I am Pro-Choice, But Jezebel Does Not Speak for Me

My friend and colleague Amy Julia Becker wrote a lovely post on the Christianity Today women’s blog making the simple but vital observation that life for people with Down syndrome is not tragic and hopeless, but rather just as full of “good and bad things” as other people’s lives. Besides offering a glimpse into life in her own household, where one of her three children has Down syndrome, Amy Julia focused on a story making the feel-good journalism rounds. According to the Washington Times, a Catholic priest in Virginia, upon learning that a woman planned to abort a fetus prenatally diagnosed with Down syndrome, asked the woman to hold off for 24 hours. He proposed that, if he could find a family willing to adopt the baby in that time, the woman carry it to term. She agreed, and a plea on the church’s Facebook page led to hundreds of calls from interested families. A selection process is under way, and if all goes as planned, the baby will be born and then adopted.

I am leery of those who present adoption as an easy-peasy win-win solution to the problem of abortion. There’s no doubt that adoption can be a wonderful choice for all involved when a woman has an unplanned pregnancy or decides she does not want to (or feels she cannot) raise a child with special needs—a baby is born, parents who want a baby get one, and a mother who doesn’t want a baby can know that her child will be loved and cared for. But while adoption can be a good solution, it is not an easy one. It is not easy to grow a human being in your body and push it out through your vagina (or have it cut out of your abdomen), and then hand it over to people you barely know. Forever. For adoptive parents (for any parents), it is not easy to bring a new baby home. Forever. All that said, the story from Virginia is beautiful and gratifying. If this situation works out as it is supposed to, and if all parties involved are acting in good faith and of their own volition, I can agree that, yes, in this case, adoption is clearly a better choice than abortion.

But not all pro-choice people see it that way. Amy Julia’s post highlighted a response written by Katie J.M. Baker on the web site Jezebel. Ironically titled Church Saves Fetus with Downs [sic], Everyone Lives Happily Ever After, Baker’s post was a rant, pure and simple, and not a very good one. Light on facts, heavy on sarcasm, the piece argued that the pregnant woman was “coerced” into carrying her baby to term. Coerced how? Did the good father lock her in the confessional until she agreed to his diabolical plan? The pregnant woman’s voice is conspicuously absent from the news stories, presumably for privacy reasons. But if there is no insidious back story, then it appears that this woman made a choice to take the priest up on his well-meaning offer. Seeing as women’s choices are precisely what we pro-choicers are supposed to support, I’m not clear on how changing her mind in response to a creative idea offered by a man in a collar is equivalent to coercion. 

Beyond the stark absence of logic in Ms. Baker’s piece is an even starker absence of facts. She states that, “So many mistreated babies and kids with Downs live terrible lives,” linking to stats on how children with intellectual disabilities face a higher risk of abuse and neglect in “certain home environments.” Well, yes, “mistreated babies and kids” generally do lead terrible lives, whether or not they have Down syndrome, seeing as they are, um, mistreated. And yes, some families with disabled children do neglect and mistreat them. But assuming that babies with Down syndrome are better off unborn because they might be mistreated is logically equivalent to assuming that all babies would be better off unborn because they might be mistreated. Ms. Baker scolds the church for caring more about “nonviable fetuses” than “children with Down syndrome that are already alive.” While the fetus in question, at 23 weeks gestation, was not yet able to survive outside the womb, fetuses with Down syndrome are not ultimately “nonviable” (incapable of living or developing); the current life expectancy of people with Down syndrome is 60 years, and it has been rising steadily. The priest and families volunteering to adopt chose to see the fetus as viable in a larger sense, taking a long view of the life this child might have in a loving family. And while our entire society, churches included, still has much work to do to promote acceptance, understanding, support, and opportunities for people with Down syndrome and other conditions, there is robust conversation in Christian circles concerning how to overcome centuries of seeing people with disabilities as less than human, and how to welcome them as full and equal members of Christ’s body.

Perhaps Ms. Baker’s extreme, factually inaccurate views on abortion, choice, and Down syndrome are representative of some in the pro-choice community. But they are not representative of my views. So as much as I appreciated Amy Julia’s telling both her own family’s story and that of the baby in Virginia, I worry that her inclusion of the Jezebel post will serve to further entrench the two sides in the abortion debate (I told her as much, and she read this piece before I posted it). I imagine Christianity Today’s largely pro-life audience patting themselves on the back for holding the obvious moral high ground in contrast to those evil pro-choicers so blinded by their godless ideology that they can’t see the good in a woman choosing adoption over abortion. Amy Julia included the Jezebel post as an example of the “contemporary pro-choice mindset,” but it doesn’t at all reflect my mindset, or that of most pro-choice people, including those who are Christians.

The contemporary pro-choice movement writ large is certainly guilty of, at times, favoring ideology and rhetoric over thoughtful, fact-based discourse that respects the other side in this debate and values practical solutions more than political point scoring. But so is the contemporary pro-life movement, such as when they portray pro-choice voters as murderers, or caricature women seeking abortions as bimbos who just want to have lots and lots of sex with no consequences. But research consistently shows that most Americans are somewhere in the middle on abortion, rather than in agreement with these and other extreme arguments made on both the pro-choice and pro-life sides.

The media loves to focus on extremists over more thoughtful but less colorful supporters of the pro-life and pro-choice causes. But I know that the pro-lifers who harass women entering abortion clinics with posters bearing photos of bloody fetuses, murder abortion providers in church, or think that women’s bodies will prevent conception in a “legitimate rape” are not representative of all or even most pro-lifers. I know they are not representative statistically, and also because the pro-life people I know are not like that. The pro-lifers who know me should understand that Katie J.M. Baker’s Jezebel piece is as abhorrent to me as it is to them. If we have any hope for consensus around abortion and reproductive choice, that hope lies with those of us willing to have hard conversations built on honesty, facts, listening, and the respectful consideration of both individuals’ stories and cultural and political realities, not on sarcasm, overstatement, stereotyping, and deliberate obscuring of the facts.

About Ellen Painter Dollar

Ellen Painter Dollar is a writer focusing on faith, parenting, family, disability, and ethics. She is the author of No Easy Choice: A Story of Disability, Faith, and Parenthood in an Age of Advanced Reproduction (Westminster John Knox, 2012). Visit her web site at http://ellenpainterdollar.com for more on her writing and speaking, and to sign up for a (very) occasional email newsletter.

  • GinaRD

    Ellen, you know I like and respect you, and I say this as humbly and respectfully as possible (certainly not with any intention of patting myself on the back! :-) ) — but I believe you are in the minority among pro-choicers. Do you know how many times I’ve heard mainstream pro-choicers use that argument that was in Jezebel, that pro-lifers are terrible people for concentrating on the child in the womb, and that we don’t give a rat’s behind about children who have already been born? How many hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times? And also, how many times I’ve seen mainstream pro-choicers lash out at pro-lifers who actually DO try to help the children who’ve already been born, via CPCs and adoption services and so forth? Frankly, we’re d—ed if we do and d—ed if we don’t. (I use the dashes because I’m not sure how stringent Patheos’s spam filter is.)

    I’m really sorry to say this, because I know you’re sincere, but this is not some fringe view. It’s very real and very prevalent. I wish I could say it wasn’t.

    • Kubricks_Rube

      Most of the “pro-lifers don’t care about children” rhetoric comes (in my experience) not from the personal choices and actions of individual pro-lifers, but from the political views and positions- social and economic- of many vocal pro-lifers. Positions which, to most pro-choicers, appear to make unwanted/unplanned pregnancies much more likely and the general welfare of women and children (and everyone else) much more complicated.

      As someone who’s pro-choice, I’ll share the scenario in which I can imagine switching sides, though I admit it would still be a tough sell:

      1) Avoiding unwanted pregnancies:
      a) Contraception is readily and affordably available for all
      b) Honest and comprehensive sex education is the nationwide standard

      2) Easing pregnancy/childraising & Maximizing adoption options:
      a) Real, affordable universal healthcare is instituted
      b) Same sex marriage and adoption is fully legal
      c) Significantly increased funding for food stamps, education, job training, Head Start, etc

      3) Fail safe:
      a) Exception for rape or incest
      b) Exception for health/life of the mother- this decision is completely between the woman and her doctor

      The most vocal anti-choicers opposes all of these things, and pro-lifers in general (regardless of what combination of these they may actually agree with) tend to vote for people who oppose most or all of them. To many pro-choicers (who believe in the efficacy as well as the morality of all these positions and that we’ve got the stats/evidence to back it up), this is counterproductive at best and pure cruelty at worst. That’s where “pro-lifers don’t care about children” comes from.

      • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

        I have to agree. It’s more on the policy level than on the individual level. Adoption and crisis pregnancy centers are all well and good, but when those who are pro-life vote and/or protest against things like easy access to affordable contraception and healthcare and other supports made available to all pregnant women, regardless of how they got that way, regardless of race or income or immigration status or whatever, it’s frustrating. We know that economic struggles are a huge factor in abortion decisions. We know that easy access to contraception lowers unplanned pregnancy and abortion rates. So let’s support reforms in light of those facts. As for abortions related to prenatal screening, as in this case, I tend to believe lowering the rate for those types of abortions involves providing much better supports (health, educational, respite care, etc.) for families raising children with disabilities as well as chipping away at the cultural attitudes that see people with disabling conditions as less desirable and that hold up achievement as the measure of a good life (see my previous blog post). If the pro-life community as a whole would support all those things? Then yeah, let’s make abortion legal only in those rare cases when the mother’s life is in danger or rape/incest, because we can then be assured that every pregnant mother can access the support she needs to either raise her child or find an adoptive family.

        • Mike Sullivan

          So, now the basis for whether an abortion is ethical is policy, not the humanity of the unborn child? All these policies are desirable, but whether they exist or not doesn’t affect the morality of abortion. The same arguments would support infanticide and homicide.

          • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

            No Mike. We were talking on this thread not about what makes abortion ethical or not, but about why pro-lifers are sometimes accused of not caring about children once they are born, which is because more conservative voters tend to oppose abortion as well as government programs that support families with young children.

          • Mike Sullivan

            That’s confusing, because you basically said you would adopt a pro-life position, if certain support programmes were in place. So, if you lived here in New Zealand where we have excellent support programmes, would you change your pro-choice position? In New Zealand we still target the abortion of children with Down syndrome whilst we provide excellent social support including free health care and education (for all children, that’s the way we are).

            It seems your position is more political than ethical or theological?

          • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

            Um. Yes. Have you read nothing that I’ve written on this subject?

          • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

            Or rather, I would say it’s mostly practical, based on political and other realities. I believe abortion is a moral tragedy, and it is. I support reproductive choice as a political and even ethical principal (because of the perils of people coercing people’s reproductive choices, e.g., state-sponsored eugenics) but don’t support every choice that people make. I’m more interested in addressing the culture and influencing the conversation around genetic conditions (to correct for the misinformation and genetic-condition-as-tragedy dynamic that currently dominates) than telling people what they must do.

          • Mike Sullivan

            I understand where your coming from. Most other western countries do have state sponsored eugenics programmes against Down syndrome and it may well be coming to the US, so people do need to be alert to the effects of that on the disability community.

          • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

            And I can assure you that I would fight any effort to institutionalize the already significant pressure on expectant parents to abort a child prenatally diagnosed with DS or anything else.

          • Dave Parker

            > And I can assure you that I would fight any effort to institutionalize the already significant pressure on expectant parents to abort a child prenatally diagnosed with DS or anything else.

            What do you mean by “institutionalize”?

            If you mean “government funded”, does that mean you are fighting against federal funding for Planned Parenthood? Margaret Sanger created Planned Parenthood specifically to remove the “feebleminded” (her word) from the population.

          • Kubricks_Rube

            Last I checked Margaret Sanger hasn’t been in change for a number of decades. Should I vote today based on the Lincoln-Douglas debates as well?

          • Dave Parker

            > Last I checked Margaret Sanger hasn’t been in change for a number of decades.

            Planned Parenthood is still carrying out her mission of removing the less intelligent from the population, along with other people that she considered to be “human weeds” (her words, not mine).

            > Should I vote today based on the Lincoln-Douglas debates as well?

            Yes.

            The greatest tragedy facing African-Americans in Lincoln’s day was slavery, and Lincoln (a Republican) opposed it.

            The greatest tragedy facing African-Americans today is abortion, and Republicans oppose it.

            Future generations of African-American children are being killed (at a profit to the abortion industry) at about 4 times the rate that white children are. So great is the disparity that “pro-choice” is practically a euphemism for “racist”. Statistics from the CDC: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6108a1.htm#Tab12

            As Margaret Sanger said regarding her “Negro Project” (and as Planned Parenthood is still profiting from today): “The ministers work is also important and also he should be trained, perhaps by the federation as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.” http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Margaret_Sanger

          • Kubricks_Rube

            I walked right into that, didn’t I? I should have seen it coming, but as popular as this argument is I never fail to be astonished and offended by it anew. This argument entirely removes individuals and individual agency from the equation, and in so doing insults the intelligence and denies the autonomy of all those women (African American and otherwise) seeking the services of Planned Parenthood in the first place. Rather than impugning these women, rather than erasing these women, ask them what they think of Planned Parenthood, whether it is racist for granting them access to comprehensive reproductive health care. Ask them why their experience does not jibe with your theories. And then listen to what they have to say.

          • Dave Parker

            > I never fail to be astonished and offended by it anew.

            Offended by what in particular? By the statistics from the CDC (African-Americans being killed at 4 times the rate of whites), or by the quotes from Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger (“human weeds”, “we want to exterminate the Negro population”)?

            > … whether it is racist for granting them access to comprehensive reproductive health care.

            You mean, like how slave owners granted African-Americans access to comprehensive room and board?

            It almost sounds like you are saying that African-Americans should be grateful that abortionists are profiting off of killing their children. Or, as abortionist Ron Virmani described them in a rare moment of candor for the pro-choice community, “ugly black babies”: http://www.theglobaldispatch.com/abortion-doctor-ron-virmani-confronted-by-pro-life-supporters-makes-ugly-black-baby-comments-85873/

            By the way, Planned Parenthood doesn’t grant anyone access to “comprehensive reproductive health care”. For example, they don’t handle births at all. Other than providing birth control services that duplicate services available elsewhere, Planned Parenthood’s bread-and-butter is mostly killing unborn African-American children.

          • Kubricks_Rube

            The main flaw in your reasoning goes back to my original comment on this thread. Most pro-choice people (in my experience) are pro-choice in the broadest sense possible. We do not prefer or recommend abortion; we support the right of each woman to do what she feels is best for herself and her family, and that includes supporting polices that make it possible for women who want to carry a pregnancy to term or would be inclined to do so have the social and economic support to make that choice. Anyone who claims to be pro-choice but subscribes to your version of the term (like this vile Ron Virmani character) has a very poor grasp on the concept of choice.

          • Dave Parker

            > Most pro-choice people (in my experience) are pro-choice in the broadest sense possible.

            No they’re not. They’re pro-choice in the most narrow-minded and selfish sense possible.

            If they were pro-choice in the “broadest sense possible” then …

            … they would say that the unborn child has a choice, too.

            Since …

            1) the unborn child is alive,

            2) the unborn child is identifiably a different individual from the mother by DNA testing,

            3) the unborn child is temporarily and involuntarily incapacitated,

            … then, as in the case when an adult is temporarily and involuntarily incapacitated, someone who was pro-choice in the “broadest sense possible” would say …

            … that the courts should appoint a guardian ab litem to defend the choices of the unborn child. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Guardian+Ad+Litem

            The guardian ab litem would be legally bound to defend the unborn child against the death penalty (abortion), thus giving the child a chance to make the decision about its own life or death until it was competent to do so.

            The only times I can see a guardian ab litem losing the case against the death penalty would be:

            1) if the unborn child was threatening the life of the mother, in which case the mother would be acting in self-defense in killing it.

            2) if the unborn child was the result of rape, in which case the mother would be entitled to use deadly force against a theft-of-services in progress.

            > … like this vile Ron Virmani character …

            That serves to demonstrate the analogy between slavery and the slaughter of unborn African-American children.

            Slave traders did the vile dirty work of slavery. Abortionists do the vile dirty work for the pro-choice community.

            Slave traders were considered vile, even by pro-slavery advocates. Abortionists are considered vile even by pro-choice advocates, as you just demonstrated.

          • fiona64

            They’re pro-choice in the most narrow-minded and selfish sense possible.

            Citation needed.

            they would say that the unborn child has a choice, too.

            Further proof of your misogyny, right there. You wish to afford rights to a non-sapient, non-sentient *potential* person. In order to do so, you abrogate the rights of the born, sapient, sentient woman. This, in essence, makes her a slave.


            the unborn child is identifiably a different individual from the mother by DNA testing

            So is a uterine tumor or a hydatidform mole.

            That serves to demonstrate the analogy between slavery and the slaughter of unborn African-American children.

            Excuse me, but I seem to be suffering from irony poisoning now … seeing as how you advocate for women to be enslaved.

            Abortionists are considered vile even by pro-choice advocates,

            Absurd, prima facie On what basis do you maintain that the pro-choice hate OB/GYNs? After all, those are the physicians who terminate pregnancies.

          • Dave Parker

            > Citation needed.

            You can look up the definition of the word “broaden” in any dictionary.

            The pro-choice definition used by Kubricks_Rube excluded choices that might be made by the unborn child once it becomes competent to make them. Adding those choices broadens the definition of pro-choice.

            > You wish to afford rights to a non-sapient, non-sentient *potential* person.

            Yes.

            > In order to do so, you abrogate the rights of the born, sapient, sentient woman.

            No. There would only be a conflict of rights if the woman wanted to kill the unborn baby. At which point, I think it should be handled like any other conflict of rights.

            Since the unborn baby cannot defend itself against the death penalty, the court should appoint a “guardian ab litem” (A guardian appointed by the court to represent the interests of infants, the unborn, or incompetent persons in legal actions. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Guardian+Ad+Litem )

            I can see the unborn baby losing for 2 different reasons:

            1) it threatened the life of the mother; so killing the baby would be in self-defense.

            2) it was conceived due to rape; so killing the baby would be a justifiable use of deadly force to prevent a theft-of-services in progress.

            If one of those 2 cases clearly applied, I think the guardian ab litem could probably be skipped.

            > This, in essence, makes her a slave.

            Only if she was raped (in which case I think abortion is justifiable). If not, her pregnancy was voluntary and the ancient law of hospitality applies: once you invite in a guest, you may not harm them.

            > So is a uterine tumor or a hydatidform mole.

            Those aren’t considered human since they cannot grow up to reproduce other humans.

            > On what basis do you maintain that the pro-choice hate OB/GYNs?

            Please don’t put your words in my mouth, they taste bad. I never said that. For one, most OB/GYNs refuse to perform abortions.

            What I said was “Abortionists are considered vile even by pro-choice advocates” because that’s what Kubricks_Rube said: “… this vile Ron Virmani character”.

          • fiona64

            For one, most OB/GYNs refuse to perform abortions.

            I’m guessing you don’t know too many OB/GYNs.

            Only if she was raped (in which case I think abortion is justifiable). If not, her pregnancy was voluntary and the ancient law of hospitality applies: once you invite in a guest, you may not harm them.

            Consenting to sex is not consenting to pregnancy.

            Thanks, though, for your lengthy screed that so perfectly proved my point: you advocate for enslavement of women once they become pregnant, to the extent that you believe a fetus has the right to a court-appointed guardian in order to further abrogate the rights of a born, sapient, sentient woman.

            I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that you’re single … which comes as exactly no surprise whatsoever.

          • Dave Parker

            > I’m going out on a limb here and guessing that you’re single … which comes as exactly no surprise whatsoever.

            I’m married, 4 kids.

          • fiona64

            Well, then, I *am* shocked.

            And also feel sorry for your wife.

          • Dave Parker

            > And also feel sorry for your wife.

            Thanks, I’ll let her know! The statistics problems she’s working on right now are kind of tricky (she’s a physicist), so she can use all of the sympathy she can get. Today she’s taking a day off to relax by hiking in the mountains.

          • fiona64

            Of course she’s a physicist … and you’re a scientist. ::nods as though claims of profession on the internet have any basis in reality::

            I’m an astronaut and a coloratura soprano with the Met!

          • Valde

            If you were more intelligent you’d have 12 kids by now.

          • Valde

            Only if she was raped (in which case I think abortion is justifiable).

            so it’s only a ‘baby’ if it was conceived through consensual sex, but if it was a product of rape then it’s not worthy of protection

            you’re quite the comedian, dave

          • Dave Parker

            > so it’s only a ‘baby’ if it was conceived through consensual sex, but if it was a product of rape then it’s not worthy of protection

            It’s an unborn baby in both cases.

            But in the case of consensual sex, the unborn baby is a guest who was invited in.

            In the case of rape, the unborn baby is a thief who is stealing the services of the mother.

          • Valde

            In the case of rape, the unborn baby is a thief who is stealing the services of the mother.

            And it deserves the DEATH PENALTY for that?

            hahahaha

            No, it comes down to this: you only believe that a fetus is a ‘baby’ with a life worth saving if it was invited in, but if it was conceived through rape, you don’t think it’s life has any value.

            You are a slut-shamer, that much is obvious.

          • Valde

            … then, as in the case when an adult is temporarily and involuntarily
            incapacitated, someone who was pro-choice in the “broadest sense
            possible” would say …

            As long as the fetus resides within the woman without her consent it is infringing on her rights. It does not matter if it is ‘incapacitated’ – if a mentally disabled person breaks into your home and starts stabbing you, you have the right to defend yourself.

            INTENT is immaterial. The fact that your rights are being infringed on is what counts.

          • fiona64

            Exactly. The anti-choice folk behave as though we’re dragging unwilling women off to clinics. I, like every other pro-choice person I know, advocate for a woman to make her own reproductive decisions with regard to: contraception use or non-use; gestation or termination; adoption or rearing alone or with a partner of her choice.

            I mean, really. I think Michelle Duggar is insane, but I’m not out there advocating to take away her right to breed until her uterus prolapses. Her decisions are really none of my business, at the end of the day.

            As for Dave and his compatriot, Mike, I have noted over the course of time that it is very easy to be an anti-choice male. Their life and limb is never endangered by pregnancy — wanted or unwanted. They will not die of pregnancy-related complications (the US has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the developed world). Their pubic symphyses will remain normal (even in uncomplicated pregnancies, there are permanent, irreversible changes to a woman’s pubic symphysis … such that a forensic anthropologist can tell how many times she has been pregnant by looking at her skeletal remains). The list goes on, and on, and on.

          • Dave Parker

            > As for Dave and his compatriot, Mike, I have noted over the course of time that it is very easy to be an anti-choice male.

            If abortion-on-demand is ever made illegal, then I think that it should also be made very hard for a male to escape the consequences.

            For example, with DNA testing, it is now fairly straightforward to determine who the father is.

            And if that father isn’t willing to step up to his financial and other responsibilities …

            … then I think he should get a “Go Directly To Jail Card”. All of his earnings from jail work (meager as they probably will be) should go directly to the mother, and the government should then step in to make up the difference.

            There are probably other and better ideas out there, but’s that what immediately leaps to my mind.

            If it’s hard on the woman, it should be made as hard, or harder, on the man.

          • fiona64

            If abortion-on-demand is ever made illegal,

            In the highly unlikely event that this were to occur, abortions would still happen.

          • Dave Parker

            > In the highly unlikely event that this were to occur, abortions would still happen.

            It’s a near certainty to occur. As pro-choice voters die out, most voters will become anti-choice.

            And if abortions still occur, at least they’ll be occurring in far smaller numbers.

          • fiona64

            Planned Parenthood’s bread-and-butter is mostly killing unborn African-American children.

            Citation needed. Thanks in advance.

            (I have every confidence that this will be just as entertaining that overbreeding is proof of intelligence …)

          • Dave Parker

            > Citation needed.

            Here’s the most recent Planned Parenthood annual report for 2012.

            Out of their roughly $1 billion in expenses, $744 million was for “medical services”. They don’t separate out abortions under “medical services”, much less the racial distribution of the unborn babies they killed, probably because …

            … as Planned Parenthood found Margaret Sanger said: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population”.

            However, assuming that the CDC is correct that African-Americans have abortions at about 4 times the rate of whites, and assuming that the “medical services” were mostly for abortions, then you’d get that Planned Parenthood made about (4/5)*$744 = $595 million from killing unborn African-American children, which is over half their revenue.
            http://issuu.com/actionfund/docs/ppfa_ar_2012_121812_vf/9?e=1994783/1441572

            If you can find more accurate numbers from Planned Parenthood where they don’t try to hide how much they spend killing unborn African-American children, please post them.

          • Valde

            Way to take Sanger’s quotes out of context.

            Also, Sanger had the support of many black leaders, including Martin Luther King.

            And there are NOT more PP clinics in black neighbourhoods than in white. In fact, there are fewer.

            1)n 1930, Sanger opened a family planning
            clinic in Harlem that sought to enlist support for contraceptive use and
            to bring the benefits of family planning to women who were denied
            access to their city’s health and social services. Staffed by a black
            physician and black social worker, the clinic was endorsed by The Amsterdam News (the
            powerful local newspaper), the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the Urban
            League, and the Black community’s elder statesman, W.E.B. DuBois
            (Chesler, 1992).

            2)In a letter to philanthropist Albert Lasker,
            from whom she hoped to raise funds for the project, Sanger wrote that she wanted to help
            A group notoriously underprivileged and handicapped to a large measure by a “caste” system that operates as an added weight upon their efforts to
            get a fair share of the better things in life. To give them the means of helping themselves is perhaps
            the richest gift of all. We believe birth control knowledge brought to this group, is the most direct, constructive aid that can be given them to improve their immediate situation (Sanger, 1939, July).

            3)In 1942, she wrote again to Lasker, saying:
            I think it is magnificent that we are in on the ground floor, helping Negroes to control their birth rate, to reduce their high infant and maternal death rate, to maintain better standards of health and living for those already born, and to create better opportunities for those whowill be born (Sanger, 1942).

            4) In 1966, the year Sanger died, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. said There is a striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger’s early
            efforts. …Our sure beginning in struggle for equality by nonviolent direct action may not have been so resolute without the tradition established by Margaret Sanger and people like her (King, 1966).

          • Dave Parker

            > Also, Sanger had the support of many black leaders, including Martin Luther King.

            That’s what she said her plan was, to enlist African-American ministers to help her carry out the goals of the American Eugenics Society. She was also quite a popular speaker with the KKK.

            “We should hire three or four colored ministers, preferably with social-service backgrounds, and with engaging personalities. The most successful educational approach to the Negro is through a religious appeal. We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.”http://blackquillandink.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/margaret-sanger-quotes.pdf

          • Valde

            She was also quite a popular speaker with the KKK.

            In 1926, Sanger gave a lecture on birth control to the women’s auxiliary of the Ku Klux Klan in Silver Lake, New Jersey.She described it as “one of the weirdest experiences I had in lecturing,” and added that she had to use only “the most elementary terms, as though I were trying to make children understand.” Sanger’s talk was well received by the group, and as a result, “a dozen invitations to similar groups were proffered.

            She didn’t think very highly of the KKK.

            And yes, you repeated what I said about how she did NOT wish to exterminate the Negro population.

            And btw, you are showing your inherent racism by presuming that black ministers and even MLK were SO STUPID as to believe Sanger.

            Really. This is what you are doing. You are assuming that black people, especially black women, are too stupid to decide for themselves whether or not contraception is needed.

          • Dave Parker

            > And btw, you are showing your inherent racism by presuming that black ministers and even MLK were SO STUPID as to believe Sanger.

            Racism has nothing to do with it. I think anyone, black or white, who follows the racist and eugenics policies of Margaret Sanger and Planned Parenthood is stupid.

            And I’ve been proved correct, because the pro-choice people are dying out of the population — which shows that, on average, they have below average intelligence.

            > You are assuming that black people, especially black women, are too stupid to decide for themselves whether or not contraception is needed.

            I am assuming nothing of the sort. It’s the theory of evolution that says that pro-choice people (black or white) have below average intelligence because they’re not even smart enough to reproduce themselves.

            Intelligence evolved because it confers a reproductive advantage.

          • Valde

            have below average intelligence because they’re not even smart enough to reproduce themselves

            They do reproduce. Just not 12 children, which you seem to think is ideal, espeically if you’re living below the poverty line.

          • Dave Parker

            > She didn’t think very highly of the KKK.

            The important point is that the KKK was very impressed by her. After all, Margaret Sanger and her followers at Planned Parenthood kill more African-Americans in about 3 days than the KKK killed in 150 years.

            Interesting point: The KKK was founded by Democrats, and the only KKK member that I know of to get elected to Congress was a Democrat — Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia.

            No wonder the Democrats are such big supporters of Planned Parenthood!

          • fiona64

            Thanks for demonstrating your complete lack of comprehension as regards US political history. The South went Democrat when Lincoln (Republican) freed the slaves … and went Republican again when Lyndon Johnson (Democrat) signed the Civil Rights Act into law.

          • fiona64

            Considering that only three percent of Planned Parenthood’s services consist of abortions, I call bullshit. Ditto on your lame attempt at extrapolation.

            Medical services includes things like PAP smears, breast cancer screenings and so on. Congratulations on being such a misogynist that you would deny those to women.

            I also call bullshit on your argument that Sanger was in favor of race-selective abortion. For a guy who proclaims himself to be a scientist, I would expect you to do a little more research than the nonsense posted on LieSiteNews. Margaret Sanger was an opponent of segregation and an outspoken opponent of racism. In fact, at a time when there were no health services available to people of color in New York, Sanger opened a clinic in Harlem to help them.

            http://propaganda-for-life.tumblr.com/post/5577463071/the-truth-about-margaret-sanger-not-a-eugenicist

            Quote:

            In 1930, Sanger opened a family planning clinic in Harlem that sought to enlist support for contraceptive use and to bring the benefits of family planning to women who were denied access to their city’s health and social services. Staffed by a black physician and black social
            worker, the clinic was endorsed by The Amsterdam News (the powerful local newspaper), the Abyssinian Baptist Church, the Urban League, and the black community’s elder statesman, W.E.B. DuBois.

            Beginning in 1939, DuBois also served on the advisory council for Sanger’s “Negro Project,” which was a “unique experiment in race-building and humanitarian service to a race subjected to discrimination, hardship, and segregation” (Chesler, 1992). The Negro Project served African-Americans in the rural South. Other leaders of
            the African-American community who were involved in the project included Mary McLeod Bethune, founder of the National Council of Negro Women, and Adam Clayton Powell Jr., pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in
            Harlem.

          • Valde

            For a guy who proclaims himself to be a scientist

            for a self-proclaimed scientist, he sure is clueless about evolution

          • Dave Parker

            > Considering that only three percent of Planned Parenthood’s services consist of abortions …

            3% of “services” can easily account for 75% of “expenses” if the other “services” that Planned Parenthood are counting consist of telephone referrals, etc.

            Isn’t it amusing to see the accounting tricks that Planned Parenthood uses to conceal how much they’re spending to slaughter unborn African-American children?

            Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood: “We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population”.

            When you can find actual numbers from the Planned Parenthood website, instead of coverup numbers, I’d be grateful if you posted them. Until then, my estimates from their annual report stand.

            > I also call bullshit on your argument that Sanger was in favor of race-selective abortion.

            That’s amusing. Even the pro-choice propaganda website that you linked to says right at the top: “The Truth About Margaret Sanger: Not a Eugenicist, Probably Not a Racist Either”.

            “Probably not a racist either”??? LOL! That’s the best that a pro-choice propaganda website can say about her?

            “Not a Eugenicist”??? Margaret Sanger was one of the earliest members and sponsors of the American Eugenics Society. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Eugenics_Society

            Here is a link to one of her many eugenics articles, where she advocates using deception (i.e. propaganda). Just like Planned Parenthood today is using deception to hide the amount of money it spends to slaughter unborn African-American children.

            “The Eugenic Value of Birth Control Propaganda” http://www.nyu.edu/projects/sanger/webedition/app/documents/show.php?sangerDoc=238946.xml


            “I think you must agree, that the campaign for Birth Control is not merely of eugenic value, but is practically identical in ideal, with the final aims of Eugenics.”

            “Birth Control propaganda is thus the entering wedge for the Eugenic educator. … Upon this basis only may we improve the quality of the race.”

          • fiona64

            3% of “services” can easily account for 75% of “expenses” if the other
            “services” that Planned Parenthood are counting consist of telephone
            referrals, etc.

            Citation needed.

            You keep spreading your nonsense, sweetie. It just proves the combined misogyny and desperation of the anti-choice position.

            http://www.thenation.com/article/166121/awakenings-margaret-sanger#axzz2aTPmGRHI is an excellent article that shows how you and yours are creating a fiction about Sanger’s work.

            Quote from article: Sanger opened clinics in African-American neighborhoods; contrary to the slanders of today’s antiabortion movement, she was motivated by
            humanitarianism, not prejudice. As Baker explains, by the time Sanger inaugurated her clinic in Harlem, she was well-known in the community. “Following a Sanger lecture in his church, Reverend Adam Clayton Powell
            of the Abyssinian Baptist Church endorsed birth control,” she writes. “Support came as well from the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, along with a few ministers and many social workers. By 1926 Sanger had received a formal request from the New York Urban League to open a clinic in the Columbus Hill area.” In a recent article in The New Yorker, historian Jill Lepore points out that as a young minister, Martin Luther King Jr. joined a Planned Parenthood committee, a fact that
            really ought to be in Baker’s book.

          • Dave Parker

            > It just proves the combined misogyny and desperation of the anti-choice position.

            Sigh, you’ve missed the entire point.

            There is no desperation in the anti-choice position. There is no need to convince pro-choice lemmings to jump off the metaphorical cliff because they’re already doing it on their own.

            Anti-choice people are outbreeding pro-choice people. Pro-choice people are having fewer children than the replacement rate, so they’re going to disappear like the dodo birds.

            Debating with pro-choice people may be fun and amusing, but there is really no need to do it since they’ll be gone soon anyway.

          • fiona64

            Pro-choice people are having fewer children than the replacement rate, so they’re going to disappear like the dodo birds.

            Right … because pro-choice people have no kids, ever.

            @@ <– Those are my eyes rolling.

            I am pretty sure that this has never occurred to you: there are pro-choice women who have never had an abortion. There are pro-choice families with more than two kids.

            Pro-choice, as previously outlined, covers *all* of the choices — unlike your "no-choice" position.

            And your continued insistence that functional gonads means someone is more intelligent really, truly is desperately laughable.

          • Valde

            Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood: “We do not want word to
            go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population”.

            I have already demonstrated that this quote has been taken out of context.

            “”The ministers work is also important and also he should be trained, perhaps by the federation as to our ideals and the goal that we hope to reach. We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population, and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members.””

            Commenting on the ‘Negro Project’ in a letter to Dr. Clarence Gamble, December 10, 1939. – Sanger manuscripts, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, North Hampton, Massachusetts. Also described in Linda Gordon’s Woman’s Body, Woman’s Right: A Social History of Birth Control in America. New York: Grossman Publishers, 1976.

          • fiona64

            :;gasp:: Intellectual dishonesty from an anti-choicer? I’m shocked! Shocked, do you hear me?

          • Valde

            And I am currently arguing with ANOTHER one who believes that pregnancy isn’t a health condition. (Not talking about Carol Ancel, thanks for jumping in over there)

            I listed over 50 side effects of pregnancy and she says ‘well, those are only POSSIBLE side effects’

            WTF is wrong with people???

          • fiona64

            They missed a few days of biology class, for starters …

          • Mike Sullivan

            Superb!

          • fiona64

            Most other western countries do have state sponsored eugenics programmes
            against Down syndrome and it may well be coming to the US, so people do
            need to be alert to the effects of that on the disability community.

            Citation needed. Oh, and pro-tip: your blog doesn’t count.

      • GinaRD

        With all due respect, Kubricks_Rube, here’s what I hear you saying (correct me if I’m wrong): A child should not be born unless society can promise to pay for every aspect of its life, every step of the way, from cradle to grave.

        But what society can guarantee that? What society on the face of the earth has ever been able to guarantee that? Who pays for all these things? It’s a cliche, but it’s true: There is no free lunch. We can’t just say “Yay, free universal health care!” and expect it not to drain the government coffers, until we have rationing and euthanasia of the old and sick and (at best) things like societal shaming of the obese for not falling in line with the government’s standards of good health. Those aren’t just scary stories. They’re things that can be expected to happen when we look to government to fulfill our every need and solve our every problem.

        Of course we need policies put in place to help the poor and their children. (My sister was born into terrible poverty, before she was adopted into our family at age 5. This isn’t just some academic exercise for me.) But is the idea that government will pay for everything for everyone truly the best way to go about it? There’s lots of room for debate there, to say the least.

        • Kubricks_Rube

          A child should not be born unless society can promise to pay for every aspect of its life, every step of the way, from cradle to grave.

          That’s absolutely not what I’m saying. Such a position would not be in any meaningful way pro-choice.

          Also, this is a strawman version of liberal values. The idea is that the more support that is available when times are tough, the less will be needed in the long term. Dependency comes from being in the hole, not from being thrown a rope to climb out of it.

          Your description of the effects of universal health care seem remarkably similar to those of the market system: what are lifetime caps, preexisting conditions, insurance boards trying to deny as many claims as possible, etc, if not a form of rationing and (especially in the case of lifetime caps) euthanasia of the old and sick? A proper health care system is the solution to these already existing problems, not the cause of them.

      • Dave Parker

        > As someone who’s pro-choice, I’ll share the scenario in which I can imagine switching sides, …

        Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, was passionate about abortion (and beyond that, sterilization) as a way to eliminate less-intelligent people from the population.

        Pro-choice people are eliminating themselves from the population because they are more likely to abort their own children; they have a lower birthrate than anti-choice people. Thus, since intelligence evolved because it confers a reproductive advantage, pro-choice people are, on average, below average in intelligence.

        So Margaret Sanger was right; abortion is eliminating the less-intelligent people from the population. Your scenarios are excellent rationalizations that less-intelligent people can use to convince themselves that it’s good that they’re dying out.

        http://acultureoflife.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/the-unabridged-margaret-sanger/

        “There is only one reply to a request for a higher birth rate among the intelligent, and that is to ask the government to first take off the burdens of the insane and feebleminded from your backs.”

        • fiona64

          Pro-choice people are eliminating themselves from the population because
          they are more likely to abort their own children; they have a lower
          birthrate than anti-choice people.

          Better educated people tend to have smaller families (two children or fewer). Your assertion that pro-choice people do not have children is absurd, prima facie.

          • Dave Parker

            > Better educated people tend to have smaller families …

            Which means that Mother Nature doesn’t consider it to be very intelligent to sacrifice having children for the sake of staying in school longer.

            Intelligent people can learn faster, instead of having to stay in school longer.

            > … (two children or fewer).

            Intelligence evolved because it confers a reproductive advantage.

            The replacement rate in the US averages about 2.1 to 2.3 children per family. Thus, groups that average 2 children or fewer have below average intelligence.

            > Your assertion that pro-choice people do not have children is absurd, prima facie.

            I didn’t say that pro-choice people do not have children. I said that they have a lower birthrate than anti-choice people.

            Therefore, since intelligence evolved because it confers a reproductive advantage, pro-choice people, on average, are less intelligent than anti-choice people.

          • fiona64

            You keep telling yourself that, sweetie. ::pats head::

          • Dave Parker

            > You keep telling yourself that, sweetie. ::pats head::

            You should be patting Darwin’s head; he’s the one who developed the theory of evolution.

            Intelligence evolved because it confers a reproductive advantage. If a group (such as pro-choice people) averages less than the replacement rate of about 2.1 to 2.3 children per family, that group has below average intelligence and is dying out of the population.

            Don’t you think it’s interesting how Margaret Sanger founded Planned Parenthood to eliminate less-intelligent people from the population, and sure enough, pro-choice people are eliminating themselves from the population?

          • fiona64

            You should be patting Darwin’s head; he’s the one who developed the theory of evolution.

            I suggest that you actually *read* Darwin if you’re going to reference him; it’s abundantly apparent that you’ve done no such thing.

          • Dave Parker

            > I suggest that you actually *read* Darwin if you’re going to reference him; it’s abundantly apparent that you’ve done no such thing.

            That’s a pretty lame insult, I hope you’ll try harder in the future to come up with something more witty.

            The anti-choice/pro-choice debate divides society into roughly two equal sized groups. One of them (anti-choice) has an above average birth rate. The other (pro-choice) has a below average birthrate.

            Darwin specifically addressed that situation (in “Descent of Man”), and noted that the group with the higher birthrate was the intellectually superior group (intelligence confers a reproductive advantage):

            “If in each grade of society the members were divided into two equal bodies, the one including the intellectually superior and the other the inferior, there can be little doubt that the former would succeed best in all occupations and rear a greater number of children.”
            http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/charles_darwin/descent_of_man/chapter_05.html

          • fiona64

            Of course the anti-choice must be more intelligent. That must be why they think that a zygote is the same as a born infant and refuse to use medically correct terminology … amongst other things, like being unable to spell properly and constantly citing “God’s will.”

            @@ <– Those are my eyes rolling.

          • Dave Parker

            > Of course the anti-choice must be more intelligent.

            Yes. Intelligence evolved because it confers a reproductive advantage. Anti-choice people have a reproductive advantage over pro-choice people, therefore anti-choice people, on average, are more intelligent than pro-choice people.

            I think you’re finally beginning to understand the theory of evolution!

            > That must be why they think that a zygote is the same as a born infant …

            No one thinks that a zygote is the same as a born infant, although they may have similar characteristics (i.e. they both have human DNA, they both are alive, etc).

            > … refuse to use medically correct terminology …

            If pro-choice people insist on using “medically correct terminology”, that means that it is unintelligent to insist on using “medically correct terminology”, because pro-choice people, on average, are below average in intelligence.

            Shakespeare described why only unintelligent people insist on using particular vocabulary: “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”.

          • fiona64

            No one thinks that a zygote is the same as a born infant,

            You clearly haven’t read too many anti-choicers then … since they have an alarming tendency to insist that a zygote is a “baby.”

            If pro-choice people insist on using “medically correct terminology”,
            that means that it is unintelligent to insist on using “medically
            correct terminology”, because pro-choice people, on average, are below
            average in intelligence.

            Tell me: do you attend yoga classes in order to make stretches like that?

          • Dave Parker

            > since they have an alarming tendency to insist that a zygote is a “baby.”

            Why do you find that alarming? I’m not alarmed at all. I think that anyone with a moderate degree of intelligence can see that a zygote is a one-celled unborn baby.

            > Tell me: do you attend yoga classes in order to make stretches like that?

            You should ask Darwin that, it’s his theory of evolution.

            Darwin: “Intelligence is based on how efficient a species became at doing the things they need to survive.”

            Pro-choice people are dying out because their birthrate is below the replacement rate. That’s a big thumbs-down from the intelligence judges.

          • fiona64

            I think that anyone with a moderate degree of intelligence can see that a zygote is a one-celled unborn baby.

            Thanks for proving my point so well. Anyone with a moderate degree of intelligence can see that there is no such thing as an “unborn baby.” Infants are *born* entities. Equating a zygote with an infant is just laughable, and hardly any kind of proof of your position that the anti-choice are more intelligent than the pro-choice.

            Pro-choice people are dying out because their birthrate is below the replacement rate.

            Citation needed. Thanks in advance.

          • Dave Parker

            > Citation needed.

            There are lots of links all over the internet. Here’s one I just grabbed.

            http://super-economy.blogspot.com/2010/05/conservatives-have-more-children-than.html
            “Conservatives are outbreeding Liberals”

            “You need 2.05 for replacement levels. The total fertility rate of Utah is 2.7, compared to 1.7 in Vermont”

          • fiona64

            When you make the assertion, Davey, it is incumbent upon you to provide the link. Telling someone else to do your homework for you is asking for trouble. Citing someone’s blog is kind of silly when there is actual, verifiable data out there. I do note that this is a blog that worries about whites being outbred by people of color, though …

            Data collected by the Education Resources Center belies your assertions, BTW:
            http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/search/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_SearchValue_0=EJ321514&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=no&accno=EJ321514

            Quote from abstract: Small family size has a number of apparently positive effects on a child’s intellectual development. Discusses trends in Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores which strongly parallel changes in American family size. Intelligence Quotient (IQ) scores also reflect family size and parent education level; larger families correlate with lower IQs.
            (DH)

            You’re welcome.

          • Valde

            well, to be fair, he just said that California subsistence farmers with large families lead to the Silicon Vally of today…

            so, I mean, clearly, subsistence farming leads to technological innovation

            WHO’D HAVE THUNK IT

          • fiona64

            I know, right? Causal link between manufacturers buying up farmland to big families = better?

            You’re right; logic is not his forte.

          • Dave Parker

            > Small family size has a number of apparently positive effects on a child’s intellectual development.

            When a researcher’s definition of intelligence conflicts with Mother Nature’s, then Mother Nature wins.

            Intelligence evolved because it confers a reproductive advantage.

            If a group scores really high on the SAT’s, but dies out of the population, then it was merely deadwood on the tree of life, like pro-choice advocates.

          • fiona64

            Oh, there’s also this, since you pretend to be are so concerned with children of color: http://iad.einaudi.cornell.edu/system/files/Tradeoff_Between_Family_Size.pdf

            Quote:

            Children in large families also drop out in greater numbers. Having a large number of siblings (6+ children) was associated with a 36 percent increase in the odds of
            dropping out of primary school, in comparison to the odds for smaller families. The corresponding increases at the junior and senior secondary levels were 41 percent and 68
            percent, respectively. Consistent with expectations, large family size seems to become an even greater liability when the costs of schooling increase.

          • Valde

            Again Fiona.

            Must I keep correcting you???

            Davey has schooled me thoroughly on evolution and intelligence.

            As long as those children survive to breed even more children, they are ‘exhibiting intelligence’

            duh!

            Seriously, this is the stupidest crap I have read in a long time.

          • fiona64

            Yes, because having functioning gonads mean you are smart.

            Honest to god, he really is one of the most laughable individuals I’ve ever encountered.

          • Dave Parker

            > Seriously, this is the stupidest crap I have read in a long time.

            I think it would be less messy to read palms instead.

          • Dave Parker

            > Anyone with a moderate degree of intelligence can see that there is no such thing as an “unborn baby.”

            LOL! You just said that Planned Parenthood has below average intelligence. At least we can agree on that!

            From the Planned Parenthood website: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/srpp/files/Six-Rivers/Healthy_Living.pdf

            “Drinking alcohol or taking any type of legal or street drugs
            during the early weeks of pregnancy can badly hurt your
            unborn baby.”

          • fiona64

            Using layman’s terms on a website does not change the medical facts at hand. PP just wants to make sure that people like you understand the terms.

          • Dave Parker

            > … layman’s terms …

            How sexist of you. That should be

            … laywoman’s terms.
            Oops!
            … layperson’s terms.
            Oops!
            … layperchild’s terms.

          • fiona64

            Being deliberately obtuse does nothing to improve your position …

          • Valde

            This guy is funny.

            Apparently, ‘logic’ isn’t one of his strong points.

          • Dave Parker

            > This guy is funny.

            > Apparently, ‘logic’ isn’t one of his strong points.

            The funny thing is that Mother Nature doesn’t necessarily consider logic to be a necessary strong point. For example, if the members of a group spend their lives studying logic and don’t reproduce, then Mother Nature would give them a failing grade at intelligence.

            Intelligence evolved because it confers a reproductive advantage.

            So if you can use logic to increase your reproductive advantage over competing groups, then logic is great. But if not, then it was a waste of time.

          • Valde

            Intelligence evolved because it confers a reproductive advantage.

            You are advocating mindless reproduction. Which has nothing whatsoever to do with intelligence. People don’t mindlessly breed because they are intelligent – and those babies born do not have higher IQs as a result.

            Large subsistence families are not creating successive generations of even more intelligent children. In fact, with poverty, malnutrition, and lack of education that is common with such families, IQs are going DOWN, not UP.

            So, if what you say is true, the next super-intelligent humans should all come from the places where people breed the most.

            Laughable at best – and it shows your complete misunderstanding of how evolution works.

          • fiona64

            You are advocating mindless reproduction

            Yep, he is. And it’s pretty hilarious that he equates functional gonads with any kind of higher order thought processes whatsoever.

          • Dave Parker

            > And it’s pretty hilarious that he equates functional gonads with any kind of higher order thought processes whatsoever.

            I remember reading somewhere that men spend about 80% of their time thinking about sex. Thank God for functional gonads and higher order thought processes. :)

          • Valde

            In the Philippines the average POOR family has 8-10 kids. High infant and maternal mortality rates.

            People can’t stop breeding.

            Wanna guess why?

            Lack of access to contraception, that’s why.

            Yet they keep breeding. NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE SMART. But because they want to have sex. Period.

            That is ‘mindless reproduction’ and that is what you are indeed advocating.

          • Dave Parker

            > People can’t stop breeding.

            Yes they can. For example, Shakers. The religious sect that thought reproduction was sinful, so they died out.

            Pro-choice people are dying out more slowly because they are still having children, but not enough to replace themselves.

          • Valde

            The Shakers are rare and are not representative of people in general.

            The reality is, that even when faced with starvation, people won’t stop having sex. It’s just that irresistable.

          • fiona64

            Having an erection is not indicative of higher order thought processes.

            Just so you know.

          • Valde

            Haha!

          • Dave Parker

            > Having an erection is not indicative of higher order thought processes.

            Yes it is. If you have an erection, it means you are a man, and men are smarter than women.

          • fiona64

            ::pats head:: You keep telling yourself that, Davey. I’m sure that’s a great comfort to you.

          • Jennifer Starr

            So what went wrong with you?

          • Dave Parker

            > So what went wrong with you?

            Nothing. I’m just pretty good at math, and math shows that pro-choice people, because of their below average birthrate, are dying out. I guess that observation disturbs some people.

            And because intelligence evolved because it confers a reproductive advantage, the math shows that pro-choice people have below-average intelligence. But I think that’s obvious from reading their posts here.

          • Jennifer Starr

            Riiight. You know, I would imagine that with your attitude it’s pretty hard to get your head through the door most mornings. That is, unless you open the valve and let all the air out beforehand.

          • Valde

            I can’t believe this guy.

            Either he is trolling, or is genuinely this dumb.

          • Jennifer Starr

            I think he might be genuinely this dumb.

          • Dave Parker

            > You are advocating mindless reproduction.

            No I’m not. Please quote where I said that.

            > Which has nothing whatsoever to do with intelligence.

            Intelligence evolved because it confers a reproductive advantage.

          • Valde

            Yes, you are advocating mindless reproduction.

            You have said that more children = more intelligent.

            You have also said that 12 children in a 1 room shack on 2$ a day is smart.

            Therefore, we can conclude that in your mind, every family that breeds as much as possible = smartest people on the planet.

          • fiona64

            He probably thinks Jim-Bob Duggar is a bloody genius.

          • Valde

            I LOL’d here too :)

          • fiona64

            Intelligence evolved because it confers a reproductive advantage.

            You use that word so often. I do not think it means what you think it means. /Inigo Montoya

          • Valde

            You clearly haven’t read too many anti-choicers then … since they have
            an alarming tendency to insist that a zygote is a “baby.”

            I’ve been thinking about this. And I had a small eureka moment. If anti-choicers truly truly believed that ACTUAL BABIES were being killed in abortion clinics, there would be a revolution.

            Think about it. Thought experiment, if you will. Let’s say in the center of your city that someone has set up the ‘Infanticide To Go Shop’ and women can bring in newborns and toddlers to be killed by a licensed profesisonal. Would there not be a REVOLUTION? Would you not see pro-choicers AND anti-choicers descending on the place to put an end to the infanticide?

            I will bet top dollar that if it was legal to kill toddlers anywhwere in the USA that people wouldn’t just be ‘challenging the law’ – they would be attacking the place, and stringing up the ‘licensed baby killers’, vigilante justice style. NO ONE WOULD STAND FOR IT.

            Yet anti-choicers (with the exceptions of the crazies) are content to picket, and to try to get the laws changed politically. If they REALLY believe that babies were being killed, they would use different methods.

          • Valde

            So by that logic, the people in third world countries raising 12 children on one acre of land and producing generation after generation living in exterme poverty = intellectually superior?

            Riiiight.

          • Dave Parker

            > So by that logic, the people in third world countries raising 12 children on one acre of land and producing generation after generation living in exterme poverty = intellectually superior?

            Yes.

            They are intellectually superior to the people in third world countries raising only 2 children on one acre of land.

            One can’t help where one is born.

          • fiona64

            Don’t tell me, let me guess: Quiverfull male?

          • Dave Parker

            > Don’t tell me, let me guess: Quiverfull male?

            Sorry, you guessed wrong. I had to google “Quiverfull male” because I’d never heard of it before.

            If I had to classify myself, I suppose I’d say that I was an agnostic scientist.

          • Valde

            You’re funny.

          • Dave Parker

            > You’re funny.

            Thanks!

          • Valde

            Here’s a hint: having too many children than you are able to feed, and then watching those children die from famine, disease, and early onset infant mortality = not smart.

            In fact, it’s downright stupid. Dooming your children to an early death, and a life of malnutrition and extreme poverty is not ‘smart’.

            Reproductive success is not merely ‘having lots of kids’. Anyone can do that, just about. No, ‘reproductive success’ is having HEALTHY, INTELLIGENT, SUCCESSFUL children. And you can’t have that with a very large family. Not every child will get the appropriate care and love for their developmental needs – and that can have severe consequences.

          • Dave Parker

            > Here’s a hint: having too many children than you are able to feed, and then watching those children die from famine, disease, and early onset infant mortality = not smart.

            Maybe, maybe not. It all depends on how many of your children survive to reproduce.

            If more than 2 of your children survive to reproduce, then it is smart.

            If 2 or less survive, then it is not smart.

            The factors such as famine, disease, infant mortality rate, etc, affect how the raw birthrate must be adjusted to account for survival rate, which gives you your replacement birthrate.

            For example, the US replacement birthrate is about 2.1 children per family because children in the US have a high survival rate.

            In areas with a low survival rate, you might have a replacement birthrate of 4 or 5 or 6 or higher to expect that more than 2 of your children will survive to reproduce.

            > No, ‘reproductive success’ is having HEALTHY, INTELLIGENT, SUCCESSFUL children.

            Intelligence evolved because it confers a reproductive advantage. Nothing else matters.

            If what you consider to be “healthy”, “intelligent”, or “successful” causes you to have a reproductive disadvantage compared to the rest of the population, then your definition of “intelligent” is wrong.

          • Valde

            Subsistence living = not smart.

            I mean, I guess from a purely *animalistic* perspective, having loads of children, watching many die, watching a few survive to reproductive age…rinse..wash…repeat – I mean, I guess from that perspective it’s ‘intelligent’. But by that logic, bacteria is also highly ‘intelligent’.

            Mindlessly reproducing is proof of nothing more than the fact that you can mindlessly reproduce.

            And it certainly doesn’t lead to the things that we consider to be ‘intelligent’ – such as that whole ‘progress’ thing, and that whole ‘quality of life’ thing that we get thanks to smart people and smart inventions

          • Dave Parker

            > Subsistence living = not smart.

            It’s smarter than subsistence dying.

            If you happened to be born in Somalia, for example, those might be your only choices.

            > And it certainly doesn’t lead to the things that we consider to be ‘intelligent’

            Maybe not always, but often enough it does.

            For example, the first white settlers of the early western US were all subsistence farmers or hunters/gatherers, and it eventually led to Silicon Valley.

          • Valde

            It’s smarter than subsistence dying.

            An endless cycle of poverty and subsistence living does not lead to greater intelligence.

            For example, the first white settlers of the early western US were all
            subsistence farmers or hunters/gatherers, and it eventually led to
            Silicon Valley.

            That’s funny. So clearly, the next ‘silicon valley’ will be someplace where people have loads of children living hand to mouth.

            hahaah
            hahahaahahaha
            hahahahaahahahahaha

            By your logic, mice and rats are more intelligent than elephants, dolphins and humans. Because mice and rats have larger #s of children, and greater ‘reproductive success.’

            Btw, here’s a hint for you – large families are only adaptive in places where farmhands are needed to keep everything going. If you have a large farm, you need a large family to do all the farm work. If you are a hunter gatherer society, with high infant mortality rates, and again, need more people do do all of the work, of course, more babies = good.

            But 12 kids in a one room shack in the city on 2$ a day isn’t smart. And breeding lots of kids to do the farm work isn’t necessarily a sign of intelligence – it’s simply a mindless adaptation. Also, in the days before birth control, pregnancy was kind of hard to avoid. So, these things happened automatically. And in times of stress, uncertainty, and famine – all animals, including humans, commit infanticide. Even your precious farming communities will kill off a newborn during a bad season – when there isn’t enough food to go around, those who can do the work are often privileged over those who do nothing.

          • Dave Parker

            > But 12 kids in a one room shack in the city on 2$ a day isn’t smart.

            It’s smarter than 1 kid in a one room shack. Intelligence is comparative. We’re more intelligent than our ape-like ancestors, and our descendants will be smarter than us.

          • Valde

            Depends where the shack is and how much money you are making and the rates of infant mortality.

            And the whole idea behind ‘replacement population’ is bollocks anyways, imo.

            1) Economies do not need to grow to infinity – we don’t NEED larger and larger #s of consumers.

            2) In agrarian societies, large #s of kids would be expected to to look after their parents in old age. This is no longer necessarily. In Brazil, for example, women are having 2-3 kids, instead of 6 kids. By your logic, Brasilians are becoming dumber because their families are getting smaller. OH BUT WAIT – as family size DROPS, wealth and health GO UP.

          • Dave Parker

            > And the whole idea behind ‘replacement population’ is bollocks anyways, imo.

            It’s not bollocks, it’s science. In particular, the outgrowth from evolution called ‘population genetics’. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Population_genetics

            The replacement birthrate is basically the same as the ‘selection coefficient’. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selection_coefficient

          • Valde

            As usual, you misunderstand.

            We do not need an *infinite* number of children to be born.

            All that will result in is food and water shortages – along with war, and famine – and those populations will shrink as a result.

            Unlimited population growth, which is what you are talking about when you refer to ‘replacement population’ – is bollocks.

          • Dave Parker

            > All that will result in is food and water shortages – along with war, and famine – and those populations will shrink as a result.

            That was the argument that Malthus made (he was wrong).

            The reason he was wrong (and why you are wrong too) is that intelligent people will figure out new resources and new ways to use old ones that unintelligent people (like Malthus) can’t.

            For example, Malthus thought that famine would lead to a catastrophe because laborers on farms wouldn’t be able to keep up with population growth..

            What he didn’t see coming, but what more intelligent people did, was the industrial revolution.

          • Valde

            The reason he was wrong (and why you are wrong too) is that intelligent
            people will figure out new resources and new ways to use old ones that
            unintelligent people (like Malthus) can’t.

            Wrong. The history of mankind, and especially of civilisation, is one of intensification and depletion…rinse and repeat.

            Many great civlizations at various points in history have had to pack up and leave, abandoning their great cities, due to overpopulation/famine/drought and lack of resources, in general.

            And if what you say is true, then right now, Africa should have no more wars, no more famine, and no more genocide. The Rwandan genocide was partially influenced by population pressures and lack of resources necessary for survival.

            In fact, to take your logic to it’s conclusion, all of those 1 room shack 1 acre ‘farms’ with 12 children should be producing people who will solve all of Africa’s problems. In fact, since these very problems have been persistent for the last few hundred years, I would like to know why Africa’s problems have not yet been solved by all of the super intelligent large families.

          • Dave Parker

            > Many great civlizations at various points in history have had to pack up and leave, abandoning their great cities, due to overpopulation/famine/drought and lack of resources, in general.

            Yes, migrations have occurred in the past, are still occurring, and will occur in the future.

            But packing up and leaving isn’t the same as dying out. The people are still alive, they’re just in a different place.

            Pro-choice people are actually dying out.

          • fiona64

            Pro-choice people are actually dying out.

            Citation needed.

          • Valde

            Migration is not an option in the modern world. It may have been an option thousands of years ago, but in the modern world with limited food and land such migrations only end in war and famine.

            Just look at what has been happening in the Sudan.

          • fiona64

            Well, see, his answer is that he knows best because (and I quote) “men are smarter than women.”

            ::snort::

          • Dave Parker

            > “men are smarter than women.”

            They are.

            Intelligence evolves because it confers a reproductive advantage.

            Unborn baby girls all over the globe are being aborted by their mothers, placing women at a reproductive advantage.

            The percentage of men is growing, while the percentage of women is shrinking.

            Which shows that men are smarter than women.

          • fiona64

            It smarter than 1 kid in a one room shack.

            Excuse me for just a moment. You actually opined that having a dozen kids in a one-room shack, with two dollars a day to subsist on, is smarter than having only one child in the same situation? Really?

            BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

            Yes, because having even fewer resources per person is so intelligent!

            WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

            Thanks! I needed a good laugh today.

          • Dave Parker

            > Excuse me for just a moment. You actually opined that having a dozen kids in a one-room shack, with two dollars a day to subsist on, is smarter than having only one child in the same situation? Really?

            Yep.

            > Yes, because having even fewer resources per person is so intelligent!

            Yep. It takes intelligence to figure out how to support more people with fewer resources. So the intelligent person in your scenario was the one who figured out how to raise 12 children using the same resources that their neighbor could raise only 1 child on.

            > Thanks! I needed a good laugh today.

            You’re welcome!

          • Kubricks_Rube

            Dave’s definition of intelligence is pure tautology.

          • fiona64

            Wholeheartedly concur.

          • Dave Parker

            > An endless cycle of poverty and subsistence living does not lead to greater intelligence.

            Yes it did.

            We’re more intelligent than our ape-like ancestors, who at some point spent ages living in caves or trees or whatever.

          • Valde

            By that logic, the poorest people on earth with the largest families are more intelligent than Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, and many more of the greatest scientists who never had large families, or came from large families.

            lulz

          • Dave Parker

            > By that logic, the poorest people on earth with the largest families are more intelligent than Bill Gates, Albert Einstein, and many more of the greatest scientists who never had large families, or came from large families.

            Maybe, maybe not. It depends on how many of the children of the poorest families survive to reproduce. Also, since intelligence is relative, it may be that when the most intelligent of those poor people come into contact with Bill Gates’, Albert Einstein’s, etc, descendants, then the birthrate of the poor people’s descendants might drop.

            On the other hand, the birthrate of the poor people’s descendants might increase — there might be lots of Gates’ and Einstein’s being born in African or South America who we don’t know about simply because they have to cope with the life that was handed to them at birth.

            “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Matt 5:5

          • Kubricks_Rube

            Just to clear up something that you seem to have reversed: Yes, intelligence is believed to confer an evolutionary advantage. This does not mean that it is smart to have offspring or that having a lot of children proves one must be smart. In the context that Darwin was describing, everyone had offspring; choosing not to was not a variable and intelligence as we understand it* played no part in birthrates. The advantage that intelligence conferred was that- all other things being equal; speed, strength, metabolism, etc- the intelligent offspring would survive long enough to propagate yet another generation at a higher rate than less intelligent offspring.

            *If you’d like to argue (as you seem to be doing) that intelligence is measured by how many offspring one produces and therefore producing lots of offspring means one is intelligent, you can, but it’s pure tautology.

          • fiona64

            For example, the first white settlers of the early western US were all
            subsistence farmers or hunters/gatherers, and it eventually led to
            Silicon Valley.

            From yogic stretches, we now move to this incredible broad jump.

            The fact that Silicon Valley manufacturing plants now exist where orchards used to does not a causal link make …

          • fiona64

            Pro-tip: we’re no longer an agrarian economy.

          • Valde

            They are intellectually superior to the people in third world countries raising only 2 children on one acre of land.

            Actually, the people with 2 kids on one acre of land are likely to have extra funds to send their children to school, and drag themselves out of of poverty.

            The families with the 12 children are unable to feed those children, so they sell their 9 year old daughters into sexual slavery, and force the boys to work as child labourers.

          • fiona64

            But those are smart decisions, Valde! Sexual slavery for women is A-Okay with Dave, regardless of their age. Didn’t you see his post saying that a fetus should have a court-appointed guardian in order to protect its “rights” from the born, sapient, sentient woman?

          • Dave Parker

            > But those are smart decisions, Valde!

            Probably.

            The parents who raised only 2 children (which is below the replacement rate) probably have below average intelligence, because 2 children is below the replacement rate. If their children continue that trend, then they are going to die out — and the descendants of the family with 12 kids will inherit the extinct family’s resources.

            Pretty smart of them, to let the people with below average intelligence do all of the work!

            But … if the parents who raised 12 kids didn’t have any who grew up to reproduce, then they might have below average intelligence, too. For example, if they have 12 daughters who they sell into prostitution, who become infertile due to venereal diseases.

            So it depends on how many of the children of the family with 12 kids grow up to reproduce.

          • fiona64

            Boring, repetitive Dave is boring and repetitive. ::yawn::

          • Valde

            I can’t decide who’s dumber…Crissy or Dave.

            Oh, and then there’s MIke!

            Decisions, decisions!

          • Valde

            The parents who raised only 2 children (which is below the replacement
            rate) probably have below average intelligence, because 2 children is
            below the replacement rate.

            I guess then, this means that as family sizes in Brasil are going down, and people are becoming wealthier/better educated as a result of this, that these families are ‘dumber’ than the people with large families who are still living in poverty.

            Ok.

            Thanks again for the lulz.

          • fiona64

            As Kubricks_Rube pointed out, is a tautology (and a juvenile one indeed). He seems to think that, since intelligence has a reproductive advantage, breeding like rabbits means you are smarter. One does not follow the other, no matter how many times you try to make it so.

          • Dave Parker

            > I guess then, this means that as family sizes in Brasil are going down, and people are becoming wealthier/better educated as a result of this, that these families are ‘dumber’ than the people with large families who are still living in poverty.

            So many logical errors in such a just one sentence!

            For example, not all of the people who are becoming wealthier have small families, and not all of the poor people have large families.

            And it makes a lot of sense for the people who have large families (wealthy or not) to let the less-intelligent people with below replacement birthrates to do a lot of work to upgrade the country, and then to take over as the less-intelligent people die out.

            Kind of like what’s happening in California, as the less-intelligent whites die out, and the more-intelligent Hispanics take over.

          • Valde

            And it makes a lot of sense for the people who have large families
            (wealthy or not) to let the less-intelligent people with below
            replacement birthrates to do a lot of work to upgrade the country, and
            then to take over as the less-intelligent people die out.

            You just make it all up as you go along, don’t you?

          • Kubricks_Rube

            Two things on Darwin and evolution.

            1) We know a lot more about evolution today than we did in Darwin’s time, so it’s silly to use such outdated sources to make a scientific point.

            2) Pro-choice people and pro-life people are nothing like the hypothetical groups separated in Darwin’s thought experiment. Not only do the two groups interbreed, but people’s opinions are not static over a lifetime and are not necessarily shared by their offspring. No genetic split is happening here. Your theory is more Lamarkian than Darwinian.

          • Valde

            I don’t think he understands evolution. Like, at all.

          • Dave Parker

            > it’s silly to use such outdated sources to make a scientific point.

            There not outdated; they’re updated. But evolution is as true then as it is true now.

            > Pro-choice people and pro-life people are nothing like the hypothetical groups separated in Darwin’s thought experiment. Not only do the two groups interbreed, but people’s opinions are not static over a lifetime and are not necessarily shared by their offspring.

            False. Since pro-choice people have a lower birthrate than anti-choice people, even if all of the low-intelligence pro-choice children interbred with high-intelligence anti-choice children, that would still leave extra high-intelligence anti-choice children to interbreed with other high-intelligence anti-choice children.

            So the net result would be fewer low-low interbreedings, and more high-high interbreedings, leading to an increase in overall intelligence.

            > No genetic split is happening here.

            False. Evolution is always happening. It cannot be stopped. In particular, we’re more intelligent than our ape-like ancestors because, on average, every generation is slightly more intelligent than the generation that proceeded it — because the less-intelligent people have a lower reproduction rate than the more intelligent people.

          • fiona64

            because the less-intelligent people have a lower reproduction rate than the more intelligent people.

            Except for one tiny problem: this is demonstrably false.

            Here’s yet another source that proves you wrong: http://www.iqtestexperts.com/iq-family.php

            Quote:

            The data from two national surveys of 56,000 white fathers, Judith Blake of the University of California at Los Angeles found that next to the father’s educational level, family size is the most vital predictor of the length of the child�s progress in school, which even outweighs the family’s socioeconomic status

            A presidential commission proposed that both the downward and upward trends of IQ of a generation are dictated primarily by family size: In general, the smaller the family, the higher the children’s IQ. Since families have become smaller, the current upswing in scores “will
            continue for another 16 to 18 years,” reports Robert B. Zajonc of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

            I’ve already provided numerous sources that prove my position … and you just repeat the same absurd tautology.

            Really, it’s become rather boring.

          • Valde

            In case you haven’t noticed, he has not once replied to any of your fact based posts.

          • fiona64

            Oh, but he has: “Intelligence evolved as a reproductive advantage.” Lather/rinse/repeat.

            He quite clearly doesn’t care about facts; they get in the way of his stupidity!

          • Dave Parker

            > The data from two national surveys of 56,000 white fathers, Judith Blake of the University of California at Los Angeles found that next to the father’s educational level, family size is the most vital predictor of the length of the child’s progress in school, …

            Which shows that staying in school longer is a bad predictor of intelligence. Whenever a researcher’s definition of intelligence conflicts with evolution’s, the researcher loses.

            And that’s being demonstrated in California, as the whites who devote their resources to keeping their 1 or 2 kids in school longer, are now a minority compared to the Hispanics who are devoting their resources to having 3 or more kids.

            Intelligence confers a reproductive advantage, so we can conclude that the Hispanics in California are smarter than the whites in California.

      • Mike Sullivan

        In New Zealand we have items 1 and 2 and there is generally no suggestion that pro-life people don’t care about children, because it simply isn’t true here. Our abortion rates in general, and for Down syndrome, are pretty close to the US, so there is a disconnect there somewhere in terms of excellent social support not influencing abortion rates for Down syndrome (which is my area of interest).

        • Kubricks_Rube

          My support for abortion access is general, but in the specific case of abortion because of Down syndrome (which tends to be an exception to the rule, since most abortions are not wanted pregnancies), I’m sympathetic to your position. Being pro-choice doesn’t mean I have to like or be comfortable with every choice that is made. I certainly support making sure doctors and the general public have the best and most up-to-date information on everything related to Down syndrome so women can make a truly informed decision about their pregnancies in these cases.

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      What about the research (Gallup polls and Pew research) showing that a majority of Americans are indeed in the middle and not extreme? I agree that many of the most VOCAL pro-choice folk (those working the political angle, working for women’s organizations, and writing for Jezebel, for example) go in for this rhetoric, but I continue to insist that they are not speaking for most pro-choicers. Maybe those of us in the middle just need to be more vocal and speak up. But people are scared to do that because they don’t want to enter the bloody fray (which is bloody and combative because of the extremists on both sides who refuse to see compromise or nuance and who dominate the conversation).

      • GinaRD

        Do we know how these polls are defining “middle” and “extreme”? I’m genuinely curious — I don’t recall how they define those terms.

        • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

          I was going over some of the research yesterday. A big piece of it is that most people (meaning a majority….I want to say it was somewhere around 60 percentish?), whether they identify as pro-choice or pro-life, agree on some basic stuff, like that abortions should occur as early in pregnancy as possible and should be limited more as pregnancy progresses, and that there should be procedures in place to ensure informed consent, that kind of thing. In other words, most people don’t believe either that abortion is always murder and wrong and should be illegal in nearly all cases (extreme pro-life) nor do they believe that abortion is solely about a woman’s freedom of choice and there should be no or few restrictions on it (extreme pro-choice).

          • GinaRD

            Thanks for clarifying that, Ellen. I appreciate it.

            I’d really like to know how many pro-choicers are opposed to/upset about pro-lifers’ efforts, in the way I described above, but it’s possible that the pollsters don’t ask that question.

          • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

            That would be interesting…research on how each side views the other. I might do some digging to see if such a thing exists.

    • bammer56

      I have a sixteen year old son with Down syndrome and have been told by those from the anti-abortion crowd – anytime I posted in support of programs in my state that would support those with intellectual disabilities – that my son is my responsibility and only my responsibility. I should expect him to never, ever receive any funding from any type of state programs that would help him in any way. I should be totally financially responsible for him for all of his life – even after I’m dead.
      So, yes, I agree. As a pro-choicer, I agree that most pro-lifers are terrible people who do not care at all about children after they’re born – especially those with disabilities. I believe that because that’s what the pro-lifers I know have said to my face.

      • GinaRD

        That’s horrible, bammer56, and I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through that. I know a lot of pro-lifers who would support those programs — it’s very wrong and sad that there are those who don’t, and that you’ve had to struggle so much.

        I hope that you and your son are able to get what you need to help him thrive.

    • Mike Sullivan

      Yes, and the majority of pro choice doctors use their bias to actively encourage women to have abortions for Down syndrome. This is well understood in our community which bears the brunt of the pro choice ideology that the imperfect shouldn’t be born. Off course, that is what happens when the humanity of an unborn child is denied. Once we deny the humanity of some, we erode the humanity and dignity off all. Jesus understood this more than his followers do today it seems.

  • Dave Parker

    > I’m not clear on how changing her mind in response to a creative idea offered by a man in a collar is equivalent to coercion.

    Her “vote” to not have an abortion was coerced in the same way that your vote for president would be considered coerced if your husband and boss came into the voting booth with you and offered a creative idea on who you should vote for, and watched to see if that’s how you voted or not.

    For example, her private reasons for having the abortion might have been entirely different from the reasons she gave to her husband, her priest, or to anyone else who might be disappointed or angry at her if they knew her real reasons.

    The same kind of coercion happens even for something as simple as donating blood. Suppose everyone else in the office is donating blood, and you don’t want to tell them that you can’t donate blood because you are still waiting for the results of an HIV test. Blood donation centers allow coerced donors to privately put a Use/Don’t Use sticker on their donation forms that essentially says “go through all of the motions of donating blood, including drawing the blood, but then throw it away and don’t use it for reasons that I don’t want anyone to know about.”

    • http://www.catholicismforcutters.com/ Broken Whole

      I don’t think the voting booth metaphor quite holds. It’s more analogous to this: in the days leading up to my voting, someone suggests to me that I vote for such-and-such a candidate. This, of course, happens all the time and we don’t see it as particularly nefarious.

      Furthermore, nothing I’ve read suggested that the priest met her at the clinic to try and stop her nor does it appear that her refusing the priest’s offer would necessarily carry the same consequence as refusing the “suggestion” of a husband or boss strong-arming a decision. It’s not even clear if the woman was Catholic, so what degree of authority (if any) the priest would have over her is quite unclear.

  • Maria

    I do not think Ellen’s views are in the minority. As someone who is “pro-choice” (if there must be a label), my belief in having the legal right to choose one’s moral and biological present and future is not because I do not think life in the womb is not valuable or that pro-life folks do not care about life outside of the womb, but because I do not believe you can legislate morality. If anything, we as a church need to be living the Gospel not as a set of rules, but as a community understanding and seeing the world through the redemptive eyes of Jesus, and not rely on the government to do so for us.

    To be even more frank, a huge part of my “pro-choice” beliefs is the reality that without legal access, we will see more deaths and near-fatal injuries as a result of “back door” clinics.

    As a clergyperson who has sat with people in the throes and sorrow of an unplanned pregnancy and uncertain future, my heart aches–deeply grieves–all who are involved. At the same time, while I have provide prayer, guidance, and support possibilities (during and after pregnancy), the decision remains up to the parents. I can not force a decision. I can only hope that they will still see the church and the community as a place to heal and find hope again.

    • GinaRD

      It’s worth remembering that Kermit Gosnell was one of those back-alley abortionists who successfully — for lack of a better word — made the transition to legalized abortionist. Nobody put him out of business or prosecuted him for the horrific things he did to women before Roe. (Look up the Mother’s Day Massacre sometime.) They simply allowed him to keep doing them, legally.

    • Mike Sullivan

      “I do not believe you can legislate morality”. So why is homicide illegal, is that an immoral act?

      • fiona64

        We have laws to protect the rights of victims, not because of “morality” (whose morals would we apply, anyway?). Murder is illegal because it infringes on the constitutional right of the victim to be safe and secure in his or her person.

        • Mike Sullivan

          The constitution is based on moral principles.

          • fiona64

            No, it is not. It is based on the second of Locke’s “Two Treatises on Government,” and has to do with the rights of people, not morality.

  • http://timfall.wordpress.com/ Tim

    Thanks for adding to the discussion, Ellen, and doing it in such a constructive way to advance the dialog. As I said over at May Julia Becker’s piece, the Jezebel article is not pro-choice, it’s pro-abortion. I’m not pro-choice on the abortion issue, but even I know that pro-choice means allowing for people to think through and talk things out and make choices. From what we know of the woman in Virginia, that’s what she did. Anyone who sees coercion is making assumptions.
    Cheers,
    Tim

    • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

      In talking this over by email, Amy Julia and I have been talking about whether we need new terms that differentiate between those who are pro-abortion (who think, as the Jezebel writer did, that abortion is the preferable choice in many situations) and those who are truly pro-choice (who believe in women’s right to make choices, within some limits, even if we don’t love every choice they might make). And then perhaps there needs to be a comparable differentiation on the pro-life side.

      • Mike Sullivan

        Pro choice is pro the choice of abortion. It’s not like you are pro any old choice like fraud, stealing, adultery and other acts that a Christian would consider unethical. It’s the choice of a women choosing an abortion that you are pro choice on, that is, the killing of ones own child before birth. It’s good to be honest about these things.

        Pro-life, just means that you support life, not death.

        • fiona64

          Your definition is incorrect. Pro-choice encompasses *all* choices: contraception use or non-use, gestation or termination, adoption or rearing with or without a partner of ones choice.

          For example, I may think that Michelle Duggar is a nutjob, but I nevertheless support her right to have as many children as she so desires.

          What you are pleased to call pro-life is really anti-choice/no-choice. You don’t consider that there are circumstances in a given woman’s life that are none of your business … and that those circumstances affect her reproductive decisions. You just care about forcing her to remain pregnant … in effect, you wish to dictate how much risk she should assume (physical, financial, emotional, etc.) … and none of that is any of your concern whatsoever.

          • Mike Sullivan

            Really? Do you know me that well?

          • fiona64

            All I need to do is read your words …

          • Mike Sullivan

            I’m an advocate for people with Down syndrome, and their rights to freedom from discrimination.

          • Mike Sullivan

            So basically pro choice and pro life is the same except on the matter of abortion, which is the point I made.

          • fiona64

            No, really, it isn’t. Your position is “no choice.”

      • fiona64

        And then perhaps there needs to be a comparable differentiation on the pro-life side.

        I self-identify as pro-choice (and I have laid out exactly what that means to me in another reply on this thread).

        I most assuredly differentiate between pro-life and anti-choice. Those who are truly pro-life take into account that there are tragic circumstances in this world, and that they cannot decide for anyone else how much that individual can/must bear.

  • Mike Sullivan

    The Jezebel post was a rant, but does paint an underlying common view from the pro choice of abortion camp. The ideology that a women has the right to control her life by avoiding the birth of her child because she perceives that the type of child will have an adverse impact on her life. Jezebel were just being blunt and direct, but most pro choice people will hold the view that the mother has the right to control the type of child that she has and that a “normal” child is better than a “disabled one”. Scratch the surface and eugenics will be there, controlling the type of people to be born through reproductive choice. Sanger is all over it.

    It would be interesting to see the theological basis for the pro abortion Christian perspective.

    • Kubricks_Rube

      Scratch the surface and eugenics will be there

      This is a misunderstanding of what eugenics actually means. Individual choices made freely by individual women and families are not the same thing as eugenics, which involves coercive social policy enacted on individuals and populations regardless of what choices they would make for themselves. By its very nature, favoring eugenics is not a pro-choice position; it inhibits choice even more comprehensively than the anti-abortion position does.

      • Mike Sullivan

        Eugenics doesn’t require coercion, just selection based on a perceived disadvantage of biological difference, which was exactly the argument presented in the Jezebel article. The “terrible lives” justification for a life unworthy of life, much like the unwanted and unworthy unborn child.

        • Kubricks_Rube

          Just a tip: If you’re interested in dialogue with people who are pro-choice, I’d recommend against this “eugenics” angle (which incorrectly assigns a motive, whatever you think of the outcome), as well as claiming that women who choose not to carry a pregnancy to term are deeming the potential life within “unworthy.” That just isn’t how most people think.

          • Mike Sullivan

            Is the discussion only valid if one holds your view?

            It’s common for pro choice doctors to recommend abortion when there is a prenatal diagnosis for Down syndrome. The recommendation is based on the principal of a person with Down syndrome being of less worth than a “normal” child, for whatever reason. Otherwise there would be no bias or coercion for abortion from the pro choice doctors.

            There is no therapeutic benefit to the unborn child that relies on a diagnosis of Down syndrome. Screening is to prevent the births of what doctors term defective children. Pregnant women already have wanted pregancies when they are offered screening. If the wanted pregnancy becomes subject to selection of the type of child, then it is eugenics. No coercion is required, although of course there is plenty of that from the pro choice communtiy. It is still genetic selection.

            Indeed, if those with Down syndrome were treated as equals there would be no Down syndroem selective abortion, just acceptance of the wanted pregnancy as it is.

  • Mike Sullivan

    When you say that “Jezebel does not speak for me”, it seems that you disagree with her tone and argument, not with her position that the mother has the right to choose an abortion when her child is diagnosed with Down syndrome. So in essence, she does speak for you, but in a different style than the you, because you both have the same moral position. It’s just dressed up differently.

  • http://ellenpainterdollar.com/ Ellen Painter Dollar

    Friends, I’m closing the comments on this post because they have gone way waaaaaaayyyyy beyond the limited scope of the original post, and also because I try to read every comment to make sure it doesn’t violate my comment policy (some of the most recent ones have come close….) and as I’m trying to finish up an article before leaving with my family on vacation, I need to quiet down my inbox. Thanks for participating.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X