“I Do Abortions Because I Am a Christian”

Christian abortionDr. Willie Parker is an abortion provider and a Christian.

He’s received a lot of press lately, including a long piece in Esquire magazine, for being one of only two doctors who provides care at the last abortion clinic in Mississippi. That’s a clinic that the governor wants shut down to achieve his goal of Mississippi as “an abortion-free zone.”

And four other states are also down to one clinic.

Praise for Christians

I have plenty to disagree with Christians about, but I seek out opportunities to celebrate Christians with whom I agree. Rev. Barry Lynn is head of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. Senator Rob Portman is a Republican who reversed himself on the same-sex marriage issue after his son came out as gay. And Dr. Parker is a Christian who feels that he is doing the Lord’s work by helping women get essential healthcare.

Parker’s path to his profession

Dr. Parker makes the trip to Mississippi from his home in Chicago twice a month. He’s Harvard educated and gave up a career as college professor and obstetrician to become an abortion provider. The realization that this would be his civil rights struggle is what he calls his “come to Jesus” moment, and he became an abortion provider on the day that Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his church.

Mississippi used to have 13 abortion clinics, and anti-abortionists want to shut down the last one. Since they can’t make abortion illegal, they want to make it impractical by imposing nuisance requirements. These include demands that clinic doctors must have hospital admitting privileges in case of complications (unnecessary since any such situation would go in through the emergency room), scary information that must be provided by the doctor (which is one sided and not always scientifically correct), unnecessary regulations that only drive up costs, unnecessary second ultrasounds (some with the technician required to identify the fetal parts to the woman), and so on.

Mississippi social metrics aren’t so good

Hey, kids! Here are some fun stats about Mississippi. Besides having a fun name, it has the highest teen birth rate in the United States—nearly four times the rate of the lowest state, New Hampshire. It has the highest rate of unintended pregnancy, at 63%. While it only has one abortion clinic, it has 38 crisis pregnancy centers. And it has the highest rates of poverty, of gonorrhea, of obesity, and of infant mortality in the country. But it’s also the most religious state.

(Christianity doesn’t have much to show for here.)

The other side of the issue

Anti-abortion activists argue that Mississippi residents seeking abortions can always go out of state, and about two-thirds are already forced to. Not only is going out of state not an option for poor women, but this was the argument segregationists made about black students who wanted to attend whites-only state colleges.

Another odd argument is that the status quo is a plot against black babies since many of the women seeking abortions are black. In fact, we’re seeing black women trying to take control of and responsibility for the size of their families. Most women seeking an abortion already have children to consider. And it is inconsistent to hear concern for the disadvantage coming out of the mouths of the same people who want to cut funding for social programs and education.

The National Right to Life News was unimpressed with the adulatory Esquire piece. Consider some of their complaints.

  • Dr. Parker performs too many abortions per day during his visits to Mississippi. That’s easily solved—open more clinics and pay for more doctors.
  • Dr. Parker is reported to have done late-term abortions. Then remove meaningless red tape in the way of getting abortions earlier.
  • Dr. Parker is quoted as underestimating the fraction of abortions after the first trimester. So earlier is better? Great—sounds like you accept the spectrum argument, that the inherent worth of the fetus increases during gestation. Again, the solution is encouraging early pregnancy tests and quickly providing complete information so that any abortion happens as soon as possible.
  • The teeny chopped-up fetus looks gross. The result of any medical operation can be yucky. Imagine holding down your lunch while watching a surgeon poking around inside a chest or abdomen. And if the issue is fetal pain, “the neurological wiring [to feel pain] is not in place until … after the time when nearly all abortions occur” (source).

Harm reduction

Anti-abortion activists, do you really want to reduce abortions? ’Cause if you are, you sure aren’t going about it the right way.

Zero abortions won’t happen, whether abortion is legal or not. Making abortion illegal doesn’t eliminate it; it simply drives it underground. What you need to do is attack the problem at the source: the half of all pregnancies in the U.S. that are unwanted. Reduce the demand for abortions and you reduce abortions.

Not only will this turn pro-choice enemies into allies, but now you’re open to explore why other developed countries have so much lower teen pregnancy rates.

(I have more recommendations for the pro-life movement here.)

There are people in the world so hungry
that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.
— Mahatma Gandhi

Photo credit: ClinicEscort

About Bob Seidensticker
  • MNb

    “but I seek out opportunities to celebrate Christians with whom I agree.”
    This is one of the things I like about Patheos-Atheist, especially compared to Ftb. Patheis-atheist – you are not the only one – challenges atheist prejudices as well. That’s what skepticism means to me.

    “Dr. Parker makes the trip to Mississippi from his home in Chicago twice a month.”
    In case he reads this: this hardcore atheist takes his hat off.

  • http://opportunityseekers20.blogspot.it AndyT

    Abortion has always been a very sensitive issue…
    Yet, I don’t get why these Christians opposing abortion are also opposed to birth control and sex ed!
    I know, they claim anyone should be sexually abstinent outside the “holy covenant” of marriage, but, even if everyone followed their rules, what about:
    1) Women with life-threatening pregnancies?
    2) Women getting pregnant because of rape?
    3) Women expecting a seriously and helplessly ill foetus?
    4) …and teenage girls being forced into choosing to abort as their fundamentalist parents didn’t want them to follow sex ed classes, but also don’t want to pay the price for their narrowmindedness and lazyness in letting their daughters getting pregnant?
    I would like to see some Christian answer.

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

      Is abortion the Holocaust that the Christians say that it is? Then hand out condoms and birth control pills like candy to make sure that there are very few unwanted pregnancies. That they don’t do this shows the hypocrisy of their position.

      So teens have sex. So what? You minimize the harm, unlike what’s happening now.

      • Kodie

        A) They thrive on shaming women.
        B) They know damn well people are going to fuck. Making the prevention methods difficult or expensive to obtain or simply not educating people, they know they’re not going to stop fucking.
        C) Adoption brokers in the form of Pregnancy Crisis
        Centers. Giving childless Christian couples first pick of healthy white infants after luring young women about to get abortions and giving them false hope they can manage to raise a child alone, and then “getting real” with them, giving them little choice but to give their child a “good home” with some other family. And then not giving a shit.

        Christians will not see this. They think sex is a sin and everything would work out perfectly if everyone just saved sex for marriage, and if an accident occurs, adoption is the best! I know it sounds like a conspiracy theory but religion works a lot like the mafia.

        • MNb

          “They think sex is a sin”
          One of the most disgusting aspects of christianity. It should be noted that it’s shared by judaism and islam.
          In this case I think a conspiracy theory justified. The conspiracy is not exactly hidden; evidence in abundance.

        • asmondius

          False statement.

        • Kodie

          Aren’t you liars ever afraid of god’s justice?

        • asmondius

          Gosh, I so dislike dealing with the third-string on Bob’s blog.

          ‘you liars’ – great.

        • Kodie

          Good. You’re a liar, so sleep well.

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

          Since you’re not holding up so good, I’m not sure that’s a smart estimate.

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

          Wait–you’re not saying that they simply manufacture a problem that Christianity is the solution for … ? Surely not.

        • Kodie

          Why else would they work so hard to close off all alternatives to the Christian lifestyle, and if that doesn’t work for you, they can at least harvest the children? But ask a Christian, it’s because women should just not have sex or they have to get married, and we don’t want to pay for their slutty lifestyles, we don’t approve, and it’s their own fault if they can’t afford it. If you can’t have Christian values, at least don’t deprive your child of having them… they have to face consequences blah blah blah adoption is a beautiful thing! For the couple who want a child but can’t have one naturally, of course. They tend to leave off the last part.

          Christians do not want to reduce women seeking abortions, because that sluttiness turns a profit and also makes Christians out of those fetuses.

        • 90Lew90

          Conspiracy theory? There is documentary evidence of the catholic church conspiring with Franco basically to steal babies. Forced adoptions or mothers being told their babies had died, only for them to be handed over to good catholic supporters of the regime, thus it’s win-win. It beggars belief. Never mind his writing, I’ll forever respect George Orwell for taking a bullet in the neck fighting that crowd.

        • Kodie

          Usually when I have said this before, it sounds crazy and far-fetched. Christians are predominant in our society, and Christians do not identify with these motives, but then they don’t identify with the motives to make money by recruiting new pawns, who market their business for free, to attract new tithers.

        • Pofarmer

          Most American christians are in denial. They have the benefit of living in a free, modern, technological society, while simultaneously wishing for the return of “the good old days” of religious authoritatian rule, while also ignoring the effects of that rule. When you tell them about things like the Magdalene laundries, or the stealing of babies in Spain and elsewhere, they think you’re “persecuting” them to even mention it. Protestants like to point out they aren’t Catholic, so it doesn’t count for them, while ignoring they follow an awful lot of the same doctrines.

        • asmondius

          Because those stories are exactly that – ‘stories’.

          Swallowed by people whose intellectual curiosity qoutient is satisfied by browsing a web site or two.

        • Kodie

          Whereas you search for the truth up your butt.

        • asmondius

          I am truly saddened that you spend precious moments of your life making such juvenile comments to strangers on a blog. If this practice makes you feel superior somehow, there must be some shortcoming in your life. I sincerely hope that it gets better for you.

        • Kodie

          ^That’s got to win for hypocrisy.

          I don’t spend the rest of my life believing in fairy tales.

        • Pofarmer

          Really, so the magdalene laundries weren’t a thing? Hundreds and thousands of women buried with no gravestones and no remebrance? Hundreds of orphan babies buried much the same way. You think an estimated 300,000 children in spain taken from mothers and sold into adoption markets is just a story. How the fuck immoral are you?

        • asmondius

          I suppose everyone except you is an idiot.

        • purr

          Do you have arguments that are not childish snark?

        • asmondius

          I can only work with the material at hand.

        • hector_jones

          Yes the bible is lousy material to work with.

        • Kodie

          You are.

        • purr

          Are you just here to preach and feel self-righteous?

          Make an actual argument, kiddo.

        • asmondius

          Was there some great thought that you espoused?

          Did I blink and miss it?

        • purr

          Please answer the question.

          Thx.

        • MNb

          Not only in Franco-Spain; also in Argentina and, of all countries, Australia.

        • 90Lew90

          The catholic church in particular has always been cosy with fascist regimes.

        • asmondius

          Like Obama?

        • Kodie

          Thanks for letting us know we never have to take you seriously.

        • asmondius

          All policies engendered by the government, not the Church.

        • asmondius

          The Church had nothing to do with it.

        • Kodie

          Oh, liar liar, pants on fire.

        • 90Lew90

          I’m afraid most reputable historians would disagree with you. Paul Preston for example, pretty much the world’s leading authority on Franco’s Spain. Try reading The Spanish Holocaust. Your church doesn’t come out of that looking too good and he has no horse in the race other than to write what happened down.

        • asmondius

          First you say ‘most reputable’ and then you use only one as a reference. Which is it?

          I believe you are confusing the wrong that some Catholics participated in with the Church herself. Since the majority of people in Spain are Catholic, your logic would also make the Church responsible for all murders, rapes, etc..

        • 90Lew90

          I gave you a reference to the best authority on the Spanish Civil War. Do you want more? Why? You won’t even bother to read the book I cited ya moron.

        • 90Lew90

          No it wouldn’t and you know it. The church actively collaborated with the regime as it actively collaborated with fascist regimes all over the world. Mussolini for instance. The Vatican wouldn’t be a state if it weren’t for that gift from him. The church had an extensive concordat with Franco’s Spain. You can read that here: http://www.concordatwatch.eu/topic-34561.843 Catholics, mostly Jesuits, also provided intellectual muscle for extreme-right anti-liberal politics. The historian I named, Paul Preston, is recognised as a world-authority on Spain. Your church stinks.

        • asmondius

          Please detail how Christians make this money.

        • Kodie

          1. No sex education, family planning, or welfare.
          2. ????
          3. Profit!

        • asmondius

          Christians make money off of contraceptives?

        • Kodie

          Christians make money from cutting off the supply of contraceptives.

        • purr

          The arguments made by secular pro lifers are also anti sex. They too hate PP.

          what a shock

        • asmondius

          Actually, Christianity is pro-sex – contraception is not.

        • Kodie

          Your superstitions are not applicable to our constitutional rights.

        • purr

          Sex can be de-coupled from procreation. Sex did not evolve JUST for procreation. It is an incredibly strong social bonding tool. Humans are somewhat like bonobos – sexual dalliances strengthen social bonds.

        • Pofarmer

          What an idiotic statement, your flavor of Christianity, catholicism, is most definately NOT pro sex. You decouple sex and humanity from what it is, and try to define it as you want it to be, and then wonder why there are failures. Until relatively recently, infertile couples could not even be married in the Church. GMAFB.

        • asmondius

          ‘They know damn well people are going to fuck.’

          This is the kernel of wisdom driving the support of abortion.

        • purr

          And it’s 100% TRUE.
          Abstinence only is a FAILURE because people like having sex so much that they take all sorts of risks.

        • Kodie

          Face the truth, you only care because they told you to care.

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

          “kernel”? More like a Rock of Gibraltar. That’s the issue–people are drawn to screwing.

          Let’s acknowledge that it exists and deal with it. Wishful thinking and idiotic sex ed isn’t going to solve the problem of unwanted pregnancies.

        • Pofarmer

          The truth is hard. Biology is stronger than theology.

      • asmondius

        ‘So teens have sex. So what?’

        So they shouldn’t.

        • purr

          But they will. Get your head out of the sand. People like to have sex, it’s an incredibly strong biological urge. it’s why your pious priests can’t stop raping little children.

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

          Why? Just cuz you said so isn’t enough, I’m afraid.

          I’ve written more in support of premarital sex in this blog, if you want a more detailed discussion.

        • smrnda

          Why not?

          If I said ‘teens should not ride unicycles’ does that mean they should not?

    • asmondius

      Many forms of modern ‘sex education’ sex without formal commitment via contraception.

      Birth control attempts to disassociate sex from new life.

      It follows that abortion becomes just another form of birth control.

      Pregnancy is a normal and healthy affair for human beings, else we would not be here.

      • purr

        What’s wrong with non-procreative sex?

        And no, pregnancy is not healthy for women. It maims kills and injures them, in the millions. Too many pregnancies will eventually wear out a woman’s body. It is incredibly hard on the female body.

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

          Abortion has 1/10 the maternal mortality as carrying a fetus to term.

        • MNb

          So much for Intelligent Design.

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

        Ah, wouldn’t it be nice if the focus was on unwanted pregnancy so that we’d minimize those. Then you’d have less complaint about abortion as birth control.

      • Pofarmer

        And yet, sex is nearly always between monogamous pairs in lomg term or semi long term relationships. It’s almost like it’s I dunno, a natural evolved thing?

        Sex is not just about procreation. This is one of the fundamental missunderstandings of Catholic theology. Sex has a social function, a bonding function, a stress relief function, all sorts of things OTHER than provreation. You keep arguing we are not animals, we are special. Then why so you keep trying to drag sex down to the animal level?

        Pregnancy is normal, it is also dangerous. Before modern medicine mortality from birth for women could be as high as one in 8. Infant mortality could easily be 1 in 4 or higher. Newsflash, we no longer need 10 kids to raise 4 healthy ones to continue the line. Death from infant mortality now is in the low teens per thousand. Maternal mortality is around 12 in 100,000. Did theology do that? No, modern medicine and science did it. And this is also why the whole “holocaust of abortion” nonsense is so disgustingly stupid, why the whole rejection of birth control is so counterproductively absurd. At the beginning of the 20th century, around 1in 4 kids died before they reached the age of 5. Think about that. These are living, breathing kids dying if the flu and pnuemonia. Enter modern medicine and that number drops exponentially almost over night. I’m so sick and tired of this arrogant, outdated, moralizing bullshit. For thousands of years the church stigmatized women. It put them in “laundries” in complete imprisonment, sent them away to convents, stole their babies, an almost infinite array of vulgar immorality directed at women who’s only fault was being human. You know what? I. Am. Sick. To. Fucking. Death. Of. It. And I don’t care who’s mother reads it. Dick.

  • MNb

    Equally telling is the table about teenage birth rates. The USA is lower on the list (ie has a higher rate) than illustrous countries like Kazakhstan and Liberia.

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

      It’s embarrassing. Whatever we’re going in the U.S., it’s not the best way.

      • MNb

        For me it’s very insightful though. It teaches me to fear fundies and bigots like Al. One reason I punch him as hard as I can (plus the others previously) is that I don’t want them to gain influence where I live. When they are a small minority they are just funny folklore; that’s how many Dutch see them. The name Staphorst (the most famous Dutch village where orthodox christians live) has since long become a condescending metaphor for something funny and backward due to religion, plus the affectionate feeling “they still belong to us”.
        But the USA show what happens when they get political influence.

        • asmondius

          You get the birth of the country and a good Constitution.

      • MNb

        Also today the USA have managed to shame The Netherlands.

        http://edition.cnn.com/2014/08/13/politics/u-s-iraq/index.html

        Though the problems of the yezidi’s have been widely covered in Dutch media nobody has suggested something like this yet.

      • asmondius

        Yes, we’ve told people that the fact that babies result from sex is a lot of hooey and that no one need ever worry about it.

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

          Is that the problem? Red states have higher rates of teen pregnancy than blue states. So they’re doing an even worse job teaching sex ed? Perhaps I’m out of date with what public schools are teaching–I didn’t realize it was “fuck all you want.”

          And what about the abysmal performance against some of the European countries on these metrics–unwanted pregnancy, teen pregnancy, abortions, etc.? What explains their far superior statistics?

    • asmondius

      The problem is, the overwhelming majority of abortions in the US are performed upon adult women – not teenagers.

      • purr

        Teen birth rates are highest in red states where teens have sex regardless because abstinence only education is an abject failure.

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

        18% are on teens (source)

  • smrnda

    Of note, looking up stats online a few days ago, I noted that the Netherlands had a fairly low age for first time having sex, but it also had both a low abortion rate and a low teenage pregnancy rate, showing that better sex education does a lot of good.

    • asmondius

      How is theirs ‘better’?

      You’ve given us half a loaf of bread here – a ‘low age for first time having sex’ is a meaningless statistic by itself.

      • smrnda

        That’s why I pointed out the other statistic.

        In the Netherlands, people have sex for the first time at younger ages than many other nations.

        Even though they are having sex younger, there are less teen pregnancies and abortion, meaning that it’s clearly not a problem with young people having sex, but about sex education and access to contraception.

  • RichardSRussell

    “Pro-life” is short for “proliferators”.

    • JT Rager

      It’s a shame… The ones who proliferate are the ones who are forced to because of lack of fiscal means. And the wealth of the household one has is most strongly determined by the economic status of the household that person grew up in. So the poor are forced to give birth to more poor people, who can never escape. Fucking sickens me.

      • RichardSRussell

        Sadly, there are plenty of Christians who are well able to control their own fertility — and where the woman involved may actually want to — but they’ve fallen under the sway of the Biblical injunction to “go forth, be fruitful, and multiply” (evidently overlooking the possibility of noticing the world’s overpopulation problem and reporting back with a snappy salute and a hearty “Yes, sir, mission accomplished, sir!”).

        The extreme example of this is the Quiverfull movement, which basically wants devout wives to pop out brainwashable little Christian-soldier prospects as fast as they can for as long as their bodies hold out, on the theory that each of the kidlets is yet another arrow in the Lord’s quiver of weaponry with which to smite the unbelievers.

        Yes, indeed, fucking sickening.

        • MNb

          Idea for the Quiverfull movement: organize clinics a la Lebensborn.

        • 90Lew90

          Agreed. My Irish catholic mother (now deceased) was one of 14 and I have more than 90 (I’ve forgotten the exact number and am not about to count) first cousins on her side. Weddings were always pretty good fun when I was a kid though… But that was an older, pretty ignorant generation. There’s just no excuse for that kind of rampant breeding now, at least in developed countries. It’s reckless and completely selfish.

        • Scott_PA

          The Quiverfull movement sounds a lot like natural selection.

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

        Well, but if the problems go away, there would be no need for Christianity. It’s like abortion: if Republicans overturned Roe v. Wade, they couldn’t point to an ongoing problem for them to solve.

        Christianity and the GOP talk a good story about improving life, but the not-so-great status quo suits them just fine.

        • TheUnknownPundit

          Both sides of the abortion debate raise tons of money over this sensitive wedge issue. Modern politics is a kabuki theater where fear and self-righteousness is employed to propel people to open their wallets.
          I think the pro-choice side could make the issue go away if they would publicize the punishment scheme the pro-lifers would implement if they were in a position to do so. From what I’ve read over the years, pro-lifers would treat the abortion providers more severely under the law than as compared to the women who obtained an illegal abortion. Women would face little punishment and be granted immunity if the woman testified for the state in a trial against the abortionist. In short, pro-lifers would mete out unequal punishments to the parties breaking abortion laws. They do this because, politically speaking, pro-life leaders understand that support for their position would shrink dramatically if women were punished as severely as compared to abortion providers. I think if pro-choice legislators pointed out the hypocrisy of this unbalanced approach towards punishment, the pro-life forces would be exposed and put on the defensive.
          If a person thinks abortions should be illegal and punishment meted out, then both parties deserve equal punishment. If you can’t in good conscience bring yourself to punish the woman to the same extent you would the medical staff, then what you are proposing is unjust to the medical staff. End of story.
          Full disclosure, I was a moderate pro-lifer who switched to the pro-choice position when I learned how they would set up their punishment regime. We have enough unjust laws on the books (I’ve been against the WOD for 25+ years), we don’t need any more unjust laws.

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

          You bring an interesting new idea to the table.

          I suppose the anti-choice side could make a comparison with prostitution. Some laws are lopsided so that the woman is punished little or not at all, and the customer (or worse, the pimp) are punished more.

        • TheUnknownPundit

          The anti-choice crowd would follow the same template the drug warriors have, and that is to demonize the seller/service provider as the ultimate criminal in all this. The drug laws put the metaphorical black hats on the heads of drug sellers and they face much more severe punishments as compared to those arrested for mere possession. The anti-choice folks would do the very same thing with abortion providers, putting the black hats on them and making them the focus of people’s hatred and rage as victimizers of women. The women themselves would be painted as unfortunate victims of these vile abortion providers in much the same way the drug laws treat those guilty of mere drug possession as victims of unscrupulous drug peddlers. My opinion of the situation, FWIW.

        • purr

          They will of course go after low income women. Current laws in some red states target minorities who use drugs. If your baby is born drug addicted or stillborn, they will charge you with murder even if the drugs had no effect on the outcome.

        • purr

          I’ve heard some prolifers say that women should get the death penalty for abortion.

        • TheUnknownPundit

          Of that I have no doubt but they wouldn’t set the policies and penalties for a restrictive abortion regime.
          The recommended punishments I refer to in my post came from a conservative writer who had talked with theologians, pro-life law professors, pro-life politicians, and leaders of pro-life organizations. These are the people who have already come up with recommended punishments should the pro-lifers ever get the chance to implement their version of abortion laws. Capital punishment isn’t on the menu for these folks as they understand it would never fly politically.

        • purr

          Let me run this bit of logic past you, tell me what you think. I have been reading Secular Pro Life Perspectives and one of the posters has an interesting argument…

          It goes like this:

          Women have a right to bodily autonomy, but, if they cause an innocent moral being (zygote) to be in a state of existential dependency, they are morally obligated to provide ‘duty of care’ to that zygote. Should they abort (which is their right, since they are not obligated to let their body be used without consent) they should then face a jail sentence for murder, because they failed in their ‘duty of care’.

          He has come up with many analogies, saying that a woman aborting is comparable to say, throwing your friend in freezing water and then refusing to help them. You made them needy, you are morally obligated to help them, and if you refuse, you are guilty of a crime and should go to jail.

          Now, does it sound to you like he is criminalizing female sexuality? Sure sounds like it to me. This, however, he denies, rather strenuously. But, every one of his analogies involve harm done, and punishment for that harm. So it would also logically follow, per his analogies, that if the woman is ‘ultimately responsible’ for the neediness of the zygote, then she is *ultimately responsible* for any harm that will befall it, even IF she plans to stay pregnant.

          If none of this makes sense to you, welcome to the club.

        • TheUnknownPundit

          The problem I see with the position you mention is that I can’t think of the zygote as a separate entity entitled to legal protection. While it’s in her womb, it is part of her and not separate. To my thinking she has the right to control what’s in her body and act accordingly, even if it ends the nascent human life inside her. To claim she has the right to abort and then be charged with murder means she doesn’t have the right to do what she did. It seems disingenuous to me.
          I definitely don’t get the freezing water analogy. Seems you would need some motive for throwing someone into freezing water in the first place. One would already be guilty of assault in doing so. And generally speaking, none of us have a duty to risk harm to ourselves to save another’s life. So if it were an accident, we wouldn’t be required to risk harm to ourselves even if we bear responsibility. And lastly, there’s a huge difference between throwing a person into freezing water as compared to destroying a zygote that has no sense of its own existence while still in the womb.
          In the final analysis, the abortion issue rests upon the competing rights between a pregnant woman wanting to terminate her pregnancy against the rights of the nascent human life in her womb to not be terminated. Because the nascent life in her isn’t self-aware while the woman is self-aware, I can’t see the abortion act as murder and therefore can’t view the act as on the same plane as murder.
          Where does one draw the line here? It’s not that I don’t have moral qualms about many elective abortions, I do. For me, it has to be with the autonomy of a woman to decide the fate of her unborn while inside her. If we were to extend rights to the unborn, we would be opening another Pandora’s Box of rules and regulations covering pregnancy that very well could turn women with problem pregnancies into criminals.
          The best way to prevent abortions is to not get pregnant in the first place. To that end, I support comprehensive sex-ed for students. Ironically, many pro-lifers oppose sex-ed.

        • purr

          . And generally speaking, none of us have a duty to risk harm to ourselves to save another’s life.

          Yes, and his contention is that you are morally obligated to risk harm to yourself to save the life of someone that you put in a ‘state of existential dependency’ and that if you refuse to render aid you are guilty of a crime and must do jail time.

          I have been arguing this as if zygotic personhood were irrelevant. I have had previous debates with him where he argues that zygotes are rational beings that simply have not yet expressed their inherent rationality. His argument is based in ‘ontology’ and ‘teleology’ which basically means he’s a bullshitter.

        • TheUnknownPundit

          When I crush an acorn on the sidewalk, I don’t think I’ve destroyed an “unborn tree” and when I have a couple of eggs over-easy for breakfast in the morning, I don’t think I’m eating “unborn chickens”. I tend to look at developing human life in the same way.
          And another issue to consider is that nature aborts 10’s or perhaps 100’s of millions of fertilized eggs annually. The eggs don’t get firmly implanted in the womb and the body rejects them. Usually the women never even knew they were pregnant. So nature aborts more pregnancies than women do by choice, yet pro-lifers think women who choose to terminate a pregnancy should be punished for ending a pregnancy. Your friend, if a believer, should perhaps bitch at god or complain about nature if not a believer.

        • smrnda

          I would like to sell a pro-life person a house, and what I would give them are some blueprints and a bunch of bricks in an empty lot, and demand they pay the full price. By the logic they employ, that is equal to a fully formed house.

        • purr

          They will just point to teleology as a rebuttal.

        • MNb

          The ultimate goal of the blueprints, the brick and the empty lot is the house.

        • purr

          They will reject the analogy because zygotes have goals and bricks and blueprints do not

        • MNb

          And I will repeat that the ultimate goal of the blueprints, the bricks and the empty lot is the house. Any argument they will bring up to contradict this I will use to contradict that zygotes have goals.
          I’m pretty good at games like that.

        • purr

          But people have to intervene to build the house. This was the same criticism that was leveled at Bob’s excellent auto analogy.

          Whereas, they say, a zygote IS the blueprint AND the house. Then they spout some vs about self direction.

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

          As has been noted, no, the zygote is not the blueprint. There are quite a lot of forks in the road taken during gestation that are not predetermined from the DNA.

          But to your main point:there is a process that happens to turn the zygote into a person, and there’s a process that turns a pile of lumber into a house. Are you saying that the analogy is flawed?

        • purr

          The zygote contains a blueprint, but that blueprint is not destiny because of epigenetics.

          No, I do not think the analogy is flawed. I was just pointing out the teleologic argument used by pro liars.

          Whether or not gestation is self directed is irrelevant. And teleology is flawed and discredited.

        • MNb

          I invite the pro-lifer how the zygote will develop without the direction provided by the mother it’s parasitizing on.
          This in addition to BobS’ comment underneath.

        • purr

          Speaking of games, I have a question for you. This guy who is coming up with the horrible analogies mentioned above said this, and I paraphrase:

          You cannot criticize every little part of my analogy, because the analogy only has to be conceptually similar to illustrate an underlying point. It need not be perfectly analogous.

          ———–

          Ok, is that a get out of jail free card if your analogy sucks? You MUST accept the validity of my analogy, because the *concept* is the same.

          He just compared conception to kidnapping…and you can’t kidnap someone and then shoot them if they attack you. Therefore, you can’t conceive by having sex, and then kill an innocent moral zygote being.

        • MNb

          Of course it’s not a free card.
          I must admit I don’t get this analogy. Why can’t I kidnap someone and then shoot them if they attack me? In fact that’s exactly what kidnappers do. Next I would point out that for various non-religious reasons I think kidnapping bad, while I think sex good when a few conditions are fulfilled.
          OK, this is the serious approach. Probably I would not take someone using this analogy seriously anyway. So I would begin with asking how kidnapping is similar to sex. Does he force his partner the same way a kidnapper forces his victim? Does the victim of the kidnapping come into existence as a result of the deed? If no, then what is “the underlying concept”?
          And then I would formulate this in way more sarcastic manner.

        • purr

          It’s his THESIS and he thinks it’s a slamdunk.

          His other analogy is that you are living in a house, some people are living in a tent, and you invite them into your house because a blizzard is coming. Once they are in your house (ie pregnant) you then have a moral obligation to provide duty of care (not cause harm and provide reasonable assistance to keep them free from harm) and if you throw them out to freeze to death, you have failed in your duty of care, and then must face the consequences of your actions, perhaps a jail term, for putting them in SED and then killing them – oh yeah, you kick the family out because the wife’s voice annoyed you.

          There are so many problems with this I don’t even know where to begin.

          I have already replied to him, basically explaining, as you did, that NO, this is NOT analogous to sex, and no, bodily donation has never, and will never, fall under ‘reasonable care’.

          And of course, he’s gonna say..but the concepts are sound! Stop quibbling.

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

          Here again, I’d say that intention is the key thing that separates them. The Good Samaritan who invited people into his warm house did so deliberately and knowingly. The woman with the unwanted pregnancy didn’t want that.

        • purr

          She had sex. Pregnancy is a foreseeable consequence of sex – even with birth control. Therefore, she is the *ultimate cause* of the unborn human’s neediness + existence.

          I pointed out to him that uh, if she has caused it’s neediness, specifically, then she is ultimately responsible for miscarriages and other genetic defects too, and should be held responsible for *any* misfortune that befalls the unborn. He then accused me of engaging in moral absurdities. Oh, the irony. Mr “babe we have a moral obligation to stick it in your pooper”

          I am glad that I can come and talk to you guys, because it’s like going down a rabbit hole with these people. I need to talk to sane, intelligent folks to clear my head.

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

          She didn’t intend to get pregnant. The kidnapper intended to kidnap, and the Good Samaritan intended to have strangers in his house.

          If the point of the argument is that she knew that she might get pregnant, that’s true. And when someone who knew they might get into a car accident actually does and shows up at the ER, we take care of them. Ditto a woman who needs an abortion.

        • purr

          Precisely. Unwanted pregnancy is an accident.

          I have asked him about IVF and rape, just to see what he says. I think that he will say that rape victims are off the hook, because they didn’t consent to sex, and therefore do not owe ‘duty of care’ to the unborn. Of course, this argument is fatally flawed precisely because it argues that the unborn don’t actually have any rights, and that it’s the pregnant person’s DUTY that has to be enforced.

          Now with IVF, we have the question, can consent be withdrawn?

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

          The kidnapper intended to kidnap the person. The pregnant woman, I’m assuming, did not intend to get pregnant.

        • purr

          Oh Bob, you’re gonna laugh.

          NO, she has a *moral* obligation to refrain from vaginal sex. She can do hand jobs, blow jobs and anal. Even if she uses protection she is still the ‘ultimate cause’ of the ZEF’s neediness, and thus owes it ‘duty of care’ for putting it in a state where it is needy.

          This is the same guy who came up with the ‘zygotes are rational because they are like transformers’ argument, remember that:P

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

          Huh? Persons have goals; zygotes don’t even have brains.

        • purr

          Yes. Teleology. Its bullshit.

        • asmondius

          One may say the same about some of those posting here.

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

          Uh huh. Nice zinger.

          Didn’t I just respond to your whining about name calling? The rules don’t apply to some of us, I guess.

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

          Nice one. I speculated about that kind of pro-life thinking in the car business here.

        • asmondius

          That’s an even worse analogy than the ‘unborn chicken’.

          But let’s play your game – if someone burns the blueprints bricks, the house will not be built.

        • purr

          So that’s a case against destroying sperm and ovum!

        • smrnda

          But if you did that, and you tried to sue for damages, you would only (at best) get the cost of the bricks and whatever $ you spent to get the blueprints. The law would not treat the ‘potential house’ as anything equivalent to a completed house.

        • asmondius

          ‘ I tend to look at developing human life in the same way.’

          That may be because you have a fundamental gap in your knowledge of biology. Suggesting that the development of human beings is equivalent to that of plants or avian life reveals a very real lack of understanding.

          For one thing, the eggs you purchase and nmake for breakfast are not fertilized, so there is no chance at all you are consuming an ‘unborn chicken’.

        • purr

          So? It’s the concept that counts.

          And people have and do eat fertilized chicken eggs.

        • Kodie

          And for another thing, the chickens you purchase and make for dinner were murdered.

        • asmondius

          Here comes that biology gap again – the zygote is not ‘part of’ the mother, it is a uniquely individual life.

        • purr

          So is cancer. And a hydatidiform mole.

        • Kodie

          The zygote builds of the mother’s tissue and blood, which it couldn’t do if it could fucking live outside HER UTERUS.

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

          … that can’t live without the mother. That’s kinda the key to understanding the whole issue.

        • asmondius

          Posters say all sorts of things – so what.

        • purr

          yeah, like your hysterical jmusings

          I am sure you can take it all the way up to 11 if you try harder

        • asmondius

          Such as ….who?

        • TheUnknownPundit

          I read an exchange between Jonah Goldberg and Ramesh Ponnaru on the National Review website some years back. Ponnaru said he’d talked to several people of the type I mentioned about what the punishments should be for an illegal abortion. Sorry no link.

        • asmondius

          I heard that Obama was born in Libya.

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

          good article, thanks.

        • Pofarmer

          It’s Kenya.

        • MNb

          You don’t expect Asmondius the difference, do you?

        • Pofarmer

          There’s always some hope. I dunno, still waiting for that theological ass whupping.

        • asmondius

          The goal is to save lives, not mete out punishment.

        • purr

          Murder is a pretty serious crime, kiddo.

          I suppose there should be no jail sentence for people who go around shooting other people in the head, and simply make it illegal in name only?

        • Kodie

          You don’t care about saving lives.

        • purr

          he is a militant catholic, Kodie

        • TheUnknownPundit

          The goal is to save lives, not mete out punishment.

          That’s what drug warriors say in support of the drug laws, yet hundreds of thousands are arrested annually.
          I can only assume that you agree with the unequal punishment scenario I describe. And just so you know, I’m well aware that pro-lifers are trying to restrict abortions thus saving “lives”. But your response is a spectacular non sequitur, well done.

          My point still stands, that pro-lifers would mete out more severe punishments to the medical personnel as compared to women and that the unequal punishments are unjust, IMO. If you support unequal punishments for between the two parties to an abortion, then you support injustice. And my point still stands that this position is taken by pro-lifers purely due to political considerations, whereby equal punishments would erode support for a restrictive abortion law regime. Despite all the high-minded talk about morality, pro-lifers would enact unjust and immoral laws governing abortions just to get their way. Hypocrites one and all.

        • 90Lew90

          Agree. But don’t call this talk “high-minded”. It’s very far from “high-minded”. It’s trash. High-falootin’ maybe. High whatever, but it’s not high-minded. I’d reserve that term for actual thinking from people I respect.

        • TheUnknownPundit

          Fair enough. LOL

        • Yonah

          I wonder if you would stick with your last point when countered by a moderate pro-life position. That position being one where I seek no change in existing civil law, and I actually advocate turning back the present legal tricks to close clinics. Hands off the doctors and women. But, the flip side is an ideological position that holds that abortion is destructive to the essence of humanity, and as such, great effort should be exerted to reduce the number of abortions through the social means you advocate…namely, economic development. Another way of saying this is that the most constructive and “real” way to reduce abortions is through mundane work in bettering the human condition generally. It has been my recent experience that this position of mine is considered by pro-choice as the most anathema because of its motivation….and a methodology which is not as easy a target as the those who employ the antics of cultural war 24/7.

        • purr

          I support it. Kudos to you.

        • Pofarmer

          Chrostopher Hitchens made the point, and. I think it’s largely correct, let women control their birthrates and the poverty problems improve on their own. If you are concerned about abortion, then you should be promoting comprehensive borth control education and usage. A recent study in St. Louis showed that this program was very effective in limiting abortions.

        • asmondius

          The study in St. Louis involved a very small group of women who were given a lot of clinical supervision.

        • Pofarmer

          10000 women is not a small study.

        • Yonah

          Fine, but for those who would cite economic pressures as a strong factor in deciding for abortion, I again would assert that efforts to better economic conditions for the struggling is important toward reduction of abortions.

        • Kodie

          I have no problem with welfare measures to allow one to make whatever choice they want. Pro-lifers do tend to have a problem giving women any viable, safe, legal choice but adoption.

        • Yonah

          Perhaps, with activists. But, I am thinking about the many center-right people who are not professional activists or intensely focused…but of the general mindset that abortion isn’t good, but neither is mangling law and mangling people more than they already are in the whole matter…and the best thing is to try to reduce the number of abortions by reducing adverse societal conditions which many feel propel them to abortion.

        • Kodie

          I don’t know what you just said was relevant at all. Welfare. Do not be stingy or judgmental. Do not accuse people of being welfare queens and popping out too many kids.

          You can’t have it both ways.

        • Yonah

          I said nothing of welfare or judgment thereof. Rather, my position is typical of liberal Catholics who concentrate on working for economic justice…and such folk are always trying to increase public programs that help the poor…in addition to fighting cuts to those programs.

          You are assuming Tea Party ideology to my position, which it is not. My position is also not fundamentalist/evangelical typically as well. Generally, my position is often held by socially concerned liberal Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, some Lutherans, and some Conservative & Orthodox Jews. Such folk usually refrain from speaking about abortion out in the public square, and put their energy toward better economic policy for all.

        • Kodie

          I am speaking of the general political atmosphere. The fundies and Tea Party people are opposed to a lot of things that if we had them, they’d be good. All of them have a strong impact on women’s health, as it turns out. They’re just not all associated as a cluster of the same issue. They want poor people to stop having kids, but they don’t want to pay for them to have any way of doing so, and neither do they want to spend to help them in general. Like, just stop being poor, but don’t have babies you can’t afford, but don’t have abortions or birth control.

          I think we’re already talking past each other, anyway, but I see no reason to set an agenda to reduce the number of abortions. If it happens as a natural result of some other program that I’m in favor of, that’s fine. I don’t have an abortion clinic that I’m profiting from or anything. I disagree with the implication that there is something wrong with abortion and any agenda that would marginalize women who choose it. I think this is still a huge problem for women who want to choose abortion but are made to feel guilty and ashamed, are told they will be depressed for life, unable to conceive, etc., as they are “discouraged” from choosing it. They don’t want to be pregnant anymore, and the sooner we take away the stigma from it, the earlier people will go and get them, and the less emotional and health repercussions there will be.

          I would so much rather women could decide dispassionately that they do not want to be pregnant and so don’t be. Just make your appointment, you don’t have to cry about it, you don’t have to get counseled. Because you know what if it was the wrong choice, go ahead and get pregnant again. If you stay pregnant too long while deciding because it’s so heavy and so difficult and emotional and grave of a choice, and potentially remorseful, what happens when it’s just too late? I would much rather the decision be easy than hard. I know you won’t agree with me. But the more shame we place on getting an abortion, the more time someone’s going to take tormenting themselves over what to do and whether or not they can live with themselves, because of all the propaganda that tells you how you’re supposed to feel. I can’t stand that.

          Society places too much emphasis on a woman’s place and a woman’s obligation and normal things like celebrating pregnancies with baby showers, and it’s “life” and we’re supposed to do this thing, and if we don’t feel it or can’t do it now or ever, that’s not a dialogue society is having with women. It’s all “don’t” and “should”. If you’re not weeping about how you take the Pill every day, why should having an early abortion affect someone differently? Because of stigma and stereotype.

        • Yonah

          In regard to contraception, I would agree with a critique of the official Roman Catholic position and at the same time point to wide Catholic dissent of the teaching. There is no comparable teaching in the Eastern Orthodox, traditionaist Lutheran, or Jewish communities that I know of…these are groups I am familiar with.

          I would also not agree with shaming individuals on abortion, but again, prefer to effect an indirect reduction through economics. That you are unhappy with my personal motivation cannot be helped…perhaps. But, I would clarify that I while I think that abortion is harmful to humanity, in my mind, that does not equate to a position that women who have undergone abortion are bad persons.

        • 90Lew90

          Has it passed you by that the world is obscenely over-populated by humans? Is it an arrogance or a modesty to propose that we stop breeding so much?

        • Yonah

          If your solution is a great Malthusian flush to remedy “obscenely over-populated by humans”, I would ask in the wake of your potentially successful solution: Will you then have any humans left, or will you have created a new species?

        • 90Lew90

          Stop putting words in my mouth. And what are you? Irish? Answering a question with another question? I’m not talking about any “Malthusian flush” (whatever the fuck that is).

        • purr

          New toilet.

        • 90Lew90

          Eh?

        • purr

          The Malthusian Flusher..

          Designer toilet!

        • 90Lew90

          You said something about “childish snarks”. I can’t be bothered with you people. For years I’ve tried reasonable conversation and all you come out with is insane, barmy, puerile shit. And it is shit. What variety are you? Are you with Asmondius here who thinks a piece of unleavened bread turns into the flesh of a human who was god but was human and god tortured himself for your sins? Or are you one of the ones who thinks every word of the Bible (your god) is true? In which case your god is fucking daft. Excuse my swearing if it offends you but you people are a fucking plague.

        • purr

          I’m pro choice and have been mocking him this entire time.

          The Malthusian flush comment made to you was out of line so I mocked that too.

          Read the whole thread.

        • 90Lew90

          Sorry. I’m responding to a couple of these damn bluebottles and now there are veins standing out on the side of my head. Soon enough steam will start coming out of my ears. I might have to go and watch some boxing.

        • purr

          I’m a regular at Ljf and TFA.

          Used to post here a lot and slap Norm Doonan around. Jeez that guy was a misogynist.

          I change my nym a lot and as a result not everybody recognizes me all the time.

          Kodie will remember me because I paste oodles of info on how dangerous pregnancy can be

        • Yonah

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Robert_Malthus

          Malthus was very concerned about population.

          As to your question, I am an Irish Jew.

        • purr

          Are resources in infinite supply?

          Do species deserve to go extinct because humans can’t stop over breeding?

        • Yonah

          So, you have some kind of eco-neo-Malthusian position?

          I would be interested in your whole program for reducing population.

          A question: How does the “over breeding” as you call it, affect your personal life?

        • purr

          Answer my question please.

        • Yonah

          Well, I obviously do not accept abortion as a means of population control. Nor do I think the vast majority of pro-choice women see it that way…but rather a matter of a woman’s need to control her life and decisions. So, I don’t think your position helps theirs much at all, and I would guess that many women would see you trying to use the abortion issue as a tool for something other than women’s rights. So…you could perhaps discuss that with Kodie.

          Of course population is a concern for many, and there are many discussions treating that…that don’t depend on abortion as a central remedy. I should think the math on that would be pretty far-fetched…you actually think you can make a meaningful betterment of population numbers through abortion?….really, mathematically? That’s why I asked what your whole population control program looks like…you would need something more mathematically effective than abortion. What do you have in mind?

        • purr

          That still fails to answer my question.

          Do resources exist in infinite supply?

          Could the earth support a trillion people all living like Americans? 5 trillion? A gadzillion?

        • Yonah

          With gadzillion, you’ve answered your own question. But, how do you abort a gadzillion?

        • purr

          I want for *you* to give me a clear answer.
          Is there an infinite supply of resources, along with clean air and water, on the earth?

          Yes or no?

        • Yonah

          lol. We did this one.

        • purr

          Are resources infinite..

          yes or no

        • Pofarmer

          Rising crime. Overcrowding. Environmental degredation. Soil loss. Just as a start.

        • Yonah

          So, are these concerns what you think women are thinking about (or should think about) when they labor in a decision about their own pregnancies?

        • Pofarmer

          It’s something we will have to deal with as a species.

        • Yonah

          I think it has the sound of a middle aged angry white guy feeling sorry for himself…even though he’s got a farm program which is welfare that doesn’t typically get labeled as such.

        • Pofarmer

          Where the heck did that come from?

        • hector_jones

          Desperation.

        • 90Lew90

          I know that Malthus was concerned with population, but that’s a complete irrelevance. I clearly said simply that we should “stop breeding so much” and now you’ve got me down as though I’m suggesting some sort of genocide. Don’t be stupid.

        • purr

          Zie is straw manning all of us, and still refuses to answer my question regarding the supposed infinite supply of resources, along with clean air and water.

        • Yonah

          It seems to me that the word “breeding” denotes a certain misogyny in itself.

        • 90Lew90

          Your constantly resorting to straw-man arguments kinda exposes the paucity of your real ones. Is breeding not what most people are doing? It looks that way given the exponential growth in the human population in the past 300 years. And is breeding not what we’re talking about?

          First I’m for genocide and now I’m just a plain old misogynist. Go away you fool.

        • Pofarmer

          You have it exactly backward.

        • Yonah

          So, again it looks like you have a Malthus position. You want to use abortion as population control. I want to know how Kodie and other women feel about that.

        • Kodie

          You’re the one who has saving babies as an agenda. How you want to go about it, through social reform somehow magically give people the respect for life you want them to have, and choose not to have abortions, and that is how you want to reduce the number of abortions. That kind of smacks up against the population growth at some point, is what I think people are saying, not that anyone wants to use abortion as some kind of tool to keep the population down.

          There’s nothing wrong with abortion, and your mindset wants to influence people to revere the fetus like you do so they won’t have a perfectly reasonable abortion that they deep down would wish. Take for example, any given pro-life woman who just happens to get pregnant and doesn’t want to be – now to be consistent with her beliefs, she is bound to a decision that she doesn’t really want, that she could undo if she could, but she has an ethical problem that you want her to have, that I don’t have and don’t think any woman should have. It’s still not really a choice if what you want is made out to be shameful and ugly and life and babies are beautiful. That’s an emotional ploy, not a realistic one.

          People do have some stake in whether this woman chooses to live in the real world and has a simple procedure done in a reasonable amount of time, or behaves sentimentally. That is, if her mind is let’s just say “religious” about it, she’s not going to have an abortion she would otherwise choose because she is squeamish and averse to it. Compound this effort of yours to sprinkle a righteous respect for life and “inform” her choice to be YOUR choice, we’ve got lots of people competing for resources that otherwise wouldn’t. It’s just another anti-choice angle. I’m in favor of people making an honest choice, what they want, even if it’s selfish – I think it’s selfish to populate your own private municipality, but whatever, y’all think it’s “selfish” of a woman to take agency in her own life and choose abortion.

          I’m in favor of honesty and making an honest choice, not caving in to what agenda or another. No matter how pretty you make it sound, you still want to influence people to make the choice you think they should make. And people are giving you a variety of reasons that will fail in ways you don’t expect. You’re an optimist, you don’t see the flaws in your plan, and yes, you’re shades more reasonable and compassionate toward women than a typical pro-lifer. That doesn’t mean there aren’t flaws in your utopian plan.

        • Yonah

          Well, I’m happy to have the “optimist” label. You’re a good soul. Wish you well.

        • Pofarmer

          I am not advocating abortion at all.

        • 90Lew90

          And I want to know whether you think it modest or arrogant to suggest that we stop breeding so much.

        • Yonah

          What my mother did to have children deserves a better word than “breeding”.

        • hector_jones

          How about ‘spreading her legs’?

        • 90Lew90

          OK then. She got fucked.

        • purr

          haha

          You folks are awesome.

        • Kodie

          Was it the same as other animals?

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

          My primary concern is those who seek to overturn Roe v. Wade. You’re right–there are lots of pro-life advocates who don’t. (The labels are confusing since they don’t make this distinction.)

          The irony is that if the dogmatic pro-lifers would take the route you point to, they would actually be effective, quite likely more so than if Roe were actually overturned.

          I don’t see why pro-choice people are against your position. Tell me more.

        • asmondius

          Because it proposes an impossible solution.

        • purr

          Rates of abortion are lowest in countries with universal healthcare and extensive sex ed.

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

          I’ll bet asmondius is all for universal heath care. He just strikes me as that kind of guy–wanting the best for all people, rich or poor.

        • purr

          Moral purity is all that matters to him.

          Remember that Darrel Ray article I linked from skepticon 5? He talked about how religion is obsessed with sexuality because it’s the best way to control people.

          http://skepticon.org/darreltranscript/

        • Pofarmer

          Thx.

        • Yonah

          Some pro-choice…perhaps radicals…only they can say. But, I take it that they resent the motivation behind the position (a desire to reduce abortions because of a belief that abortions are generally harmful to humanity) because they have an “all or nothing” position. On the other hand, I’ve seen some pro-choice people, most notably among the leadership of national pro-choice organizations willing to work with folks of my persuasion. Currently, I am especially concerned that the methods being used to close clinics could easily be used in other areas. I would assert they have already. It seems to me that the methods of voter suppression have in many ways been transferred to the mechanics of closing clinics.

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

          Interesting overlap.

          I’m happy to work with Christians on projects of common interest. It’s great to hear a Christian make a sensible argument for choice.

          And the real win would be if the pro-life crowd would focus on education, health care, and availability of contraceptives (and so work with everyone else) rather than on overturning Roe (and so making enemies).

        • Yonah

          We’re in ball park of cooperation here, but I would point out a couple other ballparks that are showing up here…Kodie reflects a more strident voice who is much more wary of something like liberal Catholics, and a there’s a couple of guys here who are mainly interested in abortion for its contributions to population control…a view which I don’t think helps cooperation or even women’s concerns to maintain political/legal control of their bodies.

        • purr

          You are strawmanning our position. Please stop. Anti -natalists are into abortion as population control. Personally,I don’t care if a women wants to have 20 kids. However, the point I was making, is that abortion supports birth control as a backup. Not every baby needs to be born just because it can. Its that simple.

        • Yonah

          I will still be in interested how women like Kodie feel about you utilizing the issue that way.

        • Kodie

          I’m not sure you understand my position or conversate’s, so don’t ask me how I feel about something because you think you understand either. You conspicuously dodged the comment as if you understand it clearly, after it was pointed out that you’re strawmanning.

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

          If we’ve already concluded that abortion is ethical, it could play a part in population control. Seems reasonable to me.

        • Yonah

          I wonder if NARAL and Planned Parenthood would adopt that language.

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

          World population growth isn’t their issue.

          Do you think you’ve found some Achilles heel? I’m missing it.

        • Yonah

          I really don’t know. You would know better as they’re more to your thinking…I guess. Have you gone too far for them with population control language?

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

          I don’t follow those organizations closely.

        • MNb

          “great effort should be exerted to reduce the number of abortions”
          I don’t have any problem with this. Sex education, easy access to contraceptives, you name it. I’m all for it.

        • asmondius

          ‘Sex education, easy access to contraceptives, you name it. ‘

          It’s been there for decades – are you stuck in the 1960’s?

        • purr

          You wrongly assume that everyone has easy access.

          The red states teach abstinence only or no sex education. The best forms of contraception are too expensive for the poor. And there is always human error. Also, all forms of birth control, including tubal ligation, have known failure rates.

        • Kodie

          It’s been where it’s not anymore because assholes like you keep voting to take it away. Are YOU stuck in the 1960s?

        • Pofarmer

          Yeah, it’s there, sort of. But if young people aren’t educated to use it, or are ashamed when they do, so don’t use it consistently, them it is ineffective, which leads to more abortions. Reducing the stigma of birth control use would help immensely.

        • smrnda

          Actually, accurate sex education has been under attack. The stats actually show that ‘abstinence based sex education’ increases teenage pregnancy, while comprehensive sex education both reduces teen pregnancy and abortion.

        • Kodie

          It stigmatizes people who seek abortions to categorize abortion as a bad thing that needs to be eradicated or reduced as a goal in itself, as if you’re judging people who were too stupid, lazy, or poor, or whatever to take advantage of the other methods of birth control. I find nothing wrong with an abortion, 1 abortion or 1000 abortions. I guess from the point of view of someone who still sees there is something wrong with abortion, you’d settle for less of them by any means necessary, and that’s great. Support a woman’s right to choose, and don’t make it another way to judge people, and for sure more people who don’t want to get pregnant will proactively prevent it in advance. When one finds they’re already pregnant, don’t make it socially difficult for them to choose not to be pregnant.

        • asmondius

          No one wishes to judge anyone, they simply want them to stop murdering the unborn.

        • purr

          Then why do they offer rape exceptions and talk endlessly about ‘sluts spreading their legs and not taking responsibility?’

        • Kodie

          By calling it murdering the unborn, you are giving it a judgment and people who do you are judging as murderers.

        • Al

          Its murder because its the deliberate killing of a human being.

        • purr

          That is not the definition of murder.

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

          And how do they want them to stop? By discussing the issue and making their ideas known? Or by imposing their will on them through the law?

        • Al

          So help me out. Having an abortion is like have a tooth pulled. Right? It there is “nothing wrong with an abortion” then it must be comparable to having a tooth pulled.

        • purr

          Yeah pretty much. Actually, it’s far safer, especially with ru-486.

        • Kodie

          Yes, actually. Better drugs too.

        • Al

          So when do “it” become a human being? What are your facts when it becomes a human being?

        • RichardSRussell

          More like having your appendix out than a tooth pulled, since it’s more invasive and thus requires more anesthesia, precautions, etc., but you’re on the right general track.

        • Yonah

          What I envision is religious community which lives out an ethic of pro-life in all it wholeness such that the needs of the poor come first…however one defines poor…and that in turn produces a general spirituality about life that will inform a person’s own decisions about abortion.

        • Kodie

          How that usually manifests itself is the victimization of the needy by the religious. I mean, that’s actually what you’re saying in words – to go into those poor communities as religious missionaries and proselytize them in exchange for charity.

          How about the religious people just give. Just be generous and ask for nothing in return, not try to convert everyone to think like you do? If what you think they need is Jesus when they want a fucking bowl of cereal, just give them cereal and leave.

        • 90Lew90

          “How about the religious people just give.” Yeah exactly. I’m next to poverty but I’m looking after an 86-year-old man almost full-time. I give away loaves of bread to beggars because I’m enthusiastic about how sourdough and biga work and make more bread than we can eat. I sponsor a child in Bangladesh by direct debit and pay to Medicins sans Frontier and the UK’s National Secular Society ( http://www.secularism.org.uk/ ) and British Humanist Association ( https://humanism.org.uk/ ) monthly. But I’m an amoral atheist shithead apparently. No good can come from me. Fuck these people. What do they support? Killing gay people in Uganda? Fuck them. I mean really really fuck them. Miserable bastards. They don’t love life they love death. Hey, how bout their ugly Islamic little sister, ISIS comes over and really starts raising a fight. They still won’t see what a plague they are. “I’m right!” “No, I’m right!” “You got all the oil” “Well I’m daddy’s favourite!” “Fuck you I’ve got a machine gun!”
          Insane.

        • Yonah

          No. I said nothing about addressing the poor regarding abortion. I said: Work for economic conditions that will benefit the poor…so that, those who say they abort for economic reasons, might not then feel the pressure to do so. So, such work to better economic conditions would be no different than what any would do in terms of engaging in a political campaign to bring about a living wage, and provision of health care as a human right. My position is that such conditions, should, indirectly, reduce the number of abortions because the poor will be less poor…and then perhaps, if all goes well, will choose to keep their pregnancies. None of this, in my vision, includes preaching to the poor about abortion.

          Your words above signify that, because I used the word “poor” and cited a duty to put them first, you assumed the worst possible meaning of what I said and my person. In reality, my position, nominally, would be no different than that of liberal Catholic politicians who say they accept the Church’s moral teaching, but oppose reversing Roe v. Wade…and that we should try to reduce abortion through economic progress. If there is any difference, it may only be in that many politicians internally know that economic progress is easier said than done, but I have the hope that religious groups who really are serious about economic progress can help make the politician’s visions more a concrete reality.

        • Kodie

          Maybe I read too much into producing a spirituality. I’m in favor of improving economic conditions, full stop. If a woman would rather be able to have her child then be able to afford that, it’s good. If a woman doesn’t have to choose abortion simply because she cannot afford not to, I am in favor. What I do not favor is some spiritual rationale that improved economic conditions cause people to place a value on embryos as the religious do. There is nothing wrong with having an abortion and I am not in favor of any agenda to reduce the number of them and marginalize people who choose it because they don’t have the same spiritual sanctity of life that you espouse.

          and that in turn produces a general spirituality about life that will inform a person’s own decisions about abortion.

          It’s heavily implied you want people to agree that abortion is wrong here. “That will inform a person” to … you pussyfoot around it, but I know what you mean. And yes, this typically does involve evangelizing. A general spirituality about life that will change people’s minds and think abortion is wrong.

        • Yonah

          Well, you can’t control what other people do and think. You can attempt to make your case one way or the other. In my vision, the hope is that people will make a choice for life.

        • Pofarmer

          All of that will do exactly zero. It will actually make many problems worse. Teach comprehensive birth control. Let women determine theor fertility, amd the economic problems will largely fix themselves. You are going about it bass ackwards. Religion is not requird. Science is.

        • Yonah

          I think religious folk who work for social progress on behalf of the poor do so in the mindset that they are making a contribution along with others…not that they in themselves will effect total solutions. For example the Nuns On The Bus group would argue against food stamp cuts because they more than any know that there is no way the Church can address hunger on its women.

          But do let us know when Science has fixed everything.

          Should churches and synagogues shut down their current work for the poor? Close Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Service, Jewish Family Services…and their international versions as well? Yes or no?

        • Pofarmer

          Science hasn’t fixed everything, religion hasn’t fixed anything, and has probably caused more problems that it’s solved. What’s required here isn’t a religious mindset. What is required is a mindset where people understand the consequences of their actions and take responsibility for them. Unwed motherhood is a leading cause of poverty. You seem to think that you can work on economic conditions and people can have as many children as they want and somehow you can fix the poverty issue. Tell that to people living in the slums of Bangladesh or Argentina. The indication is, if you control the birthrate, let mothers have an economic input to the family and not just maintain children, then you can raise a family out if poverty. It is pretty much the only method that has been shown to have any success. This isn’t advocating abortion, it is advocating comprehensive birth control and sex education, and making sure people understand the consequences of their actions with regards to choldren and sex. If we do this, I don’t see why we can’t see results similar to Europe. If we don’t we’ll continue to get what we’ve got.

        • Yonah

          No. Poverty is the leading cause of unwed motherhood.

        • purr

          Yes, this is correct. Men and women are not getting married due to poverty, however, they are still choosing to have children.

          BUT, women denied abortions often slip deeper into poverty:

          http://io9.com/5958187/what-happens-to-women-denied-abortions-this-is-the-first-scientific-study-to-find-out

          And considering that it costs 250k to raise a kid, a poor family or single mom with multiple children is gonna keep sliding deeper into poverty.

        • 90Lew90

          Yes. Did you ever notice the strong correlation between poverty and religious belief?

        • Norm Donnan

          Ah no actually Lew,all those mega rich sheiks in the middle east,the jews are well known for their wealth,the Catholic church,all wealth,tele evangalists wealth renowned.
          On the otherhand communist countries,poverty poverty,poverty

        • 90Lew90

          I’m talking about popular religiosity and the link there is strong and undeniable. I’m not talking about mega-rich sheiks and I’m not talking about communist countries, of which there are only five left and out of which only Cuba and North Korea can be properly called communist. If you’re to point to mega-rich sheiks, I can just as well point to mega-rich Chinese. See what you did there?

          However, for evidence backing up the assertion that religion and poverty go hand-in-hand, I’d point you to the following paper: The chronic dependence of popular religiosity upon dysfunctional psychosociological conditions

          Find it here: http://www.epjournal.net/articles/the-chronic-dependence-of-popular-religiosity-upon-dysfunctional-psychosociological-conditions/

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

          Where is Christianity growing? In the third world.

          Lew was right.

        • Norm Donnan

          True,China is one of the fastest growing,maybe thats why it is being blessed so much more than any other country economically.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          Blessed with earthquakes and air pollution …..
          Btw abortion is legal in China. Maybe that’s why it’s blessed with economic growth.

        • Norm Donnan

          Of course that would be caused by the atheist imput still strong in China but the blessing would be from the thousands becoming Christian every week….Obviously.

        • MNb

          BWAHAHAHAHA!
          No comment necessary. I have never seen such a clear example of confirmation bias.
          Thanks, Norm, you made my day.

        • 90Lew90

          This ties in neatly with our discussion of the Book of Job yesterday.

          From the abstract to the paper you didn’t read:

          “The historically unprecedented socioeconomic security that results from low levels of progressive government policies appear to suppress popular religiosity and creationist opinion, conservative religious ideology apparently contributes to societal dysfunction, and religious prosociality and charity are less effective at improving societal conditions than are secular government programs. The antagonistic relationship between better socioeconomic conditions and intense popular faith may prevent the existence of nations that combine the two factors.”

          Thus religion is liable to put you in poverty, and furthermore keep you in poverty in a state of gladness, like Job. And woe betide if you start asking God why you’ve been allotted such a miserable station in life, or that you should rebel and try to get above your station. This just stands to reason Norm. But then you’re immune to reason aren’t you. Oh well.

        • Norm Donnan

          Wow Poe you think that you found something to support your weak point of view.
          You know the old saying,”there are lies,damn lies and statistics”.

        • Kodie

          Do you call everyone Poe? I don’t think being so illiterate is something to be proud of.

        • Norm Donnan

          But you embrace it so well

        • 90Lew90

          I’ve given you evidence to support a claim I made. You should try that out some time. Well… I’m waiting.

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

          Do you just cycle through schoolyard taunts? I’m surprised I haven’t heard, “I know you are, but what am I?” Maybe that’s coming.

          Bring something to the conversation. Give us some ideas or evidence we’ve not heard before. Otherwise, you’re useless.

        • Norm Donnan

          Now that sounds like a school yard taunt,well done Bob

        • 90Lew90

          Asking you to bring something to the table or go? That’s a taunt? I’d say that’s a fair request in a debating forum. You’ve got as much to contribute as a bluebottle as far as I can see. Not even a wasp. Just a bluebottle, recently departed from a piece of shit, and now buzzing and landing, buzzing and landing. Just keep away from the sandwiches.

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

          Good analogy. That explains why I feel so … dirty after he lands on me.

        • MNb

          You confirm brilliantly what BobS wrote: you’re useless. Are you applying for a ban, so that you can feel like a martyr for your belief system? How pathetic.

        • purr

          Got a link to that paper? I missed it somehow.

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

          “The chronic dependence of popular religiosity upon dysfunctional psychosociological conditions” by Gregory Paul here.

        • purr

          Thanks!

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

          The good stuff is from Jeebus and the bad is from atheism? How do you know? Just cuz?

        • Norm Donnan

          True ,l was using the humanist way of thinking like you do with evolution.
          “How do you know everything in the world came from stardust? Just cuz”

        • 90Lew90

          What’s physics and biochemistry got to do with humanism? If you call that “thought” …

        • MNb

          You wouldn’t recognize the humanist way of thinking if it danced naked in front of you while wearing a hat (thanks, Rowlings).

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

          Read a textbook on cosmology and then tell me that that’s what it says.

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

          A sage recently noted about countries like China, “On the otherhand communist countries,poverty poverty,poverty.”

          If you’re going to do a 180, you can show us your grasp of reality by acknowledging your previous error. Otherwise, we’ll probably assume that you’re just saying whatever you need to to get yourself out of the problem of the moment.

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

          The movement of Christianity’s center of gravity is illustrated in the map here:

          http://www.pewforum.org/files/2013/04/051805-global-christianity.pdf

        • Pofarmer

          It’s a chicken or egg thing, and having children in poverty just puts ever more children in poverty. Trying to attack the problem by “bettering the human conditions”. Whatever that is, is foolhardy when contraception is plentiful and relatively cheap. And hey, guess what, it reduces abortions, no religious epiphany requird.

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

          Religious organizations doing good work sounds great. Problem is, religion is a terribly inefficient machine through which to channel money for good works. When I put a dollar in the offering plate, how much gets out the other end of this behemoth to charity? 10¢? 2¢?

          Let’s not overestimate the amount of good done by churches. In the U.S., we give about $300 billion per year to charity. At best, a couple of percent of that comes through churches.

        • 90Lew90

          And the strings attached to who benefits from said “good works” amount to a sieve to filter out undesirable recipients.

        • Yonah

          I don’t think you’ve thought through the entire economics of religious social service agencies. The monetary funding would not come mainly through general funds of offering plates. As far as funds from congregations, that happens more through special appeals where whole collections are given to the cause. Another version of that would be special fund raisers. In my old Lutheran tradition such events were amplified with the help of fraternal Lutheran insurance companies which would match funds raised. Another thing that is happening is what is called “designated giving” which has risen in the culture wars where congregations choose to starve some aspects of their denomination and feed others with money. So, a congregation may adopt a cause because it has chose to stiff a bishop.Good for the cause/bad for the bishop. But, congregational giving is just a fraction of the income requirements for the agencies. A lot of agencies are using public funds and corporate funds. The unconsidered economic factor in your analysis is the value of the actual labor by totally free volunteers up to the paid staff…low paid staff. When If was first looking for a teaching job, the Catholic schools here were starting at $12,000 a year. I took a public school job at $27,500….which was out of pure luck. I was seriously going after the $12,000 job but they couldn’t believe that I would really commute the distance I needed to for that amount.

          Ultimately, the question is not how much money goes into the agencies, but the value of the actual work they do. So, you tell me. There would be no remarkable change if Catholic Charities, Lutheran Social Services, Jewish Family services, all the many Methodist programs for disadvantaged youth, the many agencies attending to disabled, infirm, and aged shut down?

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

          Give me a reliable source with actual figures, and this can go beyond speculation.

          Americans give $100 billion to churches. They give $200 billion to other categories (my bad above–I shouldn’t have added them together).

          The $100B from churches turns into $2-10 billion (if you have better estimates, show me) of good works.

        • Yonah

          I have no idea what the current numbers are. I haven’t been a pastor for 20 years. My friends still in ministry just tell me the patterns or mode of current giving, but numbers I’m sure you would know better than I.

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

          The only question in my summary above is how much of church income passes on to be given to good works. With the books closed, we don’t know, but churches are such an inefficient machine (when seen as good works organizations) that only a tiny fraction can get passed through.

          Contrast that with the typical 10% overhead of an actual good works organization.

        • Yonah

          Yes, I know that is a concern of yours. I really can’t speak to it at all. I was just a grunt pastor in the trenches. I dealt with the agencies and their work. How that work is regarded by others has always been a question of mine.

        • Kodie

          I need a little help with the math here – is the final amount toward good works, mean all that’s left for the neutral/secular-agreed good works like feeding people after the rest spent on overhead + non-secular “god” works, OR is it the remainder that is left after administrative payroll and property maintenance, “good works”, to be divided up among neutral good works and non-secular works the church thinks is good but I think is bad, like crisis pregnancy centers?

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

          $200B annually goes to good works directly (which probably has a 10-12% overhead), and $100B goes through churches, which has a 90+% overhead. So, ballpark, that works out to 5% of feeding the hungry and clothing the naked provided by churches (U.S. figures).

          Conclusion: let’s not get overenthused about the good works done by churches.

          You raise a good point–much more of the “good works” done by churches would likely be questionable, like crisis pregnancy centers.

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

          FYI, the round figures I gave match up with the 2012 estimates here: $316B total giving, out of which $101B went to religion (churches + ministries).

        • wtfwjtd

          Bob also has a post which discusses more of the math involved:

          http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined/2013/07/religion-billions-into-a-black-hole-2/

          In short, religion is about the most inefficient tool imaginable for charitable or any other worthwhile work; virtually all of its money goes to…promoting itself. Imagine that…

        • asmondius

          Let’s apply your reasoning to other problematic situations as well.

          Let’s stop the prosecution of rapists. After all , we can always eliminate rape through ‘bettering the human condition’.

        • purr

          Do you think that women who abort should go to jail for 1st degree murder?

      • asmondius

        Yes, let’s cure poverty by eliminating all the poor people.

        Perhaps we can sterilize them all.

        • purr

          Do poor people not have the right to family planning?

        • Pofarmer

          According to asmondius, no one does.

    • asmondius

      Are you anti-evolution?

      • RichardSRussell

        You ask that question as if evolution were something one could have several possible opinions on. It’s not. It’s a fact of nature, like the sunrise. It’s there whether I’m fer it or agin it, and my opinion on the subject wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Baby_Raptor

    It’ sad that Christians can’t just admit that they’re decent people…They have to pin it on their religion so as to keep the delusion up.

  • Bo Diddly

    In your blog of identifying either imposters, or blatant hypocrisy, I did find a small jewel that you and I could agree on:
    “Reduce the demand for abortions and you reduce abortions.”
    That, my friend is exactly the problem. If people acted responsibly, we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

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

      What is “acting responsibly”? Paying attention in a comprehensive sex ed class and using contraception as appropriate?

      • purr

        The ‘pro sex’ secular pro-lifers that I talk to on Secular Pro Life Perspectives dot org have informed me that acting responsibly entails:

        1) castration for men
        2) hysterectomy for women

        failing that

        anal sex

        hand jobs
        blow jobs
        mutual masturbation

        just avoid vaginal sex all together, and that will be responsible!

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

          I’ve never found their arguments at all persuasive. You’d think that since they drop “because it makes baby Jesus cry” and are still pro-lifers, they’d have better arguments.

        • purr

          Yep, just naturalistic fallacies and that shit argument I told you about the other day.

        • 90Lew90

          They don’t like people and they pretend they don’t like sex. They don’t like contraception and they don’t like sex education. They don’t like the results of any kind of sex they deem “deviant”, which they seem to indulge in flagrantly. They don’t like abortion and they don’t like ferral children, the results of no sex education, no contraception and no abortion. In short, they don’t like fucking people. Or people fucking. They don’t like themselves. They are a bane. But they’re all right because they grovel on their knees to a non-existent thing on a regular basis. And doing so makes them think they’re good. Wonderful. I would say you couldn’t make it up, but apparently we have. Lunatics running asylums springs to mind. We need more Randal P. McMurphys.

        • purr

          Actually, I just told the guy with that shit argument about ‘duty of care’ to come to Patheos. This is his thesis, ffs, and he is all whining on SPL that we are critcizing it. WTF does he expect? Will his professors kiss his ass? Besides, the best way to strengthen your argument is to throw it to the wolves, not take softballs from a safe space.

        • purr

          Oh fuck, almost forgot, a guy just today (anti-abortion, wants to become a woman and give birth, fantasizes about castration) said to a fellow Patheos poster on SPL that men and women can just have gay sex or trans sex to avoid pregnancy.

          YES.

          I guess I should do what my bf fantasizes about, and have that threesome with kelly brook and kate upton right about now eh?

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

          I suppose most pro-lifers are driven by some honest desire to do good. But that sounds pretty weird.

        • purr

          Secular pro lifers are anti-sex as well, just not nearly as much as the christians.

        • Pofarmer

          That seems pretty extreme. I consider myself moderately pro life, i suppose. Heavy on education and contraception. Plan b, absolutely, that is the absolute best time if you’re not sure. Past first trimester? I think you really better have an awfully good reason. I dunno, I think it’s a reasonable position. Maybe not?

        • purr

          First off, fetus is not capable of sentience until 24+ weeks.

          Second, if you’re gonna restrict abortion to 1st trimester only, it had better be no questions asked and fully state funded.

          The problem that women have in the USA, specifically low income women, is that

          1) attempts are made to restrict access to early medication abortions ru-486

          2) 72 hour waiting periods

          3) many fetal deformities are not detectable until at least 20 weeks

          4) many women have irregular periods or are on birth control and might not know within the 1st trimester that they are pregnant

          5) it can take a low income woman months to raise the money, find care for the already existing kids, take time off work, find transportation to get that 3 day abortion

          6) rape victims can live in denial that they are pregnant, as can people who have been manipulated into feeling shame over their sexuality (http://abcnews.go.com/US/florida-teen-charged-murdering-newborn-baby-boy/story?id=17356859). The girl was pregnant, but mom pretended she wasn’t and didnt offer her any help because of sexual repression

          7) exceptions for the life or health of the mother don’t always work because doctors will always be looking over their shoulder, worrying if the woman is sick enough to warrant an abortion. In NY state, there is a life exception, but no health exception past 24 weeks – so if the pregnancy goes wrong past 24 weeks and the woman is in constant excruciating pain, too fucking bad

          Real life is complicated, and these decisions should be left between the mother and her doctor. Furthermore, women don’t choose to gestate and then in the third trimester realize that they are too fat for a bikini and get an abortion

        • Pofarmer

          Eh, you are making too much sense.

        • Kodie

          I think the usual “awfully good reason” is that unwanted pregnancy is made to be this terribly heavy decision that must be examined and deliberated and wept about not being in the right place, life-wise, to manage a child, or whatever mistakes and consequences society thinks the woman should pay for, and then still wanting to not be pregnant. State laws that make it difficult to get an early abortion without any more sentimentality than picking up condoms at the drugstore is an enforcement of that reason.

        • Ron

          Less than 2% of all abortions in the US occur after the 20th week. The majority (92%) are performed prior to the 14th week. (Source)

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

          Imagine how the stats would change if pro-lifers would stop putting meaningless roadblocks in the way–waiting periods, ultrasounds, etc.

        • Kodie

          Well similar to Yonah, people are merely trying to brainstorm social engineering toward the end of sparing a cluster of cells from being murdered. And if everyone did things their way, it would work. That’s called religion, it’s convoluted and dictatorial of what everyone’s values should be and how they should rearrange their lives to that particular end.

    • Greg G.

      Some people are more responsible than others. We shouldn’t force irresponsible people to become parents.

    • Plutosdad

      People try to act responsibly, but then you take away women’s clinics, access to birth control, medical care, and what is left for them? To declare anyone under middle class or struggling financially is not allowed to have sex? that is not a solution.

      One group here is not acting responsibly, but it’s not the people who need abortions, it’s the politicians in office who keep taking away the alternatives to abortion, and the voters who ask them to.

    • Ann Kah

      I presume you support factual sex education in the schools, and ready access to contraceptives. Those would both facilitate responsible actions. Then you could go out on street corners on Saturday nights and pass out condoms. Sometimes people need help in acting responsibly.

  • Pofarmer

    Question for Asmondius. You say you print off replies here and people at your work smirk. What type of a place do you work at?

    • Kodie

      He does what? That’s hilariously pathetic.

      • MNb

        Kodie, if you have a strong stomach you should read this. It shows how right you are that the main drive of pro-lifers is control of women. Literally.

        http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/08/18/catholic-barbarity-in-europe/

        • purr

          Yeah, that story is all over the place ATM. I am currently arguing with a catholic fuckwit on Alternet who has assured all of us that 1) zygotes want to live, because seeing and breathing is great 2) rape babies can heal the rape victim

        • purr

          Oh, and forcing the C section on her was more barbarity. C-sections are quite risky and can permanently alter the body. Abortion would have been SAFEST.

        • Pofarmer

          That’s vile.

        • Kodie

          Thanks. I don’t know what to say now.

        • Odd Jørgensen

          Holy fracking shit, and they wonder why attendance is dropping in church?

    • Greg G.

      Do they smirk with him or at him?

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

      I encourage him to print off the posts and see what they say about them. Maybe that would encourage some of the smirkers to think.

    • 90Lew90

      Among other unmentionable favours for the good priests, he passes around Mammon’s puke basket at church on Sundays.

  • jrb16915

    I am an ardent pro-lifer, so I won’t pretend I don’t have preexisting biases.

    Having said that I would like to specifically address this line from the post, in hopes the author can further elaborate on what he really means:

    “Making abortion illegal doesn’t eliminate it; it simply drives it underground.”

    How is this different from any other crime?

    Would you support legalizing shop lifting, because making it illegal just forces people to sneak around? As a Christian, do you help poor people steal stuff they need from stores?

    Would you support legalizing heroin? Keeping it illegal forces sales of it to go underground? As a Christian do you provide heroin to desperate addicts to alleviate their suffering?

    As best I can tell Willie Parker is engaging in a very severe level of rationalizing. From the lonely adulterer to the hungry thief to the abortionist, almost everyone can find a way to rationalize their behavior. I hope all come to realize self-rationalization does not actually excuse behavior or remove the rationalizer from the consequences of the behaviors.

    • MNb

      “How is this different from any other crime?”
      Legalizing shop lifting will make it happen more often.
      Legalizing abortion, with the weird exception of Sweden, actually decreases it, especially when combined with good sex education.

      “Would you support legalizing heroin?”
      That might very well decrease addiciton related crimes.

      “do you provide heroin to desperate addicts to alleviate their suffering?”
      Dutch government for several decades has provided free methadone to such desperate addicts, under medical supervision.

      https://www.nationalebeeldbank.nl/shop/products/55737-methadonbus

      Numbers from 2012: 670 000 heroin addicts in the USA, which is more than 0,2% of the population. The Netherlands: less than 0,1% – and it’s widely known that a substantial part consists of non-Dutch people from neighbouring countries.

      http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/heroin/scope-heroin-use-in-united-states
      http://www.trimbos.nl/~/media/files/gratis%20downloads/AF1316%20NDM%20Jaarbericht%202013-2014.ashx#page=105

      In the USA these numbers are on the rise – in the Netherlands they are declining. So it seems to me that American policy is not working well.

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

        Yes, harm reduction instead of criminalization seems to be becoming more in vogue. My own state of Washington has legalized pot.

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

      I am an ardent pro-lifer, so I won’t pretend I don’t have preexisting biases.

      Thanks for being clear about that.

      “Making abortion illegal doesn’t eliminate it; it simply drives it underground.”

      How is this different from any other crime?

      No different at all, but the conservatives’ goal is to eliminate abortion. I never see them consider the fact that simply making it illegal doesn’t solve the problem, it only changes it.

      As best I can tell Willie Parker is engaging in a very severe level of rationalizing. From the lonely adultery to the hungry thief to the abortionist, almost everyone can find a way to rationalize their behavior.

      Abortion is legal and moral—where’s the problem?

      Do you say that abortion actually isn’t moral? Then talk about that then, not the issue of how making it illegal won’t stop it.

      • jrb16915

        Abortion is immoral. I would have thought having started my post with “I am an ardent pro-lifer” would have made clear my thoughts on that.

        One reason abortion is immoral is that it denies the right to live an entire class of humans, the unborn, always and everywhere , without any due process. The other reason is that killing an individual human without due process is immoral.

        • Kodie

          I think living and developing inside someone’s body and leeching their resources against their will makes abortion justifiable. Calling it “due process” doesn’t change whose rights are really being violated without due process. Illegalizing abortion denies an entire class of humans, sentient women, always and everywhere, the right to determine their own bodily autonomy.

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

          Abortion is immoral. I would have thought having started my post with “I am an ardent pro-lifer” would have made clear my thoughts on that.

          Not in the least. Yeah, I get it that you don’t like abortion. I’m inviting you to give the reasons.

          One reason abortion is immoral is that it denies the right to live an entire class of humans, the unborn

          There’s a conflict between two groups: the fetus and the mother. It’s a zero-sum game. We find such conflicts in lots of areas of life. Killing anything isn’t a goal but an undesired consequence in service of something more important.

          The other reason is that killing an individual human without due process is immoral.

          And there we see the problem with lumping persons and non-persons into the category “human.” A newborn, an 8-month-old fetus, and a single fertilized human egg cell have very different claims to personhood and, therefore, to a right to life.

        • jrb16915

          If you think a baby who has been in the womb for 8 months is not fully human, you are fundamentally broken. The number of babies born before 8 months in the womb. Worldwide over 2 million babies that are 8 months in the womb or earlier are born each year.

        • Ron

          FYI, fewer than 1.5% of all abortions in the U.S. are performed after the 20th week. Most (~92%) occur prior to the 14th week. (Source)

          Furthermore, 42 states prohibit abortions after a certain point in the pregnancy unless they’re performed to save the life or physical health of the woman. Of those:

          – 21 states impose prohibitions at fetal viability
          – 3 states impose prohibitions in the third trimester
          – 18 states impose prohibitions after a specified number of weeks (20–27 weeks LMP)

          Source: State Policies on Later Abortions (PDF) – as of September 1, 2014

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

          Furthermore, the reasons for late-term abortions are almost invariably really, really good–birth defects, for example. They’re not, “But no one said I’d get so fat” or “My old clothes don’t fit.”

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

          If you think a baby who has been in the womb for 8 months is not fully human, you are fundamentally broken.

          Just declare victory, eh? Good one! You’re right because you say you’re right.

          I’m happy to say that an 8-month-old fetus is human. I’m happy to say that a single cell is human. That’s not what we’re talking about.

        • Rudy R

          Humans deny the right to non-human life without any due process. Is that immoral too? If it is, your argument is perfectly consistent in terms of killing. If not, how does killing humans differ from non-humans? If it’s based on your belief in God-given morality, then your argument against abortion as a protection of rights is a smokescreen for your true, foundational belief and is intended to just appeal to non-theists.

    • Ron

      Would you support legalizing heroin?~jrb16915

      I’d support the repeal of all laws criminalizing drug possession and press for the immediate release of all inmates serving time for non-violent, drug-related crimes. Substance abuse is, was and should remain a medical issue, not a legal issue.

      The “War on Drugs” has been a failure.


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