Guest Post on Abortion

So check it! I got a wonderful guest post, and I thought it pretty well sums up the abortion debate:

It goes without saying that the paramount responsibility of rational government is the protection of human life.  That’s why laws
prohibiting murder carry the harshest penalties in society.  In the English Common Law system, there are even shades of criminal liability, from murder through manslaughter, designed to discourage the killing of human life.  Human life is the sine quo non of all other rights (i.e., that, without which, there is no other), including the rights to liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.

This is not a remarkable concept.  The pro-life vs. pro-choice divide is not over whether government should prevent the killing of
innocent human life.  The divide exists over how to define human life; or more specifically, how government should define that human life which deserves the protection of the law against its intentional destruction.

Most pro-choice advocates believe that theirs is the rational position, rooted in science, while the pro-life side is rooted in
opinion based on un-provable religious beliefs or ideology.  But the evidence indicates the opposite is the case.  The pro-life side is rooted in objective science while the pro-choice position elevates personal opinion and ideology over science.

The traditional pro-life position holds that human life begins at conception.  That’s because conception is the moment of decisive change in human existence.  It’s the Big Bang of human life.  Science tells us that, from conception, there exists a genetically complete and distinct human life.  After conception, gender and all manner of physiological characteristics are immediately in place.  Before my conception, I did not exist.  Since my conception, I have existed.  If another person had interfered with my natural development at some point since conception, it’s elementary that I would not be here.

All change following conception is incremental.  This does not mean that after conception there are no new objective events in human life.  No matter how infinitesimal, there is an instant before the fetal heart starts beating and an instant afterward; a moment before a middle-aged man has a single gray hair and a moment afterward.  But these changes are a natural matter of growth and maturity.  Like the formation of galaxies and stars took place after the Big Bang, in a universe already in existence, the heart beats for the first time, and the lungs take air for the first time, after conception, in a human life that already exists.

Conception is, therefore, the most objective and scientifically verifiable point to know that human life exists, and therefore, the most intellectually defensible point at which to assign protection to human life from its intentional destruction.  Choosing any moment after conception involves a subjective determination about other factors besides whether that human life exists.  Put another way, to permit abortion (the intentional destruction and removal of a human fetus from a pregnant woman), government must leave the realm of objectivity and science.  Choosing any moment after conception to protect human life from intentional destruction crosses a line into personal opinion. Whether government relies on the subjective opinion of scientists, judges, legislators, bureaucrats, or pregnant women, personal opinion is elevated above science.  When personal opinion, ideology, or
outcome-based conclusions form the foundation of a government’s exercise of its paramount responsibility, rational government is endangered.

Pro-choice advocates who believe decisions about abortion ought to be based on “science” rather than personal or religious ideology, should think more carefully about where they sit on the science-ideology continuum.  Theoretically, they should agree that defining human life on any but the most scientifically objective factors is inherently wrong. And it’s also extremely dangerous.  It crosses a bright line, from basing critical governmental decisions about human life on objective factors, to basing such decisions on something more subjective.  This principle endangers all the human life subject to that government’s
authority.

I recognize that this analysis leads to the, perhaps, counterintuitive conclusion that a zygote deserves the same type of
legal protection (if not to the same degree) against intentional killing as does a living, breathing 20 year-old.  But the alternative principle is too dangerous to contemplate.  As a rational human being, I prefer to put my trust in authentic science.

Michael Frances

Thanks for reading! I’m always down for guest posts, just shoot me an email.

  • Caroline

    Nice observation here: “But the evidence indicates the opposite is the case. The pro-life side is rooted in objective science while the pro-choice position elevates personal opinion and ideology over science.”–kind of how liberal “tolerance” is the most intolerant brand of tolerance.

    And generally good points, but I think that right now the “pro-choice” side is less inclined to try and argue about the “clump of cells” except as a last resort or to be dramatic.

    The rationale I tend to see on the pro-choice side is that pro-lifers are absolutists and don’t understand that women get in tough situations or that children would be better off dead than living as poor or disabled persons.

    I tend to encounter more of those utilitarian, “quality of life” positions, personally.

    Thank you for your thoughts…you do bring up good and useful points.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

      That’s like saying in 1859… “absolutists just don’t understand that plantation owners are in tough situations, financially, and that Negroes are better off as slaves than free because they don’t know how to take care of themselves, etc…”

      • Caroline

        Joe, nice, I haven’t heard that one before and it’s a good way to show the flaw of that logic…though I’ll have to think of how to tone things down a bit because you don’t make your audience so sympathetic to what you’re saying when you compare rape victims to plantation owners (which really are different…I have a lot of pity for a rape victims because I doubt pregnancy is the best part of having children, moreso than the plantation owners…so you’re still going to have difficulty).

        • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

          Yeah, I would be careful using slavery analogies with people in truly tough situations. Nevertheless it can be very useful to point out that the pro-abortion Democrats of today tend to use almost exactly the same lines the pro-slavery Democrats used 150 years ago.

          “I’m personally opposed, but the Supreme Court says it’s the law…”

          “I’d like to live in a world with no slavery, but it’s unrealistic in this country, the economy just couldn’t handle that many helpless mouths to feed…”

          “You can’t end slavery, it’s always been with us. Driving it underground will just make it worse…”

          Back in the 1970s-80s a lot of Democrats were trying to come up with ways they could pretend to have changed their minds about abortion. Al Gore famously said something like “I used to be opposed to abortion, but then I really started listening to the concerns of women…” and a blogger I read made the comparison: what if somebody had said “I used to oppose slavery, but then I really started listening to the concerns of plantation owners…”

  • Traianus

    Just thought I would mention that the Latin phrase you’re looking for is “sine qua non”

    • Michael Francis

      Thank you. I fixed that at one time and am not sure how the “o” got back in again. Maybe because I used to live in Baltimore (as in “O”rioles)

  • Vision_From_Afar

    I’m afraid I have to disagree on the most basic premise of this post: Putting trust solely in the hands of authentic science leads to a disturbing conclusion.

    Let me give you an example from the opposite end of the timeline. So, you’re saying that someone in a vegitative state, whom doctors have given no hope of recovery, kept alive by machines, is dead and should be removed from the machines. We even call it “brain dead.” One moment there is brain activity, the next there is none!
    Science tells us that at conception, there is a genetically unique being, one that, without complete support and aid from another, would cease to be. That’s not quite what I would call complete.

    Let’s go in a different direction. Abortions happen. They will happen whether or not it is illegal, dubbed immoral, or even if it “condemns them forever.” I hold up prostitution as a prime example of this innate behavior of humanity. It’s a fact that there will always exist those who, regardless of consequences, will do what they want. A large enough percentage exists that we have prostitution in every major city, and human sex trafficing world wide. I’m not saying these things are good, merely pointing out the science of their existance. Now, when government regulation is added, the situation improves for nearly everyone involved. It loweres the percentage of STDs, and it lowers the number of deaths of mothers due to illegal/botched “backdoor” abortions.

    I have no issue with the Church or anyone else continuting to lobby for a more responsible and moral society. However, does that mean that those who will do this anyway must suffer needlessly, if government regulation and recognition would correct the potentially fatal outcomes of the procedures these lost souls are driven to?

    • Zaireunderorion

      My question here would be whether the government make such decisions easier (read: safer) or not. Abortion being legal does lead to less death by backdoor abortions (though they still certainly happen), but if abortion is, as we believe, taking of a human life with rights then something else is at work here. Making something illegal will, hopefully, have the effect of preventing people from giving into those instincts and desire that are not desirable for anyone, including themselves. It certainly won’t prevent people who insist on doing such things anyway, for whatever reasoning they possess. It certainly does not override their free-will (which is why pro-choice is really a misnomer. law has never overridden human will).

      So, should we make it easier for people to do something that will harm themselves and another innocent? I think not, and that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel for the women who end up in situations where they feel an abortion might be necessary. I certainly do, but I feel it does them more of a disservice to them to simply let them do something damaging to society, themselves, and an innocent human life.

      In any case, most of these situations could be avoided by being responsible about sex. I’m Catholic, so I don’t believe in contraception, but I do think learning to control sexual desires, directing them into proper avenues, and waiting until a marriage make such situations less likely to happen. From a secular point of view, people should use the contraception available to them. But, even that isn’t foolproof or without its risks. In the end, abstinence until marriage is the best option and is 100%.

      Also, we should also try to think of the child as a joy moreso than a burden, even if we have to give the child up to adoptive parents. Life is a good thing, however much suffering there is had.

      One final question about the point you started with, is a child outside of the womb not dependent on its mother to survive? The child needs breastmilk to develop their immune system etc. They are essentially in the same position as the fetus, they are just far more visible. Are children not complete?

      • Vision_From_Afar

        In the end, abstinence until marriage is the best option and is 100%.

        And proven time and again, in study after study, that it doesn’t work.

        As for kid outside the womb and breastmilk. A nurse, grandparent, adoptive parent, etc. may use formula with no ill effects. There is no irrevocable connection.

        • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

          How can abstinence until marriage not work? History only records one virgin birth and she was asked.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            You’re killing me, Smalls.

            Commonly accepted myth and lore only records one virgin birth. Also, the fact that I linked to four studies, two of them from .edu sites, might put a bit more weight on my argument than your “but, of course it works in theory!”

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            These studies are about “abstinence education”. The comment was about “abstinence”. Abstinence works every time. Look it up.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            That’s like saying that cars always work, except when they don’t. Just ignore studies that say they eventually break down in significant numbers.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Explain to me, scientifically if you please, how a woman can get pregnant while abstaining from sex. (Aside from IVF and divine intervention.)

          • Vision_From_Afar

            She can’t, obviously, that’s why you keep digging at that point like bad itch. The problem is you’ve got such tunnel vision for that point that you’re ignoring the “human” factor: WE LIKE SEX. In a box, in a vacuum, in your magical, perfect, Christian world, abstinance would work 100% of the time, bar none, no discussion. But we don’t live there. We live here, with falliable, selfish humans, some of whom don’t want to have theological chastity belts chained to their waist. As the French say, “Que sera sera.” Subject: [badcatholic] Re: Guest Post on Abortion

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            In other words, abstinence doesn’t work because you don’t wanna. Tell me, when will you be receiving your Ph.D.?

          • Vision_From_Afar

            About a week after you get that stick surgically removed from your bum.

          • Djrogers

            Well if a woman is raped she didn’t have much sayso in the matter! And what about ectopic pregnancies? The fetus can continue to grow but will eventually kills it’s host and therefore itself in th process.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            How does an ectopic pregnancy result from sexual abstinence? Yes, rape is an atrocity, which is why all of my daughters will be getting their concealed carry permits before I send them off into the world.

          • Djrogers

            You said it in your previous post IVF. The incident rate of having an ectopic is actually much higher for IVF patients.

        • CPE Gaebler

          Abstinence-only-education is an educational policy. Abstinence until marriage is a personal policy. They are not the same thing, and you are very silly for not figuring that out on your own.

          • Korou

            Successful abstinence is 100% effective; but attempting abstinence is much less effective than safe sex.

            Therefore it is unwise to recommend to people that they should be abstinent until marriage because you are exposing them to a much greater risk than if you recommended them to practice safe sex.

            Which should be the point.

          • James H

            “attempting abstinence is much less effective than safe sex” – that doesn’t apply with HIV, why should it apply with abortion?

            Changing behaviour worked in Uganda; it’s working in Zimbabwe; it led to lower HIV incidence in the Philippines than in Thailand.

            Consider: the worst HIV infection rates in the world occur where there is no governmental, social or religious objection to condom use. Safe Sex isn’t.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Consider: the worst HIV infection rates in the world occur where there is no governmental, social or religious objection to condom use. Safe Sex isn’t.

            You mean like those places in Africa, where Catholic missionaries are going around telling everybody that using condoms and other contraception makes baby Jeesus cry, and that they’ll be sent straight to hell if they do? Yeah, that has nothing at all to do with religious pressure at all…

          • Alexandra

            Actually it’s worse than that.

            It is a fact that the HIV virus can pass through a condom, but the liklihood is so so low. If you’re using a condom properly the chance of infection because of HIV passing through the condom is basically zero. Indeed, even if the condom breaks, if the infected person is medicated the viral load is so low that infection isn’t likely.

            But people very high up in the Church have decided to tell people in Africa that the HIV/AIDS virus can pass through condoms, without any of the proper context. So really, what’s the point of using a condom if HIV is going to pass through it anyway?

            Studies have shown that people in Africa are very fatalistic about HIV/AIDS. They figure they’ll get it anyway, why bother using a condom?

            It’s absolutely criminal to disseminate information like that without the necessary context.

          • Korou

            Thank you, Alexandra and Deven.

          • wineinthewater

            I have heard of only one Catholic prelate in Africa say that the HIV virus will pass through a condom. You make it sound like it is widespread, can you point me to a collection? Meanwhile, Africa is flooded with condoms and sex education.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Actually, the leading HIV researchers in Africa agree with the whole “let’s not pass out condoms” sort of thing, because condom use actually does make the rates go up. This has to so with specific cultural attitudes towards sex (for example, often times men will take one long-term mistress, with whom condoms stop being used when people get tired of them), and the fact that condoms encourage a false sense of security leading to riskier sexual behaviors.

          • wineinthewater

            I find it ironic that people believe that someone who is going to transgress Christian teaching about extra-marital sex is then going to have compunction about transgressing Catholic teaching about contraception.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            I’m not talking about those who are having sex. My problem is with those people who are going around telling Africans that one of the greatest barriers to STDs and pregnancy, condoms, are ineffective in the least and risking your “eternal soul” at worst. Scaring them into not using them while not allowing them to fully understand what it is that they’re actually teaching them. All the while, helping the spread of deadly diseases that could very easily be slowed or prevented without their “assistance”. Thousands (millions?) of people have died because of them.

          • wineinthewater

            That’s the problem. A condom is great protection against HIV transmission. However, the studies have shown (look at the one done by Harvard) that our condom-based *policies* have not provided great protection against HIV transmission and that those policies have actually worsened the infection rates. There are all kinds of reasons for that, from overselling the protection that condoms provide to low-quality condoms, to risk adjustment in behavior, to weird cultural ideas that sex with a virgin will cure HIV. But the reality remains, the condom-based policies of the West are making the HIV problem in Africa worse.

        • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

          Dude. You’re conflating abstinence education and abstinence. Abstinence works 100% of the time at not getting pregnant. Abstinence education may not be wonderfully effective at getting horny teenagers to abstain from sex.

          Solution: stop telling our children their goal is to be children and rather train them to be adults, so that when they’re in their teens they can actually handle marriage and get married and have kids in their sexual prime.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            WTF? You advocate teen marriage?? Now I KNOW you’re insane!

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Yeah, because teen marriage has wonderful statistics when it comes to success rate.

    • pllym

      So, you are saying that killing the developing fetus and pulling the plug on the brain dead person who has no chance of living off the machines is the same thing? That’s not logical at all. The difference between the “incomplete person” (to use your terminology) in the womb and the brain dead person being kept alive by a machine is that the brain dead person is being kept alive completely artificially, where as the fetus is in a natural biological stage of life/development. Life in the womb is a natural and temporary environment which every human being requires in order to live and one day have the freedom to liberty and pursuit of happiness. Abortion robs that from an individual human life. The man on the machine who will never live off of the machines has a life artificially dependent. If nothing else can be done for this brain dead man and the machines are practically breathing for him and keeping his heart beating, then removing him from the machine is simply letting nature take its course. Huge difference from the fetus.

      As to your second point: Why does adoption always have to be the pink elephant in the room? It’s like people are looking for any reason to justify abortion, even if they “personally agree” with it. Just because people in society are going to have abortions whether its legal or not, doesn’t mean it’s right and should be legal. And maternal health has little to do with why most women go in for abortions. In fact, abortion is illegal in Chile, and they have a lower maternal death rate and better maternal care than the US. America ranks behind 41 other countries in preventing mothers from dying during childbirth. Source: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/05/what-to-reject-when-you-re-expecting/index.htm

      • pllym

        Sorry about the typos/grammar mistake. Commenting on this from a smartphone with auto correct is brutal!

        • Vision_From_Afar

          I feel your pain. No worries.

      • Vision_From_Afar

        Actually, there is no difference from the fetus. If you remove the factor of the mother’s wants/wishes/body (which everyone pro-life is doing), without that factor, that support, it takes those machines to keep the fetus alive. I don’t see a difference. If we could medically find a way to remove the fetus and grow it outside the mother, then put it up for adoption (with the adoption pre-guarenteed and vetted), then I would be the first to call for that positive alternative over abortion. The sad fact is, we cannot do that yet.

        People are always looking to “justify” it, because the “pro-life” argument is that the act of abortion is totally unjustified. You can’t make the argument that arguing back is illogical when you start the argument, lol.

        In fact, abortion is illegal in Chile, and they have a lower maternal death rate and better maternal care than the US. America ranks behind 41 other countries in preventing mothers from dying during childbirth.

        That’s all well and good for Chile, but I somehow think their culture and history might be a tad different than here in America. It’s not really an apple-to-apple comparison.

    • http://www.facebook.com/caiseyc Caisey Carroll

      Let’s go in a different direction. Abortions happen. They will happen whether or not it is illegal, dubbed immoral, or even if it “condemns them forever.”
      That’s true. There will always be abortion, rape, armed robbery, ect. where ever there are people.

      I hold up prostitution as a prime example of this innate behavior of humanity. It’s a fact that there will always exist those who, regardless of consequences, will do what they want. A large enough percentage exists that we have prostitution in every major city, and human sex trafficing world wide.

      True. But that harmful acts against the innocent will happen no matter what the law says is a poor argument for having no law. The law can guide people to making better alternatives. There were abortions in America before abortion was legal, but the number skyrocketed after Roe vs. Wade. We may be up to our knees in prostitution or drugs, but if it become legal it’d be up to our necks.

      I’m not saying these things are good, merely pointing out the science of their existance. Now, when government regulation is added, the situation improves for nearly everyone involved. It loweres the percentage of STDs, and it lowers the number of deaths of mothers due to illegal/botched “backdoor” abortions.

      Rape is a horrible crime committed on an innocent human being. We don’t attempt to make it safe and legal, even if it will happen anyway. Same with child abuse. If abortion kills children, the goal shouldn’t be to make it safe and legal, but to avoid it in the first place.

      …However, does that mean that those who will do this anyway must suffer needlessly, if government regulation and recognition would correct the potentially fatal outcomes of the procedures these lost souls are driven to?

      For decades prior to the legalization of abortion, around 85% of abortions were done by physicians. After Roe vs. Wade they did not change medical equipment or training. Many pro-abortion groups promote “self-help” abortion kits in case abortion becomes illegal. Since so many abortions before the 1970′s were performed by physicians, it would be safe to assume that illegal abortions would continue to be performed by physicians.

      Not to mention that women still die from legal abortions in America, which I can elaborate further on if you wish.

      • Vision_From_Afar

        The law can guide people to making better alternatives. [...] We may be up to our knees in prostitution or drugs, but if it become legal it’d be up to our necks.

        Law is not a “guide”. If it was, we’d have laws against eating too many cookies in one sitting. If we want to guide people to better decisions, then that is the job of parents, teachers (both secular and religious), and society as a whole.
        Do you seriously think we’d “be up to our necks” in prostitution? Nevada isn’t. It gets disproportionate amounts of press because Americans like that kind of thing (secretly wishing it was legal everywhere, probably).

        Rape is a horrible crime committed on an innocent human being. We don’t attempt to make it safe and legal, even if it will happen anyway. Same with child abuse. If abortion kills children, the goal shouldn’t be to make it safe and legal, but to avoid it in the first place.
        No argument on point one through three, but you ignored my first paragraph. I don’t consider early term abortion to be killing children. Your comparison of abortion (a choice, albeit a difficult and personal one) and rape and child abuse, where no choice is had (I assume you’re not one of the “she had it coming” crowd) is disingenuous at best, misleading at worst. A better comparison for you might have been illegal drugs, but considering marijuana is only a decade at most away from legalization, that’s kind of moot too.

        After Roe vs. Wade they did not change medical equipment or training. Many pro-abortion groups promote “self-help” abortion kits in case abortion becomes illegal.
        I call bullshit.
        This point is also rediculous since the two sentences around it seem to be your argument that most abortions, legal or not, are done by doctors anway. I might believe they’re putting together a list of “sympathetic” doctors, but a home-abortion kit? Don’t make me laugh.

        Abortions are a dangerous medial procedure, regardless of legality. You’re making my point for me that it is safer if doctors et al. can operate in the open.

        • Alexandra

          Actually, abortions are incredibly safe. They’re some of the safest medical procedures. They’re definitely safer than labor and child birth!

          • Jmsteve4

            Safe for 1 person, lethal for another.

          • Alexandra

            Clever girl.

          • Jmsteve4

            I’m not sure if I’m supposed to be offended… You know what I find interesting here? Teen moms. The kids are accidents (usually), but even when their parents throw them out and their boyfriend runs away, they still keep the kid. And work their asses off to support it. I just find it hard to believe that people think that it is their choice to kill their own child because they don’t think they can raise them. It’s clearly possible. Instead of abortion facilities, why don’t we just have more pregnancy help centers? Why don’t we lobby to make adoptions easier? Raise awareness that there are children who already need homes? I mean, there’s no need to battle over whether or not it’s murder or if it can be justified if there’s more help available. Can’t we all agree on that?

          • Alexandra

            Not everyone wants to be pregnant and go through childbirth and adoption. No one should have to.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Easy way not to: (1) don’t have sex and (2) carry a concealed weapon in case of rapists.

          • Alexandra

            Yikes. I’m going to go ahead and assume you don’t really mean that second bit.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Of course I mean it. I suppose you could “open carry” as well, but concealed carry is better and the safety classes you have to take (in most states) are worthwhile anyway.

            You aren’t from Europe or someplace, are you? In that case you’re out of luck and I guess you’d just get ready to be raped.

          • Korou

            Poor silly raped women. Why don’t they take some responsibility?

          • Djrogers

            So it’s ok to murder someone attempting to rape you but you can’t have an abortion after the fact?

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Re: offense: I’m pretty sure Alexandra was quoting “Jurassic Park”, the line where the raptor ambushes the dude as he’s hunting. As in: “Touche”

            As for the rest of your post, I can agree with your intent, but not to the extent you do. I’m afraid I agree with Alexandra: No one should have to go through it. By all means, spread the news, raise awareness, etc., but don’t try to codify that the alternative is illegal.

          • Alexandra

            Thanks for explaining that. I didn’t even see where Jmsteve had mentioned my comment.

            And yes, that’s exactly what I meant.

        • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

          “Your comparison of abortion (a choice, albeit a difficult and personal one) and rape and child abuse, where no choice is had (I assume you’re not one of the “she had it coming” crowd) is disingenuous at best, misleading at worst. ”

          You’re saying rapists have no choice in who they rape? Or are you saying babies have a choice in whether or not they are aborted?

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Well played, sir, but I think we both know that neither was my argument.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            It’s not a game. You said rape is a “no choice” situation (for the victim, obviously) and use that to argue that it differs from abortion which is a “choice” for the perpetrators. It makes no sense. Both crimes are “choices” for the perpetrators and “non choices” for the victims.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            But I don’t see any victims of morning-after pills or early term abortions especially when rape is involved. Therein is where we differ.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            If there’s no victim there, why/how would you abort it?

          • Vision_From_Afar

            I said no victim of the pill/abortion. Not “no victim there.” Don’t put words in my mouth.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            How do you have an early term abortion without a zygote/embryo/fetus present? Human or not, there has to be a victim or you aren’t killing anything.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Abortion of all varieties is easy because one does not have to see its effects. It is easier to kill a human being when you can remove yourself from the reality of the act.

    • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

      The set of things that people actually do is much larger than the set of things that it is good for them to do.

  • Mandy P

    Good points but I now wonder if this argument is moot…
    I’m with Caroline. I think they have mostly conceded that they are killing a baby. Now they are making quality of life arguments.

  • Alexandra

    Unfortunately, this doesn’t actually address the pro-choice argument at all.

    Yes, terminating a pregnancy is terminating a developing human life. The pro-life argument is that that developing life is of the same value as the life of the woman it is growing inside of, but the pro-choice position is that are plenty of reasons to believe that it isn’t.

    The most important argument for me is that refusing a woman an abortion essentially results in slavery. By not allowing a woman to terminate a pregnancy, you legally enforce that she must allow the developing human to use her body in a way that she does not want to let it. That’s slavery.

    Killing isn’t always illegal. You can kill someone in self defense. Abortion is killing in self defense. Not everyone is going to see a developing human inside of their uterus as a threat to their bodily autonomy, some women welcome it, but for women that don’t welcome that human into their uterus, they have a right to reclaim their body and take the human out.

    • Elaine

      Alexandra, the problem with the slavery argument is that pregnancy is not something that just happens to women– it’s not some random disease. It’s the result of having sex. It’s not slavery if you willingly put yourself in a position where you know you can make a baby.

      • Alexandra

        It comes down to whether or not you’re going to define sex as consent to be pregnant or not. So far, we’ve decided it’s not, and that’s something that I am glad for. In the secular society we’ve separated sex from procreation, and I know that’s something that upsets Catholics, but it’s where we are. The laws reflect that. People have sex mostly for bonding and pleasure, not for reproduction, so having sex for pleasure and bonding isn’t consenting to pregnancy. The only way a woman consents to pregnancy is by not aborting, not by having sex.

        • thoughtsandideas

          That’s like saying everyone who eats a Twinkie is enslaved by its calories… that’s just dumb. I mean I doubt very many people eat Twinkies in order to get fat. Typically they eat the Twinkie because the taste is pleasurable and it may even satiate a bodily desire for nourishment. The calories are another consequence of choosing to eat a Twinkie. Not one is forcing you to eat it, there are plenty of other things you could eat, but you chose to eat the Twinkie an thus, you have the calories.

          Granted, all analogies limp, and anything to do with Twinkies should by default fall flat on its face, but take human life for instance. By your argument, your pleasure/bonding takes precedence over a human life. That’s just sick. That’s like saying I want to have a bonding experience with my wife, so we’re going to find a child off the street and beat them to death. What? No! I would and should be arrested in that scenario. Yet for some reason its okay to do that if the child is not on the street, but rather within my wife.

          The problem with arguing that sex is not for procreation is that your body’s physiology disagrees. According to the biology of your body, sex’s purpose is pro-creation. Two side-effects of sex are 1) pleasure, which can be a stimulant in order to promote the act of procreation 2) bonding, which is a benefit to the two parents who are now going to work together to raise the child they have created. Procreation is the first cause, pleasure and bonding are secondary, no matter what “secular society feels”. Secular society can feel that gravity is oppressive, that doesn’t mean they can change its nature. They can feel that its oppressive that they have to eat in order to live, but that’s how their body was created

          • Alexandra

            But there’s an undeniable difference between an embryo or a fetus and a child on the street.

          • Mark

            There’s also an undeniable difference between a child on the street and an adult. Should we have the right to kill one or the other?

          • Alexandra

            That’s not the argument I’m making. That’s a different difference.

          • Mckenbernie

            So what, exactly is the “undeniable difference” to which you refer, between a baby in the womb and one outside?

          • Kristen indallas

            Only if you want it to be and are very good at plugging your ears and saying “lalalala” when people try to explain why its not.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Or the “lalalala” is the only thing drowning out the same, tired straw-man arguments we’ve heard over and over and over…

          • Marc Barnes

            refute them then, ye silly bumblebee.

          • Oregon Catholic

            He can’t.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            lalalalalala ;)

          • Vision_From_Afar

            I have been, as I find them in this freakishly long comment spread. It’s not my fault if you refuse to listen.

          • Edge

            He can’t – The folks who support the murder of children are selfish at heart and really don’t care about the murdered children, the woman that are being hurt from the murder of their children, or anyone but themselves. They can only place their fingers in their ears like a spoiled selfish brat who is not getting their way.

            You cannot use logic to help get someone out of a position when they failed to use logic to get there in the first place.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            The folks who support the murder of children are selfish at heart and really don’t care about the murdered children.

            You obviously haven’t been paying attention. In future, please don’t put your own words into the mouths of others when you refuse to see their positions honestly.

          • Kristen indallas

            No there isn’t. There is only a gradual progression toward adulthood and independence. Both a fetus and a 1 ear old are completely and uterly dependent on their parent for survival. If a parent (a very selfish one) decides taking care of their one year old is a form of “enslavement” and stops doing it, the child will die, and the parent will go to jail for neglect. That of course assumes they didn’t decide to proactively kill the child in order to avoid having to neglect it, as is the case with abortion.

          • Alexandra

            That’s a very emotional argument.

            I’m not interested in getting into an emotionally charged debate on this because that’s not healthy for anyone, so I’m not going to reply to the points you’ve raised.

          • Oregon Catholic

            What a cop out Alexandra.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Not being drawn into an emotionally charged argument is a cop-out? I remember when that was actually called “mature.” My how things have changed since middle school.
            Are you one of them?

          • Vision_From_Afar

            The difference between the 1 year old and the fetus is the 1 year old isn’t tied specifically to one person, and the fetus irrevocably is. Ever heard of adoption?
            As I said in an earlier rebuttel, if there were a way to remove a fetus and plant it, fully viable in a willing donor (a pre-adoption), I’d much prefer that to abortion, but that possiblity doesn’t exist yet.

          • pllym

            You obviously dont have kids if you think a 1 year old isnt dependent on a mother or father. Hell, some people dont eve stop being dependent on mommy and daddy, my 30 year old, refuses to get a job, live at home brother is a prime example.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            “Ever heard of adoption?”

            They can be dependant on a different caregiver. A grandparent, a nanny, an aunt, a foster parent, etc. The fetus, as I said above, is irrevocably tied to the mother, and thus we come to the impasse.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Actually, the baby is tied to the mother for maybe eight months from the time she finds out about it. Eight months goes by like (snaps fingers) that. I realize it doesn’t seem that way to moping teenagers and insipid college liberals, but just think about it: what were you doing 8 months ago? What would it really cost you to have been pregnant during that amount of time? Have to sit out baseball season at your school? Wouldn’t have been able to ride the rides on the family trip to Disneyland at Christmas?

            How about this for a “compromise” policy: let’s allow abortion but have a nine-month waiting period to avoid rash decisions.

          • Alexandra

            Really? You don’t even have a uterus and you’re trying to argue that being pregnant is no big deal?

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            You ever been pregnant? If so, please tell me why I am wrong.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            If your reply was any more misogynistic, you’d have to ask her when the last time she made a sandwich was.

          • Djrogers

            Well until you joe Clark have been pregnant you CAN NOT say it goes like snap your fingers. Get from behind your computer and go educate yourself by visiting a high risk pregnancy ward. Then go visit a level 3 NICU. Anyone who thinks pregnancy is a piece of cake is an idiot! And yes I have been pregnant 3 times and have been both on a ward and had children in the NICU.

          • Korou

            A time filled with fear, doubt, regret and horror may not go by “like that.”

          • Tally Marx

            What you are saying, in effect, is that a born human individual’s right to freedom supercedesedes an unborn human individuals right to life. Okay. Prove it.

          • Tally Marx

            My auto correct has “supercedesedes” in its vocabulary….wth?
            I meant supersedes, of course.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            I don’t have to. Roe v. Wade already did, in a national court of law. The counter burden of proof is on you.

          • Tally Marx

            Roe v. Wade did not prove anything. It simply made a decision. To say something is one way is quite different from proving it is actually that way. So I ask again, why would an unborn human individual’s right to life be less than a born human individual’s right to freedom/privacy? Does the right to freedom itself supersede the right to life itself? Or is there something about the unborn, fundamentally, that makes them incapable of having rights in the first place? And if so, what is this thing?

          • Djrogers

            How about when the unborn fetus is killing it’s host?

          • thoughtsandideas

            But you just took away the fetus’ humanity simply because it relies on someone. Even in the case of adoption the parent has to actively care for the child by giving them to another. There is a responsibility inherent with sex. No matter how badly people may want to reduce it to an inconsequential act, its not. You can’t reduce something to a lower existence simply because people tend to do so. To bring back the issue of slavery, the majority of human existance most people considered slavery to be an acceptable (if not terrible) practice. That didn’t mean it was, it just meant the masses needed to be educated and shown that reduce another person for your own benefit (I’ll make that a good outside of necessity) is immoral… hands down, in every situation.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            I’m saying that an early-term fetus has no humanity to begin with, and thus none to take away. That’s why we’ll never agree on any point related to this issue.

            And without the Industrial Revolution, which made mass labor possible without the need for many hands to do the work, do you honestly think slavery would have ended? I kind of doubt it. Oh, developed countries in Europe would do away with most of the labor slavery, but personal slaves would still be useful for the wealthy, and those countries supplying the “first world” would probably have a very large slave workforce.
            I kind of like how I talk about modern sex slaves and their inherant lack of choice and you point out that, “Well, we got rid of regular slavery a long time ago, mostly. I guess it’s just a matter of time until these new slavers come around, just like we did.”
            Don’t make me laugh.

          • Oregon Catholic

            “I’m saying that an early-term fetus has no humanity to begin with, and thus none to take away. ”

            So you say, but it’s nothing more than what you think, your subjective opinion. Therefore no more valid than someone else thinking their 2 month old has no humanity either and they should be free to kill it for convenience sake. Neither opinion has any objective or scientific validity. A human is a human from the moment of conception, not at some nebulous point post “early-term fetus” that you can’t even define.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Hmm, no. It’s your opinion that it starts at conception. The difference is, I’m not trying to force my opinion into law, just prevent you from doing so.

          • Goldiemil48

            Yes, you think that a fetus has no humanity despite all scientific evidence contradicting that position. I believe that was the point of the post. As for your sex slave comment, what could possibly benefit the sex trade more than easy access to free relatively safe abortions? That’s like offering the shipping industry free repairs in government facilities any time a truck breaks down.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Who the heck said anything about free abortions?

            Also, I’ve seen no science, only claims thereof. Claims of truth does not truth itself make.

          • Kristen indallas

            So you are in favor of making it illegal to abort a viable fetus, that can be sustained on artificial life support and adopted?

            And the fetuses in the questionably viable range? Can we attempt to put them on life support outside the womb and at least give them a shot? Sure, many may not make it… but some will. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preterm_birth#Notable_preterm_births
            Do they get to try?

          • Vision_From_Afar

            If someone is willing to adopt/foot the bill, I see no reason not to.

          • thoughtsandideas

            Why? Is it like Vision_From_Afar said, that the fetus can’t be removed? Does a person’s level of dependancy change their status as a person? I can think of a lot of elderly and handicapped individuals who just lost their status as persons.

            And that still doesn’t address the issue of consequence or natural bodily function. You want a “freedom” by which I understand you to mean an ability to do something without negative consequence, (i.e. enjoy sex without the burden of pregnancy) However, choice begets responsibility. Sex is not free of consequences good or bad. But you have elevated personal good over the bad affecting the other. You’ve stated that personal pleasure is more important than the life of another. If you hold that to be true, then okay, but own up to what you are saying. I mean, do you feel it is exceptable for another person to die so that you can have sex?

            Think of it this way. If I have money stored in a bank account and I spend it all, I spend it on good things, things that benefit me, bring pleasure, and can be argued to be legitimately good things, if I spend all of my money on these things and have none left in my account, the bank is not going to let me spend any more money. They are going to cut me off. Its a consequence of my actions. If I go into debt, spend their money and then can’t pay them back, they will seek action against me because that is a consequence of what I chose to do. I have no right to kill my banker because he has become an unwanted burden upon me or strives to restrict my spending. Most people would agree that such a respond would not only be absurd, it would be morally wrong. So why is it morally viable for someone to kill another person for their pleasure?

          • Alexandra

            If the banker crawls into your body and starts using you to stay alive, you have every right to kill him.

          • Cal-J

            You invite bankers to use you as a life support system?

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Fine, take your “right” to kill him.

            Killing him still wouldn’t be good.

          • Kyle Anderson

            With a baby, you make a choice to have sex (yes, there is the exception of rape). It’s not like it just “crawls into your body.”

            It’s like killing the banker for crawling into your body, after you were the one that invited him in in the first place.

          • CPE Gaebler

            No.

            You don’t.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Your banker analogy is so off target, it hurts.

            No one has bothered to address my biggest point in this debate: What about those who have zero choice? The abused, the raped, the enslaved? “Tough luck, kiddo”?

          • Aschemans

            Planned Parenthood’s own statistics say that less than 1 percent of all abortions performed in our country each year are for rape or incest. What about those sting operations that showed how people in the sex trade are able to procure abortions for their underage girls without fear of retribution? How is Planned Parenthood and our abortion laws protecting them? The head of Aloha Crisis Pregnancy here in Oahu has a child that was a product of rape. We always have a choice. She chose life. She said a violent act done to her does not mean she has a right to do violence to her unborn baby. She said killing a child of rape further hurts the victim – the woman knows deep down that they are hurting an innocent also. Abuse and rape are horrible things, but another injustice does not help with the healing.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Uhm, Planned Parenthood isn’t supposed to, or designed to, catch and/or track sex trafficers, so I don’t understand why you’re claiming that a failure on their part.

            I’m glad that the head of the Aloha Crisis Pregnancy center was strong enough to do what she did. Are you cruel enough to force that choice on a woman who may not be strong enough?

          • Aschemans

            Yes, but Planned Parenthood is obligated to report criminal activity ie. the abuse of underage girls. There have been multiple cases of PP workers advising the traficker or abuser to lie about the age of the girl in order to obtain the abortion. If they are really in the business of helping women, they should help these young girls get away from their abusers and report this to the police.

            As to forcing the choice of life on women – you sure view women as victims. Women are a lot stronger than you think! An abortion following a rape further harms the woman and allows her attacker 1 more way to scar her psychologically. Women of the world are enslaved by abortion and girl babies are the highest aborted. Abortion goes against the most wonderful part of being a woman – the ability to bring forth life!

          • Vision_From_Afar

            You have evidence of this corruption of individuals who work at PP? Links, or it’s heresay.

            As to viewing women as victims. A woman who happens to be a victim of violence deserves every option on how to move her life forward. I’m not pushing abortions on anyone, especially victims. However, I will argue for their right to make that choice for themselves. How can you not do the same?

          • Jmsteve4

            What, killing an innocent child should be okay based on how they were conceived? Because the situation cannot be controlled, it cannot be considered. Abortion arguments must come to exist at conception. You can debate dependency and pseudo-science and the “future welfare of the child” all you want, but there is no way that the time of conception affects the child in the slightest.

          • Edge

            OK – allow me to address it. That child is innocent, and to murder the child would add to the horrific crime that was has already been done against the mother.

            Say you are in a car accident – t-boned, not your fault at all. Guess what, through no fault of your own, you have to heal from your injuries. Some of the injuries may never heal.

            So the woman who was raped, is now is conned, forced, and coerced into thinking murdering her own child will help her. Using your logic in the example of the car accident, the next course of action would be to talk you into killing one of your own children , a son or daughter who was not even in the car with you when it happened.

            In both cases, the child is innocent. They did not wreck you or rape the woman, but in both cases, both are murdered in the insane idea that adding a second crime, the crime of murdering an innocent child will make the victim feel better.

            Guess what – in both cases, the murder of the child will only make the healing harder, cause more phycological problems, pain, sorrow, grief – and that is just on the side of the mother. The child is brutally shredded and torn apart while the child is still living – and that prevents that child from ever knowing what their future may hold.

            Did you just murder the inventor of a true renewable energy? Did you just murder the only person who could stop the next world war? Since you do not know what anyone’s future holds – you may have just killed the one person who could have prevented human extinction.

          • Edge

            Yes – the child in the womb is smaller – both are fully human.

            Same can be said for the size difference of midgets and 7′ tall basketball players. – Are the midgets fair game because they are smaller???

            Oh I know – the other difference is that the child in the womb is stuck there for 9 months can can’t run away from his or her attacker – where as the child on the street can…

            Hmmmm…..

        • Elaine

          Alexandra, my point wasn’t about contraception. I am Catholic, so I am morally opposed to birth control, but if women want to use it, that’s not my business. However, birth control is not 100% effective, and that’s something people need to take into account when having sex. For that reason, consent to sex IS consent to pregnancy. Because as of yet, we have not found a foolproof birth control, and so the two are still inextricably bound.

        • guest

          “most people” – really Alexandra?! Site your source.

          The primary purpose of sex is procreation. The rest is secondary. The tides of opinion my shift but facts always stay facts.

          • Alexandra

            Are you arguing that most people, when they have sex, they are making the choice to initiate the act because they want to get pregnant?

            I probably could find a source if I looked around for a bit, but that seems so very elementarily obvious. When most people have sex, they’re doing it to feel close to their partner and to experience pleasure.

          • Mckenbernie

            Aye, and the problem with the “end justifies the means” is that everyone is left to their own definition of morality and just because the end seems good to some, it may hurt or kill another (Hitler, Jews). A person’s end becomes “I will have sex at all costs, because it is pleasurable.” The costs being a baby. Then, “Because I don’t want that baby, it is okay to kill her.” The ends are my pleasure and desires, the cost is the baby. What does the baby say? She has no voice, but if she did she would say, “My life is valuable, no matter what you think of it. Look at it from a rapist’s perspective. “I will have sex with that woman at all costs, beacause it is pleasurable.” Then, “Because I don’t want to be caught, I will kill this woman.” By your reasoning, you justify it. You may have sex for pleasure, but you must accept the consequences no matter what they are. You may not *like* an STD, but you sure can’t abort it. So, morality is redefined based upon someone’s interpretation and at the cost of someone else’s.

          • Alexandra

            The issue is that you see an embryo of worthy of the protections that an autonomous human has, and that killing it is gravely immoral.

            I can just never agree with that.

          • Tally Marx

            Why? What fundamental difference is theirs that would rob them of *human* rights?

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            So you’re saying that you would rather cling to an ideology than look at things honestly from the perspective of ethics and science?

            Actually, given your comments, that makes a lot of sense.

          • Alexandra

            No, I’m just not trying to reconsider my position. I’m challenging myself to consider different opinions by talking to people on this blog, but I’m not looking to be convinced of anything.

            I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything either. I’m trying to have interesting conversation and learn with people about what our motivations for our positions are. Both sides have motivation that is out of concern for people. No one is invested in this because they think they’re doing evil.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            I fail to see how individual choices lead to Hitler. Why does everything the Right doesn’t agree with lead to Hitler? Can’t you even spice it up with Stalin or Pol Pot once in a while?

            Also, Rapist’s perspective: Wait, what?

          • guest

            I drink wine because I like the taste and because my doctor says that it has antioxidant qualities. I don’t drink it to get drunk…unfortunately that it the biological effect of wine on the body, and even if I use measures to avoid getting drunk…like eating a fatty burger…I may still end up drunk. I doubt the cop that pulls me over is going to care one bit that I didn’t drink with the intent to get drunk. I realize that this is probably “a poor analogy” but surely you can see the sense behind it. Not wanting to get pregnant does not undo the fact that a pregnancy has in fact occurred. I hope that you are never faced with this “problem”. I hope that you are always able to view this from a distance with only an imaginary fetus’ life hanging in the balance.

          • Alexandra

            I understand your point, but you’re right it’s a weak analogy. There’s a huge difference between the gravity of gaining a couple of pounds or getting a DUI and a life changing event like pregnancy and childbirth.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Or a life-changing event like murdering your parents’ grandchild.

          • Korou

            But we don’t think it’s murder, Joe. It is a small cluster of cells which cannot think or feel. Removing it is no more of a problem than cutting out a benign tumour.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Since when does the Truth depend on what some moron on the internet “thinks”? Why should I care about what you “think”?

          • Korou

            Because, Joe, it was you who tried to persuade us that it was a bad idea by calling it murder. I’m not necessarily saying it’s not murder, in this case. I’m saying that there’s no point in you using that word to persuade us not to support abortion because we don’t think that word applies.
            I hope this has cleared the issue up for you.

          • Namg3

            It’s not such a small clump of cells when the baby is 20 weeks old or would you argue that too?

          • Korou

            The post we’re commenting on is clear – life begins at conception.Why don’t we see if we can agree that there’s nothing wrong with removing the tiny clump of cells which is there at that point, then move on to the ethics of later stages?

          • Edge

            A benign tumour is not a human, nor can it ever be. A Cancer cell can never be human. A conceived child IS Human. AND since you cannot prove the child that is 1 day old does NOT feel pain, and you can NOT prove the child that is 5 days old does not know it is being murdered, why would you murder a human when you just don’t know???

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Since you cannot prove the child that is 1 day old does NOT feel pain …

            Actually, by studying the nervous system of children who have died in that first day, and by studying brain scans of still living ones, it can be (and has been) proven that they very much DO actually feel pain.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Because, as we all know, personhood is defined by your ability to think or feel. Sounds like a good standard for personhood.

            Oh wait, that’s right. The Nazis used that standard to kill lots of mentally handicapped people (my uncle would have been one of them) in their death camps.

            “But we don’t think it’s murder, your Honors. The mentally retarded person is a cluster of cells which cannot think or feel. Killing it is no more of a problem than cutting out a benign tumour.”~Nazi experimental doctor, Nuremburg trials, 1945

            “But we don’t think it’s murder, your Honors. The Jew is a cluster of cells which is racially impure. Removing it is no more of a problem than cutting out a benign tumour. We got really good at it in some happy fun places like Auschwitz.”~Nazi death camp kommandant, Nuremburg trials, 1945 (note all we had to change was the targeted group and the standard of personhood from “thinking and feeling” to “racial purity”. Both are bad standards for personhood.)

          • Korou

            I’m sorry, I just don’t think that a small clump of cells that can feel nothing can be compared to a breathing, feeling human.
            Now the debate against abortion does get more complicated the more advanced the fetus is; it does shade into gray, not black and white. But let’s start at conception. If it’s a choice between ruining a family’s life on the one hand and removing a small and never-been-conscious lump of matter then I don’t blame women and their partners for choosing to have an abortion.

          • wineinthewater

            We’re all just “clumps of cells.”You would just deny some humans human rightsbecause their clump is less developed than some other human’s clump.

          • Edgedogsmith

            And there is your problem right there – “we don’t think” and that is NOT a random insult or a pick a fight statement. I is fact. If you did think – critical thinking of the issue, you would see that you are in fact murdering a child. A child that may have some great role in history like finding a cure for cancer, or a a simple role in life like as a librarian. But since that child is murdered, that child will never have the chance at life at all and society as a whole will suffer the loss as well.

            Biology, science, and critical thinkers will all help you think if you allow them. They all have determined the child is human from the moment of conception. A unique individual human that will continue to grow and develop until that person reaches a natural death.

            But you and the others instead do not want the child to live or have that chance, because you did not “think” it was human. Instead, you murder the child for the sake of convenience, and makes you as guilty as the person who invades the woman’s womb with steel tools and rip apart her child.

          • guest

            Which is why I eat Twinkies and drink wine with reckless abandon, but make calculated decisions about sex. I can handle getting fat and drunk, they are temporary and natural effects of my choice to eat and drink. If I apply the same principal to sex, not that pregnancy is the only outcome, but that the natural outcome of my choice to have sex MAY be pregnancy, am I not making a choice to do it despite the risk? I am very pro-choice, I just happen to believe the choice ends when I eat the Twinkies, drink the wine, and have the sex. The rest is not in my control, and is no longer choice.

          • JAGreene86

            Cause and effect my friend:

            Our choices are the cause…the result (or consequence) is the effect.

            Many deny this principle…few accept it. You are one of the few.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Regardless of whether I want to get full when I eat, I still get full. It’s the natural consequence.

            Regardless of whether a person wants to get pregnant from sex, it can still happen. It’s the natural consequence of sex. Or at least one of them.

            Also, by “most people” you mean “most people currently living in modern society.” Broaden your views! If you said that sex isn’t for procreation to Cornellia (the famous Roman mother who referred to her sons as her treasures) or David or Nebuchanezzer or most any non-overly-affluent non-modern, they would think you were crazy. They would probably mock you.

          • Alexandra

            I’m so sorry I didn’t qualify my statement for you well enough.

            You’re not really making an interesting point that furthers conversation. It seems like you just commented on everything I said with repetitive and nit picky points that are just about picking a fight.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev.

            My points were repetitive because they highlighted underlying problems in lots of your arguments. So I had to keep on using the same responses over and over and over and over, because you and others kept on making the same assumptions over and over and over and over.

            Yes, I get that whole “nit picky” thing a lot. It’s really just me finding cracks and loopholes in arguments and exploiting them. I do it because sloppy speaking and/or sloppy logic leads to false and bad places really, really, really fast.

            I guarantee I’m not trying to pick a fight. Both Slavs and Slavophiles tend to be very abrupt. Combine that with my love for the wonderful propensity for sarcasm the English language possesses, and I suppose I can come off as very hostile to you. I promise I’m not hostile; I’m a big softie. I genuinely love people; that’s why I try so hard to change their minds to the truth, because I genuinely want the good for everyone and everything.

          • Alexandra

            You’re not finding loopholes, you’re creating them.

            I’m not writing a graduate thesis, I’m chatting with people who have different ideas than I do on the internet.

            I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind, and I appreciate when people show me the same respect. I’m just trying to learn about where other people are coming from, what they believe, and why they believe what they do.

            People are essentially good, and do what they think is best. I don’t understand how people can hold some positions that they do, and I’m interested in figuring out the how and why, not fighting with them. I think it’s important for both sides to see and have empathy for the oppositions position, so I share my opinions.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Site your source
            I direct your attention to a rather large industry devoted to a particular genre of film in California. You want more?

          • guest

            The porn industry represents “most people”?

          • Vision_From_Afar

            See my reply to Aschemans

          • Aschemans

            Another industry that hurts women. Are you citing this as a “good”?

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Never said it was “good”, merely offered it as evidence that “most people” (i.e. – enough to make it a billion dollar business) consider sex as a primarily pleasureable pursuit, as opposed to one focused on conception.

            Also, explain to me how an industry that pays women, on average, more than twice what men make hurts them. Better yet, name another industry that even has an average of equal wage.

          • Jmsteve4

            Hooray! I am allowed to degrade myself, throw away my dignity, and risk diseases because it pays well! Hooray for Capitalism!

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Exactly. The guy who cleans the sewers might say the same thing, but he won’t get paid nearly as much. I fail to see your problem.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            I am allowed to degrade myself, throw away my dignity, and risk diseases because it pays well!

            You only see it that way because of your belief system. Many of the women who do sex-work don’t see it that way at all. In places where prostitution is legal (and even places where it’s not, but less so) it’s quite easy for prostitutes to be seen as dignified. Many times throughout history the prostitute was a highly prized profession, and it was considered an honor to be asked to be one.

            The disease aspect is definitely an issue, but it’s getting to be less and less so as we learn more about those diseases and how to fight them.

        • http://www.facebook.com/thomjwillis Thom Willis

          “The only way a woman consents to pregnancy is by not aborting, not by having sex.” Except that, from the moment a child is conceived, the woman bearing it is pregnant. It is only *after* she has sex and conceives that she can choose to become – let us say – “unpregnant.”

          If we don’t count sex as consent to pregnancy, even then you still cannot consent to pregnancy by not aborting, because the abortion would be the result of an already existing pregnancy. Abortion is not a preventative measure to stop a pregnancy. It is a preventative measure to stop a birth.

          • Alexandra

            I’m not entirely sure what your argument is.

            Abortion ends pregnancy. It stops it. Yes, it prevents birth, but the purpose is to terminate a pregnancy.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            I still fail to see how one can come to the conclusion that, because their attempts to stop the natural consequences of sex failed, it is now all right to kill the child that is the natural consequence of sex.

          • Edgedogsmith

            Abortion does not make you un-pregnant – it makes you the mother of a dead child – your child that you helped conspire to murder.

          • boom

            Excellent point Thom! it would be similar to saying that consent to sex is only given after the fact, when a woman chooses not to file rape charges.

        • Feeneyja

          Sex is absolutely, scientifically tied to procreation. You can get around this with contraception, but that has obviously been seen to fail. When a woman is pregnant after sex, her body is doing what it is designed to do. It is a natural result. Both contraception and abortion are human interventions that look to get around the natural consequences of an act. They are not in any way proof that the act of sex is NOT tied to procreation.

          • Djrogers

            On the flip side, sex is not required for procreation. And in the event that the means used to become pregnant results in multiple fetuses, selective reduction might be an option suggested by fertility doctors.

    • pllym

      You know, the only similarity between abortion and slavery that i can see is how the pro-choice side defines class of individual human life as more valuable than another class of human life at the expense and utter annihilation of the weaker. This is the pro-choice logic: The life of an unborn is less valuable because it is dependent on the mother. The life of the unborn is less valuable because the mother didn’t intend to become pregnant. The life of the unborn is less valuable because it costs too much money and responsibility from society that doesnt “want” it. This is slavery logic. We take away the rights of an entire class of human beings by basically saying they are not human or not of the same value as another class of human beings. The scariest crimes in history have been performed due to such faulty and subjective reasoning.

      • Alexandra

        I see your point, but the fact remains that forcing a human to use their body in a way that they don’t want to isn’t legal.

        Embryos and fetuses are not fully human, but women are. It’s not incredibly sadistic to say that the life of the one who is fully human is of greater value than the one that isn’t.

        • pllym

          Actually, that is not true. The law forces us to do or not do things with our bodies all the time. It is illegal to run around naked in public. It is illegal to use drugs and drive under the influence of alcohol. Prostitution is illegal. When what we do with our bodies directly violates the rights or puts in danger the freedoms of others, especially when it is life and death, then the law has every reason to tell someone what or what not to do with their body- to protect the freedom of others.

          • Alexandra

            None of those things force you to do something with your body. They prohibit you from doing things with it, yes, but they don’t force you to do anything.

            I guess wearing clothes, but I’d definitely argue for the right to be nude in public. That’s just what kind of crazy liberal I am.

          • pllym

            The law requires that you have to be in school until a certain age. The law requires that you wear a seatbelt. The law requires that you keep your urine and bowels inside of your body when you are outdoors in public places. I mean, i could dig up a ton of positive things the law forces you to do with your body.

          • Alexandra

            You make a point, yes. I’m not sure it’s a good one, though.

            They don’t require the use of your body for someone else’s purpose. Requiring that you stay sober and not poop in the park are things that you’re required to do so that other people can enjoy the peace. You can’t have your medicated abortion at the park, either. But you’re allowed to poop at your own house and have your medicated abortion there too.

            They don’t prohibit you from pooping or getting drunk, they just dictate where you’re allowed to do it.

          • pllym

            The fact remains: laws do have justifiable reasons for telling you what you can/cant do with your body. The circumstances vary for each law, but no one is forcing women to BECOME pregnant. Laws protecting unborn life will force a woman to carry out a pregnancy she and the man are responsible for bringing about. Even if the state of pregnancy is an “evil” in her own mind, the nature of law is that it will step in to tell you what is allowed or not when it comes to the freedom and good of human persons – especially when it is a matter of life and death.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            The circumstances vary for each law, but no one is forcing women to BECOME pregnant.

            So you support early term abortions and morning after pills for rape victims?

          • pllym

            I do not support abortion at any stage of pregnancy, because it is killing an innocent human life, regardless of the fact that it is not functioning to its fullest potential. You are either human or you are not. Becoming a human being is not something that just happens one day. If so, please tell me at what exact point you become a human person.

            I don’t support the morning after pill simply because many times it operate as an abortafacient – you can read it on the box, by not allowing the newly conceived human life to implant in the womb and causing an early term abortion.

            Women will always and should always have the right to choose how they want to prevent themselves from becoming pregnant, as long as those means do not actually create the instance of killing a new human life. I mean, i dont think this is an extremely hard position to understand. If you value each human life from the moment of conception onward, which i do, then the logic is pretty clear cut. Killing life = evil. Not killing life = not evil.

          • pllym

            To clarify my point: you dont randomly just become a human person at some subjective stage of developmentin the womb – or simply by changing location from inside to outside the womb. The moment you are conceived is the moment your individual and unique biological life begins. If you are not a valuable human being at the moment, then where exactly does that definition of human life begin? My argument is that the lines drawn by the pro-choice side about how to define a valuable human life are completely arbitrary, different for each person and completely contrary to what biology has shown.

          • Djrogers

            You must hate fertility clinics. Think of all those human beings sitting frozen just waiting. So I guess you would advocate once it is feasible to grow a fetus to term that all cryo blasts should be grown to full term.

          • Alexandra

            Yeah, but at this point the right to abort is protected under the right to privacy.

            People have the right to do things to their own bodies. Emptying out their uterus is part of that.

          • Kristen indallas

            Does one of a siamese twin have the right to slice their “other” throat?

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            I don’t particularly care about rights. They’re a socio-political entity that doesn’t coincide very much or very well with ethics.

            I’m all for a woman emptying out her uterus…as long as emptying it out doesn’t involve the dismemberment and/or killing of an innocent human life.

          • Mjgtmom

            People are required to get immunizations before they can attend school, travel etc. They have to wear seat belts, bicycle helmets (at least in my state). I have no legal choice in the matter. So there are precedents where the law requires you to do something to your body for the protection of yourself or others.

            Going ahead and having sex regardless of the fact that in doing so you might create an innocent being that you would then just kill off because you don’t want it is certainly a selfish act. It’s wanting to have the “fun” with the consequences-be-damned mentality that is so prevalent today. We condemn the person who enjoys a few drinks and then gets behind the wheel of a car. Should they have to deny themselves the pleasure of drinking just because they might then hurt another person when they’re on the road? Of course they should. It’s called being responsible.

            Most of your arguments here and in response to other posts refer to decisions YOU’VE made–YOU determine the unborn child “isn’t fully human,” (I’d like to know when you think ‘full humanity’ kicks in, BTW) and you use the imperial ‘we’ as in “we’ve decided how to define sex as consent to be pregnant or not”, “in the secular society, we’ve separated sex from procreation.” Who’s “we?” Some people perhaps, not all. Your arguments depend on moral relativism, no science, no natural law, (one could say, no common sense even) and that’s a dangerous way to run a society.

          • Alexandra

            People opt out of immunizations all the time, and in some states, you can opt to not wear a bike helmet because of religious reasons. Driving isn’t a right, so the rules that govern driving or being in a car are moot to this point.

            I think it’d be much more selfish to carry a child to term if I didn’t want it.

            The real problem in this debate is that anti-abortion people see the rights of a developing human as equal to that of an autonomous human. To pro-choicers that’s ridiculous. A woman and her right to bodily autonomy is much more important than the right of a developing human to use her body.

          • Edge

            “A woman and her right to bodily autonomy is much more important than the right of a developing human to use her body.” Seriously??? Can anyone show a greater form of selfishness – ever???

            The real FACT in this debate is that pro-life people see the rights of a developing human as equal to that of an autonomous human because both are human. To self-centered, selfish, pro-murder-thier-own-baby crowd who would rather murder another human, their own child to boot, than be inconvenienced by not fitting into their skinny jeans, and other important stuff like that.

            Abortion does not make you un-pregnant – it makes you the mother of a dead child that you conspired to murder.

          • Claire Robson24

            Now wait just a second. You are saying that for a woman NOT to sacrifice her life is the MOST selfish thing a woman can do? I am pro-life and I find that comment enormously offensive. Sacrificing your life for your child is an enormously unselfish thing to do, but the opposite is absolutely not true. It is not selfish to choose your own survival; it is natural. And when having to consider how your decision will impact your life and your other children’s lives, and your husband lives will be impacted, it is not a decision it is not a decision I would wish on anyone. I realize that Catholics regard the unborn as more valuable than the mother, but not everyone is Catholic. As a mother of a child, who absolutely would sacrifice her life for her child, I WOULD NEVER mandate that a woman give her life for her baby. That is wrong, and your comment nears misogyny.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            You’re way off base. “Edge” was calling selfish those who would “rather murder another human… than be inconvenienced by not fitting into their skinny jeans”. Yes, those people are selfish. As for mothers giving their lives for their babies, it’s a tough moral question for sure. Is it moral to murder an innocent person to save your own life? I don’t think so, personally.

          • Edge

            Claire – did you even read my post? Your response sounds like a bait to me, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt and attempt to answer your question. (Let me also say thanks Joe Clark (below also in response to Claire) – you got it and explained it well.

            Let me start with your point that “I realize that Catholics regard the unborn as more valuable than the mother” – oops – you told an untruth!! Catholics regard all life as precious and from God. Neither Mother nor child is more valuable; both are precious as both were created by God.

            So now, let me address your next major point – let me state what I said in very clear and certain terms – a woman (any woman or any man for that matter who forces a woman) to murder their own child so they can enjoy life without a child IS selfish, the most selfish of all acts I can think of. I hope that was clear.

            To further be clear – to give ones life for another is the greatest demonstration of love, not just the opposite of selfishness.

            As I did not address the situation of a woman being forced to give her life for a child at all (yet), so let’s look at that, shall we. But the statement of a mother giving her life for her child can be taken two ways – figurative and literal.

            The first (figuratively) is all women who give birth. Period. All parents give up something when they become parents. So yes – a woman who gives birth gives up her life (figuratively) for her child. If you are a mother as you state, then you know this. Parents put their child first (or should in all cases, but do in most cases, at least in the important stuff.) This is the very definition of a mother. Some are better than others, and some are down right horrible. But to take on the responsibility of motherhood, the woman gives up many things, just as men give up many things when they become fathers. If a woman and a man do not want to give up their lives, then after the child is born – adoption – life regained. Are they selfish? Perhaps – if the reason is so they can continue to party, but even then they were giving enough to allow the child a chance at life and are to be commended!! So it could be argued that they did the right thing for the wrong reasons.

            So in the figurative view – am I stating that a woman give up her life for her child – absolutely, they must, or place the child up for adoption. (hey look – a choice – am I now called pro-choice??? – I guess it depends on what the choices are!!!)

            Before we look at the next view, (literally has to give her life) what about a woman who was raped – a real severe tragedy. Only an idiot would deny that is a most heinous crime. So if a woman conceives a child in that situation – should she give birth to that child. Well that was the answer – that child. A living human being who did not rape her, so why deliver capital punishment on the child for sins that his or her father committed?

            OK – finally to the literal view. A mother is told she will die if she does not have an abortion. Will the mother really die if she does not choose to murder her baby? Well, if in cases where they have chosen to murder their baby, we will never know if she would have died if she didn’t. In the cases where the mother choose to keep the child, most cases I could find, the mother lived too – imagine that – a true have your cake and eat it too moment. AND to be honest, I searched and could only find one true case where the mother died and the baby was saved – I am sure there is more, but talk about an act of love – wow – like a soldier who throws himself on a grenade to save others, these woman do so to save their own child.

            So if there is a chance the mother will die, should she kill her own flesh and blood to save her own life??? Well mothers reading this that actually know what LOVE is, clearly know the answer – there is no way they would kill their own child, even at the risk to their own life.

            The very question reminds me of a news clip I saw – a mother and her toddler child are walking into a store and a mugger appears with a knife – the coward woman hightails it out of there leaving her child with the would be killer. The mugger is seen stumbling over the child, then the child runs in the direction of the so called mother – when suddenly the lady makes a run into the store leaving the child alone outside. Per the report, both the child and the woman (I cannot call her a mother anymore) were reported as unharmed.

            So – conclusion?? – abortion is murder in all cases. Those women who give the child a chance at life (whether as their own or with another family through adoption) are heroes!! And finally that you come across as a radical pro-murder-the-baby-in-the-womb type when you state things like my “comment nears misogyny” – especially since you do not know if I am male or female – so to set the record straight – MALE – and one who thinks the role of Mother is the greatest role anyone could ever have – but don’t feel bad for me since I can never be a mother (though I have been called one a few times), I get to be the second greatest – a father!! :)

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Do you think they’re all just waiting to get abortions? Do you think they’re excited by the idea? Here’s a hint: No. It’s not that simple.

          • Mmorley3

            No, much of the time they’re being pressured into it by the male involved–and that little factoid comes from the Alan Guttmacher Institute, which is on the pro-abortion side of the debate. Then there’s places like China, where the government orders it. Never once heard a “pro-choice” advocate condemn the One Child Policy.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Ever think that’s because this is America, not China? We don’t have much say about what goes on in China, or any other foreign nation.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            No, much of the time they’re being pressured into it by the male involved

            This is why I take the time to mention that men actually have the ability to give up all rights and claims to that child every time the issue arises. If he does that he no longer has any (legal) responsibility for the child and therefore cannot be sued for child support. It’s not an ideal situation, but it’s better than abortion.

            Never once heard a “pro-choice” advocate condemn the One Child Policy.

            I’m a pro-choice advocate, and I condemn China’s One Child policy. The decision of whether or not anybody should live should never be in the hands of any government, that’s how you get things like the Holocaust. Here in the US, even the death penalty (state sanctioned murder) must be decided by a jury.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            So it’s bad for governments to kill people, but if regular people kill their kids, that’s ok?

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            It’s okay for a mother/family to decide whether or not the potential life of that child is one worth taking the risk of bringing it into the world. It if is, the child is (hopefully) born. If not, then it’s aborted.

            Yes, I’m okay with that. In fact, I will fight for the right of that family to make that choice. I believe it’s the most moral option, overall, and I have just enough trust in humanity to believe that most abortions are done with the best interests of the aborted child.

          • Edge

            Of course not – inside, subconsciously, what ever you want to call it all people know right from wrong, and to willingly choose to murder your own child has got to be hard, devastating even.

            So to do so for selfish reasons has to be really hard (think of the excuses to murder your child – “got to fit into my skinny jeans”, “my career is more important than this human child – my child’s life”, “I am too poor so rather than undue hardship I will have some “doctor” tear apart “my” child, (ripping the arms and legs off into pieces first) shredding my child into little tiny pieces”, or “what will people think if I am pregnant”, “I do not want to be PUNISHED with a child” or any other selfish – stupid reasons – as fact is – there IS NO REASON TO MURDER A CHILD.)

            Sounds like I am being harsh??? Let me clarify – the mother is a victim too – she has bought into the lies lock, stock, and barrel that murder of her child in her woman is good in any way. She will be suffering anguish and heart break for the rest of her life. The father of the child will suffer for the rest of his life but in a different but still damaging ways.

            But what about the child – the child who has not had the chance to ride a bike or fly a kite. This child will never know the joy of a hug or the safety of Mom’s arms – he knows safety and joy now – in his mother’s womb – imagine for just a moment, you are warm, comfortable, fed and happy as all is well, then suddenly giant metal claws come at you – you are not safe – there is no place to hide – you are where you are supposed top be safe – suddenly you begin to be shredded into pieces – this cold and and hard steel begins ripping off your hands, ripping off your feet, your legs, your arms – you are being ripped apart while your heart is still beating – then your skull is punctured and your brain is sucked from your head.

            Imagine just for a minute that the doctor was incompetent (I know, if he is murdering babies then the statement is redundant) but say he is more so than the normal) and you have some how managed to live through this attempted murder of your young life – you are pulled from your mother’s womb – hurt, damaged, but alive – you look know that you should be placed into the loving arms of your mother, but instead are tossed down and are left, cold and shivering, bleeding to death on some steel table in a back room – until wait, they are picking you up again – you knew it had to be a mistake – NOW you know they will place you into the loving arms of the one who’s DNA you so happily share – but wait, they are dropping you – you are tossed into the trash – and as your heart beats, slower and slower, your first taste of oxygen is filled with smell of disinfectant, but you wonder, where is my mother, the mother who helped give you life – your heart beat continues to slow further, your broken and bloodied body is twisted and torn – you make your last gasp of air just moments after your first – and then death – your heart stops.

            Your right the word abortion is too simple – it does NOT convey the horrific – intentional – evil action of murdering a living human being.

            Murder – it IS murder.

            Brutal murder.

            Senseless murder.

            Evil murder – all murder is bad – the murder of the tiniest of all humans is beyond compare.

          • Mary

            I want to recommend an excellent book called “The Hand of God” , a memoir written by Bernard Nathanson. He was one of the founders of NARAL and was a leading abortion doctor who very strongly influenced the pro-abortion laws in our country.

            It was the advent of new ultrasound technologies that began to convince Bernard that he was indeed killing innocent human beings. He was the producer of the infamous film “Silent No More”, which shows a fetus being aborted using ultrasound. His story is very interestimg, especially since it illustrates how his atheistic upbringing influenced his worldview on ethics & abortion.

            I had my first fetal ultrasound at 16 weeks, and it caused me to be able to very personably relate to & bond with my baby. We saw Lauren suck her tiny thumb & swallow amniotic fluid. After she was born, she sucked that same thumb until about 2 months ago at the age of 8. In the junior high Faith Formation at our church, we show the kids a live ultrasound at 20 weeks on a big screen. This year there were close to 400 kids there witnessing my friend Katie’s baby rolling around waving his tiny hand at them. Many of the kids came up to the teacher afterwards to say that babies in the womb seem “real” to them now & that they deserve to be protected.

            If every mother had an ultrasound in their first trimester, I believe the number of abortions would greatly be reduced.

          • Jmsteve4

            I don’t understand why people are so against doing that. You know, fighting against that law. How can one claim it’s a really difficult decision that they had to make without looking at all the information?

        • JQ Tomanek

          Who says life in the womb isn’t fully human? Can you provide a definition of what “fully human” is?

          • Alexandra

            Well sentience is important for being human, and even babies aren’t fully sentient. Fetuses don’t develop a fully functioning nervous system until very late in the pregnancy.

            This is clearly a very very complicated issue, but I don’t think anyone is going to argue that an embryo is fully human. It has the potential to become a complete human, but it’s definitely not fully human. I don’t really want to get off on this tangent though, sorry. It’s not something I’m really fully educated on and can debate with a whole lot of confidence.

          • Kristen indallas

            Alexandra,
            I appriciate your candor here. But I think if rather than accepting this simply as a topic you aren’t as familiar with, you took the time to educate yourself, you would gain an understanding of what the pro-life position is all about. The inherent problem with trying to define what “fully human” means, is that any definition beyond homosapien species and alive, allows you to draw a lot of very subjective lines in the sand. We can’t define it as the ability to survive/thrive independently without support — there are plenty of adults that don’t meet that criteria, “rational thought” leaves out 2 year olds and the mentally handicapped, “ambulatory” leaves out physically handicapped, “able to feel pain” is discriminatory against people born with nervous system abnormalities and would limit second and third term abortions anyway, and sentience (without falsely using one of the above criteria to mark it) is impossible to disprove from an outside perspective… although the testimony of some abortion techs who have witnessed fetuses who scramble away from what’s coming suggest that sentience is not exlusive to the post-born either.
            I encourage you to go look this up somewhere trustworthy… there are a lot of good scientific journal articles and logical philosophical debate on the topic. I don’t expect you to get your scientific/rational knowledge from patheos… but I would hope you aren’t getting it from Jezebel either. If you choose to remain ignorant on this particular topic… ask yourself why. I used to be pro-choice… and I had to look away from certain truths to remain that way… it wasn’t “women’s rights” I was protecting, it was my own fragile ego.

          • Alexandra

            I’m sorry, I’ve got to be honest, I couldn’t read this because of the lack of paragraph spacing, the length, and the general kind of condescending tone that I got from skimming it. I do try to read and reply to everything that is reasonable that is posted in reply to me, but this didn’t make the cut.

          • Kristen indallas

            I think you mean “I’m sorry I couldn’t read this because it made me feel bad. I only read and respond to things that allow me to feel superior to others.”

            New paragraph. The first post wasn’t intended to be condesending. This one is.

          • Alexandra

            Kristen, you’re going for really emotionally charged arguments to try and make me feel bad, like you said.

            I’m not going to participate in that. Not because they make me feel bad, but because I’m not posting here to engage in that kind of conversation.

          • Kristen indallas

            The first post here was not emotional at all. You didn’t read it because you didn’t want to. I’ll admit the reply was emotional, you did engage that one though…

            My first post was that there is a fundamental problem with deciding where human life starts based on personal opinion, and that refusal to address it is more likely a sign of an active mental block than a lack of rational and easily understandable evidence.

            I pointed it out because I care about you, and people who think like you… because you remind me of a younger me.

            I became emotional in the second post because it does emotionally hurt me when I see people heading down the same blindingly arrogant path I once went down, knowing what horrible things lie at the end of it. I don’t wish that on you or anyone who may read and be convinced by one of your arguments here… so I am compelled to argue. I do appologize for the snarky reply. But I reread the first one, and I believe if you gave it an open-minded shot, you’d get it, without offense.

          • Inspired18

            Alexandra, I totally respect your kindness on this blog; so, bear that in mind with what I write next: that above reply was not condescending. I guess that’s a subjective thing though. :) Peace.

          • Alexandra

            I really didn’t read it.

            Kristen’s other posts have been emotionally charged and bordering on unkind, so I didn’t really feel the need to wade through the lack of paragraphs to find out. The couple of bits I did catch didn’t feel like they were leading anywhere kind, and had a touch of condescension to them.

            Thanks for letting me know, though. :)

            I really am trying to be kind and reasonable, I feel like engaging in that conversation with Kristen wouldn’t help with that!

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            You’ve gotten through the stuff I’ve written, and what lies above, I promise you, is far less challenging. Don’t worry, when you go back and read it again we’ll all be proud of you for reading like a big girl.

          • Edge

            Your post is spot on, the pro-death crowd starts with the innocent babies in the womb – when we rightly show that the children in the womb are just just like infants, toddlers, handicapped, elderly (in that they need assistance) – then they take that to mean “Oh – more targets that aren’t fully human.”

          • Edge

            Wrong again – anyone with a brain is going to argue that an embryo is fully human – from the moment of conception.

            The pro-murder-babies-in-the-womb crowd likes to talk about science so lets go there. From the moment of conception a unique human being is created – it is “living” human DNA – a human life. To kill that human is murder, plain and simple.

            Abortion does not make you un-pregnant – it makes you the mother of a dead child that you conspired to murder.

          • Tally Marx

            Why is sentience important?
            In the question of rights, all sentience gives the subject is a knowledge of said rights.
            Is it the knowledge of rights that gives one their rights? Is ignorance of rights a lack of rights, or an excuse for a third party to disregard them?

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Sentience doesn’t make one human. A human develops sentience because it is a human.

            Biologically, an embryo is fully human. It is a genetically distinct member of the species homo sapiens. It is therefore a human being.

        • Mary

          “the life of the one who is fully human is of greater value than the one who isn’t”

          Say that to a woman who’s 8 month old fetus died from natural causes (rh factor blood disorder in 1966). My sister, Leslie, was fully devolped & beautiful my mom & dad say when they saw her in her little casket. They had a Catholic burial for her & her body rests along side the rest of my relatives. My mom was deeply wounded from losing her baby girl. Each human soul has potential to love & contribute goodness to this world, no matter the odds he/she may have stacked against them.

          I feel certain that my big sister is waiting up in Heaven to meet us & that
          she has guided us and prayed for us throughout all of these years. She is deeply missed & valuable.

          • Alexandra

            That is very sad. The death of a late term fetus isn’t happy for anyone, because you’re right, they are basically full term. No one takes those deaths lightly, and I’m not arguing the people should be having lots of late term abortions.

            I do believe that it is important for a woman who choses abortion to do it as early as possible, before the fetal stage preferably. And largely, people do.

          • Aschemans

            My sister-in-law has lost 5 babies in the 1st trimester. You can’t tell her they weren’t babies and that she shouldn’t mourn their loss! Why is it up to the mother whether or not it’s a baby? Have you ever been pregnant? If you have, or when you do become pregnant – are you going to tell people that you are having a fetus, or “the fetus just kicked me!” why is it a baby only when wanted?

          • Alexandra

            I’m not saying that she doesn’t have a right to mourn them or think of them as babies, I’m saying she doesn’t have the right to force other people to carry a pregnancy to term.

            I just might call it a fetus when I’m pregnant. Not because it makes a huge difference what language I use to refer to a wanted pregnancy, but because it’s a fun word.

            There is a huge difference between a wanted and an unwanted pregnancy. One is wonderful and the other isn’t good for anyone, especially not the growing human.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Now you’re being ridiculous. The pregnancy is obviously good for the baby.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            There’s a difference between an unplanned pregnancy and an unwanted one. With an unwanted pregnancy, there’s an active dislike of the developing child. If they’re brought to term and born, their best chance at happiness is to be given up for adoption, which isn’t really all that great anyway.

            Otherwise, they end up likely being abused throughout their childhood and traumatized for life. Sometimes those lives end in murder by the parents or suicide. I would find it hard to argue that a life such as that is good for the child.

          • Mary

            Do you know anyone who is adopted?

            My sister is adopted, & she thinks her life is awesome. She has 4 beautiful children & is training for her second Iron Man race this summer. She is grateful for adoption, as are thousands of happy, loved, & well adjusted kids & adults who were adopted.

            I also have twin cousins who were adopted & both have amazing lives. They found their birth mom about 10 years ago & have a great relationship with her. I know that is not very typical, but it has been very wonderful for their families.

            I also have friends who have adopted kids with Downs Syndrome (who would have been aborted) and they are living joyfilled & loving lives with their brothers & sisters, who adore them. Not everyone is able to do this, but there are many many families who are willing & able. There are many resources to help make it happen & help support them.
            Adoption is a beautiful gift!! I pray that one day my family is ready to adopt, because I feel that God will help me do a great job!

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            You misunderstand. I didn’t say that being adopted wasn’t all that great. Being adopted is quite often a great thing! Using the tiny sample of only your own family and friends does show that adoption often does have positive outcomes, but that’s in no way representative of the overall reality of it.

            What I stated was that being put up for adoption isn’t all that great. Those kids who aren’t adopted right away are often put into an orphanage, or bounced from foster home to foster home, for their entire childhood. I can’t imagine what that life would be like, and it’s not something I would wish on any child. I honestly believe that not letting that life* begin at all is better than taking that risk.

            *2a and 5a

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Pregnancy gives the baby nourishment, shelter, warmth, protection, and sustains its life. These are good things for the baby. Ending the pregnancy takes those things away, and kill the baby, an inarguable bad. Whatever happens later happens later but it’s a separate issue.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Ending an inarguably horrific life before it truly begins* is something that I would think anybody would recognize as morally good.

            *2a and 5a

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Because, as we all know, everyone who has troubled beginnings has a horrible life.

            You know what would ensure someone having a bad life? Having their limbs ripped off in their mother’s womb.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Depends on the age of the fetus. Most likely, they were barely able to experience any of it, if at all. Even more likely, they weren’t even a fetus yet, but an embryo that definitely is unable to actually “experience” anything period.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            So it’s better to be killed in the womb that to live a life that has challenges?

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            No. It’s better to never be born into a life, than it is to be forced into it and have a life full of hatred, agony, and/or abuse.

          • Edge

            Well, share that crystal ball so we can then see who WILL have a horrible life and would rather not be born and we can start from there. Oh – no crystal ball – then I guess you really don’t know who will have a bad life so … guess they will have to be born to find out – in other words, have a chance to live!!! May be you should read up on the biography of people like Helen Keller – by your definition she should have been aborted, but she would STRONGLY disagree with you!!

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            May be you should read up on the biography of people like Helen Keller – by your definition she should have been aborted.

            I have no definition of who should or should not be aborted. I have a “definition” of when it’s okay, and a moral belief as to why it’s okay. The choice of who is to be aborted is not up to me or my definitions at all.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            I’ll just continue channeling Jonathan Swift:

            “There is a huge difference between a wanted Jew and an unwanted Jew. One is wonderful and the other isn’t good for anyone, especially not the Jew.”~S.S. Einsatzgruppen officer, 1943

            “There is a huge difference between an enslaved black and a free black. One is protected, fed, and sheltered; the other isn’t good for anyone, especially not the growing human.”~Confederate officer, 1861

          • Jonathan Swift

            This is because, as we all know, the value of a human being is based upon whether a specific person or group of people want that person. Oh wait. That sounds like what most of the genocides of the modern age were about. The Turks don’t like Armenians. Aryans don’t like Jews. Communists don’t like everyone else. Hutu don’t like Tutsi. Josepn Kony hates everyone. Therefore, let’s go have a massive bloodslaughter killing party! We don’t like you, so die, die die!

            Oh, and by the way, we should force all women to let the fetus develop until there’s some good meat on the bones, so we can use aborted fetuses to solve world hunger. We’ll just feed them all the dead unwanted babies. Makes perfect sense.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            The above? Yeah. That’s satire. Jonathan Swift style. Please don’t lynch me.

          • Erin

            “there is a huge difference between a wanted and an unwanted pregnancy.” ONLY in the mind of the mother. Biologically, there is no difference in terms of what kind of life is growing. You’re willing to pick and choose who gets life based on personal feelings and convenience – just like the slaveholders of old. They also based the value of life on subjectivity.

          • Alexandra

            The difference between a baby and an embryo isn’t a purely subjective nor irrelevant one.

          • Namg3

            Even at 20 weeks, the fetus feels pain. Shouldn’t that be reason enough to not have an abortion?

            http://www.lifesitenews.com/blog/the-most-heartrending-abortion-testimony-youll-ever-hear-from-a-former-abor

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            The most that can be said to any concrete, objective level, is that at 20 weeks a fetal brain stem has developed to the point where it has a pain withdrawal reflex. The subjective claim of “feeling pain” cannot be confirmed with current technology, if ever. Even the idea that the rest of the fetal brain is developed enough to be considered able to “feel” anything at 20 weeks in any way we would understand is highly suspect.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Because, as we all know, the value of a human life is determined by one’s ability to feel things. Also, the only evil is to inflict pain.

            Insert Jackie Chan meme here.

            You are killing a human life. Regardless of whether it feels pain. Killing a human is bad.

          • Edge

            So according to your logic, because you cannot prove that they do not feel pain while being ripped apart, that makes it OK?? This line of thinking is proof positive how failed the education system is today – gone is critical thinking and logic – Just wow!!!

            News flash for you – even if a victim is sparred “feeling” pain during a crime, the crime has still been committed.

            Abort a baby, and even if you were correct in your assertion that the tiny human does not feel being shredded apart while alive (and you are wrong by the way) – it still results in a baby being murdered – brutally murdered.

            A human life is HUMAN no matter how small they are – even Dr. Seuss got that one right.

            A murdered baby is just one of the victims – the mother is not un-pregnant – she is the mother of a dead child – her child that she helped conspire to murder.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            There is a point where I fully agree with you, but it is not at 20 weeks. I imagine most experts on brain development would agree with that as well, especially fetal brain development.

            At that point, the only viable part of the brain is the brain stem, the “animal” part of the brain that controls hormones and reflexes. There is literally no reason to believe they actually have any means of feeling anything.

            The difference between the fetus and a “crime victim” is simple. One has the ability to be aware, and the other does not. Removing that ability in order to commit a crime is a completely different act altogether.

          • Edge

            You obviously miss the point. The human in the womb is (per science and biology) is as I said, fully human – crimes against humanity is still a crime, regardless of whether the victim is aware of the crime or not, and regardless of how small that victim is.

            A person who has their bank accounts drained illegally, then is shot dead before he is “aware” of it is still the victim of two crimes.

            One need not be aware of the crime in order to be the victim of the crime. And being murdered when you should be safe is a most heinous of crimes.

          • Erin

            Do you even hear the horror of what you’re saying?

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            The way I see it, it’s the lesser of two evils. Nobody LIKES abortions. Nobody wants them to be necessary. But until we find something realistic (in other words, not abstinence) that is truly 100% effective at stopping pregnancy, then it’s just a fact of life. I don’t like it, but I recognize it’s necessity.

          • Edge

            So you are saying Murder an innocent child is less of an evil than not having sex??

            Let me guess, you also believe that euthanasia is the less evil than being put and and caring for an aging relative??

            If so, I feel really sad for your parents, and for any children that you no longer have due to their murder.

            I am sure many here will offer up a prayer for them.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            No, I’m saying abstinence has been shown to be an unrealistic expectation of people and therefore should not be considered a reasonable option for birth control. Having sex can be considered (and often is) a mistake, in the sense that the persons hormones completely overwhelm them and they lose control of their better judgement. If this is a phenomenon that you’ve never experienced, then I must say you’re very lucky. For many people (especially teenagers), this has, does, and will continue to happen.

            Involuntary euthanasia is only okay in cases of undue hardship. Since Luka has been nice enough to explain to me that this is also a popular teaching of the Catholic faith, I would imagine it’s a concept you’re familiar with. Voluntary euthanasia is a gray area, it greatly depends on the situation, and I don’t have an opinion on it either way as of now.

            As for why I consider abortion to be the lesser of two evils, I think I’ve explained that fairly well in my other comments. If you really care to know, then search it out for yourself.

          • wineinthewater

            Just because something is less evil does not mean that it is right, nor that is should be legal.

            And I, too, reject the notion that lack of access to 100% consequence-free sex is a lesser evil than the death of a human being, much less the death of over 50 million human beings in this country alone.

        • Edge

          WHAT – isn’t legal ??? – that comment really shows a truly selfishness mindset there – and no self accountability at all. All humans know the possibility of becoming pregnant happens when you insert tab “a” into slot “b” – and that no birth control is foolproof but continue to have “pleasure” anyway.

          You said “forcing a human to use their body in a way that they don’t want to isn’t legal.” I’m calling that bogus selfish BS. Lets look at that shall we – how about a pilot of a 747 decides mid flight “I do not want to use my body to safely land the plane – forcing me to use my body that way is illegal” and he gets up and takes a seat in first class. When the plane crashes – he would be the one responsible for the MURDER of every passenger on that plane. It does not matter if he no longer wants to – the responsibility became his by taking that job. He IS forced to finish what he started or he is RESPONSIBLE for the deaths that occur if he suddenly does not want use his body that way. Its called RESPONSIBILITY for a reason.

          How about another – a doctor is performing heart surgery, and just as he has the patient opened up – he decides “I do not want to use my body this way and finish this surgery – forcing me to use my body that way is illegal” and he walks out and the patient dies – he would be the one responsible for the MURDER of that person. It does not matter if he no longer wants to – the responsibility became his by taking that job. He IS forced to finish what he started or he is RESPONSIBLE for the deaths that occur if he suddenly does not want use his body that way.

          How about one more – a woman sleeps with a man and becomes pregnant – “At the moment of conception there is life” – (that is fact – deny it all you want – it is fact. Put the remains of the aborted baby at a crime scene where two others have been murdered and science will tell you that there are three victim’s dna at the crime scene.) So now she made the choice knowing that she could become pregnant. So she yells
          “I do not want to use my body this way even – forcing me to use my body that way is illegal”. So rather than take responsibility for her actions of having sex – this woman wants to be selfish and MURDER the life she helped create – the life she chose to help create and has an abortion – she is guilty of murdering her own child. How sad!!

          Abortion does not make you un-pregnant – it makes you the mother of a dead child that you conspired to murder.

        • marie77_00

          At what point do you personally believe the fetus becomes fully human?

          • Alexandra

            That is a tricky question, and not one that I feel that I am qualified to answer well. I can’t tell you any exact point, nothing so clean as conception.

            What I do personally believe is that there is a huge difference in the morality of an early term abortion vs a late term abortion.

          • Helpful

            So if you’re not qualified to answer that question why are you qualified to say when it does not begin? And who would be qualified to answer that question? A biologist? Because biology says human life begins at conception

          • marie77_00

            It would seem that if there is a huge difference in morality between the two that it would be paramount to know when the change occurs. Do you believe it is a philosophical or a scientific question?

        • marie77_00

          Alexandra, at what exact point do you personally believe the fetus becomes fully human?

        • Jacob Neeson

          There is no way that you can say anyone is more human or less human. What makes that us more human? The HUMAN embryo has a unique genetic code with 46 chromosomes just like you and me. It is scientifically defined as fully human.

          Maybe you’re meaning to argue that it’s not a “person” that deserves rights. You could make it a little further with that argument but how do you justify your claim? Is it by mental capacity? Are the mentally challenged or folks with Alzheimer’s not fully human? Are the geniuses more valuable than idiots? Is it because their bodies are’t fully developed? Are the handicapped not fully persons of value?

          You’re proving the point of the article, which I thought was alright, but could’ve been said better. Just be honest and say that you don’t care whether a human fetus is a person or not. You care about the woman more and so you have formed your morality around what you care about, which is not human life. The comfort of the woman is more important to you.

          Sorry to be harsh, but this is the blunt message that you are putting forth. Be honest with yourself.

          • Alexandra

            I am honest with myself. I do think the woman is more important than the embryo. Sure the embryo is human, but that doesn’t mean that it deserves rights. I’ve formed my opinion based on a utilitarian view of the situation. I weigh the quality of life of the people who are already born above that of the developing human.

            My opinion is informed by women who were coerced by abusive partners to have sex during the fertile period of the month and ended up with an unwanted pregnancy. It’s formed by how much my mother in law resents my husband because abortion wasn’t legal in the country he was conceived and born in. That if I got pregnant today, we would likely end up living in poverty, and I would never chose to have a child that I couldn’t support.

            I care more about the right of every woman to have the choice of whether or not she will carry a pregnancy to term than a developing human’s right to be carried to term and born.

          • Tally Marx

            We are *all* developing humans–the unborn (who are and were, in a very real sense, us ourselves) are simply at a different stage of development than we are.
            If you are going to draw a line at one part of a series of development, and say, “Before this, human beings do not matter” it would be prudent and wise to have a reason as to why they do not matter, and not a reason that lies in a third party. You are making a judgement upon a human individual–that that specific human individual at that specific point in time does not have rights. Why should *they* not have rights?
            To say they do not have rights because some one else does, is not a very reasonable argument.

          • Jacob Neeson

            Right. Now be honest with your language and admit that you don’t care whether the human fetus inherently has rights at all.

            Utilitarianism is one of the most destructive views there is, because the value of the human person is lowered to a level of how it can be used in society. By this logic, you must believe in capital punishment right? Also, you must believe in the right to euthanize the mentally challenged and the severely handicapped.

            American constitutional rights are not founded on utilitarianism. You have taken your beliefs and imposed them on the constitution that states that every human being has rights simply because they are a human being.

            It’s called the “Law of Non-contradiction”. Every human has “inalienable” rights including the right to life. This means that the right to life can’t be separated from any human being. You believe it is, sure, and you have that right, but it’s unconstitutional to have a law that contradicts the constitution.

          • Alexandra

            You’re making a lot of weird assumptions. How does taking a utilitarian approach to morality mean that I must support execution or involuntary euthanasia?

            The Constitution has not been interpreted to mean that first and second trimester fetuses have rights.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Due to a strange and rather wrong interpretation, yes.

          • Adam

            True, but let us take a look at our sub-stellar history when it comes both to writing and interpreting the Constitution.

            The 3/5 Compromise
            Separate but Equal
            Exec Order 9066

            Just a brief few to get the point across.
            The Constitution, though it is the basis for our civil laws, is not perfect. It was composed by humans who knew their and our limitations of knowledge. That’s why they wrote in processes for amending it.

            You are right in saying it has not interpreted as such. That does not mean it isn’t time we do so.

          • Alexandra

            It’s true, the Constitution is in now way a perfect document and it has been interpreted differently in the past. It may be interpreted differently in the future.

            I was just responding to his assertion that Roe v Wade is unconstitutional. That’s kind of the opposite of what unconstitutional means. The SCOTUS made the ruling, and that is what makes it constitutional. Until it is ruled as unconstitutional by the SCOTUS it is, by definition, constitutional.

          • Edge

            Fact is, Roe v Wade is unconstitutional. Let me give you an example – as history shows, the SCOTUS made many rulings regarding slavery, and those ruling were later changed/ corrected. The initial erroneous rulings and case law did not make slavery constitutional until the error was corrected – it was unconstitutional all along, but was simply misinterpreted during that period – as is the case with Roe V Wade.

          • Edge

            How can you NOT see that abortion IS the execution and involuntary euthanasia of a child?

          • Alexandra

            That’s true, abortion is involuntary euthanasia of a fetus. But so is putting a cat down. I don’t miss that point.

            I just didn’t qualify my statement. Just because I support abortion rights and take a utilitarian approach to morality doesn’t mean you can assume that I support involuntary euthanasia of adults.

          • Edge

            A Cat is not human, the child in the womb is – and therefore it is murder – as is all involuntary euthanasia.

          • Edge

            and frankly all euthanasia is as well.

          • Jacob Neeson

            I wasn’t saying that you do, but rather that if you don’t, then your views conflict with each other.

            It makes me sick that you just compared a human life to the life of a cat. I don’t say that with intent to hurt you. I truly don’t.

            To prove that I’ll embarrass myself by confessing that I am actually on the verge of tears right now at the lack of value you put on human life. This is exactly what I was talking about, and you prove my point about utilitarianism and what it inevitably leads to.

          • ap

            As said above “Utilitarianism is one of the most destructive views there is, because the value of the human person is lowered to a level of how it can be used in society.” In holding this view, it would lead one to believe you also support involuntary euthanasia of those older adults who can no longer “be of use to society,” since in a utilitarian point of view, this is what their value would be based on.

          • Jacob Neeson

            I’m not saying that you do. Only that you must believe those things if you use utilitarianism as your basis for the value of a person. Not weird assumptions, but rather logical followings.

            No it says all men, interpreted as all humans. If that changes, then the basic human right to life is changed.

            When the government can change that…so help us.

        • Tally Marx

          But it might be incredibly sadistic to arbitrarily say that a certain human individual isn’t fully human, and then use that premise to exterminate them…

        • Feeneyja

          Not fully human??? And so only part human? That makes them part what else? Dog? Obvious sarcasm here.

          I’m sorry, but from the beginning they are scientifically verifiably human. You can even scientifically verify who the father is. As I have said before, life inside of the womb of the mother is absolutely a prerequite to life outside of the womb. To say that this prenatal period is what makes it “not fully human” is a faulty argument (and scientifically bogus as well). To say that this requirement is tantamount to savery, is to say that anytime life requires human intervention to survive is also slavery. Thus it is no different once the child is viable outside of the womb, no fife rent if the child is physically handicapped,

          • Feeneyja

            Ugh, my iPad decided to not let me edit the above post. I think you get my point. Your not fully human argument is not based in science or logic, but selfish and arbitrary. It has been used many a time throughout history to exterminate “non-human” portions of the population.

          • Alexandra

            It’s always amusing to me when someone writes a really ranty post that is bordering on being unkind but feels so confident, and then they get humbled by autocorrect or some other technology. I know it always takes me down a notch when it happens to me.

            If I believed in anything supernatural, I’d probably be giving it props for the subtle reminder of the importance of humility.

        • Brian Crowley

          First of all, I commend you on taking up the Pro-Choice argument in a hostile environment, but I feel the need to refute your claims.

          “…refusing a woman an abortion essentially results in slavery.”
          I think this has been brought up already; but it is not slavery, it is responsibility. If I purchase a car using credit, I am legally responsible for making the payments for that vehicle. If I can’t afford it, there are legal consequences. When a couple has sex, they are making a choice that may result in pregnancy. If they are not prepared for a child, the responsible decision is to abstain.

          “…forcing a human to use their body in a way that they don’t want to isn’t legal.”
          Prisoners are forced to do things they don’t want to do all the time. They committed a crime and they must serve their sentence.
          The same logic can be applied to parents. If you conceive a child, you are legally bound to that child and must deal with the consequences of your actions (even if you don’t like it).

          “Embryos and fetuses are not fully human, but women are.”
          Nonsense. Humans are constantly growing. There is no point in life when your cells stop replicating because you are “fully grown”. The brain of a 21 year old wont be “fully developed” for another 3-6 years, but they can drink alcohol, have children, get married, and/or go to war. Clearly, society believes an individual’s level of “development” has nothing to do with their status as a “human”. Anyone who argues otherwise is fooling nobody but themselves.

          Best,
          BC

          • Djrogers

            And your comments are assuming all pregnancies are te result of consensual sex. What about rape victims? What about women whom if they continued with the pregnancy had a high chance of death? Pregnancy isn’t a cakewalk by any means and lots of things can go wrong. I do not agree with women who use it as a form of birth control but I can not stand on absolutes. There are always exceptions even when it involves life.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            The vast vast vast majority of cases are not from rape, incest, or for the life of the mother.

            To kill the child of rape or incest is to punish the child for the parents’ crimes.

            The life of the mother is a very sticky situation, and an extremely rare situation.

            Also on the rape issue: the best way for the mother to heal from the rape is to give birth to the child. If she kills the child, she will commit evil as well as suffer it. It is worse to do evil than to suffer evil. If she decides, however, to keep the child, she repays evil (the rape) with good (a new, beautiful human life), and in doing that good begins to undo the evil that was done to her.

          • Alexandra

            The best way, in your opinion. That’s not true for every woman or every child.

          • Edge

            Certainly the best way for the child!! Look at it from the child’s point of view – Alternative – to be brutally torn apart and murdered!! Yup – being born is definitely the best way for the child.

            For the mother – physiologically – best way for her too – otherwise she has to deal with the fact she conspired to murder her own child for the rest of her life!! – Yup – definitely the best way for the mother as well!!

          • Alexandra

            For the child, being born into a world where his/her mother resents him/her is not the best option. Never actually being formed and born can be a better option than a life of being resented. You don’t suffer for never being born.

            Definitely a choice that should be left to the woman who is already a victim of rape.

            Taking control of a rape victim’s body away from her is definitely not the best thing to do.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            This, of course, assumes that suffering is the greatest evil. It certainly isn’t; it is worse to do evil than to suffer evil.

            I’m not taking control of her body away from her. No one is advocating imprisoning women who are victims of rape. I am stating that it would not be good for her to kill the child inside of her womb. I am stating that we do have laws against killing people, and that as of now, there is unequal enforcement of the laws against murder.

          • Erin

            You depend quite heavily on an unborn child’s willingness to agree to die for you.

          • Edge

            You said:

            “For the child, being born into a world where his/her mother resents him/her is not the best option.”

            So put the child up for adoption. I cannot understand any circumstance where a parent would not want their own child, but even if they didn’t, even they cannot be so selfish as to see murdering their own child as a better option than placing the child with a family that would love and care for that child.

            You then said:

            “Never actually being formed and born can be a better option than a life of being resented.”

            OK – I can agree if it is worded this way – it is better to not be conceived then to be brutally ripped apart in your own mother’s womb. – so no sex means there is no chance of conception. Or have sex the 25 or so days when there is also no chance of conception.

            BUT if the child is conceived, it is better to give that child the chance at the pursuit of happiness – remember, we are guaranteed the right to pursue happiness – not that we will have happiness.

            Then you said:

            “You don’t suffer for never being born.”

            Bluntly, you are saying it is better to be murdered then to be given a chance at life.
            First, you are wrong, since you do not know the future of anyone, not the child or the mother, it is impossible to say it would be better not to be born.

            Second, what if science (which already has more supporters in that community that say the baby does feel the pain of being ripped apart while still being alive) – all come into agreement – how will you feel, how will you live with yourself since you have contributed to their pain by your support of their murders – millions of deaths caused allowed by your support, and the support of anyone in the name of what??? How will anyone who supported the murder of these children be able to even look at themselves in the mirror??

            You end your post by saying:

            “Definitely a choice that should be left to the woman who is already a victim of rape.

            Taking control of a rape victim’s body away from her is definitely not the best thing to do.”

            First – we agree – rape is a most heinous crime. So why add murder to the crime? Did the baby rape you? Remember that the child was created by the woman’s egg as well as the man’s sperm. So after a woman that was raped, if she murders the baby, she also murders a part of herself. It is not taking control of the woman’s body away, it is giving her control to bring life from a tragedy. It is the opportunity to not let the rapist win.

            Murdering a child will always harm the woman who plays a hand in it – regardless of the circumstances that brought about the conception of the child.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            It is the best way, according to ethics, which deals with how people respond to matters of good and evil. Unless we’re relativists (which you’re clearly not, or being ironic, because there’s nothing more ironic than a preaching relativist), there is a certain science to right and wrong. According to that science of ethics, it isn’t just my opinion. It’s fact. If you think my conclusions are wrong, attack the actual reasoning behind them, not simply stating that all facts regarding ethics are actually subjective.

          • Brian Crowley

            In the case of non-consensual pregnancy, abortion is still wrong.
            The logic is as follows: just because you have had something absolutely horrible done to you doesn’t give you a right to do something horrible to someone else.
            If I were tortured to the point of insanity (so mentally damaged that I could no longer function in society), and I murdered someone in a fit of uncontrollable rage; would I be pardoned because my current mental state is “not my fault”? Of course not. People may pity me or even have sympathy, but I would still be locked away.

            The only circumstances under which abortion should be tolerated are those in which death or permanent incapacitating injury to the mother or child can be known with a relatively high degree of certainty.

            As for exceptions to the rules, I agree that there may be some cases where one may need to break from tradition. However, exceptions should not become the norm.

        • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

          First the satirical comment:

          “Jews and gays and Catholics and Jehovah’s witness and communists and the mentally and physically disabled are not fully human, but Aryans are. It’s not incredibly sadistic to say that the life of the one who is fully human is of greater value than the one that isn’t.”~Nazi death camp guard, 1944

          “Political prisoners and kulaks and those with suspect loyalties are not fully human, but we Bolsheviks are. It’s not incredibly sadistic to say that the life of the one who is fully human is of greater value than the one that isn’t.”~NKVD officer, 1935

          “Blacks, and especially enslaved blacks, are not fully human, but whites are. It’s not incredibly sadistic to say that the life of the one who is fully human is of greater value than the one that isn’t.”~white American slave owner, 1865

        • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

          Last time I checked, actually, forcing people to not kill other people is actually quite legal. Besides, everything the Nazis did was legal.

          A fetus is fully human. A person isn’t a person because they have a certain level of mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual development. A person develops mentally, physically, emotionally, and/or spiritually because they are a person. Biologically, a person is determined by you having distinct DNA and that DNA being the DNA of a human. Fetuses have distinct human DNA. Therefore, they are, biologically, human.

        • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

          Genetically, actually, they are fully human. They are not fully developed humans. Very important distinction there.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=20602584 Mark Duch

      Is it also slavery if the woman is required to give free, round-the-clock care to the infant after it is born? A newborn infant is still developing (as are we all) and cannot survive without the role of the mother. Should the mother be allowed to slaughter the child instead of giving it away, once it becomes “unwelcome”?

      • Alexandra

        At that point there’s a difference. It no longer needs her body to survive, so no there’s nothing justified about murdering a child that is not inside of her.

        • JQ Tomanek

          Would a viable but in the womb baby be fully human then?

          • Alexandra

            That’s always such a tricky issue. No one is happy to abort a viable fetus, but it’s important to trust women to make the correct decision.

          • Beth

            Why? Why do we trust a woman to make the correct decision about aborting her baby but prosecute her when it dies in the home from parental neglect? This is not even logical.

          • Alexandra

            You’re right, it doesn’t seem logical. You’ve given me something to think about.

            I think what really doesn’t seem logical is that abortion is legal, but women have been prosecuted for causing a miscarriage.

            There’s a real fight in this country that is leading to a lot of laws that don’t mesh well.

          • Beth

            Perhaps all of the contradictions are arising because people are starting to realize that the death of an inconvenient child in the arms and the death of an inconvenient child in the womb are not so different…

          • Alexandra

            No, that’s not why it’s happening.

            It’s happening because there are people who care very much about preventing abortions, and there are people that care very much about being allowed to make choices about what goes on in their own body and they’re coming head to head.

            No one likes late term abortions. Especially the people who get them. This becomes the tricky area where laws start to clash a lot.

          • JoAnna

            But it’s not a woman making choices about her own body. It’s about a woman making the choice to kill another human being’s body.

          • Mckenbernie

            When has a woman been prosecuted for causing a miscarriage? Sorry, I’ve never even heard of that and can’t find a law on the books. There would have to be a law or a precedent and I don’t think one exists. Now, if you meanpersecuted by people outside of the law, maybe.

          • Alexandra

            Bei Bei Shuai in Indiana is the first one that comes to mind, also Rennie Gibbs in Mississippi. Amanda Kimbrough in Alabama.

          • Kristen indallas

            If a fetus is viable, then it could be removed from the womb, given up for adoption and cared for by parents who don’t find it to be a burden. If all your other arguments were true… then why would such a child ever be aborted… and why would the pro-choice movement fight so hard against even protecting just those viable children?
            I’ll tell you why, because as much as people say it… it REALLY ISN’t about a woman’s contol over her body. It’s about a woman’s ability to hide her shame. I would literally bet every dollar to my name that in an honest survey, abortion seeking women are FAR more likely to worry about what someone else is going to think of them as an “un wed mother” than they are about their own ability to actually raise the child.
            It is completely unfair and unfortunate that women who engage in non-marital sex and become pregnant are made to feel so much shame while (most) men feel none. I can personally attest to how unfair it can feel. If you want to fight that reality I will be your sister-in-arms. But the maintanence of a false sense of pride is not a good enough reason to kill a child. period.

          • Korou

            I think you’d lose your money, especially if you’re saying that that’s what women who want abortions are ALWAYS thinking about.

          • David Casper

            Alexandra, it seems to me that you are avoiding a critical answer to a critical question here, and that your answer raises another set of important questions. You can’t just say it’s a “tricky issue” and leave it at that.

            What you are asking for us to do as a society is to allow women to decide whether they consider the fetus within them to be fully human or not – to decide whether the fetus is a person. If we do so, then we are allowing one person to decide whether another is fully human and worth keeping or not. Such a decision is the beginning of a dangerous and slippery slope. We have seen the full extent of that concept in World War II, in Darfur, and in countless other situations where one person (or a group of people) decided that another group of people was not fully human after all and deemed them fit for killing.

            If things were as you say, and a woman should be allowed to decide the personhood of her child, then what would you say about a woman who decides to drown her 1-year-old in the bathtub because she can’t raise the child? Since we’re trusting the woman to make this important decision herself, isn’t she within her rights to do this?

          • Alexandra

            The way I see it is that early and late term abortions are completely different moral issues. My opinion on late term abortions is shaky, but what I know about them leads me to believe that they should be legal and we should let parents decide.

            Later term abortions are rare, and they’re not a choice anyone makes lightly. No one has a late term abortion just because they’ve decided they don’t actually want the baby or don’t feel like they can handle being a mother. People have late term abortions because they’ve learned that the fetus has a condition that will lead to it dying within hours to weeks of birth, or because child birth would kill them.

            I’d be just as horrified as anyone else if a woman went in for a late term abortion just because she didn’t want to be pregnant anymore or she decided she just didn’t want the child.

            Anti-abortion folks seem to like to make it out to be that all abortions are of beautiful little fetuses, when in fact the vast majority of them are not even fetuses yet.

          • guest

            “No one has a late term abortion just because they’ve decided they don’t actually want the baby or don’t feel like they can handle being a mother.”
            Actually, in 29 states, late term abortions are performed for Mental Health reasons, including “undue stress related to pregnancy”.

          • Alexandra

            And? If it’s causing really mental stress that’s an issue. Some women become suicidal due to pregnancy.

          • guest

            Many more women become suicidal due to abortion, but that is never looked at from the pro-chioce pulpit. Many women become suicidal from the stress of motherhood even after the baby is born, but we would certainly not use that as a reason to justify killing a baby. (I don’t believe you would justify that either)I’ve worked in the NICU for a long time and I guess I just can’t see the difference between the 28 week preemie and the full term baby. I have comforted mothers who hold the bodies of their 20 week baby and can’t see why anyone would classify it as sub human. Even the 10 week miscarriage with defined tiny hands and feet is just too human to deny. If we are truly concerned with a woman’s mental health, maybe we shouldn’t leave it up to her to have to define when life begins, I (and you I think) am just not programmed to make that call. Legality aside….

          • Korou

            But in World War II it was not that the Nazis decided that the Jews were not fully human as yet, and thus the intolerable pain they were causing them personally and on an intimate and individual basis this justified their being killed; the Nazis decided that Jews were anti-human, were actively and consciously dangerous by their very nature and would always be so, and so decided that it was right to kill them.

            Not that you don’t make a good point, but I think it’s not that simple, and the two cases aren’t comparable.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Fine, compare it to the Stalinist liquidation of the kulaks and mass starvation of Ukranians, or Mao’s China, or the Turkish genocide of Armenians, or the Hutus killing the Tutsis in Rawanda. Look at race slavery and apartheid and Jim Crow laws. Look at caste systems and misogyny in Pakistan and India.

          • Korou

            If you do look at all of these genocidal crimes you will find a common theme – they were committed against fully born humans.
            If we were discussing, say, Stalin’s execution of a whole hospital full of brain-dead long-term no-hop coma victims then that would be more comparable. But of course if we were discussing that, nobody would be calling it execution.

          • eliz27

            So much for staying away from this blog. There is hope for you. (and I’m not being sarcastic)

        • Barbara

          Alexandra, I am going to go out on a limb here and guess that you have never had a baby. A newborn is very much dependent on the mother’s body for at least the first six weeks of life. Particularly if you are nursing. The baby relies on skin to skin contact in order to regulate its heartbeat and body temperature. Any prolonged separation from the mother results in enormous stress on the infant, thus that baby is almost constantly in the mother’s arms or worn in a sling. 24/7. And you are as attached to that baby as it is to you. Having it out of your sight for even a little bit is enormously stressful, because your hormones have attuned you to that baby’s needs. It’s hard to imagine exactly how fragile and dependent that little one is. Anything and everything puts it at risk, cold, hunger, separation etc…things we as adults can generally endure. This is why most obgyn’s refer to the postpartum period as the “fourth trimester”. Even though You are no longer attached to the baby via the umbilical cord, you are still very much attached to it. Your body is the baby’s source of heat, nourishment and security. Truthfully in order for your views on female bodily autonomy to be consistent, you would have to argue that a woman has the right to end her baby’s life up until the end of the postpartum period. If female bodily autonomy trumps any consideration of the offspring’s livelihood.

          Of course I don’t know of any pro-choice person who thinks that way. They usually put the cut off for abortion rights at birth. Yet there is very little difference between a week old newborn and a 36 week fetus in terms of dependency. Some who have experienced pregnancy and birth would say that the latter is actually more dependent than the former. Inside the womb the baby is sheltered and fed by your body without much required on your part. Outside the womb it needs constant attention. If you don’t feed it, it doesn’t eat, and it needs to eat frequently. It needs you to do everything for it to keep it alive.

          The reason for this consistency has little to do with objective criteria. It is completely subje

          • Alexandra

            The difference is that the 36 week old needs their biological mother’s body, while a 1 week old doesn’t. They just need care, it doesn’t have to come from the biological mother.

            I understand how helpless an infant is, but there’s an important difference between being a fetus that is still attached to a specific woman’s body and an infant that can be attended to by someone else.

          • Barbara

            The newborn does require the mother’s body for survival, babies separated from their mothers at birth tend to be at higher risk for SIDS, which is why common practice in obstetrics keeps mom and baby together for that precarious window period, even if the baby is going to be put up for adoption. While it has a greater chance of surviving than a 36 week old, to suggest that it is not dependent on the body of mom incorrect.

            Frankly, I just can’t see how dependency becomes, in your eyes, a suitable criteria for killing thae child, especially in the brutal fashion in which an aborted child is dispatched. It seems awfully disproportionate a response. And I say this as someone who has experienced pregnancy and birth and knows how hard they are. I’m 34 weeks pregnant as I am writing this. Having that baby dismembered and flushed out because pregnancy is stressful seems the ultimate exercise in callousness. No one should have to die for my comfort or pleasure, especially in so horrible a manner.

          • Alexandra

            I agree, killing a 34 week fetus is an awful thing to do. But if I didn’t find out until 34 weeks that I was pregnant with a baby that had Tay-Sachs, or some other disease that would end in tragedy for the baby, I would want the right to make the choice to abort, and every woman should have that right. Not all decisions are easy.

            The thing is not everyone loves and wants their baby the way that you do. Do you really want those people carrying that baby to term and giving birth to it? Someone who really feels like they don’t want to go through pregnancy because they won’t fit into their skinny jeans anymore? Babies need so much love and attention, and a woman who is at a place in her life where a butt that fits into skinny jeans are more important than a baby isn’t ready to have a baby.

            That’s not someone who is going to make for a mother that a child deserves. I’ve seen what happens when you force a woman to carry a baby to term that she doesn’t want. It’s terrible and sad. Everyone who carries a pregnancy to term should be filled with joy at the prospect of having a baby, not lukewarm or resentful.

            I don’t see any humanity in an embryo, I see the potential for it. A woman who doesn’t want to host that embryo so that it can see it’s potential is much better off aborting it than keeping it.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Solution: if a woman isn’t ready to have a baby, don’t have sex. There is no life needs reason to have sex. You won’t die without it. You won’t have your quality of life diminished. To compare the girls I know who are abstinent and the girls I know who are not, the quality of life of those who abstain is far better.

            You can take your chances with contraception, but for the love of all that is sincerely good and perfectly divine don’t murder your child because your attempts to stop sex from doing what it naturally does didn’t work.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            An embryo isn’t a potential person. It is itself a person already. To say that it is not a person until it reaches some standard of achieved potential makes the error of functionalism, which is shattered by remembering natural law and biology. A person is not a person because they achieve some standard of potential; people achieve their potential because they are people. Biologically, the embryo is human. It has separate DNA. It is its own individual member of the species. It is only because of that DNA that the baby will ever achieve any standard of potential we can lay out for it. Thus, we see that even on a biological level, it is not some standard of sentience, development, etc. that grants personhood, but rather that a person gains sentience and develops because they have human DNA i.e. they are human.

          • Barbara

            Sorry, writing on an iPad and my comment got cut off. The pro-choice position which places birth as the cutoff point for the mother’s ability to end her child’s life is based on subjective not objective criteria. We know what a baby looks like, and most people are viscerally horrified by the thought of killing a newborn. A fetus, however, exists in a kind of definitional netherworld. It is easier to imagine it as something other, as almost a baby but not. Thus ending its life is at least palatable when you feel that there is something more important at stake. You can put other concerns such as woman’s autonomy and sexual liberty ahead of it. The pro-life position says no, you can’t. When it is a matter of life and death, there are no competing concerns. Life trumps everything else.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1148850395 Margo Basso

      Have we really gotten to the point where pregnancy is seen as such a “terrible evil” to happen to a woman? If we have, then I feel very sad for humanity, if that is the persisting attitude. Pregnancy doesn’t last forever; it’s less than a year! There are MANY pregnancy resource centers designed to assist women through their pregnancies and find adoptive parents if a woman does not feel capable of raising the child. Pregnancy is not a disease; it’s a gift from God. He allows women to assist Him in the creation of children by allowing us to nourish, love, and care for the developing baby. It should always be a joy! God bless!

      • Alexandra

        For some women pregnancy is a terrible evil. Some women don’t want to be pregnant, and that’s completely understandable. Women who don’t want to be pregnant don’t need to be shamed because they don’t see it as a blessing from God.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1148850395 Margo Basso

          I agree, it is completely understandable that some women don’t want to be pregnant and that is where chastity and abstinence come in (oh yes, I said those ‘dreaded’ words). You can’t take procreation out of sex, not naturally anyways. And since when is it better to do things artifically? There are plenty of other ways to show love for someone besides sex; and trust me, there are also many ways to gain pleasure, maybe not the same kind of pleasure offered by sex, but that pleasure should be saved and cherished by married couples.

          • Alexandra

            Yes, but it’s not any of your business if people don’t want to do that. If they ask for your input, then you should feel free to give it, but otherwise the Christian ideas about chastity and abstinence are religious and not meant to influence law.

            We can separate sex from procreation, and people make the choice to do it. Even Catholics attempt to do it using NFP. While they’re still open to children, they are doing their best to minimize the chances of procreation as a result of sex.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1148850395 Margo Basso

            Actually, the ideas of chastity and abstinence in and of themselves are not religious and can be practiced by anyone of any faith or non faith. It is simply realizing how abortion and contraception harm your body, in the long run. I have a question, what do you think would happen if people waited until marriage for sex? What is the worst thing about saving it for marriage? There are other ways to enjoy life besides sex, right?

            And what about justice for the child? Adults have the moral obligation to protect and care for their children (that is why we have child welfare laws). It is justice for a child that he be protected and cared for by the adults in his life and by society, not killed. Justice demands that we not kill innocent children.

          • Alexandra

            Well here’s the thing, I’ve been married for 2 years and have no plan on having children anytime in the next few years. Should my husband and I have to abstain until we’re ready to face the possibility of getting me getting pregnant? Should we have not gotten married until we were ready to get pregnant?

            I’m interested in what you think, because I really don’t know what the Catholic teaching on it is.

          • Jmsteve4

            As I understand it, if you are trying to not have children at the time (for reasons like not being able to support them financially or not being able to devote the proper amount of time to them), you’re allowed to avoid pregnancy. Abstinence in this case would be only necessary when there is a good possibility of getting pregnant. In that as you’ve explained, sex is good for bonding and such, I don’t think anyone would discourage a married couple from it, since they will hopefully use it for the sake of children in the future. It’s neutral. However, if an accidental pregnancy occurs (which if the guidelines are followed correctly is less likely than one from artificial contraception), the baby must be carried to term.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1148850395 Margo Basso

            It depends. The Catholic teaching calls for the husband and wife to be open to the possibility of life each time they engage in sex. I am not a complete expert on the topic, but if you are truly interested in learning the Church’s teachings, I would recommend these two posts, which do a fantastic job of explaining NFP and why the Church prefers it instead of contraception.

            http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/03/natural-family-planning-post.html

            http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2011/03/important-follow-up-to-natural-family.html

          • Katie

            Female fertility is a pretty amazing thing. You are only fertile for a very short time during your cycle. The Catholic Church teaches that, if you have serious reasons for not getting pregnant (to be determined by the spouses for their unique situation), then you should abstain during that time — usually amounting to about 4 days/month.

          • Mary

            Alexandra,

            A good “secular” book that I found extreamly helpful, is called “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” I read it before we started to try to become pregnant. (I was actually on the pill at the time) That book taught me so much about how our bodies work & enlightened me in many ways. For one, I realized a woman is only fertile for about 3 days (but a man’s sperm can stay alive for up to 5 days) so fertility lasts for about one week every month. The book teaches the FAM (fertility awareness method) which is charting your cervical positon, mucus changes, & temp to determine fertility. The way NFP is different is that couples need to abstain during the fertile times, & the FAM allows contraception to be used during the fertile period.

            After reading that book, & other NFP sources (Theology of the Body for Beginners by
            Christopher West is a very short & easy to read book) I began to see that my body was much much better off without putting those harmful chemicals in my body. My body was working great just the way it was, I just needed to understand how it worked. It was very empowering! Also, learning that one of the three ways the pill can work is to prevent implantation of an embryo, helped to solidify my lean towards NFP (since I believe life begins at conception)Hope that helps! God bless you & your husband!

          • Mary

            Please overlook my poor spelling & grammar ;)

          • Alexandra

            Thanks for that comment Mary!

            My mom has always pushed me to read “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” but I’ve never bothered. I probably should.

            I’ve considered trying NFP, but for now I really like using hormonal birth control because of the way it lets me control when I have a period, the lighter periods I have, and the lack of acne flare ups. It’s really nice to not be menstruating when I’m sitting in a cave doing field work!

            Perhaps once I’m done with my grad degree and my husband and I are more open to kids I’ll try it. I do think it’s very cool, but for now I love my hormonal birth control.

          • Cedric

            Hi Alexandra, the main reason you have for your approval of abortion seems to be the right to bodily autonomy. What is your opinion on a woman and a 4 year old in a life raft alone, with plenty of water/food, is the woman entitled to stop feeding the child by using her body, even though she could?

            Would you be in your rights to walk past someone when they are drowning, if you felt saving them would be too onerous?

            You don’t need to be religious to see that even a secular ethics like Virtue Ethics would judge that as unacceptably callous.

            I see you are not interested in long winded arguments, so I will leave the other 5 destroyers of your line of argument here.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Defense_of_Abortion#Table_of_criticisms_and_responses.

            PS: For one who is advocating Callousness as a central tool for woman’s liberation, you seem quite highly sensitive to any hint of negative emotions in responses to your posts. If you apply the same instinctual need for people to respect you- to unborn children-, your position will be consistent with your intuition.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            Then please explain that to the victims of human sex trafficing, as they realize upon rescue that they must now live another nine months of nausea and other 24 hour reminders of rape and exploitation.

          • guest

            That’s a red herring because then we pro-lifers can throw out the “Then please explain sex selection abortions” or the “Then please explain the late term abortion not for medical reason abortions” arguments .

            BTW – check out the new undercover video from LiveAction about gender selection abortions being provided in Austin, Texas

            http://protectourgirls.com/

          • Vision_From_Afar

            No, it’s not red herring. You are arguing that all abortion cease because all sex is loving and consensual, and I am saying, “All? Really?”

            I don’t agree with late term abortions, only early ones. Late-term approaches the grey-area for me where a fetus becomes fully viable outside of the mother, at which point I’m not entirely comfortable with termination. I also don’t agree with sex-selection abortions.
            HOWEVER: I have to say that a decision of that magnitude is between the person making it, their concience, and their deity. No room in there for me.
            …Or you.

          • Mckenbernie

            Sex means babies if the mother is fertile. If women choose to be prostitutes, then they need to consider the fact that they might become pregnant. That seems pretty simple.

            No, the law should be concerned with the sanctity of human life. I want the law to protect my life and not make judgements on whether I am human or not. My life is no more valuable than anyone else’s and not a baby’s or yours. If we are all indeed equal, then so are babies. Were you any less you when you were in the womb. I may argue that your mom should have killed you because I think your reasoning is not logical and we coudl do with less of those kinds of people. If society says that you are not valuable, does that make you less valuable?

            Is going though labor more horrible than going throughan abortion? Maybe it is, I don’t know. But why can’t women adopt the babies out? Why must they be killed?? They don’t have to want the baby. No person can force that and no one is trying to do that. The mother’s SHOULD be able to choose whether to raise the baby or not. That is perfectly moral.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            What. The. Frak?

            You continue to miss my points and plow forward with your arguments, head down, ears shut. I refuse to debate you further. Go in peace.

          • guest

            Nobody ever said all sex is loving and consensual.

          • Tally Marx

            So, you are saying a human individual’s right to the pursuit of happiness supersedes a human individual’s right to life? Please explain to me how the right to the pursuit of happiness can logically supersede the right to life?

        • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

          Just because you see it as a terrible evil doesn’t mean it actually is a terrible evil. It could be a wonderful good, but your clinging to an unattainable autonomy and annoyance at inconvenience could blind you to the goodness growing inside you.

    • Namg3

      I’d say that the woman who doesn’t welcome a human into their uterus should then abstain from having sex. Isn’t it the pinnacle of selfishness to truly believe that one has the right to destroy the resulting life from an act that is meant to create life?

      • Alexandra

        No, I don’t think it is the pinnacle of selfishness.

        I think what is selfish in the abortion debate is expecting women to abstain from sex if they are not ready to have children, otherwise be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. Children deserve to be wanted by both parents, and legally enforcing that a woman cannot make choices about her own body, therefore forcing her carry an unwanted pregnancy to term is selfish on the part of the society that makes abortion illegal. It’s her body, and her choice. Taking away her right to make that choice about her body is selfish.

        • Mark

          “Children deserve to be wanted by both parents.” Seeing as human life begins at conception, the human child in the womb deserves (ie has the right) to be wanted by both parents, and not killed.

        • guest

          I like the Twinkie comparison…if you don’t want to gain weight don’t eat the Twinkie because that CAN and does happen. If you don’t want/can’t/unprepared for a pregnancy don’t have sex because that CAN and does happen.

          No one ever said life is easy so it is an appropriate expectation that all desires are not always met at the time the desire occurs. Can you imagine the size of the population if everyone ate a Twinkie every time they wanted one. Sometimes a person needs to say no because of the results that could happen.

          • Alexandra

            Yeah, but if we’re going to go with that analogy, they have those chips that give you the runs and that pill that’ll stop your body from absorbing 1/3 of the fat. We have ways of decreasing the risks, basically to zero. I’m going on 9 yrs of having sex without getting pregnant because of better living through chemistry.

            The fact is people aren’t going to say no most of the time, and they don’t even have to. We have ways for them to be able to say yes and not have to get pregnant.

          • silicasandra

            “I’m going on 9 yrs of having sex without getting pregnant because of better living through chemistry.”

            Except that the “better living” may not actually be better after all – I was on the pill myself for about three years, thinking myself “responsible”, and after I got depressed, gained 60 pounds, and lost my sex drive (which sort of defeated the purpose of being on the darn things) – and noticed that no matter how much my gynecologist told me it was all in my head, the little warnings that came with the pill pack didn’t change. So, even though she thought I was full of it, my gyno offered to prescribe me an anti-depressant to counteract those supposedly non-existent effects. Needless to say, I ditched the pills (and the gyno) and am now doing much, much better (even after a “surprise” baby – and he is very, very much loved.)

            Technology can do some great things, but it’s at its best when it works with nature rather than against it. If we have to endlessly circumvent our body’s natural way of doing things, increasing the complexity and chance for error (and invent some really complicated moral logistics to be OK with it), then maybe it’s a sign that the original jump wasn’t such a good idea after all.

          • Alexandra

            That’s too bad for you, but it works for me. And plenty of other women. We’re all allowed to make that choice, and we shouldn’t judge other people for the ones that they make.

          • Joshy

            Judge? yes.
            Condemn? no.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            I fail to see the difference.

          • Mckenbernie

            I am going on 29 years of chastity. I argue that some people say yes all of the time. Nuns namely. With God’s grace, anything is possible. Because I waited, I have saved myself for a wonderful Catholic man and I don’t have anything to hide from him. The fact that those things are hard to talk about and easy to want to hide should say something about their morality. Am I glad? Absolutely! The joy outweighs any discomfort I felt over the years. Not pleasure, joy. Joy and peace that is deep within. No, Christians CAN wait. I have many friends that have waited. Some people “are going to” because they abide in sin and selfishness which is your entire premise. “If it feels good to ME, it is morally right.” Fundamentally, that is what you are saying. I say “Because it is morally right, it is good for me.” Feeling good is irrelevent. The joy does abide, but pleasure is fleeting.

          • Mckenbernie

            *Nuns say no (to sex) is what I meant. Sorry.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            I was really wondering which nuns you’ve hung out with…

          • Alexandra

            That’s a really insulting oversimplification of my point. I hope you don’t really believe that, because that means you’re making a lot of assumptions and don’t think much of me.

            I try not to do that to people. I appreciate it when people call me out for being unkind to other people. I assume the people I talk to are good people who are just trying to do their best. Not some kind of hooligan you’ve reduced me to who is like, “YUM SEX! EQUALS MORAL!”

        • Mary

          What is selfish, is playing the role of God & determining if a fetus is worthy to become a person or not. What is selfish, is assuming that the unwanted child is doomed forever because of the situation they may be born into. The odds may be against he/she for living a so called “quality” of life, but one doesn’t know of the potential opportunities that child could have in the future to overcome their life of poverty. Which leads to the question, If some unwanted fetuses in the womb are “better off dead”, then aren’t those alive unwanted, impovershed, abused children as well?

          Maybe we should just round up all of those mistreated kids and say, I don’t know, dig a huge pit & “put them out of their misery” (sound familliar?)
          Sound to irrational?
          Tell that to all of the millions of holocaust survivors & their families. Once you allow evil (murder) to take hold and be rationalized and promoted by the massees, then horrible, unthinkable & unbelievable things will & can occur.

          If the same amount of energy, time, & money that we have spent in the last 40 years went towards protecting, honoring, & preserving the lives of mothers AND their children, instead of preventing new life & focusing on “the easy” way outs in order to avoid suffering, pain, & poverty, just imagine the goodness we could have achieved. But, I suppose I’m just another one of those idealist, absolutist dreamers….

          • Mary

            I meant to say millions of holocaust victims, survivors, & their relatives

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Funny thing is, back in the late 1800s, rounding up all the poor kids and killing them was called eugenics. Pretty much everybody was for it. It’s scary stuff.

        • Mckenbernie

          So, your rights are more important than your baby’s rights. You take away your baby’s rights over her body…is that okay? If so, what makes it okay?

        • Tally Marx

          Which supersedes the other:
          A human individual’s right to freedom, or a human individual’s right to life?

    • http://odgie.wordpress.com/ Odgie

      Your third and fourth paragraphs in no way, shape, or form support your first paragraph. Neither addresses the question of the value of the developing life.

      Secondly, the law only allows killing in defense of your own life or someone else’s. Unless the child can be determined to be an imminent threat to the mother’s well-being, this point is moot.

    • thoughtsandideas

      The problem with slavery was NOT that a person was serving another. Our entire society is built around people serving others. It was that the slaves were reduced to property, made less than human and thus were treated as less than human. A mother is not made less than human by carrying her child. The child depends on her, yes, but that means she has a responsibility, not an enslavement. Just because someone has to do something, doesn’t mean they are a slave. It means they have responsibilities. That’s part of life. If anything it is the child who can relate to the slave, because he has been reduced to less than human. He is the property of the mother’s womb, or the waste product of sex, much like feces are the waste of food consumption. Are you enslaved by your feces? You should probably do something about that if you are.

      • Alexandra

        A woman is being treated as less than human if she is forced to be pregnant. If we deny her her bodily autonomy we are making her to be unequal to other humans.

        Women can never be considered equal to men if the government can take away her right to her bodily autonomy. That is why pro-choicers care so much about fighting for a woman’s right to chose.

        • Mckenbernie

          The unborn baby within the pregnant woman’s body is not part of her body. The baby is a genetically distinct individual with its own unique and individual gender, blood type, bone-structure, and genetic code. Abortion is never justified, since no one’s right to personal autonomy is so strong that it permits the arbitrary execution of others. In this respect this argument also begs the question, because it assumes that the unborn are not fully human. This is a quote. You will keep arguing circles around this because you’re underlying premise is that selfish pleasure and desires justify abortion.

          • Djrogers

            So in your world, a mother of 3 on her fourth pregnancy who is told that if she continues her pregnancy then end result will be not only fetus death but here’s as well should continue since abortion is never justified. She’d leave 3 children without a mother and a widowed husband but at least you got to be all moral and justified about it.

            Then -> the

            Here’s ->here’s

          • Edgedogsmith

            Interesting – have you seen many case studies on this – I have – quite a few. Of the numerous ones where the mothers who told their doctor to stick it, all but one (of the ones I found) resulted in the mother and child BOTH surviving. One mother did heroically give her life for her child (like a soldier who throws themselves on a grenade to save others.) She left a video message for her new child, and talked with the other children that survived her (just as a woman who is dying of cancer would). The case was several years old and still after all this time her surviving children and her husband (while yes they do miss her) they still think she is the most heroic person in the world.

            On the other side, the woman who conspired to murder their own children in the hopes of saving their own life, well we will never actually know if they would have died if they didn’t – but we do have a few dead children – and only a minimal few of the total of all abortions ever performed (like way less than 1% and combined with all of the rape and incest combined still is at or less than 1%?). But some woman died from complications anyway – so what did it gain them or their child??

        • Tally Marx

          Pregnant women are considered more than men (and anyone else) if they are allowed to take the life of another human individual for the sake of privacy. It is a right I, as a non-pregnant woman, do not have. They are considered more than men (and anyone else) if they can take the life of another for the sake of bodily freedom, as it would still be considered a grave wrong if, say, one Siamese twin killed another, even if they are attached and using one another’s bodies.

        • Laura

          I can’t even begin to express my disgust at the fact that you would compare the relatively minor restrictions and bodily changes of pregnancy–a state which almost always occurs as a result of an act of free choice– to the utter depravity of humanity experienced on all levels in this country by an entire race of people because of arbitrary qualities like skin color or place of origin, the effects of which are still felt today in spite of slavery being now illegal. Pregnancy is emotionally challenging, life-changing and for no more than 9 months it can be physically challenging as well, but never in a million years would I dare compare my pregnancies (the first of which was unwanted at first, mind you) to what an actually enslaved person has endured. It is nowhere near the same thing.

          • Korou

            In your case, it obviously wasn’t, but it could have been, and for many women it is.
            Pro-slavery advocates have pointed out, correctly, that slavery is, in some cases, not all that bad – certainly not all that uncomfortable. But it doesn’t change the fact that slavery is morally wrong, any more than your saying that your unwanted pregnancy was bearable changes the fact that to some women it would be unbearable.

          • Edge

            If you want to compare pregnancy to something (for it could NEVER be remotely close to or be considered slavery) – compare it apples to apples oranges to oranges – it is a responsibility – as sex led to the BLESSING of a newly created life. So if you wanted to compare it to anything bad – the best you could logically do would be to say it is like:

            having to pay a mortgage for 30 years – in the end you have a house –

            having to work until you retire – in the end you have retirement

            having to put gas in the car and oil in the engine – in the end you can go further and quicker than if you walked.

            Having to pay for groceries – in the end you have given the sewer workers a job

            being pregnant – in the end you have a child who loves you unconditionally

            And you can give away or loose the house, the retirement savings, and you can walk and no go very far, and you can by pass the sewer company and go to jail, you can give away or loose your child…

            All bad examples??? – absolutely, as no other responsibility gives a greater reward than being pregnant. But whether the woman likes the fact she has become pregnant ()as most do) or not, the fact is she is responsible for the small human (her child) who is continuing to grow – and loves her unconditionally.

        • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

          So women being equal to men in this respect in terms of government treatment, even leaving the ethical issue aside and just talking about rights, is worth 53 million and counting human lives? Where do the goals of feminism reach the point of costing too much to attain? 100 million human lives? A billion human lives?

          At what human cost do we realize that men and women are biologically different and that it’s horribly unfair (although, in my opinion, the question is unfair to whom; being able to foster and bring a new life into the world sounds pretty awesome to me), and then learn to move on? Nature isn’t equal. Nature is the way it is. Living as nature intended, that is, according to natural law, leads to happiness. Living outside of natural law doesn’t. Is total socio-political equality worth happiness?

          • Alexandra

            Yes, to me it is. Soci-political equality is definitely a large part of happiness. I’m not interesting in living life confined by my biology. I don’t believe in any supernatural or the Catholic idea of Natural Law, so I see no reason not to take advantage of the medical advances we have that allow me to not deal with parts of my biology I don’t like.

            Nature is the way it is, but that doesn’t mean that I’m limited to ovulating every month or suffering from allergies every spring. I’ve tried that, it doesn’t make me happy. It’s my body and I’ll do with it as I please.

            Other people may chose to live more naturally within their own biology, and I don’t judge them for it or make any assumptions that they’re on the wrong path to happiness.

            Feminism is about choice. Allowing women to make their own choices, and yes sometimes that includes abortion. But a pregnancy is something that takes place inside of a woman’s body and as long as it needs her body to continue, she has a right to chose what happens to it.

            You can demonize my position all you want, but that’s not very useful for anyone. My goal is to understand where other people are coming from and try to have empathy for why they make the decisions that they do.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Socio-political equality is integral to happiness, and worth 53 million lives. At least you’re honest. Though I’m sure the Nazis would say that the racial purity of the Aryan race was integral to happiness and worth 40 million lives.

            Here’s my problem with it: people have managed to be happy despite a complete and total lack of socio-political equality, and certainly whilst lacking socio-political equality of the type you demand. St. Paul doesn’t approve or condemn the practice of slavery because he realized that people can be happy even in bad circumstances. The key to human happiness is self-sacrificial love. This isn’t just true for some people; there is a science to true happiness. This is true for all people. Therefore, all questions of ethics come down to “Is this action in accordance with selfless love for myself, God, others, and everything?” To put it in slightly more Christian terms, the central question of all ethical dilemmas is “Is this action Christlike?”

            You know what tends to not make people genuinely happy? Killing lots of people. Nazi prison camp guards would often end up going so crazy after just a few months that they would themselves go to the ovens.

            Also, should we indulge those who claim that killing others makes them happy? We tend to call those serial killers, and put them in prison.

            Oh, well, believe me, natural law isn’t just a Catholic idea. I’m not even Catholic. It was sort of the guiding principle of ethics everywhere and amongst everyone until the Reformation and (de-)Enlightenment came around and destroyed coherent philosophy. To say that you don’t believe in it is to say that you disagree with 99% of all people ever. In that situation I’d be reconsidering my position.

            I am not demonizing your position. I am pointing out that your position has cost 53 million human lives, and counting. In America alone. A number greater than the 40 million killed in World War II. A number quickly approaching the number killed by Stalin during his long reign of terror. This is fact, not demonization.

            Truth is, everyone always has control over their own choices. I could go out, grab my khukri, and kill someone with it. Now, I don’t do that for several reasons. A woman can choose to try to kill her child herself. Abolishing the practice of institutionalized human abortion will not mean that it is not possible for a mother to kill her child. It just means that intentionally killing children will have legal consequences.

            Again, this whole idea of bodily autonomy seems rather bizarre, given that at nature or God’s or fate’s or whatever you believe’s behest, one can be permanently expelled from the body. Your body is not yours by birthright, to be able to use as you so wish. It has been given to you that you may steward it well.

            Please justify to me, using ethical and/or logical grounds that people have a right to choose what happens to their bodies. Considering that nature has a large say in what happens to a human body, this will be difficult.

          • Alexandra

            I’m an atheist, so half of those arguments are meaningless to me. Also the Catholic understanding of natural law is very different than natural law of philosophers.

            I’m so sorry I’m not measuring up to your standard of debate. This is the internet.

          • Edge

            And that right there is the exact fallacy of feminism: It claims that it is about choice. BUT it isn’t, its about power. It claims it is about allowing women to make their own choices, and that a woman has a right to chose what happens to her own body – BUT the CHILD inside of her HAS his or HER OWN BODY. The child is a human who is unique and is an individual – so feminism is really about WHO has the power – it puts woman into the power over the child who is in her womb. The same power that a rapist holds over his (or her) victim. (AND remember – just as a woman can be a rapist – men can and are rape victims as well.) So the victims of rape and abortion are like SLAVES to their power wielding masters. – THE only difference is that sometimes the rape victim gets to live – the murdered child never does.

            Sad part for women who by into the feminism propaganda is that when the go and have an abortion – they become just another victim.

          • Alexandra

            You’re talking about abortion specifically, not feminism. Feminism is about choice, abortion is part of that choice and I can see where you disagree on it, but you’d have a hard time proving that feminism as a whole isn’t about choice.

        • Edge

          The poster above got it right – when a woman becomes pregnant she has a responsibility – to her child but also to herself to protect her child, from the moment of conception.

          You say “If we deny her her bodily autonomy we are making her to be unequal to other humans.” – that is just so utterly false. Being pregnant does not make a woman unequal to other humans, but choosing to murder her own child does make her something – as becomes a murderer, equal to all who would willingly take another life, but not just another life, but her “own” child’s life, and at the very beginning of that child’s life.

          You can call the child a clump of cells, or anything that tries to justify the murder, but it can’t justify it – it is murder. That is why the women who have had abortions suffer so greatly, and why they seek relief from their pain from groups like Rachel’s Vineyard and others – to help them from the SLAVERY that they have put themselves in by conspiring to murder their own child.

          Nature/ God / biology – you choose who you give credit to, but there are male and there are female. Neither is greater than the other. There are things one sex can do and that the other sex can not. One of those things is being able to become pregnant and protect their children while they are in the womb. Some say that God chose the female because only they could handle it. Both equal as humans even though neither are the same.

          A midget is barred, prevented, excluded from riding the roller coaster because they fail to meet the height requirement. That does not make them less human or less equal as a human. A person born blind is not allowed the privilege of driving a car. That does not make them less human or less equal as a human. Both cases prevent individuals from things others can do, and in the strictest terms, they are not equal, and never can be – but as a human they are equal, as all men and woman are. Some have the ability to sing, others to lift weights, others to draw. Men have the ability to pee standing up, woman have the ability (and joy) to become pregnant.

          Nature/ God / biology gives us, joys and pleasures (like sex, eating, and holding our children for the very first time), we also have sufferings (like sickness, having to go to the bathroom, and aging), and also responsibilities (like having to maintain our hygiene, care for one another, and protect our children.)

    • cdub

      Except in the case where conception occurs as the result of non-consensual sex, I cannot wrap my head around the slavery argument. Conception is a natural consequence of sexual intercourse. The woman who chooses to engage in sexual intercourse opens herself up to the possibility of pregnancy, the possibility of a “developing human using her body in a way that she does not want to let it.” If that’s slavery then any woman who chooses to have a sexual encounter is selling herself into it. The only slavery I see is a slavery to human passions and the culture of devalued sex.

      • Alexandra

        Only if you consider having sex to be giving consent to carrying a pregnancy to term. In our world of “devalued sex”, having sex does not mean you’re consenting to a pregnancy.

        • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

          So because one failed at blocking the natural consequences of sex, it is now okay to kill the resultant human being that was the natural consequence of your behaviors?

        • Cal-J

          You are deliberately enacting the direct cause of pregnancy.

          Attempts to prevent the natural forces at work are, by definition, tempting fate. If you aren’t prepared to accept all possible outcomes, then what the hell are you doing?

    • Chip Hopr

      Incredible. Fascinating, actually, if it wasn’t so saddening.

      So that I can understand your argument better: You argue that women are naturally-born slaves? Naturally born with the desire for sex and sexual pleasure, yet also naturally born with the inability to naturally undo the procreative effects?

      So if those , today, who would seek to deny a woman their “reproductive rights” are responsible for their bondage, who or what was responsible before “safe” scientific/artificial methods were invented?

      Truly, slavery is evil. Who or what is to blame, naturally?

      • Alexandra

        Forcing women to become pregnant has always been a way of controlling women, a very effective one indeed. It still happens in abusive relationships all the time. Being able to control whether or not she will carry a pregnancy to term is fundamental part of women being able to take control of their bodies and lives. Not for all women, but for a lot of them.

        So, yes, women have always been vulnerable to being enslaved in a unique way that mean cannot be. Now that we have the ability to safely and easily terminate pregnancy, denying women the right to make that choice for themselves subjugates unnecessarily.

        • Chip Hopr

          You argue that denying contraception and abortion to a woman is like slavery.

          So I ask you, are not women then naturally “slaves” because there exists naturally no way to safely and effectively deter, and more importantly, end, pregnancy, which to you is the obstruction of a woman’s right to physical autonomy, whenever and however she pleases? That a woman would choose not to end her pregnancy doesn’t mean she isn’t still a “slave” to the process. So in our modern world, to deny a woman contraception or abortion would return her to her natural, “enslaved” state?

          And if they are, indeed, “slaves” by nature, then why is this, who is responsible, and how is this not demeaning to natural womanhood, now and throughout the history of mankind?

          Also, I know words matter to you, so I’d like to point out that given the reality of human bondage now and through history, it’s offensive that you use the term to refer to pregnancy. Even, yes, unwanted or forced pregnancy.

          • Alexandra

            Can you explain to me why exactly you find the use of the word slavery offensive? I am open to hearing your argument and changing my language.

            My choice of the word slavery is informed by the fact that there are a lot of women whose abusive partners will sabotage her so that she becomes pregnant as a means of controlling her. It’s a very common tactic, and often gets used in war when it’s kill the men and rape the women.

            I know women who have been impregnated by their emotionally abusive husbands. Catholic women whose husbands who pressured them for sex during the most fertile times, which ended in unwanted pregnancies. It’s the saddest thing.

            I’m not trying to make some argument that women are slaves, but I know women who have been controlled by men using pregnancy.

          • CPE Gaebler

            I’d think the saddest thing would be abducting someone from their home and family and forcing them to work long, harsh hours and using physical abuse to keep them in line. You know, slavery.

          • Alexandra

            Is that the definition of slavery?

            I’m not commenting here to purposefully butt heads with people. If you don’t want to try to understand my position, and instead just demonize it, go ahead, but that serves no purpose besides perhaps making you feel like you’re super smart and morally superior.

          • CPE Gaebler

            I think I get your position. You just don’t think an abortion is a bad thing. That’s the major difference underlying all the other disagreements. Whereas you think an abortion is an acceptable way to get out of a bad situation, we think that abortion is always a bad choice which generally only makes things worse. Going through an unwanted pregnancy, although I hear it ain’t fun, is not as bad as dead babies.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Aside from the abduction part, that sounds a whole lot like parenthood as well. Children (and some spouses) can be extremely physically abusive.

          • Cal-J

            Your children force you to work? You can’t command respect in your own home, either?

    • Jacob Neeson

      You said a woman has the right to, “Take the human out.” Two things are wrong with that.

      First, at least be honest about what’s happening: the human is killed and THEN removed.

      Second, you admit that the fetus is human but deny it’s right to life. Please look up the “Law of Non-contradiction”. You broke it.

      • Alexandra

        I think that it’s typically killed on it’s way out. Unless you’re talking about late term abortions, then yes it’s killed first.

        I didn’t contradict myself, I never said that all humans deserve the right to life. A human living inside of someone is in a unique situation where it doesn’t necessarily have that right.

        • guest

          If by “killed on it’s way out” you mean the arms and legs of the fetus are ripped off and then forceps are inserted and the skull of the fetus is crushed and then removed, then yes, you are correct. The late term abortion is even less pretty, so we don’t have to go there.
          “A human living inside of someone” is not a unique situation…it is the method in which all humans are brought into this world. Your humanity was not dependent on a choice your mother made, you were human and had a right to life from conception.

          • Djrogers

            Have you ever even seen an early term ultrasound? There are no arms and legs to be ripped off as you state. Go google Fetal development pictures.

          • guest

            A woman typically finds out she is pregnant around 5 weeks. Arms and legs are distinguishable at 6 weeks. Perhaps not on ultrasound, but take your own advice and Google it. The method most commonly used that early in pregnancy is a medical abortion which causes the woman to miscarry the child. The child is not just a clot of tissue, it has head, arms, legs, spine and heartbeat. Perhaps this child is not hacked to pieces, but it is no less murdered.

    • mary york

      “By not allowing a woman to terminate a pregnancy, you legally enforce that she must allow the developing human to use her body in a way that she does not want to let it. That’s slavery.” This is a totally absurd statement. In all but the most rare cases (forced rape) the woman entered into a coital situation. Coitus is clearly, first and foremost, the way to create new life. If she was so sure she did not want to be enslaved, then she should not have had sex. It is as simple as that. The little being inside of her (human) is blameless. Totally blameless.

    • CPE Gaebler

      “The most important argument for me is that refusing a woman an abortion essentially results in slavery. By not allowing a woman to terminate a pregnancy, you legally enforce that she must allow the developing human to use her body in a way that she does not want to let it. That’s slavery.”

      No, that is not slavery. You are wrong. Stop being wrong.

  • http://www.recoveredcatholic.com/ The Recovered Catholic

    This post reminds me why I always, always, always prefer to debate the abortion issue with as secular a tone as possible. I’m a devout Christian, but the “God says don’t abort babies” argument is obviously doomed to failure with someone who isn’t even a Christian to begin with. When in doubt, I use logic we can all agree on: human beings deserve life, period. With the reasons you’ve outlined above, how much longer can abortion go on? I pray for a day when common sense prevails. Good post!

    • Guest12345

      Indeed, but I think people forget that pregnancy is not exactly easy, even for women who are very happy to be expecting mothers. Some women need bedrest (how does she have income when she can’t work?), some come close to death, and the maternal death rate is startlingly high in the USA.

      While I might not choose abortion for myself, who am I to tell a woman that she must *risk her life* to carry a pregnancy?

      People who are anti-abortion are typically very concerned about the baby when it’s in its mothers uterus, but they then don’t care about the baby once it’s born. How about supporting paid maternity leave, quality subsidized childcare, and children’s health insurance? How about a living wage? Many, many abortions (I read 93% somewhere) are performed because of economic reasons. How about we take away the economic reasons? That will reduce the abortion rate.

      • Cal-J

        We adopt newborns, we adopt and foster disabled children, we raise thousands of dollars to help others adopt children in need, we volunteer at hospice centers, some of us will even stay up with scared patients, we deliver groceries to shut-ins, we counsel suicidal teens, we run homeless shelters, part of which includes helping write resumes if they’re unemployed, we take single parents and their children into our homes, we’ll pick fights with agencies for the uninsured if they don’t know how to advocate for themselves, we collect food/clothes for the homeless, we volunteer at soup kitchens, we organize lists of people who need hot meals because their providing loved ones are hospitalized, we organize major shipments of wheelchairs to locations where they aren’t being provided for those in need, we throw baby showers for total strangers for the hell of it.

        I’m sorry, did you just suggest that we don’t care? That we’re not concerned with solving the underlying problems?

        • Guest12345

          These are all wonderful, fabulous things. I really, truly mean that. And I perhaps spoke/wrote in too much black and white – I was thinking more about bigger political pundits. I know and appreciate people who are truly pro-life and live out that belief.

          However, a lot of what you’ve described are one-time crisis services – which again, are great and necessary, but are not long-term solutions. To bring it back to abortion issues – what about the overarching social policies? How about a mom be able to work 40 hours and be able to provide for her child?

        • Guest12345

          These are all wonderful, fabulous things. I really, truly mean that. And I perhaps spoke/wrote in too much black and white – I was thinking more about bigger political pundits. I know and appreciate people who are truly pro-life and live out that belief.

          However, a lot of what you’ve described are one-time crisis services – which again, are great and necessary, but are not long-term solutions. To bring it back to abortion issues – what about the overarching social policies? How about a mom be able to work 40 hours and be able to provide for her child?

    • Tacroy

      How does “human beings deserve life, period” work when the lives of two human beings are in conflict?

      For instance, some pregnancies are particularly dangerous for the mother; carrying the baby to term is likely to lead to her death.

      Would you be okay with abortion in such a case? After all, the mother “deserve[s] life, period” just as much as the baby.

      • Tally Marx

        The right to life supersedes every other right, but is obviously equal to itself.
        When it comes to difficult medical decisions, where you have to chose between one life and another, and there is no other option, you save the one you can.

        Abortion, however, is rarely done because the mother’s life is directly threatened by the pregnancy.

        • Tacroy

          So then do you agree that the statement “human beings deserve life, period” is too broad? After all, you’ve just said that, in fact, it is permissible to end one human being’s life in order to ensure another human’s life.

          Well then, what about selective reduction? For instance, if you’re pregnant with (say) twins, and your body is unable to cope – is it okay to abort one so that the other may live? Or should you just take your chances?

          • wineinthewater

            It’s better stated, “all human beings have a right to life, period.” The difference is subtle, but important. Rights come into conflict all the time, and when they do, a just society weighs the situation justly. It is our unjust society that simply denies the human rights of some humans in order to avoid the difficult questions raised by those conflicts.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            To this I would respond with Socrates’s reply: It is worse to do evil than to suffer evil. It is better to die delivering your baby than to kill your child.

    • wineinthewater

      I wish the discussion could be on that level. What do you do when the right to life of two humans comes into conflict? That’s a challenging question. Balancing equal rights in conflict is a hard area. Another hard area is what to do when the woman has not consented to the activity that leads to pregnancy. You can make the argument that all sex carries with it the potential for pregnancy and that willingly engaging in sex is willingly accepting that possibility. But what of the women who do not consent? These are hard and challenging questions

      But that isn’t where we are. We are in a place where nearly every right, desire and preference of one human is being put above the right to life of another. We are in a place where scientific fact is rejected by some. We are in a place where the idea that all humans possess human rights is in dispute.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1148850395 Margo Basso

    Great guest post!! Check out a similar post at the “Little Catholic Bubble” http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2012/05/sheer-idiocy-of-every-child-wanted.html

  • Timothy Putnam

    Along the same lines, but 40 pages more thorough, is Maureen L. Condic’s White Paper published by the The Westchester Institute for Ethics & the Human Person in Thornwood, New York. It is lengthy, but worth your time. http://www.westchesterinstitute.net/images/LargePRINT.pdf

  • Aprendo

    Just thought I’d add some articles related to this.

    http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2012/04/dr-demarco-seven-deadly-fallacies-in-pro-abortion-arguments/

    http://www.priestsforlife.org/brochures/mtspeech.html

    The pro-life movement is composed of more and more women and men across the world who are speaking out about how they regret having their child killed by abortion. These men and women are inspiring others to acknowledge their own pain, seek healing from their abortion, and likewise become voices for life. Abortion advocates can do nothing to stop this tidal wave. In fact, it puts them in quite a dilemma, because for decades they have been saying, “Listen to the voices of women!” Now, if they practice what they preach, they hear those women’s voices repudiate that same preaching.
    …..
    The pro-life movement is also marked by more and more involvement of the survivors of abortion. It is not simply the presence of youth in the movement which is reason for hope; it is the motivation they have. If you ask them why they are involved, they will tell you, “It could have been me.” These young people realize that Roe vs. Wade is a personal insult to them, because it says that they were not persons when they were in the womb. In speaking up for the unborn, these youth are also speaking up for themselves. They likewise realize that among the tens of millions killed by abortion were people who would have been their friends, neighbors, classmates, spouses, brothers, sisters, and cousins. This is an awareness and motivation that the abortion advocates can do nothing to stop.

    http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/a-pro-life-state-of-the-union

    Books like Family and Civilization by Zimmerman points out that demographics is destiny. Highly individualistic societies where the children are seen as burdens soon run into many difficulties…we are in the long run destroying our society and being replaced by immigrants who will replace their populations. Europe is running into this problem now as well as China.

    http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full

    http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full/reply#medethics_el_3858

    t is both disturbing and regrettable that the “choice”
    being proposed in this article has chilling similarities to the Nazi process of
    ‘selection.’

    Do these authors even know where the concept they use
    “lives…not worth living” came from?

    Do these authors know that they are following in the
    footsteps of two once distinguished but now infamous German academics: the
    jurist Karl Binding of the University of Leipzig, and Alfred Hoche, Professor
    of Psychiatry at the University of Freiburg?

    Way back in 1920, Hoche and Binding argued that “…the
    principle of ‘allowable killing’ should be extended to the incurably sick… The
    right to live must be earned and justified…Theirs is not a life worth living;
    hence their destruction is not only tolerable but humane.” The crucial work — “The Permission to
    Destroy Life Unworthy of Life” (Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten
    Lebens) included as “unworthy life” not only the incurably ill but large
    segments of the mentally ill, the feebleminded, and “retarded and deformed”
    children. More than that, the authors professionalized and medicalized the
    entire concept. And they stressed the therapeutic goal [i.e. the intention] of
    that concept: destroying life unworthy of life is “purely a healing treatment”
    and a “healing work.” (Robert Jay Lifton:”The Nazi doctors: medical
    killing and the psychology of genocide”p.46 (1986)

    The Nazi directors of the German abortion and euthanasia
    programmes embraced the concept of ‘life unworthy of life’ (See the policy
    speech by Gerhard Wagner (head of the Nazi physicians association): “Rasse und
    Bevölkerungspolitik,” Der Parteitag der Ehre, vom 8, bis 14, September 1936.
    Offizieller Bericht über den Verlauf des Reichsparteitages mit sämtlichen
    Kongreßreden, Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., 1936, pp.150-60).

    The authors of this current article appear to be ignorant
    also of the fact that the term “after-birth abortions” is not
    original either: it was already in use by Hitler’s physicians:

    “Making widespread use of the Darwinian term ‘selection’,
    the Nazis sought to take over the functions of nature (natural selection)… in
    orchestrating their own ‘selections’, their own version of human evolution…Newborn
    infants with Down syndrome were identified at birth and placed on a register for
    lethal medical treatment after a perfunctory examination by a board of
    ‘specialist’ doctors: the Reich Committee for the Scientific Registering of
    Serious Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses (Reichsausschuss zur
    wissenschaftlichen Erfassung erb- und anlagebedingter schwerer Leiden), headed
    by Karl Brandt, Hitler’s personal
    physician. On August 18, 1939, the
    committee issued a decree that required reporting of all newborns and infants
    under the age of three with suspected “serious hereditary diseases.” These “diseases” included Down’s syndrome,
    deformities, paralysis, deafness, blindness, and others. While physicians had
    been unofficially killing babies “unfit to live” since at least 1933, the
    creation of this committee officially authorized such killings. Dr. Karl Brandt explained the aim: “The
    objective was to obtain possession of these abortions and destroy them as soon
    as possible after they had been brought into the world.” (Henry Friedlander: The Origins of Nazi
    Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (Chapel Hill: University of
    North Carolina Press, 1995, PP.57-8)

    “A questionnaire was prepared in which the attending
    physician provided a detailed history. The doctors also made predictions about
    the baby’s future quality of life. The questionnaires were then sent to a
    committee of physicians who determined whether to give the child a mark of “+”,
    which recommended extermination.”
    (Forgotten Crimes: The Holocaust and people with Disabilities. A Report by Disability Rights Advocates, California,
    2001 pp. 13-14.)

    Perhaps the only excuse for the atrocities being proposed by
    these authors today is that they are either too callow or too ignorant of the
    Nazi precedents to what they are advocating to resurrect in this current
    Journal article.

    We should not go down that path again.
    http://blogs.bmj.com/medical-ethics/2012/02/28/liberals-are-disgusting-in-defence-of-the-publication-of-after-birth-abortion/#comment-451456352

    http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=583372&highlight=women+++have+abortions+++back+alleys+++legalized&fb_source=message

    The Abortion and Stem Cell Debates
    Consider two familiar political questions that can’t be resolved without taking a stand on an underlying moral and religious controversy — abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Some people believe that abortion should be banned because it involves the taking of innocent human life. Others disagree, arguing that the law should not take sides in the moral and theological controversy over when human life begins; since the moral status of the developing fetus is a highly charged moral and religious question, they argue, government should be neutral on that question, and allow women to decide for themselves whether to have an abortion.

    The second position reflects the familiar liberal argument for abortion rights. It claims to resolve the abortion question on the basis of neutrality and freedom of choice, without entering into the moral and religious controversy. But this argument does not succeed. For, if it’s true that the developing fetus is morally equivalent to a child, then abortion is morally equivalent to infanticide. And few would maintain that government should let parents decide for themselves whether to kill their children. So the “pro-choice” position in the abortion debate is not really neutral on the underlying moral and theological question; it implicitly rests on the assumption that the Catholic Church’s teaching on the moral status of the fetus — that it is a person from the moment of conception — is false.

    To acknowledge this assumption is not to argue for banning abortion. It is simply to acknowledge that neutrality and freedom of choice are not sufficient grounds for affirming a right to abortion. Those who would defend the right of women to decide for themselves whether to terminate a pregnancy should engage with the argument that the developing fetus is equivalent to a person, and try to show why it is wrong. It is not enough to say that the law should be neutral on moral and religious questions. The case for permitting abortion is no more neutral than the case for banning it. Both positions presuppose some answer to the underlying moral and religious controversy.

    “What amazes me most is that people think that if you say your beliefs are true and others aren’t, you’re being intolerant. But that’s the case with every truth claim. Everyone who says something is true—“Buddha was a good teacher,” “Mohammed knew the true God,” etc.—is saying that the opposite is untrue. Every truth claim is intolerant of its contradictions. Even the person who says, very tolerantly, “there are many paths to God” is being intolerant of the belief that there aren’t. That’s how truth works. Embracing it means to reject something else. And everyone does this. In fact, there’s no way to have a discussion without doing this! Anytime you assert that something is true, you’re asserting that something else isn’t.”

    Many North American universities have outlawed student pro-life groups in the interest of demonstrating their tolerance toward those who are “pro-choice.”

    One cannot simultaneously tolerate contraries and contradictories.
    “Relativism that is the underpinning of an out-of-control political correctness conveys the message that human beings are fundamentally incapable of grasping the truth of things, that they would rather fight than think.”-DeMarcohttp://payingattentiontothesky.com/2010/05/04/the-aspiration-to-neutrality/
    Good analysis politically

    Moreover, the mentality of the population controllers reflects a spiritual myth: that human happiness and fulfillment can be found by pushing the “other” out of the way. This, indeed, is the mentality that fuels abortion and euthanasia, as well as population control. The “other” is seen as a threat that must be eliminated, rather than as an opportunity to give oneself away in love, that the other may grow. Precisely in that self-giving (“This is my body, given for you…”) does the Christian see fulfillment, rather than in the myth that I am liberated only when the other is killed (“This is my body; I can do what I want”).
    http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/planet-un-parenthood

    Free will is not given to us merely as a firework to be shot off into the air. There are some men who seem to think their acts are freer in proportion as they are without purpose, as if a rational purpose imposed some kind of limitation upon us. That is like saying that one is richer if he throws money out the window than if he spends it.” -Thomas Merton From No Man Is An Island

    To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell. Selfishness is doomed to frustration, centered as it is upon a lie. To live exclusively for myself, I must make all things bend themselves to my will as if I were a god. But this is impossible. Is there any more cogent indication of my creaturehood than the insufficiency of my own will? For I cannot make even my own body obey me. When I give it pleasure, it deceives my expectation and makes me suffer pain. When I give myself what I conceive to be freedom, I deceive myself and find that I am a prisoner of my own blindness and selfishness and insufficiency.

    It is true, the freedom of my will is a great thing. But this freedom is not absolute se;f-sufficiency. If the essence of freedom were merely the act of choice, then the mere fact of making choices would perfect our freedom. But there are two difficulties here. First of all, our choices must really be free–that is to say they must perfect us in our own being. They must perfect us in our own being. They must perfect us in our relation to other free beings. We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capaciteis of our real selves. From this flows the second difficulty: we too easily assume that we are our real selves, and that our choice are really the ones we want to make when, in fact, our acts of free choice are ( though morally imputable, no doubt) largely dictated by psychological compulsions, flowing from our inordinate ideas of our own importance. Our choices are too often dictated by our false selves.

    Hence I do not find myself the power to be happy merely by doing what I like. On the contrary, if I do nothing except what pleases my won fancy I will be miserable almost all the time. This would never be so if my will had not been created to use its own freedom in the love of others.

    My free will consolidates and perfects its own autonomy by freely co-ordinating its action with the will of another. There is something in the very nature of my freedom that inclines me to love, to do good, to dedicate myself to others. I have an instinct that tells me that I am less free when I am living for myself alone. The reason is that I cannot be completely independent. Since I am not self-sufficient I depend on someone else for my fulfillment…

    At the same time, my instinct to be independent is by no means evil. My freedom is not perfected by subjection to a tyrant. Subjection is not an end in itself. It is right that my nature should rebel against subjection. …

    If my will is meant to perfect its freedom in serving another will, that does not mean it will find its perfection in serving every other will…To give my will blindly to a being equal to or inferior to myself is to degrade myself and throw away my freedom…

    Conscience is the soul of freedom, its eyes, its energy its life. Without conscience, freedom never knows what to do with itself. And a rational being who does not know what to do with himself finds the tedium of life unbearable. He is literally bored to death. Just as love does not find fulfillment in loving blindly, so freedom wastes away when it merely “acts freely” without any purpose. An act without purpose lacks something of the perfection of freedom, because freedom is more than a matter of aimless choice. It is not enough to affirm my liberty by choosing “something”. I must use and develop my freedom by choosing something good.

    From No Man Is An Island

    Love Can Be Kept Only By Being Given Away

    “A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found: for a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy.

    There is a false and momentary happiness and self-satisfaction, but it always leads to sorrow because it narrows and deadens our spirit. True happiness is found in unselfish love, a love which increases in proportion as it is shared…..yet there can never be happiness in compulsion. It is not enough for love to be shared: it must be shared freely. That is to say it must be given, not merely taken. Unselfish love that is poured upon a selfish object does not bring perfect happiness: not because love requires a return or a reward for loving, but because it rests in the happiness of the beloved.And if one love receives love selfishly, the lover is not satisfied. …

    To love another is to will what is really good for him. Such love must be based on truth. A love that sees no distinction between good and evil, but loves blindly merely for the sake of loving,is hatred, rather than love. To love blindly is to love selfishly, because the goal of such love is not the real advantage of the beloved only the exercise of l love in our own souls.

    A Selfish love seldom respects the rights of the beloved to be an autonomous person. Far from respecting the truth being of another and granting his personality room to grow and expand in its own original way, the love seeks to keep him in subjection to ourselves. It insists that he conform himself to us, and works in every possible way to make him do so. A selfish love withers and dies unless it is sustained by the attention of the beloved. When we love thus, our friends exist only in order that we may love them. In loving them we seek to make pets of them, to keep them tame. Such love fears nothing more than the escape of the beloved. It requires his subjection because that is necessary for the nourishment of our own affections.

    rom Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love (This has many things I’ve found very helpful about love. I thought I’d post it in case anyone was interested.)

    “A person must not be merely the means to an end for the another person” In other words, we should never treat the people in our lives as mere instruments for achieving our own purposes.” He explains why this is so. Human persons have free will and are capable of self-determination. Unlike the animals which act according to their instincts and appetites, persons can use their reason to act deliberately. Through self-reflection, persons can choose a course of action for themselves and assert their “inner self” to the outside world through their choices. …NO one else can think for me.
    ….
    “Once utilitarian attitudes are adopted, we begin to reduce people in our lives to objects to use for our enjoyment.
    ….
    “The only way two human persons can avoid using each other is to relate in pursuit of a common good…It the other person sees what is good for me and adopts it as a good for himself, “..a special bond is established between me and this other person…
    ….
    Yet the sophisticated utilitarian may argue that there is nothing wrong with two people “using” each other as long as they mutually consent and mutually receive some advantage from the relationship. In fact, some might say such a relationship, which brings together egoism (self-interest) of the man and the egoism of the woman in a mutually beneficial way, actually is a relationship of love. ….

    For example, what is wrong with Bill and Sally having sex outside marriage if each person consents anc each person derives pleasure from it? In the sexual act, Bill’s desire for pleasure harmonizes with Sally’s desire for pleasure so the act does not appear to be selfish. They each give pleasure to each other and don’t just seek it for themselves.

    John Paul II points out one serious problem with such a relationship: “The moment they cease to match and to be of advantage to each other, nothing at all is left of the harmony. Love will be no more, in either of the persons or between them.”

    Since this kind of relationship is still dependent on what I get out of others, it prevents me from being truly being in communion with them and being committed to them only insofar–and so long as–I receive pleasure or advantage from the relationship.”

    John Paul II notes how utilitarian relationships breed fear and insecurity in one or both of the persons. A warning sign that one might be in a utilitarian relationship is when one person is afraid to bring up difficult topics or is afraid to address problems in the relationship.
    ….

    Turning Love Inward
    Men and women today are quite susceptible to falling for this illusion of love, for the modern world has turned love inward, focusing primarily on the subjective aspect. John Paul II, however, emphasizes that there is another side of love that is absolutely essential no matter how powerful our emotions and desires may be.

    This aspect has objective characteristics that go beyond the pleasurable feelings of the subjective level. True love involves virtue, friendship, and the pursuit of a common good. Both people are focused on a common goal outside of themselves. In Christian marriage,for example, a husband and wife unite themselves to the common aim of helping each other grow in holiness, deepening their own union and raising children. Most of all, true love involves the selfless pursuit of what is best for the other person, even if it means sacrificing one’s own preferences and desires…

    When considering the objective aspect of love, I must discern what kind of relationship exists between my beloved and me in reality, not simply what this relationship means in my feelings. Am I committed to this other person for who she is or for the enjoyment I receive from the relationship? Does my beloved understand what is truly best for me, and does she have the faith and virtue to help me get there? Are we deeply united by a common aim, serving each other and striving together toward a common good that is higher than each of us? or are we just living side-by-side, sharing resources and occasional good times together while we selfishly pursue our own interests and enjoyments in life? These are the kind of questions that get at the objective aspect of live.

    “Now we can see why John Paul II says that true love is “an interpersonal fact” and not just a “psychological situation.” A strong relationship is based on virtue and friendship: Unless a man and woman have the objective aspects of love in their relationship, they do not yet have a bond of true love.

    “Knowing the difference between these two aspects of love is crucial within marriage as well. What will spouses do in moments when the subjective feelings of love face?….

    “This is the beauty of self-giving love: as single people, we have great autonomy and can in large part order our lives however we want. But men and women, driven by love, freely choose to give up their autonomy, to limit their freedom, by committing themselves to the good of the spouse.Love is so powerful that it impels them to want to surrendur thier will to thier beloved in this profound way.

    “Love consists of a commitment which limit’s ones freedom–it is a giving of self, and to give oneself means just that: to limit ones freedom on behalf of another. Limitation of ones freedom might seem to be something negative and unpleasant, but love makes it postive, joyful and creative thing. Freedom exists for the sake of love.p.63

    ….”SInce my beloved completely entrusts her life to me in this unique way, I must, in turn, have a profound sense of responsibility for her–for her well-being, her happiness, her emotional security, her holiness. As John Paul II explains, “There exists in love a particular responsiblity–the responsibility for a person who is drawn into the clsosest possible partnership in the live adn activity of another, and becomes in a sense the property of whoever benefits from this give of self

    Here, John Paul II offers a standard for love that is countercultural: “The greater the feeling of responsibility fro the person the more true love there is.” Notice how didn’t say the more powerful the emotions, the more powerful the love is. Authentic love is not so self-centered and inward looking. Rather true love looks outward in awe at my beloved who has entrusted herself to me, and it has a deep sense of responsibility for her good, especially in light of the fact that she has commited herself to me in this way.
    That’s probably enough for now!

    • Vision_From_Afar

      That’s probably enough for now!

      Ya think?

  • Aprendo

    Fallacy #1 – Mistaking the Qualified for the Absolute:

    While it is true that water boils at 100 degrees centigrade, this is never an absolute statement. Water boils at this temperature at sea level, but at different temperatures according to altitude. “Exercise is good,” is an unqualified statement. If one is recovering from triple bypass surgery, certain forms of exercise are not good.

    Similarly, “choice,” the most effective ploy in the pro-abortionists arsenal, is a notion that needs qualification, but is taken as absolute. Even pro-choicers are not pro-choice about domestic violence, slavery, racism, or driving under the influence. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) are a case in point. They do not advise, “Don’t drink,” but “Don’t drink and drive”.

    President Barack Obama, who is emphatically pro-choice on abortion, made sure he qualified his enthusiasm for choice on his campaign trail. He fervently urged people to vote for him, thus qualifying their choice.

    In an issue of Glamour magazine, Faye Wattleton, former president of Planned Parenthood, stated, “The right to abortion . . . shouldn’t be a political football that candidates can kick around at will.” But choice, she seems to forget, is an act of the will. If women can choose abortion, why should politicians (as well as the populace) refrain from making it an election issue? Ms. Wattleton is perfectly willing to qualify choice when it comes to politics, but not when it comes to abortion. In the final analysis, what does being “pro-choice” really mean?
    …..

    There is little logical debate going on between pro-life and “pro-choice” sides. When argument is met by quarrelling, there can be no logical resolution of the conflict. The difference between pro- and anti-abortion proponents runs far below the surface of a logical debate both for the individuals involved as well as for all others who make up the human family. The abortion stakes are high and its implications are far-reaching. Egocentrism is the great enemy of civilization.

    What kind of society do we want? Do we want one that consists of quarrelling individuals who bear ill will toward their adversaries? Or do we want a civilization of civil people who understand and practice their communal obligations to others and value their individuality precisely in terms of that service to others?

    Socrates stood courageously against the Sophists. He wanted to engage in a productive dialogue. As a realist philosopher, he understood that there is a common measure or source of meaning (logos) across which (dia-) we can all speak. But they could not meet on that common ground, the very ground that makes dialogue possible. The Sophists were content merely to seem to be wise. Socrates wanted wisdom and would not retreat from that ideal. Yet he found himself in the predicament of a good physician being prosecuted by a pleasing cook before a jury of ignorant children.

    There is no wisdom in abortion or in its defense. Because the Sophists and pro-abortionists both reject wisdom, they also reject that which provides substance for logical argumentation. This is a crucial rejection, especially on a subject as fraught with moral import as abortion. In the absence of wisdom, there can be no fruitful discussion. Choice without wisdom has no touchstone to give it justification. A skilled surgeon in the possession of the most highly refined surgical instruments and an expertly trained staff cannot perform surgery without a patient. Logic needs something to sink its teeth in. Logic itself will not unearth truth, but it cannot operate in its absence. It has been said that there can be no real dialogue unless three are present: two who are engaged in dialogue and the silence that encompasses them both to quiet their egos and point to a wisdom beyond themselves. Pure choice is a metaphysical orphan, deprived of underlying wisdom, bereft of logical defense.http://www.integratedcatholiclife.org/2012/04/dr-demarco-seven-deadly-fallacies-in-pro-abortion-arguments/

    • Bkfraser

      Damn it aprrendo, stop flooding the bloody combox with cut and pastes. Post a link like a civilized human being. No se aprende nada…

  • Aprendo

    The corollary about what love is seems applicable to this overall view we have….

    Love Can Be Kept Only By Being Given Away

    “A happiness that is sought for ourselves alone can never be found: for a happiness that is diminished by being shared is not big enough to make us happy.

    There is a false and momentary happiness and self-satisfaction, but it always leads to sorrow because it narrows and deadens our spirit. True happiness is found in unselfish love, a love which increases in proportion as it is shared…..yet there can never be happiness in compulsion. It is not enough for love to be shared: it must be shared freely. That is to say it must be given, not merely taken. Unselfish love that is poured upon a selfish object does not bring perfect happiness: not because love requires a return or a reward for loving, but because it rests in the happiness of the beloved.And if one love receives love selfishly, the lover is not satisfied. …

    To love another is to will what is really good for him. Such love must be based on truth. A love that sees no distinction between good and evil, but loves blindly merely for the sake of loving,is hatred, rather than love. To love blindly is to love selfishly, because the goal of such love is not the real advantage of the beloved only the exercise of l love in our own souls.

    A Selfish love seldom respects the rights of the beloved to be an autonomous person. Far from respecting the truth being of another and granting his personality room to grow and expand in its own original way, the love seeks to keep him in subjection to ourselves. It insists that he conform himself to us, and works in every possible way to make him do so. A selfish love withers and dies unless it is sustained by the attention of the beloved. When we love thus, our friends exist only in order that we may love them. In loving them we seek to make pets of them, to keep them tame. Such love fears nothing more than the escape of the beloved. It requires his subjection because that is necessary for the nourishment of our own affections.

    Conscience, Freedom, and Prayer

    To consider persons and events and situations only in the light of their effect upon myself is to live on the doorstep of hell. Selfishness is doomed to frustration, centered as it is upon a lie. To live exclusively for myself, I must make all things bend themselves to my will as if I were a god. But this is impossible. Is there any more cogent indication of my creaturehood than the insufficiency of my own will? For I cannot make even my own body obey me. When I give it pleasure, it deceives my expectation and makes me suffer pain. When I give myself what I conceive to be freedom, I deceive myself and find that I am a prisoner of my own blindness and selfishness and insufficiency.

    It is true, the freedom of my will is a great thing. But this freedom is not absolute se;f-sufficiency. If the essence of freedom were merely the act of choice, then the mere fact of making choices would perfect our freedom. But there are two difficulties here. First of all, our choices must really be free–that is to say they must perfect us in our own being. They must perfect us in our own being. They must perfect us in our relation to other free beings. We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capaciteis of our real selves. From this flows the second difficulty: we too easily assume that we are our real selves, and that our choice are really the ones we want to make when, in fact, our acts of free choice are ( though morally imputable, no doubt) largely dictated by psychological compulsions, flowing from our inordinate ideas of our own importance. Our choices are too often dictated by our false selves.

    Hence I do not find myself the power to be happy merely by doing what I like. On the contrary, if I do nothing except what pleases my won fancy I will be miserable almost all the time. This would never be so if my will had not been created to use its own freedom in the love of others.

    My free will consolidates and perfects its own autonomy by freely co-ordinating its action with the will of another. There is something in the very nature of my freedom that inclines me to love, to do good, to dedicate myself to others. I have an instinct that tells me that I am less free when I am living for myself alone. The reason is that I cannot be completely independent. Since I am not self-sufficient I depend on someone else for my fulfillment…

    At the same time, my instinct to be independent is by no means evil. My freedom is not perfected by subjection to a tyrant. Subjection is not an end in itself. It is right that my nature should rebel against subjection. …

    If my will is meant to perfect its freedom in serving another will, that does not mean it will find its perfection in serving every other will…To give my will blindly to a being equal to or inferior to myself is to degrade myself and throw away my freedom…

    Conscience is the soul of freedom, its eyes, its energy its life. Without conscience, freedom never knows what to do with itself. And a rational being who does not know what to do with himself finds the tedium of life unbearable. He is literally bored to death. Just as love does not find fulfillment in loving blindly, so freedom wastes away when it merely “acts freely” without any purpose. An act without purpose lacks something of the perfection of freedom, because freedom is more than a matter of aimless choice. It is not enough to affirm my liberty by choosing “something”. I must use and develop my freedom by choosing something good.

    From Men, Women, and the Mystery of Love (This has many things I’ve found very helpful about love. I thought I’d post it in case anyone was interested.)

    “A person must not be merely the means to an end for the another person” In other words, we should never treat the people in our lives as mere instruments for achieving our own purposes.” He explains why this is so. Human persons have free will and are capable of self-determination. Unlike the animals which act according to their instincts and appetites, persons can use their reason to act deliberately. Through self-reflection, persons can choose a course of action for themselves and assert their “inner self” to the outside world through their choices. …NO one else can think for me.
    ….
    “Once utilitarian attitudes are adopted, we begin to reduce people in our lives to objects to use for our enjoyment.
    ….
    “The only way two human persons can avoid using each other is to relate in pursuit of a common good…It the other person sees what is good for me and adopts it as a good for himself, “..a special bond is established between me and this other person…
    ….
    Yet the sophisticated utilitarian may argue that there is nothing wrong with two people “using” each other as long as they mutually consent and mutually receive some advantage from the relationship. In fact, some might say such a relationship, which brings together egoism (self-interest) of the man and the egoism of the woman in a mutually beneficial way, actually is a relationship of love. ….

    ohn Paul II notes how utilitarian relationships breed fear and insecurity in one or both of the persons. A warning sign that one might be in a utilitarian relationship is when one person is afraid to bring up difficult topics or is afraid to address problems in the relationship.
    ….

    Turning Love Inward
    Men and women today are quite susceptible to falling for this illusion of love, for the modern world has turned love inward, focusing primarily on the subjective aspect. John Paul II, however, emphasizes that there is another side of love that is absolutely essential no matter how powerful our emotions and desires may be.

    This aspect has objective characteristics that go beyond the pleasurable feelings of the subjective level. True love involves virtue, friendship, and the pursuit of a common good. Both people are focused on a common goal outside of themselves. In Christian marriage,for example, a husband and wife unite themselves to the common aim of helping each other grow in holiness, deepening their own union and raising children. Most of all, true love involves the selfless pursuit of what is best for the other person, even if it means sacrificing one’s own preferences and desires…

    When considering the objective aspect of love, I must discern what kind of relationship exists between my beloved and me in reality, not simply what this relationship means in my feelings. Am I committed to this other person for who she is or for the enjoyment I receive from the relationship? Does my beloved understand what is truly best for me, and does she have the faith and virtue to help me get there? Are we deeply united by a common aim, serving each other and striving together toward a common good that is higher than each of us? or are we just living side-by-side, sharing resources and occasional good times together while we selfishly pursue our own interests and enjoyments in life? These are the kind of questions that get at the objective aspect of live.

    “Now we can see why John Paul II says that true love is “an interpersonal fact” and not just a “psychological situation.” A strong relationship is based on virtue and friendship: Unless a man and woman have the objective aspects of love in their relationship, they do not yet have a bond of true love.

    “Knowing the difference between these two aspects of love is crucial within marriage as well. What will spouses do in moments when the subjective feelings of love face?….

    “This is the beauty of self-giving love: as single people, we have great autonomy and can in large part order our lives however we want. But men and women, driven by love, freely choose to give up their autonomy, to limit their freedom, by committing themselves to the good of the spouse.Love is so powerful that it impels them to want to surrendur thier will to thier beloved in this profound way.

    “Love consists of a commitment which limit’s ones freedom–it is a giving of self, and to give oneself means just that: to limit ones freedom on behalf of another. Limitation of ones freedom might seem to be something negative and unpleasant, but love makes it postive, joyful and creative thing. Freedom exists for the sake of love.p.63

    ….”SInce my beloved completely entrusts her life to me in this unique way, I must, in turn, have a profound sense of responsibility for her–for her well-being, her happiness, her emotional security, her holiness. As John Paul II explains, “There exists in love a particular responsiblity–the responsibility for a person who is drawn into the clsosest possible partnership in the live adn activity of another, and becomes in a sense the property of whoever benefits from this give of self

    Here, John Paul II offers a standard for love that is countercultural: “The greater the feeling of responsibility fro the person the more true love there is.” Notice how didn’t say the more powerful the emotions, the more powerful the love is. Authentic love is not so self-centered and inward looking. Rather true love looks outward in awe at my beloved who has entrusted herself to me, and it has a deep sense of responsibility for her good, especially in light of the fact that she has commited herself to me in this way.
    For example, what is wrong with Bill and Sally having sex outside marriage if each person consents anc each person derives pleasure from it? In the sexual act, Bill’s desire for pleasure harmonizes with Sally’s desire for pleasure so the act does not appear to be selfish. They each give pleasure to each other and don’t just seek it for themselves.

    John Paul II points out one serious problem with such a relationship: “The moment they cease to match and to be of advantage to each other, nothing at all is left of the harmony. Love will be no more, in either of the persons or between them.”

    Since this kind of relationship is still dependent on what I get out of others, it prevents me from being truly being in communion with them and being committed to them only insofar–and so long as–I receive pleasure or advantage from the relationship.”

    ‎”Free will is not given to us merely as a firework to be shot off into the air. There are some men who seem to think their acts are freer in proportion as they are without purpose, as if a rational purpose imposed some kind of limitation upon us. That is like saying that one is richer if he throws money out the window than if he spends it.” -Thomas Merton From No Man Is An Island

  • Joshua

    When did we cease to be a “clump of cells” and start being something totally different??? Basic biology: we are nothing but cells. I just have more than I did 2 decades ago. We are a clump of cells that are defined by genetics. We are human because we have 46 chromosomes found only in humans. If we are indeed human from the very start then we must be endowed with human rights. They are not called ” person rights”.

    • Alexandra

      Some people have more or less than 46 chromosomes! The number of chromosomes we have doesn’t define us as human.

      • guest

        It seems that you know an awful lot about what doesn’t define us as humans, but fall short in answering what does. At least Joshua is attempting to define humanity which (in your opinion?) should be a fairly simple biological answer, right?

        • Alexandra

          That’s not the distinction that I’m making. It’s tricky because of having a limited vocabulary in biology and whatever philosophy of personhood there is.

          I acknowledge that a human embryo is a human. Is it fully human and deserving of the rights of an autonomous human? I don’t think so. I’m not a biologist, I’m a geologist, so I don’t feel like I have any business trying to define what makes a fetus worthy of protection. That doesn’t mean that I can’t make judgements like that an embryo isn’t fully human. I trust biologists and doctors to make an informed call in this very complicated issue. I never claimed that it was a simple biological one. It’s incredibly complicated.

          • guest

            And yet you are put in a position to make exactly that call. In fact, my 12 year old niece could be placed in a position to make that call. She is given the “right” to decide if her unwanted pregnancy is in fact human, and she doesn’t even have to bring an adult with her. I am thankful that my niece chooses instead to abstain from sex, because she knows she is in no position to have to make those decisions…and it doesn’t seem that making that call gets easier with age.

          • Korou

            Which is why it’s a good thing that the law of the land has decided the issue for her.

          • guest

            Please explain how the law of the land has decided anything for her. They have given her a “right” to make the decision, but have not made any decision for her. Is a 12 year old really capable of deciding something that a grown woman calls “tricky.” Sure, she can decide “I don’t want to be pregnant” but that doesn’t change the fact that the only way she will become un-pregnant is by killing something that “may or may not be fully human.”

          • Korou

            The law of the land has decided that if she does choose to have an abortion she’s not committing murder.
            If the 12-year old is not capable of deciding if she is ready to be a mother yet, then we can assume that she isn’t.

        • Korou

          I’d say that Alexandra is doing a pretty good job fielding all the questions here.

  • Aprendo

    2. Silent No More

    The pro-life movement is composed of more and more women and men across the world who are speaking out about how they regret having their child killed by abortion. These men and women are inspiring others to acknowledge their own pain, seek healing from their abortion, and likewise become voices for life. Abortion advocates can do nothing to stop this tidal wave. In fact, it puts them in quite a dilemma, because for decades they have been saying, “Listen to the voices of women!” Now, if they practice what they preach, they hear those women’s voices repudiate that same preaching.

    The “Silent No More Awareness Campaign” (a joint project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life) provides these women and men an opportunity to share their testimonies in public gatherings (most notably every January 22 in front of the Supreme Court), before the media, in pulpits, and in legislative hearings. As Jennifer O’Neill, the campaign’s National Celebrity Spokeswoman, says, “Experience trumps theory.”

    Though the pro-life movement has put up the signs along the road of abortion saying “Wrong way,” many have ignored those signs. Now, having reached the dead end, these women and men have repented, turned around, and have themselves become the sign pointing society away from the road of abortion. (For more information, see http://www.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org.)

    3. Abortion Survivors Speak Out

    The pro-life movement is also marked by more and more involvement of the survivors of abortion. It is not simply the presence of youth in the movement which is reason for hope; it is the motivation they have. If you ask them why they are involved, they will tell you, “It could have been me.” These young people realize that Roe vs. Wade is a personal insult to them, because it says that they were not persons when they were in the womb. In speaking up for the unborn, these youth are also speaking up for themselves. They likewise realize that among the tens of millions killed by abortion were people who would have been their friends, neighbors, classmates, spouses, brothers, sisters, and cousins. This is an awareness and motivation that the abortion advocates can do nothing to stop.
    =======
    http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/a-pro-life-state-of-the-union
    http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full

    After-birth abortion: why should the baby live? — Giubilini and Minerva — Journal of Medical Ethic

    http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full/reply#medethics_el_3858

    It is both disturbing and regrettable that the “choice”
    being proposed in this article has chilling similarities to the Nazi process of
    ‘selection.’

    Do these authors even know where the concept they use
    “lives…not worth living” came from?

    Do these authors know that they are following in the
    footsteps of two once distinguished but now infamous German academics: the
    jurist Karl Binding of the University of Leipzig, and Alfred Hoche, Professor
    of Psychiatry at the University of Freiburg?

    Way back in 1920, Hoche and Binding argued that “…the
    principle of ‘allowable killing’ should be extended to the incurably sick… The
    right to live must be earned and justified…Theirs is not a life worth living;
    hence their destruction is not only tolerable but humane.” The crucial work — “The Permission to
    Destroy Life Unworthy of Life” (Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten
    Lebens) included as “unworthy life” not only the incurably ill but large
    segments of the mentally ill, the feebleminded, and “retarded and deformed”
    children. More than that, the authors professionalized and medicalized the
    entire concept. And they stressed the therapeutic goal [i.e. the intention] of
    that concept: destroying life unworthy of life is “purely a healing treatment”
    and a “healing work.” (Robert Jay Lifton:”The Nazi doctors: medical
    killing and the psychology of genocide”p.46 (1986)

    The Nazi directors of the German abortion and euthanasia
    programmes embraced the concept of ‘life unworthy of life’ (See the policy
    speech by Gerhard Wagner (head of the Nazi physicians association): “Rasse und
    Bevölkerungspolitik,” Der Parteitag der Ehre, vom 8, bis 14, September 1936.
    Offizieller Bericht über den Verlauf des Reichsparteitages mit sämtlichen
    Kongreßreden, Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., 1936, pp.150-60).

    The authors of this current article appear to be ignorant
    also of the fact that the term “after-birth abortions” is not
    original either: it was already in use by Hitler’s physicians:

    “Making widespread use of the Darwinian term ‘selection’,
    the Nazis sought to take over the functions of nature (natural selection)… in
    orchestrating their own ‘selections’, their own version of human evolution…Newborn
    infants with Down syndrome were identified at birth and placed on a register for
    lethal medical treatment after a perfunctory examination by a board of
    ‘specialist’ doctors: the Reich Committee for the Scientific Registering of
    Serious Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses (Reichsausschuss zur
    wissenschaftlichen Erfassung erb- und anlagebedingter schwerer Leiden), headed
    by Karl Brandt, Hitler’s personal
    physician. On August 18, 1939, the
    committee issued a decree that required reporting of all newborns and infants
    under the age of three with suspected “serious hereditary diseases.” These “diseases” included Down’s syndrome,
    deformities, paralysis, deafness, blindness, and others. While physicians had
    been unofficially killing babies “unfit to live” since at least 1933, the
    creation of this committee officially authorized such killings. Dr. Karl Brandt explained the aim: “The
    objective was to obtain possession of these abortions and destroy them as soon
    as possible after they had been brought into the world.” (Henry Friedlander: The Origins of Nazi
    Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (Chapel Hill: University of
    North Carolina Press, 1995, PP.57-8)

    “A questionnaire was prepared in which the attending
    physician provided a detailed history. The doctors also made predictions about
    the baby’s future quality of life. The questionnaires were then sent to a
    committee of physicians who determined whether to give the child a mark of “+”,
    which recommended extermination.”
    (Forgotten Crimes: The Holocaust and people with Disabilities. A Report by Disability Rights Advocates, California,
    2001 pp. 13-14.)

    Perhaps the only excuse for the atrocities being proposed by
    these authors today is that they are either too callow or too ignorant of the
    Nazi precedents to what they are advocating to resurrect in this current
    Journal article.

    We should not go down that path again.
    http://blogs.bmj.com/medical-ethics/2012/02/28/liberals-are-disgusting-in-defence-of-the-publication-of-after-birth-abortion/#comment-451456352

    As books like Family and Civilization attest to and the experience of history, demographics as destiny. By our excessive individualism we are destroying our economy and future. We are being replaced by immigrants who look upon children more as a positive.

    UN population experts have declared that the very existence of some nations has now been endangered by a decline in the numbers of children that families are having.
    =====
    According to Dr. Joseph Chamie, former Director of the Population Division of the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs,

    Very low fertility levels lead not only to population decline, but also to rapid population ageing. These changes in size and structure have significant social, economic, and political consequences for these countries and regions. And these consequences need to be addressed today, not tomorrow. (Statement to the Commission on Population and Development, 32nd session, March 1999)
    …….

    Moreover, the mentality of the population controllers reflects a spiritual myth: that human happiness and fulfillment can be found by pushing the “other” out of the way. This, indeed, is the mentality that fuels abortion and euthanasia, as well as population control. The “other” is seen as a threat that must be eliminated, rather than as an opportunity to give oneself away in love, that the other may grow. Precisely in that self-giving (“This is my body, given for you…”) does the Christian see fulfillment, rather than in the myth that I am liberated only when the other is killed (“This is my body; I can do what I want”).

    http://www.catholic.com/magazine/articles/planet-un-parenthood

  • Aprendo

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9113394/Killing-babies-no-different-from-abortion-experts-say.html

    Hope by George Weigel to some random pages, I came across a little bit of the background for Evangelium Vitae under the heading “The Gospel of Life and the Future of Freedom” which I’ll paraphrase and quote some parts that stuck out to me. The following coming from pages 756-757.

    There was a meeting of the College of Cardinals to discuss threats to the dignity of human life and a lecture was by Ratzinger who had
    “ located the heart of the problem in the philosophical nihilism (which says there’s no objective basis for truth, parenthesis with definition mine) of contemporary Western high cultures: when a ‘freedom of indifference’ dominated society, the dignity of human life was seriously imperiled. Ratzinger used the example of Weimar Germany as a cautionary tale. If moral relativism was legally absolutized in the name of tolerance, basic rights were also relativized and the door was open to totalitarianism. Nazism had not found it difficult to violate the most basic human rights in a society that no longer knew how to make public arguments for absolute values”.
    Pope John Paul II was asked to give an authoritative expression the Churches Magisterium regarding the dignity of human life and and wrote a letter to every bishop in the world asking for suggestions and after four years of consultation we have this encyclical.

    “The encyclical begins with a survey of contemporary threats to the dignity of human life, which John Paul sums up in the phrase ‘the culture of death’”….
    “Evangelium Vitae broke new ground in historical analysis, doctrine, moral teaching, and the practical application of moral norms to the complexities of democratic politics”…
    “Evangelium Vitae argued that democracies risked self-destruction if moral wrongs were legally defended as rights”…
    …”A Church that had identified law-governed democracies as the best possible expression of basic social ethics was trying to prevent democracies from self destructing. John Paul, a longtime critic of utilitarianism, was trying to alert democracies old and new to the danger that reducing human beings to useful (or useless) object did to the cause of freedom”
    http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html

  • Aprendo

    From the editor’s blog!
    As Editor of the Journal, I would like to defend its publication. The arguments presented, in fact, are largely not new and have been presented repeatedly in the academic literature and public fora by the most eminent philosophers and bioethicists in the world, including Peter Singer, Michael Tooley and John Harris in defence of infanticide, which the authors call after-birth abortion.

    The novel contribution of this paper is not an argument in favour of infanticide – the paper repeats the arguments made famous by Tooley and Singer – but rather their application in consideration of maternal and family interests. The paper also draws attention to the fact that infanticide is practised in the Netherlands.

    Many people will and have disagreed with these arguments. However, the goal of the Journal of Medical Ethics is not to present the Truth or promote some one moral view. It is to present well reasoned argument based on widely accepted premises. The authors provocatively argue that there is no moral difference between a fetus and a newborn. Their capacities are relevantly similar. If abortion is permissible, infanticide should be permissible. The authors proceed logically from premises which many people accept to a conclusion that many of those people would reject.

    It is both disturbing and regrettable that the “choice”
    being proposed in this article has chilling similarities to the Nazi process of
    ‘selection.’

    Do these authors even know where the concept they use
    “lives…not worth living” came from?

    Do these authors know that they are following in the
    footsteps of two once distinguished but now infamous German academics: the
    jurist Karl Binding of the University of Leipzig, and Alfred Hoche, Professor
    of Psychiatry at the University of Freiburg?

    Way back in 1920, Hoche and Binding argued that “…the
    principle of ‘allowable killing’ should be extended to the incurably sick… The
    right to live must be earned and justified…Theirs is not a life worth living;
    hence their destruction is not only tolerable but humane.” The crucial work — “The Permission to
    Destroy Life Unworthy of Life” (Die Freigabe der Vernichtung lebensunwerten
    Lebens) included as “unworthy life” not only the incurably ill but large
    segments of the mentally ill, the feebleminded, and “retarded and deformed”
    children. More than that, the authors professionalized and medicalized the
    entire concept. And they stressed the therapeutic goal [i.e. the intention] of
    that concept: destroying life unworthy of life is “purely a healing treatment”
    and a “healing work.” (Robert Jay Lifton:”The Nazi doctors: medical
    killing and the psychology of genocide”p.46 (1986)

    The Nazi directors of the German abortion and euthanasia
    programmes embraced the concept of ‘life unworthy of life’ (See the policy
    speech by Gerhard Wagner (head of the Nazi physicians association): “Rasse und
    Bevölkerungspolitik,” Der Parteitag der Ehre, vom 8, bis 14, September 1936.
    Offizieller Bericht über den Verlauf des Reichsparteitages mit sämtlichen
    Kongreßreden, Munich: Zentralverlag der NSDAP., 1936, pp.150-60).

    The authors of this current article appear to be ignorant
    also of the fact that the term “after-birth abortions” is not
    original either: it was already in use by Hitler’s physicians:

    “Making widespread use of the Darwinian term ‘selection’,
    the Nazis sought to take over the functions of nature (natural selection)… in
    orchestrating their own ‘selections’, their own version of human evolution…Newborn
    infants with Down syndrome were identified at birth and placed on a register for
    lethal medical treatment after a perfunctory examination by a board of
    ‘specialist’ doctors: the Reich Committee for the Scientific Registering of
    Serious Hereditary and Congenital Illnesses (Reichsausschuss zur
    wissenschaftlichen Erfassung erb- und anlagebedingter schwerer Leiden), headed
    by Karl Brandt, Hitler’s personal
    physician. On August 18, 1939, the
    committee issued a decree that required reporting of all newborns and infants
    under the age of three with suspected “serious hereditary diseases.” These “diseases” included Down’s syndrome,
    deformities, paralysis, deafness, blindness, and others. While physicians had
    been unofficially killing babies “unfit to live” since at least 1933, the
    creation of this committee officially authorized such killings. Dr. Karl Brandt explained the aim: “The
    objective was to obtain possession of these abortions and destroy them as soon
    as possible after they had been brought into the world.” (Henry Friedlander: The Origins of Nazi
    Genocide: From Euthanasia to the Final Solution (Chapel Hill: University of
    North Carolina Press, 1995, PP.57-8)

    “A questionnaire was prepared in which the attending
    physician provided a detailed history. The doctors also made predictions about
    the baby’s future quality of life. The questionnaires were then sent to a
    committee of physicians who determined whether to give the child a mark of “+”,
    which recommended extermination.”
    (Forgotten Crimes: The Holocaust and people with Disabilities. A Report by Disability Rights Advocates, California,
    2001 pp. 13-14.)

    Perhaps the only excuse for the atrocities being proposed by
    these authors today is that they are either too callow or too ignorant of the
    Nazi precedents to what they are advocating to resurrect in this current
    Journal article.

    We should not go down that path again.
    http://blogs.bmj.com/medical-ethics/2012/02/28/liberals-are-disgusting-in-defence-of-the-publication-of-after-birth-abortion/#comment-451456352

  • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

    One thing I wish the author had added to the objectivity of conception being the beginning of human life is this: even if you think the first moment of human life comes some time after conception, that is NO logical reason to allow abortion before that point. If you think a baby is human after the heart starts beating, and I think it’s human before, you can’t just kill your baby before the first heartbeat based on what you “think” about it.

    (Analogy: if we have a demolition company and you think the building is empty, I think someone’s still inside, you don’t just trigger the detonation based on what you “think”. You either go and find out, or leave the building alone to be on the safe side.)

    With abortion (after conception) we know we are talking about a living “something” which will die as a result of the procedure. If some of us think it’s “human” and others think it’s “not human”, the ONLY LOGICAL course of action is to leave it alone and wait and see. (More often than not, it turns out to be human.) This is why the moment of conception is the “objective” point beyond which you do not, can not, allow abortion to happen, even if you are in the “don’t think it’s human” camp. If those people were actually thinking logically and scientifically, they would agree.

    • Kristen indallas

      Perfectly said!

    • Vision_From_Afar

      One thing I wish the author had added to the objectivity of conception being the beginning of human life is this: even if you think the first moment of human life comes some time after conception, that is NO logical reason to allow abortion before that point. If you think a baby is human after the heart starts beating, and I think it’s human before, you can’t just kill your baby before the first heartbeat based on what you “think” about it.
      —-
      To sum up your argument. You think one way, I think another. There is no logical reason to go with what I think, because of what you “think”? What a religious argument we have here…

      (Analogy[...])
      —-
      Framing it differently does not re-inforce your argument. Sorry. :)

      With abortion (after conception) we know we are talking about a living “something” which will die as a result of the procedure. If some of us think it’s “human” and others think it’s “not human”, the ONLY LOGICAL course of action is to leave it alone and wait and see.

      What? Really? You want to base this entire argument on logic? That’s a one-way trip to euthanasia-ville. The “only logical” course of action for those who contribute nothing to society is to remove them, allowing the society to flurish without any dead weight. I don’t necessarily agree with that, because I think, and I apply reason beyond pure logic.

      (More often than not, it turns out to be human.)
      —-
      And when it’s not? What then?

      This is why the moment of conception is the “objective” point beyond which you do not, can not, allow abortion to happen, even if you are in the “don’t think it’s human” camp. If those people were actually thinking logically and scientifically, they would agree.
      —-
      Hate to break it to you, but most of us in the “don’t think it’s human” camp, “objectively” consider it NONE OF YOUR DAMN BUSINESS at the moment of conception.

      • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

        If we’re getting ready to demolish a building and there may or may not be people still inside, what’s the logical course of action? If we make the wrong choice, can we tell the judge that it’s none of his damn business how we do our job?

        • Vision_From_Afar

          Only if your metaphor means we’re killing the mother (i.e. – demolishing the building), but checking to make sure she’s not pregnant (no one inside). Sounds more like an execution of a full adult than an abortion. Maybe you can help me understand your metaphor better.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            You don’t need to understand the metaphor to answer the hypothetical question. Would you blow up a building when there’s a doubt about whether there might be people inside?

            The explanation is as follow. (But if you haven’t yet answered the hypothetical, answer it before you continue reading.) With abortion you are proposing to commit a lethal action against “something”. You and I have different opinions about whether there’s a human being in harm’s way. Would you push the button without being sure? Of course not (if you were moral and had any sense, I mean)! You either rely on an objective standard that gives you absolute certainty you’re not killing a human being — no abortion after conception — or you do not abort at all until you can be certain. (At the moment of birth you will see whether the baby is a human or not. If it is a pod person or zombie, kill it in the delivery room.)

            Another version of the same metaphor: you take a nasty hit on the head and fall to the ground limp and unresponsive. Some of us think you’re dead, others think you’re just unconscious. Should those of us who think you’re dead go ahead and bury you based on what they “think”? Or would you prefer that the group checked you for a pulse first?

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            you take a nasty hit on the head and fall to the ground limp and unresponsive. [...] Should those of us who think you’re dead go ahead and bury you[?]“

            Extend that a bit further. What you describe sounds like a coma, but consider that they stay in that coma for 2 years, 5 years, 10 years, maybe even 20 years. At some point, you must decide whether that individual has the capacity to wake up. You have to decide whether or not they’re still “alive,” whether they’re still a “person.”

            What standard would you use to make that distinction? And if it’s truly objective, at what phase of life does it apply? All phases, including before birth, or only after they’ve been born?

            Edit: Failed closing tag…

          • mary york
          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            First: Vegetative state, not coma. I’m not entirely sure what the difference is, but I know it’s an important distinction.

            Second: Most people who have been in a long-term coma (5+ years, I believe) never wake up. Those that do are very likely to have severe brain damage and a highly diminished quality of life. There are exceptions, yes, but they are extremely rare.

            Third: That family made the decision to keep that man alive, knowing there was very little chance of any real recovery. I applaud that. By no means though, would I attempt to force someone to make that decision.

          • Cal-J

            Not quite the same case.

            The comatose are preserved from biological death in a technological “hang”. The technology used to preserve their state extends their allotted time in the coma before their biological faculties collapse and they die. This falls under the purview of “extraordinary care”.

            (Quick explanation: Ordinary care consists of the maintenance of four major factors that human beings need for health: food, drink, warmth, and hygiene — deny any of these and the health of the human being itself deteriorates; all other treatments are extraordinary situations, hence, “extraordinary care”).

            Extraordinary care generally defers to the judgment of the close family or those appointed by the patient to judge.

            “At some point, you must decide whether that individual has the capacity to wake up. You have to decide whether or not they’re still “alive,” whether they’re still a “person.””

            No. No no no nonononono.

            They don’t stop being “a person” because they’re in a coma. A more legitimate rendition of that decision would be whether or no it’s worth prolonging the coma. Having long passed the natural point of death via technological means to no result, one can legitimately decide the hang is no longer worth prolonging.

            Whether they’re a person or not is an altogether too melodramatic version of the issue. You remain a person. Just a dead one.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            A: That depends entirely on who comes up to me (assuming I’m foreman on this project) yelling about someone being inside. I might pause and check with my crew, seeking verification, but if this same person runs up to every building about to be demolished and says the same thing, I’m going to start wondering about his motives. Your analogy still doesn’t work at all, but there you have it.

            An absolute certainty? It must be nice to live in a world where absolute certainty can be achieved. Perhaps you could share the secret of this certitude with our justice system, so they may convict people with “absolute certainty.”

            Funny story about your last analogy: There is no pulse yet for the “something” of an early term abortion. Yet another metaphor fail.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            If you forbid abortion between the moments of conception and birth, you have absolute certainty that you’re not killing a human. What mental block do you have that prevents you from understanding that?

            The point of the metaphors is simple, and I think you’re being dishonest when you pretend you don’t understand them. My claim is that if you don’t know whether a baby is human or not, the only moral choice is NOT to murder it.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            I actually do understand your first point. I just think you’re applying it incorrectly. You’d rather not consider the possibility that there might be some brief period after conception wherein the fetus is not yet “human,” because that would raise all sorts of uncomfortable possibilities. I understand the point of metaphors, I’m just not sure you use them effectively. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree at this point. Subject: [badcatholic] Re: Guest Post on Abortion

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Sure, we can “consider” that possibility. But we aren’t going to MURDER THE BABY while we’re mulling it over, because we know (objectively) that we cannot at that point be sure. Good rule of thumb to live by: if you aren’t SURE, don’t murder anybody.

          • ap

            If there is some brief period wherein the fetus is not yet “human” then at what point does it become human?

          • http://www.facebook.com/joannabanana42 Joanna Robinson

            Actually, a human fetus develops a heartbeat around the third week of pregnancy, before most women even know they’re pregnant.

      • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

        “More often than not” was a little joke. In all of human history the baby has always turned out human. Possible exception of Chuck Norris.

        • Vision_From_Afar

          lol: Chuck Norris. *hat tip*

      • Oregon Catholic

        Can’t stand being hoisted on your own science petard can you? Keep making those irrational, subjective arguments…

        • Vision_From_Afar

          Que? I don’t follow your reasoning, sir.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Biology makes it pretty clear that life begins at conception. Furthermore, if there is any possibility that a zygote/embryo/fetus might be a person (there is), it is far better to err on the side of caution, and not end up killing an innocent human being.

      • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

        A) You make it my business when my federal tax dollars pay for it.

        B) Fine. I, with the backing of objective science, state that human life begins at conception. You disagree. The best objective standards we have say that there is a person that will die if we perform the abortion. You don’t think a person will die. There. That’s what we’re actually dealing with.

        The entire point was that, when dealing with anything that can harm human life, it is far better to err on the side of caution than to end up killing an innocent human being.

        • Alexandra

          No public monies pay for abortions. That’s simply not true. People like me, who make donations to PP pay for abortions and are glad to help other women with being able to make their own decisions about when they will carry their pregnancy to term.

          • Edge

            Here let me help make that a true statement:

            “public monies pay for abortions. That’s simply true. People like me, who make donations to PP pay for THE MURDER OF INNOCENT CHILDREN and are glad to help other women with being able to SELFISHLY MURDER THEIR OWN CHILDREN”

            There fixed it for you – your welcome!! ☺

            (PLEASE NOTE – the above statement is a correction to Alexandra’s comment from above and in NO WAY would this this commenter EVER intentionally donate to PP or to any organization (unfortunately taxes are the single source of the known exception) that helps MURDER CHILDREN as this commenter believes that PP and all contributors are (by their own admission) accessories to the MURDER – BRUTAL MURDER of millions of children and this commenter further believes that they will someday be held accountable – in this life or the next. Ways of atonement would START with channeling the funds to groups like Rachel’s Vineyard or some other group that helps the second victims – the mothers who had a hand in the murder of their own children. It will not bring the murdered children back, but will aid in the healing of those suffering souls.)

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Any public money that goes to PP cannot, and is not, used for abortions. It’s used for all of the other family planning and preventative care services they offer, such as STD tests, pregnancy tests, and mammograms. The money used for abortions is all privately given through donations.

          • Erin

            Money is fungible, as in, it all goes into one pot. And PP DOES NOT DO MAMMOGRAMS. The lives saved by ending PP’s abortion mills would swamp any statistic of lives “saved” through their “mammograms” and “preventive services.”

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            By law, it can’t go into one pot. Federal (tax) money must go into a separate pot than the money used for abortions.

            I went to PP’s website and looked, turns out you’re right, they don’t do mammograms. I must have heard that from when the President of PP said they did. My mistake.

          • CPE Gaebler

            WOW, someone drank the PP Kool-Aid! I don’t know how someone could have gone through the Komen-PP fiasco without somehow picking up on the fact that, as Erin so eloquently put it, PP DOES NOT DO MAMMOGRAMS.

            Furthermore, aren’t they under investigations to discern whether or not they actually do use public funds for abortions? Might wanna wait until the jury’s in.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            aren’t they under investigations to discern whether or not they actually do use public funds for abortions?

            It seems that they are, although the best source I could find for confirmation is The Washington Times. I couldn’t find anything directly from Congress, so I don’t know the accuracy of that.

            Might wanna wait until the jury’s in.

            Probably right. I assumed that since it was a federal crime, they would definitely be separating their money. I still believe they would, but we’ll have to wait and see.

          • Margaret

            Planned Parenthood received $363 million from taxpayers in 2009. How does that not count for “public money?”

            http://www.lifenews.com/2010/12/16/planned-parenthood-gets-363m-in-tax-money-abortions-rise/

          • Guest 12345

            3% of their services are abortion services. They also provide pap smears and such for women who cannot otherwise afford it. Tax money pays for these services, just like they do at your local low-income hospital clinic.

          • Edge

            …And the news reports are fair and balanced, and the moon is made of cheese and Santa left you the presents under the tree, and the unicorns gnomes are all your friends in your make believe world, right???

          • Guest12345

            Wow. That was an attempt to be insulting without adding anything of substance. How very Christian!

            Even if my sources are incorrect and the number of abortions are double or triple the report, it’s still far, far less than half of what they do. It’s also a lot less than Senator Kyl’s assertion that “well over 90%” of what PP does is abortion – which he then said, “was not intended to be a factual statement.”

            Who is living in the world of “unicorns gnomes” now?

          • Guest12345

            Wow. That was an attempt to be insulting without adding anything of substance. How very Christian!

            Even if my sources are incorrect and the number of abortions are double or triple the report, it’s still far, far less than half of what they do. It’s also a lot less than Senator Kyl’s assertion that “well over 90%” of what PP does is abortion – which he then said, “was not intended to be a factual statement.”

            Who is living in the world of “unicorns gnomes” now?

          • Ckdaw

            I apologize for the sarcasm of the above “Edge” (Really, the ad hominem is ridiculous…don’t get sloppy Edge…treat as you would like to be treated) but I have heard the 3% statistic thrown around a lot, and percentages are well and good, but in hard numbers, that 3% adds up to around 200,000 abortions a year…for us anti-abortionists who view abortion as the death of a fellow human life, those numbers are tantamount to genocide. PP is the biggest provider of abortions in the country…for all the good it does in providing services to underprivileged women, it is easy for us to disregard when considering lives lost…just as a government in another part of the world would be hailed as evil for killing thousands of its citizens, no matter how much free health care they supplied to the others.

            Many of my girlfriends in college got abortions because they thought they didn’t have any other options. I think that’s just as unfair to women as pro-abortionists claim restricting abortion/contraception would be. Let’s give real options to women, especially those that want to keep their children but think it is economically unfeasible. Let’s take the money funding abortion and fund single mothers and underpriviliged families instead. Critical to this whole ordeal is the demonization of both sides…we call you guys death mongers, you call us religious fanatics, which gets us no where. I get why you think you’re on the good side, but I truly think you’re mistaken. I’ve honestly wondered if I’m wrong on this…which on other issues, I know that I have been. But here, my conscience stands firm. Abortion is wrong. You are not an egg, you are not a sperm, you are what was created at the wonderful moment those things come together. Your DNA is written, inevitably across the strands…at this fact, all those other statistics and facts fall away.

          • MotherSetonsDaughter

            PP manages to keep that 3% down by counting every little thing done while a client is in their clinic. If a woman comes in for a pap smear, she’ll get counseling regarding STD’s, tests for STD’s, a pack of pills or condoms, and as she’s walking out the door she will be handed a bag with an oral dam and some literature. That pap smear racked up 6+ services. What that 3% figure doesn’t tell you is that abortions account for over 70% of PP’s INCOME. Another little known fact, in 2010 PP peformed (charged for) 260 abortions for every ONE referral for adoption. Follow the [blood] money! And that figure comes straight from PP’s own annual report.

          • Alexandra

            And Catholic Charities got something like $2-3 billion.

            Public funding for PP is tiny, where as the money supporting faith based organizations in both actual funding an tax exemptions is huge.

          • Edge

            So what you are saying is…

            …funds to abortion mills kills small humans and harms women psychologically

            … funds to Catholic Charities is used to save lives and help people in need, placing children into adoptive homes, etc…

            Agreed! Now if we could stop public funding to just one of these… but which one??? I know, the one that does good should get the funding. :)

          • Margaret

            How is that even relevant? Catholic charities are there to help people in need, assist women with crisis pregnancies, feed the hungry, etc.

            Last time I checked, PP was in the business of killing children and harming women…

          • Alexandra

            How is that not relevant? It’s work spread a philosophy that I disagree with. I object to those CPC being funded. A lot of secularists to.

            PP gets money for reproductive health care, not abortions. It’s not like they have infinite amounts of money and the government money allows them to free up their massive reserves for even more abortions. The government money doesn’t even begin to cover the costs of things like STD tests, and annual exams. PP helps people in need in a really important way.

            Point is that public money doesn’t pay for abortion, but it does pay for things you disagree with. It also pays for things I disagree with. You can’t really do too much stomping about PP getting money for healthcare services when your CPCs are getting money to convince women to carry their pregnancy to term and give their baby up of adoption.

          • wineinthewater

            Government funds don’t pay for abortions directly, but they help pay for the facilities where abortions are done. They help pay the salaries of doctors who do abortions. They help pay for the receptionist who takes appointments for abortions. They help pay the utility bills for facilities where abortions are done, as well as the property taxes and rent and building, etc.

            That is the nature of being fungible. Governmental funds to not pay for abortions, but they certainly do subsidize the business of abortion.

            And let’s consider what they *do* directly pay for. They pay for contraception. But PP has been busted a couple of times for distributing low-cost and lower-than-average-effectiveness contraception (both condoms and pills). They put an emphasis on the condom and the pill, two of the contraceptive technologies with the highest divide between ideal and typical use effectiveness rates .. and they put a focus on the segments of society, the young and the poor, most likely to use them incorrectly. And when those methods fail, PP is there to do the abortion with relationship already established.

            Governmental funds don’t pay for abortions, they make the abortion business more profitable for PP.

          • Alexandra

            I fail to see how that really matters. Like I said, stuff I disagree with gets paid for by government funds. That’s the nature of living in a society.

            The accusation that PP is encouraging people to have sex so that they can make money off abortions is just ridiculous. You really believe that the organization conspires to do that? Like pharma companies that are hiding the cure to cancer that we already have so they can make money off of people dying?

            PP is run by both staff and volunteers who genuinely care about reproductive healthcare.

            Yes, a lot of PP’s revenue comes in from abortions. But that is because they can’t use any of their federal funding to pay for abortions. They aren’t charging people much or anything for STD tests, pap smears, or contraceptives so they don’t make money off of that. Because they’re paying for it with the federal funding. In order to be able to offer abortions they have to charge full price. The vast majority of the money they bring in is from abortions, but that doesn’t makes PP a giant conspiring abortion mill, it makes it a healthcare center that doesn’t receive funding to subsidize abortions.

          • wineinthewater

            We’ve had more than one former PP employee and and manager say that that’s exactly what they do.

            There are many basically good people who work for PP, people who really care about women, people who really want to do good. But that reality is that PP as a business is another matter entirely. Whether or not they purposefully enacted their contraception policy to create abortion business or not, the reality is that the PP approach to contraception creates abortion business for PP. The reality is that the things that public funds do pay for foster the market for PP’s abortion business.

          • Alexandra

            PP is a non-profit.

            I can’t believe people are that cynical about their motives. No one at PP is getting rich off of abortions.

            Can you point me to these stories about passing out bad contraceptives to get abortions?

          • wineinthewater

            For example, in 2005, a Consumer Reports test had PP condoms come out at the *very* bottom.

            Now, is this because a conscious decision was made to buy cheap condoms that were more likely to break in order to drive abortion business or a conscious decision was made to get as many condoms as possible on a budget? I don’t know. But the reality is that PP’s primary income stream is abortion and more contraception failures mean more abortions. I personally think there is at least some level of intent there, but that is just my opinion. But regardless of intent, PP’s contraception policies and efforts help drive it’s abortion business. Intentional or not, that is a good reason not to fund their contraception policies and efforts.

            BTW, non-profit does not mean what most people think it means. I have worked for more than one non-profit. It doesn’t mean you don’t make a profit, it means you are restricted as to what you can do with your profit. PP can make all the profit they want, they just have to use it a certain way .. like paying their president $400k a year and their affiliate CEOs over $250,000 a year. Our president calls that rich. I would certainly feel rich if I made that much.

          • Alexandra

            And I’ve worked at non-profits too, and I do know what it means and the rules that they have to abide by.

            Cecile Richard’s salary is very normal for a president of a non-profit of PP’s size. It’s low if you consider universities.

          • wineinthewater

            Whether or not her salary is normal or even low for a non-profit doesn’t matter. You said no one was getting rich on abortion, I brought it up to show that people were in fact getting rich on it.

            And regardless of whether people are getting rich on abortion, there *is* a lot of money at stake.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Planned Parenthood is required by law to not use any of that public money to fund their abortion service. If they have used that money for abortions, they are breaking the law and will be punished, if not now then at some point in the future. It would be very stupid for them to do so, so I highly doubt that they would.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Even if point A) is empirically wrong (which I certainly hope it is), then point B) still stands.

    • marie77_00

      I learned from a nursing textbook in school that the heartbeat starts at 19 days, or roughly 2 1/2 weeks, just about the time most women are even figuring out that they are pregnant.

  • Aprendo

    “There is an even more profound aspect which needs to be emphasized: freedom negates and destroys itself, and becomes a factor leading to the destruction of others, when it no longer recognizes and respects its essential link with the truth. When freedom, out of a desire to emancipate itself from all forms of tradition and authority, shuts out even the most obvious evidence of an objective and universal truth, which is the foundation of personal and social life, then the person ends up by no longer taking as the sole and indisputable point of reference for his own choices the truth about good and evil, but only his subjective and changeable opinion or, indeed, his selfish interest and whim.

    20. This view of freedom leads to a serious distortion of life in society. If the promotion of the self is understood in terms of absolute autonomy, people inevitably reach the point of rejecting one another. Everyone else is considered an enemy from whom one has to defend oneself. Thus soci- ety becomes a mass of individuals placed side by side, but without any mutual bonds. Each one wishes to assert himself independently of the other and in fact intends to make his own interests prevail. Still, in the face of other people’s analogous interests, some kind of compromise must be found, if one wants a society in which the maximum possible freedom is guaranteed to each individual. In this way, any reference to common values and to a truth absolutely binding on everyone is lost, and social life ventures on to the shifting sands of complete relativism. At that point, everything is negotiable, everything is open to bargaining: even the first of the fundamental rights, the right to life.

    http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.vatican.va%2Fholy_father%2Fjohn_paul_ii%2Fencyclicals%2Fdocuments%2Fhf_jp-ii_enc_25031995_evangelium-vitae_en.html&h=WAQEYoPzu

  • Aprendo

    “What amazes me most is that people think that if you say your beliefs are true and others aren’t, you’re being intolerant. But that’s the case with every truth claim. Everyone who says something is true—“Buddha was a good teacher,” “Mohammed knew the true God,” etc.—is saying that the opposite is untrue. Every truth claim is intolerant of its contradictions. Even the person who says, very tolerantly, “there are many paths to God” is being intolerant of the belief that there aren’t. That’s how truth works. Embracing it means to reject something else. And everyone does this. In fact, there’s no way to have a discussion without doing this! Anytime you assert that something is true, you’re asserting that something else isn’t.”

    Many North American universities have outlawed student pro-life groups in the interest of demonstrating their tolerance toward those who are “pro-choice.”

    One cannot simultaneously tolerate contraries and contradictories.
    “Relativism that is the underpinning of an out-of-control political correctness conveys the message that human beings are fundamentally incapable of grasping the truth of things, that they would rather fight than think.”-DeMarco

    ======

    http://payingattentiontothesky.com/2010/05/04/the-aspiration-to-neutrality/

    Liberal “Neutrality” and the Politics of Obama
    This is the ideal of liberal neutrality that John Kennedy invoked and Barack Obama rejected. From the 1960s through the l980s, Democrats drifted toward the neutrality ideal, and largely banished moral and religious argument from their political discourse. There were some notable exceptions. Martin Luther King, Jr., invoked moral and religious arguments in advancing the cause of civil rights; the anti-Vietnam War movement was energized by moral and religious discourse; and Robert E Kennedy, seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 1968, tried to summon the nation to more demanding moral and civic ideals. But by the 1970s, liberals embraced the language of neutrality and choice, and ceded moral and religious discourse to the emerging Christian right.

    With the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, Christian conservatives became a prominent voice in Republican politics. Jerry Farwell’s Moral Majority and Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition sought to clothe the “naked public square”and to combat what they saw as the moral permissiveness of American life. They favored school prayer, religious displays in public places, and legal restrictions on pornography, abortion, and homosexuality. For their part, liberals opposed these policies, not by challenging the moral judgments case by case, but instead by arguing that moral and religious judgments have no place in politics…..

    The Abortion and Stem Cell Debates
    Consider two familiar political questions that can’t be resolved without taking a stand on an underlying moral and religious controversy — abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Some people believe that abortion should be banned because it involves the taking of innocent human life. Others disagree, arguing that the law should not take sides in the moral and theological controversy over when human life begins; since the moral status of the developing fetus is a highly charged moral and religious question, they argue, government should be neutral on that question, and allow women to decide for themselves whether to have an abortion.

    The second position reflects the familiar liberal argument for abortion rights. It claims to resolve the abortion question on the basis of neutrality and freedom of choice, without entering into the moral and religious controversy. But this argument does not succeed. For, if it’s true that the developing fetus is morally equivalent to a child, then abortion is morally equivalent to infanticide. And few would maintain that government should let parents decide for themselves whether to kill their children. So the “pro-choice” position in the abortion debate is not really neutral on the underlying moral and theological question; it implicitly rests on the assumption that the Catholic Church’s teaching on the moral status of the fetus — that it is a person from the moment of conception — is false.

    To acknowledge this assumption is not to argue for banning abortion. It is simply to acknowledge that neutrality and freedom of choice are not sufficient grounds for affirming a right to abortion. Those who would defend the right of women to decide for themselves whether to terminate a pregnancy should engage with the argument that the developing fetus is equivalent to a person, and try to show why it is wrong. It is not enough to say that the law should be neutral on moral and religious questions. The case for permitting abortion is no more neutral than the case for banning it. Both positions presuppose some answer to the underlying moral and religious controversy.

  • Guest

    I’m curious.

    “They say most women” don’t know they are pregnant until 8+ weeks into the pregnancy. Right now, babies prematurely delivered at 25 weeks can live- chances are not great, but they can. What happens when science is able to give those babies that may be able to live outside the womb, even if prematurely, a chance? Could a woman give birth and their rights up to a child at 20 weeks?

    • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

      At 21 weeks, although highly unlikely, it is possible for a baby to survive. It takes extraordinary measures and it has only happened one time that I know of, but it has happened.

    • Djrogers

      I don’t believe there is a hard rule on gestational age, but based on personal experience, if a woman was to go into labor prior to 24 weeks and it could not be stopped, medical measures to prolong life would not be extended. The baby would be left to let nature take it’s course with the most likely outcome being death. You should google level 3 NICU and see the measures taken to try and save babies. While science has advanced tremendously to take only science into account and not quality of life as well is a great disservice to the baby involved. Just because science can prolong life doesn’t mean it should.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maryliziz Mary Liz Bartell

    “A person’s a person no matter how small” – Horton hears a who
    Once an individual’s DNA is formed I believe that life exists there, for however long it is allowed to grow, to mature, to live and to die range on the healthy formation of its cells and it’s surroundings. But a life is a life as soon as the egg & sperm successfully fuse together and the cells undergo the change that makes a whole new human being where there wasn’t a human being a few moments ago… Conception… all the blue prints unique from the parents are there, the process of life gets the breath from God that tells it to grow! This is the most amazing moment, because what science cannot prove, and the government cannot prove is when does the person become self aware, some say it’s after the brain forms, some say the spinal cord, and some believe that the cells are self aware, doing what they were designed to do in such careful ways and knowing what role each will take whether they form the part of the nervous system or budding limbs… this little life is growing, baby wants to live, baby wants to be.
    Watch the baby try to squiggle away from the abortion tube. Look at its silent scream.
    Who are we to interfere with its future? Shouldn’t we give baby every chance to survive… to be God’s child to the fullest. I feel abortion is such a selfish act. It’s selfishness to the point of absolute evil when a healthy and growing child is ripped from its mother’s womb before it is fully gestated. I do see a need to clarify that when the pregnancy is doomed to self-destruct because of tubal pregnancy, problems with the normal development of the fetus into a viable person (brainless, malformed heart) as happened to a relative of mine, that these instances when the child would not survive birth, and could cause the mother to die as well are the only instances I can see killing the pregnancy. Maybe justifiable, may be not so justified… but that’s the only time it seems ok to me. Not even Rape justifies murdering the baby who is innocent, not guilty of anything but wanting to be. Shouldn’t we do all in our power to understand that God is knitting these children in the womb? That he knows what our choices will be, what our calling is, and what we are designed for is God’s glory, not for our own comfort here on Earth. So Please please defend the rights of the unborn, and pray for an end to Abortion as a widely used form of birth control, population control, infanticide, or Sacrifice, as it appears some women seem to offer up their babies as blood sacrifice to the devil… See “Demonic Abortion” by Fr. Thomas Eutenour if you don’t believe me. The Evil of planned abortion, it’s real and a terrible sin against humanity.

  • http://www.2catholicmen.blogspot.com/ Ben of Two Men

    One wonders how supposedly educated people can be BOTH pro-choice AND recognize science & human rights. In fact, this is such a harsh contradiction, one can see a need for a diabolical force to help the pro-choice movement along; something to help generate a moral blind spot.

  • Marcus Absent

    I think, if people really stop and think about, there can be no argument defending abortion.

    Basic biology tells us a person’s DNA contains all the information for that person’s body. The zygote has DNA, which means that the whole template for the human body is right there. So where do people get all this “less human” stuff from? Are we implying that something not human can become human? If you think that, I suggest you go back to high school science class again. The minute you define human life by anything other than homo sapiens, via simple species biology, you unnecessarily complicate the argument, and invite the potential for dangerous subjectivity.

    And once we reach this point, no moral person can defend an institution that snuffs this life out. Think about it, there is no other scenario where the weighing of one human’s convenience over another human’s life would be considered moral. EVERY oppressive institution throughout history has thrived by dehumanizing its victims, and abortion is no different. People try so hard to justify the belief that the fetus isn’t human, because otherwise the pro-choice argument can hold absolutely no water.

    For anyone who says that they are entitled to their own opinion on the subject, and should be able to choose to have an abortion if they want to, I say, with all due respect, “bullsh*t.” If ANY other demographic of people could be put to death, at the discretion of others, through a government funded business, people would be carrying torches in the streets! If anything, Christians and other pro-life supporters are’t outraged enough about this! The government’s job is to protect its people, and a government that doesn’t value human life is no government any sane person should follow.

    • Korou

      “I think, if people really stop and think about, there can be no argument defending abortion.”

      Apparently people have really stopped and thought about it. I don’t think the judges who passed the laws permitting it did so on whim, and I think that pro-choicers on this thread have stopped and thought about it too.

      • Edge

        No – the judges who passed the laws were thinking of who was filling their coffers.

        The pro-choicers on this thread if they stopped and thought about it, I mean really looked at the simplicity of the issue – the only choice they would make is LIFE. The fact they are still for murdering the child in the womb for ANY reason shows they still have a ways to go on the thinking train. Hope to see you here on the other side soon!!

        • Alexandra

          That’s the thing. It’s far from simple. It’s only simple if you thinking in black and white and don’t acknowledge the range of grey. Sometimes it’s okay to just stick to black and white, but the implications of doing that in the abortion debate are too huge to be reasonable.

          Pro-choicers don’t pretend that it’s an obvious or an easy answer, and because we stop and think about it all the time we realize how important it is to stand up for the position that seems heinous if you think about it intuitively instead of analytically.

          • wineinthewater

            The thing is, it is simple, it’s just not easy. It really is black or white.

            Either an unborn child is a human or she isn’t.

            Either all human being are entitled to human rights, or only some human beings are.

            Science has a pretty clear answer to the former. As to the latter, history tells a pretty grim story about what happens when some humans are denied basic human rights or classified as “lesser” humans or even non-humans, and modern society has a pretty low opinion of those who did the denying. Right now, the pro-abortion camp finds itself either in the “denying science” camp or the “some humans aren’t entitled to human rights” camp.

            The gray areas come in what we do about the black and white facts. Pregnancy is not easy. Sex is horribly warped in our society. There are many who lack the means to provide – financially, mentally, emotionally – for another human being and our society does not do enough to help them. But these hard realities do not change the simple facts.

            As to what pro-choicers do and do not pretend, I’d be *very* careful about generalizing. I have spent the majority of my adult life in sub-cultures that were predominantly and even practically exclusively pro-choice. I have known and read many pro-choicers who believe that abortion is the obvious or easy answer to these hard realities. And many who don’t. I have known many who take their position out of fear, many who take it out of laziness (abortion does solve a lot of hard problems after all), many who take it out of compassion for women in crisis, many who take it based on their own notion of civil rights .. a small number who even take it out of a hatred of men, a desire for power (what greater power is there than the power over life and death) for women or a hatred for “the scourge of humanity. The only generalization that is really valid about pro-choicers is that they believe that abortion should be legal .. to some degree or another.

          • Alexandra

            The idea that an embryo or second trimester fetus doesn’t deserve the same legal protections that an adult human does isn’t really that radical. Children don’t even have the same legal protections that adults do.

            Science tells us that while the embryo and second trimester fetus are human, they don’t possess the qualities that are unique to humans that lead us to believe humans have more rights than other animals. That’s science too, the science is not on the pro-life side in any meaningful way when Roe v Wade is considered. There’s no denying science going on, at least not among pro-choicers that have done their reading.

          • wineinthewater

            I believe that human rights descend from the fact that we are human. Full stop. I don’t believe that human rights are dependent on whether or not an individual human possesses the qualities that society has determined create more value in human life than animal life. You do, and that is fine. But that was my point: to be pro-choice is either to deny science (which you don’t), or to believe that some human being should be denied human rights (which you do).

            But understand, history demonizes nearly every ideological system that has used a set of criteria to grant human rights to some human beings and deny them to others.

        • Djrogers

          ANY reason? Well when your choice is abort or 6 feet under how many are going to choose the former? And what of the children born after the fact? They would have never existed if their mother hadn’t aborted.

  • Jacob Neeson

    Dictionary? lol

  • Rosana Molina

    In my opinion,
    All we need to do is fight for the right of the woman to bear her child,
    And in my opinion,
    Contrary to majority belief,
    This right is endangered.

  • Daniel

    Marc (or Michael),

    I have heard a defense of the Pro-Abortion position that holds that, while the unborn child is a human BEING, it is not a human PERSON. Following from this assertion, the argument claims that humans are entitled to the protection of their rights by the government by virtue of their personhood, not their humanity. Therefore, the unborn child possesses no rights, and may be aborted if his or her mother so desires. Could you perhaps address this issue at some point? How would you counter such an argument?

    I think your post, Michael, does an excellent job of establishing the humanity of an unborn child, but I would like to see a defense of the personhood of the child as well (or, perhaps, one could argue that humans are entitled to rights by their human nature, making the personhood issue moot.)

    Thanks and God bless!

    • Alexandra

      That was well worded, Daniel. Thank you for posting that. You’re correct, that is the argument. I’ve been struggling with what words to use in this conversation, and you’re right that’s the distinction. Of course it’s a human, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a person. This isn’t a purely biological debate, there is much more to it. Pretending it’s simply biological doesn’t take the conversation anywhere.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

      So what’s the difference? Seems to me this is a no-hope argument made up by pro-abortionists that simply hope a liberal judge will buy it. Nowhere in any moral code ever revealed is there a distinction between the moral value of a “human being” and the moral value of a “person”. Those are two words that mean the same thing, and indeed there may be some languages with only a single word. The Declaration of Independence says “all men… [are] endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…”, now, do you think the word “men” there means “persons” or “humans”? It’s a ridiculous question. Both words mean the same thing.

      You have heard this claim from pro-abortionists because the 4th amendment uses the word “person”. Therefore, the Left thinks that if they can invent a difference between “person” and “human” then maybe some leftist judges will fall for it. But ask yourself this: if you weren’t actively trying to invent reasons to make abortion legal, would you ever have a reason to propose inventing a difference between “person” and “human”? It’s a BS line of thinking on the face of it, and furthermore it’s clear that it has no honest and impartial motive.

    • Michael Francis

      Daniel: Thank you for writing. I posted something about three hours ago, lost in the Comments section, that may may help anwer your question. You can search for “Michael Francis” to find it.

      In sum, I’m not advocating for legal personhood. There are practical legal problems associated with granting a fetus “personhood” status. I’m not even sure illegal aliens or the terrorists housed at GITMO hold personhood status under US law for various practical and legal reasons. I am simply declaring that public policy is best served by protecting human life, including a fetus, from intentional destruction. When defining what human life to protect, government should not start splitting hairs between “human beings” and “legal persons” any more than it should use that same distinction to permit private citizens to kill illegal aliens or GITMO detainees. Government is either objective about how it defines human life or speculative. When it comes to permitting others to kill human life, which philosophical foundation are you and your friends more comfortable with?

  • Angela Joyce

    I wasn’t always Pro-Life. I was once under the delusion that it’s my body and I could do with it what I wanted. Thank God I was never faced with an unplanned pregnancy at that time because I’m not sure what I would have chosen. Praise be to God… I have had an abundance of the Lord’s grace and mercy and my eyes and my heart have been opened to the truth. I have to always go back to this thought… When two people are married, unmarried, whatever… are TRYING to get pregnant and have a baby… from the first missed mentstral cycle… both of those parents would never consider their conception anything less than a BABY; heart beating, blood flowing, arms and legs moving, a living child. Now… when the timing isn’t “right” or the pregnancy is “unplanned”… many times that baby suddenly becomes a nuisance, unwanted, inconvenient. It’s the curse of our society… a society of me first… instant gratification…self-love and selfishness. But… I have hope. I know how the story ends! Christ wins… but we must battle through the tribulations until that time and never allow our voices to be silent.

  • Michael Francis

    In case my name does not show up, I am the author, Michael Francis. Thanks to all of you for your posts. Many of you understand what I was trying to say and many apparently do not. My goal is to take abortion out of the arena of “personal opinion.” I use two simple principles to do that: 1) When it comes to what human life deserves the protection of the law against its intentional destruction, government should be as objective as possible. And 2) The most objective point which at which science can (objectively and verifiably) identify the start of human life is conception. These are two rather unremarkable concepts and I have yet to see a post that argues to the contrary (e.g., that government should be more subjective and opinion-based in defining human life; and that there is some point after conception that is more objectively relevant for defining human life.)

    For those still struggling with this concept, I will explain how and why I evolved on the subject. I used to argue the following:

    A) If you don’t know whether the fetus is a human being, then you shouldn’t kill it. This is a reasonable argument (better to be safe than sorry) and one that some people here wish I had employed. This argument is not any weaker than the position I propose above, but it is politically unpersuasive for a sizable percentage of the American population (most atheists, agnostics and those who do not accept ensoulment). They find it unreasonable to compare a zygote with a 20-year-old. I hope that the principles I suggest will be more persuasive. It is hard to defend defining human life based on personal opinion and speculation when a scientifically verifiable alternative exists.

    B) Permitting abortion is a slippery slope that will eventually lead to loss of legal protection for an increasing number of human life most of us today would currently agree deserves that protection. But, as a pro-choice friend of mine once pointed out, the slippery slope should not be a concern of government because the law draws lines all the time. The key, he said, is to make sure the line gets drawn reasonably. Many pro-choice friends of mine follow this line of thinking. But if defining human life is the primary responsibility of government (and it’s hard to argue it’s not), then we shouldn’t be drawing lines that are inevitably subjective if science can provide a more objective point to identify the start of human life. Following the principles enunciated in my article helps protect all people at all times and does not open the door to protecting some of the people some of the time because they fall on the wrong side of some temporary societal line.

    Thanks again for your comments.

  • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

    I find it interesting that Daniel only recently brought up the “personhood” argument, because I was planning on bringing it up myself after getting caught up on all the other comments here on the subject. I find not only is it a good argument, but it’s far more consistent than the conception argument. I’ll get to that later though.

    The actual argument is this: that simply being “human” isn’t enough of a reason for something to be protected. There must be something more in order to warrant that protection. Everybody knows there is a very distinct difference between a zygote (conception) and a baby (birth). Most people never really think about it, so they just argue from conception. The difference though, is the philosophical concept of personhood.

    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines human as “Having human form or attributes.” Now what does that actually mean? It means something is human because it looks human. So, I should protect it because it looks like me? What about a toy doll? That looks human, but I wouldn’t protect that. So “Human” fails as a test.

    Some would say, “that’s not what it means. Being human means that you’re a member of the species Homo Sapiens.” Homo Sapiens, though, is literally nothing more than a species definition. It’s a way of classifying a type of animals by it’s physical characteristics which separate it from other animals which cannot reproduce with it. So it’s still just, “it looks like me,” and therefore still fails.

    The question then becomes one of DNA. “From the moment of conception, it has human DNA and should therefore be protected.” Well, so does a cancer cell, which anybody who gets it would want removed. So do my toenails, but nobody gets upset when I trim that off. Therefore the DNA argument also fails.

    So we then argue about potential. “From the moment of conception it has the potential to become a fully viable human being.” But this argument is tricky, potential for what? If you’re only definition of a human is physical characteristics and DNA, then what is this potential you’re speaking of?

    This brings us to the philosophical idea of “personhood,” which defines what it means to be a human beyond simple DNA or physical characteristics. There are many different ways to define personhood, but the most effective one for the abortion debate is “consciousness.” This is not as simple as being awake or asleep. It’s the ability to actually experience those states in the first place.

    When one has consciousness, they are able to experience the world, they are able to make decisions (in the case of a baby, this is tough because they have no motor control), create memories, etc. Consciousness comes from the brain (whether you consider the brain the source of it, or just a conduit for the “soul” or whatever, the brain is the key). If the brain is not developed enough, there can be no consciousness, and therefore no personhood.

    The generally agreed upon position of those who know about brain development is that this ability arises somewhere between gestational weeks 23 and 28. This coincides rather well with the beginning of the third trimester and is quite likely the reason that third trimester abortions are illegal in nearly (if not entirely) all 50 states, with rare exception.

    The reason I state this is a consistent argument is because it’s not one that is only used during pregnancy, but also in any other stages of life. If a person is so brain damaged that they are no longer able to function at any level, then it can be argued they no longer have consciousness. Therefore they are no longer “persons” worth protecting and their lives may be ended without recourse. The same is true for long-term deep coma patients. At some point it must be decided as to whether or not they still have enough consciousness to be worth keeping them alive.

    By applying this idea to all stages of a persons life, from conception to death, you get the only truly objective means of determining whether an individual should be protected. If one argues that simply looking human or having human DNA is enough to protect an embryo or fetus, but not a fully grown adult in a 10-year coma, then their argument is flawed. The argument must stand true at all stages of existence, or it will ultimately fail in the long run.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

      If it’s based on opinion and hearsay, how is it “the only truly objective means of determining…”?

      Conception is objective. If no human exists, you can be objectively certain you aren’t killing a “person”. If a human exists, you can never be certain whether your opinion is correct. Go with the ACTUAL only objective criterion and join us in the pro-life movement.

      • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

        Knowing what I know about how badly life can go wrong for a person if their birth is forced onto their parents I cannot, in good conscience, join the pro-life side of this debate.

        Conception is only objective in the sense that it’s the single moment when that individual gains their unique DNA and their potential to become a person. It becomes a subjective argument in that the arguments from both DNA and physicality no longer apply once that individual is born. At that point everybody then uses the conditions of personhood (or consciousness, if you prefer) to determine whether that persons life should continue.

        My question to you is this: if the argument is valid after birth, why should it not be before? Conversely as well: if the argument is valid before birth, why should it not be after?

        • http://divineheartofgod.wordpress.com/ Shadow

          “Knowing what I know about how badly life can go wrong for a person if their birth is forced onto their parents”

          Yes, life can indeed take that turn, if birth is “forced onto their parents.” However, that does not mean the conceived individual does not have the right to live, especially since they have an adult soul at the very instance of conception. Two wrongs never make a right.

          • Alexandra

            Does the Church teach that fertilized eggs have souls?

            About 50% of all fertilized eggs are spontaneously aborted. What happens to those souls?

          • JoAnna

            There’s no such thing as a fertilized egg. Once conception occurs, a new human organism, called a zygote, exists.

            And yes, they have souls. If they die of natural causes, those souls are entrusted to God, as are the souls of all humans regardless of the manner of death. Why is it relevant?

          • Alexandra

            Does God unite the sperm and egg? Does God place the soul in the new organism? What role does God have exactly in conception?

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            It’s unclear. It goes along with the idea of divine mystery in Christianity, but that requires a long explanation. There is the Psalm that talks about God knitting together the baby in the mother’s womb. There is the slight problem that we don’t believe we have souls. We also don’t believe we have bodies. We are a human, which is both a soul and a body (the two are unnaturally separated at death and will one day be reunited). God directly creates all things in some sense (excepting of course sin and death and evil). The best model I have heard is that the mother and the father supply the flesh, and God breathes into that flesh its humanity.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            You’re still arguing a double standard here. If someone were seriously wounded and guaranteed to die, but slowly and in extreme agony, killing them quickly would be seen as a mercy. If someone were sent to a concentration camp where they would be needlessly tortured, neglected, and then gruesomely killed, killing them before they were able to be taken would also be considered a mercy.

            There’s a term for this, and few people would ever consider it wrong: mercy killing. I believe aborting a child who would otherwise lead a very similar life to that of one in a concentration camp: torture, neglect, physical/psychological/sexual abuse, and eventual death by either murder or suicide, is also a form of mercy killing.

            Again I could never, in good conscience, join the pro-life side of this debate. I do not consider it “right” to allow that child to suffer so.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            I believe many of the kind and benevolent people who “mercy killed” the Jews in the “showers” were hanged as war criminals at Nuremburg, despite how much pain and suffering they “saved” their victims from…

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Abortion and the Holocaust are not comparable. The Holocaust was government enacted mass killing of entire races of people who refused to believe that which the government attempted to force them to believe. Nobody, not even those pulling the switch, has ever considered those actions “mercy killings.”

            Abortion is allowing a woman to choose whether or not it would be in a childs best interest to allow them to be born. How you cannot see the difference is baffling.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Abortion has killed something like 50 million innocent children in this country alone. Worldwide it’s in the hundreds of millions. You’re right: the Holocaust isn’t even in the same ballpark as this atrocity.

          • Korou

            Not killed; aborted. Not children. Zygotes, blastocystes and fetuses. And not a cute little baby with a winning smile; a clump of cells.
            Now I know that the later abortion is delayed until the more problematic it gets; but I feel that a comment like yours is over the top and needs grounding.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Nazism: allowing the German government to decide what was in the best interest of Germany, German Jews, the Aryan race, and the world.

            Racial Slavery: allowing slave-owners to decide what is in the best interests of their slaves, and trusting that they’ll actually decide what’s in the best interests of the slaves.

            19th-century Eugenics: allowing the government to decide what is in the best interests of poor people (which the eugenicists thought was a quick and painless death), and trusting that they’ll actually decide for what’s in the best interests of the poor people.

            Abortion: allowing the mother to decide what is in the best interests of her child, and trusting that they’ll actually decide what’s in the best interests of the child.

            Really, the whole question of mercy killing in general comes down to the question of the purpose of man. If our purpose is to avoid pain, then mercy killing makes sense. If our purpose is to love self-sacrificially and obtain virtue and live and laugh and be filled with joy overflowing and everlasting, mercy killing makes no sense at all.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Now you’re just ranting and making assertions that you cannot back up.

            Trying to have any sort of meaningful conversation about a real topic worth discussing with someone such as you, who fulfills Godwins law faster than just about anybody I’ve ever seen, is absolutely meaningless and futile.

            Do not pretend my ignorance of your comments from now on means that I agree with your arguments, it just means I recognize the futility of even attempting to provide a counter.

          • Alexandra

            I think you’re being purposefully obstinate about what mercy killing is.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Executing the women and children immediately did “save” them from months or years of cruel treatment, did it not? How is that any different from murdering a baby to “save” it from poverty or abuse?

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            He’s referring to the fact that the Nazis would kill the women and children and the weak outright, while the able-bodied would spend several months being worked to death.

          • Tally Marx

            Is it mercy killing to kill someone who may not have wanted to die?
            For instance, if I have cancer, you might find it merciful to kill me now.
            What if I do not want to die now?
            Shouldn’t it be my choice? How can you claim mercy and the position of “pro-choice” when you would remove the choice from the human you are having “mercy” on?

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            If you are unable to voice your own concerns as to whether or not you’re willing to go through the torturous ordeal that cancer can put you through? Then it is up to those close to you and responsible for you to weigh all the factors involved and to decide whether or not it would be a mercy to allow you to die without having to go through ordeal. They know the type of cancer, they know the survival rates, they know the level of pain likely to be endured by you. Whatever the decision, I would support them.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            You of course assume that all suffering is meaningless and purposeless. I have reason to believe you’re wrong.

            I wouldn’t do the mercy kill. Nor would I inflict the evil of a mercy kill on anyone close to me. Let me suffer, thank you, and let God decide when I shall live and when I shall die.

        • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

          What argument is valid after birth but not before? You aren’t making sense. I get it… YOU WANT to be able to kill your baby. So you’re presenting a (really stretched) opinion (OPINION) about how certain humans aren’t really “people” and therefore may be killed by anyone without shame. Then you claim that it’s an “objective” argument (NOT TRUE) and since we all agree with it (WE DON’T) then it’s only logical to extend it to unborn children as well. This is not logical.

          You want to be OBJECTIVELY sure you’re not murdering a human person? The only way to be sure is by NOT killing anything that LOOKS like it MIGHT be human. Do not murder the mentally handicapped. Do not murder people in comas. Do not murder unborn children. If you stick to these three simple rules, you can be sure (yes, objectively sure) that you haven’t murdered any human person. There is no other way to be objectively sure.

          You don’t get to use that word, “objectively”, unless you earn it.

          • Alexandra

            And you don’t get to fill your post with all caps without people perceiving you as irrational and not taking you seriously. Given the fantastic misogyny in your previous posts, I’m saying you haven’t earned it.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Just because you assume that all caps and bad logic must go together, doesn’t mean that’s actually true. It’s a giant cop-out to attack the presentation of the argument and the reputation of the person giving the argument rather than actually engaging the argument he makes.

          • Alexandra

            What is wrong with you? I’m not having a formal debate here. Why do you keep feeling the need to criticize the way I am arguing things? That doesn’t further the conversation any more than me saying I’m done talking to you because you’ve gotten irrational and you’re misogynistic.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            You’re wrong about one thing, I would never suggest abortion or encourage it. I would never choose abortion if I were to get some woman pregnant in the future. I respect the right of others to choose that for themselves, but I would never choose it myself.

            Now if you can’t at least be civil, I see no point in arguing anything else with you any further.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            “Right to choose” is a really weird idea. Naturally, people have the right to choose. No government can take away choice, and therefore can’t grant choice either. It can merely set in place penalties for choosing actions that are bad. We have a societal consensus that killing people is bad. We therefore have laws that impose punishments for choosing to kill people. I’d just like to see those laws equally, fairly, and justly enforced amongst all human persons living in a society.

        • ColdStanding

          OK, how badly can it go? Is it worse than not living at all? How many instances of people living life are worse than having had the chance only to have it snatched away before it even gets going? Seriously, how many times does it happen? Would 2 or 3 “bad” lives justify destroying 97 others that have a good chance of being OK to awesome? What if to stop three of your lives badly lived, ten truly wonderful lives were destroyed? The risk does not out way the reward. Statistically, with the number of lives that have been destroyed, the numbers are enough to FIRMLY establish that the lives that would have been lived would be no better or worse than those did manage to dodge destruction in the womb.

          Surely there must be numerous better ways to mitigate the risk of a life unworthy of living than your, frankly bizarre, plan for risk management.

          • Alexandra

            You’re not looking at it the same way as the pro-choicer does. It’s not just the child’s life, but the life of the parents and any children they already have.

            I knew a Catholic woman who refused to abort knowing full well that she was likely die in labor. She did die, and left her husband and three sons alone with two new babies. Abortion would have saved her life and presevered their family.

            My husband was born in Brazil, where abortion is illegal. His mom hates him, completely resents him. Abortion would have let my mother in law have the life she wanted and my husband wouldn’t have grown up knowing his mom didn’t want him.

            I know a Catholic woman whose children were all grown and was planning on leaving her abusive husband, but he took advantage of knowing when she was ovulating to pressure her into sex and get her pregnant. She got pregnant and is now tied to him for another 20ish years.

            An unwanted pregnancy is a horrible thing. The birth of a child should always be a joyous thing that enhances the life of the family it is born into.

          • ColdStanding

            No, Alexandra, you are not being honest. Unwanted pregnancy can be a horrible thing. It is not ipso facto a horrible thing.

          • Alexandra

            Sure, that’s more accurate. But I’d argue that more often than not, unwanted pregnancy is a horrible thing.

            If you listen to women’s stories about what they gained, and what they avoided, by not having to carry a pregnancy to term you learn how important legal abortion is. Not that everyone will chose it, but having that choice is important.

            Most abortions are of embryos, and no one takes the abortion of a fetus lightly. You have to trust women to make the right decision for themselves and their own family.

          • ColdStanding

            I’m sorry, which women are you encouraging me to trust? The ones that agree with your position or the ones that do not?

          • Alexandra

            All women.

          • ColdStanding

            But the set {All Women} couldn’t agree on anything nor could the set {All Men}, much less the set {All People}. That is why we have law.

          • Alexandra

            But that’s the point. They don’t to agree because it’s none of their business.

            The law currently does trust women to make the correct decision for themselves, which reflects the fact that it’s no one else’s business what she does with her uterus.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            It’s the baby’s business.

          • ColdStanding

            Re: “But that is the point”

            I’d no sooner trust All Men than All Women, such a beast simply doesn’t exist. And it isn’t as if we haven’t extended “trust” to “individual” women. The results are in, and there are in excess of 146 million reasons not to be so trusting. Law shapes culture. Surprisingly enough, laws that foster a culture of death lead to a culture of death. That you are OK with that suggests I should not be trusting of you. You have only a desire for society in so far as it re-enforces your sense of self.

            And if you are so keen on following the law, how come your ideological kin were not so keen on following the law when it went against their interests and inclinations? If the law gets changed back, will you accept the ruling? No you won’t, therefore you are again not being honest.

          • Alexandra

            You’re making a whole lot of assumptions. You’re just making up the points I’m making and the opinions I hold. This isn’t a real conversation.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            “You have to trust the SS to make the right decision for the Reich regarding the liquidation of Jews.”~S.S. officer, 1943

            “You have to trust the NKVD to make the right decision for Mother Russia regarding peasants and kulaks and really anyone we don’t like.”~NKVD officer, 1938

            “You have to trust slave owners to make the right decision for themselves and their slaves.”~white slave owner, 1858

          • ColdStanding

            Have you ever asked your husband if he would rather not have lived because his mom hates him than have lived and be married to you? Assuming that you love and care for him and the children(?) you have together, does this not out weigh the hurt of his mother’s animus? I ask because, applying your principle of unwanted pregnancy = abort, he would not be alive today to be partnered with you. Wouldn’t that be tragic?

            At one point I could have loved someone other than my wife, but I certainly would not want another now.

          • Alexandra

            Yes indeed, I have asked him. He is very pro-choice because he knows that he would not have suffered for not being born. And no it wouldn’t be tragic for me. It’s not like I’d live my life knowing that the man I would have married was aborted. I could live that way now if I wanted to. Think of all of those potential husbands that were never even conceived! My real soulmate was never born!

            You don’t have to be pleased that things happened the way they did just because you’re glad for where you are now. I’m very happy to be married to my husband and look forward to having kids with him someday, but I’m glad we live in a country where if we were faced with a pregnancy decided we couldn’t give a child the life we wanted it, we could chose to not have it. And where our future daughters will be able to make that choice for themselves as well.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            He is very pro-choice because he knows that he would not have suffered for not being born.

            A position I myself know quite well.

          • ColdStanding

            Deven, with complete and utter sincerity, it seems like you are feeling a lot of pain: “A position I myself know quite well.” Is there anybody that you know and trust that you could talk to about this? If you don’t know anybody, a family doctor might be able to make a neutral recommendation. Almost every problem can be helped to get better, except death. Even if you think you are OK, I’d urge you to check in with someone for a little feed back.

            I sincerely hope that I am mistaken and that all is well with you.

          • Mary

            Having been born into a very dysfunctional home with addiction problems, I can relate to suffering. I feel for you and whatever suffering you have had to endure. While I realize I could have been spared from an enormous amount of suffering (even now , as I am my mom’s main caregiver, who has Alcohol induced & vascular dementia) I can’t imagine my life without my children, family or loving friends and husband. Faith allows one to believe in hope for a better future. It allows you to realize deep deep down that we all have a purpose in this life, no matter the situation. I pray for you and others to one day realize the depth of your purpose and worth,and to know that you are never ever alone. I have a blog at maryjsnustad.wordpress.com called “Caregiving with Grace” if you are interested. God bless you…….

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Faith allows one to believe in hope for a better future.

            That can also be achieved without faith in deities. Even a small amount of trust in humanity will get you the same result.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            The likes of you aren’t contributing to the latter thing.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            I could say the same about you.

          • Mary

            But how do you reconcile horrible horrible acts of suffering done to innocent people, say like with genocide? I am thinking of the Rwandan genocide. When your once friendly neighbors & friends begin to hunt you down with machetes, kill your entire family, & destroy your beautiful country, how could a survivor find hope in humanity ever again?

            There is a book written by a Rwandan genocide survivor called “Led by Faith”. I highly recommend reading it. Her name is Immacule Ilbaganzia & she is the most courageous woman I have ever met. I was fortunate to meet her last summer. If anything, her story of survival & strength alone is enough to make it a worthwhile read.

          • Mary

            The book I was thinking of is actually called “Left to Tell” by the same author. But “Led by Faith” is great too!

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Have you ever been wounded by a fellow human being? Have you ever wounded another human being? If so, why have faith in humanity? That which is broken cannot unbreak itself. You can’t make a perfect system out of imperfect parts. The primary reason I am a Christian is that I perceive brokenness within myself which I cannot fix, and Christianity is the only fix for that brokenness in me and the brokenness I perceive in the world.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            So you lost your trust in humanity, and nearly lost yourself in the process. In order to regain your sanity (and abstain from suicide?), you decided to embrace something you’ve been told is greater than humanity, in spite of it’s lack of evidence. Is that basically what you’re saying?

            I cannot take that route. Wishful thinking and loss of trust is not enough to make me believe the unbelievable.

          • ColdStanding

            So, it is sex selective abortions for you, is it? I guess that you don’t care that females and minorities are the overwhelming object of abortion.

            What about the child that you would have no problem aborting? Doesn’t the fact that life has begun suggest that that life wants to live? Who says the life you would want for the child is the life the child would want?

            What about me? What if I don’t want to have a PP mill in my town or state, does that mean that they will be shut down? What if a woman wanted it shut down? You say I “have” to trust women to make the right choice, and some women “have” decided that having a PP mill in there town is not the life that they want… will the doors be shutting tomorrow? Or are you going to pull another rabbit out of your hat?

          • Alexandra

            I have no idea what your talking about. Sex selective abortion? Where did you get that from?

            I wish there were no churches in my town, but hey, nothing I can do about it. It’s part of living in a society.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            You want there to be no places that foster beauty and genuinely strive to have everyone love each other selflessly and help their communities in innumerable ways?

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            That can be done without a church. It just so happens that the majority of groups that do are currently churches. However, with the decrease in church membership and attendance, I would wager that secular groups which do exactly that are going to start popping up very soon, such as within the next 10 years.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Is it worse than not living at all?

            In the case of suicides and the traumatically neglected/abused, I think the answer is obviously yes.

            Statistically, with the number of lives that have been destroyed, the numbers are enough to FIRMLY establish that the lives that would have been lived would be no better or worse than those did manage to dodge destruction in the womb.

            You’d be hard pressed to actually prove that.

            Would 2 or 3 “bad” lives justify destroying 97 others that have a good chance of being OK to awesome?

            Where did you get those numbers from? Was there some study, or actual publication which found those to be valid numbers, or did you pull them out of thin air?

            There’s no way to know if those are the actual numbers, because only those who opt to get the abortions know their reasons, and they’re not obligated to tell anyone what those are. I do believe that the vast majority of abortions are had because the family/mother realized that they were wholly unprepared for another child, for reasons financial/psychological or other. I do not believe it’s simply because the baby would be “inconvenient.” Very few people are that selfish.

          • ColdStanding

            How many lives end in suicide? It can be more than 5 in 1000. There is a way to get firm numbers, you aught know this, it is called statistics. If 5 in 1000 lives end in suicide, should everyone be put down so that those 5 in 1000 won’t end in suicide? Doesn’t make sense.

            I think that the verdict is in an a rather large number of abortions do definitely happen because of a real or imagined possibility of “inconvenience.”

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            If 5 in 1000 lives end in suicide, should everyone be put down so that those 5 in 1000 won’t end in suicide? Doesn’t make sense.

            Actually the number is much smaller than that.

            What you’d have a hard time proving is how much that number would change if abortion is banned. It could go up, it could also go down. There’s no way to know.

            I think that the verdict is in [and] a rather large number of abortions do definitely happen because of a real or imagined possibility of “inconvenience.”

            Speaking of statistics, since you’re making a positive claim that the majority of abortions are had for that reason, I dare you to prove it.

            I still stand by my belief that the majority of abortions are had for more humane reasons than “inconvenience,” even in the face of a complete lack of evidence either way.

          • ColdStanding

            But you would agree to allow the experiment to find out, now would you? I mean, you say I don’t have the facts, so let’s make abortion illegal – like it used to be – and find out if that affects the numbers. I am game, how about you?

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            I know nothing about you, I’ve seen very few of your comments before. From that one comment though, turning the potential lives of millions into a game, I can only assume you are an absolutely horrible person.

          • ColdStanding

            I am a sinner. My sins contributed to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I have made my repentance and am hopeful of salvation. But it isn’t up to me.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Well, so is legalizing abortion without being certain about the data and ending up killing 53 million human beings…

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            I know I’m far behind on these comments now, for some reason, but it’s starting to become obvious now that you’re refusing to listen to the actual reasons given for those of us on the pro-choice side. It seems to me you are simply trying to bait us into getting angry so you can declare yourself the victor and feel superior.

            I refuse to converse with people who act in such a way, so I really am finished conversing with you.

          • Tally Marx

            Pro-Choicers who argue “mercy killing” abortion see no difference between one person killing another and suicide. They would rob those who would wish to commit–or not commit–suicide of their choice to do so, and would take the killing into their own hands. You do not need to try to give statistics of suicide or say most people would take life over death. The issue to be concerned with here is that pro-Choicers would take away the choice of the very children they claim to have pity on.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Pro-Choicers who argue “mercy killing” abortion see no difference between one person killing another and suicide.

            Actually there’s a big difference. One person suffered terribly at the hands of others, and the other was prevented from having to endure it.

            You do not need to try to give statistics of suicide or say most people would take life over death.

            You’re partially right. I have decided to live my life in whatever way I can with whatever obstacles I have in my way, instead of suicide. But if I had the ability to tell my mother whether or not to have an abortion instead of letting me live that life, I would tell her to stop it before it ever started.

          • Tally Marx

            And I know human individuals who do not feel that way.
            Why project your feelings onto others?

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            I’m not projecting my feelings onto others. I’m simply informing you that it is a very real phenomenon, that there are those of us who would not choose suicide, but would gladly have never been born.

            If anyone is trying to project their feelings onto others (hope, value, purpose), it’s you.

            Edit: spelling

        • Tally Marx

          Your position would appear a merciful one. Kill the unborn now to avoid their having to suffer later. The problem with this is that it is very presumptuous. Sure, the unborn today might find later life unbearable…then again, then may not. Sure, they may–they will, for who doesn’t?–suffer. But, they might find that suffering well worth the life they have.

          Say you have cancer, and it cannot be cured. You have two options: a) go home to die now, treatment-free, or (b) go through chemo and by it gain a few more months to spend with your family; perhaps get to attend your daughter’s wedding after all…

          Now, imagine that the doctor came to you and said, “Chemo sucks. It’s painful and no fun. Sure, you might live longer, but it isn’t worth going through chemo. I refuse to treat you.”

          Many people are faced with this decision *every day*. I know a few. And even if you would choose to forgo chemo….would you tell everyone else in that situation they can’t? That they do not have the option? Your “kill the unborn now to prevent suffering later” is doing just that. You are saying that another person’s suffering is not worth their life. Who are you to determine that?

          • Alexandra

            The choice belongs to the woman that the fetus is growing in. It’s completely appropriate for her to own that choice. During the time that abortion is legal on demand, what is developing in her uterus does not have the characteristics that make us distinctly human that we use to distinguish ourselves as a different class of animal deserving of special rights.

          • Tally Marx

            You took Deven’s argument rather quickly, did you not?
            You have adopted it’s flaws. We do not consider consciousness as what makes us a different class of animal. All animals are conscious. Deven has confused consciousness with reason and intelligence. If reason an intelligence is what gives us our rights, then those of us who are disabled, less intelligent and less reasonable, would have less rights. You do not want to argue that.
            Our humanity separates us from other animals, and the unborn are human individuals.

          • Alexandra

            Deven’s argument isn’t an original thought. I have just avoided bringing the argument up because talking about the fact that we are animals tends to get people unnecessarily riled up, and the abortion debate is highly charged as it is.

            There is still a difference between disabled humans that is what makes us human. And, often times people who are mentally disabled do have less rights, in that they have a guardian and don’t necessarily qualify for things that other adults do. That doesn’t mean we should kill them, or anything, but I’m pointing out that they do have less rights in practice.

            A fetus with a developed nervous system does have everything that makes it uniquely human is absolutely deserving of protection through the law, but an embryo and early stage fetus does not and therefore it is not protected.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Don’t worry; around here most of us realize that we are animals. We just realize that we are not merely animals, for we have many characteristics that set us apart from being mere animals.

            Pray tell, what is the difference between disabled humans and fetuses?

            We seem to have here confused the realm of the socio-political and the realm of the ethical. We should first establish whether abortion is bad or not (given specific circumstances) before moving on to ask about the legal implications of the ethical decision.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Having certain characteristics does not make us human, although certain characteristics are often used to diagnose human individuality. However, those characteristics only develop because the person, biologically, is already a human being.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            You are saying that another person’s suffering is not worth their life. Who are you to determine that?

            Who are you to demand the opposite?

            I’m not the one who determines whether or not that life is worth living, I’m simply defending someone else’s right to make the educated decision based on the circumstances unique to them. From the majority of your post, it seems that’s a concept you would completely agree with, except in this one, single, specific, highly targeted case.

          • Tally Marx

            No, you are not. You are saying we should kill them before they can know any better, to save them suffering. That is hardly an “educated decision”.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            The decision would be an educated one in the sense that only the mother who is carrying the child knows the situation into which it would be born. She is the most educated on her own circumstances. She is the most in tune with the probability of whether or not that child will enjoy it’s life and therefore it is, by definition, an educated decision. But only if the mother is the one making it.

            You are saying we should kill them … to save them suffering.

            Well, you finally do seem to have at least some small grasp of what I’m trying to say.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Suffering is unpleasant, but it isn’t unpleasant for the sake of being unpleasant. When one sits on a hot stove, pain occurs, not because life just sucks but because the pain is telling the person that something is wrong and needs to be made right. It moves him from the bad (burning his bum) to the good (treating those burns with some cool water). Suffering moves us to correct the cause of our suffering. Some people never figure out how, which is sad, because it is within everyone’s grasp all the time.

            Therefore, killing oneself or others to avoid suffering is not good.

        • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

          Biologically, from conception, the person is a distinct human individual. That person’s personhood is not granted by its consciousness, for biologically its consciousness is granted by its nature as a person. The person is a person, even if they are not yet conscious of being a person.

    • Korou

      Thank you, Deven, that was a very worthwhile read.

    • Tally Marx

      A cancer cell (and a sperm, etc.) has human DNA. However, it is not an organism. A zygote/embryo/fetus is an organism.
      http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Organism
      It is, therefore, “individual”. The unborn, from conception, is a human individual, unlike a cancer cell. I think we will all agree that human rights are for human individuals only.

      I do not see the necessity for consciousness in a question of human rights. All consciousness lends to the subject is an awareness of rights. Is awareness of rights what gives one said rights? Does lack of awareness mean a lack of rights?

      • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

        All consciousness lends to the subject is an awareness of rights. Is awareness of rights what gives one said rights?

        I saw you use that argument before, you seem to like it, however flawed it may be. Consciousness does not lend just an awareness of rights. Consciousness lends awareness period. They need not be aware of their rights, they need only be aware at all, and that is when those rights are bestowed upon them.

        Does lack of awareness mean a lack of rights?

        If by lack of awareness you mean probable lack of consciousness then actually, in almost all cases, yes. Such as in the case of a long-term coma patient, like the 10-year example I used above. At some point their complete lack of awareness for such a length of time does indeed mean their right-to-life can be forfeit without fear. The same holds true for those that are nearly completely brain-dead (almost zero brain activity), but still somehow alive.

        • Tally Marx

          If awareness of rights is irrelevant to the possession of rights, why would one need awareness in general to have rights?

          And I never argued that someone who is in a long-term coma does not have fundamental human rights, so you cannot accuse me of inconsistency.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            If awareness of rights is irrelevant to the possession of rights, why would one need awareness in general to have rights?

            Because at that point they’re having experiences, they’re making choices (whatever they may be), they’re creating memories. They’re potential to become a person has been achieved. They are no longer “potential” people, they are no long just DNA, no longer just “looking like me.” They ARE people, just like you or I, and whether or not I’m aware of a right that I have (I’m sure there’s at least one I don’t know I have), I still have it despite that fact. The same is true for unborn children. Once they reach that point, I completely agree that abortion is murderous. Unsurprisingly, so does the law.

          • Tally Marx

            I’m asking why they must be persons–by your definition of that word–to have rights. Telling me that they now have rights because they are now people, does not answer my query or defend your argument. Why is your definition of personhood relevant to the possession of rights?

            And stop with the “it looks like me” thing. You are basing your argument on “they act like me”. Your argument is based on an attribute that is convenient for you to consider relevant. You are basing the importance of a human individual on an attribute they possess. I am waiting for you to see the problem with this.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            I’m asking why they must be persons–by your definition of that word–to have rights. [...] Why is your definition of personhood relevant to the possession of rights?

            Because it is the only argument that can be morally argued throughout the entire existence of an individual, including even the more ambiguous stages such as severe brain damage/brain death and extreme coma. Arguing purely from DNA/physicality places undue hardship and strain, both financial and psychological, on those who are forced to care for them while in those situations.

            stop with the “it looks like me” thing. You are basing your argument on “they act like me”. [...] You are basing the importance of a human individual on an attribute they possess. I am waiting for you to see the problem with this.

            I’m not saying “they act like me” (god forbid). I’m saying they ARE like me. They now possess all the same traits that make them a unique person that I do. I see no problem with this.

            You yourself make the same judgement of an “organism” based on an attribute they possess, unless you’re arguing that all animals require these same protections and not just us.

          • Tally Marx

            “They now possess all the same traits that make them a unique person that I do.”
            -Not really. They may not have hair. They may not be as intelligent. They may have four arms, or none. You have still failed to prove why consciousness is relevant to possessing rights. I see no relation, except it is an attribute of human individuality that you happen to like because it fits your current and personal stance on different matters.

            I actually have an argument that is consistent and allows “pulling the plug” on brain-dead humans. However, this sentence “arguing from DNA places undue hardship and strain on those who are forced to care for them” has captured my attention.
            See, your argument is only consistent because you apply it consistently. And I do not like your reasons for doing so. You have just said that human individuals should not have rights in a certain situation because a third party would find it inconvenient if they did.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            -Not really. They may not have hair. They may not be as intelligent. They may have four arms, or none.

            The argument is only loosely based on physical traits. They meet the philosophical requirements of being a person simply by having human consciousness. Once that consciousness is reached, they are no more or less of a person than I am. In that case, they are no less deserving of rights than I am. Period.

            See, your argument is only consistent because you apply it consistently.

            That’s the definition of a consistent argument. One that can be applied consistently.

            You have just said that human individuals should not have rights in a certain situation because a third party would find it inconvenient if they did.

            Do not put words in my mouth. Undue hardship is a few orders of magnitude higher than “inconvenient.” Inconvenience implies something as trivial as having to go back to a store because you forgot to buy milk.

            Undue hardship is when things go above and beyond what should reasonably expected of a person, such as paying hospital bills for someone whose been in a coma for 10 years, their insurance has lapsed, and nobody is willing to help them foot the bill. Their choice is either a) wait for them to come out of it, for which there is little hope, and attain massive debt, or b) pull the plug and live with the consequences.

            Arguing purely from DNA and physicality leads to situations where option a) is mandatory, which is only part of the reason why it’s an immoral position.

          • Tally Marx

            “In that case they are no less deserving of rights than I am.”
            Firstly, consciousness would be a physical trait. Secondly, you are saying that because you have rights and because they are like you, they must have rights. Okay. But that hardly necessitates that, if they are not like you, they do not have rights. What about rights necessitates consciousness? Why should persons, and not human individuals, have rights? You’ve made a leap that you haven’t explained yet.

            “That’s the definition of a consistent argument.”
            Indeed. So, if I do not argue that comatose patients can have their “plug pulled,” then my argument would be consistent and you…no longer have an argument. Just the assertion that people must be conscious. As for your accusing us (mainly Catholics) of inconsistency…I would think you would have looked up the Catholic argument on “undue hardship” and “extraordinary measures” and comatose/brain dead patients before coming here and accusing us of being inconsistent. You have not even learned our argument before attacking it as illogical.

          • Tally Marx

            And, just as a hint, the “inconsistency” you would accuse me of is resolved easily.
            In the case of a comatose patient, it is not a of question whether or not that human individual has rights, but a question of how far a third party is obligated to go in caring for that human individual. There is no inconsistency.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            So you’re willing to argue that there is a point, for an adult, where their right to life is less important than the inconvenience of a third party?

            But when that argument is attempted to be used for a pregnant mother, it’s no longer about the third party, but the potential baby?

            I will call that a double standard, yes.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            This assumes, of course, that there is no reality outside of human perception of it. If my ability to perceive defines my humanity, then I suppose your position makes sense. If, on the other hand, humanity is a reality outside of my perception of it, the argument makes no sense.

        • wineinthewater

          I think you chose your analogy rather unfortunately. You can find many cases of people who were “brain dead” who fully recovered.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Granted, but how many? What’s the percentage of those who are brain-dead that actually recovered from it fully?

          • wineinthewater

            The fact that there are any is the point. It’s another example of our failure to draw arbitrary lines, that when we draw arbitrary lines of which humans do and which humans do not get human rights, we always end up infringing on someone’s rights.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but you seem to be suggesting that we remove the right of the families of those in this condition to end their life. That they should all be kept alive indefinitely on the (likely extremely improbable) chance that they just may wake up. This, even in spite of the teaching of “undue hardship” from your own (again, assumedly) faith.

            Am I correct in that assumption? And if not, then what’s the point of you bringing it up?

          • wineinthewater

            That’s an odd right: the right to end someone else’ life. I will be honest and say that I’ve never heard the “right to kill” as a fundamental human right.

            Let’s start with the teaching of my faith. Medical treatment may be stopped if the prognosis for recovery is sufficiently slim and the cost of the treatment causes an undue hardship. But this does not mean that the person may be killed, only that the medical treatment can be stopped and the person allowed to die. The classic example would be turning off a ventilator. And it must be kept in mind that nutrition and hydration are not considered medical treatment in this context.

            But my point in bringing up the example was to demonstrate the flaw in that particular standard for when someone should be entitled human rights. If we use “brain death” as the standard, then we know that our standard will deprive people of human rights that most people would agree should have their human rights protected. The fact that we have a handful of “brain dead” people who have returned to functioning brain activity shows that this standard, like all arbitrary standards, is insufficient.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            It was an admittedly poorly worded way of rephrasing the “undue hardship” idea. Your undue hardship reason for allowing the person to die is no more arbitrary than any other reason. And yet you defend it as if it’s not. Using “brain death” as a standard is admittedly arbitrary, but so is any other standard for allowing someone with a “prognosis for recovery [which] is sufficiently slim.”

            In my opinion, allowing someone to end the life, or “stop the medical treatment” purely due to reasons of personal hardship and diagnosis is immoral. Without an actual objective reason behind it, it’s basically just your church saying. “Yeah, you can let him die, if it gets too hard for ya.”

            It’s obvious this discussion will be going nowhere, we have absolutely no common ground to stand on, and your hypocritical teachings are just starting to piss me off. It’s not okay to attempt to find an objectively consistent methodology for determining whether or not a persons life is to be protected, but it’s okay to arbitrarily let someone die just because your church says it’s fine. It really just makes me want to vomit, and I haven’t vomited in 11 years. Good day to all of you.

          • wineinthewater

            There is a fundamental difference: allowing to die naturally vs. redefining them as non-human. From your comments, it seems that you find the idea of allowing a terminal patient with limited to no chance of recovery to die naturally disgusting, but find it perfectly allowable to redefine them as being no longer human and denying them of human rights.

      • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

        A cancer cell (and a sperm, etc.) has human DNA. However, it is not an organism. A zygote/embryo/fetus is an organism.

        Yes, and so is a Zebra, but we don’t offer them the same protections. I know you’re speaking of the “human organism” here, but you’re still using little more than the “it looks like me” argument. Which as I said above ultimately fails because it is not used consistently throughout the entire span of that “organism’s” existence.

        I forgot to address this point in my first reply, so that’s why I made a second. I hope I don’t do this by accident again, it’s annoying.

        • Tally Marx

          Zebras are also conscious; you would also employ the “it looks like me” argument. Unless you believe zebras have the same rights as human individuals.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Zebras aren’t people, unless the definition of “person” has drastically changed since the last time I looked.

          • Tally Marx

            You defined personhood as possessing consciousness, and bashed the “it looks like me/DNA” argument. I just followed your own logic.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            I never meant to imply that it wasn’t part of the argument, I only said that there must be something more than either of those. More means “in addition to.”

          • Tally Marx

            And the definition of person has not changed drastically since the last time you looked. I must wonder if you have indeed even looked:
            http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/person

            The definition of “person” is human individual.

            I assert that a person is someone with fundamental, inalienable human rights, and that inalienable human rights are possessed by any and all human individuals. You can only attack my argument by proving that consciousness is fundamental to possessing rights.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            The definition of “person” is human individual.

            I thought I made clear in my original post, the idea of person that I’m using is the one in connection with the philosophical idea of “personhood,” not that which is in accordance with Merriam-Webster. Please stick with the original definition during a discussion.

            You can only attack my argument by proving that consciousness is fundamental to possessing rights.

            And your only counter-argument to mine is that you do not agree with it. You have not proven that consciousness does not have a connection to fundamental human rights. Whereas I have given only some of the alternate situations in which those rights are often denied (and rightfully so) when consciousness has become highly improbable. Mercy killings do, in fact, prove my argument as far more valid than yours.

          • Tally Marx

            No, I am saying that your application of consciousness has nothing to do with human rights and, by extension, the abortion argument. I am asking you to explain why your definition of personhood is relevant to the abortion discussion you have entered into. You are consistently refusing to expound upon your definition and argument.

            Your saying “it is consistent!” is not a defense of your argument. The consistency of the abortion-brain dead scenarios is a situation which you have created. I could say that we cannot morally “pull the plug” on comatose humans, and there would be no inconsistency; down the drain would go your only defense for your argument.

          • Tally Marx

            In other words, you are basically saying, “We should adopt this definition of personhood because it is consistent!” when it is only consistent because you choose to apply it consistently. Anyone can do that.

            That’s not even getting into the fact that your definition of personhood has nothing to do with rights and, therefore, abortion.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            The concept of personhood has everything to do with human rights. It is the exact reason that the other animals do not have the protections that we have, because we have little reason to believe they have a human level of consciousness.

            The vast majority of animals, as far as we know, live almost purely by instinct. They do not have the capacity to be aware of their surroundings, aware of themselves, in the same way that we do. Their brains simply do not have the complexity of ours to allow for such.

            Human Consciousness is the very thing that separates us from the animals we believe ourselves to be superior to, and therefore it is exactly the thing which gives us those extra protections.

          • Tally Marx

            A being either possesses consciousness, or it does not.
            Animals are as conscious as humans.
            It is our humanity which separates us from animals, not “consciousness”.

            You are getting into intelligence and the use of reason, not consciousness. That is not only off topic, but a place you do not wish to go, because there are some animals (apes, dolphins) that are far more intelligent and reasonable than some humans. Then, there are varying levels of such within the human race, which would make the assumption (if your argument is indeed true) that some humans are more “persons” than others being they are more intelligent and can reason on a higher level.

            So, humanity is the defining factor, not consciousness. And it remains unclear to me why conscious awareness would be a prerequisite for rights when one does not need to be aware of rights to have them. That is a bit like saying I do not need an orange to purchase a television, but I must have oranges to be able to get a television.

    • marie77_00

      A tumor in my body will contain my DNA and is a unhealthy part of my body. An embryo in a woman’s body contains someone else’s DNA and it is the only tissue that the new body has capability of having at that point. If you sampled both the mother and embryo, sent it to a lab for analysis, they would find that it was DNA from two separate people. She is not doing something to her body but to someone else’s. Each and everyone of us posting on this blog had no choice but to grow through all the beginning stages of life to be an adult just as a a mighty oak has no choice but to be a sapling first.

      • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

        You completely missed the point. What is it about that cell containing DNA that makes it so much more worth protecting than the cancer cell? If it’s that cells potential, then it’s potential to become what? And at what point does that potential become reality?

        You need not give me the answer to that, you need only to honestly ask yourself the question.

        • marie77_00

          I’m afraid you also missed my point. No one expects a cancer cell to grow fingers and toes, we know embryos do. That’s why they should get different protections. The only difference between myself that sits here typing and the zygote in my mother’s womb is time and nutrition. I am currently a potential old geezer. Potential means nothing. Our lives are on a continuum, a process, and that process has one and only one beginning.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            No one expects a cancer cell to grow fingers and toes, we know embryos do.

            And yet you fail to realize that you’re still arguing for it’s potential, while ironically stating that potential means nothing.

            I am currently a potential old geezer.

            Yes, you are a potential senior citizen, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to claim senior rates at Golden Corral. The zygote is likewise a potential person, but that does not mean it gets to claim it’s rights as a person either.

          • marie77_00

            Good point. What I was trying to say is that an object must already be something to have a potential at all. A human embryo has the potential to do human things only because of it’s humanity. I can only become a senior citizen (thank you for correcting me there) because I am a human already. A young monkey will not turn into an old man because his monkiness stands in the way.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            True. But until that potential is reached, it’s still just a few cells with unique DNA.

          • marie77_00

            Every single human being shares the very human experience of being a zygote, blastocyst , embryo and growth in their mother’s wombs. I know we aren’t going to see eye to eye on this but I would like to leave you with one more thought. Please watch this video of a kangaroo birth (warning: graphic but I think you can handle it). The joey emerges in an embryonic state and climbs to it’s mother’s pouch where it requires months of nourishment and growth to be autonomous. Is the embryonic joey a potential kangaroo at the point of birth or is it an actual baby kangaroo? If you say it is a baby because it is outside the uterus, why does location matter? If you say it passes some other kangaroo test and is a baby, then you are giving the benefit of the doubt to kangaroos that you don’t give to your fellow human brothers and sisters . If you say it is not a kangaroo but only a potential one then I have to respect you sticking to your beliefs though I cannot understand them.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MQ_eeDvCo8U

            Thank you for dialoguing with me!

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Actually, I know almost nothing about Kangaroos. All I can say is that that’s the first time I’ve actually watched a video of that and it’s absolutely amazing to really see! Up until now I’ve just read about how Joeys make that trek at such a short time after conception.

            Not to mention there’s not too much to be said about the morality of Kangaroo life. So far as I know a kangaroo is just like most animals, primarily instinctual, with little more ability to consider it’s own actions than all the others.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            The analogy is faulty. The person is not yet an old geezer. However, it is not any certain level of age or development that grants personhood and humanity. Rather, that very development only occurs because one is already a human and a person. DNA, the source of biological identity, causes all other attributes to develop; those attributes do not cause distinct biological identity, though they are sometimes used to diagnose that the organism is a distinct biological entity. Your whole idea of cause and effect with regard to biology is switched around.

        • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

          It’s not about DNA or “potential”, it’s about a human life. Cutting out a few cancerous cells does not end a human life. Destroying the entire body *does* end a human life. Life is a continuity across time: I am the same person I was yesterday and the same person I will be tomorrow, even though many of my cells will have turned over and my body chemistry and mental state may be different. When you kill a zygote you’re also killing the baby, the child, the adult, and the old geezer that it would become. You’re ending a life, not a “potential” life.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            So what makes a human life so much more worth protecting than any other animals life?

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Aha! Now we get to the heart of the matter: you don’t believe in a moral human right to life. Why have you spent so much energy BS’ing us about various other excuses for your pro-abortion stance?

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            You’re putting a whole lot of meaning into a question. I can’t help but notice though, you didn’t actually answer the question, is it possible you don’t have an answer?

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            The answer is “all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, … among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. A statement of natural law. Which you reject.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Well, animal life is obviously worth protecting too. There is a value in nature and the natural.

            That being said, that human being has a distinct set of experiences and attributes that set it apart from animals. It can appreciate, mimic, and create beauty i.e. it can create and understand art. It is capable of thinking ethically and morally, and of choosing its actions. This, and a multitude of other separate evidences, lead us to suspect that human life is more than that which is empirically observed i.e. there is such a thing as a human soul.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            That’s a very good point. There is debate within Christianity (not necessarily Catholicism, but Christianity as a whole) as to when exactly it is that the soul is fully connected to the developing fetus. This is not just to qualify an ad hoc argument for abortion, but a truly theological argument as to when the soul can no longer switch to another body. Abortion is only a side-note to this discussion.

            The secular argument of when consciousness is acquired is very much the same argument. Except we don’t argue metaphysics or theology, but brain function. Abortion is also only tangentially related, even though it is partially dependent on it.

        • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

          The cancer cell’s natural end is the death of the host. The embryo’s natural end is distinct human experience.

          The embryo, however, is already a separate human life, biologically. The DNA causes all other characteristics that are used to classify an individual human as such. However, the individual human life has already begun, though it has not yet attained its full potential of attributes and experiences.

    • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

      The Merriam-Webster’s definition, then, is sloppy and wrong-headed. Biologically, we know that having certain attributes causes one to be a member of a species; rather, being a member of that species i.e. having the DNA of that species causes the organism to have the attributes unique to that species.

      Therefore, it isn’t having a certain level of developed consciousness that makes one human; rather, a person has consciousness in the first place because he is a person. Your argument reverses the known biological cause and effect, and is therefore based on premises contrary to scientific knowledge.

      Also, there is no way of deciding, except for the biological-DNA standard, whether a standard of personhood is a true standard or not. You may say that consciousness defines personhood. The Nazi will say that racial purity defines personhood. The white slave owner will say that race defines personhood. The Stalinist will say that class defines personhood. The fascist will say that patriotism defines personhood. The problem with all of these standards is that there is no way to decide whether the standard is a true standard in all of these cases. There is no way to decide that the abortionist is right and the Nazi is wrong. There is only one standard that has the backing of empirical science: a person is any member of the species homo sapiens.

  • ColdStanding

    If you would not choose it for yourself, justify why you would not. If it is wrong for you, how is it not wrong for someone else? How can you extend “respect” to that which is not worthy of respect?

  • ColdStanding

    We seek that, should the course of life begun, fraught with risk of failure as it may be, that no act of human will intervene to terminate the unfolding implications of the commencement of the course of life.. How hard is that to figure out?

  • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

    Tally, I’m responding here to avoid spaghettification:

    It is our humanity which separates us from animals, not “consciousness”.

    Please, define humanity for me then.

    That is a bit like saying I do not need an orange to purchase a television, but I must have oranges to be able to get a television.

    It’s actually more like somebody buying a TV without even knowing what the TV is.

    Back to two of your previous comments:

    Firstly, consciousness would be a physical trait.

    At the root of it, literally everything is a physical trait. But at some point, things coalescence into something a little beyond purely physical into awareness of self and surroundings, that’s the beginning of consciousness. Nobody (nobody) knows exactly why we are aware to the degree that we are, and that is a concept best left to philosophers, and other researchers of the mind and brain.

    There is no reason to believe that most other animals have this level of consciousness. As you pointed out, Dolphins and some other ape species do seem to have this awareness, and some people (not I, yet, I haven’t researched the topic) are arguing that they therefore also require greater protections.

    I am asking you to explain why your definition of personhood is relevant to the abortion discussion you have entered into.

    Because the simple argument of DNA and/or physicality is an immoral position. Forcing the birth of a child whose life will be a living hell is not a concept I’m willing to get behind. Therefore, there must be some concept which is separate to purely DNA and/or what the fetus will look like in order for me to accept that it’s worth protection. That concept, for me and an apparent majority of others, is when the child acquires “consciousness.” When it develops to the point where it’s able to become aware of it’s surroundings, is able to make choices, memories, etc. Just like the rest of us.

    This is an extension of my (and the majority of others) position that the same already holds true for other aspects of a persons life. It is simply extending that ideal into the phase of existence before birth, while the mother is pregnant.

    I apologize that I got confused and allowed you to derail the conversation into something that I still don’t understand, but I will not allow that to happen again.

    • Tally Marx

      “Please define humanity for me then.”
      -humanity: having the attributes of human beings, specifically human DNA; the human species collectively.
      -A human being: an organism with human DNA; a human individual.

      “There is no reason to believe that most other animals have this level of consciousness.”
      -Indeed.  However, to say that “consciousness” is what separates humans from other animals does not serve your purpose, because animals are conscious just as we are; they simply do not have the same “level”.  You would have to specify what level of consciousness makes the Big Difference and that presents several problems.  Firstly, there are some animals which are more reasoned and intelligent then some humans.  Secondly, if level of consciousness is what gives us our personhood, then it would naturally follow that those human beings with a lesser “level of consciousness” (ie, those who are mentally impaired) are less of a person than other human beings.  You do not want to argue this, for obvious reasons.  I find this part of our discussion unnecessary.  You brought up the consciousness of animals and our differences therein in an attempt to prove that consciousness is important to the human person.  If you add the stipulation that it must be in addition to humanity, and that levels of consciousness within the human race are irrelevant to personhood, then it hardly benefits you to mention the subject in relation to the unborn, of which our humanity is inclusive.

      -My main objection is and always has been that you have failed to prove–objectively–that consciousness is a requirement for personhood or possessing rights.  If awareness of rights is not relevant to possessing human rights, why would awareness in general be relevant to the possession of rights and, therefore, personhood?

      “Because the simple argument of DNA is an immoral position.”
      -This is the only reason you have offered as to why consciousness–an attribute of human individuals–as at all relevant to the possession of rights.  You have a pre-conceived notion that some things are good (euthanasia, abortion, “pulling the plug”) and adopted the first attribute that allows you do condone these things without making you seem too discriminatory as to who is or isn’t a “person”.  I’m glad you admit that that is your reason, but forgive me if I do not find it very convincing.  I do not think that rights necessitate consciousness simply because you cannot bear the implications of it being otherwise.

      “I will call that a double standard, yes.”
      -Indeed it would be, if you see refraining from saving someone the same as killing them, or refusing to force-feed someone the same as shooting them in the head.  I’ll venture a guess and say that you have not studied the Catholic stance on “extreme measures” yet.

      • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

        There is obviously a great disconnect here in what you’re saying and I’m understanding, and vice versa. I believe it’s most likely a problem of semantics, lack of proper definitions, etc. but I’m not sure.

        For now I’m going to bow out of the discussion and go to bed. Perhaps I’ll have a clearer head in the morning and be better able to understand what this fundamental disconnect actually is.

      • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

        Actually, the problem isn’t one of semantics, like I was thinking. It was my own mistake due to the lateness and trying to be overly clever. I brought animals into the argument, and it really has nothing to do with animals.

        As you noticed earlier, the reason I have this argument is because I cannot abide the concept that forcing a person to be born against the better judgement of their family to be a moral one, so there must be some other point, beyond mere “humanity” (I was really hoping you had a deep meaning for humanity than DNA, so that is disappointing), at which that lump of cells becomes worth protecting.

        I realized there already was this concept of “personhood” based in consciousness which we already apply to those with severe brain-damage, brain death, and coma. With very little modification I discovered it could be applied to unborn children as well, and for me that was the point at which things made sense.

        Not only did they make sense, but they coincided surprisingly well with the common laws regarding abortion throughout the country (possibly the world). I don’t know if it’s because this argument is the one most commonly given already, or if I’ve just come up with another way of getting to the same result. Either way, it’s an argument I’m happy with, even though I obviously need to put more research and development into it if I’m going to be arguing it with another group of Catholics any time in the future.

        Thank you for the interesting discussion. I admittedly lost that portion involving my own argument, and I accept that. I hope to get in more debates with you in the future, I imagine they’ll be equally as enlightening as this one.

        • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

          You of course make here the error of functionalism. One isn’t a person due to consciousness; rather, a person has consciousness because they are a person.

        • Tally Marx

          My definition of humanity is no more shallow than defining an orange as a species of fruit. Of course, you could say that there is more to an orange (its color, taste, and texture). However, since an orange is still an orange even if it is tasteless, or shriveled, at that point, you would be listing what an orange *has*; not what an orange *is*. Its accidents, but not its essence or being. I asserted that human rights are for human individuals. Of course there are other valuable things about humans besides their DNA; love, reason, intelligence, hair, temperament. However, an organism can still be human without them, and unless it becomes clear that rights depend upon these or any other attribute that a human being may or may not have, their existence is irrelevant. You can argue that a human individual must have “humanity+attribute X” to be a person…however, since no one would say that there can be a person without rights, or rights without a person, “person” becomes synonymous with “rights”. If there is no reason for rights to be attached to an attribute, there is no reason for personhood to be, either.
          They are *human rights* not *person rights* and you need only define what a human is to determine a question of such rights. I did that. A human is in essence, in being, an organism with human DNA. Anything else is an accident. So, shallow? No. Bare? Indeed. Yet it need not be anything else.

          Thank you, also, for an enjoyable discussion. You are indeed not the first to argue this; I have discussed it with others many times before. But I thank you all the same. It was still enjoyable, and I look forward to speaking with you further in the future. Good luck with your research.

  • Kyle Anderson

    Throughout history oppressors have justified their oppression by deeming those they wanted to oppress as being somehow less than human. They could look at another full grown human being who was CLEARLY human and call them subhuman, how much easier it is to call a fetus or zygote that we can’t even see subhuman.

    The reality is that all parties involved are fully human: mother, father, baby. Certainly they are in different stages of development, but it is a difference of degree and not of kind.

    I think that Mr. Frances’ use of conception as the “Big Bang of human life” is quite apt.

  • CPE Gaebler

    I can but shake my head at the bizarre perversion of sense that leads some to speak as if not letting someone kill their child is anything remotely like forceful oppression. Is “insane” too strong a word? I don’t think “insane” is too strong a word.

    • Alexandra

      Do you really want to go there? Glass houses, sir.

      There’s no reason to start throwing around calling people insane because you disagree with the opinions they hold. It’s not even a particularly descriptive label. If you want to comment on it do, but do it like an adult.

      • Edge

        What term would you use to describe someone who initiates and conspires to murder their own children??? If you have a better term – lets hear it. I for one am glad that people are seeing it for what it is – murder, and folks are now getting a spine and are calling it what it is. Sadly, it will not bring back the MILLIONS of murdered children, but it is a start at not letting their murders go in vain!!

        • Alexandra

          Can you understand how hard this whole thing is for (some) women, though?

          Yes, it’s a human, but an embryo isn’t cognizant.  My cat is more alive and like me than an embryo.  That science is on the pro-choice side.  An embryo and an early fetus are not cognizant of their existence yet.  

          If an embryo has the rights of a person, that means that if I ever made a mistake, or if I was raped, I could face losing control of my body for almost a year.  And then having to face the incredibly difficult choice of either changing my life completely or going through the emotional process of adoption.  

          All over one bad choice or an assault.  And if I chose to listen to the science that tells us that this embryo has none of the characteristics that make us believe humans have special rights over animals and abort, I’m labeled as horrendously selfish and a murderer.

          It’s just no win.  People make mistakes, and carrying a pregnancy to term should not be the punishment for it.  

          You can call me insane for being terrified of the idea of being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term as punishment for a mistake or assault, and for wanting every woman to have the ability to avoid that punishment if she wants, but I’m not gonna cast back anything for how your apparently lack of empathy for what it is to be a woman who makes mistakes.

          • guest

            Becoming pregnant is not a punishment. It is a result of having sex. If you are “terrified of the idea” then you should avoid sex. It is no mystery or surprise that it is always a possibility that a woman can become pregnant when they have sex. If you become pregnant by mistake, it is not a punishment it is a result. I totally get what you are saying about the difficulty for a woman who is unprepared to be a mother. The fact still remains that pregnancy is always a possibility of sex. If a woman is unprepared for the possible result she should choose not to have sex until she is open to that possibility.

            Also, don’t throw out the rape/sex slave etc.. argument because that is like the pro-life side talking about sex selective abortions and late term abortions. These are realities but distract from the issue being discussed here.

          • Alexandra

            Sex slave? What?

          • guest

            Somewhere in these comments or on one of the last posts the justification for abortion was due to rape and being a sex slave. I was trying to say to not get distracted by these arguments and to stay on topic – to no avail.

          • Alexandra

            Whatevs, conversation moves where it does. You can’t just make a ruling that I shouldn’t do something, but you can not engage with me if you don’t like the topic of conversation.

          • guest

            HaaaaHaaa. I find it hilarious that you will only discuss things on your terms – someone’s comment too long and Alexandra won’t respond, not the proper format and Alexandra won’t respond, asked to discuss one topic in a multi-topic comment and Alexandra won’t respond.

            I finally get it. You are only interested in arguing not on discussion. Moving on…

          • Alexandra

            Sure, if that’s the way you see it.

            I do have some limitations on what I’ll respond to. But I’m one of the few holding my position among a bunch of people on the opposition. I don’t need, or want, to engage with every single person in order to have enjoyable discussion.

            I let people know why I’m not responding to them, or what about their comment I didn’t like. Would you prefer I just didn’t?

          • Korou

            Don’t you think it’s rather unrealistic to expect people to live near sexless lives?

            I’d like to address this, because the argument “if you don’t want to be pregnant then don’t have sex” has appeared more than once in this thread. What would this be like?

            So, first, you can’t have sex until you get married. Bad luck for those of us who can’t find a husband or wife. Then, once you do get married you can’t have sex until you’re ready to become pregant. Once that does happen you can have sex as much as you like, I guess, and during pregnancy too. And then back to the same as it was before.
            So in practice, what you’re arguing for is limiting sexual activity to 1 year x the number of children you want to have in your life. Would that be right? Would it be fair to call that a “near-sexless life?”

            And if it is, don’t you think that’s rather an unrealistic thing to recommend?

          • ap

            “Don’t you think it’s rather unrealistic to ask people to live near sexless lives?”

            I agree with you that the argument “If you don’t want to get pregnant, just don’t have sex” has come up a few times and I don’t believe it has really been discussed, so thanks for bringing it up.

            The way in which you phrase your question stated above makes it seem as if one’s sexual urges are something that we cannot control or are necessary to living out life. What about priests and nuns and singles living apostolic celibacy-are they living out something unrealistic? I’m not centering this as an argument from Catholicism or anything, but those were just the first examples that popped into my head of people who are living celibacy.

            “So first, you can’t have sex until you’re married”

            Are you seeing this as just an arbitrary point in one’s life that religion has decided to put as the crossing point between when one cannot and can have sex?

            “Then once you do get married you can’t have sex until you’re ready to become pregnant”

            Says who? Please elaborate. It’s called the marital act for a reason and it is one of the factors in a marriage that strengthens and brings the couple closer together. Would that mean infertile couples would never have sex? One of the aspects of NFP is helping couples who are not ready to have children keep their sexual life active, but avoiding those times in which the woman is infertile. I know I’m totally doing NFP injustice here, but it would be too much to go into.

            “So in practice, what you’re arguing for is limiting sexual activity to 1 year x the number of children you want to have in your life. Would that be right? Would it be fair to call that a “near-sexless life?”

            And if it is, don’t you think that’s rather an unrealistic thing to recommend?”

            Again, please clarify who you are referring to as giving these standards of sexual activity. I’ve never heard of these restrictions.

            I think overall the most important thing is to discuss the purpose and meaning of the sexual act. What is it’s purpose?

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Nope. I can give you lots and lots and lots of examples of people who did it and were perfectly happy. Most of them more happy than your average child of the sexual revolution. I could especially refer you to the story of St. Vitalis of Gaza, the priest who bought time with prostitutes, not to have sex with them, but talk with them, pray with them, pray for them, and teach them about the good life. He was killed by an overzealous young man who saw him coming out of a brothel and assumed the worst.

            The virtue of chastity is key to marriage. So yes. Yes, that’s exactly what I’m advocating. It makes life so much better, when life is not all about meaningless sex, and you can see women (or in the case of the ladies, men) as more than sex objects. When you can have a shirts-skins Ultimate Frisbee game amongst the guys, and have a whole bunch of girls watching and admiring seeing the male body performing its natural function, and be comfortable knowing they aren’t objectifying you as you’re running around with your shirt off. Yeah, it’s an awesome. Also, I hear it makes sex really awesome when, you know, it’s saved for its proper context.

            And knowing several families that use NFP, or just welcome lots of kids into the world, their lives are hardly sexless. In fact, their marriages seem to be stronger and their lives happier because their bodies are fulfilling their natural purpose.

          • Cal-J

            “Can you understand how hard this whole thing is for (some) women, though?”

            We can. We run and volunteer at crisis pregnancy centers, in addition to a whole slew of alternate charities. In fact, I’d say we do quite often.

            “Yes, it’s a human, but an embryo isn’t cognizant. My cat is more alive and like me than an embryo. That science is on the pro-choice side. An embryo and an early fetus are not cognizant of their existence yet.”

            So a human’s right to life depends on cognizance? I hope you have an alternate definition for “cognizance” than normal “awareness“, because if human rights require “awareness”, here’s hoping you never go to sleep near someone who wants you dead. Are you refering to the consciousness, instead?

            As it stands, that premise is not enough to deny the human being’s right to life in embryo. You’re welcome to try again.

            “If an embryo has the rights of a person, that means that if I ever made a mistake, or if I was raped, I could face losing control of my body for almost a year. And then having to face the incredibly difficult choice of either changing my life completely or going through the emotional process of adoption. ”

            Don’t be so melodramatic. Certain options are precluded to pregnant women, certainly, and some pregnancies (as I’m sure you’re waiting to tell me) are much more difficult than others, but you go on as though pregnant women are chained to the basement wall in general. I know a number of professional pregnant women who opt to take maternity leave, and just as many who remain pregnant at work. And some have their children and carry on working as before.

            You’re going to have to demonstrate/define what you mean when you say “lose control of your body”, because that’s just this side of way too vague.

            Having a child requires neither that you “change your life completely” nor that you go through the “emotional process” you so loathe. Again, there’s also the matter of demonstrating the human embryo hasn’t got the rights of a human adult or human child, which you need to do.

            “All over one bad choice or an assault. And if I chose to listen to the science that tells us that this embryo has none of the characteristics that make us believe humans have special rights over animals and abort, I’m labeled as horrendously selfish and a murderer.

            “It’s just no win. People make mistakes, and carrying a pregnancy to term should not be the punishment for it.”

            One bad choice? A mistake? No, I’m afraid not it’s not quite that paltry.

            You see, the bad choice here is deliberately and recklessly engaging in the activity that is the direct cause of pregnancy. That’s not just “a bad choice”, that’s a disastrously bad judgment, if you attempt to thwart nature’s goal. To risk appearing glib, you bet against nature and you lost. An entirely new human being was created because of your actions. The baby didn’t want to show up, it didn’t ask to be involved in the drama of your poor decisions, and yet, it’s there.

            It lives and dies by your decisions. This is not a downplayable issue. You are entirely responsible for another living being.

            (NB: One could make the argument that necessary responsibility for another’s life could be a remarkably appropriate punishment for disregarding your own).

            “You can call me insane for being terrified of the idea of being forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term as punishment for a mistake or assault, and for wanting every woman to have the ability to avoid that punishment if she wants, but I’m not gonna cast back anything for how your apparently lack of empathy for what it is to be a woman who makes mistakes.”

            You may have noticed I skipped the case of rape above. I’m not going to spend much time handwringing about how horrible rape is; it’s manifestly obvious to everyone here. Nor am I going to bother much about claims about how we don’t care about rape victims: we run care and support centers for unsupported pregnant women all over the country; and I made a small list of what we do further down the page. (Here’s a list of some hotlines provided by Priests for Life).

            However, when all is said in done, abortion murders the child. The father is a scumbag, so we murder the child? I fail to see how a death sentence for the child serves any actual good at all.

          • Alexandra

            I just had to stop reading that because it was so insulting. You really don’t understand and you’re not trying to.

          • Feeneyja

            The truth hurts sometimes. The fact is that those of us who actually work/volunteer at crisis pregnancy centers understand more than you are willing to admit.

          • Alexandra

            Can you share with me what it is that you know? I’m genuinely interested.

          • Feeneyja

            I find that hard to believe, Alexandra. People have been sharing all along in these posts and you have been genuinely disinterested. But here goes:

            -the women I have worked with have usually had more than one abortion. And they regret them. They have needed actual care and support and found it eventually in the center. No one else was willing to help them. Here’s the irony…everyone who is shouting about a woman’s right to choose not to be burdened by an unwanted pregnancy does nothing to actually help the woman.

            -thevrape victims I have known have not been healed by an abortion. The rape still wounds. Again, abortion is thrown out as some sort of solution, yet it is no a solution to the real problem.

            - giving of yourself for the life of another human being IS a frightening thing. But that does not make it a wrong thing. Terminating a life because you are afraid or don’t want to be bothered by it IS. I have also worked with hospice patients that are hardly what you would call alive, conscious, whatever…they deserved the care and love they received. The human life growing inside of a mother, the life that is there because of her choices, deserves her care and love.

          • Feeneyja

            My iPad cut me off (splease spare me the cute little isn’t it humbling speech). I could go on and on. I was a healthcare volunteer at a rural health clinic in Niger, West Africa and can speak to the coercion and condescending attitudes in famiky planning initiatives. That was when I was not a practicing catholic and was actually pro-choice…let’s just say that experience has demonstrated the inherent evil in the choice given to women.

            And yes, I know there are typos above. For some reason I can’t get my cursor to go back up.

          • Alexandra

            I am interested in hearing about your experiences. Not because I feel like they’ll change my mind on the importance of legal abortion, but because I know I’ll learn something from it. No one has shared personal experiences with counseling women with unwanted pregnancies as far as I can tell. I’m disinterested in a lot of the comments here, but that’s largely because they’re things I’ve heard 100 times before. Thanks for taking the time to share. And there totally is something wrong with the way patheos commenting works on Apple products. I feel your pain.

          • ap

            What was so insulting?

          • Alexandra

            The accusation of melodrama over how serious pregnancy and parenting is. The way Cal dismissed my assertion that it is serious business is insulting to not only me, but pregnant women and parents.

          • ap

            I believe for Cal-J it was the wrong choice of tone and word usage to address a situation for women that is life changing and tough to say the least. I think what he was trying to do was not dismiss the seriousness of it, but to assert that your view of pregnancy as “losing control of your body for a year” and the things you associate with that are actually not the case. He demonstrated this with women who work while pregnant or who opt to take maternity leave, rather than living out the image of being “chained to the wall,” which he believes is the image you are perpetuating.

          • Alexandra

            Well that’s an imagine in his head, not mine.

            The bodily changes associated with pregnancy are serious. Even some women who are very excited about having children hate being pregnant. I know most of my friends do, and they’ve asserted how much they feel like they’ve lost control. I don’t claim to have personal experience with it, but my point isn’t melodramatic.

            Becoming a parent does mean completely changing your life. I don’t know how Cal can argue otherwise, besides the fact that he’s young and no where near starting to consider what it would mean to have children.

          • ap

            Ok-going back to your original hypothetical situation on If an embryo has the rights of a person-at what point would you distinguish the line between having rights as a human person and not having rights (assuming at that point you don’t consider “it” to be a human being). Also, I know Cal-J asked this in his post, but what exactly do you mean by “losing control of [one's] body”?

          • Cal-J

            My argument was aimed more at the ambiance of your post than the idea that lives aren’t changed; I was objecting to what I described earlier as the idea that pregnant women are chained to the basement wall.

            I know lives are changed, but I dispute from personal experience your application of extensive negatives to it, mostly wrapped up in the phrases “punishment” and “losing control”.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Being a parent shows you how utterly selfish a human being you are. Parenting requires selfless love. ’round here, we see selfless love as a really, really, really good thing. The highest human good in fact. So if being a parent is so good for a person, of course we’re going to advocate not killing your kids for selfish reasons. Having kids allows you to be freed of your selfishness.

          • Korou

            Your main point seems to be that pregnancy is not that bad because there are plenty of women who undertake it, often in difficult situations. Good for them, and more power to them. But saying you admire one person for the strength of character to face terrible difficulties in their lives does not mean that it’s okay to force other people to face those difficulties when they would not choose them themselves.

            Also, all has not yet been said and done yet – the question of whether or not abortion murders a child is exactly what we’re discussing here.

          • ap

            Korou- making abortion illegal isn’t what will “force other people to face those difficulties when they would not choose them themselves.” They choose the option of pregnancy and all of the things that come along with that when they decided to have sex, since that is one of the outcomes. That choice was made previously to becoming pregnant. Making abortion illegal would not force on a person the difficulty of being pregnant.

          • Korou

            They ran the risk of pregnancy when they had sex, but at the moment they are able to have a quick and simple abortion which saves them from the consequences of an unwanted pregnancy – which may range from inconvenient to nightmarish.

            Making abortions illegal would expose them to those consequences. And since we believe that abortion is not immoral, at least in many cases (as I and others have said, the decision does get more difficult the later it is left) they should be allowed to avail themselves of it.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            So it is all right to kill another human (choose your own level of consciousness) to avoid personal emotional duress?

          • Cal-J

            I apologize for my tone in this post. Melodramatic was a poor word choice (among many here), and I’m very sorry. Please forgive me.

            However, I stand by many of the same points.

            “Cognizance” is a poor qualification for the right to life. If you use it in the sense of “awareness”, people who are unaware have no protection on their right to life. If not, than what do you mean by cognizance?

            The word choice “lose control of your body” at least requires some explanation, because on its own it sounds intentionally dramatic.

            As a human being (which it has been admitted to be), the embryo/fetus still has all the rights to life of its further developments.

            The use of the word “punishment” to describe becoming pregnant is, at best, inaccurate because pregnancy is the successful result of actions deliberately taken. If one is going to mess around with the process that creates life, diminishing the event to “a poor choice” after the fact betokens resentment and immaturity.

            Rape is horrible, but the child’s right to live precludes the woman’s right to be rid of it. While you may dislike that, we are not without empathy, and run a variety of services to care for people in need, as has been written elsewhere.

          • Alexandra

            Cognizant was a bad word choice on my part. I meant conscious I think. People who are in a persistent vegetative state don’t have the same rights as someone who is conscious. I don’t see a whole lot of difference between terminating a first or second trimester pregnancy and the choice to remove someone who is no longer fully conscious and self aware from life support. I know it’s not a perfect analogy because one is a natural death and the other is a purposeful termination, but the consequences are the same.

            My word choices about how negative pregnancy can be is is because I know of a lot of women who got pregnant because their partner sabotaged their pills, a condom, just didn’t pull out, whatever, so that she would get pregnant and feel like she had to stay in a relationship she was planning on leaving. It was consensual sex obviously, but it’s using sex to shift the power and make pregnancy a punishment.

            Not being allowed to make the choice to abort a pregnancy like that is a punishment for those women. It’s making them deal with consequences that don’t need to exist. This isn’t some one off scenario. It happens a lot. People stay in unhealthy relationships “for the kids.” Or because they have no skills to be able to support their children on their own. Purposefully impregnating a woman is a great way to take control of her.

            I think a lot of the differences in our opinions come from the populations we work with. I work with victims of domestic violence at a secular DV shelter, and for these women it is important that abortion is an option that is available to them. They’re starting their life over, often with a few kids already, and being able to feed them is hard enough. I always support whatever choice these women make, but some of them chose abortion and are very glad to have had that choice.

            No one likes abortion. No one wants to have one. I’ve never had one and I’m not like damn, didn’t fulfill that on my bucket list. But if my birth control had failed a year ago, my husband and I definitely would have made the choice to abort, and I know that would have been the right choice. We want the best for our future kids, and an embryo just isn’t a person yet. If I carried that pregnancy to term, I wouldn’t be able to give that kid the life he/she deserves, so I would chose to never gestate it to the point where it really is a person.

            This is why we chose to donate to PP and abortion funds. Because the earlier you terminate, the better. All these laws that are putting restrictions on abortion rights do is force women to wait longer, to save up more money, to be able to afford their more expensive later term abortions. As much as anyone else I wish no one ever had to abort, but the truth of the matter is sometimes it’s the best choice for everyone.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Very nice summation. Well said.

          • Tally Marx

            You have still failed to prove why the unborn aren’t persons.
            You just keep saying they aren’t conscious. But why does that matter?
            What does consciousness have to do with rights?
            Please don’t say that our current system gives people their rights based on level of consciousness. Defending the system with the system doesn’t prove anything.
            And legal rights are a far cry from personhood. Legal personhood is a far cry from personhood, as you would say if you met a traitor, illegal alien, or corporation on the street.

          • Alexandra

            Well in all that’s a huge question and not something I’m prepared to, or feel like I need to, defend.

            But it comes down to that our consciousness and ability think and communicate the way humans can is what makes us different and special. Why we have rights that animals don’t. I’ve said that quite a few times.

            We have all sorts of ethical codes for scientific work on animals and you can’t do the same things you do to chimps that you can do to rats. We do distinguish what rights animals have and base it on having human like traits.

            An embryo has less of those special traits than a baby rat. Destroying that embryo hasn’t destroyed anything with those special human qualities that make human lives worthy of special protections.

          • Tally Marx

            Tell me if I understood this correctly:

            You say it is consciousness, intelligence, and communication that makes us different, more special and more valuable than other animals. Of course, since all animals have this ability to some degree, you are also arguing the importance of degree; those more conscious, intelligent, and communicative are “more special”.

            Do you seek to apply this “more special” status within the human species?
            And if not, why not?

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            While we’re at it, we could look at which races have higher consciousness, and eliminate the ones with lower levels of consciouness. Right?

            /satire.

          • wineinthewater

            With this, you’re revealed the fundamental danger of arbitrary standards for personhood.

            There are many born humans whose level of consciousness and intelligence falls below the level of some animals. By your standard for human rights, they should all be denied human rights.

            There are those with brain injuries who will likely recover to levels that meet your standard for human rights, but while recovering are below it. In that way, they are very like the embryo .. without a higher level of intelligence and consciousness at the moment, but currently developing it. But by your standard, it would be just to deny *them* basic human rights as well.

            This is true for pretty much all arbitrary standards that we can develop to deny unborn children their human rights, those standards can be used to deny born human beings their human rights as well.

          • Alexandra

            I think that what the pro-life people don’t see the arbitrariness and the dangers that come with selecting conception as the beginning of life.

            In terms of being meaningful to human life, I don’t see how conception isn’t arbitrary. I mean, implantation I could have some respect for, but conception? That’s completely arbitrary and leads to a dangerous world for women.

          • Tally Marx

            Conception as the beginning of life is scientific, not arbitrary. The danger is in saying when human life is “meaningful”; to say meaningful life begins at conception is to say all human individuals are “meaningful” and have value. Placing “meaningful life” at any other point *will* exclude some human individuals.
            Yes, abortion is a situation where two human individuals are having their rights violated. It is unideal, terrible, and no one likes it. But to say one human individual *does not have rights* and is *meaningless* simply because you want to acknowledge the rights and value of the other human individual makes so sense and is, quite bluntly, cruel.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            …and who are you, ma’am, to judge what human life is and is not meaningful?

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            The funny thing is, it was that exact standard that the Nazis used to justify killing the mentally insane.

            Just because some people are functionalists, doesn’t mean functionalism is right. Biologically, we know that the baby develops consciousness because it is a person. It must first be biologically human to develop into a human.

          • wineinthewater

            So, if your child can’t have the life you want for them, you would rather them dead? To be frank, I wonder how your hypothetical child would have felt about that if given the chance.

            My childhood was pretty much the kind of childhood that is often pointed to as a justification for abortion, to “spare” children that life. Personally, I find it insulting that there is rhetoric out there that my life isn’t worth living, that it would have been better if my mother had killed me while in her womb.

            And this arbitrary standard for life is dangerous as well. How good of a life does a child have to have before it is “worth living?” And if it is just to end those unworthy lives in the womb, why isn’t it just to end them outside the womb?

          • mary york

            “How good of a life does a child have to have before it is “worth living?””
            Such a good point. I’ve been to Zimbabwe and rural Nepal, and by Alexandra’s standards, every single child I met is living a life substandard to “what they deserve”.

          • mary york

            “so that she would get pregnant and feel like she had to stay in a relationship she was planning on leaving. I”
            Why in the world is any woman having sex with someone she is planning to leave? Don’t you see the irony and inanity of this? Sex, first and foremost, makes babies. If we could asexually reproduce, there would be no drive to intercourse….if you are having sex, you should consider the fact that you might have a baby! It is clear as day.

          • Alexandra

            Don’t you realize that relationships are complicated? Not everyone’s relationship is based on love and respect? Especially abusive ones? And that sometimes saying no to sex when you’re in an abusive relationship is dangerous? If you’re working on getting up the courage to leave an abusive partner, the last thing you want to do is get them angry at you.

          • mary york

            “but the truth of the matter is sometimes it’s the best choice for everyone. ” I know many women who are dying to adopt an infant that has not been exposed to loads of prenatal drugs or alcohol. The demand is high. Those women you speak of could find ten or twenty prospective mothers for their unborn children in a heartbeat. What a loving choice for their child instead of death?

          • Alexandra

            But women with unwanted pregnancies aren’t baby incubators. Just because people want healthy infants, doesn’t mean that these women should have to make them for them. The process of pregnancy and adoption is difficult, and no woman should have to go through that if it isn’t something that she wants to do. Clearly, lots of women don’t want to do that, and they chose abortion.

            I don’t that’s selfish, because of what I know about what abortion really is. What I see is selfish is passing judgement on these women as selfish because they didn’t want to make a baby for someone else.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            “The process of living in the same society with Jews, and no Aryan should have to go through that if it isn’t something he wants to do.”~Nazi propagandist, 1938

            They already made the baby, dear. The human being is already there. Already made. Only in development, yes, but development doesn’t cause the embryo to be a human; the embryo develops because it is a human.

          • HoopahHoopah

            It seems to undermine your position if you get into differentiating between special-needs and ‘untainted’ newborns when making a case for the value of their prenatal lives. The external demand for the latter among prospective adoptive parents really should have no bearing on the value of the unborn’s life, or on the point at which that life is believed to begin.

          • CPE Gaebler

            And again, you speak of not letting someone do something bad as a “punishment.”

          • Michael Bauman

            While the child within may, I emphasize may, not be as cognizant of itself as you are, God is fully aware of that person and who that person is and how that person can love and suffer and help others.

            The child within is a person, your cat is not. The child within is part of the humanity Christ knenotically took upon Himself so that we might once again be in communion with Him. Your cat is not. The child within is, as a person, capable of loving his/her creator and giving Him praise despite the undeveloped nature of its physical body. Your cat is not.

          • Alexandra

            Seeing as I don’t believe in any supernatural, and we live in a country with separation of Church and State, that point is meaningless.

            My cat is much more worthy of legal protection through the law than an embryo, and that’s why she, and all conscious animals, does have more legal protections.

            We don’t base our legal protections on what kind of DNA the organism has, we base it on the consciousness and a bunch of other stuff that my cat has but an embryo doesn’t.

          • Tally Marx

            If awareness of rights is not necessary for the possession of rights, then why would awareness (consciousness) in general be necessary?

            We do base our legal protections of what sort of DNA things have. This is why chimps–which are more intelligent than some humans–do not have more rights than those humans. It is why trafficking of human body parts is illegal, but we sell beef all the time. And, just because something is legal, does not make it right, anymore than someone being illegal makes it wrong. You can cry to the law, but this is a question of whether the law is wrong.

          • Alexandra

            Chimps have more rights than other animals because they’re more intelligent. We do base rights on the level of consciousness and ability to reason.

          • Tally Marx

            If rights and personhood are based upon level of consciousness, then shouldn’t those human being less capable of reason have less rights than those more intelligent?

          • Alexandra

            Yes, humans that are not conscious have less rights. Children have less rights than adults.

            This doesn’t lead to the slippery slope that you’re talking about where the mentally handicapped have less rights or more intelligent people get more rights.

          • wineinthewater

            “Yes, humans that are not conscious have less rights. ”

            That is a chilling statement .. that you think any person could be denied their basic human rights based on their level of consciousness.

          • Tally Marx

            It is. She just said that not only do they have less legal rights (which is wrong) but that they are less of a person! And Deven just agreed, in even clearer words. It actually makes me angry.

          • Tally Marx

            They have fewer privileges.
            But they have all the basic, inherent, fundamental rights that human beings have.
            You can say that “fundamental, inherent rights” is a religious idea, but you are wrong.
            http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/
            You don’t get more secular than the UN.

            I would be interested in knowing what you think rights *are* and where they *do* come from, if you truly see “fundamental human rights” as religious twaddle.

          • Alexandra

            The UDHR does say that people have these rights starting when they’re born, and references their reason and conscience.Things that embryos don’t have.

          • Tally Marx

            I was using the UDHR or refute your statement that a belief in fundamental, inherent rights is a religious idea.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Having been a child once, I take exception to your claim that children are less conscious. I’ve met many a child more conscious than your average adult.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            I’ll just go with this nugget of wisdom from Groucho Marx: “A child of five would understand this. Someone fetch me a child of five.”

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            shouldn’t those human being less capable of reason have less rights than those more intelligent?

            You’re actually right: those less capable of reason do have fewer rights, such as those with a severe mental disability. They do not have the right to live by themselves, but are forced to always have someone nearby to take care of them. They do not have the right to have a professional career, they are relegated to simple tasks in the most basic of jobs, such as cashier or courtesy clerk (and the last only if they work as a team) at a grocery store. Many of them do not have the right to make their own food, because dealing with knives is considered to be too dangerous. In some ways, primarily with the extremely disabled, their set of rights could be no greater than that of a pet cat.

            I’m sure there are other examples, but those are just the first few I thought of. The point is, the less able a person is to reason properly, the fewer rights they do have. It already is a fact of life.

            At which point on that scale is where their right to life is trumped by another right, well, part of that is the abortion debate.

          • Tally Marx

            Actually, there’s a pretty big difference here.
            First of all, you are not speaking of the disabled’s rights; you are speaking of their capabilities and safety. A person who is less intelligent or disabled is not denied anything that they would otherwise have or be able to do. If a person who has a low IQ is capable of having a professional career such as, say, a commissioned artist, they have the job. If they can do the job, the job is not denied them. If they cannot do the job, the point is moot.

            Secondly, even if there was some law that said the disabled could not hold a “professional career”, you would be speaking of legal rights or privileges. You are not speaking of being “worthy of protection” as you are in the case of abortion. You would not argue that those with “less consciousness” are less of a person than we are. You would not argue that they are less “worthy of protection”. ….then again, maybe you would. The way the disabled are treated and viewed in the United States is simply disgusting.

            Again, if “personhood” is based on level of consciousness, then those who are less intelligent are less of a person.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            As to the professional artist comment, you’re right. I was thinking of a technical profession, I didn’t hink about artistic ones.

            You’re also right that I would never argue that the life of those who still have the capability of consciousness is still worth protecting. I’m primarily concerned with the gray area where there is arguably no consciousness to speak of, where there is little reason to believe a person has the means to even be aware at all.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            God is fully aware of that person and who that person is and how that person can love and suffer and help others.

            If your god is also omniscient, then he is fully aware of the fact that the child will be aborted, and therefore never be born. In that case, why would he bother putting a soul into that child, knowing it would have no chance at life? That is equally as monstrous as the mother for having the abortion at all.

            Don’t say it’s because he has to allow her to make the choice for herself. If there is any chance his foreknowledge of the fact is wrong, that negates the claim of omniscience, which I’ve never known any Christian to be willing to do.

          • Tally Marx

            You don’t know much about theology, do you? God giving us choices isn’t His saying, “I’ll let her choose, and hope she makes the right choice.” Even if you know someone is going to make the wrong choice, you still let them make the choice. If you made it to where they were unable to make a choice–even a wrong one–you would negate their free will.

            And, as for monstrosity…I think you should read Marc’s post on suffering, or my own Purpose of Pain.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Even if you know someone is going to make the wrong choice, you still let them make the choice.

            This is because we are human, with full knowledge of the fact that we may be wrong. We are not omniscient, so even if we wholeheartedly believe someone will make the wrong choice, we allow them to make the choice for themselves in the hope that they will make the right choice, despite our belief.

            Your god is omniscient, and I am making my argument from that point alone. Specific portions of theology do not apply here. If this god is truly omniscient, they know, beyond any semblance of doubt, exactly what each and every one of us will do well before we do it. Therefore, their putting the soul in that child makes them equally as guilty of it’s murder as the mother whom they allowed to do it. Either this, or they are not omniscient, which make them just as fallible as we humans.

            Which is it? Either way, you lose.

            Edit: Consistency of tense.

          • Tally Marx

            Please reread the comment you responded to.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            That’s the response I was expecting. I’ve never gotten a real answer from a question like that, just evasions and silly word plays. How you cannot see that an omniscient god putting a soul into the body of a child they know full well will be aborted makes them complicit in the act, I don’t know. I imagine it’s because you don’t dare to consider the implications, but since I’m not in your mind, I fully accept the fact that I’m likely wrong.

          • Tally Marx

            I did not evade the question; you ignored my answer.
            If God did not put a soul into that new body (which is an impossibility in the first place, because all human beings have souls) precisely because he knew the mother would abort that child, he would be taking from that mother her free will. Again, if He made it to where we could not make a choice–even though He knows we will make the wrong choice–He would be robbing us of our free will. It is a simple concept to grasp; you can read Max Lucado’s book for children, “Because I Love You” and get the picture. You can call refusing to rob us of our free will a monstrosity, but I–along with many other theologians–would say that robbing us of our free will is even more of a monstrosity. It would desecrate our very nature; it would make us mindless slaves and pawns of God. God can make good come of the worst situations (again, read Marc’s article on suffering, or the Purpose of Pain). A real good comes from it. However, if He were to rob us of our free will, no good would come from it, and a great deal of bad. Your argument that he would be an accomplice to murder is also wrong in several different rather obvious levels. You clearly aren’t interested in thinking past your own rhetoric, though, so I do not wish to argue the matter. I only waste my time on people at least willing to put forth the effort of thought.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            What you misunderstand is this: in a world where there is an omniscient god, free will is an illusion.

          • Tally Marx

            Not at all. Just because someone knows something is going to happen does not mean that they made it happen. Just because someone knows what you are going to do, doesn’t mean they made you do it.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            Free will becomes an illusion because the results of the choice are known before you even realize there was a decision to be made. You only seem to be able to look at this from a human perspective, where there is doubt that a person will act in the way you predict. Omniscience allows for no doubt. The outcome is known far in advance, this means the choice itself is illusory. You believe you’ve made a choice, but you only acted exactly as you were already known to.

            Having full knowledge that something bad will happen, and taking no steps to prevent it, makes one complicit in the act. If you believe abortion to be murder, and believe it is your god which “stitches” the soul into that child, I cannot understand how you don’t see that they are equally responsible for it.

          • Tally Marx

            Your first paragraphs makes no sense. If *you* knew you were going to do something before you did it, and did it because you knew it was going to happen, there would no free will. But *you* do not know; God does. And His knowing in no way makes you do anything. Knowledge does not imply involvement. Again, knowing that something will happen doesn’t mean that the people involved in the choosing do not have a choice. You just know what choice they are going to make. They are acting as they were known to…not as they were forced to.
            You say I am looking at it from a human standpoint, but it is you who are. The only things human beings can be certain will happen are things they have no choice in, like death. God isn’t certain because there’s no other option; He is certain because He knows what will happen.
            I don’t understand why you cannot grasp this.

            As for the last…again, God doesn’t prevent it, because we have free will. If something bad (and by here I mean sinful) happens, it is because we willed it.
            Free will also entails the woman’s choice to have sex, the man’s choice to rape her. Pregnancy is a natural result of sexual intercourse, and therefore of our will. God directly gives the soul, but He must place a soul in a body when there is a body. You can’t fault Him for creating a soul where humans have chosen to make a body. But, “it takes more than logic and clear-cut reason to overcome the inertia and dogma of established thought.”

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Well hello, Ivan Karamazov.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            Again, God granting life, a good thing, even knowing that the child will suffer evil and die, is not equivalent to a mother killing her child. You might as well say all parents are murderers because they bring their children into the world knowing that they are going to die.

            Also, I will trust God’s definition of what is good over yours. Sorry.

            Also, all this talk of “your god” is making me a little annoyed. You say that God doesn’t exist. That’s rather like being told about my friend David, and then asking me to prove my friend David to you empirically. You would only find proof of David if you came with me to meet him.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            So God granting life, a good thing, while knowing it will suffer from the evil of others, is equivalent to a mother killing her child, a bad thing? God does good. God is not a requiter of evil with evil, but sets evil right. God will continue to do good, even when it increases the net total of suffering. Suffering is the result of sin. There was a time before suffering existed, and there will be a time when it exists no longer.

            Ah, I have to explain this again. God is omnipresent, that is, He is there in all presents. God does not see yesterday’s sin and know already what you will do tomorrow, but rather he sees at once yesterday’s defeat and tomorrow’s victory. His knowing what choice is made does not negate the free will of man any more than our knowledge that Hitler ordered the Holocaust means that he was not free to order the Holocaust.

        • wineinthewater

          There’s a problem here. You can’t label all abortion murder. It’s only murder when the killing is combined with a certain combination of knowledge and intent (kinda like mortal sin).

          All abortion is killing, but not all abortion is murder. And we have to remember that the mothers are, to varying degrees, the perpetrators, but they are also almost always victims as well. Sometimes they are the victims of pressure and compulsion (direct or indirect) to get the abortion .. by the father, by friends, by family, by the “women’s health professional.” They are often the victims of a society constantly trying to coerce them into sex outside of marriage. They are often the victims of a society that has insufficient support (whether governmental *or* private) for the needy.

          We should show compassion for the mothers. This doesn’t mean calling abortion anything other than what it always is: killing a child. But murder means something more, something that isn’t always the case.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Agreed, but consider what would happen if abortion were outlawed. Currently, teenage girls are easily talked into killing their own children by a society that lies to them, saying “it’s not really a baby” and “you’re not really killing it” and so forth. If abortion were outlawed, however, everyone who got an abortion would KNOW she’s doing something wrong. Every doctor performing abortions would KNOW they were doing something wrong. Going to whatever black market, whatever seedy part of town, would make people fully aware of the crime they were perpetrating.

            So I wouldn’t say we should harshly punish mothers who have abortions NOW, under Roe v. Wade, but I think that after abortion is outlawed it would be fair to start treating mothers and doctors alike as knowing conspirators to murder.

          • Korou

            1. If abortion were outlawed it would lead to terrible problems, not least with innocent people being pursued by the law and pregnant women dying or being injured from unprofessional abortions.
            2. Everyone who got an abortion would not know they are doing something wrong – they probably think that they were doing something that should be legal but wasn’t.

          • Feeneyja

            You should check your facts.

            The numbers of illegal and botched abortions prior to their being made legal was a made up stat. See:
            Nathanson, Bernard. Confessions of an Ex-Abortionist. http://www.aboutabortions.com/Confess.html.

            Nathanson, Bernard. 2002. National Abortion Rights Action League Founder Reminisces. http://www.pregnantpause.org/abort/remembernaral.htm.

            A recent study in Chile shows that there is no increase in maternal death linked to illegal abortions. An increase in things like education, maternal support, and healthcare were key factors in reducing maternal death rates. See:

            http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0036613

            The book “Abortion Rites” by Marvin Olasky looks at the social history of abortion and abortion laws. He notes that laws were not intended to go after the women (who were seen as victims), but the doctors and men who cooerced the women into sex and abortion. It is an interesting book and worth looking at. The abortion industry (it’s about the money) has always driven the market. See
            http://www.amazon.com/Abortion-Rites-Social-History-America/dp/0891076875/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1338561162&sr=8-1

            Finally, have a look at Planned Parenthood’s numbers. Their annual report is easy to find. Based on what they report, they generate about 165 million dollars in abortion revenue. That doesn’t include the 1.5 million emergency contraception kits they distribute (at $50/kit)…that’s a nice little bit of income, no? They distribute about 2.3 million contraception services, distributed across 3 million patients served. Contraception failure rates being what they are, you are guarateed to generate new clients for either emergency contraception kits or abortions. And, interestingly, chemical abortions (you go home with your pack of abortion pills) are MORE expensive than surgical abortions.

            This is an industry, there are millions of dollars involved. And none of it actually goes to provide women with the actual support they need to break a cycle of bad choices. Olasky’s book does an excellent job looking at social intervention and support for women in crisis pregnancies. THIS is what changes the tide for women.

            I, frankly, don’t look to law or politics to eliminate the tragedy of abortion. As so many pro-choice folks point out, it is a tragedy and people feel scared and trapped, don’t give them a hard time – it’s hard enough as it is. As someone who is anti-abortion, I feel exactly the same way. But I realize that real support for women is the answer. Not greater access to abortion services. Not greater access to contraception services. Not coerced sterilization. Women deserve so much more than that.

            I know I go on and on. But one more point. Actually a story. When I was working in child and maternal health in Niger, West Africa many years ago, they just started a big push for contraception and sterilization services. It was terrible how the women were insulted and coerced into accepting this new health service. As someone working on the ground, I knew the women needed better prenatal care and education, better heath care services in general. Families needed better farming methods to increase yeild. They needed latrines to reduce disease transmition, etc. No, none of these things were a priority. Instead, women were treated to the manipulation of their fertility. One woman I knew looked at the pack of pills the health worker gave her then handed it back. “This will not feed my family. This will not help me pull water from the well.”

          • Korou

            Feeneyja, wineinthewater, thank you for your comments.
            They certainly shook me a bit. I don’t know all that much about abortion, and I’ve been grateful to Alexandra and Deven and others in this thread for handling the difficult questions coming up. So I am going to have to read those sources Feeneyja cited. But here are a few things I think about them at the moment.

            wineinthewater, I looked up abortion on Wikipedia. Now I know that Wikipedia is not a guaranteed reliable source, but it does have a reputation for being generally fair and reasonably accurate. You know what they said?

            “The health risks of abortion depend on whether the procedure is performed safely or unsafely. The World Health Organization defines unsafe abortions as those performed by unskilled individuals, with hazardous equipment, or in unsanitary facilities.[45] Legal abortions performed in the developed world are among the safest procedures in medicine.[1][46] In the US, the risk of maternal death from abortion from 1998 to 2005 was 0.6 per 100,000 procedures, making abortion about 14 times safer than childbirth (8.8 deaths per 100,000 live births).[47][48] The risk of abortion-related mortality increases with gestational age, but remains lower than that of childbirth through at least 21 weeks’ gestation.[49][50][51]”

            Now, if abortion was made illegal then women who did want to have abortions would almost certainly be having them unsafely, wouldn’t you agree? They would be exposed to the many dangers of doing it themselves or finding amateurs or quacks or con-artists to do it for them. Now that abortions are legal they have, quote, some of “the safest procedures in medicine.”

            I did read the article “Confessions of an ex-abortionist.” Pardon me for thinking that the writer has an emotional bias which may make his work untrustworthy. As to Planned Parenthood – well again, this is something I haven’t looked into much, but these two sources do seem to make it clear that there’s nothing very strange about a nonprofit organisation making a lot of money, providing the money makes profits for the organisation, not the individuals:
            http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index? qid=20100325013710AAPYCAl
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_Parenthood

          • Don Corleon

            Making abortion illegal will lower the number of abortions the way making it legal increased the number of abortions. But since when did “people can do it more safely if it’s legal” become the criterion government should use to decide whether to give a behavior legal sanction?

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            when did “people can do it more safely if it’s legal” become the criterion government should use to decide whether to give a behavior legal sanction?

            That has never been one of the criterion, Korou was just mentioning that to counter Feenayja’s comment that abortion was more dangerous for the mother than birth and adoption.

            The real debate is about what rights are given when, for what reason, and when those rights are trumped by the rights of others. Anything else is frankly just a Red Herring.

          • Don Corleone

            I understand the discussion point now. Thank you. You have identified the issue.

          • Korou

            Fair enough. Sorry, should have read a little further down before I posted.

          • Korou

            It didn’t. That’s a separate issue which is being discussed elswhere on this thread.

          • wineinthewater

            Legal abortion is safer than illegal abortion. But you’re making a big assumption that every woman who would get a legal abortion would also get an illegal abortion. When abortion is illegal, there are far fewer of them. So although the mortality rate is higher, the actual number of deaths is lower.

            Also consider that in this country the abortion lobby is seeking to prevent measures that would regulate safety in abortion clinics. Google Gosnel in Philadelphia and see what “safe abortion” in the US means. Lately it seems every few months we hear of another clinic that has been shut down with truly nightmarish conditions.

          • Korou

            “One woman I knew looked at the pack of pills the health worker gave her then handed it back. “This will not feed my family. This will not help me pull water from the well.”

            But it would have helped her to stop having more babies, thus meaning that the food and water she did have would go further.

          • wineinthewater

            Further, but enough? The West’s response to African poverty is not fewer Africans in poverty, it is just fewer Africans. It’s paternalistic and condescending to look at people in poverty and say, “We’re going to expend a rather large amount of resources, not to help you build a life above subsistence, not to make your life better, but to make sure you don’t have any more kids, because any more of you will only make things worse.”

          • Feeneyja

            And here is another interesting article, this one about food and hunger in Brazil. I was in Belo Horizonte, Brazil several years ago working on a public health research project, so I can attest to the affect healthcare has on overall family well being…and note, when I say healthcare, I don’t mean contraception access. And note, contraception access has nothing to do with ending hunger in this story…

            http://www.foodfirst.org/en/node/3113

          • Feeneyja

            This is actually a HUGE myth. If you feel like a long but interesting read, here’s one for you:

            http://www.globalissues.org/article/202/myth-too-many-mouths-to-feed

            In countries like Niger, where the death rate of infants is so high, you have a high birth rate. The above article looks at this. In places like this it is also absolutely necessary to have a large family, otherwise you will die. That woman needed every one of her children to work the fields (by hand!), pull water from the well, collect firewood, etc. Life is difficult and needs life to sustain it. The perversion in the contraception campain is that is is creating a situation where families cannot care for themselves.

            And the feeding the family comment she made had more to do with having actual bodies out in the field than more food on the table. In most poor countries, children die from malnourishment NOT because there is no food, but because of the illnesses caused by no latrines and poor sanitation. The well in my village was just a hole in the ground and a low point at the outskirts of the village on the edge of the millet fields. The millet fields were used as a “latrine”. Image where the water goes when it rains…

            The above paper also points to better education, healthcare, standard of living etc as influences on family size. As standard of living increases, the need to have many children just to survive decreases and so, then, does family size.

            In infuriates me that the US ties food and aid to countries to contraception and sterilization campaigns! In many places, poor farming practices greatly contribute to drout and food shortages (Niger is one of them). Contraception will do nothing to help people solve the real problems they have. Better wells, better farming practices, schools and medical facilities, vaccinations (and I have a story about the nurse in my village who was reusing needles to caccinate pregnant women in the village…imagine me, harldy able to speak the laguage at that point, trying to disuade him!).

            Again, I could go on and on…

          • mary york

            Please tell me you have a blog! You have so much good stuff to tell.

          • Feeneyja

            Mary, Maybe someday. But then I would have no time to comment on other people’s blogs :-). I do have all of my letters and journals from my travels (I spent time working in Niger and Brazil). It was a life changing experience, for sure.

          • mary york

            You are a genius….do you have a blog?

          • wineinthewater

            Your #1 is an argument that I’ve never understood. More women die every year from legal abortions than did when abortion was illegal. No matter how many horror stories we hear about yet another wretched abortuary being busted (Google Gosnel, that one was in my neighborhood) for truly deplorable standards, the abortion industry is constantly resisting regulation and even trying to loosen regulation upon itself.

          • Tally Marx

            We could not punish anyone who had an abortion under Roe v. Wade, because it was legal at the time they did it. The only “punishing” would be for breaking the law.
            Now, look at it this way: when a drug user is found in the possession of drugs, he is often not prosecuted if he gives information regarding the drug dealer. I see no reason why that presendence can’t be applied to abortion.

          • wineinthewater

            I’m not saying that abortion shouldn’t be illegal. Murder isn’t the only kind of killing that is illegal. I definitely think that abortion should be illegal. I just think the “murder” rhetoric is counter-productive and inaccurate.

            And personally, once abortions are illegal, I think that mother’s who obtain illegal abortions should be punished much more lightly (perhaps *very* lightly) than the doctors who perform them, the people who coerce them, the people who force them, the people who pay for them.

          • Tally Marx

            Agree. 100%.

          • Edge

            I have pondered your statement for a few hours first, so that I could let it digest before I replied. After careful discernment, I have come up with this:

            You said “You can’t label all abortion murder.”

            I respond as – yes – all children who are aborted are murdered.

            You said “It’s only murder when the killing is combined with a certain combination of knowledge and intent (kinda like mortal sin).”

            Every abortion has the intent of killing, that is, to end the life of the child. Every abortion premeditated – that is, thought out before hand (not arguing well thought out – just thought out which required an action that was premeditated and it took a deliberately action to arrive at the murder mill such as pp showing the intent.) So we have met the conditions of knowledge and intent.

            Every abortion is intentional, not accidental. Every abortion is not caused from neglect – as we are discussing the act of murder (abortion) and not some other cause of the death of a child in the womb – whether the child is wanted or not.

            With that said, we are in total agreement that the second victim is the mother of the now dead and murdered child. If you read through some of my other posts I believe strongly in the support organizations such as Rachel’s Vineyard, and others who help the mother cope with one, what has been done to her, and two, what she has done.

            Yes, many woman feel pressured into murdering their child. Many reasons are for self serving and selfishness on the part of the mother, others are for what they consider to be good reasons – they do not feel they can care for the child, while others are made to participate (can’t murder a woman’s child in her womb if she is not there). So regardless of the reason, the participation of the mother is required.

            You mentioned “like mortal sin” – which is an interesting comparison. I know this is a Catholic blog, but I have posted thus far from a mostly non-religous point of view. I will take this opportunity to look at it from the sin point of view in comparison to the qualifier to being murder, and not just a killing. There are three qualifiers for a sin to be a mortal sin – it must be grave matter, full knowledge that it is grave matter, and the sinner chooses to do it any way.

            Example one: a woman who is kidnapped and taken to have her baby aborted but it is done without her consent – would not have committed a mortal sin, nor would she have conspired in the murder of her child – but the fact her child was still murdered does not change.

            Example two: a Catholic teenage girl who has been taught the religious implications and evils of abortion gets pregnant anyway and and believes that she will get into trouble with her parents. She sets the appointment and has the abortion. The action is grave matter (taking the life of the child) = grave matter. She knew the action was wrong = knowledge the action was grave matter. However, she proceeded with the murder of her child anyway – the action of doing it fulfills the third requirement. So here we have a mortal sin, and same result, a conspired murder of an innocent life.

            Example three: an atheist teenage girl gets pregnant but wants to fit into her prom dress. She sets the appointment and has the abortion. The action is grave matter (taking the life of the child)= grave matter. She did the action anyway, (part of the third requirement) but did she know it was wrong? She says she does not believe it is wrong, so is it a mortal sin per Catholic teaching – The answer is yes – Natural Law is written on the heart of every person and to take the life of her child fulfills the third requirement that she proceeded to do it anyway. The child in the womb was premeditatedly murdered. As non-Catholics do not desire to understand natural law, this argument falls short in their mind and why I do not pursue it from the religious point of view.

            (Those Catholics who prefer to quote misinterpreted interpretations of V-II or have not studied the early church Fathers, or the Catechism of the CC before you tell me how I am mistaken or that Fr. So and so said at the clown mass that abortion is not a mortal sin. The Catholic position is quite clear.)

            This is why I approach the subject of murdering innocent children under the guise that it is currently legal from the point of view of just moral and ethical (but not religious) and from the points of logical, scientific including biological), and with critical thinking. The world already knows the Catholics (for 2000+ years) has said abortion is a grave matter and basically a big no-no.

            So to wrap this up, you end with “We should show compassion for the mothers. This doesn’t mean calling abortion anything other than what it always is: killing a child. But murder means something more, something that isn’t always the case.”

            We agree that mothers should always be treated with respect and compassion, especially if they have been conned into doing something so evil. But I hope I have explained why every abortion (abortion, not other causes of death of a child in the womb) is murder.

          • wineinthewater

            The mortal sin analogy may have led things a bit astray, but it’s worth discussing. You don’t quite have the three conditions right. They are: grave matter, full knowledge, full consent of the will. Therefore, a woman acting out of fear is very likely not giving full consent of the will. And without full consent, there can be no mortal sin. And while the natural law is written on all of our hearts, the requirement is full knowledge, not just access to knowledge. Considering how loudly our culture cries that abortion is not what it is, it is fair to say that many women do not really act in full knowledge. (And consider your argument about natural law for a moment. If the simple existence of natural law means that we should all know grave sins when we encounter them, then that condition for mortal sin would not exist. The fact that Catholic theology even includes the condition means that it does not assume that natural law fulfills the criteria by default.)

            Now, back to murder (since I said they were only kinda alike). You cannot unknowingly murder. The abortion industry goes through great effort to convince people that abortion is not what it is. If you’ve been involved with Rachel’s Vineyard, then you know how many women don’t know what they are doing when they get an abortion.

            Now, to say that all aborted children are murdered .. maybe. Just because the mother is not the murderer does not mean that the child isn’t murdered (and I believe I’ve seen you express it as “complicit in her child’s murder”). You might have an argument there, that the murderer is the doctor or the abortion industry, or our society. But I still think that the term is just so loaded that it is counter-productive.

          • Edge

            You discuss two points above – mortal sin, and the term murder. I will address both, but in two separate responses. This response is to the definition and why this is MURDER.

            We have all heard the phrases “Words have meaning”, and “If a lie is told often enough, it will be believed as the truth.” The enemy is smart, and they know both of these. They also know how to use the language. If I say rain and I say storm, which one conveys the greater potential for damage? How about bad and devastating? The politicians and the media have mastered the language in order to direct the conversation. If they want urgency or make it seem large to grab headlines or to pass something that would never pass because it is really meaningless, they call a “sprinkle” – a “storm”, and do so with such repetition and loudness that soon everyone believes it. Likewise, if they want to downplay something, to make it a non-issue they call a “downpour” – “rain”, and chastise those who point out the severity of the situation.

            In order to loose the urgency that would be created – and to further their agenda of death, the pro-death crowd uses the terms like fetus, lump of cells, abortion, etc. These terms are intentionally disconnected and have been used in just such a way for so long in order to disconnect in the sub-conscience what the really are – life, human, child, and murder. They no longer convey life, and urgency – but instead convey something less than what it is.

            When we argue against the murder of the child in the womb, when we respond as sheeple using their predefined terms, instead of calling things what they are using the terms that are appropriate and true, we actually assist with their agenda. When we do this, those who do not understand the full meaning (have never given it much thought to it) they will be unswayed, because those terms do not mean anything to people. That is why the pro-death crowd USES those terms.

            If they did try to ague their side using the words that truly define what it is, no one would ever support “abortion”. Think about it, what would the average joe on the street say to a person who says – “I need to get my wife to murder our child before he is born so that I do not have to pay child support.” Or to the woman who says “I need to murder my child before she is born so I am not slowed in my career advancement.” They would be locked up, so instead they use words, that are less urgent. It is “raining” – instead of a “massive storm”. No one is going to run or prepare for just rain, but they “would” for a major storm.

            For the crowd who understands the terms but are undecided, they will not be swayed either, because to them, “the pro-life crowd does not even really believe what they are saying. Listen, if the pro-life crowd really believed their argument, they would call it what it is, so if they do not really believe it is murder, why should I join with them?” If we use the language of the “pro-death” (NOT pro-choice) like abortion instead of murder (which it is) then why should they be swayed? It appears to those who are not yet convinced that the “pro-life” side themselves do not even see it as murder, or they would call it as such. And they have to wonder further if it is not murder, perhaps then could it be that the “aborted” is not really even human?

            I will say it again…WORDS HAVE MEANING – and if you try to argue using words that do not truly define what you are saying, you have already lost – lost how many lives? Over 50 million and counting?

            Abortion is the intentional murder of innocent children!

            “But I still think that the term is just so loaded that it is counter-productive.”

            I think, no, I know that the 50+ million children who have been murdered already, plus an unknown number of children who will be murdered STRONGLY disagree that it is counter productive to state the truth.

            Abortion is the intentional murder of innocent children!

            These children cannot speak for them selves. Their deaths will continue to be in vain if WE do not find a way to put a stop to the continued murder of the innocent children.

            Abortion is the intentional murder of innocent children!

            Murder is defined as “the premeditated killing of one human being by another ”

            All of these “abortions” ARE premeditated killing of a human being by another.

            Abortion is the intentional murder of innocent children!

            You may find this interesting:

            “Human life begins at conception in the mother’s womb. For God tells us, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew thee, and before you were born I consecrated you” (Jeremiah 1:5). Abortion is therefore murder. The oldest Christian book (besides parts of the Bible) is the Didache, a book composed by the twelve apostles or their disciples. The Didache proclaims the ancient teaching of the Catholic Church, “You shall not kill the embryo by abortion and shall not cause the newborn to perish” (Didache 2,2). ”

            From :http://www.saintaquinas.com/mortal_sin.html

            So I end with this, if you want to see the end of “abortion” – the end of the murder of innocent children – then YOU (and I mean you, the one who reads this!!) YOU need to use the true definition and yell it loudly from the rooftops (the blogs, the newspaper opinion section, every casual meeting you have with others.)

            If abortion is not murder, and murder is the intentionally killing of a human, then are you saying that the child is less than human? I know you are not from all that you have written thus far.

            So use the language and call it what it is, not the words that the enemy demands you use, for they chose those words for a reason – because with those words, no one really will care – and children will continue to be murdered. Be courageous, be not afraid – and call it what it is:

            Abortion is the intentional murder of innocent children!

          • Edge

            You discuss two points above – mortal sin, and the term murder. I will address both, but in two separate responses. This response is to mortal sin.

            Prior to WWII, we would not be having this discussion, as we would have both been catechized properly, and would have that reinforced from the pulpits. Certainly, even more so for the past two thousand years. Reading the homilies from the priests of the past and especially the ones who where canonized, clearly topics like mortal sin left little to question. I personally like and recommend the homilies and writings of St. John Marie Vianney – The Curé of Ars. Also, St. Don Bosco, St. Padre Pio, not to mention all of the encyclicals that have been written throughout the history of the church. I highly recommend reading these and many more for deeper and further understanding – including the writings of the early church fathers.

            To start, I said “There are three qualifiers for a sin to be a mortal sin – it must be grave matter, full knowledge that it is grave matter, and the sinner “chooses” to do it any way.” You gave the wording as: “grave matter, full knowledge, full consent of the will.” I believe we said the same thing, but as I originally came on here claiming that we need to call things what they are – touché

            We are in agreement on the first – grave matter, that this action IS grave matter, so no further discussion is needed here, except to add that the murder of the child in the womb is so grave:

            “All Catholics who procure a completed abortion or participate in execution of an abortion are automatically excommunicated from the Catholic Church (CCC 2272 and CIC Canon 1314).” (In the response I did below on calling it murder, I gave a quote and a link, and this is also from that same site.)

            The next two are the areas in where I believe we are in disagreement. You start with the third criteria as the possibility for this grave act to not be a mortal sin. So I will address the third criteria first, then come back to the second. This is by far the hardest one to determine. God does always know the truth of our hearts, but in our fallen nature here on earth it can be harder to know ourselves. There are sins we commit and we clearly know that our choices are indeed deliberate. Others, we ourselves are unsure if we gave full consent.

            You state “Therefore, a woman acting out of fear is very likely not giving full consent of the will. And without full consent, there can be no mortal sin.” You are correct that external factors such as fear, anxiety, coercion, a habitual sin, all can complicate the issue of whether full consent is given. Mortal sin requires deliberate (full) consent. This means that one makes a free choice to commit the act. (See Catechism 1735, 1860, 1862 for more).

            Since God does see our hearts clearer than we do (as we are unable to see ourselves as God sees us, due to sin), it would be foolish and possibly deadly to the soul to assume this very gravely act is a venial because there was stress. Here, a prudent soul would assume the sin is mortal due to how grave the matter is, as it is one of the few crimes/sins that cry out to God for justice.

            While there MAY be factors such as pressure that interferes with the woman’s ability to make the correct choice and avoid the murder mill, it is ultimately her free choice and full and deliberate consent to go. (Again, I am not referring to the woman forced against her will.) While the pressure may be great for a woman repeatedly told to abort the child because they cannot care for him or her (say she already has 3 or 4), the choice to conspire and go to a place to fulfill the act of murdering the child rather than place the child up for adoption is in fact her conscious choice to do so.

            Simply having external factors such as fear or any other factors does not automatically make the sin less than mortal. The key here is that while it “might”, to assume that it has could be deadly to the soul. Sin is a magnet for additional sin. We will commit additional sins easier when we are in a state of sin, (venial and mortal) as sin blinds us.

            So to say that while some woman “may” not be guilty of a mortal sin for their participation in the murder of their own child, that number would most likely be a very small number. Further, it would not be wise for anyone but God to make the assessment that it is not a mortal sin, including the woman herself as she has become blinded by sin. Seeking counseling and forgiveness through confession would be the only prudent road to redemption, but confessed as a mortal sin to be certain.

            We are called to do the right thing – always, regardless of personal cost or or consequences.

            The second criteria is full knowledge. Here is where you say “The requirement is full knowledge, not just access to knowledge. Considering how loudly our culture cries that abortion is not what it is, it is fair to say that many women do not really act in full knowledge.”

            I (and the church) say that it is through natural law that we all know right from wrong. It is not from what the media or the politicians tell us – no matter how loudly or often they tell their lies, nor is it from the laws written and defended in our court system. Just because the court has stated “abortion” is a legal form of murder, does not not make it a moral or ethical form of murder. Many cry you cannot legislate morality, but our laws are exactly that, based on morality. (The ones with that war-cry are wanting to pick and choose which moral laws they like and discard the rest – much as a cafeteria catholic picks which teaching they like and disregards the rest.)

            I will agree with you that because of the “culture cries” it can be difficult to recognize natural law clearly, (hard to know what is right when everyone is doing wrong) and because sin can cloud and distort our vision of it. Regardless, we have the obligation to form our conscience. If we do not, how can we obey our call to judge accurately the actions of evil and bear witness to the objective moral truth.

            You then say:
            “(And consider your argument about natural law for a moment. If the simple existence of natural law means that we should all know grave sins when we encounter them, then that condition for mortal sin would not exist. The fact that Catholic theology even includes the condition means that it does not assume that natural law fulfills the criteria by default.)”

            This is simply incorrect. The fact that Catholic theology includes this requirement is for the situations where someone could honestly not know that an action is wrong. How does this differ from the natural law argument you ask? What about when a woman is constantly bombarded with the message that it is OK? The criteria of full knowledge is not simply that they they do not know the action is wrong, but that they could not have “reasonably” learned the truth. It is in these situations where it could not be considered reasonable for a person to know or learn, such that it might reduce culpability reducing the sin from mortal to venial.

            This was a good and necessary truth in the world back when folks had not heard the name Jesus. When whole continents of people had not heard the gospel. Knowledge is power, and (to quote the first Tobey Maguire Spiderman movie) “With great power comes great responsibility.” As we are in the information age today, it would be a very rare case where the truth has not been presented or could be found when sought. Today, when 50% of the country now self identifies themselves as pro-life – and information is just clicks away, the argument that that they could not have “reasonably” learned the truth is virtually nullified.

            The fact is that we cannot commit a mortal sin (and justify some behavior or action) by simply saying there was not full knowledge and by just pretending ignorance, nor can we claim there was not full knowledge if we willfully remain ignorant. This would actually increases our culpability.

            As I stated above, we do not have an excuse if we fail to make the effort to form our conscience. Our conscience is formed based on divine law as revealed in Church teaching and in Scripture. (See Catechism, 1859-60, 1783-5, 1792, and 2039 for more)

            To take the argument further would reach the realm of moral relativism, and would be WAY beyond the scope of this com-box discussion.

            However, I would like to add that it is not a mortal sin if you don’t KNOW you’re committing the act. I am not referring here to the example of abortion being murder. That has clearly been shown to meet the three criteria, grave matter, full knowledge, and deliberate consent of the will. However, I am referring here, as an example, a person in a bar picks up a drink they believe is theirs, it’s not the sin of theft if it turns out to be someone else’s. This person did not know they were taking someone else’s drink – so no consent. Or a woman who has a miscarriage, if she was not doing anything to induce it, it certainly is a tragic loss and certainly NOT a sin.

          • wineinthewater

            I don’t think we’re as far apart as this comment seems to indicate.

            As for knowledge, we do have a responsibility to seek the Truth, to seek the natural law as God has written in our hearts. But just because we seek it doesn’t mean that we will find it (in time). We have to be careful to not project our own abilities, situations and privileges as universal, especially when speaking of non-Catholics. There are many people who do not actually have reasonable access to the internet and other advantages of the information age. Pro-choice Catholics feature more prominently than pro-life Catholics in the media. Protestantism provides a very inconsistent answer to the question for those who seek. For those who seek a Catholic answer, there is a good chance that they will find a Pelosi or Biden version of Catholicism when they seek. From the inside, the catechism looks obvious, but you’d be surprised how many seekers never discover it. You have the access, time, context and mental ability to read and process the saints and encyclicals, but that is not true for everyone. There are those for whom even the catechism is hopelessly complex. So the US is 50% pro-life, it is 40% pro-choice. The simple existence of contention can be enough to create doubt about the answer. And what of those who don’t even have the knowledge that they have the responsibility to seek?

            I’m not saying the knowledge cannot be reasonably found, I’m just saying that not everyone who seeks is going to find the (right) answer.

            As for consent of the will, God does know for sure. For those of us who don’t know for sure, we can say that fear and anxiety compromise the freedom of the will. Is it compromised enough to make the sin no longer mortal? That is something we must judge at least case by case .. and something that perhaps only God has enough info to judge. And if we must judge it case by case, then we can’t make a blanket statement.

            Lastly, I think that the mortal/venial sin distinction is often a hindrance. Say a person is lacking either of the second two criteria for a mortal sin, they have still committed a grave sin. The woman who aborts her child, unless it really is so against her will that it isn’t her act, is still committing a grave sin. Venial or Mortal, a grave sin is still a grave sin. And like you said, all sin opens the door to more sin.

      • Jake E

        Objective science doesn’t care what your opinion is

      • CPE Gaebler

        I’m not saying it because I disagree with the opinion. I’m saying it because the opinion is so thoroughly and utterly false-to-facts that it can only be held by someone with some degree of disconnect from reality.

        • Alexandra

          Being told that I’m disconnected from reality by someone who believes they eat Jesus on a weekly basis is really quite hilarious.

          • CPE Gaebler

            I’m not Catholic. Try again.
            Also, you might want to present a defense for your absurd twisting of language that is more substantial than “tu quoque.”

          • Alexandra

            I have presented my case, and you don’t buy it. I don’t care to convince you, but to call me insane when I’m sure you hold views that I find equally hard to understand and disagree with is just ridiculous. You ended any real useful conversation with that.

          • CPE Gaebler

            I think you ended any hope of useful conversation when you said that anti-abortion people are trying to “force” pregnancy on anybody.

          • Alexandra

            So you were never trying to understand my point or have a conversation to start with.

            What’s the Latin name for that? Don’t care ab initio?

            That’s valid, but don’t pretend I’m the one who derailed conversation with croquettes. I wasn’t talking to you in the first place, you initiated it.

          • CPE Gaebler

            I think I already understand your point. I was throwing my hands up in the air and expressing my disgust over the frequency with which you and people who agree with you seem to state your case using rhetoric that is really just embarrassingly wrong. You speak as if the people who disagree with you are trying to “punish” and “force” pregnant women, which you’ve said is “basically slavery.” That is just wrong. Stop being wrong.

          • Alexandra

            And I think you’re entirely wrong too and have disgust at your positions, but I try not to passive aggressively call someone insane in the same comment thread. I don’t pretend I’m a better person of more sound logic. I think my position is correct, but I don’t think you’re insane for yours, as much as it disgusts me. It’s pretty ridiculous to me that you’d decide to judge me as insane with all your fancy Latin. I guess that’s the nature of the Abrahamic religions. I’m preaching the gospel of truth is hard to know, and we’re all just trying our best, but the Abrahamics say we know what is true, so much that we capitalize it even when it’s not appropriate.

          • CPE Gaebler

            Ahem.
            I DID NOT SAY I WAS EXPRESSING DISGUST AT YOUR POSITIONS.
            Good grief.
            I said I was expressing disgust at your use of rhetoric that was thoroughly false-to-facts, e.g. your referring to pro-lifers “forcing” and “punishing” people and the phrase “basically slavery.” Even if you do actually completely believe in those phrasings, my response would not be so much “disgust” as “exasperation.” My disgust is reserved for persistent repetition of obviously false statements.

            Also, it’s hilarious that you refer to “tu quoque” as “fancy Latin.” It’s Latin for “You too!” and is a phrase that it’s hard to study argumentation without being exposed to at SOME point. Actually, I’m not aware of another phrase for the fallacy, “fancy Latin” or otherwise.

            And if you knew more about Abrahamic religion than you do about reading comprehension or basic argumentation, you’d know that “truth is hard to know, and we’re all just trying our best” is perfectly consistent. (Of course, some truths are not hard to know, like 2+2=4 or A=A.) But “the Abrahamics” are certain in their disagreement with you on some few things, so I can see how you might have come to a different opinion.

          • Alexandra

            AHEM!

            By opinion I was referring to the opinion that my rhetoric is appropriate.

            Should I make some potshots at you now?

          • CPE Gaebler

            Sorry, this whole thing got away from me a bit. No more posting after 3 AM!

            As for potshots, I think you took care of that with that silliness about “only a total snoot would use the technical term for a fallacy” and “Abrahamic religions r dum!” not to mention those bits on “punishment” and “slavery” which are not just bad form, they’re inaccurate. So I guess we’re even.

          • Tacroy

            If you want something more substantial than tu quoque, you should try doing better than ad hominem.

          • Alexandra

            I’ll croquette you, you hominoid.

            Latin is for people who care more about being fancy than being understood.

          • CPE Gaebler

            http://lmgtfy.com/?q=tu+quoque
            Latin is also for people who are aware that certain extremely simple and easy-to-understand Latin phrases are the commonly accepted names for many logical fallacies, and who assume that anyone who is unfamiliar with the term can easily look it up.

          • Alexandra

            I know what it means, and I am aware of the existence of the google machine. But hypocrisy is just as easy to say as tu quoque, easier actually. There’s no real reason to chose the Latin in that case except for pretentiousness.

          • CPE Gaebler

            … To what, precisely, am I supposed to be pretending?

            And there is indeed a reason. Namely, that “tu quoque” is a simple, easy to understand, precise, and widely known phrase, and has the added benefit of making it obvious that I was accusing you of a logical fallacy. Not to mention that, since I was not accusing you of being hypocritical but of calling ME hypocritical and nothing more (that’s the “tu quoque” fallacy), I would have had to replace “tu quoque” with “accusing me of hypocrisy,” which would have been both longer AND less clear.

            But it has Latin in it, so…

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            …and that “hypocrite” is a loaded word. And that calling hypocrisy isn’t really the same thing as calling tu quoque. The argument from hypocrisy is a logical fallacy that states a position is wrong if a person does not always act as if they believed that position. This is the tu quoque fallacy. To call hypocrisy would be to make the very fallacy it was wished would be avoided.

          • wineinthewater

            You know, if you’re going to criticize others for ridiculing, you really should avoid doing it yourself. If anti-Catholic taunting is all you have to offer, you should probably make a different post.

          • Alexandra

            You’re right, I wasn’t proud of this afterwards. This whole conversation with CPE was in poor taste.

          • CPE Gaebler

            Agreed. Sorry, I acted out of frustration, which wuz dum.

            I ask you to recall our earlier conversation on the word “homophobe” and how it should not be thrown around lightly. Similar reason here. Being called a “homophobe” is irritating, but being told that I am supporting something that is “basically slavery” is really, really below the belt. (And I am sorry that I responded in kind.)

            I submit that a comparison like that, which nobody who thinks abortion is a bad thing will agree is a valid comparison, is both not going to be convincing to anyone and is going to be obnoxious.

            (Incidentally, the reason I think it’s completely a terrible comparison is that in the case of an unplanned pregnancy, the only way out is to do something terrible. If there were a way to safely, effectively, and affordably transplant a child from one woman to another, and a surplus of willing recipients, I doubt that procedure would be quite so opposed. There would now be a way out that ISN’T as terrible. Don’t think it would improve matters much in the long run, but whatever.

            Slavery, on the other hand, is one where there is a way out that is NOT terrible, namely, walking somewhere else and doing something else. However, the slaver prevents the slave from leaving not because he’s preventing something terrible from happening, but because he wants money.

            The slaver values his money over the slave’s freedom to go where he pleases and do what he pleases. The pro-lifer values human life over a pregnant woman’s freedom to choose all of the circumstances of her life. As long as people think that it is a matter of human life and death, they will never agree with your belief that women are being unfairly kept in an unwanted situation.)

          • Alexandra

            That’s fair enough. I can see how I shouldn’t have brought it up here. It’s a lot how the comparison between abortion and the Holocaust makes me want to hulk smash things.

            The point is we’re all passionate about this issue because we care. I think that the SCOTUS ruling on Roe v Wade was exactly the right way to deal with the issue. It’s secular and accurately interprets the science. The science doesn’t end at a zygote is human.

            It’s a religious idea that our rights come simply from being human. It bothers me very much that people crusade to impose their own religious morality on the laws, and have been successful at it so far. This is a secular nation, and it’s so important that we keep it that way. No one wants the Mormons or the Scientologists being able to impose their religious beliefs on our laws. That’d be really scary.

          • CPE Gaebler

            Or a certain other comparison involving homosexuals? ;-) Yeah, it’s on the same level. Meaning, there are some points for comparison between the two being compared, at least in the viewpoint of the one doing the comparing; but there are important ways that they differ of which even the unintended suggestion can only lead to hurt feelings all around.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            All laws assume some conception of morality. It is a testament to the incoherence of public ethical discourse that we have forgotten this fact. All laws assume ethical axioms. The question is not of basing laws on ethics but upon which ethics the laws will be based.

  • Djrogers

    Let me get this straight. Joe Clark sees no issue in giving his children weapons to commit murder if they are attacked but if one of his children is told by a doctor she will die if she doesn’t abort he believes his grown child should die? How does that make any sense?

    • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

      DJ, what country are you from? In the United States almost everyone (even our Democrats) understands the importance of a right to bear arms and knows that the world is a safer place when responsible (trained) adults are allowed to carry weapons for self defense. Very few people (except rapists) think that it is “murder” for a woman to use deadly force against a rapist.

      And, even if it was “murder”, I would rather my daughter murder a rapist (who might kill her) than murder her own child (who might kill her). That’s not a difficult call. Unless you’re a rapist.

      • Alexandra

        It’s very dependent on the region of the country, but no, not “almost everyone” supports the right to bear arms or thinks that the world is a safer place if people are allowed to carry weapons.

        Also do you really think that rape is something that could have been prevented by a woman carrying a weapon? Not only could a rapist manage to turn her weapon on her, but the vast majority of rape is acquaintance or date rape where a weapon wouldn’t do anything for you.

      • Djrogers

        I could care less if you carry a gun. BFD. I live in Texas. Everyone has one. The point in which you avoided missed or whatever is murder is murder. You can’t say prolife in absolutes but then advocate killing that unaborted child years later because they made a bad choice. One could argue that there is obviously something mentally wrong with a person who commits a rape. Well there could also be something completely wrong with a fetus where the end result would be death of fetus and host. Why is it ok to kill that fetus in their later state (grown adult) then while in the womb to at least prevent the host death? If you’re going to claim pro life it has to be conception to grave. There can be no exceptions.

        • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

          I’m not talking about revenge killing, I’m talking about killing in self defense. It would not be moral to spontaneously murder someone, out of the blue, because they committed a rape in the past. A woman should carry a weapon to defend herself, not to take revenge on evildoers.

          • Djrogers

            And exactly where did I say anything about revenge killing? Yes it is true that some rapists kill their victims but a vast majority do not. So you’re advocating murdering someone who’s only intent is bodily harm. In some states the victim could be charged for killing their attacker if their life wasn’t in jeopardy.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            I not talking about “murder” at all, but the use of force to stop an attack. This would not be penalized anywhere in the United States except by an unlikely jury composed entirely of die-hard liberals in NYC or Chicago, and that would be quickly corrected by an appeal. It might be “murder” if the woman shoots the rapist in the back as he’s already running away, or some other exception, but I have not at any point said that that kind of thing would be moral.

            As expected, the catechism of the catholic church (2263-2264) says it better than I:

            2263 The legitimate defense of persons and societies is not an exception to the prohibition against the murder of the innocent that constitutes intentional killing. “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor…. The one is intended, the other is not.”

            2264 Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow:
            If a man in self-defense uses more than necessary violence, it will be unlawful: whereas if he repels force with moderation, his defense will be lawful…. Nor is it necessary for salvation that a man omit the act of moderate self-defense to avoid killing the other man, since one is bound to take more care of one’s own life than of another’s.

          • Djrogers

            “Love toward oneself remains a fundamental principle of morality. Therefore it is legitimate to insist on respect for one’s own right to life. Someone who defends his life is not guilty of murder even if he is forced to deal his aggressor a lethal blow”

            So why does this not also apply to women who have to defend their life at the cost of the fetus they carry? I do not agree with using abortion as a form of contraception (but I’m not going to force my belief on someone else by pushing prolife) but if doctor(s) have reason to believe that the host life is in jeopardy I don’t have an issue with it being performed. It’s absurd that the RCC stance on ectopic pregnancy is it is not ok to terminate but it is ok to remove a part of a woman’s reproductive system that contains the pregnancy which obviously stops the pregnancy but in an indirect way.

          • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

            Did you see this part: “The act of self-defense can have a double effect: the preservation of one’s own life; and the killing of the aggressor…. The one is intended, the other is not.”

            I think the same thing applies. If a woman takes her baby’s life in order to save her own, the intent is “preservation of one’s own life” and is a moral gray area. But if killing the baby is the primary intent (as in almost every abortion of a non-ectopic pregnancy) then it is inarguably an evil.

            I notice that you keep using the case of a woman who knows (for certain) that she will die without having an abortion, and knows (for certain) that the baby will die either way, as in ectopic pregnancy. I hope you don’t think that the moral answer to that case in any way generalizes to a situation where, as Alexandra might say (clutching her pearls), a healthy pregnancy means the woman is FORCED to SACRIFICE her very LIFE for half an age by the microscopic tyrant in her womb…

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            [A]s Alexandra might say (clutching her pearls), a healthy pregnancy means the woman is FORCED to SACRIFICE her very LIFE for half an age by the microscopic tyrant in her womb…

            You seem to really enjoy twisting peoples words into something a far cry from what it is they’re really saying. Do you get some sort of perverse pleasure out of this? Some feeling of superiority or pride(!) in your believed cleverness? Why do you do this?

          • Alexandra

            I think he does. He continues to top his misogyny here. I can’t imagine what he’ll say next.

          • Korou

            I think it’s principles she’s clutching at.
            She has had a few pearls of wisdom, though.

          • Alexandra

            Thank you, Korou.

  • 6thStation

    I find it interesting that those who are for abortion don’t know that a zygotes contain DNA derived from both the parents, and this provides all the genetic information necessary to form a new individual.
    And if you have never seen what an aborted baby looks like, (in real life, not pictures) you have no idea what your talking about. After seeing one, there can be no way you would think abortion is okay. Or then again maybe your just a very cold person.

  • JAGreene86

    Hi.

    I am more or less responding to the comments made to this blog. That is not to say that I didn’t like the post by the Guest (in which the blog is referring to).

    I am not the most intelligent man (and already people are wondering why I’m wasting my time (and infinitely worse…*their* time), if I’m not the most intelligent man), but I do have a voice.

    Why does having a voice mean anything? Well, it just seems like we are getting to the point where everyone has a voice, whether they’re worthy of it or not. Now, people have a right to listen to such voice, but again, we live in a society that easily condemns people for judging, so I can make the argument that people are wrongfully judging me if they decide to not listen to me and demand that my voice be heard (I could do that…if I wanted to…but I’m not…see how nice I am?)

    Ok, you’re probably thinking now “just get to the point already!”…so, because I am feeling socially pressured, I will:

    The reason why people are crying about keeping abortion legal is not about morality. It’s not even really about money. It’s about people not wanting their toy to be taken away from them (now, to those who are offended by what I said…if it is true, then I can make the philosophically sound claim that you’re really not looking for Truth, but if it’s not true…then why worry about it?).

    Abortion and contraception go hand-in-hand. Without contraception, abortion wouldn’t even be a discussion. To those who wish for me to back that up, check that contraception was made legal waaaay before Roe v. Wade. Also check that Pope Paul VI in Humane Vitae predicted the outcome of contraception being made legal…well before Roe v. Wade. It’s simple cause and effect.

    When prohibition was in effect in America, there was an underground surge against it. Eventually the government gave in, and alcohol was made legal again. However, I would dare to explore the possibility that if the government would’ve stood its ground and kept the laws of prohibition, that there wouldn’t be much thought against it. This is what has been made true about slavery. Slavery was “accepted” as moral with most people (however, the mis-treating of slaves was not accepted, and this is what people fought over). However, since most slave-owners DID mistreat their slaves, it was discovered that it would be better outlawed than to keep it legal, for the risk of ONE slave being mistreated by their owner. This was a long, hard fight (as everyone knows it as the Civil War)…but, if slavery was so “immoral”, why was there even a discussion about it, much less a War fought over the idea of slavery? People didn’t want their “toys” taken away (and yes, you should take offense to that statement, because human beings should not be viewed for just “having pleasure”, I will bring that up later).

    Now on to the modern times…but, as the saying goes…those who don’t know history, are doomed to repeat it. I will concluded that we are repeating a form of that history now.

    Our “uncontrollable” pleasure for sex is creating two victims: Men and women. Yes, men have it easy that they can “walk away” from a pregnancy, but I would argue that because of that, men are driving the oppression of women, BECAUSE there is the option for abortion. If abortion wasn’t a legal option, would men still “force” women to get abortions? Also, on the defense of women, it is tough to be pregnant (and since I am a guy, I will never experience it, obviously), but most women I meet who are pregnant (at least those who want to be pregnant) are happy about being pregnant. Yeah, sure, it’s a pain, but so is work…so why do we work? Because we get paid so that we can support our family. They endure the “hardship” of pregnancy, because they know the possible end-result of their “hard work” will end in a beautiful baby that they can call their own. No man can ever experience pregnancy, but no man can ever have the same love that a mother has for their child. There is a special bond between the mother and the child BECAUSE the mother endured 9 months of the pregnancy for them. Men cannot have that same relationship with their children (although their relationship with their children is unique in itself as well though). To say that “forcing a pregnant women to endure 9 months of pregnancy is slavery” is similar to saying “a boss forcing a worker to work 9-5 is slavery”. First of all, pregnancy is slavery from the body (in pro-choice terms), not from a person, therefore, it is a “lesser” slavery (since it is nature enslaving us, which is natural, and not a person, which is unnatural). Even if the pro-choice, for a second, wants to jump over the fence and say “then it is a person enslaving us”, I would argue “did that person in your belly choose to enslave you?”. The obvious answer is no, which would dive us into the debate of “whether unintentional slavery is immoral or not” (not to mention the fact that I got a pro-choice person to admit that it is a life inside the womb).

    All that work was to debunk the mythical idea that a “forced” pregnancy is a form of slavery when I could just say it in simple terms…we are all slaves to our bodies…end of discussion (the reason why I did the long version first is because I saved myself a lot of trouble and filled up the loopholes before anyone spots them). Now, on to why men and women are victims of “uncontrollable” sex:

    The argument for women is easy. As soon as contraception was brought into the picture, men now felt they could view women as objects of pleasure rather than wives and/or mothers. Back in the “good ol’ days”, men liked a certain women because they saw qualities in them that would make them both a good wife and a good mother. Yes, there was a level of physical attraction, but that level of physical attraction didn’t overpower the desire to have a good wife and a good mother of their children. This actually empowered women more, in the sense that it was a standard for a women to be dignified, both in being respectable and caring. They had to work hard to find a guy, in the sense that guys had high standards for their future families. This is not to say that women couldn’t attend to those standards, or else there wouldn’t be many marriages. It was to say that a girl earned a guy, and the guy had to earn the girl, in the sense that a good girl would not have to think twice about turning down a bad guy, and a good guy would not think about entering into a relationship with a bad girl. However, somewhere along the way, that “standard of society” changed drastically…and it was called…the Sexual Revolution. This is when society divorced itself with the idea of sex being used to create a family (not to mention the divorce rate itself skyrocketed afterwards). This is when men and women started oppressing themselves to their sexual desires, rather than training themselves to be good husbands, wives, fathers, and mothers. However, in order for the Sexual Revolution to get off of the ground, they had to first convince women that they don’t have to be mothers if they don’t want to (that argument still holds true now), and they also had to convince guys “it’s ok to give in to your sexual desire for women…that’s what they’re there for”, thus the industry of Playboy and porn were born to help guys”buy” (literally) into that belief.

    Let me say simply this: Would it be wise to encourage an alcoholic to go to a bar unsupervised? Would it be wise to tell a druggie the cheapest place to get drugs? Would it be wise to tell a sex addict “it’s ok to have sex”? So, I ask…it is wise to preach the message “our desires for sex are uncontrollable, therefore, it’s just better for you to just have sex with whomever approves”? In lies the oppression for men: women are making it too easy for men to get sex. Prostitution is an oppression for men, because it encourages men to look at women as pleasure, not as a person (*hint hint…go back to the last sentence in the paragraph about prohibition*). I will say another “offensive” line: Prostitution IS all over the country…just some have decided to make a profession from it. Yes, I went THAT low…but I’m not putting all the blame on women, I’m putting them equally on both sexes.

    If men would be courageous and stand up and defend women’s dignity, there would be no need for women to feel the need to throw their bodies at men in order to feel wanted…and if women would stand up for motherhood, and train themselves to be good wives and mothers, men would desire them more (this I KNOW to be true as a guy). The conversation would end on abortion…it might even end on contraception, because, as history as shown us, just because we CAN do it, doesn’t mean we should. Just because we CAN enslave Africans, doesn’t mean we should. Just because we CAN have abortions, doesn’t mean we should.

    Yes, I wrote a lot. Yes, it was pretty intense (it was intense writing it), but if I feel like it wasn’t important information, I wouldn’t have wasted 2 hours of my day writing it.

    …and for those who are just ICHING to counter my points, I just ask three things: One…actually *counter* my points (as in…don’t say “your analogy sucks” or “that’s just your opinion” (also, don’t isolate my arguments…that annoys me. Attack the whole, please. It makes both of our lives easier)). Second: Don’t assume you know me. Don’t assume what “religion” I am and try to beat me that way. To be honest with you, I could use the argument that since someone’s an Atheist, they don’t believe in morality, therefore, everything they say falls under the “Relativistic Philosophy”, which is a philosophical contradiction, therefore, is wrong, therefore, everything they say about morality is subject to be wrong, therefore, I don’t have to listen to them (I’m not going to use that card of you don’t use that card on me). The third thing I would ask is that please, please, PLEASE use respect and proper philosophy. I’d hate to have this turn into a “emotional argument”…and also, I’m using philosophy. The only way you’ll convince me of your ideas is if you beat me at my own game. Anyone can make stuff up and make it sound convincing. Good philosophy is good arguing, and I will not budge until someone comes up with a better argument.

    (PS) Thank you all who comment on Marc’s blog…especially those who counter his points…it is actually giving us good stuff to work with, because it challenges me to improve on my thinking and arguing, and I’m sure it has the same effect on everyone else…so…keep it coming…it keeps making us stronger.

    (Take note) I love people. I don’t say this because I’m “smarter” than everyone else…I honestly want people to be honest with themselves and understand what’s going on around them. Free will is beautiful, but so is being informed. That is the main and only point of this post. All else is speculation that I will greatly deny without an ounce of dishonesty in my veins.

    Thank you for your time…God be with you all.

    • Korou

      Just a tiny, minor point – I was hoping that we had established that atheists do have grounds for morality. But you did say you weren’t going to play that card, so I won’t press it.

      • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

        I’ve never seen/heard that established. Not even during the many years when I was an atheist. What grounds do you have?

        • Korou
          • JAGreene86

            …can you help specify were it is? There’s like 1,000 comments on that post.

            …maybe if it’s too hard to direct, could you paraphrase and list the points here? I’m interested on hearing what the argument is saying.

          • Korou

            Sorry, JA – it was a very long thread. You can see my main arguments in it if you search for “Korou” – press ctrl F and type in my username.

            I don’t really feel that the issue is worth re-discssing here, as I think it was pretty much thrashed out already – and I feel confident in saying that atheists certainly can justify a moral system without recourse to God. The main points were:

            1. Happiness and suffering are two constants in human nature which we move towards and away from.
            2. Humans are social beings possessing imagination and empathy; therefore we are able to understand how others feel and construct a system of ethics which ensures the maximum amount of happiness and alleviates the maximum amount of suffering.

            Like I say, this has been exhaustively gone over, and I’m not interesting in restarting the debate, unless there is some aspect of it which hasn’t been considered yet.

            I would, however, be very interested in asking about the foundations of theistic morality. I did ask quite a lot in the other thread; not many people answered and I didn’t find their answers very satisfying at all. How do you know if something is moral or not?

          • JAGreene86

            Ok, just real brief: What defines ALL happiness as good and ALL suffering as bad? And if there are exceptions, how can we tell? This is my beef with Atheist and morality, because we are creating rules without fully understanding happiness and suffering.

            With the second point: how do Atheist define a human being? What if it is unclear if a person has imagination or empathy or not? This gets tricky too, because if we say “a human being has A,B,C” but then find a person who doesn’t have “C”, are they not a human being then?

            Even if point 1 and 2 are used for Atheist to define morality, it would completely dismiss the idea of Relativism (which is the rock that most Atheist live under). This is the contradiction that comes at hand; because even if those two points are true, they would have to be Universal, meaning, they apply to all. This goes back to the Christian argument of “stop shoving your morality down my throat!”. Universal morality, in order for it to be best effective, all need to accept, not just some. This no longer becomes “Relativism vs Absolutism”, but really, a battle of who has the right Morality, which goes into the law of contradiction…because both the Atheist and Christian can’t be right about their Universal Morality. Either Atheism is right, or Christianity is right, or neither of them is right.

            To answer your simple question, here’s my simple answer: Love and Truth. When someone loves in the most purest and genuine way, you know that person is living a moral life. Anything done with love, coupled with Truth, is moral. True love and Truth have never failed anyone who have ridden on its saddles. I would venture to say that if people claim that it has failed, then I would say it’s wasn’t True Love or Truth. True Love is (as Marc said in a previous post) the desire to be one with Beauty (to loosely define). Truth is something that is structure: it either is or isn’t. It either works, or it doesn’t (or, as you said, it’s either possible, or not possible (and I honestly mistook your question…it is *possible*, but not without accepting the idea of Perfect, Universal Morality (aka the idea of God, aka a Deity))).

            We know something’s moral, because it is for the ultimate benefit for the individual and/or society. Notice I didn’t mention anything about happiness or suffering, because suffering can be moral, where happiness could be immoral (and notice that I said “ultimate” benefit as well). Those who Love and are implanted in Truth do moral things (with the occasional slip-up), because their intention is to bring upon the ultimate benefit of both them and the other that they’re serving and/or teaching. Doing things out of Love and teaching Truth is the most moral thing that anyone could do, whether Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa were famous examples of such “Ultimate Morality in action”.

            As far as Theology, it can be summed up on one verse:

            “Love God with all your heart, mind, strength, and soul. Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Laws and Prophets are based on these two commandments.”

            Hope that satisfies…if not, I’m sorry, I gave it my best shot…because even if given 100 years to find a better answer, I couldn’t. Good luck to you, my friend.

          • Korou

            I’ll respond properly as soon as I can – tomorrow, I hope.

          • Luka Alexandrovich Nevskeyev

            I’ll venture a reply, friend. Theistic ethics have several bases. Generally, there’s the simple “God said don’t do it, so don’t do it, and trust that God has very good reasons for saying don’t do it.” Think of kosher, where it’s a really good idea not to eat pork when you’re a tribe wandering in the Sinai c. 1000 BC, because you’ll get lots of nasty diseases and such.

            The basic reading of theistic ethics, as I understand it from my study of religions and their philosophies, begins from some conception of a natural and universal human good. Buddhism begins, for example, with the ultimate human good i.e. the natural goal of man is to be free of suffering. To escape suffering is good for any human being, according to Buddhism.

            Humanity is currently not at this state of the human good, and thus come conceptions of virtue, or ways of getting from humanity-as-we-are to the state of the human good. Confucius bases virtue on filial piety, of fathers fulfilling their duties to their sons and sons fulfilling their duties to their fathers, even if the other does not reciprocate. This is to follow the Dao, or the Way (of reality), and to unite oneself to the ultimate good.

            Theistic, and specifically monotheistic (e.g. Christianity, Confucianism for the most part, Islam, etc.) mainly differ in their conceptions of the human good. Something common to Confuciansim and Christianity is that both see the natural goal of man, the human good, as a union with Goodness itself. To do good is to unite oneself to life, the other is to cut oneself off from goodness, light, and life, and therefore to live a life less than truly happy.

            So I guess really the answer is that “morals” are a foreign concept to theistic ethics. Morality comes from a Latin word “mores”, which refers to cultural practices and societal opinion. These often categorize a certain group of people as “bad”, rather than a certain set of practices as “bad” for all people. Rather, theistic ethics are not based in morality but ethics, a word which comes from a Greek word “ethos”, which refers to character, reputation, and virtue. The moralist asks, “What behaviors are bad and who practices them, that we may stigmatize them?” The ethicist asks, “What behaviors foster and prevent the realization of the human good in each person, that we may encourage those which lead to flourishing and discourage those which lead to death.”

      • JAGreene86

        As ironic as that sounds…that was my point. I was using the stereotypical “you’re a Christian, therefore, you’re a bad person” argument against them…just in the sense of Atheism (showing how easy it is for someone to “wrongfully stereotype someone to justify not listening to them”).

        • Korou

          You said, Greene:

          “To be honest with you, I could use the argument that since someone’s an Atheist, they don’t believe in morality, therefore, everything they say falls under the “Relativistic Philosophy”, which is a philosophical contradiction, therefore, is wrong, therefore, everything they say about morality is subject to be wrong, therefore, I don’t have to listen to them (I’m not going to use that card of you don’t use that card on me).”

          This means that you think you could use the argument that atheists are lacking in morality, but you choose not to in this case.

          You then said:
          “I was using the stereotypical “you’re a Christian, therefore, you’re a bad person” argument against them…just in the sense of Atheism (showing how easy it is for someone to “wrongfully stereotype someone to justify not listening to them”).”

          Does this mean that you are saying that atheists do, in fact, have a basis for their morality? That it is possible to justify a moral system in the lack of a God? That saying atheists cannot do so is “wrongfully stereotyping” them?

          Perhaps you can clarify.

          • JAGreene86

            To answer your questions first, then clarity:

            I’m not saying either. I’m saying that Atheism is defined on the individual who defines their own “morality”. Here’s my explanation:

            If an Atheist has a personal idea of “morality” (which, most Atheist do), then they personally decide who is a “good person” or “bad person” on numerous reasons. It’ll take too much time and work to list all the different possible reasons, but I think you get the point in saying that…”I don’t know what they’re reasons are for morality, therefore, I don’t know what their basis is for morality” because its different for every Atheist. I cannot justify for or against their moral system, because I don’t know what they’re basing it off of, because, to them, there is no universal base for morality. Maybe their personal moral system is based out of a good and noble cause, but maybe it’s not. Most murders and rapist don’t kill and rape out of a good and noble cause. I can only see what they do and what they believe, I cannot truly see the intention of a person. The best I can do is when they tell me, but then, that means I have to trust their word, therefore, I still will never know for sure (for isn’t that the whole argument for Agnosticism… because we don’t know, we shouldn’t assume?).

            However, since actions fall on an objective realm (we can never change what we have done), I can make a calculated assumption on their intention based off of their actions. This is the primary argument that Atheist have on Christians…Christians say one thing, but do another, and Atheist judge their intention base on the their actions. Atheist try to avoid this by saying that they don’t believe in a deity, therefore, they cannot be “hypocrites” like the Christians, however, so they are not shunned by the world, they develop their own “moral code” that is more or less consistent with the rest of the world, but in doing so, expose themselves to the same argument that they use against Christians.

            That was Part One. This is Part Two (I do apologize if this is a lot, but Atheism is complicated to explain):

            Atheist may be able to use philosophy to decide what is moral and immoral, but if that were the case, I would argue that they are one step further away from Atheism and one step closer to believing a deity…for did we create Philosophy? No, we simply “discover” philosophy (anyone who believes that they invent philosophy is the most arrogant person on the face of the planet (*cough cough* Fredrich Netizche *cough cough*)). Discovery is the evidence of either “what has been” and/or “what still is”. Since this is a discovery in the metaphysical realm, philosophy is the evidence of SOMETHING creating that realm, ergo, a metaphysical Creator outside of ourselves. The argument that other human beings have planted philosophical ideas is flawed, because new philosophical discoveries can be made individually. So, it IS possible for an Atheist to develop a “universal moral system” through philosophy, but that is rare…and even then, I’d hardly doubt they’d remain Atheist if they get to that point.

            If there is such a thing as a “perfect moral system”, no one would be able to 100% abide to it, because we are all imperfect. There is a difference between a hypocrite and someone who is genuinely striving for perfection but makes honest mistakes here and there. On the outside, they look the same, but as I said earlier, we never truly will know the intention of someone, whether Christian or Atheist…but we have our fair share of assumptions (but those assumptions don’t belong in a philosophical argument, as I keep stating).

            To go back to the “stereotype” argument again, I was pointing out how easily it is for someone to “logically” (I use that word loosely in this case) dismiss me based on what group I associate myself with. If I am a Christian, people can say “you are a Christian, therefore, a hypocrite. Why should I listen to you?”, or, if I were an Atheist, people could say “you have no universal moral standard, why should I listen to you?” As we have both evaluated, both have their flaws, but people use it anyway to justify not listening to one another. I was purposefully using a “stereotype argument” just to show how easily (and stupid and childish) it is to use. When people use that as their first argument, I “assume” they don’t care two shits about what I have to say, therefore, I’m not going to waste my time with them (unless they realize I have the wrong assumption and try to genuinely correct me)…but I’m hoping I never have to encounter someone like that in the first place.

            Thank you Korou for indirectly proving that point for me…and hope I don’t mean to sound trite by saying that.

          • Korou

            Sorry, JA, you can’t say that you’re not saying either. The question isn’t “Did this atheist construct a system of moras correctly?” The question is: is it possible to construct a system of morals in the absence of a deity, ie for an atheist. The answer is either yes, it is possible, or no, it isn’t.

            I’m afraid philosophy is not an argument at all in favour of a deity existing, anymore than the Argument from Design is – “Look how beautiful this tree is! If there is a leaf, there must be a leafmaker.” (which came up in the recent thread on beauty. The metaphysical realm exists as a consequence of our ability to think about things.

            I’m also afraid that I haven’t proved your point for you, so I’ll leave it to you to decide whether you sound trite or not!

            JA, I think you the wrong assumption, and I am genuinely trying to correct it.

          • JAGreene86

            You asked me what I was saying…and I told you what I was saying. You changed your question.

            As I said in my previous post (the one I wrote right before this one) is that it is *possible*, but not without discarding the “idea of God”. I’ll explain this real quick:

            The “idea of God” is form up of all these different “philosophical traits of God” where, if there is a God, philosophically speaking, He (or it) has to have all of these philosophical characteristics, or else it’s not God. I don’t know all of them of the top of my head, but one of them is “Universal Morality”. If the idea of “Universal Morality” does exist (not to say that the idea exists, but the actual Truth of that idea, and it needs to be True in order for Morality to have any merit in a philosophical argument as well), then we are one step closer to identifying “God”…not in our own image, but in the image of what is already “God”, thus, stepping more away from Atheism and stepping closer to Theism.

            Ok, if you want to use the example of “the metaphysical world was created as a consequence of our ability to think”, let me ask you this question: how can light come from darkness? If darkness is the absence of light…how did light come to be? How can darkness, which is, in essence, the complete opposite of light, create light? How could the physical world, which doesn’t have a *hint* of the metaphysical world, create the metaphysical world? Did we invent the metaphysical world? Or did we just simply open a door into a new world?

            If you’ve ever walked in a completely empty room, you’d say “this is an empty room, there is no creation in this, therefore, no creator”. However, realize that room, in essence, had to be created in order for there to be an empty room. Every aspect of the room had to be created…the dimensions, the walls, the door itself. Before us, the metaphysical world could be likened to us walking into an empty room…and then we just decide to fill it up however we want. However, some forget to think about the creation of that room, and that creation was there before they ever stepped into it.

            Everything has a creation. Everything has a trail to something else (hence the Big Bang Theory). It is actually very philosophically sound to trace the origin of life and come to the conclusion that both the physical and metaphysical world, as well as the beauty of art and the principles of math, was “created” before we “discovered” it, ergo, evidence of a “Creator”. It’s like seeing footprints in the snow…it’s evident that someone was there before you, even though you never saw “proof” of them. Everything in our world is evidence of those “Creator footprints”. This is actually very philosophically sound…I don’t know where you get the idea that philosophy can’t argue for the “Creation Design”.

            I appreciate your genuineness (and that you’re the only one responding to my posts, so I thank you for that), and I know you mean well. However, we have greatly digressed from my original post (although I don’t regret it at all), and none of the above posts have been refuted through clear and precise philosophy, but only by assumption and (no offense) weaker arguments (I apologize even more if that sounds more trite than the first!).

            I am a seeker of Truth. I am an easily confused person, and life confuses me the most…that’s why I try so hard to understand it and make sense of it. I’m grateful “Someone” left the pieces of the puzzle lying around for me to put them together…but I, in no means, want to take credit for the pieces coming together…there is “Someone Else” who originally made the puzzle and gave me the opportunity to have the joy (and struggle) of putting it together myself (and help others put it together as well).

            As I tell everyone…the best advice I could ever give someone: Never stop searching for Truth. Never…ever…ever…stop.

  • Cowalker

    “Put another way, to permit abortion (the intentional destruction and removal of a human fetus from a pregnant woman), government must leave the realm of objectivity and science. Choosing any moment after conception to protect human life from intentional destruction crosses a line into personal opinion.”

    Yes, as we do all the time to try to determine when a person should have the right to consent to sex, the right to sign a contract, the right to drive, the right to get married, the right to drink, the right to receive Medicare, and the right to receive Social Security benefits. The ages chosen are arbitrary. They certainly aren’t going to be suited to each individual, but we try for the average situation. In other words, “the government relies on the subjective opinion of scientists, judges, legislators, bureaucrats, or pregnant women. . . .”

    Great, there’s a bright line at conception. Unfortunately there is no way to observe that it has happened, when it happens. As many as 20% of all conceptions don’t result in a pregnancy, and often women don’t even know they conceived. When this occurs, has there been a death in the family? An unnoticed death? The impact on the parents is zero.

    Get serious. We don’t attach the same significance to the loss of a zygote, or blastocyst, or an embryo as we do to a stillbirth or an infant death. Scientifically, humanity exists at conception, but socially the baby acquires rights along the continuum of pregnancy. I think the Supreme Court pretty much nailed it in Roe v Wade. There are no easy, neat answers in the unparalleled state of conflicting interests represented by an unwanted pregnancy. A developing human being must live INSIDE another human being to survive, and frequently must inflict some damage on that human being in order to be delivered full term from dependency. You’re not going to solve that problem by passing laws that enforce carrying a pregnancy to term.

    I cannot take pro-lifers seriously who get emotional about the murder of embryos and then call for laws that punish only the abortion provider. If you really think it’s homicide, then punish the mother who chooses to abort the same way you would someone who hires a contract killer. If a woman gets RU 486 by ordering it online and aborts her baby, prosecute her the same way you would the boyfriend who shakes an infant to death. There would be little support for such laws, because in our hearts people don’t feel the situations are equivalent. A zygote is simply not the same as an infant.

    • http://www.facebook.com/joeclark1977 Joe Clark

      No way to know if conception has actually taken place? Well that’s only a problem if youre a pro-abort. The anti-abortion argument is perfectly consistent here: don’t murder the baby at ANY point, and you can be certain you haven’t killed it. That’s an “easy, neat answer” and doesn’t rely on anything “arbitrary”. Every variation on the pro-abortion position is uncertain and arbitrary, but the pro-life position is not.

      • Cowalker

        I am talking about pregnancies that fail for natural reasons before the mother even knows she was pregnant. The mother didn’t kill it. She didn’t even know about it. Yet pro-lifers would claim the loss of this blastocyst is the exact equivalent of the loss of an infant. We all know it is not.

        • guest

          Just because the “blastocyst” has the potential, even the great potential, of loss of life due to natural causes does not make it less human than the infant. a percentage of Infants die from SIDS , natural causes that are not caused by neglect or any other factor. Is the SIDS baby less human? The accidental loss of a “blastocyst” is the exact equivalent to the loss of the SIDS baby, until you can otherwise show that becoming human happens at some other point in development. Perhaps you are saying that because the “blastocyst” naturally aborted shows that it was never meant to be a child. Is the SIDS baby proving that it was never meant to be a child either? By all means, define when a human becomes a human outside of conception and I’ll shut my mouth. Until then, I’m sorry, but I respect life too much.

          • Cowalker

            “The accidental loss of a ‘blastocyst’ is the exact equivalent to the loss of the SIDS baby,” yet no one reacts as though it was. In the one case, the mother doesn’t even know it occurred, in the case of the other, she is wracked with grief. She is not stupid or crazy. She formed a bond with the baby; she never knew the other existed. The two experiences aren’t equivalent, even though it is correct to say the blastocyst is human. Similarly, I don’t believe that having an abortion is the equivalent of murder, and the fact that pro-lifers don’t demand legal punishment for women who choose abortion demonstrates that they don’t believe it either.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            [P]ro-lifers don’t demand legal punishment for women who choose abortion.

            Just wait, if they ever manage to repeal Roe v. Wade, I guarantee you they will. Gleefully.

          • Edge

            Gleefully??? – sir, sad ignorant comment. You should go look at some videos from abortion mills and pro-life rallies (you can find many on u-tube) and watch several… go ahead, I’ll wait……………………………………………………………………….back, good. What did you see, let me guess – the anti-life, the pro-death, the murder infants on demand crowd is screaming violently, out of control, spitting, yelling obscenities, throwing stuff, destructive, looking like a pack of ravenous dogs right?, Oh the same look as in an ignorant angry mob – you’re right!

            But what’s that, the pro-life folks are praying in public? Standing and taking the insults, turning the other cheek? You’re right, they are the peaceful ones trying to help the woman AND the women’s children!!! Good point there! What’s that, they also are the ones setting up and helping the women that have become victims themselves by being conned into helping murder their own children with places like Rachel’s Vineyard, and other nonprofit paces where these same pro-lifers volunteer their time to help console the victim mothers?

            So now you can see and agree, the end of an unconstitutional law like Roe V. Wade will stop the murder of innocent humans, and the other victim, the mother of the now dead children can be helped – not punished.

            (and recall, because something is made legal like the murder of innocent babies does not make it constitutional or right, unless you believe that all that Hitler did, which was legal at that time, was perfectly fine.)

            Murder is always wrong, and these children are being murdered, and the mothers are being conned into helping murder their own children.

          • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

            You’ve ironically just proven me right.

          • Edge

            “the fact that pro-lifers don’t demand legal punishment for women who choose abortion demonstrates that they don’t believe it either.”

            You just don’t get it, do you? The entire purpose of anyone who seeks to stop abortion, seeks to prevent the spread of euthanasia, and puts themselves at risk is to help those who cannot help themselves. To stop the murder of innocent victims. The mother, while she has conspired to murder her own child, she too is a victim, a victim of this entire charade, a victim of thinkers like you. Anyone who pushes for abortion is harming further the woman who help kill their own children. These women who have had abortions suffer immensely, but sadly, those suffering who do not seek help continue down a sad and painful path.

            One day, I hope the lightbulb goes on in your head and see this evil for what it truly is.

        • Tally Marx

          It is not equivalent *to the mother*.
          But, also, the loss of *my* life would not be equivalent to the loss of your father’s, as far as you are concerned. Does this mean that your father is somehow more valuable than I? Not at all. It simply means that you perceive him as more valuable.

          The value of a human individual is not based upon the price-tag a third party would stick upon him.

          • Vision_From_Afar

            So why do the anti-abortion groups continually insist that an individual is “priceless” to them? Aren’t they a third party in the arrangement (or even a 4th party)?

          • Tally Marx

            Price. Less. No price. Not just to us, but to anyone and everyone.

    • http://bareatheism.blogspot.com/ Deven Kale

      Thank you for posting that. Unfortunately, the other people here seem unwilling to hear our position. They put their fingers in their ears* and go “lalalala” whenever one of us speaks up, the exact same thing they accuse us of. This, in spite of the fact that we’ve stated we understand their position, but just don’t agree with it. I’m sure you’ve noticed this yourself by now.

      *Edit: Ears, not eyes. wow…

    • wineinthewater

      All of your examples are restrictions of rights, not denial of rights. The underage person can’t get married *while they are underage*. The young person cannot get SS *while they are young*. But what we’re talking about here is not restricting a right based on circumstance like age, but denying a right based on age.

      And no, the death of a zygote is not the same as the death of a child. But both are the death of a human being. The death of my brother was not the same as the death of my grandfather was not the same as the death of the person reported on the news last night. Every life is unique with its own set of relationships and attributes. And each death has a different effect. But every death of a human being is a death of a human being. And either the loss of human life has an inherent meaning, by it’s very nature and regardless of the circumstances of the life, or it doesn’t.

  • courtney

    Lots of comments here refuting the logical post on why abortion is killing a child. Proof positive that many are willingly disillusioned by the talking points of the pro-abortionists. Sad. Millions of children have died because people are unwilling to believe the truth.

  • Don Corleone

    The author proposes a couple of sound principles for resolving the issue of abortion: 1) that the most objective moment to define the start of human life is conception; and 2) when government defines when the protection of the legal system attaches against intentionally killing human life, government should be as objective as possible.

    Unless someone proposes a better set of principles for government to implement on this issue, the only reasons to oppose their application are ideological, or outcome-based.

    No matter how noble one’s intended outcome, if the means used to achieve it are dangerous, then they should not be adopted. Protecting women and families from emotional and economic harm is a noble outcome. But if the means used to do so permit government to define the start of human life on any but the most objective basis, there is established a dangerous precedent. Leaving the definition of human life to ideology ultimately endangers all human life. That’s the very definition of bad public policy.

    The argument that no one knows exactly when conception takes place is a red herring. The value of human life is inherent; it does not depend on someone else. If government only protects human life once someone else knows it’s in existence, then something other than objective factors are driving public policy. This leads to the questions: what do you propose as a more objective moment to define the start of human life; and 2) what is driving that conclusion?

  • john

    After reading most of the commentary, it strikes me that feedback from the pro-choice side comes down to rationalization of the unthinkable, cold blooded murder of those they should love the most: their own offspring.

  • Korou

    (Posted here to avoid thinning comments)
    K: JA, thank you for your most interesting comments. Here’s my answer, sorry it was delayed.
    First of all, the main point:

    I’m not saying either. I’m saying that Atheism is defined on the individual who defines their own “morality”.
    K: But the question is, is it possible for a person who is an atheist to construct a meaningful system of morality? – not whether they do or not. You said that you didn’t intend to “play the card” of saying that atheists couldn’t have moral values (good for you!) but implied that you did believe that they couldn’t. Since I’ve spent a good long while arguing on this blog that you can I hope that you would read the thread I referred you to – a long one, but as I say you can just check the posts I made – and I hope you would change your mind. Particularly since your answers show that you seem to agree with me – you do think a system of morals can be constructed without believing in a deity, as that is exactly what you’ve done – see below.

    Ok, just real brief: What defines ALL happiness as good and ALL suffering as bad? And if there are exceptions, how can we tell? This is my beef with Atheist and morality, because we are creating rules without fully understanding happiness and suffering.
    K: Well, these are the kind of questions I spent quite a lot of time on the previous thread answering; and I feel satisfied that I did address the challenges put. So I think it might be a good idea if you were to go to the thread referred to and read the posts I made. Briefly, though, you need to look at a broad definition of happiness and suffering; and if you do you will find that these are indeed universal constants of human nature. There is nobody who doesn’t seek to increase their own happiness and decrease their own suffering. Now, you could say, “what about people who have radically different definitions of happiness and suffering than most people?” But they too seek happiness, and seek to decrease suffering – it’s just that in their case, happiness means something different – maybe very different – to them than it does to you. That’s not a problem, because happiness and suffering mean different things to everyone – but we are all alike in that we do value the one and value the absence of the other. Do you know anyone who doesn’t? Can you imagine anyone who doesn’t?

    With the second point: how do Atheist define a human being? What if it is unclear if a person has imagination or empathy or not? This gets tricky too, because if we say “a human being has A,B,C” but then find a person who doesn’t have “C”, are they not a human being then?
    K: If you didn’t have imagination, how would you function in society? If an individual had imagination, how would he or she not have the ability to be empathetic, even if it might be retarded in their case?
    It is possible to imagine a person who does lack these qualities, just as it is possible to imagine a person who was incapable or anger, or sadness, or fear. Would you say that such a person was not human? Of course not. Would you say that they were typical of humans? Of course you wouldn’t.
    Can I invite you to read this article? Most of what I am saying in based on it, and I agree with most of its points. You may find your questions addressed here.

    Even if point 1 and 2 are used for Atheist to define morality, it would completely dismiss the idea of Relativism (which is the rock that most Atheist live under). This is the contradiction that comes at hand; because even if those two points are true, they would have to be Universal, meaning, they apply to all.
    K: Yes. They do. All humans wish to move towards happiness and away from suffering. Can we agree on that?
    All humans are social creatures with the capacity to feel others’ pain and understand that ensuring the happiness of others’ maximizes their own, and increasing the suffering of others increases their own.
    These are real, factual things. This is how humans work. This is what it means to be human. You know this perfectly well. You know that your fellow humans may disagree with you about what is the best way to achieve happiness (it may make some people happy to help others, cheat others, befriend others, snub others, to eat lots of food, to help feed tarving children), but you know that they agree with you that happiness is a good thing.

    This goes back to the Christian argument of “stop shoving your morality down my throat!”
    K: No, it goes back to the Christian argument that atheists don’t believe in God and therefore they can have no basis for deciding what is right or wrong. Which is incorrect.

    Universal morality, in order for it to be best effective, all need to accept, not just some. This no longer becomes “Relativism vs Absolutism”, but really, a battle of who has the right Morality, which goes into the law of contradiction…because both the Atheist and Christian can’t be right about their Universal Morality. Either Atheism is right, or Christianity is right, or neither of them is right.
    K: In order to be effective, yes. But what does that have to do with whether it’s correct or not? An interesting relativistic argument you’re giving! According to you, a system of morality is validated by having everyone approve of it?
    Now, this next section is the one in which I see that you agree with me after all…

    To answer your simple question, here’s my simple answer: Love and Truth. When someone loves in the most purest and genuine way, you know that person is living a moral life. Anything done with love, coupled with Truth, is moral. True love and Truth have never failed anyone who have ridden on its saddles. I would venture to say that if people claim that it has failed, then I would say it’s wasn’t True Love or Truth. True Love is (as Marc said in a previous post) the desire to be one with Beauty (to loosely define).
    K: Great! Thank you for answering my question – not many people have. You have a very noble system of morality. And it’s a completely secular one.

    Truth is something that is structure: it either is or isn’t. It either works, or it doesn’t (or, as you said, it’s either possible, or not possible (and I honestly mistook your question…it is *possible*, but not without accepting the idea of Perfect, Universal Morality (aka the idea of God, aka a Deity))).
    K: Really? Why not?

    We know something’s moral, because it is for the ultimate benefit for the individual and/or society.
    K: Exactly. And do you need a deity to tell you that? Do you need to believe in a deity to work this out? Can you be a-theistic and still come to this conclusion? Of course you can.

    Notice I didn’t mention anything about happiness or suffering, because suffering can be moral, where happiness could be immoral (and notice that I said “ultimate” benefit as well).
    K: I feel you’d benefit from rereading the points I’ve made in the other thread, and in the link I gave you.
    I’m not saying that happiness can’t be immoral; I’m saying that happiness is what we all want to achieve, and suffering is what we all want to avoid. Therefore, the aim of a system of morality should be to ensure the maximum amount of happiness and the minimum amount of suffering; what else could it be? (You might want to see the thread referred to for points where people challenged this and the answers I gave them).
    Yes, happiness can be immoral – if you don’t have a broad enough point of view. Take an example: stealing. “But stealing makes me happy!” it might be objected. “I steal something and it gives benefit to my life! Therefore, I am happier. If happiness is morality, stealing is a moral act.”
    Okay. Now think about what would happen next. Do you think the person you stole from is happier because you have stolen from him? No, he isn’t. How would you feel if you were him? Pretty bad, right? How would it be if everyone did what you did?
    Morality is a secular issue. It cannot be a religious one, because when religious people justify their morality they either do it in a secular form – as you did, citing real-world reasons for their morality – or by saying “God tells us what the right things are to do” – which of course is no answer at all.

    Those who Love and are implanted in Truth do moral things (with the occasional slip-up), because their intention is to bring upon the ultimate benefit of both them and the other that they’re serving and/or teaching. Doing things out of Love and teaching Truth is the most moral thing that anyone could do, whether Christian, Atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa were famous examples of such “Ultimate Morality in action”.
    K: You’ve proved my point precisely, and it does you credit. Asked how you know something is right or wrong, you give a secular argument; you say, “this is right because of these positive effects it has,” and “ultimate benefit to both them and the other…”

    As I said in my previous post (the one I wrote right before this one) is that it is *possible*, but not without discarding the “idea of God”. I’ll explain this real quick:
    The “idea of God” is form up of all these different “philosophical traits of God” where, if there is a God, philosophically speaking, He (or it) has to have all of these philosophical characteristics, or else it’s not God. I don’t know all of them of the top of my head, but one of them is “Universal Morality”. If the idea of “Universal Morality” does exist (not to say that the idea exists, but the actual Truth of that idea, and it needs to be True in order for Morality to have any merit in a philosophical argument as well), then we are one step closer to identifying “God”…not in our own image, but in the image of what is already “God”, thus, stepping more away from Atheism and stepping closer to Theism.
    K: No, I’m afraid not. In fact it disproves God’s existence. If one of the qualities God must have is to be aware of universal morality (is that what you were saying?) then the fact that we can justify a moral system on our own – as you and I both can – shows that we don’t need God to do it for us.

    Ok, if you want to use the example of “the metaphysical world was created as a consequence of our ability to think”, let me ask you this question: how can light come from darkness? If darkness is the absence of light…how did light come to be? How can darkness, which is, in essence, the complete opposite of light, create light? How could the physical world, which doesn’t have a *hint* of the metaphysical world, create the metaphysical world? Did we invent the metaphysical world? Or did we just simply open a door into a new world?
    K: Aren’t these fairly simple scientific questions? Is “how does light come from darkness” a metaphor?
    These do not seem to be useful questions, JA.
    What do you think the “metaphysical world” is?

    Everything has a creation. Everything has a trail to something else (hence the Big Bang Theory). It is actually very philosophically sound to trace the origin of life and come to the conclusion that both the physical and metaphysical world, as well as the beauty of art and the principles of math, was “created” before we “discovered” it, ergo, evidence of a “Creator”. It’s like seeing footprints in the snow…it’s evident that someone was there before you, even though you never saw “proof” of them. Everything in our world is evidence of those “Creator footprints”. This is actually very philosophically sound…I don’t know where you get the idea that philosophy can’t argue for the “Creation Design”.
    K: I’m sorry, JA. You’re just wrong. What you’re talking about is the Argument from Design, and it is a flawed argument. Have you read some of the rebuttals that have been written to it?
    One of the flaws is your use of the word “created.” Of course, if you say that something was created it must have had a creator. But if you change the word you’ll see that it doesn’t logically follow that everything must have been designed by an intelligent entity. Would you say that everything that exists must have had an…exister? Everything that is must have had a be-er?
    The flaw in the Argument from Design is to ask, if everything requires a creator, who created the creator? Well, I mustn’t second-guess you, so I’ll see if you do have a response to that rather than put words into your mouth.
    We know where living creatures came from; the theories of evolution and abiogenesis present plausible explanations that do not require a deity. We know where the cosmos came from; science has investigated the question and provided answers which we have good reason to believe. We may not know where the universe comes from; but our not knowing is no reason to say, “it must have been God” – or, if you prefer, an intelligent creator; because (a) we have no reason to think this is so, and (b) it still doesn’t answer the question – it just pushes it back one step further when we ask where this creator came from.

    I appreciate your genuineness (and that you’re the only one responding to my posts, so I thank you for that), and I know you mean well. However, we have greatly digressed from my original post (although I don’t regret it at all), and none of the above posts have been refuted through clear and precise philosophy, but only by assumption and (no offense) weaker arguments (I apologize even more if that sounds more trite than the first!).
    K: That’s quite alright, JA. I was thinking the same thing about you. You claim that you have to believe in a God of some kind to know what true morality is, but you justify your own sense of morality in secular terms thus disproving your own arguments. You appeal to the argument from Design, but you don’t seem to be familiar with the rebuttals to it.

    As I tell everyone…the best advice I could ever give someone: Never stop searching for Truth. Never…ever…ever…stop.
    K: And keep your eyes open in case you might find yourself travelling down the wrong road in your search for the truth. You may find that your search has led you astray because of a false assumption you have been proceeding under – such as the one that the illusion of design in the world means that we were created – the answer may not be to press on faster but to stop and look around for a new direction.

    • Korou

      Hope it’s clear how that’s set out. JAGreen86′s comments are at the top of each paragraph, my answers start with a K.

  • Polo_player87

    I would just like to point out that in the Bible a fetus is not equal to a human life, read the Bible please. Also one of the catholic saints believed that a fetus was not a human until 3 months of life when the soul entered the body. I am personally against abortion in most cases but in certain cases of rape or molestation or to save the mothers life, it is alright with me. But it is not my job to tell someone else what is right and what is wrong. And if the child that is aborted is innocent and without sin, and it is a human then killing the fetus will get that soul to heaven.

  • Maestroprodtest

    “it’s the ‘big bang of human life’”?! Make up your mind as to which science you like and which you don’t.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shaun.koh.7 Shaun Koh

    to be pro-choice is to be pro-life.. what are those people who are pro-choice saying when they support abortion… how can u have choice without life..

  • danny

    it is good post and im from seattle

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1434900034 Marty Sullivan

    No pro-choicer who knows what he or she is talking about argues that a fetus is not a living entity. What we deny is that there is any reason to think that is synonymous with being a person.

    • wineinthewater

      Then a very large number of pro-choicers do not know what they are talking about. I hear it quite often.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1434900034 Marty Sullivan

        Because not many pro-choicers or pro-lifers are trained lawers, doctors, scientists, or philosophers.

        • wineinthewater

          This has nothing to do with being a lawyer, doctor, scientist or philosopher. Basic biology holds that a fetus is a living entity. It is common for people who are pro-choice to deny this. So, by your standard, it is common for pro-choicers to not know what they are talking about. That does not speak well for the validity of the movement.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1434900034 Marty Sullivan

            Being a doctor/lawyer/etc. would preclude one from making the relatively common mistake of saying that a fetus isn’t a living being. And no, it does not speak at all for the validity of the movement, as I’ve seen just as many elementary mistakes from pro-lifers.

          • wineinthewater

            Being a doctor/lawyer/etc. might help, but it certainly doesn’t preclude it. I’ve heard the error from lawyers, philosophers and even doctors and scientists.

            I do not doubt that many pro-lifers make elementary mistakes. But in this case, we are talking about a common fundamental lack of understanding of the very thing for which someone is advocating. The pro-life side certainly has Todd Akin levels of idiocy on details of the issue, but I have never encountered anything so fundamental and widespread on the pro-life side.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1434900034 Marty Sullivan

            That doesn’t follow. I’ve seen horrible factual errors in pro-life arguments countless times. Does that invalidate your movement?

          • wineinthewater

            It’s one thing to have factual errors. It’s quite another to have widespread, fundamental lack of understanding of the thing for which a movement advocates.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1434900034 Marty Sullivan

            Pro-lifers seem that way to me. And for the record, the confusion over whether a fetus is “life” is primarily a linguistic one, not a factual one. In Roe v Wade, even the Supreme Court made the same “mistake”

          • wineinthewater

            I think there is linguistic debate over whether a fetus is a person, since “person” is a social construct. The laws in this country have a schizophrenic approach to the question. Abortion is legal, except in some cases. Killers of pregnant women are sometimes charged with two murders, sometimes not.

            But the confusion over whether a fetus is a living individual is not a linguistic one. It’s a matter of some people being ignorant of, disregarding, or contradicting the science. It’s a factual problem. There are many people who deny the scientific fact of what an abortion is. That isn’t just linguistics. And while I certainly see factual errors propagated by people on the pro-life side, I don’t see this kind of fundamental factual deficiency about the nature of the issue on the pro-life side.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1434900034 Marty Sullivan

            “Killers of pregnant women are sometimes charged with two murders, sometimes not.”

            That’s not necessarily schizophrenic. Frankly I don’t see any problem with society prohibiting killing a woman’s unborn child against her will in the strongest way possible.

            And “living thing” is a loaded term in itself. People may understand factually that a seed or an egg is the first stage in the life cycle of an organism, but they may not consider it a living thing in the same sense as a bird or a tree is a living. This is another case of social construction. Most pro-choicers I know fit into this category.

          • wineinthewater

            I think it is very schizophrenic. Determining whether someone has committed murder based on whether or not a third party desired the victim to live is utterly unlike any other standard for murder.

            “Living thing” may be a loaded term. But it forces a person to examine the distinctions being made. An embryonic tree or bird is still a tree or bird. An embryonic human being is still a human being. The simple scientific fact challenges people to justify their differentiation, to see if they can give any reason that is not arbitrary to deny a human being of human rights.

          • dangus

            “Determining whether someone has committed murder based on whether or not a third party desired the victim to live is utterly unlike any other standard for murder.”

            It’s not at all unlike the metric for capital punishment is it? You may disagree with capital punishment of course, but to apply the essentialist philosophy of the catholic church to legal matters is clearly atypical.

            :An embryonic tree or bird is still a tree or bird. An embryonic human being is still a human being.”

            Not necessarily. An embryonic “tree or bird” may be biologically of the same species as what we call a tree or bird. When it comes down to it, however, these are all arbitrary distinctions that we create.

          • wineinthewater

            Sorry, I don’t see the connection to capital punishment.

            “When it comes down to it, however, these are all arbitrary distinctions that we create.”

            That is exactly my point. The distinction between which human beings get human rights and which do not in our current system is utterly arbitrary. Any standard that might be used to deny unborn human beings of their human rights can be used to deny born human beings their human rights. And arbitrary deprivations of rights have no place in a just society. Yet, there are many, many pro-choicers who refuse to acknowledge that it is an arbitrary distinction because of their ignorance or their rejection of the fundamental science. A significant portion of the movement rests on ignorance .. the problem I identified at the beginning.

            So I don’t see how this is applying “the essentialist philosophy of the catholic church to legal matters.” Rather, it is applying the ramifications of scientific fact to legal matters. Our legal definition of personhood may be convenient, but it does not jive with the philosophy of rights enumerated in our founding documents in light of science. Because of the American philosophy of rights, there is no need to appeal to Catholic philosophy.

          • dangus

            The connection is to capital punishment is that capital punishment can be described in the same way that you described fetal homicide laws, verbatim.

            And you can’t apply the ramifications of scientific fact to legal matters because there ARE no ramifications from the science here. a fetus is biologically human, so what? Giving rights to something simply because it’s alive and human is no less arbitrary than anything I’m suggesting.

          • wineinthewater

            “The connection is to capital punishment is that capital punishment can
            be described in the same way that you described fetal homicide laws,
            verbatim.”

            Not at all. Capital punishment is defined as “not murder” based on the actions of the person being executed, not on whether a third party desires them to live.

            ” Giving rights to something simply because it’s alive and human is no less arbitrary than anything I’m suggesting.”

            It is quite a bit less arbitrary. I can see someone making an argument that it is arbitrary to give rights to human beings at all. But that is much less arbitrary than deciding to only give some humans rights based on inconsistent criteria. Thus my earlier point, there is no standard for denying the human rights of unborn human beings that cannot be applied to some born human beings.

          • dangus

            ‘Not at all. Capital punishment is defined as “not murder” based on the actions of the person being executed, not on whether a third party desires them to live.’

            Capital punishment is “not murder” because society(a third party) deems that it is just and lawful to kill them.

            “It is quite a bit less arbitrary. I can see someone making an argument that it is arbitrary to give rights to human beings at all. But that is much less arbitrary than deciding to only give some humans rights based on inconsistent criteria. ”

            It’s exactly as arbitrary. And there’s nothing inconsistent about treating a fetus as a person in some respects and a non-person in others. It would only be inconsisent if personhood *were* some inherent trait with essential properties.

          • wineinthewater

            “Capital punishment is “not murder” because society(a third party) deems that it is just and lawful to kill them.”

            Take a step back. I was talking specifically about the case of someone being charged with two murders when killing a pregnant woman. That is utterly unlike capital punishment and quite schizophrenic. I was not talking about abortion in general.

            ” And there’s nothing inconsistent about treating a fetus as a person in some respects and a non-person in others.”

            How is it not arbitrary? Some unborn human beings will be afforded human rights, some unborn human beings will not. There is no consistent criteria by which this determination will be made. That is the very definition of arbitrary. And it is inconsistent because our whole system of human rights is built on the notion of personhood inherently demanding and deserving those rights, yet no consistent structure used to determine personhood.

            Every time humanity has used anything other than humanity as the rule for human rights, it has embraced social structures later seen as travesties. Chattel slavery, second-class citizenship for women, ethnic subjugation, religious subjugation, these are the ideological family of legal abortion.

          • dangus

            “Take a step back. I was talking specifically about the case of someone being charged with two murders when killing a pregnant woman. That is utterly unlike capital punishment and quite schizophrenic. I was not talking about abortion in general.”

            You may have been. You also said that whether taking a human life was or was not murder had nothing to do with a third party.

            “How is it not arbitrary? Some unborn human beings will be afforded human rights, some unborn human beings will not. ”

            No. All unborn human beings are (possibly) afforded certain human rights, and denied others. they do not possess the right to occupy the body of a woman against her will, but do possess the right to not be killed against the wishes of their mother. Hardly inconsistent.

            “Every time humanity has used anything other than humanity as the rule for human rights, it has embraced social structures later seen as travesties. Chattel slavery, second-class citizenship for women, ethnic subjugation, religious subjugation, these are the ideological family of legal abortion.”

            It’s trivially easy to explain why the above are all wrong without appealing to “humanity”

          • wineinthewater

            “You also said that whether taking a human life was or was not murder had nothing to do with a third party.”

            I didn’t say it had nothing to do with a third party. I said that using the desire of a third party – not society at large, not on a conceptual level, but an actual individual – for the victim to live was a schizophrenic standard for determining whether a killing is murder considering the rest of our system.

            “but do possess the right to not be killed against the wishes of their mother.”

            I find this one nonsensical. So that means that as long as it isn’t against the will of the mother, they may be killed. But children outside the womb posses the right not to be killed regardless of the will of the mother. Since you’ve already rejected location (womb) as the determiner of when human rights are to be granted/recognized, why is the child outside the womb afforded this right when the child inside the womb is not?

            ‘It’s trivially easy to explain why the above are all wrong without appealing to “humanity””

            Yet, when slavery was legal, it was no trivial matter explaining to pro-slavery-rights people why it was wrong. To me, it is just as trivially easy to see why abortion is wrong as to see why slavery is wrong .. easier in fact.

          • dangus

            Reiterating what you said doesn’t change anything. Execution is not murder because society desires that the execution be legal. Same for abortion.

            “Since you’ve already rejected location (womb) as the determiner of when human rights are to be granted/recognized, why is the child outside the womb afforded this right when the child inside the womb is not?”

            I haven’t rejected location as the determiner. Granting rights to a child outside of the womb doesn’t conflict with the rights of the mother. Granting rights to a child inside the womb often can conflict. Both an infant and a person outside of the womb are afforded as many rights as possible so long as they don’t interfere with the rights of others.

            “it is just as trivially easy to see why abortion is wrong as to see why slavery is wrong .. easier in fact.”

            Only because you’re arguing from faulty premises. You have to appeal to humanity for your arguments to make sense, I don’t.

          • wineinthewater

            “Execution is not murder because society desires that the execution be legal. Same for abortion.”

            Reiterating obviously isn’t helping. But I’ll risk doing it again. I wasn’t talking about abortion, I was talking about laws that consider it murder when an unborn child is killed in an attack on the mother.

            “I haven’t rejected location as the determiner.”

            You have. For children who are not desired by their mother, you would grant rights to a child outside the womb that you would not grant to those inside the womb. So, you have rejected location as the determiner as to when we will grant/recognize a human being’s human rights. Simultaneously, for children inside the womb, you would grant rights to the child outside the womb who is not desired by her mother that you would deny to the child inside the womb who is not desired by her mother. So, you have also rejected the desire of the mother for the child’s life as the standard for when a child’s human rights will be granted/recognized.

            Understandably, with this comment you are moving to a conflict of rights standard. But you would put every right of the mother ahead of the right to life of the child. That is not balancing rights, not maximizing the outcome of a conflict. A just society would not deprive one human being their very right to life in favor of another human’s right to convenience. A true balancing of rights would recognize the priority that some rights have over others. Without the right to life, a human being has no other rights. When you consider that, barring the case of rape, the woman willingly engaged in the act that caused the pregnancy in the first place, the balance of rights that you propose becomes even more lopsided.

          • dangus

            “I wasn’t talking about abortion, I was talking about laws that consider it murder when an unborn child is killed in an attack on the mother.”

            Whether you’re talking about it or not doesn’t matter. your logic is inconsistent.

            “For children who are not desired by their mother, you would grant rights to a child outside the womb that you would not grant to those inside the womb. So, you have rejected location as the determiner as to when we will grant/recognize a human being’s human rights.”

            Did you misspeak here? You clearly just gave an example of location being the prime determiner.

            “So, you have also rejected the desire of the mother for the child’s life as the standard for when a child’s human rights will be granted/recognized.”

            Your mistake is you believe in some nebulous understanding of human rights. It is legally permissible to give a fetus any rights at all so long as they don’t conflict with the expressly stated rights of another person. Forcing a mother to protect the rights of a fetus within her body(location) violates that maxim.

            “A just society would not deprive one human being their very right to life in favor of another human’s right to convenience.”

            Prove it.

          • wineinthewater

            “Whether you’re talking about it or not doesn’t matter. your logic is inconsistent.”

            So the point I intended and expressed doesn’t matter? That’s an .. interesting, method of discourse.

            “Did you misspeak here?”

            Perhaps. The essential point is this: You reject location as the determiner because you would grant rights to some in the womb (the desired) that you would deny to others in the womb (the undesired). But, you also reject the desire of the mother as the determiner because you would grant rights to some undesired (those outside the womb) that you would deny others (those inside). There is no consistency to your standard, it it nebulous, it is arbitrary. For instance:

            “It is legally permissible to give a fetus any rights at all so long as they don’t conflict with the expressly stated rights of another person.”

            That is unlike the way rights are granted to any other class of human beings in our society. The fundamental rights of no other human beings in our society are made utterly and unreservedly subject to every single right of another. The American system is built on the idea that our rights are inborn, inherent, inalienable. But you espouse a system that contradicts that, where the rights of some are not inborn, are not inherent and certainly not inalienable. They are made contingent on the desires of another. That is incompatible with the fundamental principles of the American system. Human rights being contingent on the will and sufferance of another has been at the heart of every tyranny in history.

            This is not nebulous. The recognition that human rights are inalienable has been fundamental in advancing human rights around the world. The denial that human rights are inalienable has been at the root of the greatest abuses in history. But that is the construct you embrace. Human rights are not inalienable; they are conditional and contingent. They can be granted or they can be denied based on nothing more than the whims of a person in power. Human rights being contingent on the will and sufferance of another has been at the heart of every tyranny in history.

            The fact that you expect me to prove the fundamentals of the American system shows that we have little common ground from which to move forward.

          • dangus

            “So the point I intended and expressed doesn’t matter? That’s an .. interesting, method of discourse.”

            No, the point you intended and expressed logically entails my issue with it.

            “You reject location as the determiner because you would grant rights to some in the womb (the desired) that you would deny to others in the womb (the undesired)”

            That’s not correct. All fetuses have the same rights. No fetus has the right live at the expense of the mother’s freedom. Nobody has a right to life that involves depriving someone else of their personhood either. It’s not illegal to refuse to donate an organ to a dying person who needs it.

            “The American system is built on the idea that our rights are inborn, inherent, inalienable.”

            No, our system is based on the Constitution, which says nothing about inherent or natural rights, but which says that rights are conferred upon birth. See the 14th Amendment.

            “Human rights being contingent on the will and sufferance of another has been at the heart of every tyranny in history.”

            “That’s another fallacious appeal. It’s still a fallacy even if you don’t explicitly mention Hitler.

            “The fact that you expect me to prove the fundamentals of the American system shows that we have little common ground from which to move forward.”

            The fact that you can’t prove what you claim are the fundamentals of the american system shows what little ground your position has to begin with. You’re understanding of “the American system” is not based in law or in logic. In the American system, rights necessarily begin at birth, but since we are in a democracy, we can extend rights to other entities as well, whether they be animals or fetuses. There is nothing that compels us to do either though, save our own whims.

          • wineinthewater

            “No, our system is based on the Constitution,”

            I think it is reasonable to say that it is also based on the Declaration of Independence. And that does clearly declare that rights are inalienable.

            “See the 14th Amendment.”

            Yet you do not have a problem granting human rights to some of those who have not been born. If the 14th amendment is the basis for your standard for the granting of human rights, then you should stick to it. If it is not, then you need to find a different justification. If an unborn child is not a person, then another person can never be guilty of murder for killing one. The states that have these laws don’t just make it illegal to kill a child in the womb like they make it illegal to kill an endangered animal or to kill a deer without a hunting license. They don’t prosecute it as an “illegal abortion.” They call it murder. That is not just extending some rights to the unborn, that is classing the unborn as a person. Yet that same person can be legally killed in an abortuary. Mothers have been prosecuted for child abuse for using drugs while pregnant. That’s the inconsistency. When a fetus dies, either its the death of a person or it isn’t.

            ” There is nothing that compels us to do either though, save our own whims.”

            And we return to my fundamental issue. You favor a system where some humans are granted human rights and some humans are denied them, where some human beings are “persons” and some are not, all based on nothing more than the whims of the people in power.

          • dangus

            It’s absolutely unfair to say it is based on the Declaration. The Declaration of Independence has ZERO legal standing. It was a polemical document. The 14th amendment is my standard for what we are obligated to do, not what we are allowed to do. That’s how democracy works. I think animal welfare is important, so I approve of creating laws to protect animals rights. And creating a law to do just that is perfectly compatible with the Constitution, despite not being in any way mentioned therein.

            If you have a problem with the fact that states call feticide murder, then you need to take it up with them. Many states don’t, actually, consider killing an unborn baby to be homicide. However, every time this issue has been taken up by the courts, the fact that these laws are compatible with Roe v Wade has been reaffirmed. And yes, in some states it is just an illegal abortion.

            Mothers have been prosecuted for child abuse for using drugs while pregnant, yes that is inconsistent and it should stop.

            I favor a system where personhood is conferred upon birth absolutely and irrefutably. And where we can extend personhood to other entities should we so desire, so long as doing so does not conflict with the rights of any other persons or so long as there is a compelling, reasonable interest in doing so.

          • wineinthewater

            “The Declaration of Independence has ZERO legal standing.”

            I don’t disagree. But I was talking about the philosophical basis of the American system, not the legal basis.

            “Many states don’t, actually, consider killing an unborn baby to be homicide. However, every time this issue has been taken up by the courts, the fact that these laws are compatible with Roe v Wade has been reaffirmed. And yes, in some states it is just an illegal abortion.”

            Thus why I called our current tapestry of laws schizophrenic. It’s homicide in some states but not in others, as if personhood is dependent on what state you live in. It’s an illegal abortion in some states as if the perpetrator was just violating licensing laws. It’s compatible with Roe v. Wade, as if personhood depends on whether or not the one doing the killing did it for money in a clinic. Despite its philosophical underpinnings, our system is inconsistent and capricious.

            “I favor a system where personhood is conferred upon birth absolutely and irrefutably. And where we can extend personhood to other entities should we so desire…”

            And so, you favor a system where human rights are not innate, they are granted at the will, the preference, and the pleasure of those in power. The unborn are the ultimate disenfranchised, ultimately dependent, ultimately vulnerable, ultimately powerless. I favor a system where human rights are innate to humanity; where the powerful do not grant human rights, and where therefore the powerful cannot deny human rights of anyone, no matter how powerless.

          • dangus

            Whether or not it’s the philosophical basis is immaterial. Even if it were, the fact that nobody thought that “life begins at conception” during or even decades after the colonial era belies any argument that the “philosophical basis” of this country involves fetuses. It’s also schizophrenic as I said before. States granting some rights to fetuses is perfectly consistent with the Constitution so long as it doesn’t violate Roe v Wade. Having different animal cruelty laws in different states is no more or less “schizophrenic or capricious” than what you’re talking about.

            You say you value humanity. Why?

          • wineinthewater

            “Whether or not it’s the philosophical basis is immaterial.”

            It does when my point was about the philosophical basis of the American system.

            ” States granting some rights to fetuses is perfectly consistent with the Constitution so long as it doesn’t violate Roe v Wade.”

            The Supreme Court once found slavery perfectly consistent with the Constitution, that did not make it right. That is why I appealed to the underlying philosophy and principles of the American system and not the actual laws and jurisprudence of the American system. The laws and the rulings of the courts have frequently proven themselves to be unjust. If the fact that it was law were all that were required for justice, slavery would still be legal, sodomy would still be a crime, it would still be illegal to be black and stay overnight in Oregon, Catholics would still be denied citizenship, the right to vote and the right to hold offices in some places, and women would still not have the right to vote. We need a better standard than the prevailing whims or our legislators or the prevailing culture of our justices.

            “Having different animal cruelty laws in different states is no more or less “schizophrenic or capricious” than what you’re talking about.”

            It is because those laws grant protections to animals, but do not define. The laws I’m talking about fundamentally differ in how a person is defined under the law from place to place, fundamentally differ as to whether the personhood and subsequent rights of a human being will be recognized and protected or not. They aren’t just a matter of granting protections to fetusus (which would be ideologically consistent even if the laws were inconsistent among the state), they simultaneously class a fetus as a person and a non-person. And considering how important personhood is in our system, it is no small matter when how the law classes personhood is so arbitrary and inconsistent.

            “You say you value humanity. Why?”

            Bernini, Boromini, Bach, Mozart, Turner, Dumas, Furness, Aquinas, sacrificial love, art, literature, forgiveness and on and on. And for all the horrors of humanity – pogroms, war, predation, abuse – humanity shows its capacity to respond with compassion, caring and love. I value humanity because there is value in humanity. I don’t think you have to see humanity as made in the image of God and therefore sacred to see that value. And when we do not protect human lives, we allow the destruction of that value. When we fail to protect the humanity of others, we fail to protect our own humanity.

          • dangus

            It’s immaterial when discussing the law however. Whether slavery was “Right” or not is immaterial as well, as it *was* in accordance with the Constitution until the 13th and 14th amendments. And you’re fundamentally incorrect about feticide laws, they actually make no mention whatsoever of personhood at all. It may be homicide to kill a fetus in one state, but that does not make them “persons” under the law.

            “Bernini, Boromini, Bach, Mozart, Turner, Dumas, Furness, Aquinas, sacrificial love, art, literature, forgiveness and on and on. And for all the horrors of humanity – pogroms, war, predation, abuse – humanity shows its capacity to respond with compassion, caring and love. I value humanity because there is value in humanity. ”

            Then you simply value humanity as a means to an end, no different than any other consquentialist.

          • wineinthewater

            “It’s immaterial when discussing the law however.”

            That’s fine, but I’m not just discussing the law.

            ” And you’re fundamentally incorrect about feticide laws, they actually make no mention whatsoever of personhood at all.”

            They don’t have to. If they make feticide a distinct crime, there is really no impact on personhood. But many of the laws group feticide in with homocide and/or manslaughter. If the fetus is not a person, then the crime cannot be manslaughter or homicide.

            “Then you simply value humanity as a means to an end, no different than any other consquentialist.”

            But I value humanity, not just individual human beings. And I value human beings regardless of whether they are the creators. I value humanity because these things are inherent to humans, even if they aren’t expressed. If it were consequentialism, I would be in favor of abortion. I would want to eliminate those who did not contribute to the beauty of which humans are capable, desireing them to be removed from society if not the gene poot completely. I would support capital punishment. But I see these things and those like them as features of humanity as a whole, not just the products of a few humans.

          • dangus

            If the fetus is not a person, then the crime cannot be manslaughter or homicide.

            Sure it can. Homicide is taking a human life. It’s not necessarily taking a person’s life. And even then, “personhood” here is primarily a legal term. You can be a person in one legal context and not another.

            “I value humanity because these things are inherent to humans, even if they aren’t expressed.”

            What does that even mean?

          • dangus

            “Take a step back. I was talking specifically about the case of someone being charged with two murders when killing a pregnant woman”

            You may have been saying that, but you were also saying that capital punishment is not a murder because and contrasted it with a scenario where “third party” decides whether they should live or not. That’s not the case. Capital punishment’s status as not murder has nothing to do with the specific actions of the person being executed. You can’t just go into a jail cell with a gun and shoot every prisoner you see and get away with it.

            “How is it not arbitrary? Some unborn human beings will be afforded human rights, some unborn human beings will not. There is no consistent criteria by which this determination will be made. That is the very definition of arbitrary. ”

            If you look at the actual holdings in the court cases regarding this, it’s very consistent, and rather simple. A woman has rights. A fetus can be given rights so long as they don’t conflict with the woman’s. That’s perfectly consistent.

            “very time humanity has used anything other than humanity as the rule for human rights, it has embraced social structures later seen as travesties. Chattel slavery, second-class citizenship for women, ethnic subjugation, religious subjugation, these are the ideological family of legal abortion.”

            I can explain why every single one of those is immoral/unethical without having to appeal to “humanity”

          • dangus

            test

  • kon kaka

    Brazil tak ubah lineup

    Brazil tak ubah lineup , – Tuan rumah Brazil
    tidak mengubah lineup untuk menghadapi Spanyol di final Piala Konfederasi di
    Estadio do Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, Senin pagi.

    Prediksi bola ido11.com, Sementara Brazil tetap memasang pemain-pemain yang sama
    seperti laga semifinal, Spanyol kini memasukkan Juan Mata pada lineup-nya.

    Berikut susunan pemain Brazil vs Spanyol pada laga
    final Piala Konfederasi sebagaimana dilaporkan AFP:

    Brazil (formasi
    4-3-3)

    Julio Cesar; Dani Alves, Thiago Silva (capt),
    David Luiz, Marcelo; Oscar, Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho; Fred, Neymar, Hulk.

    Pelatih: Luiz Felipe Scolari.

    Spanyol (formasi
    4-3-3)

    Iker Casillas; Alvaro Arbeloa, Gerard Pique,
    Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba; Xavi, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta; Juan Mata,
    Fernando Torres, Pedro.

    Pelatih: Vicente del Bosque

  • hongsamnang

    Inggris
    Raih Kemenangan 2-0 atas Polandia

    Berita
    pertandingan sepak bola terkini dari Agen Bola terbaik
    indo11.com —
    Inggris meraih kemenangan 2-0 atas Polandia pada pertandingan Grup H
    kualifikasi Piala Dunia 2014 di Wembley, Selasa (15/10/2013). Dengan hasil
    tersebut, Inggris menjadi juara grup dengan nilai 22 atau unggul satu angka
    dari Ukraina di tempat kedua.

    Kemenangan Inggris diawali gol Wayne Rooney pada menit ke-41. Dengan kepalanya,
    ia membelokkan umpan silang Leighton Baines ke sudut kiri bawah gawang. Inggris
    mendapatkan gol kedua dari Steven Gerrard pada menit ke-88. Dari tengah kotak
    penalti, ia mengirimkan bola kiriman James Milner ke sudut kiri bawah gawang
    dengan tendangan kaki kanan.

    Agen Judi terbaik
    indo11.com -
    Sementara itu, Ukraina memastikan diri mendapat tiket play-off sebagai
    runner-up grup setelah menggulung San Marino 8-0. Gol Ukraina
    diciptakan Yevhen Seleznyov (13 penalti, 19), Marko Devic (15, 51, 58 penalti),
    Andriy Yarmolenko (54), Roman Bezus (65), dan Vitaly Mandzioek (90).

    Sumber
    http://indo11.com

  • thidaneng

    Perancis
    Akhirnya Memastikan Satu Tiket Play-Off

    Berita
    sepak bola terbaru dari Agen Judi online
    indo11.com —
    Tim ayam jantan Perancis akhirnya memastikan satu tiket play-off
    setelah mengalahkan Finlandia 3-0 pada pertandingan kedelapan Grup I, di Stade
    de France, Rabu (16/10/2013) dini hari WIB. Les Bleus memperoleh gol
    lewat Franck Ribery dan Karim Benzema, serta “hadiah” gol bunuh diri
    Joona Tolvio.

    Olivier Giroud pun sempat beberapa kali memaksa Maenpaa bekerja keras
    menyelamatkan gawangnya. Namun, tim tamu sempat memaksa Hugo Lloris bekerja
    keras, yaitu saat Teemu Pukki lolos dari jebakan off-side dan membuat
    Lloris berhadapan langsung dengannya untuk merebut bola. Alexander Ring
    menciptakan peluang kedua Finlandia. Namun, sepakan volinya hanya melayang di
    atas mistar gawang.

    Agen Judi online
    indo11.com -
    Karim Benzema yang masuk menggantikan Giroud menyempurnakan kemenangan pasukan
    Didier Deschamps lewat golnya menit 87 meneruskan umpan Ribery dari sisi kiri.

    Perancis menduduki peringkat kedua Grup I dengan poin 17, terpaut 3 poin dari
    Spanyol yang pada hari yang sama mengalahkan Georgia 2-0. La Furia Roja
    pun berhak lolos otomatis sebagai juara grup sementara Perancis harus menunggu
    lawan play-off yang akan diundi pada Senin mendatang.

    Sumber
    http://indo11.com

  • routna1

    Chelsea menang atas Manchester City 2-1

    Berita terbaru dan
    terkini Bola
    Soccer
    dari Agen Bola Indo11
    - Chelsea berhasil memetik kemenangan saat berhadapan dengan Manchester City di
    lanjutan Liga Inggris. Gol Fernando Torres di menit 90 akhir memastikan tiga
    angka buat The Blues.

    Chelsea unggul duluan 1-0 di babak pertama berkat gol dari Andre Schuerrle di
    menit ke-32. The Citizens sukses menyamakan kedudukan saat babak kedua berjalan
    tiga menit lewat gol yang tercipta atas nama Sergio Aguero.

    Chelsea memastikan kemenangan berkat gol Fernando Torres di menit 90. Gol itu
    berawal dari kesalahan koordinasi Matija Nastasic dengan Joe Hart.

    Agen Bola Indo11
    Terpercaya – Dengan tambahan tiga poin ini, Chelsea kini mengumpulkan 20
    poin dan berhak menempati posisi dua klasemen. Mengumpulkan angka sama dengan
    Liverpool, mereka unggul selisih gol. Sementara itu, City ada di posisi ketujuh
    dengan kumpulan 16 angka.

    Sumber http://indo11.com

  • er vina

    Wilshere dipastikan absen kontra Dortmund

    Berita terbaru dan
    terkini bola Soccer dari Agen Bola Indo11 – Jack Wilshere tidak akan bisa
    membela Arsenal saat menghadapi Borussia Dortmund karena diganjal cedera.
    Bahkan ia bisa saja absen lebih lama.

    Agen Bola Indo11 Terpercaya – Wilshere tidak
    termasuk ke dalam skuat Arsenal yang dibawa ke Jerman untuk menghadapi Dortmund
    di Matchday IV Liga Champions, Kamis (7/11/2013) dinihari WIB. Ia harus tetap
    di London karena mendapat cedera pada pergelangan kaki dalam sesi latihan pekan
    lalu.

    “Ia tidak ikut datang ke sini. Ia masih harus menjalani tes pada hari
    Kamis. Jika ia tidak lolos tes itu maka ia juga akan absen pada hari Minggu dan
    juga untuk Inggris,” jelas Wenger.

    Sumber http://indo11.com

  • chhunmeng5

    Mourinho akan mendukung Cole masuk ke skuat
    utama

    Berita
    terbaru dan terkini bola
    Soccer
    dari

    Agen bola Indo11 -
    Ashley Cole dicadangkan Jose Mourinho dalam dua laga terakhir Chelsea karena
    masih belum fit. Namun The Spesial One tetap mendukungnya agar bisa kembali ke Starting
    XI Chelsea.

    Agen bola Indo11 Terpercaya – Saat The Blues berduel melawan Norwich City dalam laga lanjutan Liga
    Inggris di Carrow Road pada 6 Oktober lalu, Cole harus ditarik keluar di menit
    75. Akibat cedera itu, Cole harus absen membela Inggris dalam dua laga
    penentuan kualifikasi Piala Dunia saat berhadapan dengan Montenegro dan
    Polandia.

    “Saya bisa membuat kesalahan, saya bisa saja tidak adil, tapi saya selalu
    memikirkan masak-masak setiap keputusan. Saya memutuskan Azpilicueta bermain
    saat melawan Schalke (dalam kemenangan 3-0 di Liga Champions) dan dia
    fantastis. Di hari Sabtu, dia kembali bermain sangat bagus.” ucap
    Mourinho.

    “Ashley merupakan pemain yang sangat profesional, dia merupakan seorang
    petarung. Dia harus bekerja keras, untuk bertarung keras karena tempat itu (di
    tim utama) merupakan posisinya. Tidak, dia hanya perlu bekerja keras serta
    berjuang, dan posisi itu menunggunya, tidak ada masalah,” tambahnya.

    Sumber http://indo11.com

  • chhunmeng6

    Laga Villareal dan Atletico berakhir imbang 1-1

    Berita
    terbaru dan terkini bola
    Soccer
    dari

    Agen bola Indo11 -
    Atletico Madrid bermain imbang 1-1 dalam lawatannya ke markas Villarreal. Kedua
    gol yang tercipta di laga ini sama-sama merupakan gol bunuh diri.

    Agen bola Indo11 Terpercaya – Atletico lebih dulu unggul lewat gol bunuh diri Mario Martinez.
    Sementara gol penyama dari tim tuan rumah Villarreal datang dari gol bunuh diri
    Juanfran.

    Atletico tetap berada di urutan dua dan mengoleksi 34 poin dari 13 laga.
    Sementara Villarreal menduduki peringkat empat, mengoleksi nilai 24 dari 13
    partai.

    Sumber http://indo11.com

  • ravy sok

    Walker : Southampton will be difficult test for Tottenham

    Agen Bola terpercaya Cityholidaybet.com reported – Tottenham full-back Kyle Walker is anticipating a “difficult” test against Southampton on Sunday.
    Spurs travel to St Mary’s Stadium for their first league match since the departure of manager Andre Villas-Boas, with caretaker boss Tim Sherwood having suffered Capital One Cup defeat to West Ham on his managerial debut at White Hart Lane.
    The London club are seventh in the Premier League but the 5-0 loss to Liverpool, which ultimately cost Villas-Boas his job, has cast doubt over their top-four hopes.
    Victory over Mauricio Pochettino’s men would give Tottenham a boost ahead of a busy end-of-year schedule but Walker, who was named captain against West Ham, knows it is a tough ask.
    “It will be difficult,” as reported by
    City Holiday.
    “Southampton have a lot of quality players and a few have been called into the England squad.
    “It will be tough but if we play like we did in the first hour against West Ham, with the same enthusiasm and desire, getting the ball in the box and getting shots off, why can’t we go there and win?
    source : http://cityholidaybet.com/


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