20 Arguments Against Abortion, Rebutted (2 of 4)

This is part 2 of a series of posts exploring pro-life arguments. Read Part 1 here.

6. What’s the big deal about traveling down the birth canal? 

The big deal is that before that process, only the mother could support the baby. Afterwards, it breathes and eats on its own. The baby could then be taken away and never see its mother again and grow up quite healthy. Before, the mother was mandatory; after, she’s unnecessary.

I’m not arguing that abortion should be legal up until delivery, though others do, and that has created this argument. I’m simply arguing that birth is a big deal. I’m not arguing for any definition of when abortion should become illegal. My main point has simply been that the personhood of the fetus increases from single cell through newborn, which makes abortion arguable.

7. It’s a human from conception through adulthood! The DNA doesn’t change. What else would that single cell be—a sponge? A zebra? (OK, if you don’t like “human,” let’s use “person.”) No—person means the same thing as human!

This name game is a common way to avoid the issue. I don’t care what you call the spectrum as long as we use names that make clear what the newborn has that the single cell doesn’t.

The only thing that connects the two ends of the spectrum is the Homo sapiens DNA. This pro-life argument devolves into an argument from potential. Sure, the single cell will be a baby in nine months. Get back to me then, and we’ll have something to celebrate. At the other end of the spectrum, however, it ain’t a baby.

Yes, a single cell has the potential to make a baby. So does the lustful idea that pops into a guy’s head. Neither is a baby.

I wonder at the pro-life advocate getting misty-eyed at the thought of that single microscopic cell. A eukaryotic cell with one strand of Homo sapiens DNA—wow. They wouldn’t get excited if it were the cell of a slug or a banana, but because it’s human, somehow that’s so fabulous that not only do they get choked up about it, but they demand that the rest of us do the same.

Sorry—not convincing.

8. What if the mother wanted to abort because the fetus had green eyes or was female or would likely be gay? 

This is a red herring. How many cases are we talking about? Abortion to increase the fraction of male babies is done in India and China, but this isn’t a meaningful issue in the U.S. (And in the third world, ask yourself if infanticide would be the alternative if abortion was denied.)

Abortions for capricious or shallow reasons also aren’t the issue. Mothers-to-be have plenty of noble instincts to judge what is appropriate so that society can rest assured that the right thing will usually be done. (If you balk at the “usually,” remember that that’s how society’s laws work. They’re not perfect, and we can only hope that they’re usually on target.) We can certainly talk about the few special cases where a woman’s actions seem petty, but don’t let that change abortion rights for the majority.

The woman who aborts for some trivial reason would likely be a terrible mother. Let’s let a woman who isn’t mature enough to take care of a baby opt out.

Consider how society treats parents. There is a wide variety of parenting styles, but most parents are decent and loving. We have the laws, police, and social services to remove children from abusive households, but the parents get the benefit of the doubt. Similarly, the instincts of the pregnant woman are on target in most cases. Let’s give her the benefit of the doubt as well. In the domain of parenting, we start with, “You are a good parent.” That’s the null hypothesis. And the null hypothesis in the abortion debate is, “You know what’s best for you and your fetus.”

9. Abortions are dangerous! 

Not really. The chance of maternal death from delivering a baby is 14 times higher than through abortion. This is what you’d expect, since the fetus only gets bigger (and more dangerous to deliver) with time. Of course, this statistic will change if abortion is made illegal and more dangerous. Does Kermit Gosnell scare you? That’s what an America with illegal abortion would look like.

There is no indication that abortion is a risk factor for cancer or women’s mental health.

10. Murder is wrong because it takes away a future like mine. If we found intelligent humanoids like us on another planet, killing them for sport would be wrong for this reason. And this is why abortion is wrong—it takes away a future like mine. (This is Glenn Peoples’ “Argument from the Future.”)

Why focus on the future? Assuming these humanoids are largely unchanging month to month, like people, killing them for sport takes away a present like mine. I assume Peoples focuses on the future only because he has no argument otherwise. A two-week-old fetus doesn’t have much of a life (yet).

But let’s take the path that Peoples points us to. Killing a fetus would deprive it of a future like mine, but so would killing a single skin cell, once they are clonable into humans. Would it then a crime to scratch your skin? Or, let’s take it further back. Suppose I have two kids. Was it criminal to not have three? Or four? Or fifteen? I’ve deprived those people-to-be of life.

Extrapolating back to the twinkle in my eye, saying that we have a person deserving of life at every step is ridiculous. But the facts fit neatly and logically into the spectrum argument.

Continue with Part 3.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) believes that
the mother has an overwhelming stake in her own pregnancy,
and to be forced to give birth to a child against her will
is a peculiarly personal violation of her freedom . …
— Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) source

(This is a modified version of a post originally published 1/20/12.)

Photo credit: Slate

About Bob Seidensticker
  • Niemand

    #7 always worried me because not only is it over inclusive (defining single cells to be people) but it is also under inclusive. I realize this is a science fictionish, theoretical concern right now, but if we link DNA to what is and is not a person, how will (human) people react when and if we find non-human sentient species?

    For example, suppose humans start traveling to other planets and find one they’d like to colonize somewhere a few hundred light years away from the solar system. Unfortunately, it already has beings on it who are clearly sentient as manifested by their understanding of architecture, basic newtonian mechanics, and role playing games. The humans, being tired of space, decide to move in anyway and start killing the local beings, at first because they are in the way, then because they turned out to be tasty. Should we shrug and say, “Eh, whatever. No human DNA no person. No harm done.”? Because argument 7 suggests that that is exactly what a person making that argument would do.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Yes, good point. (Not super relevant to the abortion issue at the moment, but valid nonetheless.)

  • wlad

    Bob,

    “I’m not arguing that abortion should be legal up until delivery, though
    others do.”

    OK, you don’t believe that abortion should be legal until delivery. Even if others do.

    So then you believe that at some point before delivery, it should be illegal.

    In all of your arguments for abortion you have NEVER clearly said at what point it would be illegal. I think you might have argued that viability would be the point a fetus becomes human. But you and I know that scientifically it would be impossible to determine the exact point of viability–it changes as we speak as medical science keeps moving that time of viability backward.

    And so, if the moment of viability is scientifically unclear and moving backwards, under YOUR argument of when abortion should become illegal , millions of actual
    humans would be killed because of the imprecision of viability, millions of actual humans according to YOUR argument, out of the 55 million abortions since Roe v Wade.

    Humans have made many laws for humans–slavery is moral–slavery is immoral.
    Some law say death should be the penalty for murder, others say life imprisonment. Humans make a whole lot of prudential laws about human behavior.

    Bob, I’m NOT asking you what the US law says about abortion and legality.

    I’m asking YOU Bob personally (unlike others who say fetuses are not human until birth), YOU personally, are you OK with millions of humans killed because you cannot pinpoint the exact time of viability. In your own words you believe that fetuses become human before birth. But willing to sacrifice millions of actual humans so as not to harm your abortion narrative.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      So then you believe that at some point before delivery, it should be illegal.

      No, I’m not making any argument for when.

      In all of your arguments for abortion you have NEVER clearly said at what point it would be illegal.

      I also don’t talk about tax policy and the Spanish author Cervantes. I simply have nothing much to say on those matters.

      Why is it that anti-choicers like you prefer to talk about when? My guess is that they know they’re out of ammunition on the spectrum issue, so they want to switch topics to something they have ready answers for.

      You’ll have to find someone else with whom to discuss the when question, sorry.

      I think you might have argued that viability would be the point a fetus becomes human.

      Can you not even formulate your own arguments properly??

      Humans have made many laws for humans–slavery is moral–slavery is immoral.

      Yeah. Kinda makes a hash out of your argument that the Old Testament records the perfectly moral actions of a perfect god.

      are you OK with millions of humans killed because you cannot pinpoint the exact time of viability.

      Sure. Because (in most cases, anyway) the alternative is worse. Not a difficult analysis, right?

      (Unlike you, perhaps, I’m happy to call the zygote a human from conception. Just because it’s a human doesn’t mean much.)

      • wlad

        “I’m NOT arguing that abortion should be legal up until delivery, though
        others do.” The meaning is–unlike others, I believe that at some point before birth, abortion should be illegal. If not the meaning of the above statement, PLEASE clarify.

        You are working very hard for keeping abortion legal. Many, many posts.

        “No, I’m not making any argument for when.”

        If you are defending the legality of abortion, and you won’t say WHEN it should be illegal, it’s impossible to discuss with you whether it should be legal or illegal. Some believe it is moral all the way to birth–we use one argument. Some believe it’s OK when the embryo is just a clump of cells–we use different arguments. And different argument for abortion OK until viability.

        How can we argue your position if we don’t know what it is!
        In all our discussions I have never heard you say, “abortion is always wrong”, and indicated many times, that at times it is not right, but you will NOT say when.

        If I said slavery is not always wrong, we could NOT proceed in the discussion until you knew WHEN I thought it was it not wrong.

        You will not say when BECAUSE you CANNOT defend your position.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If you are defending the legality of
          abortion, and you won’t say WHEN it should be illegal, it’s impossible to discuss with you whether it should be legal or illegal.

          Are you a little slow? My interest is in the spectrum
          argument. My interest is not with when.

          How can we argue your position if we don’t
          know what it is!

          Search “spectrum argument” here and you’ll find plenty to
          educate you.

        • wlad

          Bob,

          “My interest is in the spectrum argument. My interest is not with when.”

          IMPOSSIBLE to argue the spectrum argument and ignore WHEN. When is the CENTRAL point in the spectrum argument.
          When it’s a zygote it is not a human being. When it’s a 8 week old fetus it is not a human being. When it is viable (according to you and many others) it is a human being. And according to more an more now, even at the second of birth, abortion is OK.

        • wlad

          Time is everything in the spectrum argument.

        • Itarion

          The gist of the spectrum argument is that a grain of sand is not a pile. Do you agree that a solitary grain of sand is not a pile of sand, but becomes a pile of sand as more grains are added to it?

        • wlad

          Bob’s spectrum argument says that an abortion is not always wrong the whole spectrum, just at a certain point, because there are obvious differences along the way–zygote, embryo, etc. and you can’t treat them all the same.

          Otherwise, he would say abortion is always wrong, and the and the whole spectrum would be unnecessary.

        • Itarion

          This is true. And he makes no claims as to which point is the point, only that such a point exists.

        • wlad

          Because whatever the point is, he cannot defend it, No body can. He knows it. I know it. And so he refuses to state the point.

        • Itarion

          You yourself attempt to defend such a point, it just so happens that your point is t=0. The point where not-a-person turns into a-person exists, because it has to exist, as a legal construct. The spectrum argument maintains that there is a range where not-a-person gradually shifts through various stages before becoming a-person.

          Answer my sand question, would you?

        • purr

          Oh, I should say that it is perfectly easy to defend a woman’s right to rid herself of a microscopic parasite that can kill and maim her.

          If you have the right to kill the person who is raping and torturing you, then you have the right to kill an embryo that is doing the same.

        • Itarion

          You seem exceptionally angry about this subject. Is it personal for you?

        • purr

          No.

          My first few months engaging in ‘debate’ were spent on yahoo comments.

          I sort of developed an angry debating style :)

          It should be fairly obvious why….

        • Itarion

          I’ve been there, yeah. it’s scary.

        • purr

          I recall being accused of being a ‘faggot’ for having the temerity to suggest that large factory farmed cattle operations were not good for the environment…on a thread about vegan diets!

          That is nothing compared to youtube, however. I did visit an abortion video on youtube, and made the mistake of posting some science. Every single reply was a variation of ‘you baby killing slut you just want to spread your legs so you can kill more babies slut’. Of course, my paraphrase does not nearly include all of the spelling mistakes that were in display:)

        • Itarion

          I’d tell you where you shouldn’t go, but they told me not to talk about where you shouldn’t go.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          IMPOSSIBLE to argue the spectrum argument and ignore WHEN.

          Can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, either? The rest of us are easily able to discuss the spectrum argument. Too bad you can’t keep up.

          When is the CENTRAL point in the spectrum argument.

          Wrong again. Perhaps if you went back and re-read it.

          When it’s a zygote it is not a human being.

          Is this supposed to be me talking? When it’s a zygote, it’s not a person.

          You’re kind of a waste of time, aren’t you?

      • wlad

        Bob,

        Me, Wladyslaw–“are you OK with millions of humans killed because you cannot pinpoint the exact time of viability.

        You, Bob–“Sure. Because (in most cases, anyway) the ALTERNATIVE is worse. Not a difficult analysis, right?”

        The ALTERNATIVE to killing millions of humans because one cannot pinpoint the moment of viability in most cases is worse because–CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG–worse because of the bodily autonomy of the women in those cases. If for a different reason please correct me.

        -worse because of the bodily autonomy of the women in those cases.

        • Carol Lynn

          Wlad – it’s none of your business. Really. Yes, many people define the line differently. Why must they all confirm to YOUR – or anyone’s – definition of ‘when’? It is NOT open to debate and it is NOT your business. I don’t jump up and down and froth and advocate forcing abortions on people who I think shouldn’t be having (more) children – because it’s none of my business. I would appreciate the return courtesy of being thought able to make my own decisions on such personal matters.

        • wlad

          If you and I were discussing slavery and I said slavery was sometimes wrong, your first response would be–WHEN?

        • wlad

          And you would be offended if I said “mind your own business.”
          in answer. Not open for discussion!”

        • Itarion

          Bob’s opinion is not your business unless he allows it to be so. He would not be open for discussion if he did not make his opinion your business.

          Bob’s point here is about getting the spectrum of life explored and accepted. His opinion on when “life” formally begins is immaterial to his argument that a zygote is not a human, and is not the subject of this debate.

        • wlad

          But it is absolutely important and pertinent if he said abortion is not always wrong.

          And Bob did say that.
          “”I’m not arguing that abortion should be legal up until delivery, though others do.”

          Bob BROUGHT it up for discussion.

          The absolute response to his assertion is,
          If not legal up until delivery, then legal until WHEN?

        • Itarion

          My personal opinion is until it is viable outside the womb, with limited short term (< a week) care. Prior to that, it isn't capable of supporting itself, so it's taking from the mother.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          But it is absolutely important and pertinent if he said abortion is not always wrong.

          “Ooooooh! I don’t want to talk about the spectrum argument! Makes me uncomfortable cuz I’m not winning! I want to talk about an argument that I think I can win!”

        • Kodie

          It varies by state.

        • Carol Lynn

          How about if it is discussed in terms of forced organ donation – that’s an equally personal decision about one’s body. If I wanted to dictate to you when and how you *must* donate any of your bodily organs, you’d say, “None of your business! Not open for discussion!”, right? Be honest now! It’s none of my business or yours if and when anyone donates an organ. If anyone wants and chooses to donate an organ – or not – that’s absolutely their prerogative and none of your, my, or anyone else’s, business to legislate. If anyone wants and chooses to be pregnant – or not – that’s absolutely none of yours.

        • Itarion

          Screw that, you can have my organs when I’m dead, and not a moment before.

          Although, if enough people would be saved who would definitely die otherwise, I might off myself for them.

        • Carol Lynn

          But it would be *your choice* to donate those organs. There’s NO discussion anywhere by anyone of making organ donation, even after death when those organs are certainly not being used any more by the original owner, mandatory for everyone, even though that would save a lot of lives and give better quality of life to lot more thinking, breathing, suffering people. I think mandatory after death organ donation would make a far better “pro-life” cause than forcing some poor woman with serious health issues to die or a rape victim to be forced to be pregnant because abortion MUST be made illegal and prohibited at all costs after some arbitrary gestation date because Jesus (which is certainly the word Wlad is reluctant to mention.) And if someone agrees that there can be exceptions – for rape victims, or to save the life of the mother, or for a dying fetus – why not trust the people involved to make the best choice for that particular circumstance of which the collective ‘you’ can know nothing?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          It’s not Jesus but baby Jesus who cries when someone gets an abortion. What more reason to make it illegal do you need?

          I think mandatory after death organ donation would make a far better “pro-life” cause than forcing some poor woman with serious health issues to die or a rape victim to be forced to be pregnant because abortion MUST be made illegal

          Nice example.

        • wlad

          Just curious. Is the penis of a male fetus part of your body, or part of the boy’s body?

        • purr

          The uterus is part of the woman’s body and it belongs to the woman.

          Along with her blood vessels that the fetus taps into to leech sugar from the woman’s blood.

          Oh, the glucose in the woman’s blood, that belongs to HER, not the fetus.

        • Kodie

          Are you arguing that when a fetus grows a penis, then you can’t abort it? What about before? How about, when you can tell whether it’s a boy or a girl, that’s the line? How about that?

        • Alex Harman

          The penis is part of the fetus, but it doesn’t “belong” to the fetus, because entities without consciousness or agency cannot own things. The fetus, while it is an unconscious non-agent, belongs to the woman in whose body it must reside in order to continue existing. Forcing her to abort it if she wants to keep it and forcing her to keep it if she wants to abort it are both equally severe violations of her rights, both tantamount to rape.

        • wlad

          “If anyone wants and chooses to be pregnant – or not – that’s absolutely none of yours.”

          If a woman wants to get pregnant, she certainly can choose to. None of my business.
          She can choose not to get pregnant, and certainly make that choice. None of my business.

          But if she gets pregnant, and chooses to kill her child, my business. Just as it would be my business if my neighbor killed her infant.

        • purr

          consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Some wit here (perhaps you?) observed that “sex means consent to pregnancy” is like “eating means consent to choking.”

          It’s not, and it’s not.

        • purr

          Yeah, that was me.

          EDIT:

          Am debating another guy on another blog, and he said that:

          1) choking is not a normal healthy biological function, pregnancy is

          2) when the analogy of a skier with a broken leg was brought up, and how we don’t leave the leg unbroken because ‘consent to skiing is consent to the possibility of a broken leg’ this asshat came back with the argument that a) you get a cast on the leg and the leg heals b) gestation and birth is the equivalent of letting your leg heal

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          1) We may not like choking, but our God-designed esophagus (unlike those in the rest of mammals) means that we can choke on food. He’s simply applying his preference. Sure, I agree that choking is bad. It’s still the case that eating a sandwich means taking an action that has a non-zero chance of dying.

          And society still steps in with harm reduction for unwanted choking. Maybe we should do the same in analogous situations, like unwanted pregnancy?

        • Alex Harman

          Was the other guy that incredibly vile idiot Theodore Seeber, by any chance?

        • purr
        • Alex Harman

          I think I’d rather not, thanks very much. :-)

        • purr

          What I find infuriating is that their arguments are so incredibly bad, yet they have this overwhelming sense of superiority regardless.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          A little bit of humility, where they don’t think that they are entitled to impose their moral views on the rest of society, would be much appreciated.

        • Kodie

          It’s none of your business before you can see the penis.

        • Itarion

          My answer to the first response would be “When the slave is nonhuman, and is worse off than its non-slave state.”

          According to PETA, pet “ownership” is slavery. I say that it is perfectly fine, IF the pet is properly cared for and healthier than a wild animal of a comparable species. Feral dogs are diseased and dangerous. My neighbor’s German shepherd is noticeably less so.

          Comparably, black slaves from the pre-Civil War eras were often diseased and dangerous. Their liberated counterparts were noticeably less so.

          Pet ownership is okay. People ownership, as demonstrated in the South, is not.

        • wlad

          I was just saying that the discussion on slavery would absolutely stop if I refused to answer the question

          “When is slavery OK for you.”

          Bob INVITES us to discuss abortion, and says that abortion is not always wrong. I ask him “when is it not wrong?” and he says he absolutely won’t say when. Not pertinent!

        • purr

          I ask him “when is it not wrong?” and he says he absolutely won’t say when. Not pertinent!

          When is it not wrong to enslave fertile women wlad? Oh right, when they are pregnant. Then they exist solely for the parasitic entity inside them.

        • Itarion

          mmmm…. parasites are the best. Why can’t humans just lay freaking eggs?

        • Itarion

          Well, do you agree that the spectrum exists?

        • Alex Harman

          “Abortion is not always wrong” ≠ “Abortion is sometimes wrong.” Once can be certain that abortion is not wrong before a certain point of development, and also be agnostic about both whether or not it’s wrong after that point, and precisely where that point is.

        • Alex Harman

          Pro-life arguments that analogize abortion to slavery all rest on a flagrantly false equivalence between zygotes/embryos/fetuses, which have no agency and no capacity for joy or suffering, and slaves, who did have those things. As Ta-Nehisi Coates points out, “In that difference lies the racism implicit in the abortion/slavery analogy Santorum employs and Klein defends. The analogy necessarily holds that the enslaved were the equivalent of embryos–helpless, voiceless beings in need of saviors. In this view of American history, the saviors, much like the pro-life movement, are white. In fact, African-Americans, unlike, say, zygotes, were always quite outspoken on their fitness for self-determination. Indeed, from the Cimaroons to Equiano to Nat Turner to Harriet Tubman to the 54th regiment, slaves were quite vociferous on the matter of their enslavement. It is simply impossible to imagine the end of slavery without the action of slaves themselves. And it is equally impossible to say the same about the end of abortion, if only because fetuses are generally incapable of egressing from the womb and setting up maroon societies, publishing newspapers or returning to the womb to ‘liberate’ other presumably endangered fetuses.”

        • purr

          That’s a good point.

          Pro-lifers say that they must speak for the ‘unborn’ because the unborn don’t have a voice.

          Really? Is that what you think of slaves? That they should just STFU and let the white man speak for them?

          Indeed, from the Cimaroons to Equiano to Nat Turner to Harriet Tubman to the 54th regiment, slaves were quite vociferous on the matter of their enslavement

          Which is even more ironic considering the fact that anti-choicers like to bring up those names and say ‘would you prefer that Harriet Tubman was aborted you baby killer, she was a rape baby’ and so on.

        • Alex Harman

          I dealt with the latter “what if X had been aborted” hypothetical (and thus morally weightless) argument in my extremely long comment in the next thread. (I wrote that comment weeks ago after an argument with the Seeber assclown I mentioned below, and had been waiting for an appropriate to post it.)

        • purr

          Have fun with wlad.

          He has tried to argue that Hitler has the same value as Einstein because Hitler and Einstein were both human beings, and all human beings have the same intrinsic value.

          However, we value Hitler less because of how he chose to lead his life…yet he still has the exact same value as say MLK because he was a human being…

          Wrap your head around that one.

        • Alex Harman

          My head doesn’t flex that far without breaking. “All human beings have equal intrinsic value” is a phenomenally stupid premise, which makes sound moral reasoning about virtually any serious ethical problem impossible.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          A helpful analysis. Thanks for adding that to the conversation.

        • Alex Harman

          You’re welcome. I’m looking forward to part four of this series.

        • Alex Harman

          Furthermore, the reason slavery is wrong is that it necessarily involves denying autonomy and inflicting suffering on conscious beings with agency, i.e. the slaves. Bans on abortion likewise involve denying autonomy and inflicting suffering on conscious beings with agency, i.e. pregnant women who do not wish to continue their pregnancies. Since fetuses lack consciousness and agency, they carry no moral weight in the argument as to whether women should be denied full ownership of their own bodies. The pro-life position puts you in the same moral boat with slaveholders and rapists.

        • Itarion

          Okay with it? I wouldn’t say so. It would be ideal if everyone who ever ended up pregnant was in a stable relationship with the financial and physical resources to carry a child to term and raise a responsible citizen. Ain’t ideals wonderful?

          The result of not “killing millions of humans” is rampant overpopulation, and numerous women degraded and shackled to a child that was forced upon them by some asshat who couldn’t keep it in his pants.

          And this is a little admitted fact: life at conception is new. For a very long time existed the idea of quickening, the beginning of life. Where has that gone? And WHY has that gone?

          In this document, near the end of section seven, is a potential reason for the historical criminalization of abortions: danger of infection. Abortions, when more dangerous than childbirth, should not be performed. I agree with that. Professional medicine has made enormous strides in increasing safety in all surgical operations, including abortions. http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0410_0113_ZO.html

        • wlad

          Bob was OK with it. I’m glad you are not.

          “And this is a little admitted fact: life at conception is new. For a
          very long time existed the idea of quickening, the beginning of life.
          Where has that gone? And WHY has that gone?”

          We didn’t have microscopes and the knowledge of embryology that we hae now.

        • purr

          People didn’t have microscopes but they were quite familiar with the result of miscarriages. And they never did consider a lump of tissue to be a person. Not unil 40 days, at which point it begins to resemble an infant.

        • wlad

          Exactly. When they could see just with their naked eye, it resembled an infant.

          When they understood embryology and had a microscope, they then knew human life began at conception.

          It doesn’t begin before conception.
          It doesn’t began after conception.
          Human life begins at conception.

        • purr

          Actually, they thought, wrongly, that a blastocyst was a homunculus because they observed chicken eggs, and the chicken fetus looked like a very tiny chicken. Therefore, they decided that all embryos must contain tiny human beings that simply grew larger over time.

        • wlad

          BTW, Jejune,
          Just to be clear, I think you said the fetus becomes a human being at birth, from previous discussions. Am I right?

          Bob believes it happens sometime before, but won’t say when.

        • purr

          The fetus is capable of sentience at 24 weeks, and of surviving outside the womb at that point – with help.

          However, children are still born entities. Because there is no guarantee that the 24 week fetus will even make it to birth.

        • wlad

          Your answer isn’t clear to me. Is abortion up to birth OK for you.

        • purr

          Why should it matter wlad?

          You think that killing a zygote is exactly the same as torturing an infant to death.

        • wlad

          “You think that killing a zygote is exactly the same as torturing an infant to death.”
          Please cite the quote for that.

          “Why should it matter?”
          If women in Roe v Wade argued for legal abortion until birth, it certainly would matter to the court. It would have never been legalized.

          If you do believe that, I would really need to know that position to argue with you. More and more feminists believe that now, and openly declare, abortion ALWAYS an OK option for women.

          Is that your position on abortion? It’s not Bob’s, and all my arguments have been aimed on the assumption that Bob is for some limits on abortion.

          If you believe otherwise, then I would need to know that to argue with you.

          Different arguments for different positions.

        • Itarion

          Well, torturing might be the wrong word, but for you, death of zygote = death of baby, right?

          But they didn’t, and it was. huzzah for that, I suppose.

          The main difference between “pro life” and “pro choice” is really the admission of the spectrum, IMO. I disagree equally strongly with abortion up to birth, because at a certain point – the one you’re asking Bob about – the zygote is now a pre-child, and has some right to life, and if you haven’t decided against the child by that time, you have forfeited your right to do so now.

          You know my position, will you argue with me?

        • wlad

          At a certain point the zygote is now a child, and has some right to life. I don’t know your position.

          Please, will you ALSO, like Bob, not tell me what that point is?

          I’ll guess that you mean viability? Please correct me if I am wrong.
          If my assumption is correct, I can then proceed.

        • Itarion

          That’s a generalization, that at some point, the unborn child has rights. You agree with this, I agree with this, most agree with this.

          I tell, but it’s more a confirmation that you agree with the premise. Which I should know you do, because we’ve been around these points for weeks.

          Indeed, external viability. Precisely, external viability with minimal care. I don’t know how far exo-natal care will advance, but A Brave New World paints a fascinating, and at times mildly disturbing, image.

        • Kodie

          You already said the line for you is when you can tell the sex of the child.

        • purr

          “You think that killing a zygote is exactly the same as torturing an infant to death.” Please cite the quote for that.

          Well, infants can suffer, right? So, since you view a zygote as nothing more than a microscopic infant, then surely you believe that abortion tortures babies?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Human life begins at conception.

          What’s the big deal about conception? There are two living things that combine. It’s not like the single cell wasn’t alive and now it is. It’s just a recombination of alive things.

        • wlad

          “what’s the big deal about conception?”
          In all cases of beings producing sexually, not a SINGLE live animal, not a SINGLE live human would be alive today.

          Yes, BIG DEAL!

        • purr

          conception really isn’t a big deal

          considering that 60-80% of zygotes are spontaneously aborted

          it’s ridiculously cheap

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Wlad hasn’t answered my question about why he’s so worked up about fetuses dying when clearly the Big Man doesn’t care.

          God is the Kermit Gosnell of heaven.

        • Kodie

          You’re not being clear why it’s a big deal. You are saying it is because it just is.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The components were already alive beforehand.

          Bigger deal.

        • Itarion

          Is he? Or perhaps he doesn’t define person the same way that you do.

        • Kodie

          I don’t see a person under a microscope.

  • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

    Regarding the “potential” argument that fetuses should be given the rights of a fully developed person simply because they will, given enough time, turn into a fully developed person: People seem to be forgetting that we all share another key bit of potential: Given enough time, all of us will become corpses. Should we therefore treat everyone as though they are already dead, since one day all will die?

    • wlad

      We pro-lifers do not argue that fetuses are “potential” human life.

      That is a pro-abortion position.

      We believe it is actual human life, not a potential life.

      • Itarion

        Eight week abortion. Find the human.

        http://www.pregnantpause.org/abort/extract.jpg

        • wlad

          It was aborted–killed. It was once alive, but now killed.

          Once it was alive, and human (not a dog)–not alive and dog.

          Alive and human.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          Why is it human? Because it has human DNA? So do your skin cells. Do you commit mass murder every time you scratch your nose?

        • wlad

          A live skin cell will NEVER continue to grow it’s full life as a human being. It will always remain a just human cell.

          A live human embryo will ALWAYS grow to it’s full life as a human being, (unless it was aborted, spontaneosly died, or was diseased or sick, and died, or didn’t implant in the uterus.)
          Pretty elementary.

        • purr

          We can certainly grant
          that a blastocyst and a fingernail contain the same genes.
          However, we can no longer agree with the assertion that a
          fingernail can never become a baby. Clearly, it is quite within our
          grasp now to create a blastocyst from almost any cell of the body.
          Your hair follicles contain thousands–no, millions of potential
          human lives. Every cell in your body (save the erythrocytes) contains
          a nucleus, and that nucleus could be extracted and
          processed, and it could be placed in an enucleated
          oocyte, and you could implant that oocyte in a woman
          whose endometrium might be at the right stage for
          implantation, and that woman might carry the pregnancy
          to term.

          -John Sullivan, Md PhD

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          So it should be treated as a human being because it is capable of growing into one? Is that not, in fact, the “potential” argument you rejected at the beginning of this comment thread?

        • wlad

          No, absolutely NOT.
          It’s pro-aborts that say it is “potential” human life.
          We say it is actual human life.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          We seem to have entered a loop. I would again pose the question: Why is it “actual” human life any more than a skin cell, which as Jejune pointed out, can be made into a fetus with our current level of technology?

          The last time I asked this question you said it’s because the fetus will grow into a full human being. Which, again, is the “potential” argument. So do you have a way out of this circle, or are you just going to keep making the “potential” argument while asserting that you are not?

        • wlad

          It is never a “potential” human being. Once conception happens, a new actual human being enters the world.

          If your technology produced an actual alive human embryo, and not just a skin cell, then it would also be a new actual being in the world. An absolute frankenstein way of conceiving a child, but still a child.

        • purr

          Human beings are sentient creatures. Zygotes are not. A zygote is a genetic blueprint. It contains instructions for the creation of the placenta and the umbilical cord.

          No, they are not people.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          What makes it an “actual” human being, then? The fact that it is alive? Skin cells are also alive. The fact that it has human DNA? Skin cells also have human DNA. The fact that it will grow into a full, thinking human being given time? That is the “potential” argument.

          If none of the above, what is it that makes a zygote and a full grown human both “actual” human beings?

        • wlad

          Because a human life cannot be interrupted at any point. A human life is continuous. If it is killed at ANY stage, the human dies.

          If a human life is killed at ANY stage, there is one less actual human in the world. Doesn’t matter when you kill him. In every case, one less human in the world.

          In China there are over a hundred million actual missing girls.
          Ask the men. There are over a hundred million actual women missing, who were killed at some point in their life.

          The men certainly aren’t missing a hundred million clumps of cells.

          If abortion didn’t kill them, a majority of them would still be alive.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          Because it is alive? Again, skin cells are also alive. So too are sperm cells and egg cells, and every menstrual cycle an opportunity for a full grown human to emerge is wasted. What makes the zygote so special that doesn’t apply to skin cells, sperm cells, or egg cells, if not the fact that it will eventually grow into a full human being (which is the “potential” argument)?

          The reason we care when a human being dies is because it is a thinking, feeling being. The zygote is not, whatever it might become in the future.

        • wlad

          EmpiricalPierce,
          You’re playing games. Are there over a hundred million actual human girls not alive today because someone killed them sometime in their life?

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          I’m the one playing games? You’re the one asserting that a zygote is the moral equivalent of a full grown human without offering any explanation why beyond “it’s alive” (while ignoring that skin cells are also alive) and implying that it’s because they’ll grow into full humans (while denying that you’re making the “potential” argument).

          If you have any reason to consider zygotes and full grown humans moral equivalents beyond the ones we keep circling on above, please name it instead of trying to pretend you have a point and hoping I just take your word for it.

        • purr

          Actually, not all 100 million would have necessarily made it to birth, you know.

        • wlad

          OK, 50 million girls would ber alive today if somone did not kill them.

        • purr

          Because a human life cannot be interrupted at any point

          So if you kill the person who is in the process of raping and torturing you, you have done something horrible because there is now one less human in the world?

        • wlad

          Well,
          At last you and I agree that there is one less actual live human in the world for every abortion. Not one less clump of cells.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          Tell you what, Wlad: If you are so insistent that a zygote is indeed a full human being, why not push to create the first ever 5k to save the zygotes?

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/slacktivist/2012/10/24/no-5k-for-the-biggest-killer-so-does-anyone-really-believe-its-a-killer/

          Operating under the assumption that a zygote is indeed a full human life, if even 10% of spontaneous miscarriages could be prevented, it would saving more lives than curing HIV, diabetes, and malaria combined.

          And yet, to my knowledge, there have been a grand total of zero 5ks to raise funds for zygote saving research, despite there being 5ks for virtually any medical condition you can think of.

          It’s almost as though pro-lifers don’t actually believe zygotes are on the same level as full grown people.

        • wlad

          First of all, because you have not refuted it, I’ll assume that you accept my statement that:

          “At last you and I agree that there is one less actual live human in the world for every abortion. Not one less clump of cells.”

          Correct?

        • wlad

          OOPS! this question was aimed at Jejune.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          I haven’t seen any other replies from him. He may have logged off; we have been at this for a while now.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          I do not. We’re already arguing that elsewhere in this comment thread. I decided to address a different topic on the issue here.

          So, how about that complete lack of 5ks?

        • wlad

          First, please respond to my comment above.

          You have not answered my comment about the over hundred million actual girls killed in China at one point in their life.

          One hundred million clumps of cells aren’t missing. No men in India or China would care if that was all that was killed.

          Millions of men do care incredibly because the women who would be their wives were killed at some point in their life.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          Haven’t I?

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/10/20-arguments-against-abortion-rebutted-2-of-4/#comment-1083947547

          Now, I know realizing that the pro-life movement is utterly failing to walk the talk (pun intended!) of zygotes being humans is hard to cope with, but I would like your input on the utter lack of 5ks for what, according to your worldview, is the #1 human life destroyer in our world today.

        • wlad

          No, you haven’t responded.

          Because of the 55 million abortions in America, the population of United States is not 410 million, but 365 million people. If just 55 million clumps of cells were missing, not actual live human beings, the population would be 410 million people.

          55 million actual human beings are missing.
          Abortions kill actual human beings, who now are missing from our country, no matter when you kill them. Kill them in the womb, kill them out of the womb, those same humans are missing.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          And you haven’t responded to my question “why should we consider zygotes and full grown humans moral equivalents?” (or the question about 5ks, for that matter).

          Or rather, you have responded, but you’ve never given me an explanation beyond “it’s alive”, which also applies to skin cells. And it can’t be because a zygote, unlike a skin cell, will grow into a full human being, because then you’re using the “potential” argument which you insist you’re not using.

          So tell me: Why should I consider zygotes to be full human beings? Especially considering alleged pro-lifers apparently don’t, given their widespread apathy in regards to spontaneous miscarriages.

        • wlad

          I responded to your zygote 5 K question in the comment above.
          And as for the zygote.

          Whether you kill a human when he is a zygote, or if you kill him when he is a 24 week infant, or kill him when he is an infant, of if you kill him when he is 35 years old, that exact same person (all those stages of life are stages of the exact same person, not different people) is no longer in this world.
          Killing at any time–one less actual live person in the world. That person was once alive, now after killing, dead.

        • wlad

          Now please reply to the actual missing girls in China and India.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          Guhhh, this comment thread is getting so mixed up. I thought this was a new reply, but it was over an hour ago.

        • Alex Harman

          Some of them are missing because they were never born, because the zygotes, embryos, or fetuses that would have led to them were aborted. Some of them are missing because they were murdered after they were born. Given the cultures of China and India, fewer of the former must inevitably mean more of the latter. Also, it’s possible, though unlikely in the near term because of the technological difficulties involved, that someone will develop a technique for sex-selective contraception — something like a diaphragm that filters out sperm cells that carry the man’s X chromosome while passing through those that carry his Y, for example. The use of such a device would also result in “missing” girls, which would be exactly the same social problem as the girls who are missing because they were aborted, and not the same moral tragedy as the girls who are missing because they were killed after birth.

        • Kodie

          He seems to think that if abortion were made illegal in China, people who end up with a girl will be less inclined to kill her in infancy than they would be to abort her if it were legal to do so, and that if he double-checks his math, “a little bit of infanticide is ok” since it overall reduces the absence of females in China. What he doesn’t confront is just how little they value females, or why. What else he doesn’t confront is how different it is to kill an infant than to abort a fetus – for it is just life to him. It is numbers of humans who exist. The end is the end. He doesn’t care if it is painful or not.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          You keep answering around my question. I do not consider a zygote to be a person. I do not consider there to be millions of missing people in America or missing girls in China/India, because I do not consider zygotes to be people. If you want me to care about zygotes, it is necessary to convince me that a zygote is, in fact, a person, not simply assert that it is.

          So tell me: Why should we consider a zygote to be a person?

        • wlad

          What!
          ” I do not consider there to be millions of missing people in America or missing girls in China/India.”
          Really!?

          Go to China and tell the 40 million men right now who will never get married (some men go across the country to kidnap a women for a wife) that there are no missing girls. “C’mon guys, it’s only your imagination that millions of girls are missing. Look around, they’re somewhere! Abortion didn’t get rid of them. They’re somewhere. I certainly do not consider them to be missing. And you should believe me and stop fretting.”

          No, sadly they were killed.You have to really say some pretty crazy things to keep your abortion narrative together.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          China’s overly patriarchal society is a different issue. Your problem, right now, is this: You must convince me a zygote is the moral equivalent of a human being. If you cannot do this, you cannot expect me to care about abortions.

        • wlad

          You still believe there are no missing girls in China?
          What would you say to the sad men who now have no wives?

          It may take centuries to change the patriarchal society of China to start making any inroads on killing girls.

          It would take one edict of the communist party to declare sex-selective abortions illegal. And save millions of girls from being killed immediately, not possible centuries later.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          A lot of zygotes have gone away, but no actual people of either gender. This is because a zygote is not a person. It may eventually develop into one, but it is not a person yet.

          If you think I’m wrong, it’s up to you to convince me that a zygote is a person. A hint: You’re not going to accomplish that by harping on China.

        • Carol Lynn

          Polyandry?

          Wlad, why are you so obsessed with the sex lives of Chinese men?

        • wlad

          As a feminist you’re clearly not obsessed with the loss of 40 million women in China ALONE. Just a result of “abortion for any reason” policy. The cost of doing business.

          Your answer to the killing of these women–not save the women!–but provide more husbands for the smaller number of women–polyandry.

          Polyandry has hardly ever worked out in the real world.
          Not much of a feminist in my eyes.

        • Carol Lynn

          chortle… chuckle… snort… wheeze, wheeze… giggle er…Forgive the laughing….

          Seriously? I offered polyandry as a possible solution to the sexual frustration of your legion of unmarried Chinese men, who are still apparently your primary concern in this.

          As long as you insist that every blastocyst is the functional equivalent of a marriageable woman, we really can’t have a productive discussion. It’s a category error.

        • Kodie

          No, sadly they were killed.You have to really say some pretty crazy things to keep your abortion narrative together.

          Yes, certainly. Crazy things like “abortion is to blame because men can’t find wives!” You ignore the single-child policy. There are exactly as many people in China as they allow!

        • purr

          Is NOT the exact same person. I have explained this repeatedly.

          “You and I contain much, much more information, both
          genetic and otherwise, than a blastocyst. That’s why I can write this column and you can read it, whereas a blastocyst just.. .sits there. Indeed, that is the exactly the point of stem cell research:the stem cells in the blastocyst have not yet acquired the molecular programming required for differentiation, and so they remain pluripotent, awaiting the necessary molecular signals (the information) that will tell them whether to become nerve or muscle, skin or bone.

          Nothing more than a little clump of cells, each of them a snippet of DNA surrounded by cytoplasm. But that DNA was later transcribed into RNA, and that RNA was translated into proteins. And some of those proteins were transcription factors that told other cells in the blastocyst what to do, when to divide, where to migrate. Transcription factors regulated the expression of still other transcription factors. Genes were turned on and off with clockwork precision. Some genes were methylated, so they could never be turned on again.

          In other words, the genome and the proteome of the blastocyst were changed as the embryo accumulated molecular information that the blastocyst did not have.

          The embryo became a fetus, with complex orientations of
          tissues–loaded with spatial, genetic, biochemical and mechanical
          information that simply did not exist in the embryo.

          The fetus became a child with a nervous system, and that nervous system sucked up information about the world, hard-wiring pathways for vision and movement, learning to make subtle distinctions between this and that, accumulating information that simply did not exist in
          the fetus.

          In other words, the blastocyst launched a genetic program that both extracted and acquired information. It didn’t start out as a human being. It became a human being, with a
          personality, feelings, attitudes and memories, by accumulating information that was not there before.

          Equating a blastocyst with a human being is like equating a brand new copy of an inexpensive spreadsheet program with the priceless databases that you’ll eventually build up with that program. It’s no less ridiculous than saying that a blueprint has the same value as a skyscraper–that it is the skycraper.

          No. They are not the same.”

          -Johnathan M. Sullivan Md PhD

          ———————-

          The DNA contained in the zygote is not WHO you will become. Far from it. It is a genetic blueprint, a very general one, and a lot can change along the way. This is why, if Bob was cloned, a very different Bob would be born – just due to conditions in the uterus. Time in the womb =nurture. And it is very likely that something could go wrong, and the blob that is clone of Bob might not even properly develop. This is why it is safe to say, imo, that you do not have a child until it is born (or at least 24 weeks viable).

        • wlad

          Exactly 24 weeks? Impossible to compute exactly.

          So if we followed your position and made an imprecise 24 week point when we determine we have a child, out of the 55 million aborted babies since Roe v Wade, countless millions of children who were around 24 weeks (children according to you) would have been killed because women thought they were only 23 weeks (or so) pregnant and aborted, when actually they were 24 weeks pregnant.
          Millions (or hundreds of thousands) actual living children (according to you) out of 55 million killed because it’s impossible to have a clean demarcation.
          You’re saying you’re OK with a few hundred thousand actual living children being killed. Or OK with fifty thousand actual living children being killed.

        • Carol Lynn

          Wlad – most abortions take place long before 24 weeks. Talking about ‘countless millions’ of abortions performed at 24 weeks is extremely disingenuous. Are you unaware of that basic fact or does that just not fit your narrative of it all being women aborting nearly viable babies just for their convenience? Late term abortions are performed to save the life of the mother or if something really tragic has happened to the fetus and it is not viable. You are against terminating a pregnancy under those conditions, too?

        • wlad

          There were about 42 million abortions in the world last year. If we took just the last ten years, the figure would be around 420 million. Abortion was around much longer that that. The actual figure is much much higher. I do think it would be millions who were aborted after they became children. Let’s say I agree that only fifty thousand actual children were killed out of the 420 million (a much higher actual figure in the last 30 years) in the last ten years. You’re OK with killing fifty thousand actual children? The cost of doing business?

        • Carol Lynn

          You are OK with women dying in equal numbers as a consequence of being pregnant, right?

          It is STILL none of your business to judge any woman’s reasons for having an abortion.

        • purr

          91% of abortions are before 13 weeks

          61% are before 9 weeks

          This is what a typical abortion looks like:

          http://media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ls6w7phG8f1qi68z9.jpg

          And MORE abortions would occur before 8 weeks if you and your anti-choice buddies didn’t try to block access to early abortion. The early medication abortions are the SAFEST, and your anti-choice pals in certain states are doing their damndest to make it ILLEGAL out of concern for ‘women’s safety’. Funny how they don’t require other telemed/medication services to be ILLEGAL out of concern for safety. They ONLY care about abortion. HOW SUSPICIOUS. This is what RH Reality Check writes about – the barriers put up by the pro-life lobby to prevent women from getting contraception, which would lower abortion rates, and early abortions, which are safer for everyone.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And MORE abortions would occur before 8 weeks if you and your anti-choice buddies didn’t try to block access to early abortion.

          This is the importance of the spectrum argument to the pro-life side, IMO. If they accepted reality (instead of equating an invisible cell with a newborn), they’d try to get pregnancy tests done early, provide information on pros and cons of abortion, and remove obstacles.

        • purr

          Only about 1.5% of abortions occur after 20 weeks AND THOSE ARE FOR HEALTH REASONS – HEALTH OF MOTHER, OR THE FETUS IS DYING

        • wlad

          Jejune,
          From zygote to death at ninety nine, the human person goes to immense change from the environment, in the womb and out of the womb.
          You went through enormous changes in your lifetime. You never stopped being Jejune.

        • purr

          No, it’s not a matter of immense change.

          I suggest you re-read what I wrote.

          A newborn goes through changes. The brain is plastic, yes.

          A ZYGOTE DOESN’T HAVE A BRAIN. A ZEF IS INCOMPLETE AND UNFORMED AND MIGHT NOT EVEN MAKE IT TO THE INFANT STAGE.

        • Alex Harman

          No, but he or she started being Jejune the day he or she was born.

        • purr

          The jejune that you see now was not the same jejune when she was a zygote.

          Because ‘she’ as you know her did not exist as a zygote. The zygote was just a genetic blueprint, nothing more. It was one of many potential jejunes, but not jejune.

        • Kodie

          It doesn’t bother me. Why does it bother you so much?

        • Alex Harman

          Having an abortion = one less actual live person in the world several months later than there would have been otherwise. Using contraception during an act of coitus that would have resulted in pregnancy = one less actual live person in the world nine months later than there would have been otherwise. Not having coitus on a night when it would have resulted in a pregnancy = one less actual live person in the world nine months later than there would have been otherwise. All of these are morally equivalent to one another; none of them are morally equivalent to murder, which = one less actual live person in the world than there was the moment before the murder. You still haven’t made an argument for why a zygote/embryo/fetus should be regarded as an actual live person while it’s a zygote/embryo/fetus.

        • wlad

          Abortion is the active purposeful killing of humans. I think that you would oppose the active purposeful killing of humans (Jews in Germany, Moslems in Serebnica, Assad’s people in Syria. Spontaneous miscarriages are not purposeful killing of humans.

          All of us may choose to work for other good causes. Do you support HIV cure? Well, clean water would certainly save more lives. But you may choose working for HIV cure, even if more lives would be saved by making clean water available.

          Do you not care about saving the most people’s lives?

          We all choose our causes for different reasons.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          I repeat: If a zygote is indeed the moral equivalent of a full human being, that makes spontaneous miscarriages the biggest killer in the world by a landslide. If even 10% of spontaneous miscarriages could be prevented, it would
          saving more lives than curing HIV, diabetes, and malaria combined.

          And yet we don’t know if preventing 10% of spontaneous miscarriages is possible because NO ONE CARES. There are no 5ks and scarcely any research. If everyone in the pro-life movement honestly believes zygotes to be people, then why are they so apathetic to what by their logic is the world’s #1 killer? Why is there so much energy devoted to HIV, diabetes, and malaria, but scarcely any energy devoted to something that supposedly kills more than all of them combined ten times over?

        • wlad

          “yet we don’t know if preventing 10% of spontaneous miscarriages is possible because NO ONE CARES.”

          Apparently neither you nor I make this our personal cause.

          You choose where you want to put your time and energy–possible cure for aids, and I choose my causes.

          Your cause may not save the most lives. I don’t fault you for it.

          Don’t fault me if I do likewise.

        • http://empiricalpierce.wordpress.com/ EmpiricalPierce

          Sure, not everyone can pursue every issue. But issues like HIV, diabetes, and malaria not only have people pursuing them, they have FAR more people pursuing them than there are people pursuing the case of spontaneous miscarriages, even though by your logic it kills ten times more than HIV, diabetes, and malaria combined.

          This goes beyond you and me. no one cares enough for there to be even a single fundraiser 5k for spontaneous miscarriages, even though far less lethal problems often have multiple 5ks each. If the pro-life movement honestly considers zygotes to be people, why isn’t there enough energy to muster up even one measly 5k?

        • Kodie

          But you’re clearly demonstrating that you have no interest in saving the lives of ZEFs. How can one be so emotionally fraught over an issue and then be so blasé about the possible causes of miscarriage? You are not only inconsistent, you are transparent. You’re a judgmental asshole, you hate women, and you don’t actually care about teh babeees.

        • Kodie

          Your problem is you think you are saving their lives. Why? You have never given a valid reason why you think this is the case. There is still no comparison with “Jews in Germany, Moslems in Serebnica, Assad’s people in Syria” as long as you continue to ignore women who are pregnant, they have rights to live too. You don’t care about saving their lives. What kind of monster are you to prefer a blob over a person and then have the audacity to compare abortion to genocide? You live in a fantasy world, and you admit you hate women.

        • purr

          Women who abort unwanted pregnancies usually go on to have more children you know?

          Not every teen who aborts a pregnancy at the age of 16 never has kids. In fact, a majority of pro-choicers do have kids, and more than one at that.

          There are children who are alive today because their parents chose to have an abortion when it was needed. Would you rather that these children never existed so that the aborted embryos could exist? Because that’s what you’re saying. You are saying that planned children should die because the unplanned have more of a right to live.

        • wlad

          Never said that.

        • purr

          No, you just strongly implied it.

        • Alex Harman

          But it’s a logically necessary corollary of your position, whether you want to admit it or not.

        • Kodie

          You don’t care about quality of life, just life? Why live? It’s not as if we don’t already have too many people to do too few jobs.

        • purr

          Just a heads up, wlad said that, in the case of China, he would prefer ‘a little bit of infanticide (his actual words) over the alleged 8 million abortions that occur annually.

          In other words, if abortion became illegal in China, and people murdered their infant girls instead, he would prefer that, because abortion kills more ‘people.’

        • wlad

          Jejune, Jejune.
          I was wrong when I said I preferred a little bit of infanticide. You know why?

          They’re both murder to me. The women who killed their infants if abortion was illegal would have killed them in abortion if it was legal. Murders would NOT increase. How they would be murdered would change.

          But the number of murders would drastically DECREASE. A whole lot of women would not choose to murder their infants if abortion became illegal.

        • purr

          Right.

          So you would prefer to see one live infant either smothered to death or starved to death if that would mean 6 embryos had the chance to ‘live’ right?

        • wlad

          When did I say that?!
          That infant smothered or starved to death if abortion was illegal would have been murdered in an abortion if it was legal.
          Dead either way. NO change in the number of actual life people in the world

          But if abortion was illegal, most of the six embryos would add
          actual living human beings to the world.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Wlad: how do you answer the problem of the building on fire? You have time only to get (1) a 5-year-old child or (2) ten frozen embryos.

          Which do you save?

        • wlad

          Triage.
          In a battle field, a hospital emergency room after a catastrophe, or a fire, the thing that all first responders do is evaluate the conditions of the victims. Those who have the highest chance of survival are attended to. Those with little or no survival chances are not attended to.

          Ten frozen embryos in a fire certainly would have little or no chance of surviving. (Survival to childhood would be very uncertain even if there was no fire).
          So, in triage, I would try to save the one wtih the best survival
          chances, the 5-year old boy.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You’re not familiar with thought experiments, either?

          The embryos are in some sort of container so that they’d be alive once you got them outside. We imagine that, once retrieved, they would be transferred to some environment so that they’d be safe.

          Now: answer the question without dancing around it.

        • wlad

          You asked me a simple question. I answered it the best I could.

          It didn’t suit you.

          Look no matter how I answer it, you will keep changing the circumstances to try to get me to say what you think I don’t want to say.

          And keep changing the circumstances, as they get more exotic.

          I will not play such thought games.

        • purr

          The embryos will be in one room, already packed and ready to go. They can survive up to 24+hours if they are packed in a thermos in a cooler.

          So, it’s really quite simple.

          Do you save the 10 embryos, or do you save the 1 toddler?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          You asked me a simple question. I answered it the best I could.

          You mean you changed it as best you could. Answering it in a straightforward manner made you uncomfortable, so you changed it so you could both seem logical and hold your extreme pro-life position.

          Look no matter how I answer it, you will keep changing the circumstances to try to get me to say what you think I don’t want to say.

          I think you don’t want to say that a 5-year-old child is more valuable than a frozen zygote.

          (Did I get it right?)

          And keep changing the circumstances

          No, the original question remains. I’d just like you to answer it like a man and take your medicine.

          I will not play such thought games.

          Yes, I realize that. The question shows your hypocrisy. I can see how that would be uncomfortable.

        • purr

          He really doesn’t like to answer anything that might hurt his case.

        • Kodie

          Why do 10 embryos have a lower chance of survival?

        • purr

          That infant smothered or starved to death if abortion was illegal would have been murdered in an abortion if it was legal.

          Yeah, I get it. So you would prefer to see thousands of babies slowly tortured to death if it would mean fewer microscopic embryos get ‘murdered’.

          You’re a monster.

        • Kodie

          You are overly concerned about the number of actual people in the world than you are about the method used to terminate them? Embryos don’t suffer. Infants do. You are a monster.

        • Kodie

          They should care more that China has a cultural preference for boys than girls. If there were 100 million extra people in China, that would be a bigger problem than not being able to find a wife. Talk about shallow priorities!

        • purr

          If there were a 100mill extra people in China there would be mass starvation.

          People are already living on less than 500 calories a day in some places. Hunger is a constant companion.

        • Guest

          I haven’t seen any other replies from him. He may have gone on to do other things; we have been at this for a while now.

        • purr

          Nope.

        • wlad

          Explain how there is not one less actual live human being in the world for every abortion.

          It seems pretty obvious to me that if you don’t abort a fetus, there is one more actual child in the world.

          And if you do abort a fetus, there is one less actual child in the world.

          Pretty obvious.

          No?

        • purr

          Uh, no?

          I suggest you re-read what I wrote.

          Women who have abortions GO ON TO HAVE CHILDREN. The embryo they aborted is replaced with a wanted child WHEN THEY ARE READY TO HAVE KIDS.

        • wlad

          I see.
          Well tell the 40 million Chinese men that. “Hey fellows, why the long faces? My discussion partner Jejune says that all those women who aborted their girls? Those girls are NOT missing! NO problem, guys. Those women will hopefully not abort any more girls in the future and have a kid or two. You’ll see. Just wait a generation. Remember, they are not now missing!”

        • purr

          I was under the assumption that we were not talking about China, but that we were talking about abortion in general.

          Besides, you forget, even without abortion, many of those girls will just be killed as infants. Infanticide is a real thing in rural China and India and in all patriarchial societies where a woman has no role other than as a broodmare.

        • wlad

          New births do not replace aborted babies. Those aborted girls are forever gone, as the Chinese men know very well.

          Most women who do not want girls will choose to abort them. I’m sure the Chinese have a liberal abortion policy that will help them abort their children, paid for by the state. Some women still kill their infant girls. But the vast majority will just get an abortion.
          A simple edict by the communist party would immediately save millions of girls today.
          Waiting for the patriarchic society to change may take centuries, and save millions sometime long in the future.

          Abortion removes a person today.

          A future birth adds a person tomorrow.

        • purr

          New births do not replace aborted babies.

          Except they do.

          And stop harping on China ffs.

          A future birth adds a person tomorrow.

          Yeah, so tell all of the kids who were born after their mothers had an abortion that they did not deserve to live because the potential ‘person’ that was aborted is of more value.

        • wlad

          “And stop harping on China ffs”
          Of course you want me too. Because you cannot answer them.

          I did not say the did not deserve to live because they came after abortion or were more valuable!

          I said they did NOT replace those children who were killed.

        • purr

          In regards to China, you do realize that the girls are aborted because, given a choice, they would prefer a son, so the girl is aborted and a son is born in it’s place?

          Yeah. That means there are not fewer children.

        • Carol Lynn

          But there are fewer women! Think about the frustrated MENZ!!! Wlad is very hung up on not having enough women to go around. He doesn’t give women any role except satisfying some Chinese guy’s sexual frustration and gestating the next generation of babies. If he really thought that women were fully human, you think he’d manage one comment about women being valuable contributors to society in some other way once they cease being blastocysts. But nooooo… For him it’s all about how abortion affects the MENZ!!! pool of available sex partners. How can we ignore The Menz™ awful plight by allowing women to have personal agency or any say in their reproductive process? We must stop this insidious radical feminazi notion that women are fully human! It’s terrible, I tell you, *terrible* that non-hypothetical Chinese MEN are suffering!!!

          Drat. I’m going to start giggling again.

        • wlad

          Really!?
          China does not have fewer children because of abortion?

          Then what caused the great drop in the population–abstinence?

        • purr

          Well, if you would prefer to see fewer children due to infanticide and mass starvation…then what can I say.

        • tyler

          jejune is correct. sex-selective abortion screws with ratios, not totals. many of the men in china today would not exist if their elder sisters had not been aborted. make of that what you will.

        • Kodie

          This is why people think you’re stupid. A single-child policy means that couples can only have ONE FUCKING CHILD. If they saw they were having a boy, that would be their child. If they saw they were having a girl, they would eliminate it and try again for a boy until they got a boy.

          ONE CHILD FOR EACH COUPLE MEANS ONE. ONLY ONE.

          Every single one child born in China would be a boy either way. If they get lucky and it’s a boy, you don’t seem disturbed about this as you are they abort the ones they see are girls. As long as the boys aren’t being aborted, you seem fine. Think of it this way, maybe it will help: there is gold and there is silver. You are perfectly fine they value gold over silver. You are quite in favor of not aborting anyone, so when the ultrasound says gold, that means a family’s one and only child is ONE MORE LONELY BOY WITH NO MATE. You are so fine with that because, in your opinion, nobody got murdered.

          Forest for the trees, you idiot. Do the math, they aren’t killing girls so much as favoring boys. What you fucking fail every time is that this further affects their overpopulation crisis, doesn’t it? If there are too many grown men without wives, their own offspring will be zero.

          As far as your wacko idea that they are kidnapping women from other countries and then immigrating them back to China, I have to ask you for a citation, please. With a strict procreative policy as they have, I hardly think they’d be welcoming extra people, extra kidnapped people, into the country for the express purpose of creating even more people. And kidnapping them? Who the fuck is minding this apparent shithole of a country? It sounds like the type of propaganda a pro-lifer would make up to alarm the pawns. (Hint: you’re a pawn, since you believe all this shit and you think it’s persuasive).

        • Kodie

          Not because we cannot answer them – BECAUSE WE ALREADY DID, SEVERAL TIMES! You don’t listen and you don’t care about the real answer, wlad. Stop telling us repeats and use your fucking brain to think, if you even have one.

        • wlad

          Jejune,
          “Except they do (replace aborted kids).”
          If later children just REPLACED those hundreds of millions–probably over a billion–children that were aborted, the world’s population would now be 8 billion instead of 7 billion.
          Yes, close to a billion people were eliminated, not replaced.

        • purr

          Not every baby needs to be born, you know.

          There is nothing special about human life.

          Simply breeding for the sake of breeding is rather pointless.

        • wlad

          Holy smokes!

          “There is nothing special about human life.”

          Then please, please stop talking about women’s rights.

          A woman has no special rights more than a rat!

        • purr

          Irrelevant, because the Earth is full of organisms as unique in their own way as humans. None are inherently more special than any other. And millions upon millions of species have become extinct over the ages. The Neanderthals may have thought they were special, too, but where are they now? And why do so many “special” humans get killed by purely Natural events every year? It is sheer selfish prejudiced egotism for humans to think they are special, and absolutely nothing more than that.

        • Kodie

          Wlad, what do you think is so special about human life above all other forms of life? It’s probably you’re prejudiced, being a human? Anything egocentric like that, with no respect or acknowledgment for other life?

          You know what, though, rats do things like you want ’em. They fuck and they make all the baby rats. They don’t get married, they just keep making more litters of rat babies. That’s all they do. They don’t have a choice, they just have to let things happen. Maybe you don’t actually realize what is so special about humans, after all. You are the one containing women like they are rats to serve their one and only dual purpose of sperm catcher/incubator.

          It sounds to me like you are being sincere about the comparison.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And the human DNA at the single-cell stage is too precious to destroy, so you’d rather there be an additional 1,000,000,000 mouths to feed?

          Some of us think that starving children is much worse than an aborted 8-week-old fetus and that fewer people on a planet with limited carrying capacity is actually a good thing. FYI.

        • purr

          So you would prefer that 100milion extra children were born so that they could end up like this:

          http://ginaworld.edublogs.org/files/2007/05/starving_baby.jpg

          Sick.

          But I shouldn’t be surprised, this is coming from someone who finds a little bit of infanticide to be acceptable.

        • wlad

          So you concede that a billion people were eliminated, killed–you just pointed out what have happened to some (or many) if they weren’t killed or eliminated.

        • purr

          That is incoherent and does not make any sense.

        • Alex Harman

          Nope, not “killed,” not “eliminated” — prevented.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m missing your argument. It seems to be: “There is a gender imbalance in China because of abortion. That makes me mad, so I want Roe overturned in this country.”

          Is that it? Is it possible to restate your argument without bringing in China?

        • wlad

          I want abortion illegal in the whole world, just as you want slavery stopped in the whole world–it still exists.

          I was just bringing up the hypocrisy of feminists who cannot bring themselves to be against sex-selective abortions, which causes the killings of tens of millions of women, and say they are for women’s rights. They try to justify their position saying, “There really aren’t ACTUAL fewer women in the world.”

          The gender statistics in China and India are OBVIOUS, not so much in the US, so I went there. There actually are around 40,000 missing women in China.

          There actually ARE fewer women in the world because of abortion.

          In the same way, there are fewer actual living humans in the world because of abortion.

        • Kubricks_Rube

          The main problem with bringing China into this is that the reasons women get and/or are forced to get (a key factor that it’s laughable to blame on feminists) abortions in China are vastly different than the reasons women choose not to carry a pregnancy to term in the US. The anti-abortion movement in the US would have much more success decreasing the number of abortions in the US if they spent more time seriuosly considering why women make that choice and addressing those factors.

          It’s easy and I suspect satisfying to rail against monsters and murderers but if you want to stop pulling bodies out of the river you’re better off going upstream and finding out who’s throwing them in.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Your argument would be stronger if you could place it in the U.S. Stating “the abortion situation in China is terrible” does nothing to support your desire to impose your anti-abortion views on the country.

          In the same way, there are fewer actual living humans in the world because of abortion.

          (1) Who cares? Maybe the world is a better place (a net positive) without all those mouths to feed.

          (2) Do you not read the comments addressed to you? A Chinese family aborts or kills a girl baby and then has another in the hopes of getting a boy.

        • Kodie

          There aren’t any women missing in China. They overwhelmingly prefer male children and are limited to ONE per household. Do you not get that? The “women’s issue” here isn’t that there are fewer women, it’s that women are not valued in their culture.

          In the same way, there are fewer actual living humans in the world because of abortion.

          You say that like it’s a bad thing without ever explaining why.

          Anyway, there are fewer actual living humans in the world because we figured out how to fuck without making so damn many people we don’t need or want.

          You have yet to make a persuasive argument why we need so many more people, just because. You have yet to address feeding them all and putting them through college and all that other stuff parents have to do, in a world where we have no control over the matter! In a world where we not only have no control, but nobody wants healthcare to be cheap, nobody wants to pay taxes for schools and teachers, nobody wants to pay for welfare, nobody wants to stop driving their massive colossal SUVs, and nobody wants a landfill in their neighborhood. You are really fixated on how many humans there ought to be but not what to fucking do about all of them. We have approached this problem, it’s called abortion.

        • Niemand

          Those aborted girls are forever gone

          So are the girls and boys who were never conceived because their parents were too tired to have sex on the appropriate night. So what? Not every future can occur.

        • Ella Warnock

          Zygotes that failed to implant and were sloughed off during a menstrual period are forever gone, too.

        • Alex Harman

          You’re wrong, as a matter of easily established fact:

          The exception to the otherwise general permissibility of abortion in China is that the practice of pre-natal sex determination and sex-selective abortions for non-medical reasons are illegal. It is argued that sex-selective abortion continues to be one of the key factors in the notably imbalanced sex-ratio in China, as the imbalance cannot be explained solely by the underreporting of female births or by excess female infant mortality. In 2001, 117 boys were born to every 100 girls. These trends are explained by the persistence of a preference for sons in Chinese families.

          In 2005, the government began an Action Plan consisting of ten policies with the aim of normalising the sex ratio of newborns by 2010. Under this plan, sex-selective abortion was outlawed, as was prenatal sex diagnosis, and harsher punishments were implemented for violating both. Other policies include controlling the marketing of ultrasonic B machines and improving the systems used by medical and Family Planning organisations to report on births, abortions and pregnancies.

          Despite this, sex-selective abortion continues to be practiced, as it is not easily regulated by governments and because son-preference persists. Moreover, in many cases the couple can pay, or will try to pay, to be told the sex of their child while having an ultrasound.

          Also, given China’s population relative to its resources, the gender imbalance problem is best characterized not as missing girls, but rather as excess boys.

        • smrnda

          This seems like a huge game of phrasing things a certain way. There are fewer girls than boys in China because of sex selective abortion. No shit. However, there are not *grown girls who are missing.* If a girl is missing there’s this announcement on TV that *so and so girl is missing. She is about this tall, weighs about this much, looks like this and likes video games.* Something which has not existed cannot be missing.

        • Niemand

          So you’re only worried about the “missing girls” because it means that Chinese men have no wives? I guess that’s consistent with your stated position that enslaving women is good, but it’s surprisingly overt.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Valerie Tarico’s story about her own abortion credits it with keeping her healthy enough to have her current children.

          Reality is a little more than black-and-white thinkers like Wlad imagine sometimes.

        • wlad

          Hard cases make for bad laws. That’s how Roe v Wade got decided.

        • Niemand

          RvW wasn’t decided on “hard cases”. It was decided on typical cases, i.e. the testimony of a number of doctors who had experience dealing with the after effects of illegal abortion and forced pregnancy.

        • wlad

          No Niemand,
          Wikipedia, no conservative site said:

          In 1969, at the age of 21, while working low-paying jobs and living
          with her father, McCorvey became pregnant a third time. She returned to Dallas, where friends advised her to assert falsely that she had been raped,
          as she would then be eligible to obtain a legal abortion (with the
          understanding that Texas’s pro-life laws allowed abortion in the cases
          of rape and incest).
          Due to lack of police evidence or documentation, the scheme was not
          successful and McCorvey would later admit the situation was a
          fabrication.[10][11] She attempted to obtain an illegal abortion, but the respective clinics had been closed down by authorities.
          Eventually, McCorvey was referred to attorneys Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington.[12][13]
          who were looking for pregnant women that were seeking an abortion.
          Whenever she told the lawyers that she was a lesbian, they were
          disappointed, so she also lied and told them that she was raped. She
          signed the papers, and thus began Roe v. Wade.

        • Kodie

          I must be missing why you think this is a hard case. In a world where you allow abortion for rape only, what do you think will happen?

          In a world where you allow abortion for all and any reason, what do you think will happen?

          In a world where you do not allow abortion for any reason, even rape, what do you think will happen?

          In case 1, you think they will tell the truth because they should. And why “should” they? Because it’s the law? Because some people made up an arbitrary designation where some pregnant women are distinct from other pregnant women?

          In case 2, you think everyone will treat the PP like a drive-thru at McDonald’s, getting pregnant regularly and repeatedly, just for the thrill of legal murder.

          In case 3, you think they will just have all the babies, and all of them will obey the law because they should. And why “should” they? Because it’s the law? Because being made to have children they don’t want or can’t afford or who will endanger their health, or any other reason, will magically make all the practical concerns disappear? Or they will magically abstain altogether until they are validated with a permanent relationship, that magically makes all the other practical concerns disappear? All married people have money and good health? All married people want to have children because they have no other choice?

          You are inviting a GosnellWorld. You wish everyone would follow your advice and just believe in god and always do things in the order you prefer, but logic doesn’t take us there. Safe and available early abortions take us where we would like to be as humans. You would prefer illegality and thousands of Gosnellesque operations.

        • purr

          Great article Bob.

          All that people like wlad will see, after reading it is that a precious baby without a brain was ‘brutally murdered’. After all, there could have been a miracle, and that baby could have become the next Nobel Prize winner.

        • Kodie

          You are disregarding the other real possibility that someone who gets an abortion now may be able to get their education without struggling and then raise a family of 3 or 4 kids later when they are stable and ready. That’s a net gain of 2-3 actual people in the world! Are you fucking stupid?

        • wlad

          Maybe you believe killing children is OK as long as you have more babies that you didn’t kill, for a net gain.

          I don’t.

        • purr

          Maybe you believe killing children is OK as long as you have more babies that you didn’t kill, for a net gain.

          That is what you believe. Which is why you find a little bit of infanticide to be acceptable.

        • Kodie

          It is because you suck at math.

        • Ella Warnock

          There are several fewer human beings in the world due to 2-day old zygotes failing – naturally, without “abortifacients” – to implant. Are we worried about them? Do we miss them? Should we? How worried about it should I be, that I may have sloughed off any number of zygotes during my life? Because I have to say . . . I’m really not worried about it at all. Nothing is missing, you see.

        • purr

          Ella, I require your assistance.

          A particularly pretentious slut-shamer is ignoring me because I kept pointing out his slut-shaming, much to his dismay.

          He is one of those ‘consequences’ ‘consent to sex is consent to pregnancy’ ‘take responsibility for your actions’ types.

          I thought of a new question, and I really want to know what he will say, and I don’t want him getting away with shit.

          R u up for it?

        • Ella Warnock

          I’m in! Let’s go.

        • purr

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2013/07/25/how-many-people-did-god-slaughter-in-the-bible-steve-wells-has-written-a-book-documenting-every-kill/#comment-1085285633

          The asshat is Albert. He is verbose and full of shit. Ignores anything that contradicts his viewpoints.

          He originally said that consent to sex = consent to pregnancy. And that when a woman consents to sex, she consents to the possibility of pregnancy and that she is now obligated to give birth. I asked him about rape victims, and he said that victims of rape did not *choose* to have sex, therefore, they can have abortions. I pressed him on it, and he is now backtracking by saying that he only makes the rape concession because it isn’t politically expedient to deny rape victims the right to an abortion. I pointed this out and he is now ignoring me because I am a big meanie who won’t accept his backtracking.

          Anyways, that is neither here nor there, I just wanted to give you a background on this asshole.

          So, the question, since consent to sex is consent to gestation, and the woman is now a mother, and she is now obligated to care for her child, what about the father? I did ask him if fathers should be legally obligated to provide biological support for their born children, and he said no, because born children can be helped by anyone, or something equally lame.

          So, the question is…what if the pregnant woman is suffering severe health problems from the pregnancy, and she or the fetus will die if she does not receive blood transfusions, organ transplants or whatever is needed TO SAVE THE LIFE OF THE FETUS. Should the father then be legally obligated to donate any tissue that should be required to keep that fetus alive?

          Should he have to give a kidney to the woman to keep her alive, and by extension, the fetus?

          I wonder what he’ll say. I bet it’ll be something along the lines of ‘well if she’s dying from the pregnancy it’s natural’ or some bullshit.

          If he does pull that, then ask him what should happen if the baby is dying during birth. And a c-section if the ONLY way to save it’s life. Should the woman be FORCED to undergo a c-section? Dying during birth = NATURAL :)

          And thanks in advance!

        • purr

          I asked wmdkitty before you, but she didn’t reply, so I gave up, didn’t want to be a bother.

          She JUST answered, so I gave her the question. Perhaps you two can tag team him or something.

          It’s hard to ignore two people when they are on your case.

        • Ella Warnock

          Okay. Bear with me as I’m having some real difficulties with disqus at the moment.

        • purr

          At your leisure.

          Don’t have to do a thing tonight. Just, sometime!

          And Disqus constantly annoys me. It wouldn’t load for about a half hour today, and half the time it hides new comments.

        • Ella Warnock

          Okay, just posted your question. Of course, he’s just as likely to ignore me or give the same old tired answer!

        • purr

          Thanks Ella!

          Btw, wlad here gave a shoutout to RHRC. According to him, RHRC is scared shitless by all of the progress that pro-lifers are making, and this is because RHRC knows that the pro-life side is winning, or something.

        • Ella Warnock

          Winning? You know, that’s really the problem here. They have this compulsion to “win.” If they win, lots of women lose. And they’re not ashamed to gloat about these supposed victories. They have no concept of just how cold and sociopathic that sounds. It seems to be a feature, not a bug.

        • Alex Harman

          If you don’t abort a fetus, there will be one more actual child in the world several months later when it’s born. If you do abort a fetus, there are the same number of actual children in the world immediately after you abort it than immediately before, and one less in the world several months later on the day it would have been born. The world is no different than it would have been if the fetus had never been conceived.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          (Wlad likes to change the subject when he’s in the hot seat. I’ll bet no one notices!)

        • purr

          No, BECAUSE WOMEN WHO ABORT WHEN THEY ARE NOT READY FOR A BABY OFTEN CHOOSE TO HAVE ONE WHEN THEY ARE.

        • purr

          From a comment on a website:

          “I recently found out that when he was 18, my father got his first girlfriend pregnant, and they decided to get an abortion. Six years later, my dad met my mom and I was born. If it weren’t for that abortion, my brother and sister and I would probably not exist.”

          If the father had had to support a kid at 18 when he was not ready, and been financially ruined and/or locked into a shotgun marriage with a woman he hated, those wanted/loved children might NEVER have existed.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/valerie-tarico/my-abortion-baby_b_209960.html

        • wlad

          I don’t have that choice, but if I did, I would never choose to be born if it could only happen if it meant killing my brother or sister first.

          And If I was that father I certainly would never tell them that the reason they exist is because he killed the child before them!
          I hope they never see his comment!

        • purr

          Oh, they know. One asked you about it a few weeks ago.

          He wouldn’t be alive today if his mother had not had an abortion years before he was born.

          He asked you if you would prefer he had never lived so that the embryo his mother aborted could live.

          You ignored him.

          Brian Frang was the name.

        • smrnda

          So… you’d be dishonest about your past, since otherwise kids might think abortion is not always wrong?

          And hey you can’t choose to be born or not be born either way, so that’s kind of a pointless remark. *If my parents had had sex at time X instead of time Y* I might not have been born, so what is that supposed to mean, that it’s wrong to have sex at certain times?

        • purr

          So you’d allow someone to torture and rape you without lifting a finger to defend yourself because their life is more important than your health?

        • wlad

          Never said that.

        • purr

          Yes or no?

        • Kodie

          I don’t agree with the selective sex custom they have going on in China, but they are over-populated, and implement a strict limit on how many children you can have. I think 100 million extra people would be a disaster.

        • wlad

          Good, you do NOT support abortion for any reason.
          I thought you did. Glad to hear it.

        • purr

          Yet you support infanticide if it means fewer cells that are smaller than the period at the end of this sentence are removed from a woman’s body.

        • Kodie

          I don’t agree with the principle of the thing, but I don’t actually miss any people who don’t exist. If that is the custom they want to have, let them deal with the consequences of it. It is economical, supply and demand. I don’t suppose it is actually the case in China, but with a ratio like that, a woman should be able to do very well for herself.

          You don’t really get what the problem is in China. You just feel sorry for the men who don’t have wives. You seem to be horrified that these women do not exist. This concern has utterly eclipsed any acknowledgment of the source of the problem, which is overpopulation, a policy meant to address it, and a cultural reaction to the policy. It wasn’t too long ago that there was no way to tell what sex a fetus was and you just had to wait, and do you know what they did? They felt shame and disgust by what had come out was a girl, and they killed her ASAP, then tried again.

          You don’t seem to have a problem with these underlying roots of the issue. When you only have one try, bearing a daughter is just like being a girl in such a culture. Why do you look right past it and only solidly focus on your pet issue, which is saving the embryos, just because. Way to save the world, Wlad!

        • purr

          Evidence in India and China

          Despite the clear theistic prohibitions against
          child-murder by the three major Western religions, female infanticide has been for
          centuries a prominent and socially acceptable event in two related areas of the world:
          India and China. Even today, the extent of the problem is measured in frightening
          proportions: “at least 60 million females in Asia are missing and feared dead,
          victims of nothing more than their sex. Worldwide, research suggests, the number of
          missing females may top 100 million. ”

          The data is truly astounding, Estimates indicate that
          30.5 million females are “missing” from China, 22.8 million in India, 3.1
          million in Pakistan, 1.6 million in Bangladesh, 1.7 million in West Asia, 600,000 in
          Egypt, and 200,000 in Nepal.

          It is clear that the onerous costs involved with the
          raising of a girl, end eventually providing her an appropriate marriage dowry, was the
          single most important factor in allowing social acceptance of the murder at birth in
          India. In China, economics also played a significant role since it is a poor country with
          one of the lowest rates of agricultural output per acre of arable land in the world. With
          an extremely high infant and child mortality rate, because of sparse food supply and
          medical care, a married couple needed to raise three sons in order to ensure the survival
          of one into adulthood. Females were only consumers and a serious financial burden to a
          poor family. They were therefore often killed at birth.

        • purr

          Answer my question.

          So if you kill the person who is in the process of raping and torturing you, you have done something horrible because there is now one less human in the world?

        • Carol Lynn

          The obvious answer to all those wifeless Chinese men is that their parents should have had more abortions or used better birth control, so there would be fewer men, too. Maybe, radical thought, they could start valuing girl babies as much as boy babies.

        • wlad

          No, more abortions would always mean more men than women.

          Making sex-selection abortions illegal in China would certainly change that immediately.

          But feminists are against banning sex-selection abortions. It ruins their abortion narrative–abortion for any reason.

        • Carol Lynn

          So… why is the male/female ratio in China YOUR problem? When Chinese men of this generation get married they will no doubt make the same choice to have more sons than daughters, even though they are perfectly aware of the difficulty they presumably had in finding suitable wives. Why are you so set on denying good MEN their natural right to have sons? (and again this fixation on the sex lives of Chinese men.)

          I have no idea what you mean by your last paragraph. The sentences contradict each other.

        • wlad

          Exactly, Feminists don’t care about the missing 100 million girls, remember? Feminists are AGAINST banning sex-selection abortions. It ruins their narrative. They want abortions “for any reason!”

          But if the Chinese went against your position and decided they needed more women, they would save a lot of women’s lives by enforcing a sex-selection abortion ban.

        • Carol Lynn

          You say your straw feminists are “against banning”? That means you think they *are* “in favor of” sex-selective abortions, right? And somehow that statement, which confirms the point that many feminists say, “butt out because it’s none of your business to judge what anyone’s reasons are for exercising their right to personal autonomy” … ruins your narrative that we must stop all abortions … because women need to be forced to birth more girl babies … because it is inherently obvious we need to reserve all our pity for the hypothetical Chinese men who are unable to have sex whenever they want it? This is totally incoherent reasoning on your part and definitely shows that you think women are not really as fully human as any randomly chosen, sexually frustrated, Chinese guy.

          I am still in awe of your ability to focus the abortion debate on the sexual prerogatives of hypothetical Chinese men. Not many people could muster up that degree of simple-mindedness in dealing with a nuanced subject.

        • wlad

          The
          Chinese men without wives are not hypothetical.

        • Carol Lynn

          Oh my Flying Spaghetti Monster – you are killing me. I can’t breathe I am laughing so hard.

          Oh, Wlad, Wlad! Women are so obviously not really fully human to you. In this debate your major – your primary! – concern is STILL for the sexual frustration of MEN – who are entitled, who MUST be provided with a range of enticing sexual partners to choose from because – er…. sorry. giggle, chuckle, snort…. Oh FSM. giggle wheeze snort…. Sorry. I can think of too many inappropriate reasons why you so sympathize with some random Chinese guy’s sexual frustration.

          Your concern for the sexually frustrated men is noted and given all the weight it deserves.

          giggle, snort… chuckle…. wheeze….

        • wlad

          No, unlike you, I am concerned about the 40 million girls who were killed. And incidentally, so are the Chinese men. But their concern isn’t the issue. The forty million missing girls are.

        • Carol Lynn

          No, you aren’t concerned about the “40 million missing girls”, not in any real way that shows concern for actual women. You have stated – over and over – that you are against abortion primarily because you believe men deserve a bigger pool of available sex partners! You just did it AGAIN in the comment above!

          And I say one more time, what women do with their bodies and the contents therein is *none of your business!*

        • wlad

          I see.

          You are OK with sex-selection abortions–the DELIBERATE elimination of hundreds of millions of girls–and say you are pro women.

          I’m against ALL abortions, including sex-selection abortions–not wanting to eliminate ANYONE, not wanting to eliminate hundreds of millions of women–and I’m the who doesn’t care about women?

        • purr

          You are OK with sex-selection abortions–the DELIBERATE elimination of hundreds of millions of girls–and say you are pro women.

          Denying women the right to abortion is what makes them worthless in the first place. Take a way a woman’s right to self-determination and what is she but a broodmare? THIS IS traditionally why women have held less status in patriarchal societies. Because women are valued for one thing only – making babies. Which is what YOU value them for, which is why you oppose abortion.

          It is YOUR KIND that creates the kinds of societies where girl babies are killed because they have no value other than as livestock.

        • Carol Lynn

          You have zero knowledge of my views on when abortions are appropriate or inappropriate – because my position is and has always been it’s not anyone’s business but the people involved. It’s a personal decision, which needs to remain personal, made from many factors of which you -and I – can know nothing.

          You have said nothing beyond we must make sure all strands of DNA (that are not spontaneously aborted – you show no concern about those lost strands of DNA) are gestated to birth or else some Chinese men may not be able to find wives. I don’t find that argument either nuanced vis a vis reality, nor compelling as a demonstration of your care for women, nor indicative of an innate care for *people* of any gender, for that matter.

          Hint – You probably should try and make an argument that does not revolve around men’s sexual frustrations, gratuitously removing agency from people, or baby Jesus’ tears.

        • smrnda

          What about women who don’t want to be pregnant? How do you weigh the woman against the potential person? I’m going to have to side with the rights of the actual person over the potential one.

        • Kodie

          Yes, you don’t. You don’t want anyone to miss out on life, even a poor quality of life. Why would you want baby girls born in China when they would be treated like lesser humans? You only care about they “will grow” vaginas so Chinese men won’t be so cold and lonely. You really do not get it. You don’t care about their lives, you care about their “purpose”. You keep repeating yourself loud and clear. Yes, the world needs women so men can get married! That is your whole argument! You don’t give a shit about the embryos as human beings or people. You don’t give a shit about their potential humanity except that they can fulfill the role of wife. Males are already preferred, and now you want to give them a hole to stick it in, so they can be complete!

          YOU DO NOT GIVE A SINGLE SHIT ABOUT WOMEN.

        • Ella Warnock

          A significant number of these “missing” women might have grown up to opt out of marriage and motherhood. Men would still be up a creek, then, wouldn’t they? Without all these women to marry and impregnate, even as they exist right in front of them, but just ever so slightly out of reach.

        • purr

          Carol Lynn wrote:

          “You have stated – over and over – that you are against abortion primarily because you believe men deserve a bigger pool of available sex partners!”

          Yeah. Why is that wlad?

        • wlad

          No,
          People were saying over and over that there were NO missing girls in China. I couldn’t go to China to verify that. But I read that the 40000 Chinese men had no wives–they were missing.

          I was not advocating more sex for men.

          Also please look at my answer to Tyler above, and see if others might believe there are missing girls in China.

        • purr

          I was not advocating more sex for men.

          Really. Is that why all you can manage to talk about are the sexual needs of Chinese bachelors?

        • smrnda

          There is a population imbalance. Something cannot be missing if it was not there in the first place. If I sold stocks before they went up in value, there isn’t a missing million dollars in my bank account.

        • wlad

          They were there. The abortionists, or the mothers themselves, killed them. That’s how you got a population imbalance. It didn’t happen because people decided to be abstinent.

          Your theory on the population imbalance?

        • purr

          You know what else creates a population imbalance? Malnutrition. A female fetus requires less energy to grow than a male fetus. So, in a country where boys are valued, but people get poor nutrition, more girls will be born, and those girls will be killed, because a girl has no worth other than as a broodmare. If a family wants to break the cycle of poverty they will choose a boy. A boy can do more work around the farm, and get a better job in the city should he choose to work there.

          http://discovermagazine.com/2013/nov/08-sex-ratios

          “Glucose levels, which may drop in women who don’t get enough to eat,
          could have something to do with it, says Elissa Cameron, an evolutionary
          biologist at the University of Tasmania. In 2008 she showed that in the
          pre-embryonic stage of development, males have lower survival rates
          than females when glucose levels are low, causing more females to be
          born. Trivers believes sex selection may happen even earlier, at the
          time of conception.”

          In a paper published recently in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B (Biological
          Sciences) that looked at demographic data from more than 310,000
          Chinese women, Song demonstrated a dramatic sex ratio decrease more than
          a year after the two-year famine began and lasting about two years
          after it ended, followed by an equally significant bounce back to
          pre-famine proportions.

          Trivers says the findings are consistent with previous
          studies of post-communist Poland and historical Portugal in which poor
          economic conditions, and in turn poor nutrition, predicted the birth of
          more girls. “Evolutionary theories provide a simple and elegant
          framework to explain and even predict such changes,” says Song, who is
          now a sociologist at Queens College of the City University of New York.”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          40 million girls? Who would become 40 million women and give birth to 40+ million babies. Many of whom would starve because the adequate food supply is now no longer adequate. You do remember the millions who died in China during Mao’s times because of famine?

          But I guess a dying adult isn’t that big a deal? Seems like you only care about that precious human DNA in the single cell at the beginning of the process.

          DNA important; children not. Ouch. That’s a harsh worldview.

        • wlad

          The millions who died during Mao’s tenure died because of his disastrous communizing of family farms.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So we can agree that millions dying by starvation is a pretty hideous way to go?

        • wlad

          Whenever sex-selective abortions are offered to be banned, feminists never support such efforts. If you support abortion for ANY reason, you certainly support abortion for this reason.

        • Carol Lynn

          How many times do I have to say it? It is NONE OF YOUR – or my, or anyone’s – BUSINESS what a person does with their body and the contents thereof. If you don’t want to have an abortion, then do not have one. That’s fine with me and you absolutely have the right to decide for yourself what you do with your body. I suggest you go find a doctor willing to pump you full of hormones and carry your own child if you can find a person to contribute the other half of the DNA. Other than that, I will not comment because it is NONE OF MY BUSINESS.

        • smrnda

          Banning sex selective abortions will not stop them. You can possibly change a culture, but that isn’t something you can do by passing a law.

        • Niemand

          Even assuming you could ban sex selective abortion effectively (probably counterfactual, given India’s experience), that only increases the rate of female infanticide. Which, I note, wlad appears to have nothing against. Then again, why should he have a problem with female infanticide given that he’s advocating murder of women and girls in their reproductive years?

        • wlad

          The civil rights laws changed our culture.

        • purr

          But feminists are against banning sex-selection abortions. It ruins their abortion narrative–abortion for any reason.

          the key to reducing female abortion and infanticide is to make it more lucrative to raise girls vs. boys

          in India this is working just fine, where families with girls get paid by the government

        • wlad

          This is going to take the equalling of the sexes how long?

        • purr

          I don’t know, but making female infanticide illegal in rural poverty stricken areas won’t do shit because those areas are not policed and it is easy as pie to to pretend that your dead baby girl simply starved to death.

          Offering people an incentive to keep their baby girls is a far superior solution.

        • smrnda

          They have a saying out there in China “heaven is high up, and the emperor is far away.” In rural china, they don’t care fuck-all about official policy.

        • purr

          In Chinese universities, girls are restricted from taking science math and engineering courses. Those result in the highest paying jobs.

          Girls are expected to become seamstresses waitresses or stewardesses.

          Why do you think people choose to have boys and not girls? IF your family is dirt fucking poor and living on 500 calories a day, you are going to want your kid to be a boy, so he can become an engineer and make a lot of money, vs. a girl working for peanuts as a waitress because that’s all she’s allowed to do.

          If you don’t want people to kill girls, you improve the lives of girls. Banning sex selective abortion and female infanticide will NOT make a difference unless there is a good economic reason to have a girl.

        • Niemand

          If you don’t want people to kill girls, you improve the lives of girls.

          Exactly. Banning sex selective abortion is the sort of move that a bunch of men who are only concerned about whether or not their boys can get laid some day or not would make.

          Why anyone could believe that they could make female children more desirable by making women’s lives harder and more restrictive I can’t understand, but since as wlad demonstrates they’re only interested in whether the boys can get laid or not I guess they don’t care how miserable their slaves are, as long as they’re readily available.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Trivia: stewardesses is one of the two longest English words that are typed with just the left hand.

          And now back to your regularly scheduled discussion …

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If you don’t want people to kill girls, you improve the lives of girls.

          Nice clarification. Sex-selection abortion is a symptom, not the problem itself. Whining about the symptom doesn’t do much.

        • Alex Harman

          Sex-selective abortion was made illegal in China in 2005, and has been illegal ever since, and it didn’t change very much. Real life doesn’t work like the fantasy world you wish you lived in.

        • Kodie

          Because a human life cannot be interrupted at any point.

          You have given no good reason why not. “There is one less actual human in the world”? So the fuck what.

        • wlad

          Because a human life cannot be interrupted at any point.

          You have given no good reason why not. “There is one less actual human in the world”? So the fuck what.

          You have no problem with eliminating one less actual human?
          I would warn people to be very careful around you,

        • purr

          Oh puhleeez. Stop trying to cast Kodie as some sort of serial killer ffs.

          It just makes you look silly.

          Not every baby has to be born. Do you understand?

        • wlad

          Right, it can be killed before it is born.

        • purr

          When it isn’t a baby.

        • wlad

          “Not every baby has to be born. Do you understand?”

          You didn’t say, “not every fetus has to be born.”

          So you agree that whether it is born, or not born (killed in an abortion) it is still a baby.

        • purr

          Not every ZEF has to be incubated in order that it may be born.

        • Kodie

          Does putting words in people’s mouths make you feel smart?

        • Kodie

          I don’t get that sad when people die unless I knew them. I get sad for people who lost someone close to them, but not unless I know them too.

          You are saying life cannot be interrupted. And yet you are still not moving me emotionally. Want to talk about the Chinese men’s wifelessness again?

        • tyler

          The men certainly aren’t missing a hundred million clumps of cells.

          truly?

          i would ask these men about these actual women that they are apparently missing terribly. what are their names? eye colors? favorite foods? their most cherished memories with these women? and what they believe are the womens’ most cherished memories of them?

          finally, i would ask how many of those cherished memories are memories of actual people, and not merely memories of a projection of their own ideals.

          grief for an imagined future is not comparable to grief for a real past. conflating the two as if they are does you no favors.

        • wlad

          Missing women of Asia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaen.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missing_women_of_Asia‎

          The phenomenon of the missing women of Asia is a shortfall in the number of women in Asia relative to the number that would be expected if there were no sex-selective abortion or female infanticide or if the newborn of both sexes received similar levels of health care and nutrition.

          Wikipedia is certainly not a bastion of conservatism.

          and

          Female genocide? The missing women and girls of India and China …
          http://www.worldandmedia.com › World › South Asia‎Nov 9, 2011 – Over two million women and girls go missing in India and China … China and India account for 19 out of 20 missing girls at birth (1.1m and …

        • purr

          Yeah wlad, we get it, you are really sad for the Chinese men who don’t have a larger pool of sexual partners.

        • tyler

          that’s great and all but doesn’t at all address what i said

          i’m pretty sure no one has ever said that sex-selective abortion doesn’t happen in china because, surprise surprise, their culture values men enormously over women. i also note that infanticide actually is flatly illegal and yet apparently it’s still rampant in china.

          if you’re going to reply to me, quit derailing and respond to what i post or else concede the point. this blatant attempt to change the subject is disgraceful.

        • smrnda

          The problem is not abortion, but sexist attitudes.

        • wlad

          Sexist attitudes existed in China for thousands of years. It’ll take centuries to change.

        • Kodie

          You are trying to make people sad that they were aborted, when what is actually sad is the cultural preference for male children. HOW MANY TIMES MORE, WLAD???

        • Alex Harman

          “Wikipedia is certainly not a bastion of conservatism.”

          Only because it’s a bastion of realism, and modern American conservatism is fiercely anti-reality.

        • wlad

          A human embryo is alive and human (not a bear). We all agree with that.

          Science tells us it’s alive.

          What makes the embryo human?

        • Alex Harman

          What makes the embryo not a person is it’s lack of a conscious mind and agency. It is human for certain definitions of human based on biochemistry or future potential, but those values don’t give it moral weight remotely comparable to the autonomy of the woman carrying it.

        • Kodie

          @EmpiricalPierce – Wlad is all loops. Just FYI.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          It’s a potential person.

          Anti-choicers like to say “But it’s a human life!” as if they’ve said something relevant.

        • wlad

          Bob, You guys say it is a potential person.

          We never do.

          We say it is an actual person.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Uh, yeah. I got that the first dozen times you said it.

          Unlike you, I read the other guy’s comments and try to understand them.

        • smrnda

          I suspect there are some pretty profound differences between the fetus and a person you are ignoring.

        • Alex Harman

          And we say you’re full of shit when you say that.

        • Kodie

          It is human life, but so is a toenail. What it isn’t is a person. So abortion isn’t murder.

          EDIT: If you want to grant a zygote status as a person, then you also have to grant legal rights to the hostage and allow her to free herself from her captor.

        • wlad

          Fine,
          When you can show me a live toenail that grew to an adult human being, I might consider your argument.

        • Kodie

          You, for example.

        • wlad

          OK Kodie,
          I thought you wanted to have a serious discussion. Go argue with someone else who enjoys your remarks.
          Good bye.

        • Kodie

          If you wanted a serious discussion, why are all your arguments so funny/stupid/repetitive? Who do you think we’re talking to, fellow toenail people?

        • Niemand

          By what definition of “actual human life” is a zygote an “actual human life”? A zygote completely fails to mean the criteria set by current medical ethics for when a person is considered to be alive. Why the special pleading?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          A live skin cell will NEVER continue to grow it’s full life as a human being.

          No? What if we could turn it back into a totipotent cell? Then it could. Back to the question: would you never scratch your skin to avoid killing potential humans?

          A live human embryo will ALWAYS grow to it’s full life as a human being

          Oh, please. Yahweh, The Great Abortionist®, kills half of all zygotes. You seem to care a lot more than the Big Man does.

          Pretty elementary.

        • purr

          http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57584654/scientists-successfully-clone-human-stem-cells-via-skin-cells/

          “Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University and the Oregon National Primate Research Center (ONPRC) were able to create embryonic stem cells, which are valuable for research because they can be turned into any other cell type found in the body. Stem cells provide a way for
          scientists to look into replacing cells damaged through injury or illness or give them a way to treat different conditions through stem cell therapy.”

        • wlad

          Sorry Jejune, but I have to burst your bubble.

          The use of NON-embryonic stem cells (adult stem cells) has brought about a whole flood of advancements in treating diseases.

          The use of embryonic cells has produced NO advancement in treating diseases.

          Many stem cell research groups, even though heavily funded, are quitting.

          http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/not_with_a_bang_but_a_whimper

          Not with a bang, but a whimper
          After more than a decade of research on embryonic stem cells, scientists are quietly moving on to greener pastures. – See more at: http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/not_with_a_bang_but_a_whimper#sthash.IpD9AG0d.dpuf

        • purr

          That isn’t the point.

          The point is, every skin cell is a potential baby.

          LEARN TO READ.

        • wlad

          Ask a scientist if an embryo and a skin cell are the same.
          You are free to believe anything you want.

        • purr

          A skin cell has the potential to become a baby.

          That’s all that matters.

        • wlad

          A skin cell has the “potential” to become a baby, if you do a whole lot of technology that does not exist.

          Now you’re talking. It has the “potential”–and I would NEVER turn that “potential” into reality.

          On the other hand, an embryo does become a bay,

          Scientists may create human ape hybrid. They may be able to control a human with an imbedded chip

          Some things a human should never do.

          On the other hand, an embryo does become a bay.

        • purr

          On the other hand, an embryo does become a bay

          As you have been repeatedly told, no, an embryo does not always become a baby. It has the potential to be one, but it isn’t one.

        • purr

          “Two different groups of scientists have turned human skin cells into
          embryonic stem (ES) cells by adding four genes to a skin cell. These
          added genes essentially erased the skin cell programming and
          re-installed the ES programming. To understand why this worked, we need
          to go a bit deeper into what makes two cell types different.”

          Without that skin cell, there would be NO EMBRYO. Every skin cell is a potential baby.

        • purr

          Here is another one for you:

          http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/16/science/scientists-use-cloning-to-create-embryonic-stem-cells.html?_r=0

          “The researchers, at Oregon Health and Science University, took skin cells from a baby with a genetic disease and fused them with donated human eggs to create human embryos that were genetically identical to the 8-month-old. They then extracted stem cells from those embryos.”

          “Nonetheless, the fact that the scientists were able to get cloned human embryos to survive long enough for stem cell extraction is likely to be seen as a step on the way to human reproductive cloning.”

        • wlad

          I can’t believe it!
          No treatment or cure from human embryos. Not one.

          “But maybe it might be seen as as step toward human reproductive cloning.”

          You REALLY think that I or most humans believe that is a good thing?
          Scientists aren’t eve sure it is good for animals.

        • purr

          So?

          We aren’t talking about stem cell research.

          Stick with the program.

        • wlad

          We WERE talking about embryonic stem cell research which has produced not one treatment or cure.

          You’re proposing that you want technology to enable human cloning? And sell the world to continue supporting embryonic stem cell for that reason?

          Good luck.

        • purr

          NO WE WERE NOT

          WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT A SKIN CELL + A HUMAN EGG CAN BE TURNED INTO AN EMBRYO

          DO YOU FUCKING UNDERSTAND NOW

        • wlad

          You said you would be respectful in our discussions. I’ll respond to others who choose to do so.

        • purr

          Misrepresenting my arguments is not respectful wlad.

          And you know it.

          If you don’t want people to yell at you, I suggest you act respectfully yourself and stop trying to change the subject.

        • Kodie

          NO WE WERE NOT

          WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT A SKIN CELL + A HUMAN EGG CAN BE TURNED INTO AN EMBRYO

          DO YOU FUCKING UNDERSTAND NOW

          I have yet to read all the rest of the comments, but just a note: We have now left China’s sex problems behind as Wlad changes to another argument in hopes that it will be persuasive.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          No treatment or cure from human embryos. Not one.

          How many from adult cells? And let’s find an unbiased source.

        • wlad

          This doesn’t say how many, but it’s obviously at least one.

          STEM CELLS IN USE

          In 1968, doctors performed the first successful bone marrow
          transplant. Bone marrow contains somatic stem cells that can produce all of the different cell
          types that make up our blood. It is transplanted ROUTINELY to treat a VARIETY of blood and bone
          marrow diseases, blood cancers, and immune disorders. More recently, stem cells from the blood
          stream (called peripheral blood stem cells) and umbilical cord stem cells have been used to
          treat some of the same blood-based diseases.

          http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/tech/stemcells/sctoday/

          And this is only part of the picture.

        • purr

          http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/24/early-success-in-a-human-embryonic-stem-cell-trial-to-treat-blindness/

          “This is very important for the field of human embryonic stem cell
          research,” says Dr. Steven Schwartz, director of the Diabetic Eye
          Disease and Retinal Vascular Center at UCLA and lead author of the
          paper. “It opens the door for multiple strategies in the field, and
          hopefully for everyone investigating [this technique], it puts some wind
          in their sails.”

          “This is the first report of human embryonic stem cell-derived cells
          transplanted into patients, and the safety and engraftment data to date
          look very encouraging,” co-author Dr. Robert Lanza, chief scientific
          officer of ACT, said in a statement. “It has provided the scientific
          community with important data and experience that will help advanced
          efforts in the regenerative medicine field.”

          Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/24/early-success-in-a-human-embryonic-stem-cell-trial-to-treat-blindness/#ixzz2hzyUuP00

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Wlad has very overtly supported results in stem cell research. I’m sure he’ll be consistent and applaud (and encourage) these results for embryonic stem cell research.

        • Niemand

          Bone marrow contains pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells, not totipotent stem cells. If you don’t know what that line meant and why it’s important, please stop trying to talk biology.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          This doesn’t say how many, but it’s obviously at least one.

          I’ve signed up for the bone marrow registry myself (something worth considering, BTW—do it at your local blood donation place), so I’m a fan of transplants to save lives. But this is no result of adult stem cell research.

          Your 80 examples of treatments in use today because of adult stem cell research seems to have dwindled down to zero. Oops.

          And this is only part of the picture.

          Given that “the picture” has zero treatments, I should hope so. You’ve got a lot of evidence to provide to support your bold claim.

          I fear that your bold smackdown of embryonic stem cell research might be smacking you in the face. That’s embarrassing!

        • Niemand

          Clinicaltrials.gov currently lists 27 clinical trials involving the use of ESC for conditions as diverse as macular degeneration, muscular dystrophy, and dementia. Pubmed also lists several completed and published trials showing nice results from the use of ESC in a number of conditions including PAH, CHF, and cartilage regeneration. If no therapies come of ESC, it will be because the therapies are suppressed, not because they’re impossible. But of course since the “pro-life” movement is uninterested in helping actual living people, what does it matter if a few (million) people die gasping for breath from PAH and CHF?

        • Itarion

          Isn’t it wonderful what a touch of time spent looking crap up can do for you?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Ask a scientist if an embryo and a skin cell are the same.

          Sure, we could talk about that. Or we could stay on topic and actually address the issue instead of turning from it like a scared kitten.

          No one’s talking about a skin cell (except you, because otherwise your argument would crumble). We’re talking about a totipotent cell (embryonic cell) made from a skin cell.

        • purr

          Oh, and link from something that isn’t an anti-ivf anti-stem cell research PRO LIFE SITE.

        • wlad

          Jejune, please find me just one cure, or one treatment, in use right now, that came from research on embryonic stem cells.
          I couldn’t find one, and I searched through many sites.
          Just one in use right now.

          There are many, one site said 80– from stem cell research–google treatments from stem cell research.

          Please cite me just one in actual use treating actual human diseases.

          Just one.

        • purr

          Re-read what I wrote.

          The POINT is that embryos can be created from skin cells.

          DO YOU UNDERSTAND?

          http://genetics.thetech.org/original_news/news70

          ” Last week scientists in Japan and Wisconsin made embryonic stem (ES) cells from human skin cells. This last one is a big step in producing ES cells that do not trouble bio-ethicists or pro-lifers.”

        • wlad

          EXACTLY,

          Scientists have found not a single treatment or cure from embryonic stem cells, so they turned to adult stem cells. They weren’t taken from live human embryos. And they did not produce live human embryo cells in their work from human skin cells. You better believe bio-ethicists and prolifers would scream if it were so–they would not be fooled.

          Please produce a single treatment or cure from embryonic stem cell research.

        • purr

          Please produce a single treatment or cure from embryonic stem cell research.

          I am not talking about stem cell research so drop it.

          I am talking about the fact that humans can be cloned using a skin cell + an egg.

        • wlad

          So?

        • purr

          SO, A SKIN CELL CAN BECOME A HUMAN BEING

        • wlad

          So, scientists may produce a human-ape hybrid.
          Should they?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I am not talking about stem cell research so drop it.

          How about China? Do you want to talk about China? ‘Cause Wlad likes to talk about China.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So what I’m hearing from you is that we should focus on efficacy? Yep, I agree.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The use of embryonic cells has produced NO advancement in treating diseases.

          Hey–I’ve got an idea! Why don’t we let the science drive the research? Let’s fund the areas that science thinks are most fruitful instead of hampering them with bizarre ideas of ethics.

          Wow–if I die of something that would’ve been curable but for the research limitations your nutty worldview put on it, I’m going to come back from hell and give you a good thrashing.

        • Itarion

          The reason for the quitting, of course, is the legislation in place restricting embryonic stem cell research because of religious politics. It has nothing to do with the merit of embryonic stem cells, which have all of the potential and more of adult stem cells to cure [currently incurable and heavily fatal/debilitating] diseases.

        • wlad

          Absolutely wrong.
          Embryonic stem cell got tremendous funding from government and private funding.
          The embryonic stem cell produced not one treatment or cure, and got significant ethical objections.

          Adult stem cells produced around 80 different cures and treatment in use right now. With no ethical objections.

          People saw the writing on the wall. Geron, after 15 years and $150 million, bailed out, having produced not one treatment that worked.

          Others followed. Science went where the actual progress was being made.

        • Itarion

          State laws may restrict the use of embryonic stem cells from some or all sources or specifically permit certain activities

          http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/embryonic-and-fetal-research-laws.aspx

          federal support and funding for hES cell studies lags behind programmes in many other countries, and the continually evolving federal policies have further stymied research efforts.

          http://www.nature.com/ncb/journal/v12/n7/full/ncb0710-627.html

          At a federal level, scientists can’t use government money to create new embryonic stem cell lines. All publicly funded work is confined to the 61 stem cell lines already in existence in 2001, when the ban on deriving new lines was implemented.

          http://www.eurostemcell.org/stem-cell-faq/english/stem-cells-and-law#t56n64

          Would you like to try again?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Adult stem cells produced around 80 different cures and treatment in use right now.

          Oh? I’m curious to hear about 80 cures and treatments in use right now. Wikipedia says, “A number of stem cell therapies exist, but most are at experimental stages, costly or controversial, with the notable exception of bone-marrow transplantation.”

          Science went where the actual progress was being made.

          So, again, you’re saying that efficacy is the key thing. And again, I agree. So what’s all this blather about nutty moral thinking trumping science? Or maybe you reject that.

        • wlad

          Please quote the full quote, not just a partial, and then heap ridicule. The quote in full said”

          A live human embryo will ALWAYS grow to it’s full life as a human being, (unless it was aborted, SPONTANEOSLY died, or was diseased or sick, and died, or didn’t implant in the uterus.)

        • purr

          Or simply failed to develop, which can happen even to a healthy embryo.

          There are NO guarantees.

        • wlad

          If you kill the embryo, it will never grow. A guarantee. They do exist.

        • purr

          It doesn’t have the right to grow without permission.

        • RichardSRussell

          A valid point.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Please quote the full quote, not just a
          partial, and then heap ridicule.

          Don’t flatter yourself that the full quote isn’t deserving
          of the same ridicule.

          You gonna stick up for the Great Abortionist in the sky? Or
          will you let my charge just sit there?

        • Itarion

          “Oh, please. [As you yourself admit,] Yahweh, the Great Abortionist®, kills half of all zygotes. You seem to care a lot more than the Big Man does.”

          Not to hard to fix the ridicule, I don’t think.

        • Alex Harman

          The list of items other than abortion in parentheses translates “ALWAYS” into “in less than 40% of all cases.” That’s a pretty unusual definition of “ALWAYS.”

        • Kodie

          The key word here is “will”. It is “not yet”. It “will” unless, as you say, something modifies or alters its progress. And there’s no legitimate reason not to.

        • wlad

          Of course. All life is a process. It is never static.

        • Kodie

          You said “will grow” to “it’s full life as a human being”.

          You didn’t say it had a full life. You said “will grow”. No shit, fucko. That’s why you have to get an abortion, before that will happen or else it will be something more expensive and painful to remove.

          In case you hadn’t noticed, that’s what humans DO. We solve problems, we intervene in nature all the time. Do you live inside of something that isn’t a cave? How natural of you to leave natural life alone to be undisturbed and let whatever will happen happen!

        • purr

          Do you cut your hair? Do you cut your toenails?

          Why? You are interfering with a NATURAL PROCESS.

          Do you wear sunglasses or glasses?

          Your ears and your nose were not designed for glasses. So why are you interfering with nature?

        • wlad

          Where in all the hundreds of comments I made did I say anything about interfering with nature?

        • purr

          Where you talk about how women should be forced to remain pregnant and that IVF is the evil.

        • wlad

          Seems to me that an abortion is interfering in nature.

        • purr

          So is cutting your hair or getting medical treatment.

          EDIT: or shaving. wlad, do you shave your facial hair? YOU ARE INTERFERING WITH NATURE

        • wlad

          Seems to me that an abortion is interfering in nature.

          That was an attempt at sarcasm. Outside of that remark,

          never have I used interfering in nature as an anti-abortion argument, so please stop bringing up such arguments.

        • purr

          All you ever do is make that argument.

          Which is why you oppose IVF – it’s ‘unnatural’

        • Itarion

          Although, if IVF is used to help a genetically infertile couple, then the overall fertility of humanity will drop.

        • Kodie

          Which we’ve established is what we do. Why are you so superstitious about a clump of cells will be, eventually, an actual live human being! Why do you keep contradicting yourself and believe you are persuasive? You were schooled last time, and you aren’t bringing any new arguments. You didn’t learn anything before, you are just repeating your bullshit for the new group. There has to be some more crucial, influential, and winning argument, if what you believe is true!

        • purr

          Oddly enough, I’ll take wlad over Albert any day.

          Albert is a long winded ignorant fool who thinks that repeating that a zygote is a human being and that consent to sex is consent to pregnancy is a slam-dunk.

          Oh, and I forgot pretentious. He’s pretentious as fuck.

        • Itarion

          No, your glasses were designed for you ears and nose, and more importantly your eyes.

          Natural processes are neutral. Interference can be either constructive or destructive.

        • purr

          I brought up the glasses thing because it is an argument against the appeal to nature fallacy.

          Gay people can’t get married because two men/two women were not ‘designed’ to go together.

        • Itarion

          Right, right. In that case, you would have to show that gay marriage assists society, because we wear [sun]glasses for their benefits.

          I’m feeling charitable, so we’ll go with the past history, where granting rights has, in the long run, always aided society, and extrapolate to illustrate that granting gay rights should do the same.

        • purr

          Point is, our bodies were not ‘designed’ for certain things, yet we do it anyways.

          We go against nature all the damn time.

        • Itarion

          Our bodies were designed for nothing. Fallacy of intent. Presumably that was the quotes?

          We go against biological nature all the time. Physical nature is somewhat more difficult to violate.

        • purr

          Yeah.

          The eyes/nose/glasses thing is a Dan Savage argument actually. He was talking about the oft heard religious argument that God ‘designed’ men and women to have sex, even if infertile, because their parts ‘go together’. And gay people can’t have sex, because their parts were not ‘designed’ to go together.

          So if a body part is not explicitly ‘designed’ for a certain use, it can’t be used that way. Such as, our ears and noses were not ‘designed’ to hold glasses. Whether or not it benefits us, glasses are ‘unnatural’.

        • Itarion

          Guess I’ll just wander around running into stuff then. Think this’ll cause some problems with classes. I’ll have to sit less than a meter from the chalkboard.

        • purr

          I lost my glasses while swimming once and the bad part is I was visting my dad. Who was a major cheapskate. I had a week to go at his place, and he refused to buy me new glasses.

          I had to spend a few days sitting an inch from the TV, and just about everything else. He finally gave in and bought me a new pair because watching me walk around nearly blind was incredibly ridiculous and sad.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If all gay people married each other tomorrow, we’d still have far more infertile couples in the straight population.

          My recommendation: you’ve got a year to produce. No babies? Then you’re not married anymore.

        • Itarion

          Can you cite those statistics, because that would be absolutely wonderful to know.

          Year to produce: Does that include prior babies? Are older couples grandfathered in, if you will?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          “More than 1 out of 10 couples in the United States experience infertility — the inability to get pregnant.”

          Source

          As for the number of gay people, I’ve variously heard 2-4 percent, but you’d want to check that.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          As for the year to produce, that was just me channeling Wlad.

          (I’m feeling better now, thanks.)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And yet, bizarrely, gay people are able to provide for and satisfy each others’ romantic and sexual needs/passions.

          Weird. Maybe they do go together. I guess God moves in mysterious ways.

        • smrnda

          I’d be cautious about the *always* there. You already put a tonne of qualifiers, which end up covering about 50% of cases. That’s a pretty weak always.

        • wlad

          No,

          Just stated the facts as they are. No more, no less. You can judge my arguments any way you wish.

        • purr

          A healthy ermbryo can spontaneously develop problems at any point during the pregnancy.

          So no, you are WRONG.

          Conditions in the womb affect the development of the ZEF, it is not a static place. And an embryo that is ‘genetically perfect’ has no guarantee that it will remain that way because it’s environment is always in flux.

        • smrnda

          You said *always* but then inserted qualifiers. Always implies 100%, not a lot of exceptions.

        • RichardSRussell

          You are factually in error, Wlad. Either a living skin cell or a living fertilized egg cell will grow into a universally recognized human being under the proper conditions. But neither of them is one yet.

          When you say “pretty elementary”, that’s the school level you’re operating at. Move on to secondary education and face the stark reality that, when you buy a boxed bike kit labelled “some assembly required”, you don’t yet own a bike.

        • wlad

          under the proper conditions.
          Those proper conditions do not exist for the skin cells. Scientists have never been able to get close to it happening
          with apes.
          Just because it’s technologically possible does not mean that we should do it.

        • Itarion

          Just because it’s technologically possible does not mean that we should do it.

          You don’t mind if I say that is the worst argument that I have ever read, do you? There is such a thing as trivial truth, and this is it. This statement is true, but so to is its inverse, “Just because it’s technologically possible does not mean that we should not do it.” You don’t hear this argument ever because there are GOOD REASONS to do things that are technologically possible. True also is that there are good reasons to NOT do some things that are also technologically feasible. Cloning research is being done not merely because it can, but because it brings medical benefits in cases of injury, ecological benefits in instances of extinction, and a whole lot of other benefits as well. The technology is neither good nor bad, the moral implications come from what we, thinking humans, DO with it, and what is done with it should be counted by the benefits it brings to everyone in contact with it.

        • wlad

          “”Just because it’s technologically possible does not mean that we should not do it.” You don’t hear this argument ever because…”

          You never hear this argument because it is self-evident.
          The first is not always self-evident.

        • Itarion

          Perhaps that is so, despite my belief to the contrary.

          That said, there have to be solid reasons to not go forward with research, specific to the research in question and related to the research in question. “Jesus” is a poor reason to halt embryonic stem cell research, cloning, you name it, performed by people who either don’t believe in the godhood of Jesus, or that Jesus would disapprove of such research.

          Regardless, the fact that something might be dangerous is a poor reason to never try it. That same fact is a reason to be careful with the research subject, but not one to avoid it altogether.

        • wlad

          Do you believe cloning humans is OK?
          The child would NEVER have a father!

        • Itarion

          I see no reason why not. Lots of children don’t have fathers. Of course, fewer wouldn’t have fathers if abortion was legalized.

          Your position is untenable, really.

        • purr

          You are really concerned about men and their sexual rights.

        • Itarion

          MEN HAVE RIGHTS TOO!

          Just, you know, fewer for reproduction, because they are less intimately and directly involved in the process of baby-growing.

        • Kodie

          Your emotion and shock are not valid arguments!

        • Niemand

          So what? (Actually, it might have a father but no mother depending on the gender, but again so what?)

          I don’t think human cloning for reproductive purposes is ok right now because cloned animals are not healthy and I don’t think it’s right to deliberately create a child whose life will be painful and short. Yeah, I have doubts about the morality of completing a pregnancy with a tay-sachs fetus.

        • Alex Harman

          Nonsense. The child would have the same biological father and mother as its progenitor (that is, the person who donated the cell from whom he or she was cloned). Given how expensive cloning is likely to be even after it becomes technologically feasible at all, any clone produced will most likely be the desperately desired child of the people who paid for his or her creation, who would be his or her adoptive parents. They might be his or her biological parents as well; one of the most obvious situations in which cloning might be used is a couple whose child died creating a genetically identical child instead of having another, genetically different child by more conventional means. (The first cloned dog was produced because John Sperling dearly loved his dog Missy, and wanted another dog as much like her as possible. It wouldn’t surprise me if the first human clone is created under similar circumstances.)

          None of that is to say that reproductive cloning of humans is a good idea, just that “The child would NEVER have a father!” is an fantastically stupid objection it, which says nothing good about your reasoning skills or moral priorities. Niemand makes a good argument against reproductive cloning of humans just a few comments down: cloned animals tend to have serious health problems, and it’s wrong to deliberately create a child whose life will be painful and short — much like choosing not to abort a fetus that’s been diagnosed with Tay-Sachs disease.

        • RichardSRussell

          In fact, they DO exist, as was demonstrated with Dolly the sheep back in 1996.

          So, now that your basic premise has been shown to have been false for the past 17 years, does it cause you to rethink the conclusions you’ve based on it?

        • wlad

          I said they were absolutely unable to do it with apes.

        • purr

          In about 5-10 years it will be possible to clone a human from various cells in the human body.

        • RichardSRussell

          Do you truly fail to grasp that the principle involved has nothing whatever to do with the species? There’s a significant difference between “haven’t done it yet” and “can never do it at all, ever” (which is what “unable” means), and your fanaticism is blinding you to the reality of the situation.

        • RichardSRussell

          Just because it’s technologically possible does not mean that we should do it.

          Trivially true. As is its converse.

        • Kodie

          Why do you hate dogs?

        • Itarion

          That IS an excellent question. I really like dogs.

        • Niemand

          I like dogs too. They’re also far more intelligent, aware, and responsive to the environment than embryos. Plus they can read human emotion which embryos can’t.

        • Itarion

          And in some places, more acceptable as a food. Kind of a dicked up world we live in.

          Edit: This isn’t advocating baby eating, but condemning canine eating.

        • Niemand

          Embryos would be a more ethical food source, but a) thermodynanics, b) infectious risk, c) exploitation potential and d) social yuck. Probably a bad plan.

        • Itarion

          Which is why the addendum.

        • Niemand

          Don’t mind me. I’m a hopeless literalist.

        • Kodie

          You can’t say it’s not a clump of cells.

        • Niemand

          Alive and human.

          Dumb argument, not getting any less dumb. Appendix cells are alive and human (until ripped from their “homes” because they’re inconvenient), gametes are alive and human (until you…never mind), brain dead people are “alive” (in the same sense as embryos are) and human, cells in cell culture are alive and (arguably in some cases) human. And so on.

        • Alex Harman

          I doubt the point about brain dead people is any use with someone like wlad — he seems like the kind of moron who wanted to keep the grotesquely animated corpse of Terry Schiavo in its grotesquely animated state for as long as possible, regardless of any wishes she might have expressed when she was a living person.

        • Itarion

          But where in that pile is the human? That looks nothing like a person at all. As all of the nice people who have already replied have said, having human DNA doesn’t automatically qualify something as an independent human with all of the rights of such.

        • Niemand

          The placenta has unique human DNA as well and is just as self-aware as the embryo. Perhaps it’s also a person.

        • Itarion

          Worship the placenta, who died so that you might live.

          Worship Jesus, who died so that you might live.

          Uncanny resemblance, and this explains the whole born-again movement.

      • purr

        It’s human life alright.

        Just like every skin cell is an example of human life.

        Skin cells have human DNA and they are alive.

        Doesn’t make them human beings. Human beings are capable of sentience.

        A zygote is nothing more than a genetic blueprint. Up until 24 weeks the fetus is incapable of any kind of thought. Therefore, it is not a person, and it is in fact the equivalent of a clinically braindead corpse.

  • purr

    7. It’s a human from conception through adulthood! The DNA doesn’t change.

    Actually, it does. I found this article to be very informative:

    “You and I contain much, much more information, both
    genetic and otherwise, than a blastocyst. That’s why I can write this
    column and you can read it, whereas a blastocyst just.. .sits
    there. Indeed, that is the exactly the point of stem cell research:
    the stem cells in the blastocyst have not yet acquired the
    molecular programming required for differentiation, and so they
    remain pluripotent, awaiting the necessary molecular
    signals (the information) that will tell them whether
    to become nerve or muscle, skin or bone.

    Yes, once upon a time we were blastocysts, too. Nothing
    more than a little clump of cells, each of them a snippet of DNA
    surrounded by cytoplasm. But that DNA was later transcribed into RNA,
    and that RNA was translated into proteins. And some of those proteins
    were transcription factors that told other cells in the blastocyst
    what to do, when to divide, where to migrate. Transcription factors
    regulated the expression of still other transcription factors. Genes
    were turned on and off with clockwork precision. Some genes were
    methylated, so they could never be turned on again.

    In other words, the genome and the proteome of the blastocyst were
    changed as the embryo accumulated molecular information that the
    blastocyst did not have.

    The embryo became a fetus, with complex orientations of
    tissues–loaded with spatial, genetic, biochemical and mechanical
    information that simply did not exist in the embryo.

    The fetus became a child with a nervous system, and that nervous
    system sucked up information about the world, hard-wiring pathways
    for vision and movement, learning to make subtle distinctions between
    this and that, accumulating information that simply did not exist in
    the fetus.

    In other words, the blastocyst launched a genetic program that both
    extracted and acquired information. It didn’t start out
    as a human being. It became a human being, with a
    personality, feelings, attitudes and memories, by accumulating
    information that was not there before.

    Equating a blastocyst with a human being is like equating a brand new
    copy of an inexpensive spreadsheet program with the priceless
    databases that you’ll eventually build up with that program. It’s no
    less ridiculous than saying that a blueprint has the same value as a
    skyscraper–that it is the skycraper.

    No. They are not the same.”

    -Johnathan M. Sullivan Md PhD

    ———————-

    The DNA contained in the zygote is not WHO you will become. Far from it. It is a genetic blueprint, a very general one, and a lot can change along the way. This is why, if Bob was cloned, a very different Bob would be born – just due to conditions in the uterus. Time in the womb = nurture. And it is very likely that something could go wrong, and the blob that is clone of Bob might not even properly develop. This is why it is safe to say, imo, that you do not have a child until it is born (or at least 24 weeks viable).

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Re 24 weeks: and the Bible more or less agrees. They only counted babies after 1 month.

  • KarlUdy

    Bob,
    I understand where you are coming from with your spectrum argument, but I’m not sure that you fully appreciate the wider issues.

    I am wondering if we can get some agreement on some issues. Is this possible?
    I agree that A zygote is very different from a newborn.
    I hope that you will agree that a zygote will usually progress to become a newborn without outside intervention.

    I see that you agree that full-term abortion should not be endorsed.

    When you introduce the spectrum argument you bring the logical argument for abortion into the same area as the sorites paradox. At some point between conception and full-term we are dealing with something that we believe should be given status and recognition as a person. Following from the sorites paradox, there is no logical dividing line between these two ends. From a strictly logical point of view, the simpler argument is to either argue for personhood from conception, or lack of personhood until birth. Of course, arguments about viability of fetuses before birth, and the lack of functions we traditionally associate with personhood close to conception muddy the waters with both of these positions. If what we are looking for is a clean logical position then we may find ourselves in some difficulty.

    However, if we approach the issue with a legal instead of a logical approach then we allow ourselves the option of drawing a dividing line that, although it has some arbitrariness, draws upon the evidence we have with common sense. It is such approaches that mean there is a legal alcohol limit for drivers – not a zero tolerance, or complete freedom. And the decision about where we draw the dividing line for drivers’ alcohol limits is important, we want it to be such that dangerously impaired drivers are definitely not allowed to drive, but that those who are clearly safe to drive do not have their freedoms curtailed.

    So, coming back to abortion, the issue of at what point abortion should become illegal is a most relevant point. We all have ammunition to throw at the positions of not allowing abortion at all and/or of allowing abortion at any stage. You clearly do not endorse either position. If that is the case, then to simply throw up your hands and say that the issue of when in the pregnancy abortion becomes illegal is of no interest to you is, in my opinion, a cop out.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      When you introduce the spectrum argument you bring the logical argument for abortion into the same area as the sorites paradox.

      Yes, that’s a relevant addition to the discussion, but remember that a heap of sand with more or less sand grains is just different in degree. That is true with the growing fetus, but it’s far more than just that. The growing fetus also grows by degree. (The single cell doesn’t have fewer or less functional legs, it has none at all; and so on.)

      Following from the sorites paradox, there is no logical dividing line between these two ends.

      And yet, with the spectrum from blue to green, we can all agree that blue is not green (and vice versa).

      From a strictly logical point of view, the simpler argument is to either argue for personhood from conception, or lack of personhood until birth.

      The spectrum? It’s all green. Or all blue. Take your pick. But figuring out the dividing line is just too darn hard.

      And the decision about where we draw the dividing line for drivers’ alcohol limits is important, we want it to be such that dangerously impaired drivers are definitely not allowed to drive, but that those who are clearly safe to drive do not have their freedoms curtailed.

      Yes, this is a good parallel. 0.8 (the limit here) might let a few drunks on the road, and it might keep a few good driver off the road. It’s a compromise—a decent approximation to perfection.

      the issue of at what point abortion should become illegal is a most relevant point.

      Sure. And it’s been decided a thousand times. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible.

      to simply throw up your hands and say that the issue of when in the pregnancy abortion becomes illegal is of no interest to you is, in my opinion, a cop out.

      And does my tight lips on the subject of Cervantes also frustrate you?

      Seriously, hero worship is flattering, but I’m not the monk at the top of the mountain with all the answers. I don’t much care about weighing into this question. I trust that those with more information will do a decent job.

      My interests are limited. How that’s a cop out I can’t imagine.

      • KarlUdy

        I don’t much care about weighing into this question.

        So I’m left wondering what your motivation in all of this is?

        Is it to point out the folly of those at the extremes who insist on a black-and-white painting of this issue? In which case, why are you only aiming at one side? There have been plenty of comments on here recently intimating that to deny a woman an abortion is a form of slavery. Are we going to see a post with a list of “arguments for abortion rebutted” pointing out the errors of this other group who paint the issue black-and-white but photo-negative?

        Or is it something else?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So I’m left wondering what your motivation
          in all of this is?

          Is this a serious question? In the blizzard of discussion
          about abortion (not just here but everywhere), I try to focus on a neglected but (I think) important way of viewing the issue, and this is a problem from your perspective?

          Wlad’s motivations are more transparent (and shallow), but maybe there’s an element of the same thing with you: do you simply want to move the conversation on to the when question simply because you think you’ll look better there?

        • KarlUdy

          It’s a genuine question. Are you trying to point out the folly of black-and-white thinking on this issue? If so, why only one side? If not, what’s your point?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I’m trying to talk about a lot of things, but “the folly of black and white thinking” doesn’t strike me as being one of them.

          I’m pro-choice. My side is only one side.

          I have no idea if this answers your question since I didn’t understand it.

        • KarlUdy

          So, from viability (approx 5 months on) a fetus can survive outside the womb. From about 7 1/2 months on a fetus can survive outside the womb without any help different from a full-term newborn.

          What this means is that if you allow abortion at these stages then you are allowing the abortion of human beings who are at the exact same stage of physical, mental, etc development as those who are born and classified (according to you) as people.

          If you are pro-choice in all situations, then you need to defend these situations. Or you can fall back on your spectrum argument and say that these fetuses have passed the undefined (and perhaps undefinable) point where they qualify as human beings.

          Which is it?

        • purr

          So, from viability (approx 5 months on) a fetus can survive outside the
          womb. From about 7 1/2 months on a fetus can survive outside the womb
          without any help different from a full-term newborn.

          Survival rates have improved, but severe birth defects still plague a majority of neonates.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If you are pro-choice in all situations

          I’m not.

          …then you need to defend these situations.

          In fact, I don’t. Boring topic. You can discuss it with
          someone else.

        • KarlUdy

          So if you are not pro-choice in all situations re abortion, in what situations are you not pro-choice?

        • Niemand

          viability (approx 5 months on)

          Wrong. 20 week survivors are virtually unknown. 21-22 weeks are rare. Certainly 20-22 week GA newborns with severe anomalies, i.e. the kind that would become the 1.4% of fetuses aborted at 20+ weeks GA, do not survive.

          From about 7 1/2 months on a fetus can survive outside the womb without any help different from a full-term newborn.

          Also untrue.

    • Niemand

      I hope that you will agree that a zygote will usually progress to become a newborn without outside intervention.

      I rather hope he does not, given that this argument of yours was thoroughly demolished last time you tried it. But just to get started again: zygotes will “progress to become a newborn” without outside intervention. Cool! Zygotes are magical beings that are able to violate conservation of mass/energy (they start out as microscopic beings and somehow, without outside intervention, become 6-10 pound babies. Thermodynamics, what thermodynamics?)

  • Glenn Peoples

    Hi Bob. Regarding your comment on the “argument from the future” (which is from Don marquis, not me), you say: “Why focus on the future?”

    The answer is that what is wrong with killing people in general is that it takes away a person’s future. You say that “killing them for sport takes away a present like mine” and you suggest that I focus on the future because otherwise I would have no argument, which is untrue. I focus on the future because that’s all we can take away. The past is gone and the present doesn’t even span time – it is a line we pass moment by moment. What is wrong with killing is that we take something away: A person’s future. Since your rebuttal depends on the denial of this fairly obvious truth, it fails.

    Cheers
    Glenn

    • purr

      No one has the right to a future if they are infringing on another person’s bodily autonomy.

      And by that logic, Bob has deprived the 10 kids he could have had to their ‘future’.

    • purr

      And how about a woman’s right to her own future?

      Oh right, she should lose it the moment she chooses to have sex or is raped.

      • Glenn Peoples

        That looks to me like a willful failure to understand what “future” here means.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          BTW, Glenn: There are two more installments this week. You’re welcome to drop by to read and provide additional feedback.

        • purr

          A woman has the right to self-determination.

          By forcing her to remain pregnant against her will you are essentially making her a slave and potentially ruining her life.

    • Itarion

      Ah, time. Such a strange thing, isn’t it?

      I find it much more useful to measure death by what people still alive are deprived of. This is why the famous are mourned so much more than the mundane, and the infamous mourned scarcely at all.

      There is no way to measure how much, or what future someone might have. It is pointless to speak of unknowable uncertainties. The present is all we have, and all we can ever have, and the only time that we can directly effect changes in. The past is a memory, and the future a pipedream.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Glenn: Thanks for your comments. I enjoyed your Beretta-cast a while back.

      If you want to split hairs, sure, the future is all we can take away. Then let’s talk about my taking away your life starting a minute from now. That’s the future. And that would be wrong.

      A zygote isn’t a person now, and it won’t be a person a minute from now. What’s the big deal of denying it life starting a minute from now? (One answer: its parents really, really want it to be a child. Fair enough–then let’s ask, What’s the inherent problem with denying it life starting a minute from now?)

      We must avoid this being a poorly disguised version of the argument from potential–that is: sure, the zygote ain’t much to look at now, but come back in 9 months and you’ll have an adorable newborn. True enough but it’s not a person right now (or a minute from now, if you prefer).

      • Glenn Peoples

        “Then let’s talk about my taking away your life starting a minute from now.”

        I can’t see any good reason for you to evade (again, actually) the issue, which is here: If you did something now that if you took away my future nine months from now that would still be wrong, and for the same reason. What you’re taking away is a fully human future. You can call it splitting hairs, but it’s not. This is the issue: The feature of killing in general that makes it wrong is that it takes away a particular human future. Abortion likewise takes away a particular human future, so abortion has the feature that makes killing humans in general wrong.

        You’re misconstruing the argument entirely if you think the argument is that the unborn isn’t a person right now but it will be. By trying to draw the subject back to whether or not the unborn is “a person right now” you’re basically saying that you didn’t really want to talk about the “future like mine” argument, you instead wanted an argument about whether or not the unborn is a person. But that’s beside the point of this argument.

        Take care, Bob. Hopefully your blog entry will generate fruitful discussion.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          I can’t see any good reason for you to evade (again, actually) the issue

          No, no evasion. And I squarely answered this concern: neither you nor I want this argument to simply be an argument from potential.

          If you did something now that if you took away my future nine months from now that would still be wrong

          That’s true. Further, if I did something now that took away your future one minute from now, that would also be wrong.

          Let’s apply that to the zygote. 9 months from now? Bad. 1 minute from now? I’d say: not bad. But you must admit that this is very, very different.

          What you’re taking away is a fully human future.

          Taken away from someone who had a fully human present? Bad. From a zygote that had only an interesting human future? Not bad.

          You’re misconstruing the argument entirely if you think the argument is that the unborn isn’t a person right now but it will be.

          I’m desperately trying to salvage your argument in this very way. Your reference to the future makes me (and perhaps many other observers) think that you are indeed making this error.

        • purr

          What you’re taking away is a fully human future.

          There is no guarantee that the genetic blueprint which is the zygote will even make it to birth.

          60-80% of zygotes spontaneously abort. And there are many many more birth defects that result in non-viable fetii and embryos.

          Until the fetus is complete and fully formed, you only have a potential person. A viable baby is a person with a future. A microscopic embryo is not.

          And abortion is not killing. The embryo/fetus dies because it has been removed from the uterus. It is like unhooking a patient from a life support machine, or denying them use of your body to sustain their life.

          And it’s perfectly legal to deny someone use of your body – even if it will kill them. In the case of McFall vs. Shimp, Shimp refused to donate his bone marrow to McFall. Shimp was the ONLY match. Shimp refused to do this becuase he was mad at McFall. Mcfall died. And the courts said:

          “The common law has consistently held to a rule which provides that one human being is under no legal compulsion to give aid or to take action to save that
          human being or to rescue A great deal has been written regarding this rule which, on the surface, appears to be revolting in a moral sense. Introspection,however, will demonstrate that the rule if founded upon the very essence of our free society. It is noteworthy that counsel for the Plaintiff has cited authority which has developed in other societies in support of the Plaintiff’s
          request in this instance. Our society, contrary to many others, has as its first principle, the respect for the individual, and that society and government
          exist to protect the individual from being invaded and hurt by another. Many societies adopt a contrary view which has the individual existing to serve the society as a whole. In preserving such a society as we have it is bound
          to happen that great moral conflicts will arise and will appear harsh in a given instance. In this case, the chancellor is being asked to force one member of
          society to undergo a medical procedure which would provide that part of that individual’s body would be removed from him and given to another so that the
          other could live. Morally, this decision rests with the Defendant, and, in the view of the Court, the refusal of the Defendant is morally indefensible.
          For our law to compel the defendant to submit to an intrusion of his body would change the very concept and principle upon which our society is founded.To do so would defeat the sanctity of the individual, and would impose a rule which would know no limits, and one could not imagine where the line would be drawn. This request is not to be compared with an action at law for damages,
          but rather is an action in equity before a Chancellor, which, in the ultimate, if granted, would require the submission to the medical procedure. For a society, which respects the rights of one individual, to sink its teeth into
          the jugular vein or neck of one of its members and suck from it sustenance for another member, is revolting to our hard-wrought concept of jurisprudence. [Forcible] extraction of living body tissue causes revulsion to the judicial mind. Such would raise the specter of the swastika and the inquisition, reminiscent of the horrors this portends.”

          http://www.ucs.louisiana.edu/~ras2777/judpol/mcfall.html

          ————–

          Why should you have the right to deny someone their ‘future’ because you want to keep your bone marrow, but a pregnant woman should lose hers because she had sex or was raped?

        • wlad

          C’mon!
          Abortionists freely admit to killing the fetus before removal, freely admit the abortion they are doing is killing something.

          They just deny it is human.

          Sometimes they fail to kill it. Ask Dr. Gosnell. He snipped the baby’s spinal cord to make sure he killed it, when he failed to do kill it in the womb.

        • purr

          In a majority of abortions the embryo is removed WHOLE and INTACT. Often in the embryonic sac.

          That is not killing. That is equivalent to unhooking a patient from a life support machine. You are letting them die, not killing.

          For the safety of the woman, the fetus, at later terms, often does have to be removed in pieces. Would you rather every woman who needed an abortion received a c-section, which is MAJOR surgery?

        • wlad

          I see,
          I put my child in the closet and let him die. I did not kill him. I just let them die. “Officer, talk to Jejune, says it’s not killing.”

          C’mon. You know I don’t believe in abortion for any reason.
          So your question to me doesn’t make sense.

        • purr

          If a person is using you body without your consent you have the right to remove them.

          Even if they die.

        • wlad

          Look, I’m not going to continue to try to get you to admit that an abortionist does not kill the embryo–fetus.

          Most abortionists do admit that. Some may make that claim that nothing is killed. I haven’t found one yet.

          So let’s just let this one go.

        • purr

          http://asweetsouvenir.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/741px-human_embryo.jpg

          At 9 weeks, they are removed intact, like this.

          It is simply a disconnection from the woman’s uterus. If you were hooked up to me, and using my blood to keep you alive, I would be within my rights to unhook you. That is simply letting you die. it isn’t killing.

          The point of an abortion is to end the pregnancy, not kill.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          What’s so often missing from these drawings/photos is the scale. At 9 weeks, are we talking about two inches at most?

        • purr
        • Kodie

          If it can’t feel a thing, it’s not going to mind at all. It doesn’t even yet have a mind at all. How is it going to feel to die when you can’t fear or be hungry or upset or anything? Like a toenail does when you clip it. You don’t get sentimental about toenails because you know that’s absurd, now that is how we feel about your precious little zygote hoarding.

          http://s2.hubimg.com/u/449229_f260.jpg

          http://i.imgur.com/EpwIyh1.jpg

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Harf!!!

        • Itarion

          I’m glad I ate a few hours ago…

        • Kodie

          How many times does it have to be explained to you that Gosnell was not typical? And that he was found in criminal violation of laws pertaining to abortion. If you outlaw abortion, there will be MORE Gosnells.

          You keep using a criminal as if he’s a typical example of what you imagine happens inside abortion clinics. What about all the abortions women have before their zef has a spinal cord? Why so emotional about the issue that you can’t draw a diagram to support your argument without using a criminal for example?

        • wlad

          People were claiming that an abortion does not involve any killing.

          I was saying that most abortionists freely admit killing something when they perform an abortion. And few, like Gosnell, make sure the killing was thorough even after abortion.

          Most, but not all, will deny that it is a human being. Some freely admit to killing a a human baby, but claim women’s rights trumps the life of the human baby.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          As has been pointed out many times, Gosnell is not an asset to your case. Gosnell is the representative of the post-Roe world that you so earnestly dream of. Gosnell is your friend.

          Strange bedfellows, eh?

        • purr

          Kangaroos and about 100 other mammals are able to freeze embryonic development indefinitely after conceiving, effectively storing the pregnancy until ready. If researchers could understand how they do it and even replicate the effect in humans.

          How does wlad feel about this? In theory wouldn’t that be a win-win? Women still get to choose, and all those innocent babies just stay on ice for a while. But it’s not about the babies, is it?

        • wlad

          I believe that the best way to conceive a child is through the sexual union of a man and woman committed to each other and to their children for life.

        • purr

          So you would prefer that this technology was never developed and that women just continued aborting unwanted embryos?

        • wlad

          I stated very clearly what I believed how a child should be conceived.

          BTW, even if this technology was developed, women would still continue to abort unwanted pregnancies.

        • purr

          So you would prefer that the technology was not developed at all?

        • wlad

          Absolutely!

          I believe that the best way to conceive a child is through the sexual
          union of a man and woman committed to each other and to their children
          for life.

        • purr

          Right.

          So you would prefer that women had no other option other than to abort unwanted pregnancies or commit infanticide.

          Because any other technology that might save embryonic lives ‘goes against nature’.

          You’re fucked up.

        • Niemand

          Why should it be a sexual union? Even leaving aside all else, why is it better for a couple who are dedicated to each other for life and want to raise a child together to conceive that child in bed as opposed to in a doctor’s office*?

          *I mean by IVF, people! Geez, you have dirty minds!

        • Itarion

          Well, that depends on how you define “sexual union”. The union of sexual cells happens in IVF. Ta-duh!

          Alternatively, sex is more fun than IVF. Fun is good, therefor more fun is more good [better].

        • Niemand

          So if I think oocyte fusion is more fun than sex then conceiving by oocyte fusion is the ideal for me?

        • Itarion

          Ummm. Yes. I can’t not say yes and maintain my argument’s credibility. I just have to hope that most people think that sex is more fun than oocyte fusion such that my argument is commonly accepted.

        • Niemand

          Well…it depends. If it’s the first time that the procedure is successfully performed in humans, that’s probably more fun than run of the mill sex. After the first few thousand times, not so much, probably.

        • Itarion

          So really what you’re saying is that DISCOVERY is more fun than sex. So the ideal method of procreation is to find a new way to procreate each and every time that procreation occurs.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          For life? A nice goal, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Let’s not be naive.

        • wlad

          No, today it doesn’t. But if it isn’t held up as an ideal, and fought for, it will continue to lose ground.

          One of the greatest tragedies to befall “for life” was the no fault divorce.
          People could walk out of a lifetime commitment and leave–irreconcilable differences–and do it unilaterally.

          Check the incredibly large number of divorces that exploded after that fateful decision. It started in California, and Reagan said it was his biggest mistake in his presidency.

        • purr

          Before no fault divorce women were often forced to stay in abusive marriages.

          No fault divorce made it easy for a woman to just walk away without having to PROVE that her husband was an abuser or somesuch.

          You seem to think that people should stay together for 30 years and be completely miserable. Not everyone agrees.

        • Itarion

          No, the ideal here is that people stay together and be happy together for the entirety of their lives, which can and does happen.

          Or maybe I didn’t read wlad’s comment fully.

          I think that the ideal is stay together and be happy for the duration of your natural life, but that there needs to be an escape clause in the instance of unhappies. And some more strenuous testing prior to a marriage. I’m looking at you, Kim. (Taylor and Adele don’t help, either.)

        • purr

          Yes. But he’s also hoping that people stay together forever, even if unhappy and stuck in an abusive relationship.

          That’s the religious way.

          I spend a lot of time at Libby Anne’s blog, Love Joy Feminism, and religious wives in abusive relationships are often told to just stick it out because it’s their fault that their husband is beating them. You know, God’s will and all that. I am quite sure that this is also what wlad is thinking.

          I would also go so far as to say that wlad believes that religious people are always moral and happy in marriage and never have any problems ever.

        • Itarion

          Religious =/= right.

          Religious =/= better

          Religious =/= a lot of things

          Religious = convinced

          I don’t agree with wlad’s implementation of the ideal, though I think that the ideals are similar. His is the idealism that denies the reality, I think.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Well, Christian marriages are always moral and happy. And if they don’t turn out that way, then I guess they weren’t proper Christian marriages, right?

          Just join the Borg, check your brain at the door, and things are so much easier.

        • Itarion

          “We do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard!”

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          And this may be part of your problem. You imagine a perfect world and shoot for it. Sounds good, so far. But you ignore the imperfect world we live in. You need to strive for the best that you can reasonably hope for, not perfection.

          You might have compelling arguments that way. As it is, all I’m hearing about is that baby Jesus cries when human cell dies.

          Re Reagan: perhaps you mean governorship.

        • purr

          Someone here linked an article from the Slacktivist blog earlier today and I spent the day reading the comments.

          One of the commenters made the great point that, for many pro-lifers, it’s about FEELING GOOD. Taking a moral stand. Pleasing Jesus. That if you stick to your moral guns, and ignore reality, you are pleasing Jesus more so than if you act pragmatically.

          It comes down to identity politics. I betcha wlad gets a high out of debating abortion here. He thinks he’s doing God’s work.

          Many people want to feel that they can make a difference. But, we can’t all be Ted Cruz or a medieval crusader out to retake the holy land. But we can fight abortion, fight gay sex, fight demons, and campaign against immorality. And feel special and important.

        • Itarion

          All of us “get a high” here to some extent. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be here, and poor Bob would be left posting things and thinks for the intertube crickets. LIFE is about feeling good, and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you. Everything you do is about feeling good, either now or in the future.

        • purr

          I find that these arguments make me extremely anxious and self-doubting.

          Yet I can’t stop doing it.

          I don’t feel better, in fact, I often feel relieved when it’s all over. Because I need a break from the stress.

          Morally superior types really stress me out.

        • Itarion

          you do it for the afterwards relief, then, i guess. adrenaline junkie.

        • purr

          Safer than a rollercoaster:)

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          So how does one respond to the Wlads of the world? Live and let live?

          The problem, of course, is that Wlad is not content to live and let live. He’s a busybody who insists that he knows how everyone’s life should be run and demands that he be allowed to run it.

        • purr

          Exactly.

        • wlad

          The abolitionist was not content to live and let live.

        • Itarion

          ABORTION ISN’T SLAVERY!

          Also, neither were the damn slavemasters.

        • wlad

          One is certainly not the other,
          But both are very wrong.
          And both abolitionists and pro-lifers worked to impose their view on the whole country.

        • Itarion

          And living adult humans were helped by the end of slavery.

          Living adult humans are HARMED by the pro-life position.

        • purr

          Slavery hurts people.

          As does forced pregnancy.

          Abortion doesn’t hurt a jellybean size piece of insensate tissue.

        • purr

          Slavery is forcing a person to work in the service of another.

          Forced gestation is slavery. A woman should not be a slave to a fetus. Birth/labour is called labour for a reason.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yeah, see, here’s the problem with slavery for your position.

          When slavery is legal, society imposes on people (Africans, in this example). That’s bad. So we fix it by making slavery illegal.

          And then 40 years ago, society imposed on people when abortion was illegal. It took away rights to their own bodies. So we fixed that by making abortion legal.

          Both changes went in the same direction, to allow freedom.

        • Niemand

          No, we’re not really. Not when people are trying to reinstitute slavery, as you are. I notice that you don’t deny that that’s what you’re trying to do. Of course. How could you? It’s inherently obvious that forced pregnancy is slavery. The pro-life movement’s STATED GOAL is to enslave women during their reproductive lives. I don’t expect to be able to change everyone’s minds about it-I’m “live and let live” about opinions, but as your right to swing your fist ends at my nose, your right to impose your morality ends at my body.

        • Kodie

          You are back at the part where you are equating an embryo with a person, demoting a pregnant woman from a person, and not showing your work, again. I say I have the right to clip my toenails and you don’t argue, because that would be ridiculous. Why are embryos a person and not more like a toenail? I give them the same allowance to be there – it’s up to the host.

        • Fred

          Irony, you has it.
          Abolitionists fought to free actual people whom slavery harms. You are fighting to Enslave actual people to imaginary ones.

          Whats the weather like on your planet?

        • wtfwjtd

          I think it’s an attempt to equate political power with spiritual power. Remember the last time in American history the nosy, meddlesome religious busy bodies tried to force their brand of morality on the American public? It was called prohibition, and it ended as a disastrous failure. Sooo, lesson not learned, on to the next Big Political Crusade, facts, logic, and reason be damned. ’cause that’s what Jesus would want us to do!

        • Itarion

          It wasn’t really a failure, it met its intended goal of reducing alcohol consumption. The unforeseen side effects, namely powerful drug cartels, I mean rum-runners and ‘shine gangs, were what generally sucked.

        • Niemand

          One of the greatest tragedies to befall “for life” was the no fault divorce.

          Sure, domestic abuse rates and partner murder rates went down when no fault divorce became legal but what does that matter compared to the ideal of “for life”?

          Check the incredibly large number of divorces that exploded after that fateful decision.

          Yeah, all those people free to leave a relationship that wasn’t working any longer and go out and find a happier relationship. Tragic!

        • Itarion

          That is the ideal. But not the only, and the others MUST be addressed for the ideal to be more fully realized. There is nothing wrong with idealism, except in cases where it denies the reality.

        • wlad

          There was a time not long ago that that wasn’t considered ideal, just normal. I was a young kid then.

          Many people wouldn’t even consider it ideal.
          Many would consider it impossible, or even undesirable.

          I will concentrate for fighting for that ideal, and against any thing that threatens it. I can’t fight all the world problems–people choose their battles. I have chosen mine.

        • Itarion

          “Normal” is just another way of saying “ideal”. In some instances, this being one of them. The fact is, there are a lot of new factors that have been introduced that have created a new, competing normal.

          On a related note, I find it interesting that you are for children only in stable, heavily committed relationships, but against an elective operation that would allow such a world more easily. What reason do you have for being against abortion when it keeps children out of families that are irregular, unstable, and generally dangerous and harmful to children, AND perpetuate a situation that introduces more children into the same situation in future generations?

        • wlad

          You obviously know I think abortion is murder.

          It is always wrong to do something wrong for a good purpose.
          ALWAYS.

        • Itarion

          So, do you agree with the institution of capital punishment?

        • purr

          Capital punishment or life in prison for the crime of murdering a jellybean sized embryo?

        • Itarion

          Misunderstandable words have been edited.

          I’m a huge fan of the edit button.

        • purr

          I abuse it.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Except lying to the Nazis to protect Jews you’re hiding.

        • Itarion

          Godwin’s law, sorry.

        • Niemand

          Except lying to homeland security to protect the Islamic people you’re hiding. (Oh, dear, how could I have made that implication. Guantanamo is totally different and anyway only Bad People end up there.)

        • Kodie

          Explain how your delusion should affect the rest of us.

        • Itarion

          So, have I told you that I disagree with both halves of that argument? In case I haven’t, I disagree with both halves of that argument.

          You cannot murder not a person, and an embryo is not a person.

          Morality and ethics are far to complex for simple all or nothing statements.

        • Kodie

          Yes, women were tied to the fates of their husbands and uteruses. Wasn’t that great?

        • Itarion

          There are some men who would say yes. A lot of them are in the Middle East. Fewer of them are in the EU. The EU is doing much better than the Middle East. I rest my case.

        • stanz2reason

          The feature of killing in general that makes it wrong is that it takes away a particular human future.

          Couldn’t you attribute any action as such, no matter how small, as one that alters the course of a particular human life away from the future they had previously been?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Stanz: like the butterfly effect? That’s an interesting idea.

        • stanz2reason

          That seems a logical conclusion based on Glenn’s reasons for deeming killing as wrong. It seems a common thing for the pro-life crowd to operate under the assumption that abortion is wrong in all or most circumstances and then work their reasoning for why from there. He might be better served coming up with a better reason than the one he provided.

        • purr

          A wise commenter once said that she would never have been born if her parents hadn’t met in WW2. So, thanks to WW2, and millions of deaths, she had the chance to live.

        • Kodie

          I look at it this way. I know I’m alive. Let’s say you almost kill me. I would have some idea of my plans to be alive and how the future was nearly snuffed out. If you kill me, I have none of that realization. All that’s left is for people to miss me and clean out my apartment. Is a zygote capable of imagining its future? It is not. Lacking sentience is a huge part of when it’s ok to abort.

          If a woman is a few weeks pregnant, her zygote has no imaginings of the future. We know the future, we know, for example, that babies are expensive and require a lot of effort and attention. The woman may project a lot of qualities and imagining the future of this zygote. If she is happy to be pregnant, she likely already considers it her “child”. That’s just a projection, you know. If she wants to let it stay and cook, that’s her prerogative. But the zygote has no knowledge. If it doesn’t have a brain yet, it doesn’t have a future of its own. It only has a future in the minds of others who await its development and birth. If we don’t want that to happen, what’s the problem? If we don’t like babies, or can’t afford it right now, or whatever, what is the problem “depriving” this zygote of its future? It is really truly the same thing as depriving your toenail of growing longer by clipping it. It has no self-awareness. We’re not superstitious about it, it’s called hygiene and maintenance.

        • stanz2reason

          For the record I’m pro-choice, but I’ll play devils advocate here for a moment.

          You run the risk of painting yourself in a corner with having ones ability to imagine the future be a measure of whether or not termination is acceptable. A newborn has no concept of their future. It does not plan for it’s next meal, has no consideration for it’s own safety beyond reflex actions to things like pain & hunger, and has such little knowledge of the world, you could argue against the notion that they know anything at all, let alone formulate a self-aware sense of an existence in a time yet to be.

        • purr

          However, unlike the ZEF, the newborn can at least FEEL and has the capacity to SUFFER.

        • stanz2reason

          True, but 1) that was not the argument that was being made 2) you could make a similar claim for animals and 3) at best you’ve argued that we should dull or knock out the newborn prior to terminating it.

        • purr

          A ZEF, pre-viability, lacks the *capacity* for sentience.

          EDIT: The point I am making is that even though a newborn lacks self-awareness and cannot imagine a future, the reason we don’t kill them is because 1) they can be handed off to another 2) they do have the capacity for suffering.

          Newborns are sentient creatures. Just like animals. Fetii, however, are not. And my cat has more value than an embryo. She can feel, she can experience the world. She isn’t an insensate lump of tissue.

        • Kodie

          I thought that’s what I did. One of the pro-life arguments is that “aren’t you glad you’re alive?” as if a fetus would have some future of its own in its own mind, that an abortion would deprive it of.

          When children die, we frame their deaths in grief for milestones they would miss in the future – falling in love, graduating high school, getting married, etc. I don’t know why that is. Seemingly, if they are a person in their own right, they would be missed by their own personal qualities by the people whose lives they touched while they are alive, which their parents generally do – their smiles and silly jokes, how they related to their siblings and friends. But society feels especially awful about small children dying for the things they didn’t know yet. It is not sad to me that they missed those things – it is sad for the families who will have that missing piece, and actual person they had grown to love. A dead person has no memories or nostalgia or regret, not even a child.

          So why do people talk about a zef like it knows what it’s going to miss if it’s aborted? It’s an alien from outer space. It hasn’t been oriented to our planet and our customs yet. It doesn’t even have that capacity until late in gestation. All of its expectations are determined by the parent(s) – hope or dread? The second a woman finds out she’s pregnant, us humans expect her to be envisioning the bassinet in the corner and the cute little fingers curled around hers, and to set aside all negative (practical) considerations, like her own future, finances, physical or mental health, etc. All these future consequences are available, and yet exist only in the mind of a born person’s concept of what it means to be alive and human. The zygote has none. If you don’t introduce the fact of the zygote to your social circle, it will not be missed, it will not be mourned. It is a projection that would be missed and mourned, so don’t allow the projection. People mistake that projection (the one with the bassinet and the tiny little fingers) as a whole person, and yet, that says nothing special about that person. It has no qualities other than being small.

        • stanz2reason

          You could say the same thing about a newborn in terms of having a concept of itself in the future, yet I’d venture you’d have a greater difficulty from an ethical POV terminating a newborn child then a zygote. It seems to me that while a concept of a future self is an important quality of sentience, it does not seem to be convincing enough to note as grounds (at least on it’s own) for a line between acceptable and unacceptable for termination.

          The pro-life crowd (which is in a large part also the faithful) notes the beginning of personhood at conception, which is when the soul enters the picture (apparently by some sort of voodoo magic). We can sit here and point out how they would probably grieve differently for a 4 week old embryo vs. a 4 year old child, or that categorization of personhood in a cell with unique human DNA makes sneezing, ejaculation or dandruff some form of genocide, yet they have a point in a sense that for the pro-choice argument there is no definitive line noting when it is acceptable and when it is not, certainly not one that’s agreed on. In terms of framing personhood at conception, you could make an argument in a demonstrable materialistic sense (which is really the sphere skeptics thrive in) that in a black and white simplistic way their argument is clearer than ours is. To me it is a poor argument that doesn’t hold up to scrutiny or wider considerations, especially if one considers the notion that the value of ones life is the result of a deity granting a newly formed cell a soul to be very silly. Still, from that standpoint, were I to accept the assignment of personhood at conception, all the reasons for grieving for the loss of a child who’s life was unrealized apply also to the ZEF, making it all the worse when that unrealized life was ended deliberating by those charged with caring an nurturing said life. Understanding that is key to seeing where they are coming from, even if you ultimately disagree with both their conclusions and the reasoning by which they arrived at them.

    • Niemand

      Glenn, why are you wasting time on the internet when you should be out seducing every fertile woman you can. You’re taking away your sperm’s future! They’re living human cells, you know. And you can’t tell me that the baby that they’d make if you just got off your butt and went out and had some sex wouldn’t be a person. You’re taking away xer future too!

      Or maybe not every future can actually come to pass and the right and duty of those living in the present is to give future people the best future possible, not some random one.

  • RichardSRussell

    Re: “8. What if the mother wanted to abort because the fetus had green eyes or was female or would likely be gay?”

    OK, I’ll bite. What if? What business is it of yours? Is it your body that’s gonna have to do all the work?

    What if a woman wanted a tonsillectomy because she believed, rightly or wrongly, that it was interfering with her aspirational career as an opera singer? Or the excision of a perfectly healthy appendix because her mom had had a bad experience with appendicitis? Or any of a hundred different cosmetic surgeries for no other reason than that she wants to look nicer by her own definition. All of these involve removing WAY more bodily tissue (composed entirely of human-DNA-bearing cells) than an abortion. Do you have a problem with those surgical excisions because you think your analysis of her motives should trump her own?

    • purr

      I can predict the typical pro-life response you will receive:

      BUT IF SHE HAS HER TONSILS REMOVED SHE ISN’T KILLING A HUMAN BEING

      AND IT ISN’T HER BODY, IT’S THE BABY’S BODY.

    • R Vogel

      This is a really stupid argument right? (Theirs not yours) Aborting for a trivial reason (strangely enough I would think religious people would be more apt to abort over this kind of reason than a non-religious person) would never be looked at favorably by society if it came to light (not sure how it would). And why would someone think it is a valid argument to restrict abortions for everyone because someone might do it for some trivial reason? Based on that logic there is a long list of things that should be banned – religion chief among them!

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

        Another example: since some people use guns illegally, should we then ban all guns? (Liberals might say Yes, but they’re not the audience for this question.)

        Further, someone who has a trivial reason for aborting would likely make a terrible parent.

  • R Vogel

    BTW, based on the human at conception argument the NRA has now affirmed the blastocysts right to bear arms. Let’s see who aborts who now, mutha $&^%*! :)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      A blastocyst is a person like a corporation is a person.

      • Itarion

        “Person” should be reserved for actual people, and entities should be given rights. It would be less confusing that way.

        • purr

          I have heard pro-lifers skirt around the personhood issue by saying that they agree that a ZEF is not a person, but, they say, it is a human organism, and it should be granted ‘civil rights’.

          Well, if it isn’t a person, then why should it’s rights override the woman’s?

        • Itarion

          Because. um. Let’s try to get a straight answer out of a prolifer, why don’t we?

        • purr

          Why is it that it’s nearly impossible to get a straight answer out of pro-lifers and religious apologists?

          If they have God on their side, and they are RIGHT – why do they have to use weasel words and rhetorical tricks to avoid answering simple questions?

        • Itarion

          Because weasel words are the simplest way to express your point clearly and comprehensibly.

          … did you just edit something? I think I saw the words change…

        • purr

          You might understand their points better if you stopped wearing those unnatural glasses.

        • R Vogel

          Once an anti-abortionist concedes it is not a person, I don’t see how the whole argument doesn’t crumble. It is the only solid ground they have to stand on. Even if it is a ‘human organism’ or ‘potential person’ when has potential ever been given rights over actual? Once you get them to admit that, just smile and say ‘thank you for being honest’ and walk away – what else is there to be said?

  • R Vogel

    The thing I like most about this post, and the resulting comments, is that it highlights the fact that really the ONLY issue in the abortion debate is where people believe personhood begins. Everything else is a sideshow. It seems to me there is very little headway to be made against someone who believes you are a person at conception – if you accept their premise, then you would accept that abortion needs to be limited. An additional, and perhaps a little inconvenient conclusion is also that women who seek an illegal abortion should be imprisoned and, if the crime meets the required standard should face the death penalty. I will be accused of this being a slippery slope argument, but when people throw around the word ‘murder’ I am not sure how they can then back their way out of that.
    On the other side (nod to Mr. Peoples), those who are pro-choice have to accept that any other argument you make about a woman’s right to this or that falls flat when faced with someone who truly believes that what is being aborted is an actual person. Most people affirm that your right’s end at the point that they harm another person. If this is a person, that is the logical conclusion. You might point out some inconsistencies in that position, as above or in Bob’s previous example of a fire in a fertility clinic, but as long as they hold on to that position, It seems to me there is very little headway to be made.

    • purr

      Most people affirm that your right’s end at the point that they harm
      another person. If this is a person, that is the logical conclusion.

      And if it IS a person, it’s rights end the moment it is infringing on another person’s bodily autonomy. Intent is immaterial. If you are being raped by a mentally disabled person, you have every right to kill them in order to free yourself. They forfeited their right to life when they started raping you. An unwanted pregnancy is torture. Childbirth is torture. 72 hours of labour or getting one’s stomach cut open is torture. We do not demand that anyone put themselves through such pain or suffering to save another. Your right to life ends where another persons right to liberty begins.

      • R Vogel

        An unwanted pregnancy, except in the case of rape or incest, is the consequence of an action freely taken. As far as I know embryos do not spontaneously begin growing inside a woman. You cannot apply responsibility to the whatever it is simply because you do not like the consequences of your actions. If it is torture, it is self inflicted torture. Once a child is born, society applies certain parental responsibilities. I am not required to feed, house, clothe, and educate someone who begins squatting in my house either, but I am for the child that was a result of my free action. i don’t think anyone would assert my right to abandon or kill the child simply because they were a burden. I made it, now I’m responsible for it. Please be aware I am not arguing that a blastocyst is a person, I am simply saying that virtually all arguments over anything other than when it becomes a person falls flat. You are going to have a tough road to hoe trying to argue that if it is a person you still have the right to terminate it simply because you don’t want to accept responsibility for the consequences of your actions.

        • Itarion

          What about when the mother is not in any form of position to take care of said child, due to events that conspired soon after the action freely taken? The situation has changed now.

        • R Vogel

          Again, from a spectrum position, the situation has redress. But from the most conservative position the question would be does our inability to deal with the consequences of our actions abrogate us from the responsibility? And perhaps worse would lead to a question of if you unable to deal with the consequences of your action, should you be engaging n them? If I go to the track and make a huge bet that I can’t cover, I don’t get to use the excuse that I can’t afford the consequence so they shouldn’t take my house. They would respond that I willingly took the bet and I should have thought about that before making it. But no, I bet on the favorite, the odds were overwhelmingly in my favor! I am still going to lose my house or my thumbs. But wait, I got home and found out I lost my job, Bruno doesn’t care. Again, I grew up in a very conservative Fundamentalist church and have heard all the arguments from the other side. The only issue that matters to the religious conservative is when it is considered a person – because they believe that is when it is imbued with moral rights. They will throw loads of red herring issues at you, but in the end that is really the only issue. When is a person a person and therefore entitled to moral rights. The ugly side of that is that, by and large, they feel no moral obligation to ensure that the resultant child gets food, shelter, access to education and healthcare which kind of makes their morality a bit of a sham, eh?

        • Niemand

          I am still going to lose my house or my thumbs. But wait, I got home and found out I lost my job, Bruno doesn’t care

          Um…you know that what Bruno is doing is illegal, right?

          In the US, one of the founding principles of the country is that people who get into debt should be given a way out that does not involve their going to prison or starving (or being transported to some godforsaken colony, which is how many of the founders of the US ended up in the Americas.) Make that bet using money you borrowed from a legitimate bank and you can declare chapter 11 or 13 bankruptcy and work out a way out of debt, possibly be forgiven some of the debt. In other words, you’ve chosen an analogy that very much supports legal abortion.

        • R Vogel

          you know that what Bruno is doing is illegal, right?

          Absolutely. But I am not discussing legality, just morality. And on the moral ground, the religious right are like Bruno, yeah? He give no truck to circumstance. I’m not sure I would agree that a way out of debt is a ‘founding principle’ but it longstanding law. But that is something that is also mutually agreed on, and under the Bush administration they made it far more difficult to file for personal bankruptcy. But even with those laws in place, you can still have your assets seized and income attached, but only up to a point, and only certain kinds of assets. Perhaps taking out a 0% down mortgage is a better example, but I really wanted to compare the religious right to a mob thug! If you take out a mortgage, and then find you can’t afford it , you lose your house. As, very sadly, millions of Americans, including several I know, found out. What wooed many of those American’s to take those mortgages was the faulty belief that house values never decline. They considered the risk so low that they did not consider the potential consequence. That was of no account when the bank came calling.

          you’ve chosen an analogy that very much supports legal abortion.

          Yes and no. Our legal system may acknowledge it, but Bruno sure wouldn’t! It is pretty difficult to come up with an example in our society of a legal issue that isn’t judged along a spectrum, which is why I whole heartedly agree with how Bob has formulated his argument. Even in bankruptcy proceedings, however, you have to prove your inability to pay. This would seem to me to be closer to an argument for abortions in interest of saving the health or life of the mother than an all out right to abortion, which would be the ability to take financial risk and just discharge it if things didn’t go in my favor.

        • Niemand

          I’m sorry, I think I’m misinterpreting you, but it sounds like you’re saying that Bruno SHOULD have the right to break your thumbs. That it is moral for Bruno to break your thumbs because after all you owe him money. Or are you saying that the religious right, like Bruno, is always going to be there making terrorist threats. That’s probably true, especially if we don’t enforce laws that are meant to protect people from terrorism.

          under the Bush administration they made it far more difficult to file for personal bankruptcy.

          Dubya always was unAmerican.

        • R Vogel

          I’m saying both, in a way. The religious right wants to be a bit like Bruno, yeah? They are the enforcers for the big Don in the sky. Unlike our very generous bankruptcy laws, Bruno doesn’t care. He has been told to get the money or take your thumbs. Bringing up loads of reasons why he shouldn’t take your thumbs (How can I work and get you your money?), will have no impact on him. He is a mindless drone. This is why Rocky was such a bad mob enforcer. On the other side, if you deal with the mob you presumably know how they operate and by doing business with them you accept that. So if you don’t pay, they take your thumbs.

          Dubya always was un-American.

          I wish that were so, but I know too many poeple who are just like him.

        • Itarion

          So… Pregnancy is like a loan? If you end up pregnant, and can afford it financially and physically, you have to have the kid. But, if you can show inability to raise or carry the child, then you have a way out? If that is what you’re saying, then that’s actually fairly reasonable.

          Except in the case of someone who cannot support the child, but bulls through and tries anyway. Relatively uncommon, I think, as mostly its forced on people who would otherwise abort, but still plausible.

        • R Vogel

          I don’t think anyone should ever be force to have a child if they don’t want it, and so access to safe and legal abortions within the agreed window, whatever that is, should be preserved.
          The point of my metaphor was that if you do not want to get pregnant, then engaging in sex is accepting a potentially negative outcome, just as making a sizeable bet that you cannot afford to cover is accepting a potentially negative outcome. As a society, we have provided some relief in the form of bankruptcy protection, but that is just something we agreed upon. We acknowledge the rights of the debtee to be repaid only up to a point. The only thesis I am arguing is that the issue with regard to abortion is when the rights of the fetus/blastocyst/baby supersede the rights of the mother. Some would say never, others would say at conception and some say somewhere in between. Everything else is a red herring.

        • purr

          You had better stop eating then.

          Because you don’t want to choke to death. And eating is consent to choking. And because you have consented to choking you should be denied medical help because you need to accept the consequences of your actions.

          Take some responsibility man.

        • R Vogel

          This is a peculiar argument since it does not include any conflict of one persons ‘rights’ with another, which is really the heart of the issue.
          Sidebar: I have actually know a person with such an irrational fear of choking that they pureed all their food. They lived alone and feared that if they choked on their food they would die before they could get to help. I would not use this as a basis for any argument, just an interesting aside.

        • purr

          Then stop talking about ‘taking responsibility for your actions’

          :)

        • Itarion

          You have made the most compelling argument for their side that I’ve heard yet.

          And you’re right, my answer would go back to “is it a person?”

          Of course, gambling is rather different from childbearing, all the way from the intent. There are a whole lot of people who would not consider becoming pregnant “losing” at sex.

        • R Vogel

          Agreed. My wife and I for instance found it anything but. I was just working with the premise that the pregnancy was an unwanted outcome and taking it from there. I thought of gambling because it involved playing odds. Admittedly it is a bit ham-fisted, I will have to work on a better one.

        • Kodie

          They can’t actually take your thumbs. No matter what you bet, and who you bet to, the amputation of thumbs to cover a gambling or usurious debt is an illegal consequence. I mean, once your thumbs are gone, and you can’t put them back on, it’s a fact, but it’s not your own fault to accept that consequence as a natural result of what you did.

          That is like saying getting your head blown off is a possible consequence to putting your money in a bank. Bank robberies happen and sometimes get violent, but it’s still the criminal’s fault.

        • R Vogel

          If you bet with a loan shark, you accept they might take your thumbs if you don’t pay. It is a pretty well established stereo-type where I’m from, it may not be elsewhere.

        • Itarion

          And this is why we only take deals from legally registered banks backed by the FCC, who will only screw you financially, and let you keep your body.

        • Ellie

          There’s that word again, “consequence” this seems to stem from a belief that sex, for women, is bad and must be punished, it is a sexist and puritanical argument. Motherhood shouldn’t be a punishment for having sex. Forcing a child to be born to punish the woman for having sex is wrong. It also trivializes motherhood and pregnancy as a mere inconvenience. Women have sex, no “consequence” or punishment need be inflicted. Consent to sex does not mean consent to pregnancy anymore than consent to swimming implies consent to drown.

        • R Vogel

          No, the definition of consequence, according to Merriam Webster, is: something that happens as a result of a particular action or set of conditions. It carries no value judgment. A pregnancy is a potential consequence of having sex. There is no way around that as inconvenient as it may be. The potential can be significantly reduced, but it cannot be completely eliminated without drastic undertaking. Whether that consequence is good or bad depends on the person experiencing the consequence. There is, unfortunately, no way to alter the biology so that a man bears some of the biological consequence (if we could all religious prohibitions against birth control would end in a heartbeat, eh?), but he does bear parental responsibilities as a consequence, admittedly a completely asymmetric risk. The potential consequence in having sex is fertilization of an ovum, which is condition are right results in a pregnancy. Now comes the point of dissention – at what point is that fertilized ovum considered a person, which in the mind of the most ardent opponents to abortion means it has moral right, if not legal? That really is the only argument as I see it. Like Bob, I have no idea what that point is, and thankfully, it is not up to me to decide. Viability seems to me to be a good point, and even that is probably not a solid line but a fuzzy one.

        • Niemand

          A pregnancy is a potential consequence of having sex.

          So is an STD. Does that mean we shouldn’t treat STDs because people need to be responsible for their actions?

          Now comes the point of dissention – at what point is that fertilized ovum considered a person, which in the mind of the most ardent opponents to abortion means it has moral right, if not legal? That really is the only argument as I see it.

          Then you’re in favor of forcing people to donate their bodies for the use of another? The current legal stance is against that, but if abortion were made illegal, that would be a precedent that could overturn the previous precedent. Are you ready to be forced to donate your marrow or kidneys? It would be in a good cause: saving another definitely living person’s life. Or are you only interested in making fertile women bear the risk?

        • R Vogel

          If you want to argue that an STD should be afforded human right, more power to you. But I don’t think it is germane to this discussion.

          Then you’re in favor of forcing people to donate their bodies for the use of another?

          Except in the case of rape or incest, no one is forcing anyone to do anything. I am simply saying that pregnancy is a potential result of engaging in sexual activity. I would hope that is not a controversial statement. The argument about abortion is what responsibility is due that result. If you believe it is just a blastocyst, then none. But at some point, unless you take the view that elective abortion should be allowed at any point before delivery, you believe that it becomes a person and has some moral rights. The question is where that point should be.

        • Niemand

          If “consequences” of sex should not be treated then STDs should not be treated. If it is reasonable to treat “consequences” of sex that are undesired then it is reasonable to treat STDs and to treat unwanted pregnancy with abortion. If the issue is whether or not the embryo is a “person” then the “consequences” argument is an idiotic red herring.

        • R Vogel

          It is not a red herring at all – a potential result, to avoid the charged connotation, of engaging in sex is pregnancy and/or contracting an STD. There is a ‘treatment’ for both. However, only one results in the potential destruction of a person, depending on where you stand on the issue. I do not believe up to a certain point that a blastocyst, fetus, or whatever is a person so before that point abortion poses no moral dilemma to me. It is like an STD. However, after that point it is a person and now wanton destruction of it becomes morally problematic, at least for me. The argument is where the line lies. For the religious conservative, the line is way back a fertilization. For someone else, that line is just before birth. There seems to be wide agreement that it lies somewhere around viability. But don’t kid yourself, that is where the argument lies. Arguing anything other than that is fruitless.

        • WelcometoAtheism,Sex & Noguilt

          The only ”consequence” of sex that I’m aware of……. is an excellent night of sleep………..

        • purr

          It carries no value judgment

          Which is why it’s never used positively.

          Which is why no one said to the Nobel Prize winners: ‘you fuckers had better deal with the CONSEQUENCES of your actions and accept that reward’

          Nope. didn’t happen.

          There is, unfortunately, no way to alter the biology so that a man bears some of the biological consequence

          I aim sure you would find it perfectly reasonable if men were legally obligated to provide biological support during and after the pregnancy right? Since they had a hand in creating the child, they should be forced to donate any blood/bone marrow/ organs that are needed to sustain the fetus life during and after the pregnancy. They put it there, they had better *take responsibility for their actions*.

          And btw, consent is not a permanent state, just so you know. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. If you consent to allow me to take your blood, I can’t just keep taking your blood indefinitely. Why should a fetus get special treatment?

        • R Vogel

          I aim sure you would find it perfectly reasonable if men were legally obligated to provide biological support during and after the pregnancy right?

          Me personally? Absolutely. And if someone said otherwise it would be a perfectly legitimate criticism to point out the inconsistency. But I also believe a woman should have the right to terminate a pregnancy before some mutually agreed upon point, whatever that is.

          If you don’t like the connotation of the word consequence, then use another word. (Sidebar: Isn’t is funny that we assign a negative connotation to the word consequence.) Result, if you will. Either way it is the same. The potential result of having sex is pregnancy.

          Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
          Of course consent is not permanent. But as far as I understand it a woman does not remain pregnant forever. Unless you are arguing for abortion at any point until actual delivery, then you too acknowledge that at some point the consent cannot be withdrawn. The argument is over where that point lies.

        • purr

          But as far as I understand it a woman does not remain pregnant forever.

          That 9 months is not healthy for her. It can have a disastrous effect upon her life and health. And adoption is not the panacea people seem to think it is.

          Pregnancy is not a state of wellness and the earlier the abortion the better, imo. Earlier abortions are also SAFER.

        • R Vogel

          Agreed. Earlier is definitely better for everyone involved. Unless you honestly believe it is a ‘person’ at conception, or attachment, or whatever. Then nothing is better, it is all morally equal. At no point would you accept that the rights of the ‘person’ brought into being would be subordinate to the one who brought them into being. It’s a tight box – the only out, that I can see, is to challenge the consequences of the position – do they really believe it? I suspect few actually do. They give lip service and show pictures of cute chubby babies instead of microscopic blobs, but if push came to shove they would save an actual baby before they would save any number of fertilized embryos.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          They reveal their hypocrisy when they show only late abortions on their signs, not a box of Plan B.

          If it’s a baby from conception, they should show both.

        • purr

          FU bob!! I just wrote that, then saw your reply haha

        • purr

          If they believed it they would put pictures of zygotes on their pro-life posters, not of babies and aborted 24 week fetii.

        • Niemand

          I aim sure you would find it perfectly reasonable if men were legally obligated to provide biological support during and after the pregnancy right?

          What kind of “biological support” are you talking about? Legally forced transfusions if the pregnant woman gets anemic? Legally forced kidney donation if her kidneys fail from the pregnancy? Legally forced donation of any needed part to the resulting child if it is ill? I don’t support any of those things and the idea is appalling.

          a woman does not remain pregnant forever.

          The mortality from pregnancy is 14 per 100,000 in the US. For an average risk pregnancy. So, yes, sometimes it is “forever” or as much of forever as the person is going to get.

        • R Vogel

          You would have to ask jejune what the term meant, since s/he brought it up. I was responding the a comment s/he made. I assume it would be yet another thing that we would need to agree on as a society if we went down that road.

          From what I have read the maternal death rate may be even higher than that, due to underreporting. Maternal death rates are a tragedy, since the vast majority are preventable. This is a true failure, among many, of the healthcare systems in the US. I know first-hand – Two days after being released from the hospital after giving birth my wife’s fever shot up past 103 because of an internal infection – thankfully she choose to wean off the pain killers, which also suppressed her fever, so it presented. She was hospitalized for another week receiving intravenous ABs to combat the massive infection while I tried to figure out what to do with a 7 day old!
          So I gather from your comments, then, that you support abortion at any time up to birth? If so, you have every right to hold that view. I respectfully disagree. I think there is some point at which is becomes point of no return, unless the life of the mother is at stake.

        • purr

          Apparently Ireland, with its ‘no abortions under any circumstances’ laws, also had the lowest maternal mortality in the world.

          Yeah. And I’ve got a bridge to sell in Brooklyn.

          All they did was write down ‘death from hemorrhage’ instead of ‘death from hemorrhage due to pregnancy’

        • Kodie

          It depends on the state.

          My definition of adoption is “abortion Plan Z” – being forced or demanded or heavily recommended to delay abortion in order to think it over, to give heavy moral or ethical consideration to the ending of “a human life” only damages abortion rights and delays what would otherwise be an easy and practical decision to make until it “feels” ethically too late to choose what you’d rather do or must do. If you still can’t, for any reason, deal with all the effects of having a child, your only way out at this point is to give it up. That’s not ideal, except for the adoptive parents (it’s not as ideal for them as having their own infant).

          The longer a pregnancy goes on, the thinking is, the more attached a mother will become, the more loving and hopeful that things will turn out ok. This is an expected social response, but it is procrastination. Why promote this? Because pro-lifers want the decision to abort to be considered irresponsible and inhumane and more morally and emotionally costly than having a child that wants and needs constant care, supervision, and special amenities that cost money.

          I don’t really care where the line is for someone else. I don’t care if they regret it the rest of their life. If having an abortion is the wrong decision, get pregnant again. If having a baby is the wrong decision, guess what? You’re screwed. If adoption is the wrong decision, go ahead and ask for your baby back from the nice couple who adopted your kid! I am sure they will understand completely.

        • R Vogel

          I am completely against any law that would obligate a woman to delay making that decision, or submit to invasive procedures like transvaginal ultra-sound which is just legalized rape by the state in my opinion. I hope I have not given any indication that I would support any such thing.

        • MockingChristianity

          You need to shut up, and go get LAID!!!!!!!!! Give your hand a rest!

        • R Vogel

          Very persuasive argument. Thanks for sharing. The fundamentalist evangelical channel is look for keen minds just like you….

        • ChristianitySucks!

          If R Vogel had his way, men would be cursed with having a fetus sticking out of his side, from between his ribs for committing the ‘blasphemy’ of having sex for pleasure, instead of for reproduction

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Yes, viability seems like a good first approximation, but even there it isn’t viability per se but a proxy to viability–a certain number of weeks since conception, say.

        • R Vogel

          Sure, otherwise it would vary from patient to patient and every abortion would potentially turn into a Terri Shiavo case.

        • ThankghodI’man Atheist!

          You are a Terri Schiavo case…. Your feeding tube should be removed, for the benefit of the Planet!

        • Kodie

          There is no way around that as inconvenient as it may be. The potential
          can be significantly reduced, but it cannot be completely eliminated
          without drastic undertaking.

          It’s called abortion, and you’re exaggerating.

        • R Vogel

          No, abortion ends pregnancy, it does not prevent it. Except perhaps emergency contraception which I believe prevents the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall, which I would agree is preventing. I don’t know how anti-abortionists address that issue, it didn’t exist when I was in the church. I guess it would come down to how they view birth control, their position on which I have never understood.
          Exaggerating how exactly? I don’t see a claim that could even be exaggerated. Is there a form of contraception that is 100% reliable? I am not aware of any.

        • Kodie

          There is a way around getting pregnant after the fact, and I don’t know what you refer to as “without drastic undertaking.” Drastic?

          I guess you mean tubal ligation or whatever, but we’re talking about abortion.

        • GuiltfreeSex, Yes!

          Be a man… go get a vasectomy! I got mine 29 years ago….

        • PlannedParenthood,Yes

          What you fail to realize, R Vogel…. is that it’s none of your damned business! It’s only the business of the pregnant woman………… Unless you’d like to raise the child.

        • Itarion

          Abstinence…

          There’s also some sterilization surgeries, which are essentially 100% reliable. It’s hard to fertilize an egg that isn’t there, and equally hard to fertilize an egg without fertilizer.

        • AtheistLiberal

          Christian thinking is a consequence of Centuries in-breading, leading to low intelligence….. and to a group of ‘sheep’ easily led to the slaughter house…. by their ‘Sheperd’….

        • R Vogel

          This is a very peculiar line of reasoning. If you have sex and either do not use or birth control fails a potential consequence is pregnancy. That is just biological fact. It says nothing about sex being good, bad or indifferent, it is just a plain old run of the mill biological fact. Anymore than the potential consequence of eating being choking makes eating bad. Risk is low, and with the use of birth control even lower. Granted. But it is not zero. Now, the pregnant woman has to take responsibility for that consequence, either by (1) getting an abortion or (2) having a baby. The only argument is when (1) becomes no longer available. The most liberal would say at birth, anytime before is fair game. The most conservative would say never. And the spectrum argument says some time in the middle. But there is no way to shake the responsibility. Even under the spectrum argument she has the responsibility to make that decision before reaching viability (assuming that is the point).

          Forcing a child to be born to punish the woman for having sex is wrong.

          This is a straw-man argument. No one is proposing any punitive action against women for having sex, anymore than the possibility of choking is a punishment for eating (to quote what I think is a bad argument). The question is what is the responsibility to that consequence – in choking it is pretty straight forward, since no one advocates for the rights of a bit of food stuck in your larynx, but in the case of pregnancy there is a question of when, or if, the resulting thing (no good word to use here, don’t want to say ‘life’ or ‘person’) has any rights and what those rights should be. The spectrum goes from “not until live birth’ to ‘at the point of conception.’ In my estimation, this is the only argument. At some point the result is imbued with rights – the question is when is that point. Everything else is a red herring, on both sides of the argument.

        • purr

          In general usage, ‘consequences’ is used negatively.

          ‘You had better deal with the consequences of your actions and accept that promotion, Billy’

          Not used that way.

          Same as with ‘take responsibility for your actions’ – also used negatively. You don’t tell the recent crop of Nobel Prize winners that they had better ‘take responsibility’ for their research and ‘accept that prize’

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Sounds like your view is in concert with the spectrum argument?

        • purr

          Consent to sex is not consent to pregnancy.

          No more than eating is consent to choking.

          Driving is consent to an accident.

          Skiing is consent to a broken leg.

          Or talking to misogynists is consent to a headache.

        • stanz2reason

          Perhaps not, but consent to sex is accepting the possibility of pregnancy…
          As eating is accepting the possibility of choking
          Or driving is accepting the possibility of an accident
          Or skiing is accepting the possibility of a broken leg

          Each of these activities is a role of the dice of sorts, carrying a fairly clear set of potential, if not likely, consequences of engaging in them, especially engaging in them haphazardly.

        • purr

          Yep.

          And when we do ‘make a mistake’ we get the problem treated.

          We call the paramedics, get a cast, take a pill, or get an abortion.

        • stanz2reason

          I’m not suggesting there aren’t remedies for these situations. Im responding to the notion that you haven’t offered your consent for them to have happened, which I feel is incorrect. When you consent to sex, youve consented to the possibility of its consequences, good or bad. This isn’t to say you’ve given up your right to take the pill or terminte the pregnancy, but that to deny your part in geting pregnant is irresponsible.

        • purr

          I wasn’t disagreeing with you.

        • MissingHitch

          Living has consequences…. if you don’t want to face them, make an early appointment with your geebus….

        • Niemand

          Once a child is born, society applies certain parental responsibilities.

          Which is why it is totally impossible to give up parental rights and there is no such thing as adoption. Plus, while there may be social pressure to breast feed, I have yet to see a movement advocating that women be forced to breast feed. Or forcing parents to donate body parts if their children are ill. Nice try, but it’s not even close to analogous.

        • Pattrsn

          Going for a walk is consent to being run over by a car, driving a car however is consent to being carjacked. What a funny world it would be if we applied your logic to all spheres of human behaviour, instead of just female sexuality.

        • MissingHitch

          Why is it that you ‘freakin’ people think sex is ‘DIRTY’ and every act that occurs for pure pleasure, must be punished???? If you actually believed in your imaginary ghod, you would realize… that he gave us the beautiful act of Intercourse……… to make the rest of this horrible freakin’ life tolerable! Without the pleasure of sex… why would anyone even want to go on????

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          The ratio of acts of sex to babies is very high for humans and some other great apes. 1000 to 1, I think I’ve heard?

          Anyway, humans are designed for lots of sex. Pro-lifers need to look at God’s fabulous plan and not impose their own Puritanism.

    • stanz2reason

      R…I would point out the Gosnell case he was found guilty of 1st degree murder for performing an illegal abortion and avoided the death penalty only due to a deal with the prosecution, so I’m uncertain where this is an inconvenient conclusion, or more specifically about who exactly is it inconvenient for. In this sort of case as the doctor is the one performing the illegal abortion, it seems fitting they should bear the brunt of the guilt. Were there to be some sort of accessory charge for the mother, I suppose there’s an argument for that, though it would be a fair defense for a mother to claim ignorance, especially in light of having consulted with a supposed medical expert.

      I feel you are correct that the biggest sticking point with the abortion debate in most cases is the point of assigning personhood, as the surrounding ethics of both pro-choice & pro-life people start to converge after such a point, though I would say that the reasons for assigning personhood (the instantaneous at conception vs. the gradual emergence via the spectrum) is where the discrepancies ultimately lie (ie the ‘why’ rather then the ‘when’). However I don’t think this necessarily holds true in all cases. In a circumstance where a significant birth defect was discovered in the third trimester, I don’t feel the strongest ethical decision would be conceding personhood and calling it a day. I feel the best decision would be the honest weighting of the likely suffering of the child vs. it’s right to live and suffer. In a case like this it becomes more of a euthanasia issue, with the parents speaking for the child.

      Personally I think the ethical arguments against the idea of personhood at conception are far stronger than the arguments for. It’s indefensible in a non-religious context, which makes the way it’s currently treated in the US (essentially via the guidelines of Roe though varied state to state) really the ideal for a society with secular laws. I feel Bob’s points about the spectrum combined with a group consensus about where to draw the lines offer the most practical way to deal with the issue, despite the built in vagueness, which in all honestly from my POV is built into the argument by it’s very nature. The courts decided that over the course of the pregnancy the interests of the state shift from allowing a woman to make private medical decisions to protecting the right of the fetus. I happen to agree.

    • MissingHitch

      Where does the ‘Personhood’ of the pregnant woman begin??? Certainly it should take precedence over the personhood of a group of cells……….

  • Just Saying

    and let us not be forgetful of the fact that yes saving a life is wonderful but that’s not what people who want to ban abortions are doing. NO they are saving beating hearts yes but as far as lives go they are condemning children to horrid lives. They don’t care about that fetus they saved from abortion once it’s out of the woman’s womb (born and alive of course) and they don’t give a damn what kind of life that child will lead even if it’s a tragic, hungry, angry, and/or sad life; so long as you didn’t take the opportunity of that sad life away from the child. I will acknowledge that there is a chance of a happy life but logically and realistically speaking there was one Annie and countless other orphans who were stuck in there hard-knock life.

  • asmondius

    6. You are positing that the child five minutes before birth is less human than the child 5 minutes after . Not a logical argument. There is no magic Fairy of Life that waves a wand as the person comes down the birth canal.

    7. It’s human, has unique DNA, it’s alive. The Romans used your same argument to practice infanticide – after all, they can’t even feed themselves!

    8. I agree that this is a speculative argument that is unnecessary.

    9. I agree that this is an ill-advised argument. However, since many more women give birth than have abortions, your stated statistic is somewhat disingenuos.

    10. I agree that this is a speculative argument that is unnecessary.

    • 90Lew90

      Check out your church’s track record regarding the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which it is signatory. Check out its track record on abortion. It holds its line on abortion for no other reason other than that it has boxed itself into a corner theologically and it must remain consistent, no matter how primitive the knowledge on which the theology is based. It is not out of concern for infants or mothers that the church is anti-abortion, it is out of concern to protect its own cant. The excommunication of a nun who facilitated an abortion for a nine-year-old rape victim attests to this fact. The nun is condemned to Hell for helping a nine-year-old girl to prevent a pregnancy which may well have killed her and, even more obscene, resulted from a rape. Presumably the nun was a faithful woman and this sentence was a fate worse than death to her.

      Up until now I’ve been finding you vaguely amusing and pretty pathetic. If you’d like to really get the gloves off and let me tear into your fucking stupid, rancid, infuriatingly persistent vestige of mankind’s ignorance, you carry on as you are. I hear old Frank the Hat has hired a load of exorcists. Perhaps their modern-day equivalent would have been more appropriate: psychiatric treatment for the whole fucking flock.

      • asmondius

        Why the apparent hatred of Catholicism? If it makes you feel better, feel free to express whatever it is that you dislike. But please be sure you know what it is you are criticizing.
        For starters:
        * excommunication is not a condemnation to hell
        * A ‘faithful’ nun would never facilitate an abortion
        * Abortion is a barbaric and evil practice – it protects no one

        • 90Lew90

          You’re at it again. The faithful nun is excluded from all ministry and from receiving the Eucharist. Unless she apologises for facilitating the abortion for the nine-year-old rape victim, thus ending a pregnancy which may well have killed her, and thus admitting that she was wrong to do so, she’s for hell.

          “A ‘faithful’ nun would never facilitate an abortion.” Perhaps you’re right. But any human being, given these circumstances, would. You’re showing up the barbarity of your religion. And it is barbarous no matter how much it smiles.

          “Abortion is a barbaric and evil practice – it protects no one.” It is undesirable and should be a measure of last resort. But a nine-year-old rape victim should spend the last months of her life being killed by the offspring of the man who raped her? And you’re talking about barbarity? This stuff beggars belief. If I hadn’t seen it so many times before I would have you written off as a lone loon. But no, you’re textbook.

          Why Catholicism? I’ve already told you I hold religions in contempt. It happens that Catholicism is the one I’m most familiar with, and also the one whopper that’s guilty of so much unconscionable crime.

          What about that jiggery-pokery on the UN Convention? I have to tell you, you’d need blinkers the size of elephant ears to deny the shit your church is up to its neck in. And the only reason these matters aren’t going to international law is because of the ludicrous status of the Vatican — a big house — as a state.

        • asmondius

          I guess you didn’t hear – someone brought a request for indictment concerning the abuse cases to the International Court in Geneva. It was thrown out.

        • 90Lew90

          What are you talking about? Elaborate and a citation please.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      6. You are positing that the child five minutes before birth is less human than the child 5 minutes after . Not a logical argument.

      And not my argument.

      7. It’s human, has unique DNA, it’s alive.

      That’s nice. And my argument stands.

      since many more women give birth than have abortions, your stated statistic is somewhat disingenuos.

      You’ll have to explain how the numbers have any relevance to my argument.

      • asmondius

        6. ‘I’m simply arguing that birth is a big deal.’ Looks like an argument to me.

        7. ‘The only thing that connects the two ends of the spectrum is the Homo sapiens DNA.’ This is conveniently incomplete. What also connects the ‘spectrum’ is life and individuality, ie human personhood. A human corpse has ‘Homo sapiens DNA’, as does the fingernail you just discarded from your body.

        9. As I said, not worth arguing about. But quoting Guttmacher and presenting it as objectively accepted fact, for example is disingenuous. Using wikiperida as a source is also problematic.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

          6. ‘I’m simply arguing that birth is a big deal.’ Looks like an argument to me.

          My point remains. What you said before wasn’t my argument.

          7. ‘The only thing that connects the two ends of the spectrum is the Homo sapiens DNA.’ This is conveniently incomplete. What also connects the ‘spectrum’ is life and individuality, ie human personhood.

          You tell me: if “personhood” isn’t what a newborn has that a single cell doesn’t, what is it?

          We have lots of words for subtle distinctions after birth: newborn, baby, child, toddler, 2-year-old, kindergartener, and so on and so on. And yet these all have the same arms, legs, eyes, brain, skin, and so on–none of which the single cell has. Surely English can find a word to describe the fruit of the 9-month gestation process.

  • 90Lew90

    Here: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/10/20-arguments-against-abortion-rebutted-2-of-4/#comment-1471033367 our new best friend asmondius said the following regarding catholic clerical child abuse:

    “I guess you didn’t hear – someone brought a request for indictment concerning the abuse cases to the International Court in Geneva. It was thrown out.”
    I’ve repeatedly asked for this claim to be substantiated, and have been studiously ignored, because he made it up.

    Add to that he’s trying to redefine paedophilia so as to claim that what was perpetrated by catholic clergy wasn’t paedophilia. Add to that that he wants to dictate new terms on evolution. Add to that that he wants to rewrite the history of what was done to Galileo. And what do you get?

    I’d kinda hoped for better from this guy, but it appears he’s as bad as any Bible-thumping fundy. Now, he’s fully in line with his church in trying to blame gay people, the 1960s, the 1970s, the sexual revolution, the devil and not least, the victims themselves, for the horrors that his church’s clergy inflicted on children in their tens of thousands (that we know of). But he’s departing from his church’s line on the other issues. Technically this puts him in water as deep and hot as Galileo was in. I wonder what he makes of that.

    So, asmondius, would you like to clear this up about that Geneva case? Either point me to it or admit that you made it up? And still have the neck to charge someone else with “exaggerating to score a cheap point”.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/ Bob Seidensticker

      Yeah–I’ve noticed that he has clumsily avoided the Geneva question. And the loving focus on the definition of pedophilia has been to turn the focus away from the problem itself.

      Given that he seems to be trying to be modern and moderate, I would’ve thought that acknowledging the problem honestly would be the way to go.

  • Marilou Fortin

    I approve abortion but only under few circumstances like rape, disability (by it I mean a sickness that could endanger both mom and/or baby, not the kid being diagnosed with a common disability), a protection that didn’t worked (meaning that the child wasn’t even wanted in first place and that peoples were responsibles) even then it could be solved by adoption I think , and under aged mother as it can be high risked to be pregnant under a certain age, not counting the responsibilities of taking care of a child when you’re not even an adult. These 4 conditions appart…I’m totally against it and think peoples should take their responsibility as a parent, this system should not be abused of…and may be only used for high risk cases.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      The issues are different in different countries, so I’ll only speak from the standpoint of conditions/laws in the U.S.

      Adoption is no answer. Of all unwanted pregnancies taken to term (that is, the baby is delivered) only 2% are adopted. Obviously many of those are people in a stable situation where accepted an accidental baby works out fine, but there are lots of women for whom this baby is a life changer.

      You say that people should take responsibility for their own actions. Fair enough, but when someone goes to the hospital because of a car accident, we patch them up. Even if the accident was their fault we patch them up. An unwanted pregnancy works the same way.

      Finally, this is a difficult moral question only if you consider the zygote to be morally equivalent to a newborn baby. It’s not. If you want to see it this way and govern your life as such (even tell others this), that’s fine. The problem is when someone like you wants to impose their beliefs on the rest of the country by law. (I’m not saying this is your goal.)

    • Aaron-Kelly Catt

      how does rape take away the intrinsic value of a human. how it was conceived isn’t what makes it human. It’s like saying, “I’d never pay for a slave, but if someone gave me one I’d take it..”

  • Aaron-Kelly Catt

    Nope, not much better…holding out hope though.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Holding out hope that these arguments will be compelling? If they’re not compelling, point out the problems.


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