constructed body of rights or morals can exclude or be suspicious of gestation, in as much as gestation is universal to every living person. It is universal, it cannot be wrong, evil, insidious, abusive, predatory, parasitic or valueless. I don’t have an answer to this problem other than liberal sex education.

        Comment by Pterodactyl — April 25, 2011 @ 11:36 pm

      • I simply place the priority of rights upon the things that are most universal to human flourishing and wellness.

        No, you don’t. You place the priority of rights upon harming women. True, that is very widespread: but harming and denigrating women has nothing to do with human flourishing and wellness.

        I can’t understand how any constructed body of rights or morals can exclude or be suspicious of gestation

        Nor can I. Yet prolifers wish to exclude gestation from rights and morals by arguing that gestation is not an act which women must choose, but something that must be forced on women, that women may not be allowed to refuse: prolifers are (as you and Topsider demonstrate in your own way) deeply suspicious of any constructed body of rights and morals that accepts gestation, unsuspiciously, as something that women do – and that each woman must therefore get to decide on for herself.

        It is universal, it cannot be wrong, evil, insidious, abusive, predatory, parasitic or valueless.

        Prolifers can, though.

        I agree the answer is liberal sex education, but also stringent legislation to protect women from prolifers who wish to use women’s bodies against their will.

        Comment by jesurgislac — April 26, 2011 @ 7:29 am

  17. i hate the way comments format here. just saying.

    so, list-wise, that FIRST comment was to Pterodactly, the SECOND was to Topside.

    just to try and make it less confusion…

    Comment by denelian — April 23, 2011 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

    • Hi Denelian: Sorry. WordPress allows LIMITED nesting, though I had a certain amount of option about how it was formatted. I chose to allow “comment – reply – response”, hoping that people who had more to say than a quick response, would make a new comment. Hm, maybe I should actually SAY that…

      Comment by jesurgislac — April 23, 2011 @ 1:58 pm | Reply

      • jerurgislac;

        oh, i know – it’s wordpress i am complaining about, not your or yours :) wordpress is lovely in many ways – this is just an area where it isn’t. what are ya gonna do?
        different blogs have different formats on replies – so sometimes i think it’s one thing but it’s really another. not your fault!

        Comment by denelian — April 24, 2011 @ 3:07 am

  18. “The woman’s body is ALWAYS the woman’s body.” -jerurgislac

    Well, that’s clear enough. I guess to your way of thinking, a fetus has has a protected legal status only if the mother chooses to bestow it upon them. I would be interested in your opinion of a mother who abuses heroin throughout her pregnancy and gives birth to a baby with multiple health issues, including the need to go through heroin withdrawl. The way I read what you say, she did nothing more than take heroin herself and she had no obligation to the potential child she was abusing as it was her body to abuse.

    And no, I am not a prolifer as I support the right for a woman to have an early term abortion without restriction.

    “That the bias of smaller = less signficant exists is no bearing on the morality of the act.” -Pterodactyl

    Again, as both sides object to my opinion, it is probably the only practical way to look at it. A reasonable person can hold the opinion that an egg is not a human being the instant of fertilization. Any line that may be drawn in the development process that affords legal protection to the fetus would have to be somewhat arbitrary by its nature, it could also be however based on solid science and medicine and allow, the way I understand it, the vast majority of abortions which do take place.

    Comment by topsider — April 27, 2011 @ 5:36 pm | Reply

    • Well, that’s clear enough. I guess to your way of thinking, a fetus has has a protected legal status only if the mother chooses to bestow it upon them.

      I would say that the fetus can have the same protected legal status as any human being born. (I don’t see much point to that, except as a prolifer excuse to abuse pregnant women: if a society provides well for pregnant women, that society will also automatically provide well for fetuses.)

      As no human being born has any “protected legal right” to make use of another person’s body against her will, no fetus can have any legal right to do so.

      I would be interested in your opinion of a mother who abuses heroin throughout her pregnancy and gives birth to a baby with multiple health issues, including the need to go through heroin withdrawl. The way I read what you say, she did nothing more than take heroin herself and she had no obligation to the potential child she was abusing as it was her body to abuse.

      I think anyone who’s addicted to heroin deserves access to help and counseling to deal with their addiction, healthcare support if they cannot become unaddicted, and anyone affected by their addiction also deserves help and support. Because this needs to be a universal benefit, it follows that it must be tax-funded and available free of charge to all addicts and their families. Do you agree? If not, why not?

      I think everyone deserves full healthcare according to their needs. Because this needs to be a universal benefit, it follows that it must be tax-funded and available free of charge to all at point of use. Do you agree? If not, why not?

      I think any woman who is pregnant and who intends to have the baby deserves to have full pre-natal healthcare targeted to her needs. A woman who’s a heroin addict, or a tobacco addict, or an alcohol addict (tobacco and alcohol addiction are far more common than heroin addiction) will need intensive, high-quality pre-natal care, and her baby once born may need intensive high-quality follow-up care. Because this needs to be a universal benefit, it follows that it must be tax-funded and available free of charge to all at point of use. Do you agree? If not, why not?

      My moral view of addiction is that I am fortunate never to have become addicted to any drug, legal or illegal, and morally speaking, I do not think it right to deny essential services to someone in need because of their addiction.

      And no, I am not a prolifer as I support the right for a woman to have an early term abortion without restriction.

      But you think in later pregnancy, a woman should be used against her will by the state or by her husband? Disagree. A woman’s body is always her body, the idea that in late pregnancy she should cease to be cared for or entitled to human rights is abhorrant. It’s why prolifers killed Doctor Tiller: because he trusted women to make the right decisions for themselves. It’s essentially a misogynist point of view.

      Any line that may be drawn in the development process that affords legal protection to the fetus would have to be somewhat arbitrary by its nature

      Not at all. There is an arbitrary line in the development process set by nature: childbirth. When the fetus is no longer a fetus, but a baby.

      Comment by Jesurgislac — April 28, 2011 @ 5:20 pm | Reply

  19. Topside;

    you said “And no, I am not a prolifer as I support the right for a woman to have an early term abortion without restriction.”

    what you are missing here, and i already said it once, is that NO WOMAN HAS A LATE TERM ABORTION WITHOUT SEVERE MEDICAL NEED. there is NO “oh, i’m tired of being pregnant, guess i’ll get an abortion today” at 8 months [or ANY months, anymore - you pretty much ALWAYS have to wait, at least for a day or two...]

    that’s why statements like yours set pro-choice people off – you’re just blithly stating [even if you don't realize it] that it’s ok for a woman to get an abortion when it’s early, no matter what – but that women ARE somehow getting abortions at 5, 6, 7, 8, even 9 months, for NO REASON. and it’s complete and utter BULLSHIT. there is not a single [legal] abortion in the US in the 3rd trimester that ISN’T for DRASTIC medical reasons – threat to the mother’s live, of a fetus who will NOT be able to live.
    PERIOD.

    you don’t NEED to make any sort of restriction on “late term” abortion – ONE, it’s already there, but TWO, no woman is going to keep a prenancy THAT long unless it’s WANTED. it’s INSULTING to those women who have HAD to have late term abortions to say this shit. there are NO frivolious late term abortions. period. end of story.
    and acting as if there ARE – whether you mean to are not – makes it seem as if you think NO ONE should EVER get a late term abortion, no matter what, and THAT *IS* anti-choice. AND it’s insulting.

    please pay attention. IT DOES NOT HAPPEN. if a late term abortion happens, it’s not a fucking whim, it’s not some woman “changing her mind” – it’s NOT LEGAL to get an abortion that late UNLESS the life of the mother is at risk, or the fetus is incompatable with life. PERIOD. every time you say something like “i’m ok with EARLY abortion, but late term is wrong”, you A) enforce the idea that women are randomly, frivilously getting late term abortions – which they ARE NOT, and B) you are saying that it doesn’t MATTER that her life is in danger, or the fetus won’t be able to live, that after a certain point she should be forced to finish the pregnancy even if it kills her.

    you may not realize that’s what you’re saying, but that’s what you’re saying.

    Comment by denelian — April 29, 2011 @ 6:01 am | Reply


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