Monday, January 28, 2008

Pro-Choice IS Pro-Life

We have all heard the stories. They come mostly from China, but also from India. Forced abortions because of a government law on family sizes, the harvesting of organs from Falun Gong political prisoners for sale on the black market of for use by other deemed more worthy. Poor people willingly selling their children and organs in order to survive.

This is the stuff of horror films, urban legends and all-too-real totalitarian crimes against humanity. What repulses us is the ideas that someone - anyone - could invade our body, against our will or via coercion and remove parts or treat us like we are their property. It is anethma to the idea of being human and a fundamental human right that each person has total and exclusive control over their own bodily integrity. So disgusted are we, as a society, by this that when it comes to organ donation, we have allowed the individual to decide whether to donate, even if it would clearly and most certainly save the life of another. In this context we have already concluded that the principle of personal bodily integrity and control is more important than the life of another person.

That is, it is an essential element of our humanness that we own and control our own bodies. To allow others to do so is to render us to a less-than-human life as an incubator, spare parts repository or automaton to be controlled. It is slavery and it is not life.

The anti-abortionists, while claiming to be pro-life, are on the same side as the Chinese Communists who harvest kidneys and livers from Falun Gong prisoners. They have decided that their idea of 'life' is more important than the individuals lives involved and that they should be allowed to use all the powers of the state to invade and control another person's body.

They will do so even if they must lie and mislead. They try to shock with pictures of late term abortions, even though 92% of all abortions in Canada occur before 12 weeks and 98% occur before 16 weeks and abortions past 20 weeks almost never occur - even Dr. Henry Morgantaler won't perform them. They imply women who are 9 months pregnant are having abortions, when that is not the case.

They anti-abortionists are not about 'life' but about control, like any rapist or serial killer. They want to control your body and your actions and force you to adhere to their morality and to be a slave to their ideals. They want to use and mold you rather than let you live.

Merely being born is not 'life' if one cannot control one's own body and make decisions about your bodily integrity. That is dehumanizing slavery and oppression. It is the very stuff of 'The Black Book of Communism' and the driving force of the Holocaust.

That is the real legacy of that decision in R. vs Morgantaler 20 years ago today - that a person's bodily integrity is paramount - that only that person may control their own body and no one else. It has farther reaching applications than simply abortions. It is our legal bulwark against all actions that would allow others to invade our bodies, that would have others see us as property or other things less than human.

It is our defense against the horrendous, authoritarian and totalitarian ideals that would enslave us.

Remember that. Pro-Choice then is really Pro-Life. Pro human life rather than existence.

As has been said, Pro-Choice people want to control their own bodies, anti-abortionists want to control everyone else's.

Even if I find abortion personally repugnant, I know whose side I am on.

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68 Comments:

At 11:39 AM, Blogger berlynn said...

Good one, Mike!

 
At 4:10 PM, Blogger Alison said...

Nicely done, Mike.

 
At 4:16 PM, Blogger The Mound of Sound said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 4:18 PM, Blogger The Mound of Sound said...

Mike, please, don't knock automatons. You'll only upset the PMO.

Cheers

 
At 1:08 AM, Blogger jj said...

Excellent post, Mike.

I'm always impressed by people who admit to being opposed to abortion in a strictly personal context, yet totally supportive of choice for others. It shows an intellectual honesty and willingness to see the bigger issue, the physical integrity and self-ownership of the individual.

Well done.

 
At 7:46 AM, Blogger Mike said...

I actually don't oppose abortion per se on personal terms. I have no issues at all before 12 weeks. Of course the longer the pregnancy goes, the less comfortable I am. I would say I am no different that people like Morgantaler (who appears to believe the same thing) or most women who have abortions (who, by the stats, appear to believe the same thing - 98% of all abortions occur before 16 weeks and only .007% occur after 20 weeks).

My wife and I had discussed what we would do if we ever discovered one of our kids was Downs, or otherwise developmentally impaired. With my input, she chose that she would have them, so we never underwent many of those free tests women can have during pregnancy.

Others would, of course, might chose differently. I suspect my wife might chose differently under different circumstances.

But the point is having the choice.

 
At 10:45 AM, Anonymous Anshu said...

The problem with a purist idealogical position (on either side) is that it doesn't end up making intuitive sense to me (and I suspect I'm not alone in this).

For example, I'm a strong proponent of individual rights. But I also think its reasonable to restrict abortion, say, at 39 weeks. On that basis, I realize I'm not in sync with either extremist side of the debate.

 
At 12:19 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Anshu,

The gestation period for human is 39 weeks. So you really aren't proposing anything.

And as only .007% of abortions take place after 20 weeks and usually for medical reasons (life of the mother is at stake, the fetus is severely deformed etc). In short, without a law, without coercion, women make the "right" choice anyway. All this had wringing and pearl clutching about late term abortions is silly, since they almost never occur.

At the risk of sounding like an extremist, I'm curious how it can be reasonable in any circumstance to tell someone what they can do with their body.

The basic point is the desire to "help" a fetus does not nor cannot override the personal bodily integrity of the mother. That goes too far in a direction fraught with far more danger than simply allowing abortions would ever bring.

 
At 4:49 PM, Anonymous Anshu said...

I'm curious how it can be reasonable in any circumstance to tell someone what they can do with their body.

Its the whole "your right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose" sort of thing. Which raises the question: at what point does the fetus have rights that need to be protected in a society that values individual rights?

It seems to me your position is that the fetus never has rights, as long as it is biologically connected to the mother. I'm not there. At the very least, I'm more inclined to confer individual rights to a fetus as soon as it could be medically viable if separated from the mother. And I'm even inclined to confer such rights earlier.

To me, a society that values individual rights has to account for the rights of all individuals, and I see a fetus (at least at some point in development, if not right from conception) as an individual worth granting rights to.

 
At 8:43 PM, Blogger Charles Anthony said...

Sorry to be a stickler but I feel compelled to butt in again and straighten a few things out from a libertarian perspective.

Anshu,
Assuming that you are of the libertarian bent, you can easily overcome any problems with a purist ideology by answering the following question: On whose property does the abortion occur?
You have every right to oppose abortion with all of your force but only on your land. A woman does not have the right to have an abortion on your land if you make it clear that your land is an abortion-free and pro-life zone.

Mike,
I believe you are making a severe libertarian mistake when you assert: "In short, without a law, without coercion, women make the "right" choice anyway. All this had wringing and pearl clutching about late term abortions is silly, since they almost never occur."
The statistics you observe and with which you support your assertion describe what women are currently doing within a statist context -- in other words, it is occurring with in a coercively subsidized environment. These salient facts must be acknowledged:
1) those abortions are subsidized
2) the personal security of all people who participate in abortions is subsidized
3) the land upon which they are occurring is violently monopolized by a government

Let me present a facetious analogy.
If the government subsidized the purchase of a Rolls Royce and charged excise taxes or customs duty for all other vehicles (including bicycles), women would also make the "right" choice anyway of buying a Rolls Royce, right? Now imagine the government tossing in free air bags too!

Be careful when you try to use a free market argument by presenting a real life example as proof. There is no real free market in real life.

 
At 1:15 PM, Anonymous Anshu said...

On whose property does the abortion occur?

I'm not sure I follow. If, as I proposed, that abortion (in some circumstances) can be considered a violation of the rights of the aborted, does it really matter where the violation occurs?

If the fetus has no rights, or is not considered an individual, then I understand the view that terminating it is no different than removing an unsightly mole.

I also could understand the view, but again not agree with it, that the fetus has limited rights, but that these are always superceded by the mother's rights. Its not obvious to me why one's rights outweigh another's rights in this case. Does any individual unable to care for him or herself somehow give up specific individual rights?

 
At 2:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anshu makes an important point Mike. When you say "They have decided that their idea of 'life' is more important than the individuals lives involved and that they should be allowed to use all the powers of the state to invade and control another person's body." You completely skirt the issue of personhood. It is a central tenet of those who oppose abortion that the fetus has rights, that it is a person. Even most libertarians will allow for the state to use its monopoly on coercive violence to protect one person from the aggression or misconduct of another where not to do so would violate the victim's basic rights, for instance the right to remain alive. Your argument has to deal with this issue, either by expressly denying that a fetus has any rights as a "person", or at the very least presenting argument that calls it into question. I find it interesting that many of the common arguments against personhood, such as lack of cognition, inability to survive independently, actually apply to many adults, yet they are afforded basic human rights.

 
At 3:32 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Anon,

I am a market anarchist, not a minarchist - I don't think we should have any state at all. No one should have a monopoly on the use of force or coercion.

I also hold the position that the fetus is not a separate entity from the mother until birth and is therefore not a person. After birth, though still completely dependent on others for survival, it can be anyone, not just the mother. Prior to birth, it is an integral part of the mother and subservient to her being. NO ONE other than the mother can care for a fetus in utero. It is, therefore, not a separate entity and not a person - it is, essentially, a body part. Until such a time as it becomes a separate survivable entity from the mother, it is part of the mother and she decides what happens to her body. An acorn is not an oak tree.

I have other reasons too - granting the legal status of a 'person' to a group of cells that have no brain function, no independent circulatory system and that is an integral part of another is absurd.

That is the point of my organ donor analogy - we already, and for a long period of time, place the value of a person's bodily integrity over that of another person's life. You cannot have my kidney or bone marrow against my will, even if it would save another person's life. I can say no to a donation, even if it means certain death of another person. Why? Because as the owner of my body, I decide what goes on in and with my body, not anyone else. Anything other than this means accepting that someone else can, in effect, own another person. That is slavery. It oks the harvesting of organs of political prisoners.

So, even if I accept that a fetus is a "person" (which I certainly do not), I would still would support abortion, because saving the life of one 'person' does not excuse or justify the interference with the bodily integrity of another.

And before it comes up, lets just put to rest the late-term abortion red herring. As I stated above they don't happen. The medical reality, as well as the social reality is against them. Women only get these if their life is in danger or if the fetus is severely deformed. No woman goes 30 weeks and suddenly decides that she just doesn't want to be pregnant. Even if she did (and it never happens), no doctor, including Henry Morgantaler, would perform the procedure. Even if she did (and it never happens) labour can be induced and the fetus successfully delivered as young as 24 to 26 weeks. A woman who did not want to be pregnant at that stage, could simply give birth and have the child put up for adoption, no abortion needed.

Everyone of those late-term fetus pictures the anti-abortionists use is of a fetus that was severely deformed, already still-born, or aborted to save the life of the mother. They are being dishonest.

And that, Charles, is what I mean by the "right" decision - discussions of who pays or not are worth having (and possibly the subject of another post), but not the point of this post. It is telling though, that even in a country with no abortion law (ans that is the way it should stay), where the procedure would be paid by the public health care system, no woman does it.

 
At 5:07 PM, Anonymous Anshu said...

So, even if I accept that a fetus is a "person" (which I certainly do not), I would still would support abortion, because saving the life of one 'person' does not excuse or justify the interference with the bodily integrity of another.

How about self-defense? Can I act to protect my own life, even if it means harming another?

Can I use physical force to stop someone from killing another (in the case my own life is not in danger)?

And before it comes up, lets just put to rest the late-term abortion red herring. As I stated above they don't happen.

Just because it is rare for a viable fetus to be aborted, I think its intellectually dishonest to avoid addressing the case.

Lets suppose a woman opts for a "back-alley" abortion at 30 weeks. Is that murder? In virtually all cases, the fetus is viable separate from the mother at that stage of development. Should that mother be required to terminate the pregnancy via delivery? Should the delivery be drug induced, or surgical?

 
At 8:09 AM, Blogger Mike said...

How about self-defense? Can I act to protect my own life, even if it means harming another?

Can I use physical force to stop someone from killing another (in the case my own life is not in danger)?


Well I see where you're getting at. Yes you can use force to defend your own life, even if it means harming or killing another. That is part of the libertarian non-aggression principle.

In your second example though, a fetus is not "another" it is a part of the mother, for the reasons explained. It is not a separate entity, it is a part of the mothers body.


Just because it is rare for a viable fetus to be aborted, I think its intellectually dishonest to avoid addressing the case.

Lets suppose a woman opts for a "back-alley" abortion at 30 weeks. Is that murder? In virtually all cases, the fetus is viable separate from the mother at that stage of development. Should that mother be required to terminate the pregnancy via delivery? Should the delivery be drug induced, or surgical?


No, it is intellectually dishonest to present pictures and evidence of the rare as the norm.

And I would challenge you, or anyone for that matter, to show a single case in Canada where a healthy viable fetus was terminated at a very late stage in pregnancy merely because a woman suddenly decided at 7 or 8 or even 9 months she just didn't want to be pregnant any more.

You will not find none. Not just for the reasons I mentioned previously, but because inducing labour and delivering are far less intrusive, far less dangerous and far less costly than having an abortion. Even doing a c-section.

And women would only opt for your "back alley" abortion if abortion were illegal.

I'm not avoiding the question, I'm saying the question is moot. It is intellectually dishonest to clutch your pearls over something that never happens and to make intrusive laws based on it, to take away the rights to bodily integrity for 51% of the population, while avoiding the real issue - the vast majority of abortions happen well before 20 weeks, well before brain activity and well before a fetus could ever be anything other than a body part of the mother.

There is no amount of rationalization that can justify the state or anyone else having the power to tell someone what they can and cannot do with their body.

 
At 8:33 AM, Blogger Charles Anthony said...

Anshu,
Your right to self-defense is unconditional. Hypothetically, if an innocent bystander is caught between you and your attacker, it is your attacker who is at fault when you act in self-defense.
[Granted, the identification of self-defense may be debatable for any particular situation. Your attacker may think he is acting in self-defense too. This dilemma is universal and is not restricted to market anarchy.]

Also, I see nothing wrong with you rising to the defense of an innocent (in your opinion) victim. Just be prepared for a fight. That is why I focus on the question: On whose property does the abortion occur? because ultimately, the question moves away from morality to practicality (or to market law). If you want to defend the unborn from abortion, you are declaring war because the vast majority of people today support abortion.


Mike,
[I bet you must be sick and tired of the "libertarian" label being used to denote minarchy! Ugh!]
I challenge you to examine this question: In a purely free market, do you think every woman would be able to afford to pay for early-term abortions themselves out of pocket? Maybe they would. Maybe employers will offer this added health insurance coverage. Nobody knows. However, we certainly can NOT look at current statistics and use them as proof.

I understand your point that even when late-term abortions are cheaper in price, people do not buy them. However, I insist you are making a market-anarchist mistake because the decision to have a late-term abortion (or not to have one) is a function of everything else that is subsidized (examples: supply for early-term abortions, supply of health care services, supply of pregnancy tests, etc.)

Let me offer a second analogy.
If the cost of early detection of cancer was NOT subsidized, the demand for late-term cancer surgery would be different and probably higher.

Replace fetus with tumor and tell me what you get. You can not look at early term abortions and ignore the subsidizes of the other aspects of the market.

I would like to add a little more.
Early-term abortions are risky. One of the risks of abortion is difficulty in getting pregnant in the future. In a truly free market, when all agents are left to face the costs of their choices, we can not predict what people will do. Even early-term abortions may be too luxurious for both the buyers and the sellers.


"And women would only opt for your "back alley" abortion if abortion were illegal."
You can NOT say that. Back alley abortions may be attractive for the following reasons:
1) cheaper
2) both parties agree to less accountability over risks (i.e., they both understand that suing eachother is not going to happen)
The cost of suing a person in our current State of affairs is subsidized too.

 
At 8:54 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Charles,

Points well taken.

In a truly free market, when all agents are left to face the costs of their choices, we can not predict what people will do. Even early-term abortions may be too luxurious for both the buyers and the sellers.

My point is that it is up to the buyers and sellers, so to speak, to decide, and not anyone else.

The choices are made by weighing all options and if they environment changes, so will the options or their relative weights in the decision process. But it is ultimately upt to the mother to make the decision, not anyone else.

 
At 10:10 AM, Anonymous Anshu said...

There certainly have been cases of women doing things to harm their unborn child on purpose (the case of the pellet gun that lead to brain damage in the infant jumps to mind), so I certainly don't believe its a moot point. There have also been cases where pregnant women have been harmed with the attacker specifically targeting the fetus, raising the question of how many victims to the crime are there (just the mother, or the mother plus unborn child).

I think its also worth exploring the question to make clear what rights exist for individuals, and when those rights come into effect.

Based on your statements, I understand your position to be that the fetus has no rights until after birth. That still raises the question of what constitutes birth (is it emergence from the birth canal, cutting of the umbilical cord, etc), but prior to that event, you see the fetus/unborn child/viable baby as having no rights.

I understand that position. But I don't agree with it myself.

To me, as rare as the occurence may be, I think its wrong that someone could end the life of an unborn child at any moment prior to, say, the umbilical cord being cut. I certainly don't see it as a preservation of individual rights, but rather as a violation of those rights.

 
At 10:16 AM, Blogger kerry said...

"An acorn is not an oak tree."

Indeed, it is not. Neither is a child an adult, so your metaphor reveals specious logic.

Embryo to fetus to babe-in-arms, the process begets a human being: this is a fact, both logically and biologically. Women do not give birth to anything but humans. To deny this fact is to be irrational.

Dressing up abortion as anything but a process to end a human life is a denial of reality. The morality of it, I'll leave up to the individual.

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger Mike said...

No kerry, for well over 98% of all abortions performed, it removes a part of a woman's body with no brain function, central nervous system function and no independent existence. To pretend that that IS human life is denying reality. That it may become a human is irrelevant, it is not a human. Until, as you say, a woman gives birth to it.

 
At 4:25 PM, Blogger Chimera said...

Mike,

Anon said, at 2:44 PM: "It is a central tenet of those who oppose abortion that the fetus has rights, that it is a person."

This, in my view, is the biggest sticking point. It is also the one point that is always assumed by everyone who is anti-choice, even at the expressed disagreement of someone who is pro-choice.

A fetus is NOT a person. NOTPARENNOT.

Whenever the two sides meet, the pro-choice side must establish that a fetus cannot have trumps over a person because a fetus is NOT a person.

Until you can get the anti-choice side to say they understand that point (not that they agree with it, but just that they understand that it's where you are coming from), you are talking about two separate things in two different languages.

 
At 6:30 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Chimera,

Needless to say I agree, but I even take it one step father - as far as I am concerned it doesn't matter whether the fetus is a person or not.

Even if I grant a fetus 'personhood' from the moment of conception (something I absolutely would not and do not do: see above) that fact still doesn't trump the mother's decision about her body and whether she wants to carry to term. Her bodily integrity is paramount and as long as the fetus is in utero, she is boss. And this happens every day with people who we would all agree are in fact persons - again, I bring us back to the organ donation example. If I am found to be a perfect match for a child with leukemia, it is my decision whether or not to donate my bone marrow. I can say no, even if it means certain death for a child. I can say no for any reason - because I'm a heartless bastard or because my religious tenets forbid such things or anything else. My right to retain and control my own body, to make decisions regarding its use or non-use is given precedence over the child's right to live. No one, not even the anti-choice crowd, would dare propose a law that would compel me to donate, or allow agent's of the state to take my bone marrow (or liver or cornea or kidneys....). These are the actions of nightmare totalitarianism, like Nazi Germany or Communist China.

I would much rather live in a world with a million abortions a year, than one where someone besides me can decide what my body can and cannot be used for or what I may do with my own person.

 
At 9:59 PM, Blogger kerry said...

"To pretend that that IS human life is denying reality. That it may become a human is irrelevant, it is not a human."

If you are going to stand by this statement, Mike, I'm afraid you are going to have to change the name of your blog because the statement is neither rational nor scientific (it does allow for liberty, I'll admit).

A human embryo, later fetus, is biologically human from the very beginning; it can be nothing else. The differences between the various stages of human development are a matter of growth, therefore a matter of time. It does not start out as something different, say, a monkey, and then "become human", as you put it, at a later point in time. Nor does being human depend upon one's ability to perform certain tasks unaided: people on ventilators are damaged humans, but humans nonetheless.

"Whenever the two sides meet, the pro-choice side must establish that a fetus cannot have trumps over a person because a fetus is NOT a person."

The pro-choice side must do this, I agree, because they do not have biology on their side; they are forced to argue legalistically because science and logic do not support them.

If a woman wishes to kill the offspring in her womb before its birth, so be it: just recognize the act for what it is and write the appropriate laws stating when such an action is allowed. It is not unheard of for society to legislate its definition of morality. But trying to sugarcoat reality is intellectually dishonest.

 
At 10:53 PM, Blogger Mike said...

A cluster of cells with no brain and no central nervous system is a human? Is a person? You claim that is reason?

It may have human genetics, but so does my appendix. It is 'alive' only because it is a part of the mother. Until it reaches a certain stage of development, it cannot even breathe air.

"Nor does being human depend upon one's ability to perform certain tasks unaided: people on ventilators are damaged humans, but humans nonetheless."

Straw man. I have never said this. What it does depend on is being a separate entity from the mother. Until the point of birth it is a part of the mother. More intellectual dishonesty I see.

"because they do not have biology on their side; they are forced to argue legalistically because science and logic do not support them."

Yes science and logic support the position. I'm not the one arguing a blob of cells with nothing that makes it uniquely human - a brain - is as human a you or I. I'm not the one stating, in the face of science to the contrary, that it is an individual person, divisible from the mother.

Its rich to speak of logic from people that appeal to emotion so much they must lie and misrepresent what abortion is about.

Its also interesting that you purposely are avoiding my other arguement - that even if it is a human, it is still the rights of the mother to control her bodily integrity that outweigh any 'right to life' of a fetus. Don't agree? Don't have one.

"just recognize the act for what it is and write the appropriate laws stating when such an action is allowed."

That's what we have now - no law. A woman controls her body. If you don't think that what I say is correct, if you really think that abortion is killing the equivalent of a full, separate human being, then don't have an abortion.

"It is not unheard of for society to legislate its definition of morality."

Indeed. History is littered with the victims of such laws. Jews, blacks, women, the disabled - all subjugated to laws based on some definition of "morality". Laws that reflect the definition of morality of the authoritarian few, who think its their business to control others. Laws always passed for "the greater good" - the motto of tyrants and the creed of slaves.

 
At 6:54 AM, Blogger kerry said...

I make no appeal to emotion, just logic. Genetically, nothing is added to an embryo or fetus after fertilization occurs, therefore it is biologically complete. Everything it will be in the future is already present within its code. To go back to your earlier analogy: you said an acorn is not an oak tree, and I replied neither is a child an adult. Your mistake was one of time: while an acorn is not an oak tree, it is oak. It just needs the time to grow.

The "blob of cells" is not recognizable to us as human because it is beyond our usual experience, to be sure. But that does not change the essence of the blob, which most definitely is human.

 
At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

pro-life=rapist, serial killer? We want to take control of a woman's body away from her?

Try this one on for size:

In almost every case of pregnancy, the woman chose/consented to an act of sexual intercourse. She was in control of her body, and made this decision.

Why should the state therefore interfere with that decision by sanctioning a mechanism by which the consequences of her choice are severed from the choice itself?

The choice to do a thing implies acceptance of the consequences of the choice.

Reap, sow, made bed now lie in it, etc.

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger Chimera said...

Re Kerry and Mike and words:

We are captives of the limitations of our language. Kerry is using the same word as an adjective that Mike uses as a noun. The words are spelled the same and pronounced the same, but they are not the same.

The words are "human" and "human."

If we were discussing another type of animal, we would be able to say "canine" and "dog," "canine" being the adjective and "dog" being the noun. But with people, the same grouping of letters does double duty as both noun and adjective, and there doesn't seem to be any other option.

Thus, when Kerry says that a fetus is "human," he may be right...as long as he's only using that word as an adjective (meaning of human origin and with human attributes, such as those found in Mike's appendix) and not a noun. But if he uses the word as a noun, he is wrong.

A bitch carries a canine fetus, but it doesn't become a dog until it's born. A woman carries a human fetus, but it doesn't become a human until it's born.

I have observed that Mike and other pro-choice people know this difference. I suspect that Kerry and other anti-choice people also know this, but they deliberately skew and confuse the language.

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Anon,

Thank you for admitting that this is all about punishing the woman for having sex. Awfully honest of you.

"Why should the state therefore interfere with that decision by sanctioning a mechanism by which the consequences of her choice are severed from the choice itself?"

We have no abortion law at all so I'm not sure where you get the idea of "state sanctioned" anything. If you mean that our health care system pays for it, well that is a different arguement. What if it were for pay in private clinics (like Morgantalers) or covered by private supplementary insurance? I'm sure you'd be ok with that. Right?

"The choice to do a thing implies acceptance of the consequences of the choice.

Reap, sow, made bed now lie in it, etc."


Yes. And that little maxim applies equally to making the choice to have an abortion. The freedom to make one choice does not somehow negate the freedom to make another choice.

Unless this is really about punishing women for having sex, which by the sound of your post, it is. Because all women who have abortions are amoral whores and sluts that must be taught a lesson for their sexual malfeasance. Right anon?

 
At 4:02 PM, Blogger Chimera said...

"The choice to do a thing implies acceptance of the consequences of the choice."

When it comes to human sexuality and sexual activity, that is such an antediluvian thought that it has gills and fins!

You are basically saying that women need to be punished for being sexual creatures (I note with interest your lack of punishment for males who are also sexual beings -- do you want the males to have sex with each other?). And their punishment is a nine-month "sentence" of slavery in which they must give over control of their bodies to the storage and growth of an organism in which they may have no interest?

How utterly barbaric can you get and still call yourself a "civilized" being?

 
At 10:09 PM, Blogger kerry said...

Sorry, chimera, but I am using the word "human" as a noun. While an embryo, and later, fetus, is utterly dependent on its mother for life, it is a separate entity. The genetic characteristics that will distinguish the child from its mother in later years are already present in full while it resides in the womb. You know this is true for your reply to "anonymous" reveals what you think a fetus to be: you call it an "organism". Look up the definition of "organism" if you wish.

It is completely understandable that "pro-choice" supporters avert their eyes from these facts, and spend much time splitting hairs to defend doing so: I believe you are caring people who sympathize with women for whom an unwanted pregnancy will be a burden, perhaps a ruinous one. The cognitive dissonance of such a situation, to me, explains the attempt to trivialize the worth of a fetus so that its disposal is not deemed immoral.

As an aside, I believe that abortion will always be with us and that it will remain intractable.

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger Dame said...

Excellent post !!
In My view No one can decide only the Mother-to be about her pregnancy.
all Mothers feel abandoned By MALES /one way or other .../ when they think they can carry out the actual pregnancy it is their greatest dilemma ever in life..
somehow ONLY THEY ARE RESPONSIBILE
Child rearing involves all their life time and mental and phisical energy.. some simply dont have the enviroment and the support they should have.
if a woman chose abortion it is becouse the other " parent "desert the Unborn therefore it is the desertin father who are actually aborting the situation.

do You Know MURDER: number one reason for DEATH of Pregnant Womenthe leading death ?
http://blackcatsdomain.com/2008/01/30/murder-number-one-reason-for-death-of-pregnant-women.aspx

 
At 1:32 PM, Blogger Ron said...

Barring rape, the chain of events that leads to pregnancy (actually, the chain of events that leads to all heterosexual sex whether intentionally procreative or not) is always one where the final decision to proceed rests with the female of the species. Any other situation is legally rape—and properly so.

Further, women are the only beings who can become pregnant. That's a biological reality as clear and normal as the fact a woman cannot get prostate cancer--it's just the way it is, men being men and women being women.

I think being the only type of entity that can become pregnant is an awesome and wonderful but unilateral power—so it also then (barring *explicit* contracts to the contrary) ought to be an awesome *unilateral* responsibility.

I alluded to this in an earlier comment when I noted that "at best, a man's decision to become a father is actually (and properly) nothing more than a request for permission and assistance." I could have expanded that to read "a man's decision to have heterosexual sex..." as well.

Unlike women, men cannot unilaterally decide to terminate a pregnancy; no matter how much a man wants to be a father, if the woman decides "no", he's outta luck. And that doesn't change whether or not the intention at the time of the sexual act was procreation. If the idea was to procreate, but the female changes her mind, the guy is outta luck; just like if the intent is clearly not to procreate (as in precautions are taken by one or both, but these fail) and the woman changes her mind (or even circumvents the precautions), again: the guy is outta luck.

I have no personal problem with this situation--and I don't see any other rational alternatives--but men, under current law, have absolutely no say whether a child they potentially father will be born. Actually a man has no rights or power in the equation at all other than abstention. Fine, but control and responsibility are corrolaries: no rights and no control ought (barring an *explicit* contract to the contrary) to mean “no responsibilities” as well.

But such is clearly not the case: when it comes to parenthood, men can be forced to pay support for a child brought to term regardless of their intent any time the woman chooses. Heck, men can be forced to pay even if the explicit mutual agreement at the time of intercourse was to *not* procreate, but the woman changes her mind.

And now, of course, we have new scenarios: judges enforcing child support payments from men who are not the biological father; judges enforcing child support from men who were clearly and explicitly told they were only going to be minimally involved sperm donors, and now scientists working to use female stem cells to create children without men being involved at all.

So: of course, becoming a parent by taking a pregnancy to term ought to be solely a woman’s decision. But—again, barring an explicit contract to the contrary (as in written prior to the potentially procreative act)—the logical inference is that the support and raising of any child ought also to be solely a woman’s responsibility.

Or am I missing something?

 
At 5:04 PM, Blogger Ron said...

I overstate my case by a trifle...this is incorrect: "(actually, the chain of events that leads to all heterosexual sex whether intentionally procreative or not). If a woman wishes to sleep with a man and he refuses, but she forces him, it is also rape.

That still doesn't alter the fact that women are the only beings capable of becoming pregnant and, consequently, it is women who logically bear the ultimate responsibility in allowing that possibility.

 
At 5:07 PM, Blogger Chimera said...

"Sorry, chimera, but I am using the word "human" as a noun."

When you use the word to describe the attributes of something you are using it as an adjective.

" You know this is true for your reply to "anonymous" reveals what you think a fetus to be: you call it an "organism"."

And calling it an organism does not mean it is a human being. Try to focus on keeping your own language clear and don't try to translate what you want to think I really mean. I am language-specific. There are no hidden meanings in what I say. Anyone with a good dictionary can understand precisely what I mean without looking for shadings and nuances. Do not manufacture what is not there.

"...pro-choice supporters avert their eyes from these facts..."

I speak for none but myself, and I avert from nothing. Your opinions are not facts. You may choose to believe what you want, but beliefs are by definition not facts. You also may not choose to believe on my behalf, or force me to adopt your beliefs.

 
At 6:09 PM, Blogger Ron said...

chimera, with respect because I mean no offense, but when anonymous wrote:

"The choice to do a thing implies acceptance of the consequences of the choice."

you replied: When it comes to human sexuality and sexual activity, that is such an antediluvian thought that it has gills and fins!

Would "the choice to do a thing implies no acceptance of the consequences..." make any sense at all? Why in your view would sexual activity be so different than any other human activity when it comes to control and responsibility?

For that matter, is not "the choice to do the thing" and acceptance of the consequences the *entire* argument behind child support laws whether applying to men or women (even though, again, I note the levels of control relative to responsibility are currently vastly different between the sexes).

Now, when you write: You are basically saying that women need to be punished for being sexual creatures...And their punishment is a nine-month "sentence" of slavery in which they must give over control of their bodies to the storage and growth of an organism in which they may have no interest? you can't possibly mean pregnancy itself is a punishment, so I assume you mean unwanted pregnancy is an untenable punishment--but if 9 months is an untenable punishment for a woman who wishes not to be a parent, how would 18 or 20 years of involuntary indentured servitude be any less or different a punishment for a male or female who wishes not to be a parent?

 
At 7:42 PM, Blogger Chimera said...

"Why in your view would sexual activity be so different than any other human activity when it comes to control and responsibility?"

Because it is possible to avoid what used to be an unavoidable consequence, thanks in large part to science, technology, and individual freedom. And when all else fails (in the area of contraception), it is possible to correct an unwanted pregnancy through the option of abortion.

"...you can't possibly mean pregnancy itself is a punishment..."

I was, at the time, responding to a comment by the anonymous one up there. And as long as the pregnancy is unwanted by the woman upon whom it has been inflicted, oh, yes, I can mean it. The anti-choice crowd means it that way. You hear their gleeful cries all over the place: "Serves her right for not keeping her legs crossed!" In their minds, women who are sexually active are also breeders -- by force if not by choice. The thought that some women may not want to have children is summarily dismissed as being completely irrelevant to their biological function (in other words, if they can, they must.)

Women who exercise their choice to get pregnant and have babies obviously do not see pregnancy as a punishment, but as a boon. Fine for them. They also would not see the raising of said progeny as indentured servitude, and that's fine, too.

And if a pregnant woman decides to go through with the pregnancy and give the baby up for adoiption, that's fine, too, as long as it's her choice to make and she's able to make it freely without undue coercion.

Where I would draw the live is in forcing someone who is unwilling. No means no. Period. Just because someone else would be willing to adopt the baby is no good reason to force a woman to endure nine months of physical slavery if she clearly does not want to do it.

 
At 7:50 PM, Blogger Chimera said...

Ron: Maybe I can nutshell this a bit further...

It is possible to separate and differentiate two biological functions that used to be inseparable -- sex and pregnancy.

"Control" is no longer necessary, when it comes to suppression of sexual activity. It's not real healthy, either, psychologically and emotionally speaking. We are animals, not plants.

Pregnancy need no longer be a consequence of active sex.

So when the attempts to keep the two separated fail, sometimes abortion is the only option.

Was that clearer?

 
At 8:19 PM, Blogger Ron said...

"Serves her right for not keeping her legs crossed!"

Yeah. The anti-male analog to that is "if he didn't want to pay child support he shoulda kept his parts in his pants."

In any case, I have no problems with your arguments in favour of all parenthood and support oif children being wanted--but men don't have that option, do they.

 
At 8:23 PM, Blogger Ron said...

Or, drawing another parallel/paraphrase:

In many women's minds, men who are sexually active are also wallets -- by force if not by choice. The thought that some men may not want to support children is summarily dismissed as being completely irrelevant to their financial function (in other words, if they can, they must.)

Actually, in the real world, even when men can't pay what the courts decide, they still somehow must.

 
At 4:04 PM, Blogger Chimera said...

"...but men don't have that option, do they."

That's a completely different branch on the option tree. And it can be avoided by one simple method: Start taking your own responsibility for contraception and stop leaving all the choices up to the women.

If you don't want to be held responsible for fatherhood, don't be a father. Don't take any chances. Glove it up before you...(not sure how accepting Mike is of rudities, so I'm gonna let you fill in that blank fer yerself, 'kay?). Or get yerself to the nearest doctor's office and get snipped. It's an outpatient procedure, it's simple, it inexpensive, it's reversible for any future plans you might have, and it's the responsible thing to do.

And don't focus on how much you think it's gonna hurt. I have it on excellent authority, from some women I know, that it won't hurt nearly as much or nearly as long as eighteen days of labor -- or (since I would have no way of knowing for myself) so I'm told. ;)

 
At 6:17 PM, Blogger Ron said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6:25 PM, Blogger Ron said...

chimera: your advice is good, of course. One takes the precautions one can, which explains my vasectomy, my use of condoms and my lack of promiscuity.

But what is materially different with your advice to men and ""Serves her right for not keeping her legs crossed? After all, pregnancy can be avoided 100% that way, for both men and women--don't take any chances means "don't take any chances", doesn't it...or did you mean something more like "minimize your chances"?

Reproductive rights should go both ways. But you seem to think reproductive rights stop for men at conception, after which all the meaningful choices must properly belong to women, regardless of (and even totally contrary to) any discussions or expressed intent by either or both before conception.

I repeat: barring rape, given that women are the only beings that *can* become pregnant, the final decision in the chain of events that makes pregnancy a possibility is *always* the woman's decision. Control and responsibility are corrolaries.

This: "Start taking your own responsibility for contraception and stop leaving all the choices up to the women" was totally presumptuous (and flatly wrong in my specific case), the tone of your advice was patronizing--including the wink, and I think your view of male reproductive rights/sexuality (and presumption of irresponsibility) marginalizes the legitimate but seldom acknowledged reproductive rights of men.

I deleted a previous post only to substitute the more accurate "reproductive rights" for "reproductive freedom"). Otherwise, the post is unchanged.

 
At 6:31 PM, Blogger Ron said...

And even 18 days of labour or 9 months of pregnancy (after which a woman can still choose not to be a parent through adoption) is nowhere near as disruptive to a persons life as 20 years of involuntary, forced indentured servitude.

In other words, my point still stands.

 
At 6:48 PM, Blogger Ron said...

chimera: And, what would your response be to this (another paraphrase of an earler comment of yours)?:

Where I would draw the line is in forcing someone who is unwilling. No means no. Period. Just because the mother would be willing to support the baby is no good reason to force a man to endure twenty years of physical and financial slavery if he clearly does not want to do it.

 
At 11:28 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Good discussion guys.

I actually think both Ron and Chimera are in agreement in principle. Ron's point that men should voluntarily decide to provide support actually plays well into the idea that we should all be free to choose in these circumstances. One of the deciding factors some women would take, I'd expect, when deciding to continue the pregnancy or not would be the emotional, physical and financial support she would receive from the father.

I think the point of possible conflict is that men are being made to "pay" for a decision they do not make. And they are being made to pay not so much because they are men, but because the state has decided that although women and children are important to support, they are not so important as to require them (the state) to actually pay - they force the fathers to pay. And make the women dependent, again, on a man for support.

Its a vicious circumstance created by those who should keep their noses out of people's crotches. We see pressure from these groups to stifle the access to proper birth control and education, to measures like the morning after pill and push unworkable and ineffective "abstinence" programs. When women inevitably get pregnant anyhow, these same groups then decided what she can or cannot do and try to force someone else to help pay. The father is being coerced, the mother is being coerced. Imagine the child raised in this environment?

Luckily most of the time, most women and most men make the "right" decisions despite all this interference. Pity those anti-choice, holier-than-thou authoritarians who are responsible for the circumstances anyway, don't do the same.

 
At 3:08 PM, Blogger Chimera said...

Ron: The line, "Serves her right..." is not mine. It belongs to those who not only want to force women to breed unwillingly, but who also place all the blame for the pregnancy on her, ignoring completely that there was a man involved, somewhere along the line. And I brought up precautions from a man's point of view solely for the reason that no one else ever seems to remember it.

You've done your bit, and proved your responsibility not to contribute to the problem, and kudos to you. I was not being patronizing, and the wink was not meant in that way.

"...reproductive rights stop for men at conception, after which all the meaningful choices must properly belong to women..."

Yes.

"Where I would draw the line is in forcing someone who is unwilling. No means no. Period. Just because the mother would be willing to support the baby is no good reason to force a man to endure twenty years of physical and financial slavery if he clearly does not want to do it."

Yes.

Where's the conflict?

"...the state has decided that although women and children are important to support, they are not so important as to require them (the state) to actually pay..."

Mike, you are so on target with that thought! And it's not only the state, but those anti-choice wonks who don't give a damn once the kid has been born -- only that it does get born. The game is to make people so dependent upon one another that individual thoughts and actions will no longer exist.

Gaaaagh! We're being turned into the Borg!

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger Ron said...

If this is true:

"...reproductive rights stop for men at conception, after which all the meaningful choices must properly belong to women..."

then, being that you also agreed with:

"Where I would draw the line is in forcing someone who is unwilling. No means no. Period. Just because the mother would be willing to support the baby is no good reason to force a man to endure twenty years of physical and financial slavery if he clearly does not want to do it."

...then we have no conflict, and I happily accept that you did not mean to be patronizing.

 
At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's a human (n.)?

 
At 4:10 PM, Blogger Ron said...

anonymous: tell ya what...you provide a definition because, unless you can do so, your question is sheer pettifoggery.

 
At 5:19 PM, Blogger Chimera said...

Anonymous: Here's a thought for ya: dictionary!

 
At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chimera and Ron:

1) The definition of "human" is not a petty point. It's central to Mike's viewpoint on abortion. Shouldn't he at least tell us what he thinks it means? Pettifoggery my ass. Your comment, Ron, precisely meets the definition of that bon mot. Here's a word for you, Ron - forethought. Apply some before expressing yourself.

2) The dictionary definitions of human are circular and unhelpful. The quality of humanness which we are asked either to ascribe to a fetus or deny it is not susceptible to easy definition. If it were, there wouldn't be 50+ comments on this thread.

I am unable to precisely define humanness. I suspect both Ron and chimera are suffering from a similar incapacity. What sets me apart is that I am unwilling to smugly pronounce on a matter which remains, at best, ambiguous.

As I am in a generous mood, I will do you both the courtesy of not assuming that your comments are the inevitable result of a cognitive deficit of some sort.

What a gentleman I am. You may now thank me for my erudition. That is all.

Occam's Carbuncle

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger Ron said...

anon: Your erudition is appreciated, and entertaining. My point was actually not dissimilar to yours: The dictionary definitions of human are circular and unhelpful. The quality of humanness which we are asked either to ascribe to a fetus or deny it is not susceptible to easy definition. I used the term pettifoggery because I don't think your question was all that helpful. You can't adequately answer it, and neither can we--so what's the point in asking it except to continue "useless quibbling" on that particular point?

I think, though, that you'll find I do not "smugly pronounce" on any aspect of the abortion question, except to say (and not smugly) that I think the The Law is incapable of dealing with the question adequately, for precisely the reasons you beautifully illustrate--and I'm not being facetious.

I think abortion is very much a case where much discussion may be worthwhile, but the final decision is best left to the individuals most directly involved, and on a case by case basis.

I see no reason to assume the judicial system will ever come to a broadly applicable set of standards/laws that is more helpful than just leaving the issue alone for people to decide for themselves and only themselves.

 
At 3:36 PM, Blogger Ron said...

anon, (and with respect): It may help you to know that I've had to consider "humanness" in ways most folks have never ever encountered, having worked at a time, but for years, in large psychiatric institutions with multiple wards of people who have no mobility, no ability to express or even clean or feed themselves, no measurable intelligence and only minimally discernable brain activity (think grotesque hydrocephalics, for example, with eggshell-thin 45 inch crania and bodies only perhaps a foot and a half from tip of head to toe--or equally "disadvantaged" microcephalics, with maybe 5-6" crania but perhaps more normal bodies, although not always), such "humans" being kept alive for years upon years through regular intravenous or spoon-type feeding schedules. And understand clearly that the average house pet exhibits more observable "human" traits (like compassion, enjoyment, caring, friendliness, anger...) than any of these poor creatures I'm describing. Remember as well that these "humans" were/are being kept alive, fed and at least somewhat clothed at taxpayer expense while much more sentient actual more-or-less functioning homo sapien type humans go hungry, homeless on the street.

In the more or less same environment, I was also part of care teams that supported the lives of explicitly murderous "humans" who were incarcerated after being found criminally "not responsible" for their crimes due to mental deficiency--again while much more much more sentient--and caring, non-aggressive--humans go hungry, homeless on the street.

 
At 5:32 PM, Blogger Chimera said...

Anonymous: Your entire question was:

"What's a human (n.)?"

And you specified that you were looking for the noun definition, not anything else. You gave no background for the question. I don't read minds, and I had no idea that you might actually have an English vocabulary. Accordingly, I gave you a link where you could look up multiple definitions to your heart's content.

And for this you seek to insult and denigrate me?

Go away now.

 
At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"what's the point in asking it except to continue "useless quibbling" on that particular point?"

Ron:

The point in asking it is that the concept of humanity is central to Mike's beliefs with respect to abortion. A positive assertion of inhumanity has been made with respect to the fetus in building the argument that the rights of the "mother" (that's probably not the right word, if the thing's not human, of course) to the integrity of her body must take precedence.

If no adequate definition of humanity is possible, how is the positive assertion of inhumanity to be made with such vehemence? We must push all our philosophies and legalisms on to the wondrous works of the universe, mustn't we? It's a spectacle, if nothing else.

chimera:

You are not clever like Ron. Let Ron speak. You watch. Clearly you haven't been insulted enough in person if you can still be insulted electronically.

Occam's Carbuncle

 
At 3:22 AM, Blogger Ron said...

anon: When you say "The point in asking it is that the concept of humanity is central to Mike's beliefs with respect to abortion" I agree, that's fair enough because it *is* both a central part of Mike's thinking on abortion and not the strongest part of his argument.

As you know, I just think The Law is not--and will not be--competent enough to decide the issue any better than free individuals left to their own devices. I also think that whatever "personhood" properly devolves to the fetus, such personhood is not generally sufficient on its own merits to over-ride all and any (or even most) other ethical or practical considerations when it comes to the relationship of the fetus with the mother. But that's my thinking.

I go to Chimera's blog and even when I disagree with her, y'know, I like her. I think she'd be a good neighbour. So...as much as I appreciate your compliment--and I do, with thanks--I also think it was kinda rude to attach me to your insult of Chimera. Poor form.

 
At 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poor form? Well yes, I'll grant you that, but it's surprisingly effective at times in keeping the noise down.

In my defence, chimera's charge of insult was unfounded. I actually refrained from insulting her by specifically declining to expressly state that her reasoning was strongly, if impliedly, unsuggestive of a cognitive capacity possibly falling within the perceived normal range for the North American population. Then she went nuclear and told me to go away. I was hurt. I don't want to dwell on this painful episode, Ron, but I can tell you there were some tears shed. Tears, Ron.

Still, I forgive her.

Do you have a blog? I will be restarting my festering cesspit of invective, ad hominem and sweet reason in the near future.

Occam's Carbuncle

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger Chimera said...

"Clearly you haven't been insulted enough in person if you can still be insulted electronically."

I said you sought to insult me. I did not say that you succeeded. Clearly, you have a reading comprehension problem. There are probably ESL classes somewhere in your vicinity. I suggest you take advantage of one of them.

Ron, I kinda think being rude is part of its package. Like the wishful thinking and ersatz loquacity. I think we'd make terrific neighbors. We'd spend a lot of time jammin'...

 
At 3:51 PM, Blogger Ron said...

yeppers, I do have a blog:

Northern Subverbia at
http://northernsubverbia.blogspot.com

 
At 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

See? She did it again. Unprovoked insults. I'm not sure she would make such a good neighbour, prone as she is to such spontaneous outbursts of abuse. See how she has, er, dehumanized me? I am merely an "it". I feel so degraded, so, so...fetal.

I do admire her use of the word "erstaz", however. It's a word with punch, one that can bathe even a low cunning in the glow of seeming intellectualism. So deliciously foreign sounding too. Those Germans are so clever. Combined with the power of "loquacity", no less, it creates a formidable barrier against intrusion into the protected vacuity.

I'll be sure to check out your establishment Ron.

occam's carbuncle

 
At 3:53 PM, Blogger Ron said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 3:54 PM, Blogger Ron said...

re: "See how she has, er, dehumanized me? ...I feel so degraded, so, so...fetal."

I'll give you a full 10/10 for the gracefulness of *that* redirection! Wunnerful!

 
At 7:28 PM, Blogger Chimera said...

"I feel so degraded, so, so...fetal."

Go with that feeling, dick.

 
At 11:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ALL YOU GUYS ARE CRAZY

 
At 11:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

abortion sucks its the mothers choice

 
At 8:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Abortions are for dirtbags :-)

 
At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

why can't women just close thier damn legs! they fuck anything that moves, and then whine when they get pregnant!

 
At 6:55 AM, Anonymous Will Staples said...

This was a wonderful post. Thank you.

 

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