Why I’m Having an Abortion

Angie Jackson is in the process of getting an abortion.

What makes this even more interesting is that she’s been documenting the experience on her website and on Twitter. (Angie’s also on YouTube, though she hasn’t documented anything about the situation there yet. and you can see her talking about her situation here.)

I think it’s important for others to understand why she’s taking this route — whether you agree with her or not — so I asked her to write a guest post about her journey. That piece is below.

I’m an atheist, children’s rights activist, and happy momma of a 4-year-old boy who makes my world go round. But this week, I’ve been getting called a “killer” a whole lot.

I found out I was pregnant on February 13th. It turned out the birth control I thought I was using didn’t quite work as planned (my IUD had apparently come out and we weren’t using condoms as regularly as I was pretending to myself we were). You can imagine how romantic our Valentine’s conversation was. (I think what I said was, “Let’s go for a twofer — I’ll get an abortion and you get a vasectomy.”)

I had been feeling pretty awful for a couple weeks before then: throwing up, getting dizzy, being a total bitch to my boyfriend and son, battling suicidal depression and crippling social anxiety… Yeah, being pregnant is not good for me.

Prior to conceiving my son five years ago, I was told I would never carry a child to term because of sexual abuse that happened when I was 7- and 8-years-old — and I barely did. I didn’t find out I was pregnant with him until the 21st week, roughly halfway through my pregnancy. When I did find out, I was underweight for the duration of the pregnancy, and I had several other high risk indicators. I did my best to gain weight (it helped that my ex-husband worked at a pizza store).

Even still, I made several trips to the emergency room throughout my last two trimesters. During my eighth month of pregnancy, I actually lost ten pounds due to a pretty horrible stomach virus. It was as if I had no immune system at all while pregnant. I went from having never received IV fluids in my life, to being intimately familiar with the feeling of cold fluids dumping into my veins. And let’s not even get into the other causes of dehydration.

When my son was born, I decided I didn’t want any more kids, in part because I’d learned during my pregnancy that I was a carrier for Cystic Fibrosis, a fatal and painful disease (of which my son was fortunately spared). I don’t regret that decision. My son is happiest when he’s getting one-on-one attention from an adult — he has even manipulated the system at school so that he gets to hang out with his teacher while she eats lunch and the other kids nap! I honestly don’t believe siblings are always a blessing, always friends, or always best for a family.

I know that I can be a damn good mom to the one special needs child I have — he had many health problems when he was younger and he is speech delayed and has a short attention span now — but I don’t know if I could be a good mom to two kids, one or both of whom would have special needs. I know my mom had more children than she could afford or care for, and I don’t want to make the same mistake. For his sake, my boyfriend has never wanted children of his own.

For me, getting an abortion was the best decision.

I went to the Planned Parenthood this past Thursday, on a day set aside (for security reasons) for patients having abortions. I found out that I was only four weeks and one day pregnant, meaning I caught this incredibly early — so early, in fact, that surgical abortion isn’t even an option yet. So I chose to have a medical abortion.

At the clinic, my height, weight, blood pressure, and blood Rh type (negative or positive) were checked. The counselor asked me questions like, “Are you aware that the alternatives for an abortion include continuing the pregnancy and becoming a parent, or continuing the pregnancy and putting the child up for adoption?”

I said, “Yes, or continuing the pregnancy and then dying.”

We soon found out I wasn’t going to be anemic from blood loss. So I met with the doctor and took the Mifepristone in his office. He sent me home with a bag full of condoms, vicodin, antibiotics, anti-nausea meds, and misoprostol to complete the abortion at home. (He also threw in one package of Plan B, so there won’t be a next time.)

After I put my son to bed, I began #livetweetingabortion on Twitter. Why on earth would I choose to go through something so personal — and controversial — on Twitter? Have I no shame?

No, I don’t.

I don’t feel ashamed of having an abortion.

I believe in a woman’s right to choose, in general for others and in this case for me. Abortion doesn’t have to be justified and it doesn’t have to fit your neighbor’s or coworker’s opinions of a “good enough reason.”

I think “I don’t want to be pregnant” is one of the best reasons there is for having an abortion (along with “I don’t want to be a parent” and “I’ll probably die”).

For some women, the abortion-by-pill doesn’t work. That night, after taking the pill, I talked with friends and fended off Twitter trolls for several hours before finally going to bed. I woke up early on Saturday… and nothing had happened. A medical abortion is supposed to work like a miscarriage — but I’d had no cramps. No bleeding. No abortion.

We went back to Planned Parenthood and they gave me a second dose of the medicine after I signed a paper letting them know I was aware that the second dose only works for 30% of the women who try it.

As I write this, it’s 3:21 a.m. on Sunday. I know the fetus is no longer growing as a result of the first pill I took back in the doctor’s office but, again, nothing’s left my body yet. I have met some amazing medical tweeters the past few days, including @IAmDrTiller who has been full of information (like that the abortion-by-pill can take up to a week!) so I guess I’ll be #livetweetingabortion a bit longer. If I end up needing the surgical abortion, I’ll tweet before and after that, too.

I want to demystify abortion.

I want women to know that it’s not as scary as I thought.

The doctors and nurses I’ve met have all been incredible. Every other woman in the lobby was either there for an abortion or there with a friend getting one. And not one of us was crying. I think that’s the lie I’d heard most often — that I would feel horrible about this decision.

I am helping dozens, if not more, girls and women (and boys and men) realize that abortion is an acceptable choice. It is not shameful and it need not be a secret.

More than 45,000,000 legal abortions have occurred since Roe v. Wade for tens of millions of women, but you almost never seem to hear their stories (unless they’re now a pro-lifer with a huge guilt concept).

Why don’t we talk about this more? Well, because we’ve been taught not to. By the women (and men involved) before us who didn’t talk about their abortions, by the religious right who told us we were whores for wanting to enjoy sex without the punishment of pregnancy and childbirth, and by the left who hung their heads in sorrow that people “had to” get abortions.

Do you have any idea how much I am looking forward to my pregnancy being completely over? This abortion is the best thing I could ask for right now.

I’m glad I can quit feeling suicidal and bitchy and can go back to being myself again (I miss my old self, as I’m sure my son and boyfriend do). I’m thankful I live in a country where I can have an abortion legally and safely. I’m proud to have made the right choice for my family, despite enormous social and political pressures. I’m #livetweetingabortion because this isn’t something that should be done in the dark or in secret.

It’s possible the abortion will not occur from the pills as the week goes on (a very odd thought). If it doesn’t, I’ll be going in for a vacuum aspiration.

Abortion is a little scary, but it doesn’t have to be terrifying.

Update: It’s 1:14 on February 22nd, early Monday morning. The abortion-by-pill is working. I’m still #livetweetingabortion with my symptoms and progress. This is so much less frightening and painful than I had worried it would be.

  • Gabriel G.

    I follow Angie on Twitter and on YouTube, so although by being male (and prochoice) this really could never affect me personally, I can still see how by doing this Angie is helping to make abortion seem less like the nightmare that prolifers profess it to be. There are definitely people who disagree with her choice, calling her a killer and debating her on Twitter, but those people are the same assholes who have always been fighting against the freedom to have an abortion, their arguments are no more realistic and no less emotional than they’ve always been.

    Angie is an amazig person for doing this, despite what some prolifers on twitter have to say about it.

  • ErinM

    So important to spread the word that abortion doesn’t have to be justified with, “It’s the only option.” Just as valid is, “It’s the best option.”

    Infinity-plus-one thanks to Angie for her courage and wisdom in doing this. Thanks for posting it, Hemant!

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Natural abortions are quite common. They are called miscarriages. Miscarriages are the body’s way of sloughing off cells in which the internal conditions were not quite right. Abortion is merely a human’s way of sloughing off cells for reasons including when external conditions are not quite right. It is nice that there is a pill available and I hope that is all you will need.

  • lgirl

    I read this article ready to be angry at the silly selfish woman. Thanks to this article I didn’t feel that way at all. She has opened my mind and wish her and her son only the best.

  • http://pinkydead.blogspot.com David McNerney

    Just to be contraversial….

    I have two personal rules about abortion:

    1. I’m not fond of it: I think it is a last resort option that should be avoided if at all possible.
    2. It’s none of my damned business what anyone else thinks or does with their body in respect to abortion.

    While I’m fascinated by this insight into the mind of someone on the horns of this dilemma – I’m not sure I’m comfortable with someone making this my business.

  • http://www.houndsinthekitchen.com Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen)

    I am happily the parent of an only child. My husband ‘got fixed’ before we had an accidental second pregnancy, but I can totally understand your position. Thanks for dealing with it openly. I hope your story can help destigmatize abortion.

  • Demonhype

    Thank you for doing this. I have such a hard time with my parents, my father in particular, who are under the impression that “every” woman who gets an abortion lives with “deep regrets” about the “horrible thing she’s done”. It’s hard to explain to him that the only stories he’s heard (the only stories that seem to be considered acceptable to publish) are the ones that do regret it. So often they are the ones who had some uncertainty or guilt mostly left by religious indoctrination, and they seem to be sought out by the Religious Right groups as poster children for the “evils” of abortion. We need more women to make the larger reality more visible and steal the fangs from the anti-choice crowd’s propaganda.

    Then there’s my sister, who intones that “you should have thought about it…WHORE” regarding women who want an abortion. I told her point blank that if you regard pregnancy and childbirth as “punishments” for being a “WHORE” (ie: having sex), then calling yourself pro-life or a defender of children is a joke. You don’t see a human life being forcibly brought into the world unwanted, you see that child’s life as the proper punishment for WHORES and you are unconcerned about what quality of life that child can have as a result. You are right that other people should not be the judge of what is a “good” reason to have an abortion. If you are pregnant and do not want to be, whether it is for health reasons or because you don’t feel you can do enough for the child or anything else, that is still a “good enough” reason.

    My mother was an unwanted child who was abandoned by her mother at an early age and dumped on religous realtives. She is in her sixties now and still cries about what she went through, and often says that she would have prefered to be aborted if her mother didn’t want her. That has had a profound effect on me, which is why for myself I consider abortion a better moral choice for an unwanted pregnancy than adoption.

    Which is the essence of the question: choice. There is no pro-life, there is only pro-choice and anti-choice. I couldn’t live with myself if I brought an unwanted child into the world, whether I keep (and resent) it or whether I put it up for adoption. Perhaps you couldn’t live with yourself if you had an abortion, so for you, keeping it or adoption are better choices. It’s a major decision and one that can only be made by the woman herself, as only she can know what she can live with. One side is all about choice, not about enforcing abortions, and the other side is all about forcing all women into a single role and a single option, forcibly removing any and all autonomy of the woman in a decision about her own health.

    Yet those same anti-choice people feel they should be able to do whatever horrible thing they want to actually living and breathing children–deny them any education, deny them any choices or personal growth, teach them that their every instinct or doubt will result in eternal hellfire, deny them medical care and watch them die in agony from treatable conditions, beat them with various implements until they die of tenderization–and that’s just peachy. I guess children are precious non-property only when they are in the womb. Afterward, they become their parents’ total property, to be dealt with in any manner the parent chooses, no matter how scarring or fatal, and how dare anyone interfere!

    Nauseating monsters.

    A bitter debate and a feminine fate
    Lie in tandem like two precious babes
    While the former gets warmer it’s the latter that matters
    Except on the nation’s airwaves
    And the custodians of public opinions stayed back
    After vainly discussing her rights
    Lay hands off her body
    It’s not your fucking life
    -Bad Religion, “Don’t Pray on Me”

  • Ron in Houston

    A little bit high on the “TMI” scale for me, but heck I’m an older male.

    It’s probably a valuable post for any poor young female who may find themselves in the same situation.

    Tough and (literally) painful situation to be in. I certainly don’t envy Angie having to make the choice.

  • http://NoYourGod.blogspot.com Lifelong Atheist

    Thanks to both Hermant and Angie for this post. I wish Angie the best of health.

  • Aj

    I’ve been told I could be a carrier of CF so should get tested. I read that both parents have to be carriers for any children to get CF because it’s autosomal recessive (two copies of a gene have to be mutated). I’m sure Angie knows this, but I just wanted to make it clear that it might not be the case that a carrier has to worry about their children having CF. I’m not a doctor, so go ask one, or read about it for yourself.

    I think Angie is doing a really important service. When things are taboo in a society, they only happen in the shadows, and this creates unnecessary problems. There are millions of stories about how accidental pregnancies turned out great, but no one talks about how planning parenthood turns out great, and I suspect more often.

  • Michelle

    No comment on the abortion, that’s her business.

    However as an only child, I do hope she figures out one day that while it’s not ALWAYS best, it’s better. For the child. And it’s not about a childhood playmate, or confidant, or any of that. She seems to tell herself that the child is better off because she can give him more attention while forgetting that at some point he will have two parents and a life of his own to worry about. Yes, while you get the benefit of rearing just one, he gets two elderly people to care for.

    Not always the case I’m sure, and I know there are craphead siblings who leave the caring for the parents up to just one child, but at least the odds are improved.

    Just a thought from my own experience.

  • http://theperplexedobserver.blogspot.com TPO

    If more women shared their stories like this, it might squelch much of the anti-choice propaganda that permeates our society. Hopefully Angie will recover promptly.

  • Joseph R

    Good luck Angie. I can imagine it takes major guts to live tweet something this personal. I hope you have a swift recovery.

  • http://www.frommormontoatheist.blogspot.com Leilani

    I have mixed feelings. Not that it’s any of my business, and what she does is her choice (which is a wonderful thing all by itself). I don’t know if I could have an abortion, I am still struggling with the 20+ years of brainwashing; my own issues. Plus, I love babies, and I can carry a child to term with no problems (which plays a HUGE role), so she and I are in different situations. I am not ‘above’ taking Plan B.

    My Mormon mother claims to have been raped in the Autumn of 1979. I was born the following July.

    Not that I can prove it, but I always felt resentment from her. I think she was forced to keep me, she didn’t want me and she had me at 19. She would always talk about how she wished she finished school and how she wished she got to ‘live’ more… It all clicked when she told me on my 18th birthday that I was a ‘rape’ baby. (I am not 100% sure if the sex was forced, but I am pretty sure her Mormon family ‘forced’ her to keep me.)

    It’s a tough thing to say you wish you were aborted, but I have found myself saying that numerous times.

    Plus, if Angie would have carried the baby to full term, and the baby was born with a condition, disease or disability, it would have been tougher to find a loving home for that child. Only she knows if she did the right thing for her, and it sounds like that is exactly what she did. Kudos.

  • Angie

    (Note — I’m not the Angie who wrote the above post. I’m a different Angie.)

    I’m proud of the other Angie for writing this account of her abortion. It’s crucial that people understand what an important right abortion is for women, and how it can be the best choice in certain situations. On behalf of women everywhere, thank you!

  • Lost Left Coaster

    I really appreciate Angie sharing her story, and I wholeheartedly agree with her that abortion should be demystified. It is not something that should be whispered about; it is nothing to be ashamed of; it is all part of the freedom that each of us is supposed to have to choose what to do with our own bodies.

  • paranoid android

    Yes, while you get the benefit of rearing just one, he gets two elderly people to care for.

    Not always the case I’m sure, and I know there are craphead siblings who leave the caring for the parents up to just one child, but at least the odds are improved.

    When the kids have such a high risk of being handicapped as in ths case, “caring for elderly parents” will probably not be an option anyway. Even if the second child was healthy, it would end up having to care for the parents AND the special needs brother. I’m living that life and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

  • Karen

    I applaud Angie’s decision to explain why she chose abortion, and how it affected her. Thank you Angie!

    As an adoption baby, I can’t say I object to women who can carry safely putting up their baby for adoption. Thanks, Mom, whoever you are; I’m still glad to be here.

    But this whole thread brings home to me that it MUST be the choice of the pregnant woman. Not her spouse/boyfriend, not her church, not society. It must be HERS. To demand otherwise is unacceptable.

  • Doug Stewart

    Angie.

    You go girl! Thank you so very very much for sharing your experience and letting everyone know that the situation isn’t what the religious community would have everyone believe of all tears and guilt and shame.

    In England, my mother had three children in just over three years and during her pregnancy with me, (I’m the youngest), she developed a thrombosis in her left leg that almost caused her to have it amputated. After she got pregnant again, (fertility is very often a curse rather than a blessing), she had an abortion. This was nearly half a century ago.

    What bothered me was that she waited until she new my position on the abortion issue, which was some time in my late teens, before telling me about it. So, my mother was ashamed to tell the truth even to her own son who loved her more than anyone could ever imagine. She can remember that she spoke with such self loathing; I know that if I had developed the alternate opinion of abortion, she would never have told me. I wonder how many anti-abortion activists today are oblivious to their own mothers having an abortion.

    Thanks again for sharing your experience with society. If every women was like you and refused to be intimidated into being a second class citizen, the abortion “controversy” would simply evaporate.

    Doug

  • Karen

    re: having one child to attend to two elderly parents

    Both my (adoptive) parents were multiple siblings. In each of their situations, one sib was the caretaker of elderly parents. When the time came, I was grateful that I could be the caretaker for my own parents. I owed them that and much more.

  • Sive

    Thank you.

  • Sive

    Regarding the children “taking care of” parents. As a person who is choosing not to have children I get this thrown in my face all the time. “You’ll regret that when you’re older and don’t have anyone to care for you.”

    1. How self-serving of a reason is that to have children? Really. You don’t care about the kids you’re care about yourself and see them as little slaves to do your bidding or as an insurance policy.

    2. You can still take care of yourself when you’re older. I had an aunt who lived on her own until she was 96 without a problem. Does it take a little more planning? Yes. You’ll have to be much more humble about your abilities to care for yourself and your needs but so what? It isn’t a bad thing and it’s perfectly doable in today’s society.

  • Becca

    Thank you so much for posting this, Hemant and Angie. It takes a very brave woman to write about this as you’ve done and to hold your head up high and show that you aren’t afraid or ashamed.

  • DSimon

    Cheers to Angie for her twittering and blogging. Big ups for not letting the jerks be the ones to define the debate!

    Abortion is unquestionably moral up until the point where fetus is capable of having its own independent consciousness. After that point is where it starts potentially being a real moral dilemma, but since that point is pretty late in the pregnancy (relevant parts of the brain don’t form until around week 24, AIUI), I absolutely support the moral and legal right of medical and surgical abortions during the first two trimesters.

    Anyways, that’s my two cents.

  • http://thesciencepundit.blogspot.com/ The Science Pundit

    She’s finally made a video about it.

  • http://lagunatic.wordpress.com/ Lagunatic

    I know a girl who’s had at LEAST six (6!!) abortions. She won’t go on the pill because she doesn’t want those chemicals in her body, however she has no shame in partaking in a nightly 8ball.
    I’m not a fan of people like that.
    However, I am staunchly pro-choice and wish abortion could be de-stigmatized as well.
    Angie, I think you are doing a great thing and are very brave. I commend you.

    (btw, re: that girl I know….what makes her ‘ways’ more palatable to me is knowing those babies are better off unborn than to have a mom like her – she once did coke before AND immediately after one of her abortions. eek.)

  • littlejohn

    Good for you; you’re clearly doing the right thing. I’m male, but I got a casual girlfriend pregnant shortly after college graduation. IUD failure, just like you. I’ve since learned that’s quite common.
    There was never any debate what to do, we weren’t planning to get married and were still living like kids.
    A couple of our douchebag friends told us pregnancy is wonderful and how could we even consider abortion, etc. My girlfriend was barfing constantly and started lactating almost as soon as she got preggers, making her nipples crusty and sore.
    We went our separate ways a few months later.
    A few years later I got the vasectomy and am now a cheerfully child-free old man.
    I don’t think either one of us ever had a second thought. Be strong.

  • Polly

    Question for Angie:
    Why didn’t you get a tubal ligation after your first child since you knew for sure you’d never want to have children?

  • bigjohn756

    In my opinion, there are many reasons to have an abortion, and, it sound like Angie has an excellent one. However, I think that abortion is a horrible means of birth control when there are so many other less destructive ways to do that.

  • Lorikeet

    Well done, Angie. I must admit, I wasn’t sure before I read this post why you were doing this. I’ve always felt that abortion should be available to a woman whose health or life would be compromised by bringing a child into the world, or if it’s not in the child’s best interests – but I’d never questioned my own assumption that I’d feel grief-stricken and terrible if I had one. I didn’t even know you could do them by pill, so your tweets are making a lot more sense now! What the heck, us women have an awful lot of pain and mess to deal with in our lives – why act like it’s such a big secret? That can’t be healthy.

    Thank you, because this has given me courage for the future. My boyfriend and I both want children and are thinking of getting married; but he is very religious and I am not at all sure he wouldn’t think badly of me if I needed to have an abortion. I haven’t been sure when or how to ask him. But your example is a great inspiration.

    I wish you a rapid return to full health, continued courage against the idiots, and a wonderful life bringing up your son and doing many other cool things!

  • mary

    I am going through something very similar and have my appointment on Wednesday. I also am not ashamed of this, and am an atheist. Thank you for putting this out there. It has brightened my morning a little bit. I have 2 children and can’t imagine having another, and the birth control didn’t work. I am sick as a dog, and just not interested in finding out what would happen in the next 9 months. Take care, and thanks.

  • Jim G

    So many anti-choicers wail that anyone who has an abortion will forever regret it, and be haunted by it for the rest of their lives. Of course, their support for this is all anecdotal; they can’t point to any real research that backs up their assertion. And when it comes to anecdotes, allow me to oppose a few of my own:

    I have two friends that have had abortions – one of them has had two – and a third friend who went the anti-choicer’s preferred route of giving her child up for adoption. Both of the women who had abortions have since had other children, and display no problems as a result of their decisions. In fact, they still say they made the right choice.

    My other friend who gave up her baby (for which she was financially unable to care), however, is still broken up over it. So much for adoption being the less stressful choice.

  • julieb

    Thanks for what you’re doing! You’re incredibly brave and inspiring.

    And it is fantastic to see false religious propaganda being countered with the truth. It was a very easy decision for me too and not a scary process at all, and I certainly haven’t been plagued by any kind of guilt.

    I completely agree with your position, btw, that there’s no valid reason to be secretive or ashamed about it, especially if you haven’t bought into the religious doctrine. It takes brave people like you and Hemant to start making some noise about it, though, and damn but there’s a long way to go in raising awareness! But somebody’s got to do it and start the ball rolling, so thank you.

    Now I had an abortion myself as a 20 year old college student but was not equipped to be an advocate for destigmatization at that time, esp. since I was going to a Catholic college. I sometimes have occasion now to mention it in passing conversation if it’s relevant, but in the future I will try to take your example as inspiration and be more proactive and vocal about having had an abortion.

    Thanks again.

  • Jennifer

    Very informative. I truly admire a person with strength of character to do something like this. Thank you.

  • Sue

    @Polly: I don’t know about Angie’s case, but it can be amazingly difficult to get a tubal ligation. As a childless woman in the UK, I can’t get one from the NHS and my private health insurance doesn’t cover it. The only realistic way I can get sterilised is if I save up the £1340 and go to a Marie Stopes clinic. And as a surgical procedure, it has some small risks.

    It’s often easier, cheaper and/or safer to get an IUD, which is what Angie did and what I’m considering.

  • Polly

    @Sue,

    Thanks for the input. I’m surprised to hear that.
    By Angie’s reference to Roe v Wade it sounds like she’s American. It would be interesting to see if there’s any difference in health care systems – US and UK.

  • jenne

    *thank you* for doing this. from one who has been there and done the same, but was always afraid to speak of it.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/AngieAntiTheist Angie the Anti-Theist

    This is Angie the Anti-Theist who wrote this post, and I want to say thank you again to Hemant for giving me this platform. I also want to thank everyone here for sharing their honest views on the subject.

    Regarding taking care of elderly parents… I’m one of three kids, and I know I’ll be leaving that job to my siblings (I’m not saying “thanks” for an abusive childhood) I do plan on doing my best to prepare so that I can support myself, at least financially, when I’m old. My exhusband has no contact with us, via restraining order, so I’m the only parent my son will have to worry about. I think family size, whether abortion is an issue or not, is an incredibly personal decision. My sister would not full her family was complete and she had no more children than the one she has now, where as I have felt for the past 4 years that my little family of the Kid & me is just right. There are no one-size-fits-all families :)

    Thank you for your compassion, support, and understanding. Thank you for listening.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=59Ud3g2ymOM

  • Guffey

    Polly – in my US insurance experience, sterilization has always been an optional procedure and very expensive. I wanted to be sterilized ~25 years ago – it was 1000′s of dollars (I was told >$20,000 in early 80′s – but they could have been lying to me to discourage me) and I couldn’t afford it. Besides being expensive I was discouraged from doing it constantly: Some docs… “won’t do it – you’re too young”, “you’ll change your mind”, “you’re still in your reproductive years”… *my* opinion wasn’t counted.

    So… just sayin’… it might not be that easy to get a voluntary sterilization in the states, both monetary and psychological pressures thrown at women. Things might be a lot different now… I’m just relating my experience

    I commend Angie for being so confident in sharing. I’ve always disliked that the “default” is that women have to feel bad about abortion.

  • Pingback: Great article: “Why I’m Getting an Abortion” | The Good Atheist

  • http://raisinghellions.wordpress.com/ Louis Doench

    Firstly, I hope yer feeling better Angie. It warms the cockles (wtf is a cockle anyways?) of my heart to hear an intelligent young person treat this issue as a medical decision as opposed to a moral decision.

    Interestingly, (and anecdotally) I have heard that in countries with high rates of atheism, like Russia, having an abortion is considered a quite rational decision.

    We need to get to a point in this country where “I don’t want to have a baby” is no more controversial than “I don’t want to look fat in my prom dress”

  • CarolAnn :)

    I had a tubal ligation at 24 for medical reasons. I had no problems from my insurance carrier or the surgeon since my reasons were medically based. I actually didn’t want it.

    Optional tubal ligations, however, are another story entirely when you are a young woman. Doctors still believe you’ll “change your mind” and regret having the tubal, so they don’t give them.

    A tubal is usually around $5000 – $10000.

    I have no problem with Angie having an abortion, but I also feel the Tweeting is a little TMI, but then I don’t share my childbirth stories with everyone who comes down the pike either.

  • Heidi

    Thanks for sharing your story, Angie. I’m following you on Twitter now. I’m happy that you were able to make the best decision for yourself and your family.

  • Thegoodman

    I am not trying to sound like an anarchist or a monster, but a lot more people should be having abortions.

    There are thousands of children born each year that will grow up in hellish conditions and live a life being unwanted and uncared for. That is until they get into “the system” where they will likely suffer child abuse and/or sexual abuse to later become an inmate which will cost the state roughly $20,000 a house/feed/babysit.

    If she didn’t want the child, she made the mature and correct decision to not have the child and I applaud her for it.
    That being said, abortion isn’t a safe form of birth control and she should have been more responsible to begin with. The problem is that most people who are irresponsible like this and get pregnant double up on their irresponsibility by carrying the child to term.

    Shame on you for getting pregnant, good job for correcting your mistake.

  • http://logofveritas.blogspot.com Veritas

    Angie, you’re one of the bravest women I’ve ever heard about. Thanks for sharing this story and trying to make things better for all the women out there who have to make a choice.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Too bad Christianity didn’t end up taking the position that souls are embedded in the human “animal vessel” at the time of birth and if one fetus gets aborted, then the soul simply waits for the next available baby to be born.

    Well, come to think of it, I guess that wouldn’t completely solve the problem since religion likes to control the masses and what better way to control the masses than to control people’s sex lives. It is no accident that religion tries to regulate who you marry and have sex with. Birth control (including abortion) weakens the Church’s power.

    P.S. I don’t believe in disembodied souls.

  • http://classxradio.com hollyBerry

    Most important part: “I’m thankful I live in a country where I can have an abortion legally and safely.”

    amen to that, sister.

  • cicely

    Angie, I admire your courage. I don’t know if I could be as upfront and open about it, if your situation and decision were mine.

    Polly, sometimes, the doctor just won’t do a tubal, even if you want it. My sister was told, “You might remarry, and your husband might want children”, which apparently out-weighed, “If you try to carry another child, you have a 50% chance of dying”. Paternalism at its finest!

  • Flah

    Angie is not using abortion as birth control — her method of birth control failed. Statistically, that happens. Re: tubal ligations. My doctor would not perform one for me as it was not medically necessary and she felt that the IUD would be safer and healthier for me at my age. So it’s conceivable that I could wind up in the same situation, although at my age doubtful.

    Thanks Angie, for posting this. I’m sure it was not an easy decision. Also thank you for posting about the pregnancy itself. Pregnancy is typically depicted as the rosy blush of happiness, and the sickness is glossed over as a humorous side effect. The few of us that have “bad pregnancies” are seen as an aberration, not to be talked about. Serious depression? Severe medical complications? Well, “the next one will be easier”. Yeah, no thanks. I’ll stick with my one and only child, too.

  • Jen

    I am pleasantly surprised that we aren’t seeing anyone being a jackass here. The simple fact of the matter is that 1 out of 3 American women have an abortion in their lives, and despite that, it’s supposed to be some shameful secret, never talked about on tv, never discussed with friends, and never mentioned. Whenever it is discussed, everyone else thinks they get to decide if she is morally pure enough to “deserve” the abortion.

    Angie, feel better soon!

  • JJ

    First of all, can we all stop with the unnecessary disclaimers (“I personally would never get an abortion, but…”, “I feel abortion should not be used as birth control, but…”, “I feel Angie should have been more responsible with her birth control methods, but…”)? We get it. We believe you, really we do. You shouldn’t feel the need for justifying your reasoning and intelligence to us before you type, however: this post is just about Angie’s experience and what she’s trying to do with it.

    Secondly, what was so TMI about this post? This post is considerably more tame that other discussions I’ve seen that aren’t even about abortion (see beautifulcervix.com for an example). If reading this was going to make you feel icky on the inside, then don’t. read. it.

    Finally, I think some of you should remind yourselves that Angie’s pregnancy resulted from the choices that she and HER PARTNER made in the birth control department. Not just Angie.

    That being said, thank you SO MUCH Angie for doing this (simply put, yes, but 110% genuine). You are truly courageous and very much appreciated. I look forward to your updates.

  • jm

    Thank you both, Hemant and Angie, for posting this.

  • Lynda

    There is no afterlife. Reincarnation is a lie. Heaven and hell are both pure fantasy. This, I believe, and I’m certain most of you all do as well.

    That is why my mind is absolutely boggled by the strident advocation here of what is essentially robbing another individual of their sole chance at ever existing in this world. If this is indeed all we have, shouldn’t we protect everyone’s right to have it? Isn’t denying someone this chance the gravest of wrongs against them?

    Lumping “atheist” with “pro-legal-abortion” is a pet peeve of mine. It makes no sense from an ideological standpoint. I might understand it if one were a Christian or some other faith and thought that the “soul” of the individual would go live it up in heaven, or be reincarnated into another body until they finally had their chance to live, but for us, this is it, and just as I would never want to be deprived of my single and solitary chance to be a part of this world, I will continue fighting for the rights of others to be protected by law and allowed to live this life they have been given, for better or worse.

  • justanotherjones

    Thanks for sharing your story, Angie. I hope you feel better soon, and that many people take away something positive from your experience. Stay safe.

  • Nicky

    I have had an aspiration surgery in new york at a clinic that was very nice to me less then a year ago, i was 18.

    I was 3 weeks pregnant and there was a chance that having the abortion this early would not get all of the implanted egg which freaked me out a bit imagining me giving birth to half a baby.

    Luckily it worked very well, they gave me a numbing drug in the surgical area which caused loud ringing my ears.

    The process was expensive but very well worth it especially for the age that i am, i cant handle a baby and neither could my parents.

  • Angie

    (Note: I’m not the Angie who wrote this blog entry. I’m a different Angie.)

    I was startled to read the comments by women who were refused tubal ligations, such as Guffey, Flah, and Cicely’s sister. It’s a safe, sensible procedure for women who do not want to get pregnant, and I’m shocked that their physicians refused to carry out the operation. Yet another example of sexist doctors who don’t trust women to make their own reproductive choices!

    If your doctor refuses to carry out sterilization, FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR who respects your reproductive choices. You have the right to make decisions about your body and your reproductive life. YOU are the best judge of whether or not sterilization is right for you, no one else.

    I was very lucky to (1) have a gynecologist who respected by decision to have a tubal ligation, and (2) have a health insurance plan that covered the operation. My decision to be sterilized was the best decision I ever made.

  • sailor

    Good post.
    Given the background it seems like a very sensible decision, and demystifying both the process and the thought process is good.

  • Johnny

    Abortion is still stigmatized in this society, but not to the point it used to be. If someone had told me they had got an abortion, I wouldn’t pay much heed, nor would I feel any need to judge the woman who had undergone the procedure.

    In fact, abortions are common enough where you can easily find a clinic, go in for a consultation and have it done within a few days or even the same day.

    Consequently, the destigmatization and commonplace of abortions are why I’m having a hard time understanding why some people are making Angie out to be “brave”, “inspiring”, and “courageous”. In her own words:

    “It turned out the birth control I thought I was using didn’t quite work as planned (my IUD had apparently come out and we weren’t using condoms as regularly as I was pretending to myself we were).”

    There is nothing brave or inspiring about making up for the mistake of incorrectly using birth control and electing not to have the discipline to use condoms.

    Also, in Angie’s own words:

    “I want women to know that it’s not as scary as I thought.”

    So if it’s not particularly scary, there’s no need to be brave. And why would someone need to be brave for a common procedure?

    Is this illogical?

  • Claudia

    OK, to be absolutely clear from the getgo, I’m pro-choice and absolutely respect Angie’s decision of what to do with her body and the tiny proto-life inside her.

    But (and there had to be a but).

    I have to take issue with people commenting and saying that the issue is as simple as one side wanting everyone to be free to make their own choices, abortion or not abortion, and the other side wanting to impose their arbitrary views. There is certainly an element of that but the issue is by no means that simple.

    Not addressed is the chief argument of the pro-life movement; that a fetus is a human life (incidentally Angie should know that she’s technically aborting an embryo, not a fetus) and as such has some basic rights, chiefly the right to live.

    Now, leaving aside those cases where the life of the mother is threatened by her pregnancy (like ectopic pregnancies), where many even vehement pro-lifers will admit a right to an abortion, if you allow for a fetus to be a human life then it becomes difficult to make the argument that individual A (the fetus) can be denied the right to live to avoid individual B (the mother) the inconvenience/struggle/emotional trauma etc. So once you’ve admitted a fetus as a human life with rights, it makes all the sense in the world to not give others the choice of ending that life. When we’re talking about people outside the womb, we call it murder, even if it’s a one-hour old baby.
    Of course, I don’t believe that a one month old embryo is a full human individual. Pro-lifers mostly don’t believe it either, because if they did there would be no exceptions for rape or incest and they’d be advocating processing women who got abortions for murder and doctors for mass murder. Most don’t. However, what about a 4 month fetus? 5 month? 8 month? If Angie were discussing aborting a baby (note the word) two weeks before its due-date, would anyone praise her bravery?

    We should at least recognize that its not a simple matter of one side being all virtuous and the other evil, no matter what side we’re on. The fact is there are actual, real moral questions about when “life” begins, and when that life starts to have rights and “choice” becomes less relevant and how that is affected by the health (mental and physical) of the mother and the physical state of the fetus.

  • Ann

    I get tired of hearing why didn’t you do “x” if you didn’t want kids/more kids. A little something about tubal ligations… they aren’t 100% effective either. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_chances_of_getting_pregnant_after_a_tubal_ligation

    My mother decided after 3 children her family was the perfect size and had a tubal ligation. 8 years later she was shocked and speechless when told she was pregnant with me.

    I think what Angie is doing is incredible (and incredibly brave). Abortion is a legitimate medical procedure and it shouldn’t be shrouded in mystery or in many cases morality.

  • christiangirl

    I have grown up in a christian household all my life and went to Christan school up through high school. I have always been told what I believe but I am away at a military college now and thinking on my own. Abortion in itself I do not like but I believe that every woman should have a right do make her own decisions. What is right for me may not be right for you. When I thought I was pregnant (ya I messed up and am now a “saved again virgin”) I was planning on an abortion before anybody found out. Thank you Angie for sharing with the world. I wish I had been exposed to things like this when my school was brainwashing me.

  • Ben

    Lynda: A bunch of cells dividing in the womb is not a “someone”. You say it could potentially be somebody, but it’s only anthropomorphism to suggest a first-trimester foetus is any more a human being than the IUD that was put in there to prevent it, or a gangrenous big toe. If it doesn’t think, it’s not a person, and if it’s not a person you’re not denying anybody anything.

    Where would you stop? Should men stop masturbating because wasting sperm is denying potential humans of life? Should women having their period be considered evil/unclean because they willingly denied an ovum a chance at becoming a person? Should the children of murders, and their children, and their children’s children, and so on into eternity, be punished because their parent has denied life to entire generations of “potential” people?

    Oh … wait … all of that sounds awfully familiar.

  • http://freewomansholyinheritance-wildspell8.blogspot.com CSC

    Yes, I think this is absolutely awesome what Antitheist is doing.

    However, one correction, abortion is always birth control, no matter how many times it is used. It controls when birth happens. After all, if you use one form of birth control then use another contraceptive, they are still both forms of birth control.

    Again, I think this woman is just amazing, and you, too, Mr. Mehta for reposting this. Thanks!

  • http://freewomansholyinheritance-wildspell8.blogspot.com CSC

    Claudia, the right to life is never present when one infringes on another’s rights. The fetus infringes on a woman’s right to bodily autonomy, thus it has NO right to live. Even if it were deemed a person, that would still not grant it the right to live at the expense of another’s right to bodily autonomy. The PL side does impose it’s views on others, because only the fetus is valuable in this way, even to them. Therefore, they’re values are contingent, and in this case they are contingent on their belief that women should be punished for having non-procreative sex.

    I think Angie is, either intentionally or unintentionally, bringing this to light and I applaud her for it.

  • Aj

    Lynda,

    That is why my mind is absolutely boggled by the strident advocation here of what is essentially robbing another individual of their sole chance at ever existing in this world. If this is indeed all we have, shouldn’t we protect everyone’s right to have it? Isn’t denying someone this chance the gravest of wrongs against them?

    a) You can’t steal something that doesn’t exist from somebody that doesn’t exist. By “individual” you mean “person”, but this is not the case. I don’t agree that non-persons have the right to life.

    b) Following the logic of trying not to “deny chances to exist” means that every time a woman refuses to have sex and become pregnant they are committing the “gravest of wrongs”. If you’re advocating for chances for persons to exist then you must advocate women to have as many children as they possibly can.

    Lumping “atheist” with “pro-legal-abortion” is a pet peeve of mine. It makes no sense from an ideological standpoint. I might understand it if one were a Christian or some other faith and thought that the “soul” of the individual would go live it up in heaven, or be reincarnated into another body until they finally had their chance to live, but for us, this is it…

    The vast majority of atheists are pro-choice because it usually takes irrational beliefs in souls to think that embryos should have a right to life. It’s rare for an atheist to come to the conclusion that something such as an blastocyst is equivalent to a rational, conscious, human being. Some Christians believe things with souls are sacred life that must not be killed because God commanded them this way.

  • God is real

    Just a crazy thought here…if you dont want kids, dont have sex.

  • Katsu

    @Claudia – Ethically, I understand it as: does human A have the right to utilize the body of human B in order to live? Ethically, I’ve yet to hear a compelling argument that it does.

  • God is real

    @ katsu ..The human is not some parasite that viciously attacked the woman’s body out of nowhere. Adults know what they are doing when they lay down with each other. Killing an unborn child is sad, and a sacrifice to selfishness in my view.

  • Darlene

    I had an abortion twenty years ago, and I was pretty fine with that decision then, and I’m still fine with it. Never had a nightmare, a crying fit, or even a moment of remorse.

    People can claim that life starts at conception, or quickening, or at birth, but here is my line in the sand: as long as the embryo is dependent on me for “life” it is a parasite. Literally.

    In another context: if someone would die without a kidney transplant, no one would say “as you are a match we require you to donate, no matter the risks involved or you personal feelings on the matter.” We would be apalled if we were forced to donate blood or tissue, no matter how noble the cause, and no matter whose life was on the line.

    So by an accident, I had a creature that required my donation of body space, blood, nutrition; and the occupancy carries huge risks to my own life. It does not matter if it is a baby or embryo, human or potential–it exisits only by feeding off my body, which gives me an absolute right to refuse to continue donating.

    Just as I have a right to refuse to donate my blood or organs to anyone, no matter how needy or deserving.

  • M C A

    Ninety-nine percent – IUD. Ninety-nine percent – tubal ligation. They are not one-hundred percent, nothing is, no matter how low that probability is.

    Angie, I commend you for your efforts. You are a trail blazer where others strive to erase progress. Cheers to you.

    I don’t want to take the spot light, but I want to add something to this discussion. Doctors are obligated to tell you about your other options… but I personally experienced a situation where there was no other option. My girlfriend’s IUD failed, it was not misplaced, it was not done improperly, it failed. We found out during her seventh month that she was pregnant, in our ignorance and stupidity, we could not see that one-percent as a possibility.

    We had our perfect little girl, and we adopted her. We are the perfect adoption story. Her and I are both clean and sober, never having touched alcohol, let alone drugs, and we rarely even take an aspirin. But no matter, we were (are) too young, too financially insecure, and when push comes to shove, we felt we would fail our child. Our little girl’s adoptive parents are educated, financially secure, and young enough to be her parents. She will be cherished, loved, and adored from every avenue of their expansive family.

    And my girlfriend and I, for the rest of our lives, will watch through a bitter-sweet lens, wallowing in our own ineptitude. They say that aborting a fetus is something that a woman will harbor for the rest of her life, but I will tell you right now, that pain pales in comparison to watching your child live at a distance. One that you strive so hard to love and make proud.

    We are fortunate though. They have allowed us to be a part of her life, and although not her mom and pop, we will be able to directly affect her life. Should she and her parents allow, we will be her second set of parents. Sometimes I think it makes the pain more intense though, waiting for her to age and to dread the day we have to explain our own inadequacies.

    Abortion is a mentally and physically anguishing process, this I acquiesce, but it only lasts your entire lifetime if you cannot mend the wounds you inflict on yourself. It is an event that happens once, not something that controls the flow for the rest of your life unless you let it. Adoption, if you are in the right mind set, is harrowing.

    That said, given the choice NOW between abortion and adoption (An option we didn’t have. Considering it was useless so we didn’t.)… I’d never give that little girl up.

    I’m not discouraging adoption, I’m saying if you are in a position (Early in.) between adopt, keep or abort, you better consider your choices very carefully, spend hours understanding what an adoption implies if you are serious about it, and know that that child may seek you out someday, if you choose a different route than the one we did. And if you choose this route, make sure you are stalwart, because it will be an unfathomable mental taxation.

    Thank you for doing what you do Angie, and I hope you, your son and boyfriend live happily. Cheers.

    MCA

  • Rita

    Thank you Angie for sharing your story with us and I wish you and your family the best. Re tubal ligation, I know two women who became pregnant after getting them. Whether snipped or burned they can grow back–nature struggles to find a way!

  • Claudia

    @CSC and katsu, the issue is that it assumes that the individual that depends on the other for life had any choice in the matter and has any alternative that they could possibly take. Your same argument could apply to a 6 month old baby, totally dependent on his or her mother for survival. Is it still ok?

    Are you comfortable with the idea of someone aborting a 8.5 month old fetus? What about a 1 day old baby? Where is the limit?

    All I ask is recognition of the fact that it is NOT a simple consideration and that there is in fact moral complexity involved. I don’t pretend to know what the limits are. I personally feel that its perfectly fine to abort a 1 month old embryo and decidedly not fine to abort an 8 month old fetus, but I won’t pretend there are easy answers for the gray areas.

  • m

    Thank you for sharing this story, Angie and Hemant. I am touched by some of the personal stories that this blog inspired others to share.

    Getting tubal ligation is not always an easy process. There are doctors who are hesitant to perform this procedure because they think the patient will change her mind, especially if she is unmarried and of a certain age. Heck, it can be a challenge to get an IUD for the same reasons. It makes me angry when women are treated like they can’t be trusted to make their own reproductive decisions.

    As for the issue of children taking care of elderly parents, there is no guarantee that the children will live that long either or be of sound mind/body to do so. It would be a better investment to set money aside for excellent elderly palliative care than rely on the kids if that was the sole reason for having children.

  • Katsu

    @Claudia – A 1 day old baby doesn’t need to directly use my kidneys and blood supply in order to survive.

  • Darlene

    Oh, and for all the “just don’t have sex” people out there:

    That celibacy thing works real well. Just go ask some catholic priests.

    I mean, really?

    My husband had a vascectomy, and there is a failure for that, too. One which had us nervous for a few days. Why should I be held hostage for nine months just because of a mechanical failure? That is like the whole “well, she was wearing a short skirt” school of thought–blame the victim of a mechanical failure and sentence her to nine months of difficulty, a risk of death or permenant damage, potential psychological harms, and if she keeps the baby, a life sentence.

    Because a condom broke? How is that in any way a fair punishment? And why should there be a punishment? Sex is fun, it’s healthy and good for bonding and establishing and maintaining a relationship. It is a wonderful intimacy, and why should I refuse it because no birth control is 100%?

  • http://protostellarclouds.blogspot.com/ Mathew Wilder

    I’m with you 100% Angie. I don’t think women should need any reason for getting an abortion beyond the mere fact that they want one. I think the idea that abortion should be something lamented, the idea that it is a necessary evil, should be abolished.

    I’ve said on several occasions that I’m not just pro-choice; I’m pro-abortion. I think abortions are a good thing.

    (Besides, it sends babies straight to Heaven! http://www.myconfinedspace.com/2007/10/28/abortion-sends-babies-to-god-faster/abortionist-love-god/)

  • M C A

    Claudia, a fetus can exist outside of the womb as early as 6-7 months, and the 9 month mark. However, 8 months is a death sentence. The specifics, I don’t understand, but for sake of the argument I figured I’d supply it.

  • God is real

    Complaining about getting pregnanat after sex is like complaining about getting wet when you jump in water. Yes, if you do not want kids, then dont have sex. Then no “accidents” have to die. And you dont have to be “punished” with a child.

  • Katsu

    @God is Real: Every time I hear this tired, sad argument you’ve just trotted out, I’m forced to wonder why people view children as a punishment. I don’t know about you, but I actually *like* kids.

    I love my niece to pieces. She’s the most adorable parasite EVER, and I’m happy every day that my best friend chose to have the darling little parasite, and that in return, said darling little parasite didn’t cause her serious bodily harm in the process.

    I could get in to it with you about rape, or about how sometimes bad things happen to people who are being responsible, but I’m not going to. There’s no point to it, and it’s frankly none of your business. You can be as judgmental as you like, and think women who have abortions for whatever reason are terrible, selfish human beings, and that’s YOUR right. Making decisions about my body and my health is MINE.

    Sticks and stones.

  • hcinnv

    M C A – I was adopted many years ago…and to give you a view from the other side, I am grateful to my birth parents for their strength and courage. To my birth mother for being strong enough to see her ‘accident’ through to survival and then being strong enough to let me go to a life she felt would be better. I am grateful for my life and the people who were unselfish enough to give it to me.

  • christopher

    I used to by an indoctrinated catholic, along my life I met real people going through this difficult process and it changed by views; these are really good people going through something rough, not evil people or evil-doers.

    Fundies destroyed my sister’s mind (and life) with their guilt-trip. Here is a question for them, ok if your religion says it is murder, it is murder, (even though Jesus said nothing on the topic) but isn’t your god/religious view condemning this ‘life’ to eternal perdition since as you say “it is a life” and that life never was baptized or said “I accept christ as my lord and savior” or any other buga buga your conflicting, vague and arbitrary rules come up with? Nice real nice, which is worst? And I know you cannot see this and you excuse your vicious omnipotent idea of a god, because you cannot question him. sad really sad and tragic for so many. I reality you Fundies are the destroyers of lives. Ironic, if you only could see it, but you are blind (yeah another ironic reference, but this is too real and sad all-around). and now I see Fundies targeting Black women with Billboards “Endangered Species”. I would ask you, “Have you no same’ but we all know the answer to that question.

  • God is real

    @ katsu, i was actually quoting darlene who said it would be “punishment”

    The real sad argument is “its my body” that YOU just trotted out. Well its not your body. A thumb is a part of “your body”, a child has its own body.

  • Katsu

    @God is real: Last time I checked, my uterus is attached to me, though, and is mine to do with as I please. :-)

  • God is real

    Katsu, If you want to remove your uterus feel free…but dont say that removing a baby is doing what you want with “your body”

    Do you also support prostitution? They are doing what they want with thier body after all…

  • Claudia

    Katsu, so you are in fact absolutely fine with aborting an 8 month old fetus? One day before term? I fail to see how absolute physical dependency is a proper measure by itself, especially considering that being had no say in the matter of whether it was there.

    MCA, viability is a tricky one. The issue basically is that due to increasing technology its not a “hard” line. Babies born viable today would have been dead 100 years ago. Does that mean they weren’t people before but are now? Doubtful. Eventually I’m pretty sure we’ll manage to make “viability” all 9 months (women will be able to have extra-utero pregnancies). Obviously that doesn’t make a blastocyst a person. The best I could come up with is development of the nervous system (between the 3rd and 4th month), but even that isn’t very good.

    @God is real. So what is your answer to the 13 year old girl raped by her father? Does she deserve to be “punished” with her rapist’s baby? Just to clarify, if an embryo or fetus of any stage is equal to a baby, then exceptions for rape and incest fall rather flat no?

    Yay for debating both sides!! Lol

  • God is real

    Claudia, last time i cheacked, less than 1% of abortions were due to rape…I can definatly sympathize with those in that situation, but thats not what its being used for.

    Also, the chance of conception is greatly reduced when the woman is under stress or physical trauma.

    Generally abortions are used for birth control though, not rape or incest. If there was a case of rape or incest though, that I can understand that a little better, because both parties were not willing and it was forced on someone.

  • M C A

    Yes Claudia, it does mean they weren’t people but are now. We are extremely fragile beings and our value varies widely as times change. Like currency, we have no set interger because of so many vast modifying factors that redefine us on a cultural and technological basis.

    But you cannot rationally compare the actions of one era to the next and expect them to be morally equivalent. A choice now may be viewed barbaric in the near future. Choices a thousand years ago are horrendous in today’s view. Rape a woman and deny it? The woman is stoned to death. Cheers.

  • Katsu

    @Claudia – I may find it *personally* repugnant, but I can’t really argue that one’s right to bodily autonomy somehow hinges on how long another human being would be using your body without your permission. I also don’t think personal squeamishness should dictate law.

    @God is real – I do say so, and will again. It’s my uterus, my body. If I don’t want to give someone else the use of my internal organs for whatever reason, that is my right.

    Oh, get out your fainting couch. I’m one of those awful feminists that thinks prostitution should be legalized because then the women will have the ability to go to police.

    If we’re going to play the stupid question game, I guess I could always ask if you’d be okay with a legal requirement for everyone to donate blood, or bone marrow, or a kidney since you only normally need one to live and you’ve got two.

  • jemand

    @claudia, an argument for removing someone from your body, regardless of whether or not they are a person, is a completely different argument than whether or not you have the right to kill it. The first I believe you ALWAYS retain. The second, you do not, if technology can keep the fetus viable. So for the 8 month old fetus, if it can be removed from your body with a procedure that is no more risky to the person carrying it than an abortion would be, than one would most definitely NOT have the right to kill it. But, if it becomes dangerous to the point that, in the eyes of the person *being the incubator* it is too dangerous to continue (I don’t think anyone else should be able to say how dangerous is too dangerous a risk for one person to take on involuntarily for another) than you are always allowed to get the other person out of you.

  • http://reanhouse.blogspot.com Sarah

    Angie: If you’re reading these comments may I say Thank you for sharing your story. I’m glad you had the courage to share something that so many people will hate you for. We need more women like you.

  • God is real

    @ claudia If you think prostitution should be legal, more power to you

    since you said it again, i’ll say it again as well…if you dont want kids, dont have sex.

    In regards to your other comment, no people should not be forced to give kidneys, because they have no direct responsibility to the other persons condition that may need one. You are however responsible (or supposed to be) when you decide to have sex with someone.

  • God is real

    my fault…that was 4 katsu. got the names mixed up

  • sangetencre

    Your same argument could apply to a 6 month old baby, totally dependent on his or her mother for survival. Is it still ok?

    Doesn’t follow. A 6 month old baby does not need a particular someone’s body to survive. The task of caretaking can be given to anyone.

  • http://protostellarclouds.blogspot.com/ Mathew Wilder

    You are however responsible (or supposed to be) when you decide to have sex with someone.

    According to you. What is your argument that this is (or ought to be) the case?

  • Emily

    I am am pro-choice Catholic. As in, every woman has the right to choose what she wants with her body. On the other hand, you must be willing to live with that choice. There are many cases where abortion saves the mother. Then again, using abortion as a convenient form of birth control is not something I condone. If her pregnancy was so bad the last time, perhaps her partner should have had a vasectomy before this unfortunate situation.

    I know most of you, probably all of you, disagree with me that human life starts with conception, as you are atheists. All I am saying is that you should understand that you are taking a life, you are making that choice to end another human’s life. But that is a personal choice one must live with for this life (and eternity for some believers). That doesn’t mean you will be ‘condemned’, as there is no black and white in judgement. I think, there should be remorse for having to make a difficult decision.

    I personally do not see how some people can abort babies that are 6 months along in development. Then again, unless the child was threatening my life, I do not see how one could abort any child. But that’s MY personal decision.

    What I find distasteful here is making something so private so public. You are taking a life, and you are broadcasting this to the world. I do not think that can be forgiven on a religious or humanist level. Have some respect for the life you have stopped.

    Furthermore, as part of a health class, I watched an abortion. Let me tell you, taking a pill that will abort your fetus is not the same as having a doctor scrape a body out of your uterus, or vacuum a body out of your uterus. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it, I am just saying, don’t expect the experience to be the same, at all. If so, I worry about humanity, and not just from a religious perspective, I mean how we humans value life and the lives of others.

  • Katsu

    @God is real – Okay, so I got in a car accident and my passenger took an injury that destroyed their liver. So I should be legally obligated to fork over the blood and part of my liver then, right?

  • God is real

    Well mathew, if you think that its fine for irresponsible people to have kids, i just dont know what to say

  • Claudia

    @MCA you misunderstood my argument I think. I wasn’t making the “different times, different standards” argument, I was demonstrating how viability is not a very good measure of “personhood”.

    Whether an fetus has risen to the level of individual with rights should, if the term is to mean anything at all, be something intrinsic to the fetus and not dependent on outside technology. If a 5.5 month fetus (as I recall the youngest that has ever been viable) is considered a person with rights, then I see no rational basis for deciding that that same fetus, when inside a woman in Sudan where technology does not allow for its viability, loses the status of individual.

    In fact its a downright dangerous argument to make, if you’re pro-choice. Technology advanced day by day and eventually viability will go so far back into pregnancy that if you make viability the standard, then abortion will become effectively illegal.

    @God is real, I think you’re talking to Katsu re: prostitution. For the record however, I also fully support the legalization of prostitution. A transaction between two consenting adults is none of anyone’s business as long as it does not harm others. Pimps however, should be whipped.

  • God is real

    @ katsu, if you were driving carelessly i would say you should be charged with something or take some responsibility.

    And if it was your friend, im not sure why you would have a problem giving blood…it does replace itself after all.

  • http://protostellarclouds.blogspot.com/ Mathew Wilder

    @ God is real:

    Well, I don’t think most people should be parents at all, hence my pro-abortion stance.

    Certainly I think it is better that irresponsible parents have an abortion than try to raise a child, and do a piss poor job of it.

    However, I deny your implication that Angie is in any way being irresponsible. I think she’s actually being very responsible. Certainly more responsible than people who say that all children are blessings from god and anyone who has an abortion has committed murder.

  • Ann

    @ God is real
    If you do not want kids, then don’t have sex.

    Really? Do you think that’s a logical and viable argument? Reproduction isn’t the only purpose of sex. And penetrative sex isn’t the only way to get pregnant. Unlikely yes, but that doesn’t change that it does happen. “Yes, it can happen. Just because there wasn’t penetration doesn’t stop the fact that some sperm could have got into the vagina.” And during sexual acts (without penetration) there are plenty of chances for sperm to get into the vagina. http://wiki.answers.com/Q/I_feel_nauseous_everytime_i_eat_could_i_be_pregnant

    So if an adult doesn’t want to reproduce they don’t have any sexual contact? That sounds like one hell of an unrealistic, simplistic answer. Even if you think its a reasonable trade off others disagree. There will also be many who would agree- and surprise(!) will turn up pregnant. I guess if you’re not okay with being a breeder you should be confined to asexuality or masturbation alone. Wow.

    And getting pregnant after sex is not like complaining about getting wet when you just in water. Its more like complaining when you specifically purchased full body gear, water proof, guaranteed 99% effective at keeping you dry, then jumping in water to find you have the faulty equipment. And yes, that it an event to complain about. While there was a small chance you would get wet you did in fact take reasonable precautions. Do you not ride in a car (or anything else you do for that matter) because there is a small chance you may be involved in a life ending or life altering accident?

    Also, I think you are misunderstanding the definition of what “child” or “kid” actually mean according to the English language.

    A little something about ‘whatever it is inside of a pregnant woman’ – Different people have different opinions, feelings, conclusions, and thoughts even when inspecting the same information. You seem to demand that people agree with your interpretation of what that is and your interpretation of what that meaning requires. Moral codes fluctuate.

  • jemand

    @claudia

    “In fact its a downright dangerous argument to make, if you’re pro-choice. Technology advanced day by day and eventually viability will go so far back into pregnancy that if you make viability the standard, then abortion will become effectively illegal.”

    Actually, I welcome this. I am prochoice *BECAUSE* one has the right to control what happens to one’s own body. Of necessity that means you CAN’T have the right to control another’s body. Therefore, one always has the right to remove an embryo or fetus from one’s body, but I do NOT thing that right continues to insisting that it be removed in a destroyed/dead state. Those, I believe are two *completely* separate arguments, that should remain separate. One can agree or disagree on them separately and there probably will be no correlation, really. HOWEVER, that still means if you get sick in pregnancy, if you don’t want something growing inside you, you may ALWAYS have it taken out.

  • God is real

    @ ann, yes its very viable. If you dont want kids dont have sex. If you dont want to get wet, dont jump in water. To me its painfully simple.

    Child, kid, baby, or whatever you want to call it, i dont really care about the semantics

    Also….moral codes only fluctuate if you have no standard to base them all.

  • Katsu

    @God is real: So now we’re going to make a distinction between if I was doing such a dangerous activity with possible consequences carelessly or not? I should only be punished for accidents if they happened because I was careless? One thing that got nailed in to my brain, between my motorcycle safety course and my time spent as an EMT is that accidents happen to even careful people.

    The question in this case is not if I have a problem with giving my friend some blood and a kidney. I can *choose* to do so, presumably because I like them a lot. I may even *decide* that I feel responsible in some way for what happened and be driven by that. The question is if I am to be compelled to do so by law. Am I only compelled to do so if I caused the accident because I was driving recklessly? Is the decision left up to my good graces and the affection that I feel for my friend if I wasn’t at fault? What if I’m religiously opposed to the donation of my blood or organs? What if I just don’t want to because it freaks me the heck out?

    And so on. And so on.

    I suppose you could argue with equating driving to sex, but it’s possible to draw some parallels. Both are activities where you can take all precautions and still wind up in an accident through no fault of your own. Both are activities that you for the most part *choose* to partake in. You say, if you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex. I say, if you don’t want to get in a car accident, take the bus, or walk, or ride your bicycle. And even then you’re not safe.

    Aside: Having read your reply to Ann, I can only opine that you’ve got a very simplistic view of the world. Must be nice, but I think you’re being quite unreasonable if you think you’re going to bring anyone here round to it.

    Have a lovely evening. I’m out.

  • God is real

    Mathew, if you think most people shouldnt be parents, then most people shouldnt have sex.

    I do consider children to be a blessing from God, but no doubt we disagre there.

  • God is real

    “I should only be punished for accidents if they happened because I was careless?”

    not sure how to quote…but katsu, a child is neither an accident or a punishment. An accident would be something you have no control over.

    And if children are a punishment, its one thats easy to avoid.

  • jemand

    @God is dead,

    you know there exist such things as murderers! And you know that sometimes they are psycho and kill people who they notice! So, if you go out and talk to anyone, and you get killed, well tough luck! You knew that was a chance!

    The whole having sex and getting pregnant dealy is NOT a one to one correlation thing. Yes, one is necessary for the other, but most assuredly does not ALWAYS result in it, and there are PLENTY of things you can do to reduce the risk to less than that of dying in a car crash or something. NO ONE says of people who die in car crashes, well, if you didn’t want to crash, you just should have stayed in your house. Sex has strong psychological and bonding benefits and can seriously increase quality of life. Enforced celibacy is on about the same level being forced to stay indoors all the time.

  • God is real

    Im not sure how you equate having sex to getting murdered. One is a choice, the other is not. The “choice” is not after you become pregnant, its before you commmit the act.

    Dying in a car crash is also not a choice…i just cant wrap my head around your logic here

  • M C A

    Well, there is a subjective tinge to this argument Claudia. A woman in Sudan does not have the technology available to her, so as a moral person, how can she make the best possible decision if it is an incapability? If you want to make your decisions based on optimum situations, that’s cool, but it’s also easy as you displayed by bringing up this point that is more difficult.

    You say that if we give humans a fluctuating value, we will beget a dangerous situation. If we give human life a static value, however, we will also tread dangerous territory… transforming humans into numeric ideologies and not individuals. The idea, then, is to avoid a definition? Then we will forever debate this topic in rhetoric.

    Situational is the human condition, and the best that we can do. It is the acceptance of our short-comings as finite creatures. Do the best that you can, adhere to the golden rule that everyone can accept, and for the case of this argument, let us set the rule based on current technologies, and adjust it where necessary. If it cannot survive in our environment with assistance, then it is not autonomous. If it lacks autonomy, it is not equal.

  • JJ

    ….and we are acknowledging the presence of “God is real,” an obvious troll (or close enough) because…?

  • ryssee

    Most women keep it private because it’s a private decision. Thank you so much for sharing your point of view.

  • Ann

    @ God is real

    “Also, the chance of conception is greatly reduced when the woman is under stress or physical trauma.”

    While there is certainly truth to stress and physical trauma giving way to lower conception rates and higher miscarriage rates that is not the equivalent to rape (which was being discussed in this specific post). Also, you can’t say that because one instance (physical trauma) has one outcome that another instance (rape) has that same outcome…. and rape doesn’t have to be a physical trauma.

    Surprised as I was when I first heard this a few years ago (multiple sources on this)- rape can actually increase your chance of conception.

    Here a quick two:

    1. http://www.springerlink.com/content/wp5cnp43k6byxj4d/
    2.http://www.amazon.com/Sperm-Wars-Science-Robin-Baker/dp/0788160044

  • God is real

    @ ann, as i said, i can sympathize with rape victims, however thats not what an overwhemling majority (over 99% last time i checked) of them are being used for…

  • gwen

    I am the product of a woman who had no choices in the number of children she produced. My mother was happy to be the mother of 4 children, she was NOT happy to be the mother of 9. My mother became pregnant again after the first four were teens and had not options of abortion or even birth control outside of the rhythm method. She needed my father’s permission to get her tubes tied, and he would not give it. My mother became an unhappy alcoholic. Of the last five children born, 4 are also alcoholic and the last has Down Syndrome. Of the first four, one has been struggling with mental illness most of her adult life. Angie, I love my siblings, but I truly wish birth control and abortion had been available to my mother.

  • http://protostellarclouds.blogspot.com/ Mathew Wilder

    @ God is real:

    Okay, you’re either you’re being purposefully obtuse, or you really are incredibly dense. No one has compared having sex to getting murdered or dying in a car crash. They compared sex to driving and going for a walk. They also compared the possible consequences for those actions – possibly getting pregnant, crashing, or getting murdered. The point is that someone can take every reasonable precaution and still have a bad outcome.

    Thus, saying “If you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex EVER” is analogous to “If you don’t want to die in a car crash, don’t drive a car EVER” or “If you don’t want to get murdered by a psychopath, don’t go for a walk EVER.” We think all three of those are ridiculous statements, while you only think (presumably) that two of them are. You need to give us a compelling argument why the one about sex is different.

    If you can’t understand that, there is no point in any of us trying to continue this discussion with you.

  • http://protostellarclouds.blogspot.com/ Mathew Wilder

    @ JJ: Because this is the internet and we have nothing better to do, obviously! :D

  • God is real

    Matthew, that is an extremely faulty analogy. Getting killed is not a natural byproduct of going for a walk, however becoming pregnant is a natural byproduct of having sex.

  • cathy

    @Claudia, have to be careful when defining ‘pimp’, most US laws define pimps as anyone who knowingly benefits from someone else’s sex work, so an adult child of a sex worker who lives at home under her mother’s roof could get called a pimp. Abusive pimps should be punished, as should all abusers, but the assumption that all people who arrange clients for sex workers or who provide physical protection for sex workers are abusive is a stereotype that’s not really helpful.

    To all, it always gets at me that abortion debates get bogged down in discussing an incredibly uncommon and only selectively legal procedure. Only one state allows abortion after twenty weeks and it does not have a clinic which performs such abortions, so in the US, twenty weeks is the limit for obtaining an elective abortion. Sixty percent of abortions are done before 8 weeks, ninty five percent before sixteen weeks, and less than two percent, all for the woman’s health, are performed after twenty weeks. Why the focus on a procedure that you can’t get within the US and that is extremely rare even when legal? Especially without discussion of what effects timing, such as the CDC’s cited factors of “education, availability and accessibility of abortion services, timing of confirmation of pregnancy, timing of personal decision-making, timing of prenatal diagnosis, level of fear of discovery of pregnancy, and denial of pregnancy”. Girls under fifteen are also significantly more likely to have a second trimester abortion than older girls and women. The older a woman, the better her education, the better her income and access, the less abusive involved, the less we even need to discuss the few cases of women seeking later abortions for other than physical health reasons. It might be helpful to remember that those ‘grey area’ cases involve abuse victims, little girls, women in poverty, and women without access to earlier health care.

  • JJ

    @ Mathew Wilder: Why not eat a baby? Isn’t that what atheist pro-choicers do, anyway?

    Mmm, baby….

    ;)

  • http://reanhouse.blogspot.com Sarah

    24 weeks is about the minimum for viability in a pregnancy and even then the baby will have lifelong problems.

    Anything less than that and the doctors won’t even bother trying to resuscitate it. (I learned this when I thought I was going into premature labour at 21 weeks).

    Just ’cause we’re sharing our stories. I’m 23 weeks pregnant at the moment, my husband and I went through the living hell that is fertility treatments to get here. My life is very much in danger due to my pregnancy (and unless we adopt she will be an only child if and when she is born). Pregnancy sucks. It’s the most hateful, horrible, painful, nerve wracking experience anyone could ever go through. Waterboarding? Hah! Childs play compared to suffering through pregnancy. People who say a fetus is not a parasite are delusional. I and every other pregnant woman I talk to want our bodies back!

    I’m not going to comment any more at the moment because my blood is boiling over the ignoramuses who keep saying:”if you don’t want to get pregnant don’t have sex”.

    BTW thanks too to Hemant for posting this (forgot you in my earlier post).

  • http://reanhouse.blogspot.com Sarah

    Oh, and also. Late term abortions are not “convenience” abortions. They are done when the mother’s life is in danger.

    I worked in ob/gyn and labour and delivery and we performed abortions. I’d rather see a late term (or any) abortion than some of the monstrosities that anti-choice women wait to miscarry. I still have nightmares about the “baby” whose head was growing out of it’s abdomen. It lived for a few minutes after “birth” and we still talk about how horrendous it was.

  • http://protostellarclouds.blogspot.com/ Mathew Wilder

    So true, JJ. And a good idea: I am hungry right now.

    Nothing like a nice two month old flambeed with some cognac! That sounds sublime! :D

  • jemand

    @Sarah
    *hugs* good luck on your pregnancy! I hope things go well for you, regardless of the early labor scare. I have also read that girls do better at a given gestational age than boys, so you also have that going for you and your daughter’s long term prospects.

  • Ann

    @God is real

    Moral codes can fluctuate between individuals… that was my point. But yes, moral codes can fluctuate within an individual as well. Not having a standard to base a moral code on can lead to fluctuation. So can reason, thought, experience, gained knowledge, insight, and understanding… the list goes on.

    “To me its painfully simple.”
    - Yes, because of your worldview of when life begins and your demands of others to follow what your beliefs (because it is just a belief) on these views. Others would disagree about when life begins. Unfortunately for you, your opinion on the start of individual personhood and life is not something even scholars of the same religions can all agree on.

    And therein lies the problem… to me you are painfully simple.

  • Andrew

    Ughh I like how everyone else is writing long and thoughtful posts about this subject and “God is Real” keeps saying little 1 or 2 sentence dogma replies he (or she) keeps regurgitating from Sunday school. Anyone else notice this?

  • God is real

    @ann Thats what I said… moral codes only fluctuate for those who have no standard to base them on. They dont fluctuate for everyone.

    And yes it is simple, life begins when something is alive( IE:growing and developing). Maybe I am painfully simple, but i dont really have a problem with that…sorry if you do.

  • http://reanhouse.blogspot.com Sarah

    @jemand: thanks for the hugs. I’d heard about girls having better preterm prospects than boys. Also, apparently girls are less likely to die of SIDS. (And you men say women are the weaker sex) *wink*

  • Cass_m

    Claudia, I understand your distaste for later abortions. However, of the 3 abortions I know of that occurred after the first trimester, 2 were deaths in utero (one a week before birth) and one was a fetus with no visible skull/brain development. I think this is usual.

    Thanks for sharing your experience Angie the Anti-Theist. You are fortunate to be able to go to a clinic to get an abortion and it’s good to show that after having an abortion one is not obliged to mope and regret their decision.

  • christopher

    I used to by an indoctrinated catholic, along my life I met real people going through this difficult process and it changed by views; these are really good people going through something rough, not evil people or evil-doers.

    Fundies destroyed my sister’s mind (and life) with their guilt-trip. Here is a question for them, ok if your religion says it is murder, it is murder, (even though Jesus said nothing on the topic) but isn’t your god/religious view condemning this ‘life’ to eternal perdition since as you say “it is a life” and that life never was baptized or said “I accept christ as my lord and savior” or any other buga buga your conflicting, vague and arbitrary rules come up with? Nice real nice, which is worst? And I know you cannot see this and you excuse your vicious omnipotent idea of a god, because you cannot question him. sad really sad and tragic for so many. I reality you Fundies are the destroyers of lives. Ironic, if you only could see it, but you are blind (yeah another ironic reference, but this is too real and sad all-around). and now I see Fundies targeting Black women with Billboards “Endangered Species”. I would ask you, “Have you no same’ but we all know the answer to that question, don’t we.

  • Aj

    Claudia,

    Personhood is a complex issue but decidedly not one “pro-life” people are interested in because they don’t base their opposition to abortion on it. Therefore it’s right to paint one side as mostly irrational religious morons. Look at the comments from them here. Debate on what constitutes personhood comes from within pro-choice circles.

    In my opinion a child gains the attributes of a person after birth so it’s not even a problem in pregnancy. You’re absolutely right that it’s unfortunate to base the right to life on viability. Are we really going grant the right to life when science can sustain a blastocyst outside of the womb and develop a baby?

    Emily,

    Who are you to tell someone they can’t talk about what they do? You don’t know anything about respect or humanism. Life and genomes are not what is important, so what if it’s human, so what if it’s alive, so were the skin cells I just scratched off my nose.

    Mathew Wilder,

    I too don’t understand why people have a problem with abortion outside of religious doctrine on the sanctity of human life. Plenty of fertilized eggs don’t make it, but no one even bothers to track how many and who has lost a pregnancy in an early stage, they can go unnoticed. If someone had a choice between saving the life of twelve fetuses versus a six year old, who would choose the fetuses? Monsters (and hungry atheists).

  • truth

    Regret lasts forever.

    Shouldn’t have opened your legs if you were going to be so selfish as to not accept the consequences of your actions.

    If you have no regret then you have no soul, God or moral compass and I pity you.

    So you are unable to accept responsibility or you are an attention whore.

    Neither would be acceptable if you had any principles.

  • Leia

    @God is real
    You say people not having sex is viable. When I say viable I mean a workable, effective system (and we’ve been talking about behavior). I know you said you aren’t one for semantics but that creates the problem that we are just arguing different things, not different sides, but different arguments entirely. This (behavior of no sex) is not effective in society, because there will always be people who choose not to follow it. And thus, it is not a viable solution.
    The car v walk v pregnant argument is not about natural byproducts… its about reasonable precaution.
    If you want a natural byproduct argument here it is: people with the potential to have sex will at times have/choose to have sex (among them, women who do not want to conceive). There is your natural byproduct -> people having sex. Because while yes, your argument for having “sex” leads to “pregnancy” is valid, the argument “people being together”, leads to “sex” is also valid. It is a natural byproduct, at times taken advantage of.
    “No sex, no pregnancy” as some kind of real, viable, full scale solution has very little in the way of being a real, viable, full scale solution.
    Passing off something as profoundly complicated as sexual interaction as “simple” and “then don’t have sex” doesn’t work when people carry vastly different beliefs and vastly different realities.

  • Angie

    (Note: I am not the Angie who wrote the blog post. I’m a different Angie)

    @ God is real — I think you’re pulling statistics out of your ear. Where are you getting this supposed statistic that only 1% of abortions are due to rape? Back it up. Cite the article or report from which that statistic came from.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Beth

    @ truth–thanks so much. You have totally 100% changed my mind. Children are punishment, and I will burn in hell for my evil ways.

    And if I opened my legs, then wasn’t there a guy there who is also responsible for 50% of this whole pregnancy thing?

    On that note, I’m gonna go have sex with my boyfriend now. Good thing I’m so *responsible* about always taking my birth control pills! Wish me luck. ;)

    Thanks for posting, Angie. Your willingness to share this experience is so valuable, and I appreciate it!

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    @truth & @”god is real”, read Matthew 7:1

  • Flah

    Let’s see. I can stay here and debate with trolls (either the virgin or the misogynist), or go have non-reproductive recreational sex with my husband. Decisions, decisions….bye now!

  • muggle

    First, Angie, cudos to you. Great thing you’re doing with this. Go, girl!

    Since I stayed up past my bedtime to read all the comments — man, this is an interesting thread — I’ll have my say for what’s it’s worth.

    I too am the mother of one and I knew after the hell of giving birth, if I ever got pregnant again, I would abort, plain and simple. I got pregnant by choice and had one baby I wanted. Things, like my marriage, for instance, did not turn out the way I wanted and I had to skip state with her to protect her from an abusive father (Christian btw; that’s mostly irrelevant though it pisses me off when Christians assume that Christians make the best parents; just ask my daughter about that and she’ll set you straight in very short order).

    Still, I’m glad I have her. I went through a brief period a few years ago when she was going through some very devastating mental problems that ripped out my and my grandson’s hearts when I, yes, did wish maybe I hadn’t. But we’re past that rough stage and she is managing the illness now and I am once again glad to have her. If there should be any future regress, at least we all three know it can be weathered and I don’t expect I’ll feel that way again simply because I’ll know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel and she can function. At the time I hit that point of despair, it did not seem that way.

    I had a very difficult time giving birth. Prior to doing so, I was pro-life. Giving birth, with five days of labor and a blood transfusion and a pregnancy full of feeling ill and uncomfortable followed by hell on earth, changed my mind. No woman should ever have to go through that for a child she doesn’t want. Point blank. Period. End of discussion. It was freaking torture for a child I did want and have loved very much since before I gave birth to her 27 years ago.

    I agree with katsu on this. It doesn’t matter if it’s a life or not. I don’t freaking care. If it has to depend on me for life, I have the right to refuse it that option. Point blank. It does not have the right to inhabit my body and make me ill. It does not have the right to life until it can live apart from me. End of story.

    As for all these discussions as to when in the future, a fetus may be viable, that’s a silly discussion to have now since that is not currently the case. That is for future generations to hash out when and if it ever becomes the case. For us to decide, no abortion at conception because at some future point in time, an embryo might be kept alive is as ridiculous as it would have been for men in the 1800′s to say no buildings over 10 stories tall because they thought maybe we might have been able to build one 20 stories tall and they thought that an atrocious concept.

    As to don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex. What are you 12? Speaking as someone who has been celibate by choice more often than not in part because I didn’t want to risk pregnancy and disease, I call you out on the ridiculousness of that. Some people are able to be so; most are not. Quite honestly, I’ve been able to be so at those times when I chose to be (I am very picky when it comes to men and they do have to work to get me) because I have trust issues due to being an abused child and also because I had some very huge personal issues to deal with and a romance would have just made those more difficult and added to the stress in my life.

    I am not someone who can have casual sex (and whether or not an adult has casual sex is their own choice, what’s right for one isn’t right for all) and a committed relationship takes work, more than I’ve been willing to put into one at times when I’ve had too much on my plate to even think about it.

    I left a man behind when I skipped state, a good man, not my daughter’s father because my daughter came first. It’s hardly any wonder that I was able to be celibate by choice. It’s also hardly any wonder that most adults can’t be as the sex drive is a natural human urge as is being emotionally close in a loving, supportive way. To demand these urges be repressed is just stupid and ignorant. If I wasn’t facing such an extreme situation at the time, I don’t think I could have been. I still can be because I’ve learned how to be but most people, though I’ve known a couple other single heterosexual mothers who had no interest in dating for similar reasons, haven’t gone through that. This is why abstinence only sex education fails so miserably. It denies human nature. It does not deal in fact.

    I couldn’t give a child up for adoption. It would drive me crazy. I have extremely strong maternal instincts and would always be worrying about my child out there. An abortion, however, is final and complete and there’s no agonizing over a child out there. It would be way easier than giving up for adoption.

    I don’t think I could even stand to lose a grandchild to strangers. I’m not sure what I would ever do if my daughter ever had a child and gave it up to strangers. I very well might try to intervene and take custody myself because that child would always be my grandchild regardless. Fortunately, I don’t see her being able to do this either but, hopefully, we’ll never have to cross that bridge because it would strain our relationship.

    But obviously, as those of you who are regular bloggers know, I don’t say that not being willing to help her out with a child. I have been doing that for six years with a child she didn’t plan but always did want. I’m glad she didn’t abort not only because I love my grandson but because, for her, abortion would not be something she could live with even though she’s Atheist. She always liked helping with babies since she was a small girl and she would have had a hard time not going through with the pregnancy.

    It’s a tough decision for any woman to make and I’m glad Angie’s sharing what it really is like to have an abortion because fear of the physical process shouldn’t be another factor to what is already a hard decision.

  • Ann

    @truth
    “So you are unable to accept responsibility or you are an attention whore.”
    I don’t think those are the only options. I would say she is an educator who wants to give women/people a unique opportunity to observe thoughts and experiences that she is having in her abortion- to demystify abortions. What is wrong with giving people a first person point of view?

  • http://protostellarclouds.blogspot.com Mathew Wilder

    @ AJ Depends on the size of the fetus. If it’s pretty young then it won’t be very filling.

    @ truth Okay, just piss off (sorry Hemant, thougfht I was on Pharyngula for a sec).

    @ all The cognac flambeed baby was delicious!

  • amiable

    @god is real

    “If you dont want kids dont have sex.”

    Can you honestly say that every time you engaged in intercourse it was with the intention of conceiving a child?

    Let’s say a couple has had children and is satisfied with the number and does not desire any more. Does that mean they should never have sex again?

    I find the quoted statement to be laughable and dishonest.

  • stephanie

    Angie, you rock!
    Hope you feel better soon now the meds are working.

    And please ignore the trolls who are only trying to make you feel awful because they can’t enjoy sex for what it is instead of what their religion tells them it should be. ;)

  • http://infophilia.blogspot.com Infophile

    Matthew, that is an extremely faulty analogy. Getting killed is not a natural byproduct of going for a walk, however becoming pregnant is a natural byproduct of having sex.

    Crashing into things is a natural byproduct of traveling at high velocities (which, I’ll remind you, is the entire purpose of cars). We take precaution after precaution to keep this from happening. We’ve delineated large sections of ground as “roads” which we’ve cleared of obstacles that you might crash into when going at various speeds, and taken pains to post the maximum safe speed on each of these roads. We’ve written law after law on how cars are to behave on these roads so they can avoid crashing into each.

    Simply put, crashing into things is a very natural byproduct of moving around. We take pains to avoid it, but it can never be 100% safe. That doesn’t mean that if you don’t want to die you should never drive a car. It also doesn’t mean that we should refuse medical care to anyone in a car accident because they knew the risks when they got in the car.

    Now, that argument out of the way, the debate over abortion centers on the question of whether or not it destroys a human life. It destroys life, yes, but so does scratching (it removes living skin cells and destroys bacteria on your skin). A fetus is made of human cells, and it’s human life, but it’s not necessary a human life. It has no mind up until possible the third trimester. It’s as much an individual human as the itchy patch of skin on your arm.

    The problem is that religion argues that the soul enters the body at the moment of conception, so you see it as a human then. But religious arguments won’t pass muster here, so don’t bother trying to convince anyone with that. Besides, that belief doesn’t even have a biblical basis. The Bible makes it quite clear that life begins with the first breath, not at conception. Even the religious argument for abortion doesn’t hold water.

  • Emily

    @ AJ
    If I choose to euthanize my child because she is crippled with cancer, or some other disease, and no longer wants to live, I have the right to put a video online of me doing this? Or blogging about it? Showing pictures of me shooting her up with morphine? Pro-choice covers more than abortion. Would that not be disrespectful to the life of my child? Especially if she asks me not to? Well heck, I MADE her, so I can do what I want! PLEASE. Even if euthanasia isn’t legal in the US, it is still covered by the tenets of Pro-choice, and IS legal in other countries. If life and genomes are NOT important? What is? Selfishness? Disregard for all life? Also, evolutionary biologists would disagree with your ‘life and genomes are not important’.

    @ Stephanie

    Come on, that’s just ignorant and arrogant. Just because someone is religious, does NOT mean they don’t enjoy sex. You call religious people narrow-minded and irrational. Pot meet kettle.

    @ infophile
    You do realize that it is legal to do third trimester abortions? So your argument is flawed…

    Life is life. No matter what stage, no matter what species. Respecting life is not something that only religious people should subscribe to…

    We are wary now of destroying the earth, and the harm we’ve done. We were selfish in our actions towards the earth, and now look at the world! One day we will realize how we’ve harmed each other.

    I still contend that it is a choice, a personal choice, but it is not right to say that life doesn’t matter because it hasn’t been born yet.

  • medussa

    @ Angie: Thanks for starting a discussion centered (at least originally) on the personal benefits of an abortion, and not the same old medical necessity conversation…

    I had an abortion when I was 21, and have never regretted it. I love children, and love being a baby sitter, and would never want to start viewing children as “punishment”. But I know I would not have been a good mother then, and prefer not being one now.

  • Claudia

    Wow, a gazillion comments while I slept.

    @jmand, I understand where you’re coming from. Certainly it would be nice to think that someone who had the option of continuing the life extra-utero and then giving it up in adoption (assuming the personal health of the mother wasn’t the problem) would opt for that instead of abortion. However its an emotional minefield and I’m sure there are a fair number of circumpstances where people would feel emotionally unprepared to know they had a biological child out there in some other family.
    It also doesn’t solve the very thorny issue of defective babies. Lost in this thread is the fact that the VAST majority of late-term abortions are due to severe danger to the mother or severe deformity or illness in the fetus. People who think there is an abundance of women waiting until the 6th month to abort a child on a whim have their heads up their asses.

    @ everyone who gave a variation on the theme “if you don’t want a baby keep your legs crossed” please come back when you’re ready for an adult conversation. While you’re away I’d like you to look at the teen pregnancy stats for the states where your point of view prevails. Compare to pro-choice states. Now think.

    @cass_m : Yes, I understand that most late-term abortions are crisis events. I use those examples because I believe that in the same way that pro-lifers don’t REALLY think a zygote is a person, most pro-choicers don’t REALLY think that an 8-month fetus is just a “clump of cells”. Personally I wouldn’t even classify the removal of a dead fetus as an abortion, but I don’t make the rules.

    @AJ, certainly there are a lot of religiously motivated loons, and ridiculing them is perfectly fine. However I have seen a tendency in other pro-choicers to paint any concerns or wishes to limit the scope of abortions as religiously motivated oppression, and I find it irritating because almost everyone I’ve ever interacted with personally, religious or not, holds an intermediate, difficult to explain and multifaceted position and recognizes that there can be legitimate differences of opinion. I flatly don’t think all forms of abortion are morally legitimate, and I can assure you my objections do not stem from any holy book.

  • http://hyperreal.info Miranda McKennitt

    I wish I lived in a normal, non-religious state country. Here in Poland it’s even worse than it sometimes is in US. State is oppressing women, forcing them to have the child, unless they have really great reason. A woman died recently because even doctors refused to abort her and she died of complications. Religious people are killers and have been over the ages, just remember the Burning Times and millennia of women being OWNED. And they still try to COMPLETELY forbid abortion by Law in Poland. Insane bastards!

  • Emily

    @ Claudia and AJ

    Ridiculing religious people is not the answer, healthy debate is the answer. I’m not sure if you’ve lumped me in with the “loons”, but I don’t think that is fair if you have done so. I am allowed my opinion, one of being religious and pro-choice.

    I don’t believe in ridiculing atheists for what they believe, or don’t believe, nor do I engage in ridiculing fundamentalists for what they believe. I may not agree with either side, but your personal journey is your choice.

    I consider myself moderate on the spectrum. As long neither camp doesn’t try to “convert me” that’s fine.

    This is meant to be a debate. I’ve seen some ridiculous comments from both sides to be honest. I will never understand why atheists and Christians hate each other so much. I see strengths in atheism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam… acceptance people, not hate.

    The bottom line is, abortion is legal, and there is no clear cut answer for this debate other than it is a personal choice. Full Stop.

    Furthermore AJ – I didn’t say she couldn’t post it online, or write about it or post videos, I said I disagreed. There’s a difference buddy. I’m not the internet police.
    And now back to working on my graduate seminar I am holding tomorrow…

  • God is real

    Im not going to respond to all the silly jabs, but i will say this, I was being generous in saying that only 1% of abortions are due to rape.incest…its actually 0.35 %

    http://www.johnstonsarchive.net/policy/abortion/abreasons.html

  • God is real

    “@truth & @”god is real”, read Matthew 7:1 ”

    Also, do not judge does not mean we need to pretend like there is no difference between right and wrong. Please understand the verse before you ask someone to read it.

    Do we look at robbers and say “hey dont judge”? look at rapists and say “hey dont judge”? This is not a matter of judgement, its a matter of discernment.

  • God is real

    “Crashing into things is a natural byproduct of traveling at high velocities”

    @ infophile, crashing is NOT a natural byproduct of traveling at high speeds. How often do you see cheetahs, jaguars , etc crash into trees while running. Thats nonsense. Crashing is an accident….people are not accidents.

  • Pingback: Raciocinio » Blog Archive » Un testimonio: “Porque voy a tener un aborto”

  • Cobwebs

    @God is real – Cheetahs and other cats that run down their prey tend to prefer open grassland, specifically to reduce their chances of crashing into trees. There are lots of incidents, however, of big cats crashing into their prey and winding up with a broken jaw (which eventually kills them because they can’t eat). So yeah, big cats do crash into things when running.

    I think the simplest thing to do here is to make it clear that you are arguing a perfect-world scenario that does not exist in reality. Yes, if people were not deeply hardwired to enjoy and thus seek out sex, it would be easy to not have sex. This is not the case in the real world, so any of your arguments about “keeping your legs together” are irrelevant and can thus be ignored. (Indeed, as others have pointed out, the human desire to have sex is so strongly ingrained that even humans who are supposed to be celibate at all costs–like Catholic priests–still wind up having sex. If it were so easy to “just not have sex,” one would assume 0% of priests would do it.)

    Most of the other people trotting out arguments against abortions are bringing up straw men by asking whether we’d abort a perfectly healthy 8-month fetus being carried by a perfectly healthy mother. The short answer: No, dumbass.

    So how about we frame the argument in actual real-world terms: People are going to have sex. Even if they take precautions, sometimes those precautions fail. Sometimes, for health or other reasons, the mothers aren’t going to want to carry the baby to term, and in that case they’re going to abort early enough that there isn’t any question about whether the embryo has any kind of consciousness, in that it’s just a blob of cells.

    Given those terms, can those who are virulently anti-abortion explain why you hold that position?

  • Yvi

    “Even if euthanasia isn’t legal in the US, it is still covered by the tenets of Pro-choice”

    No, it’s not, but nice try.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff P

    Perhaps we should re-activate “the deal” that matters pertaining to physical matter (having mass) or energy be left to the secularists (secularists can include religious people) and leave matters related to spirits and souls solely to religious people. For example, let secularists have domain over the laws that apply to mankind and everything dealing with the physical world. Let religious people have domain over their notion of spirits, souls, afterlives, and divine punishment and rewards. The secularists can enforce their laws in the here and now. The religious can enforce their judgments in the supposed infinite here-after. That sounds like a good deal to me (for both sides). The religious get an infinite period of enforcement but it is deferred until after they die. The secularists only get a finite period of enforcement but it is in effect while they are alive.

    Controversial issues like abortion can still be debated (in the here and now) but just on secular terms.

  • Leslie

    I believe things happen for a reason. If your IUD failed and you may or may not have been using condoms the day you conceived, and you survived child abuse and your first pregnancy and you gave birth to a child you love, and you didn’t have a tubal ligation afterward, it’s just possible that this second pregnancy happened because it was meant to, that there was a reason for it. Now of course, you won’t know what that reason was.

    As for the women you disparage who regret their abortions and say so, you may yet find yourself in their ranks. If you do, please know that help and healing are available to you. I’m sorry you felt you had to make this choice. I believe in my heart it was the wrong one.

  • Johnny

    @Katsu

    It may be a “tired, sad argument”….but it is a completely rational and logical argument is it not?

    A leads to B, therefore if you don’t want A don’t do B, do something that prevents B or find alternatives.

    The problem is human beings are irrational and illogical at times because of our emotions. So, yes it is a “tired” argument in the sense that it has been repeated so many times, but it is definitely not a “sad” argument because it is COMPLETELY logical no matter how you look at it.

  • Emily the non-Catholic

    “24 weeks is about the minimum for viability in a pregnancy and even then the baby will have lifelong problems.

    Anything less than that and the doctors won’t even bother trying to resuscitate it. (I learned this when I thought I was going into premature labour at 21 weeks).”

    @Sarah: The youngest preemie to ever survive was born at 21 weeks and 6 days. She is now 2 and has developmental delays, but is otherwise healthy. Most micro-preemies will have an outcome like you describe (and most doctors will act like your doctors did), but survival is possible at a young gestational age. Good luck to you.

    @Emily: You didn’t say you disagreed with Angie’s choice to be open about her abortion, you said it was “distasteful” and that you don’t think it can be forgiven on any level. The idea that abortion is ok, but only in secret and only if you feel remorse is, to me, a strange definition of pro-choice.

  • http://www.frommormontoatheist.blogspot.com Leilani

    If you don’t want brain freeze, don’t eat ice cream.

    If you don’t want bees in your yard, don’t plant flowers.

    If you don’t want a sunburn, don’t spend time in the sun.

    If you don’t want kids, don’t have sex.

    Who wants to live a life without frozen desserts, the beauty of flowers, sunshine and sex?

    Of course you could eat your ice cream slowly, plant flowers that don’t attract bees, put on sunblock and use protection, but that isn’t always a guarantee.

    May I remind us all that even Abstinence isn’t 100%. Mary, the mother of Jesus was a virgin, right??? He wasn’t even the first!! Look at these folk: Horus, Romulus, Perseus, Danae, Melanippe, Auge and Antiope. Just proves that you can never be too careful!!

    You can’t argue with crazy! :)

  • http://baronvonkorf.blogspot.com Baron Korf

    Lesson for today: Don’t become an obstacle to an atheist, they have no compunctions about killing you.

    Food for thought: Under German law, no humans were killed in the concentration camps because the Jews et al were ‘scientifically’ determined to be sub-human.

  • Johnny

    @ Leilani

    I’m glad you agree with me…everything has consequences right? It’s a natural law. IF you want to enjoy something be prepared for consequences whether good or bad or somewhere in between.

  • http://onewomansopinion.grooving2music.com Toni

    I can’t get over how good this article made me feel. Reality is that thousands of women have abortions for their own reasons and have no guilt. It happens, it’s ok, it’s their life and who the hell cares what anyone else thinks!

  • Wendy

    Are you guys honestly saying that a married couple who is done having kids (or doesn’t want any) should NEVER EVER have sex? Really? Because that’s the only choice if you want to be 100% sure to not get pg. Tubals aren’t 100%, vasectomies aren’t 100%, no birth control IS.

    I honestly don’t understand.

  • Johnny

    @Wendy

    Isn’t that the most logical choice? Let me remind you that this is an atheist website grounded in logic, reason, and the utmost rationale thinking.

    You should understand that.

  • Wendy

    sarcasm right? Please tell me it’s sarcasm.

    I am prepared for the consequences of the possibility of getting pregnant (although we’ve taken extreme measures not to)

    I’ll get an abortion. I’m PERFECTLY prepared.

  • Emily

    @Emily the non-Catholic
    There is a difference between being open about your abortion, and publicizing your abortion. It should also be noted that this article is misleading, abortion-by-pill is not as invasive as other forms of abortion. Would you want to see a life vacuum aspiration on the internet? I just think it is something that she can be open about, but it is not something everyone needs to know about. We’ve become a world where every details of our lives is public knowledge. We have desensitized ourselves as a society. Difficult decisions are made, unpleasant things happen, but it’s not for the world stage.

    @ Yvi.
    In my country – the debate over euthanasia falls under the realm of pro-choice. Should one not have a choice over their own life, or does someone have the right to end another’s life out of “pity”? Do Americans not euthanize sick animals every day due to mercy? Have you ever seen this in person? It’s a horrible decision, but it’s usually the right decision. I still don’t want to see a video of it, but no one should be made to feel like their ‘choice was wrong’.

    So do you agree with abortion but not with euthanasia?

    In my country abortion is legal across the board. Is this not the case in the US? I have the feeling of ‘pro-choice’ states versus ‘pro-life’ state means yes.. For me, it is a matter of personal choice. There are no laws that say I cannot. In fact, in my country, abortion was legalized a long time ago.

    So perhaps what I don’t understand is why there is such a backlash in the US for having abortions, and why there is a need to publicize such actions…

  • http://www.frommormontoatheist.blogspot.com Leilani

    I think most everyone can agree that actions have consequences.

    Everyone deals with the consequences differently.

    I am done having children. I have two beautiful, healthy little girls. My husband and I decided that was all we needed, could afford and all we want. I will not stop having sex with my husband because I run the risk of getting pregnant, even with birth control. And if nature wins, and I get my ass knocked up, I am prepared to fix that with science, the moment I find out.

    If you think that abortions are immoral, then don’t have an abortion. Piece of cheese!

  • Johnny

    @Wendy

    No, no sarcasm, just pure logic.

    If you don’t want something in your body, you get rid of it, that is also pure causal logic.

    I assume your extreme measures include birth control whether medicinal or physical.

    So why the emotional involvement, hence the all caps “PERFECTLY”?

  • Belle

    I wonder. Why didn’t you get your tubes tied after the birth of your son? Then you would never would have even had to have an abortion.

  • Sibs

    I’ve always been conflicted with this issue. I don’t think abortion is right, but ultimately i believe it should be a women’s choice. Is that being hypocritical?

  • Wendy

    Johnny, both medical. We’re as prepared as we can be. Didn’t mean to yell but I see abortion as “insurance” (lack of a better phrase–need more coffee) in case that 1% happens.

    It’s emotional because it is my body. I’ve done all that can be done to prevent a pregnancy but because it’s not 100%, people tell me I shouldn’t have sex with my husband. There is no logic in that. That would mean my marriage and resulting sex life is only for reproducing and nothing else.

    Sibs—it’s totally not hypocritical. It’s a choice. If you don’t think abortion is right, than that’s your choice. It’s when someone forces their choice on other people is when it’s gets ugly.

  • Johnny

    @Sibs

    It is ultimately a women’s choice, the fetus resides within her physical body; wherever she goes the fetus goes as well.

    For those who want to make abortion illegal, they fail to ask the question:

    If abortion was made illegal, what should be the punishment for illegal abortions?

    Undoubtedly, women will still get abortions whether legal or not. People still obtain and consume marijuana even though it is illegal, do they not?

  • Aj

    Johnny,

    Electing to not have sex if you really want to due to a small chance of contraception failing is not a logical choice. Over emphasizing risk is irrational. Also, people really want to have sex, and even if they do get pregnant they can get an abortion early on with little discomfort. It seems like the benefits of sex greatly out weigh the risks of getting pregnant, and more importantly the negatives of having an abortion. Advocating not having sex makes no sense at all.

    Claudia,

    …because almost everyone I’ve ever interacted with personally, religious or not, holds an intermediate, difficult to explain and multifaceted position and recognizes that there can be legitimate differences of opinion. I flatly don’t think all forms of abortion are morally legitimate, and I can assure you my objections do not stem from any holy book.

    I’ve had many discussions with people, rather than describe their position as “intermediate, difficult to explain and mutlifaceted”, I’d describe it as middle ground fallacy, irrational and ignorant. Now there are people who have a wide selection of legitimate positions based on well considered ethics and I hope you are one of those people, but these people are rare. It’s not common, generally people just have a “gut” reaction, usually poisoned by societies attitude that is influenced by religion and times when they’ve been shown gruesome pictures.

    Emily,

    If I choose to euthanize my child because she is crippled with cancer, or some other disease, and no longer wants to live, I have the right to put a video online of me doing this? Or blogging about it? Showing pictures of me shooting her up with morphine? Pro-choice covers more than abortion. Would that not be disrespectful to the life of my child? Especially if she asks me not to? Well heck, I MADE her, so I can do what I want! PLEASE. Even if euthanasia isn’t legal in the US, it is still covered by the tenets of Pro-choice, and IS legal in other countries. If life and genomes are NOT important? What is? Selfishness? Disregard for all life? Also, evolutionary biologists would disagree with your ‘life and genomes are not important’.

    1. a) It wouldn’t be disrespectful to “the life” of your children. b) It would be disrespectful to the child if you did it against their wishes. c) Euthanasia isn’t “covered by the tenets of pro-choice”, that’s the most ignorant thing you’ve written which is saying something.

    2. a) I don’t regard “life” as sacred, death is a part of life. Millions of organisms die each day so I live. I do not mourn for them, I only mourn for person, who are rational and conscious. b) I don’t know whether you’re being intentionally dense, but if not, I was talking about my ethical consideration on non-persons, not about evolution or biology.

    Ridiculing religious people is not the answer, healthy debate is the answer. I’m not sure if you’ve lumped me in with the “loons”, but I don’t think that is fair if you have done so. I am allowed my opinion, one of being religious and pro-choice.

    You cannot have healthy debate with those that believe in nonsense. If I hadn’t lumped you in with the loons, I certainly have after reading your last comment. You may be allowed to have an opinion, but that doesn’t mean it’s worthy of respect. Read your comment about euthanasia and evolutionary biology, it’s absolutely batshit insane, not to mention not even remotely relevant.

    The bottom line is, abortion is legal, and there is no clear cut answer for this debate other than it is a personal choice. Full Stop.

    There is a lot of this nonsense, but this exemplifies it nicely. You personally seem to have a “clear cut” answer but you are too cowardly to confront it. There are no personal truths, it’s not wrong for you to have an abortion but right for someone else. Moral and truth relativism is pathetic, it matters what is true. Different positions on religion actually have universal consequences, they’re not just opinions that have different “strengths”. If there is no gods, and it’s almost certainly true that there isn’t, then what some people do because they believe is both harmful and destructive to themselves and others. You may feel you can’t justify your morals without referring to your imaginary friend, but many do have clear cut answers on the issue after thoughtful ethical consideration.

  • Claudia

    @Sibs, not really no. It just means that you don’t feel that your value judgement on abortion is enough of a self-evident or rationally grounded one to be imposed as a law, or that you don’t feel its wrong enough (like murder) to warrant the imposition of your view on others.

    Despite the fact that many people want to pretend that it is a simple debate (don’t have sex if you don’t want to get pregnant vs. I can do whatever the hell I want till the doctor slaps it on its butt) it is anything BUT a simple debate, and where the border is between a personal value judgement and something grounded in enough science and ethical discourse to be worth of legal enforcement is one more of the many questions raised by the issue.

    I’m unflinchingly pro-life until about the third month because of neural development stuff, and then become increasingly uneasy about it from there. I find the idea of aborting a 7 month fetus horrific outside of special cases (physical risk to the mother where live birth was impossible or severe problems with the fetus) and think that aborting a 7 month old healthy fetus should most certainly be illegal, though I can’t really see it as a full murder. But everyone has a different position, and when push comes to shove almost everyone has a gray area between “I don’t like it but it’s your choice” and “This is unacceptable and should not be legal” where we simply don’t know what to think.

  • Johnny


    Electing to not have sex if you really want to due to a small chance of contraception failing is not a logical choice. Over emphasizing risk is irrational. Also, people really want to have sex, and even if they do get pregnant they can get an abortion early on with little discomfort. It seems like the benefits of sex greatly out weigh the risks of getting pregnant, and more importantly the negatives of having an abortion. Advocating not having sex makes no sense at all.

    Is it a logical choice then to have sex based on the great chance of contraception succeeding….“if I really want to”?. Those are the key words right there, you began by using the words “Electing”, inferring that the element of elective decisions and preference play a role in making logical decisions. They don’t. “I really want to” ride my motorcycle on some backcountry roads even though there is a small chance a deer could jump in front of me. Riding a motorcycle=sex). Is that a logical choice?

    Some things are more elective than others, sex being more elective than say, paying the mortgage. Unless you have different priorities, I’d say not being homeless would be higher on the less-elective list. To say that not having sex due to the chance of contraception failing because you “really want to” is a not a logical choice, simply isn’t logical. Why? Because that logic is based on preference and not consequence.

    I know the benefits of sex (oh yeah). I do not understand how the benefits of sex outweigh the risks of getting an abortion. What factors are you using to determine this comparison? Does it increase my chance to survive?

    And yes, Advocating not having sex makes no sense at all-to those who want to have sex.

    I am simply asking you to base your logic on preference.

  • Claudia

    Johnny, you are purposfully assuming that everyone on this thread shares your evaluation of abortion as an unacceptable recourse. Almost none of us do and hence your argument does not work.

    Your assumption is that the benefits of sex are outweighed by the possibility of pregnancy if the idea of pregnancy is 100% unacceptable to you. That is true ONLY if you discount abortion as a legitimate recourse. Which it is to you and hence in your construct avoiding sex (even amongst married couples!) if you can’t accept the risk of pregnancy is logical.

    However for me and for the vast majority of people on this thread abortion (and especially early-term abortion) IS a legitimate recourse. If we were on that back road on a motorcycle with a helmet on but despite our best efforts took a spill and broke our leg, we wouldn’t assume that since we had an accident we had no legitimacy in seeking medical help at a hospital. Most of us have sex (and hopefully most of us with the neccesary precautions) but if, despite our best efforts, we get pregnant, we feel it is perfectly legitimate to seek out an abortion. Hence doing something natural and normal like sex when we have no wish to get pregnant and understanding that accidents happen is perfectly reasonable, as long as abortion is considered morally legitimate.

  • cicely

    Different Angie:

    If your doctor refuses to carry out sterilization, FIND ANOTHER DOCTOR who respects your reproductive choices. You have the right to make decisions about your body and your reproductive life. YOU are the best judge of whether or not sterilization is right for you, no one else.

    I absolutely agree; however, when you’re about to have a c-section (normal delivery being medically untenable) is no time to change doctors. My sister’s reasoning was that, as long as she was going to be opened up anyway, and a subsequent pregnancy would be very unwise, why not take care of it all at once? Because of the possible reproductive preferences of her hypothetical future next husband, that’s why. @#$%^&*

    The ironic second act: if the doctor had done the tubal ligation, my sister would not have needed to have an abortion later (give or take that 1% chance), as the result of a sexual assault.

    Johnny:

    Consequently, the destigmatization and commonplace of abortions are why I’m having a hard time understanding why some people are making Angie out to be “brave”, “inspiring”, and “courageous”.

    Because the process of destigmatization is not complete, and especially in some areas of the US, that stigma is strong indeed, and fanatics who would take the “commonplace” out of abortion have no qualms or shame about harrassing women they know to have had an abortion, and spreading hateful and untrue stories about them. And we all know that a thing doesn’t have to be true to be believed.

    Lynda:

    That is why my mind is absolutely boggled by the strident advocation here of what is essentially robbing another individual of their sole chance at ever existing in this world. If this is indeed all we have, shouldn’t we protect everyone’s right to have it? Isn’t denying someone this chance the gravest of wrongs against them?

    Every sperm is sacred, every ovum must be fertilized?

    ‘God is real’:

    Adults know what they are doing when they lay down with each other.

    Not if a whole lot of “abstinence only” fanatics have their way! They don’t want the biological facts taught by the schools, they’re too embarrassed to teach their kids about SEX!!1!! themselves—I can only assume that the idea is that the Big G will download the relevant update into their brains on their wedding night. And see how well that’s worked!


    I feel that, if men had to carry/were equipped to carry half of the children (numbers 2, 4, 6, etc.), there wouldn’t be an endless argument over who owns the reproductive rights, and whether abortion should be legal. And that there would be damned few families with more than 3 kids!

  • Johnny

    Claudia,

    Ah, now we are getting somewhere. Now the big question here is “legitimate”. You “feel” it is legitimate to have abortion as a recourse for unwanted pregnancy. Do you know this to be the most legitimate recourse to an unwanted pregnancy? Where is this legitimacy based? Preference?

    Yes, sex is natural and normal, naturally resulting in pregnancy if the conditions are right. You can’t have sex and not wish to get pregnant. Even with the proper precautions. That makes no sense.

    Why would it be necessary to have abortion considered morally legitimate if it is your preference to have an abortion? If you are talking about socially acceptable morality, why even bring up that question if it is within your morals to have an abortion?

  • Johnny

    @cicely


    Because the process of destigmatization is not complete, and especially in some areas of the US, that stigma is strong indeed, and fanatics who would take the “commonplace” out of abortion have no qualms or shame about harrassing women they know to have had an abortion, and spreading hateful and untrue stories about them. And we all know that a thing doesn’t have to be true to be believed.

    I still argue that it is neither brave, inspiring, or courageous. These characteristics altogether are based (depending on who you are) on facing adversity for a noble cause. People who get abortions do face adversity, but that adversity is based on the elective preference of not wanting a pregnancy and not a basic human right. Everyone here can argue all they want about the nobility or in-nobility of that.

  • Cobwebs

    @Jeff P:

    The religious get an infinite period of enforcement but it is deferred until after they die. The secularists only get a finite period of enforcement but it is in effect while they are alive.

    You make a great point. I sometimes wonder if the religious busybodies who insist on sticking their nose into other peoples’ morality know, deep down, that there isn’t any afterlife, so any judging has to be done in the here and now.

    After all, if you’re so certain that your god is going to judge us in the hereafter, why don’t you just relax and let him worry about it?

  • Johnny

    One last post.

    I’m sorry, I should clarify more of the intent of my posts.

    I still contend that if you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex. That is the most logical thing in the world. Sure, it’s not the most emotionally fulfilling thing and not having sex takes away from the full experience of life. You can love your partner to death, they might even be “the one”, or maybe they just have a hot body, but in the end, don’t want to get pregnant? Don’t have sex. It also follows logically that if you want to end the pregnancy, get an abortion.

    I don’t have a problem with the choice of having an abortion. However, the choice to have an abortion is ultimately that, a choice, a preference. THAT is where I realized I have a problem. To argue for the legitimacy of something simply because it is a preference is dangerous; in a world of 6 billion people, there are a lot of different preferences and I can guarantee you that they aren’t all legitimate.

  • Cobwebs

    @Johnny

    To argue for the legitimacy of something simply because it is a preference is dangerous

    But what about in the cases where it isn’t a preference? Are you also arguing that if a woman gets pregnant by rape or incest, she simply shouldn’t have gotten raped? That’s wonderfully tidy.

    And, incidentally, we argue for the legitimacy of things based on our preferences all the time. I prefer to live in a house rather than in an apartment building, even though if everyone lived in apartments it might be a more efficient use of resources. I’m assuming you don’t also argue that single-family homes should be banned.

  • Teaspoon

    Thanks for sharing your story, Angie. While choosing abortion is certainly a difficult and heart-wrenching decision for many women, it’s good to hear from those for whom it was a decision they feel no need to regret, because it was simply the most sensible decision for their situation.

  • Angie

    (Note: I’m not the Angie who wrote this blog entry. I’m a different Angie.)

    @ God is real – Those aren’t the abortion statistics I’ve seen. According to one study, 9% of women seeking help from the Women’s Reproductive Rights Assistance Project (WRRAP) were pregnant due to rape. Also, 11% of women helped by the Women’s Medical Fund (WMF) were pregnant due to rape.

    Abortion Funding: Matters of Justice (2005)
    http://www.nnaf.org/NNAF_Policy_Report.pdf

    Rape-related pregnancy happens more often than many people think, which is access to emergency contraception and abortion are so important. One researcher estimates that rape results in 25,000 pregnancies each year in the U.S. (Stewart, Felicia H. and James Trussell. 2000. Prevention of Pregnancy Resulting from Rape. A Neglected Preventive Health Measure. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 19(4):228-229.)

    Studies in other countries show high rates of pregnancy from rape. In Mexico, for instance, studies have found pregnancy rates as high as 26% among rape victims. At a maternity hospital in Peru, almost 90% of the pregnant girls there age 12-16 had been raped. In a study of a Costa Rican shelter, 95% of the pregnancies among girls age 15 and younger were due to rape or incest. (de Bruyn, Maria. 2001. Violence, Pregnancy and Abortion: Issues of Women’s Rights and Public Health. Chapel Hill, NC: Ipas.)

  • Johnny

    @Cobwebs

    Come on now, we can argue numbers and statistics, but for the most part the reason abortions are performed (in the western world) is for unwanted pregnancies. MOST if not all people on this board are arguing for abortion as an elective choice. I’m arguing about legitimacy of the choice and the preference as a whole, like I stated; rape is a different matter since it does not involve the elective choice and preference of the victim.

    You’re applying my argument to an oversimplistic case of where people prefer to live. Very generally speaking, the dwelling in which people prefer to live does not elicit moral objections from a large percentage of the populace.

    And you’re right, if you preferred to live in a house rather than an apartment, that doesn’t make it illegitimate, it just makes it inefficient according to whoever’s efficiency standards you are applying.

  • Angie

    Oh, and to boot, people don’t seem to realize that some unwanted pregnancies result from reproductive coercion, in which a male partner uses threats, violence, or contraception sabotage to impregnate his female partner. Newsweek had an article on the problem recently.

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/232542

    THIS is why the right to choose is so important. Many women become pregnant through no fault of their own.

  • http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Atheist GabrielSyme

    @Leilani: Well, babies aren’t exacly brain-freezes, and sunburns won’t have a life of their own.

    BTW, does anyone knows how little is the chance of getting pregnant with Tubular ligations (or DIU) + Vasectomy + condom?

  • Heidi

    So… thanks to all of you who have just reminded me why I don’t believe ridiculous things like “gods exist” or “a few cells = person with a soul.”

    And as for the troll who said:

    Also….moral codes only fluctuate if you have no standard to base them all.

    I shall assume then that you believe shellfish is an abomination, as is eating a cheeseburger or wearing cotton with linen. Because, you know, that’s in your book of fables. Further, I shall assume that you believe an appropriate punishment for little children who tease bald men is to be eaten by bears. So much for their right to life, huh?

  • http://pics.livejournal.com/kc_anathema/gallery/000847zw GabrielSyme

    @Heidi, we’re talking about babies being aborted and simple logic, not the Bible.

    Also, somebody answer my question above…

  • Mariana

    @ Angie #2 and all those who indignantly hold up examples of pregnancy resulting from rape:

    We can all agree that rape and sexual coercion are terrible things. But it’s also not the baby’s fault if it was conceived by force or violence. Aborting that baby doesn’t solve anything. It’s not like getting an abortion somehow erases the crime or punishes the rapist.

    We should be more concerned about the PREVENTION of rape and sexual violence, rather than presenting abortion as some sort of consolation prize for the victims.

  • Polly

    I shall assume that you believe an appropriate punishment for little children who tease bald men is to be eaten by bears.

    I have to admit, I’m not hating it. :)

  • Katsu

    Lots of comments since I went home last night. And lots of blah blah blah don’t have sex blah blah blah. Yawn.

    It must be time for a rousing chorus of “It’s my body (and I’ll f*** if I want to)” sung to the tune of “It’s my party (and I’ll cry if I want to).”

  • Lynda

    I’m sorry, I didn’t realize that being an atheist gave me the authority to declare any children I have who are not as developed as myself or without the same faculties as sub-human and made their extermination a moral neutral or even good action. Not only does “atheist” not equal “pro-choice”, it also is not the same thing as “moral relativist” either. Don’t they have a separate website for moral relativists or something?

  • http://lagunatic.wordpress.com/ Lagunatic

    I had to stop reading half way down because I couldn’t help but wonder if God Is Real’s glass house was spotless and clean or if there were some birdshit droppings in various places.

    Carry on.

  • Katsu

    Lynda: It also doesn’t give you the authority to determine if another human being has a right to unfettered access to and use of my body.

  • Emily

    @Aj

    Oh Atheism – the new intolerant fanatic zealots! You, are exactly, what people don’t like about atheists. You are just as bad as the right wing Christians you spout hate about!
    You are disrespectful and ignorant. My views do deserve respect, just because you don’t believe what I believe, doesn’t mean it is not valid. Your view is not the only view.

    I never said that you believe life is sacred. But life should be respected, in fact I think ALL life should be respected. Death is natural, yes, and inevitable, but that doesn’t mean I should shoot someone because well, hey, death was going to happen anyway.

    And no, I am not comparing abortion to murder. I already, clearly stated how I feel about abortion.

    Euthanasia or assisted-suicide is an argument for pro-choice..maybe not in America “the great”. But there is a whole, big, giant world outside your tiny decaying empire. Sorry, it might not be a tenet, but it fall legally, under the same jurisdiction of having the right to do with your body what you want. Both would be for the most part, overseen by medical professionals. One is legal in most countries, one is not.

    Your hate and disregard for the views of others is just as bad other zealots. Are you going to raise an atheist army and kill all the believers of different faiths? Come on, the key to peace is living together and having healthy debates.

    And not attacking people. I didn’t attack you, I don’t agree with your opinions, but I didn’t call you names (trust me, I have many I could), because you have a right to express your views, although after your personal attacks, I no longer respect them.

    Your inability to engage in a conversation with someone believes in “imaginary friends” is wrong. A breakdown between communication is wrong. And no, you might not believe in gods, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. This is not like evolution. Evolution is a scientific fact, faith and spirituality belong in a different realm.

    Learn to be more tolerant, and less ignorant. Perhaps you will see my views do make sense. And in regards your remark that I am ‘dense’, sweetheart, I could run circles around you academically.

    If only the moderates outnumbered the crazies of either side of the liberal/conservative divide.

  • Angie

    (Note: I am not the Angie who wrote this blog post. I’m a different Angie.)

    Mariana — The anti-sexual violence movement has been tenaciously promoting SV prevention for years. Realistically, though, large-scale social change is slow, and it will be a long time before SV is eliminated.

    In the meantime, what are we to do with the thousands of rape-related pregnancies each year? Some pregnancies can be prevented with emergency contraception (provided that the woman is lucky enough to have access to it), but there will still be pregnancies resulting from SV. Rape victims deserve to have choices, and abortion should be a choice open to them, if they so choose.

    No, an abortion does not erase what happened or punish the perpetrator, nor is it intended to. It CAN prevent a birth that the victim does not want, a birth that could compound her existing trauma.

    Indignant? Darn right I am.

  • Lynda

    Authority figures tell us what we can and cannot do with our own bodies all the time for the benefit of other members of society and their well-being. Saying that no one can tell you what to do with your own body, therefore you can do whatever you please to the point of resulting in another’s premature demise is ridiculous.

    If a mother who chooses to bottle feed her infant because she does not want that infant to have “unfettered access to an use of” her body is snowbound in her home without formula for a week, and her newborn starves to death even though she could’ve saved him/her by breastfeeding, do you think the law would prosecute the death? I’m pretty sure they would.

    The law is DEFINITELY a little different when it comes to one’s children. I am required to care for/provide for/house my children. Random strangers, not so much.

  • Lynda

    Oh, and the law is a little different when you’re talking about one’s children. I am obligated by law to provide housing, nutrition, etc. for my children. Random strangers off the street, not so much.

  • Katsu

    @Lynda:

    Actually, for the most part we *do* get to do what we want with our own bodies. The only examples where out bodily integrity is interfered with that I can think of off the top of my head are:
    1) Illegal drug use, which is sort of hilarious when you consider that people can legally smoke and drink.
    2) D-bag doctors who tell women they can’t get tubal ligations/horrible doctors that sterilize women without their permission. The former is something that obviously ticks women off, the later is actually illegal.
    Though of course I may have missed something. Or many somethings.

    Either way, I think my determination over what goes on with my body isn’t ridiculous at all. I can’t be *forced* to accept medical treatments as long as I am capable of making my own decisions, even if those treatments could save my life. I can’t be *forced* to donate blood or bone marrow or an internal organ to save someone else’s life. I similarly fail to see how anyone has a *right* to hole up in my uterus for nine months, change my body chemistry, and possibly attempt to kill me. I can *choose* to allow that – and many people do, and good on them.

    Now, if you think I should be legally required to donate blood or bone marrow or a kidney or what have you in order to save someone’s life, well, then we’ve got a fundamental disagreement there and at least your argument is consistent. But if we are treating an embryo/fetus as a human being and completely skipping over the definitional argument (which I’m absolutely fine with, since it’s a mess) then I again fail to see why an embryo has an absolute right to unfettered use of my internal organs when not even a helpless newborn infant does.

    I don’t think your counter example is a particularly good one; if your hypothetical woman feels so strongly that the infant in question is an unwelcome invader, I find it pretty hard to accept that she’d carry it to term in the first place. As is, I would hesitate to equate breast feeding with either pregnancy or blood/tissue/organ donation since as far as I know it can’t potentially kill you, profoundly affect your health. (Though as I’m not a doctor, I could well be wrong.)

  • Katsu

    @Lynda: The law is different in regards to dependants that you’ve accepted responsibilities for. And I think you can argue that there are ethical obligations you have to a dependant once you’ve accepted the responsibility for them.

    But I also don’t think that having sex and ending up with an unwanted pregnancy equates with acceptance of those responsibilities either, no matter how many times the yawn-inducing argument “don’t want babies? don’t have sex!” gets trotted out. If nothing else, I think there’s something significant in that parents are legally obligated to feed/clothe/etc children, but not obligated to give their child bone marrow if the child needs it. I think 99.999999% of parents would if they could in that kind of situation, but it cannot be legally compelled.

  • Yvi

    “So do you agree with abortion but not with euthanasia? ”

    I agree with both. But ‘pro-choice’ is a very specific word in US-American contexts, associated with abortion, not euthanasia.

    Also, I am not from America. I am curious what country you are in where abortion is “legal across the board”, though – I am not aware of countries that allow abortion for all women in all stages of pregnancy.

  • Lynda

    You’ve entirely danced around the issue of the law being different in regard to dependents. But, for the fleeting argument you’ve made in regard to a parent accepting responsibility, I’ll adjust my argument to suit you…The woman was the mother, but at the time didn’t have custody, didn’t want custody, and the blizzard struck before she was able to leave to deliver the child to its father who very much wanted and loved the child as per court order. What now?

  • http://boobcast.net Maria Myrback

    I just wanted to thank you Angie for being so forthright and honest with your sharing. I’ve learned things from following you on Twitter and reading this blog post. For one, I had no idea that chemicals were an option. I’ve always believed the myth that women who get abortions are wracked with guilt and regret for the rest of their lives. Thank you so much for demystifying abortion.
    I hope you’re back to your old self soon.

  • Jenn

    @ God is real…your god is not real, he is your imaginary friend. Quit hiding behind an entity. And lastly quit hijacking the thread..troll.

    @ Angie…You are a strong amazing woman. Don’t let the bible thumping fascists tell you any differently. It’s your body, do what you want with it.

  • http://www.frommormontoatheist.blogspot.com Leilani

    @GabrielSyme: Godisreal mentioned that if someone doesn’t want a child, then they shouldn’t have sex, because a child is the natural outcome of sex. So I mentioned some natural outcomes of other things in life.

    I learned a long time ago that you can’t argue with crazy. You just can’t. They will always be able to trump you with nonsense. So I joined in with random nonsense. No valid, science based facts are going to ‘prove’ anything when you are dealing with people who’s ‘God told them so’.

    I would be hard pressed to have an abortion, which I mentioned earlier, but I know that I am prepared if I need to go down that road.

    I think Angie deserves a spa day after all of this nonsense.

  • Valerian

    Thank you for your courageous tweets.

    (That phrase strikes me as funny, but it’s true.)

  • Lynda

    I think Angie deserves a spa day after all of this nonsense.

    I think you missed the “y” in “spay”. Then you’d be right.

  • Mariana

    @ Angie #2: I’m not saying rape victims should be forced to carry their pregnancies to term, I wouldn’t want to make that choice for anyone. I’m just pointing out that it’s seem a bit unfair to take out one’s indignation on an unborn child, who after all has committed no crime.

    Anyway, abortions due to rape or incest are still by far the minority of cases. For the record, I don’t know that I’d support the universal banning of abortions, but I do think it’s a horribly chilling mindset that allows casual elective abortions. Since there are a lot of analogies flying around, here’s another one to think about:

    Suppose you were given a loaded gun. You’re told that you’ll get a million dollars every time you fire it. The catch is, you have to fire it point blank at another person. I’m sure that nobody would agree to do this, right?

    Now you’re told that there’s a 99% chance that you’ll shoot a blank each time and nobody will get hurt. Would you do it now? Even if you were to give all the money to charity, is it worth the chance of killing another person? Would you say it’s not your responsibility if they die?

    Having sex when you know you would abort any resulting pregnancy is like playing with that loaded gun. Guns have legitimate uses; sex has legitimate benefits aside from pregnancy. But neither of them are toys to play with, because it’s the power of life and death we’re talking about here.

  • cathy

    @Emily “legally under the same jurisdiction of having the right to do with your body what you want.” Um, you do realize that legal jurisdiction is strictly a matter of what government you are under? So, the fact that they are not under the same legal categories in the US means that they are not under the same legal categories in the US. The US constitution specifically mentions birth in defining citizenship, so it makes perfect sense that birth would make a legal difference. If they are under the same legal codes in you country, that does not nessecarily relate to any logical reason for them to be placed in such a way. “One is legal in most countries, one is not.” This suggests that many nations make a distinction in their legal codes. Legal codes vary from country to country and this blog and Angie’s are written in regions under American legal jurisdiction, so american legal jurisdiction are extremely relevant to the cases. So, when you discuss legality and pretend that it is universal, you are the one making the mistake of not knowing what the laws are in the area where the person you are discussing lives. Such as third trimester abortions, not legal in the US except for health or nonviable fetuses (would not survive outside of the womb at term).

    “Your hate and disregard for the views of others is just as bad other zealots” I don’t respect stupid ideas about imaginary things with no evidnece. I don’t respect the views of adults who believe in Santa, nor those who believe in other stupid things. All people are equal and valuable, but not all ideas are. Stupid views deserve zero respect, though we should remember the basic human respect for everyone, including those who believe ridiculous things.

  • cathy

    As to euthanasia, if the person being euthanized gives informed consent, then it’s okay, otherwise it’s not (in my view). If we are talking about the person choosing themselves, then it does relate to rights over one’s own body, however, without informed consent, it does not. Some nations explicitly define these issues when discussing euthanasia, but the US does not have such specific defintions and in the US, euthanasia with informed consent is generally discussed as “assisted suicide”, whereas nonconsensual is generally considered a different issue. Emily seems to not be making a consent distinction, which seems critical in any euthanasia discussion. Because, first she talks about nonconsensual killing of another and then about rights over one’s own body, when the two are not related.

    @whoever mentioned Hitler. Abortion was illegal in Nazi Germany if the woman was aryan and able bodied and the fetus was not disabled or mixed race and was punished harshly. Aborting a healthy Aryan fetus was treated as very close to killing a child. So, no prochoice Nazis. As to the personhood debate, it should be abundantly clear that jews are people. This http://www.advancedfertility.com/embryos.htm not so much.

  • cathy

    As to the sex issue, I really do wonder exactly how terrible some people’s sex must be for them to have such a hard time understanding why someone would do it for reasons other than begrudging reproduction.

  • Lynda

    Abortion was illegal in Nazi Germany if the woman was aryan and able bodied and the fetus was not disabled or mixed race and was punished harshly. Aborting a healthy Aryan fetus was treated as very close to killing a child. So, no prochoice Nazis.

    Well, they were kinda pro-choice. They were “pro-their-choice” which isn’t exactly pro-life now, is it? And, on a related note, I’d like to take this opportunity to stress what you said about “disabled or mixed race” to point out that over 90% of prenatal humans with downs syndrome are aborted, and African Americans make up only 14% of the American population but account for 37% (the majority) of abortions performed in the country. Thanks for helping to illustrate the similarity between Nazis and the current abortion trends. The only difference is, it’s not being actively mandated (yet).

  • Lynda

    As to the sex issue, I really do wonder exactly how terrible some people’s sex must be for them to have such a hard time understanding why someone would do it for reasons other than begrudging reproduction.

    A satisfying and fulfilling sex life is not incompatible with empathy for others and a strong sense of personal responsiblity. I elected to get my tubes tied after choosing not to birth anymore children (although, in the RAAAAAAARE chance that might fail, I’m perfectly willing to allow any resulting child to live rather than kill him/her). I don’t think that’s very much to ask of others so as not to end anyone else’s life just so you can get your rocks off. Sex is good, and great, and wonderful. Sex, however, is NOT EVER worth ending anyone’s life over.

  • Autumnal Harvest

    Hi! I’m here from the Internet Police. We’ve been monitoring this thread, as we do all internet debates, and see that you’ve begun basing your arguments on comparisons to Nazis. Under the laws governing internet discussions, this thread is now closed. We hope you enjoyed your time in this thread, and encourage you to continue using the internet!

  • Aj

    Mariana,

    Suppose you were given a loaded gun. You’re told that you’ll get a million dollars every time you fire it. The catch is, you have to fire it point blank at another person. I’m sure that nobody would agree to do this, right?

    Now you’re told that there’s a 99% chance that you’ll shoot a blank each time and nobody will get hurt. Would you do it now? Even if you were to give all the money to charity, is it worth the chance of killing another person? Would you say it’s not your responsibility if they die?

    False analogy, no person is killed in an abortion.

  • That one

    @ Autumnal Harvest: LMAO

    @Emily: Making snide little slurs about America ( “tiny decaying country”) really doesn’t help your argument. Just throwing that out there.

    I’ve read all of these comments, even the trolls, and really don’t have anything to add. I’m just another atheist feminist.

    For Angie: This post was extremely informative and I applaud your truthfulness. It’s the only way to strip away the stigma.

  • t-storm

    I’m sure nobody is taking this lightly, I don’t think anybody takes abortion lightly.

    I don’t like it, but I am glad that a person has access to it because the alternatives are pretty terrible.

    I’m not sure what I would do if I got my future wife pregnant and we weren’t ready. Honestly if it happened tomorrow I’d be ok with it. I’m an adult with a good job, I have no reason to not step up. But if the girl was going to have the problems that were outlined here I’d seriously rethink it.

    I grew up catholic but am for the most part pro choice I am against the death penalty also which is a basic facet of the catholic religion but I find most christians don’t agree.

  • Emily

    @That One
    Fair enough, but apparently mocking Christians is fair game…

    @Cathy

    I am talking about assisted suicide in which the person has given consent… otherwise it is murder. That’s my clarification for you. BUT, my argument was that some countries allow consent for euthanasia to come from other people than the one who is to be euthanized. (elderly, children with disabilities). I do not agree with that.

    No, my ideas are not stupid. Why do so many atheists fall into the trap as being as intolerant as religious zealots? The world is not meant to come with an instruction manual. The world is full of inquiry and hypotheses – scientific and philosophical. For me, knowing God is a journey. Not all religious people are how you paint them. Catholics for instance believe in evolution and do not take the Bible literally. Also, Santa is not the same as a god. The story of “Santa” is based on a saint. Saints are not deities.

    I could sit her all day and say why I think you are wrong. But your anti-religious stance is your choice, just remember that mine is to be religious, and that is my right.

    As well, I did know all that about American laws about abortion. I was just clarifying. It is a matter of human rights issues, and setting precedents in the legal system. Then again, it would be different in the US because your legal system goes state by state, instead of the entire country. As seen with certain states having the death penalty, and others do not.

    My point is, your hatred is sad. Your anger is disheartening. You are like one of those people with their fingers in their ears going ‘lalalalala’. I don’t want to convert you, or to make you ‘see the light’, but that’s not fair to mock what I believe. To each their own, or is that not true anymore?

    @Yvi
    Sorry, by that I mean that there are no legal restrictions in my country regarding abortion. As in, you can go to any location IN the country and find a clinic, or a hospital that will give you the pills for a medical abortion or perform a surgical abortion.

    I live in Canada. And here, when one discusses pro-choice, yes we mean abortion, but we also realize this debate opens up other possibilities of human rights issues, and what those ramifications would be, i.e. euthanasia. Just like the US, third trimester abortion are usually only done for medical emergencies. It is not a form of birth control.

  • Lynda

    False analogy, no person is killed in an abortion.

    Prove it.

    Also, I am an atheist feminist. I object to “pro-choice” being by default attributed to both “atheist” and “feminist”. One can be an atheist and accept that they are not the center of the universe/not condone ending human life prematurely in the womb. One can be a feminist and realize that women are strong enough to be effective, intelligent, productive, strong members of society-every bit as much as men-and not require the imagined “right” to kill their children in order to do so.

  • Sue

    I doubt anyone could prove it to you, as your definition of person appears to be different to mine. It appears that you consider an embryo to be a person, while I don’t consider it to be a person until it’s developed a brain. Hence why you consider abortion to be killing children and I consider it to be killing cells.

    There is no possible way we can reach agreement on this, which is probably why the same arguments have been wheeled out so many times in the discussion already.

    It’s great to hear that there are women for whom choosing to have an abortion isn’t an incredibly difficult decision and who don’t feel ashamed of it. If it ever happens to me I won’t be alone.

  • Lynda

    Hence why you consider abortion to be killing children and I consider it to be killing cells.

    Well, that’s an incredibly ignorant comment to make. We are all made up of cells, the only difference between you and I or an infant, or an embryonic human is the amount of cells. That’s an incredibly arbitrary point at which to draw the line at “person/not a person”, considering the amount of cells of any one human being varies considerably, and it is a variable physical human condition as are so many others, yet most would be appalled to hear that someone considered those who have no legs to be “non-human” for instance, and with good reason.

  • Heidi

    @Heidi, we’re talking about babies being aborted and simple logic, not the Bible.

    @GabrielSyme: What YOU are talking about is irrelevant to my post. My comment was entirely relevant as far as the post by “God is real,” which I quoted and to which I was responding. But I have now made a notation that you are the self-appointed Blog Police.

    The woman was the mother, but at the time didn’t have custody, didn’t want custody, and the blizzard struck before she was able to leave to deliver the child to its father who very much wanted and loved the child as per court order. What now?

    @Lynda: And you’re saying she carried this baby of her own free will? Because it sounds to me like Mr. Man had a court order that forced her to go through with this. And if that is the case, then the blame lies with the morons who forced an unstable person to complete a pregnancy against her will.

    Well, that’s an incredibly ignorant comment to make. We are all made up of cells, the only difference between you and I or an infant, or an embryonic human is the amount of cells. That’s an incredibly arbitrary point at which to draw the line at “person/not a person”, considering the amount of cells of any one human being varies considerably, and it is a variable physical human condition as are so many others, yet most would be appalled to hear that someone considered those who have no legs to be “non-human” for instance, and with good reason.

    Wow. Did you seriously just equate a few cells to a fully developed human being with a brain, nervous system, etc. who happens to be missing a couple of limbs? Ok, clearly we’re never going to come to an agreement here, then.

  • jemand

    Can we stop talking about the personhood or lack thereof of the fetus? I agree with you, you don’t have the inherent right to kill a fetus. You also don’t have the inherent right to kill someone who wants to have sex with you, if you don’t want to have sex with them. HOWEVER, if they force themselves on you, to use your body for things you do NOT consent to, you have the right to pursue steps to STOP them from violating you. You don’t have the right to KILL someone on the kidney transplant list, but you DO have the right to refuse them the use of your kidney. Go right ahead, you can have the fetus after it’s aborted, I don’t care a bit (and I think it’s probably morally wrong to insist that it dies) but I DO have a right to get it out of me.

    They are two completely separate questions and you have to justify BOTH of them to argue that abortion should be illegal. And just to cut off one particularly idiotic response at the pass, if someone wants an abortion, that’s absolute proof they don’t consent to the use of their body for pregnancy. So no “She consented to pregnancy because she deigned to be born FEMALE! Waaaahhhh!!” dreck.

  • Polly

    But there is a whole, big, giant world outside your tiny decaying empire

    Tiny? Tiny?!? Our empire is HUGE – most of South America, W. Europe, the Middle East, and soon – if the Chinese don’t get it first – Africa!

    Every major city in the world gazes upon our golden arches de triumph.

  • Whatbluedot

    Thank you, Angie. I hope that, if I even need an abortion, the facilities will be safe and available for me as they are for you and that I will have the courage to be open and proud of making the right choice for myself and my family.

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Sue

    Every major city in the world gazes upon our golden arches de triumph.

    …and depairs? :)

  • Ann

    @Lynda

    Well, that’s an incredibly ignorant comment to make. We are all made up of cells, the only difference between you and I or an infant, or an embryonic human is the amount of cells.

    Wow. The ONLY difference between these things is the amount of cells?…

  • cathy

    @ Lynda, I’m a person with disabilities (both mental and physical) and I have an extremely good understanding of the history of disability rights in this country and abroad. I cited the fact that the Nazis saw fetuses as the moral equivalent of a born child, which is not the case for pro-choice people. Forcing women to reproduce so that you can boost certain populations is eugenics 101, as is coerced sterilization of those you do not want to reproduce. So take your concern trolling about PWD somewhere else. Also, black women do not have a lower birth rate, so the discrepancy lies with a lack of access to pregnancy prevention, not in a lower percentage of births. Forcing black women to give birth to children that they do not want and giving the state more rights over black women’s bodies would not be a decent solution in any case.

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  • cathy

    @Emily, you do have the right to believe what you want, but it doesn’t follow that what you believe isn’t ridiculous or that I should be forced to be silent about people’s ridiculous beliefs. In fact, under your weird view, the fact that you attacked my belief in mocking is disrespectful of my belief in the right to mockery. Of course people can think other’s ideas are patently wrong, and say so. I did not call for a ban on your religious activity, or a removal of your posts, I disagreed and criticized, which is what happens when people disagree. A PERSON deserves a certain level of respect, a belief deserves none. I grew up in Klan country and spent a lot of time dealing with racist people, so no, I will not accept the idea that a belief is valid and deserves respect just because someone holds it. But I also grew up with an extremely devout Catholic grandmother, who I do love and respect. You do not have to think that someone’s beliefs are all great to treat them with decency. You said that not all religious people are how I portrayed them, but I do not recall saying anything about religious people beyond the fact that I found their god belief (which religious people by definition have) to be ridiculous.

  • Lynda

    Forcing women to reproduce so that you can boost certain populations is eugenics 101, as is coerced sterilization of those you do not want to reproduce.

    Sorry, but once a woman is pregnant, she has already reproduced, and the only thing which prevents a baby from being born is action taken on her part to kill it in utero.

  • Aj

    Lynda,

    Prove it.

    For starters, for the first 22 weeks of its life an embryo/fetus does not have the equipment to reason and act morally. If this equipment wasn’t functioning in an adult, we consider it death. Human life becomes self-aware and self-motivated after birth. Virtually all abortions happen before 22 weeks.

  • Lynda

    For starters, for the first 22 weeks of its life an embryo/fetus does not have the equipment to reason and act morally. If this equipment wasn’t functioning in an adult, we consider it death. Human life becomes self-aware and self-motivated after birth. Virtually all abortions happen before 22 weeks.

    “IN AN ADULT”. That’s like saying that since a female toddler isn’t sexually developed enough to get pregnant and produce offspring, like an adult, she’s not ACTUALLY a human being and can be slated for execution at will. What about the mentally handicapped? No definitive self-awareness/self-motivation, let’s put them on the chopping block too. Comatose? Who cares if the doctor gave a 100% chance of recovery prognosis, they can’t do anything about it NOW…so let’s off him.

  • Polly

    Every major city in the world gazes upon our golden arches de triumph.

    …and despairs?

    The French do for sure. :)

  • Joe

    I really can not believe all of the comments that refer to pregnancy and child birth as a punishment.
    I am not an atheist, so I can not comprehend from whom you think such as such a “punishment” would come.
    As a scientist who uses logic to solve problems I can only see cause and effect when imagining an atheistic point of view. So, please quit referring to pregnancy as a punishment for having sex and at least say consequence instead. No only does calling it a punishment not make logical sense, it could be easily misunderstood. What does calling pregnancy a punishment seem to say about you and everyone you know born as a result of a pregnancy?

  • jemand

    “Sorry, but once a woman is pregnant, she has already reproduced, and the only thing which prevents a baby from being born is action taken on her part to kill it in utero.”

    Well, when we have the technology to maintain feti outside of uteruses, we can get back to this debate. But the fact is, we DON’T. And yes, she has already reproduced BUT she is never legally obligated to provide a kidney transplant to a BORN child, therefore, she is not legally required to donate use of her uterus and other organs to an unborn child. You are arguing the WRONG QUESTION.

  • Lynda

    See my “biological, non-custodial mother trapped in a blizzard” comment above.

  • Aj

    Lynda,

    That’s like saying that since a female toddler isn’t sexually developed enough to get pregnant and produce offspring, like an adult, she’s not ACTUALLY a human being and can be slated for execution at will.

    It is like saying that, if you valued fertility as a defining characteristic of personhood. I don’t consider fertility that. I can’t relate to someone who thinks they can equate fertility with reasoning, as if someone who will never be able to have children is like someone who will never be a reasoning, moral agent.

    What about the mentally handicapped? No definitive self-awareness/self-motivation, let’s put them on the chopping block too.

    Firstly, I don’t think that’s true, mentally handicapped people are self-aware, self motivated. Secondly, I’m not on any campaign to end the life of all embryos, I don’t understand why you people talk like pro-choice people are. It’s one thing to say an embryo is not a person with a right to life and another to say embryos should die.

    Comatose? Who cares if the doctor gave a 100% chance of recovery prognosis, they can’t do anything about it NOW…so let’s off him.

    There’s a huge difference to an unconscious person, and a “person” who never existed. The “person” who never existed is in your imagination. A person is a person persistently before and after being in a comatose state. The important part is that a person existed before they were in a comatose state. You have to separate the imaginary from what is real.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/AngieAntiTheist Angie the Anti-Theist

    This is Angie of #livetweetingabortion Just wanted to let you know, I’m reading the comments. There are too many to respond to, but I get the gist :) I’m surprised the slippery slope fallacy has been given so much attention, but otherwise not surprised. I’m glad I’ve been able to help a few people.

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  • Anon

    I had an abortion when about 23 years ago. While I was sorry to find myself in that situation, I’ve never regretting the abortion itself and I will be eternally grateful that I was able to chose a legal abortion over, say, throwing myself down a flight of stairs. I too had suicidal depression, was loosing weight, could barely stand I was so sick – and this was in the very early stages. I was also single, had no insurance and a crappy part-time min. wage job with no paid time off. I know other women who chose abortion and never regretted it and women who chose to have the kid and regretted it terribly. So to suggest that all women who get abortions are traumatized for life while all who “choose life” are thrilled with the result is just crap.

    As for the religious arguments, religion is a matter of faith. Fetal brain and sentient development is science. Anyone who things a embryo and a fully developed person should be given equality has a serious misunderstanding of “rights”, IMO. But as this has been addressed above, I will not dwell on it. Suffice to say that freedom of religion gives me the right to disagree with your God-based conclusions. I do wonder, however, why you would conclude that the soul you believe was destined for the aborted fetus isn’t possibly born in a different body – why you seem to think it’s a one-shot deal. As to the issue of never having been born at all, this is so nonsensical as to be irrelevant. If I hadn’t been born it wouldn’t matter to me one way or the other. And I’m willing to be we could find people who would have preferred that option.

  • Polly

    Well, when we have the technology to maintain feti outside of uteruses

    I’m quite sure it’s “fetuses”.

    But, I prefer using feta, especially in salads.

  • jemand

    lovely, lynda, donating your organs is on the same order of magnitude as giving a plate of food to a toddler. Also, blizzards last 9 months, too. Seriously, you are an idiot. If there WAS no food in the house, would the person with the child be prosecuted for not chopping off a leg and serving it up to the child? Because THAT is the more germane comparison.

  • Lynda

    It is like saying that, if you valued fertility as a defining characteristic of personhood. I don’t consider fertility that.

    NOW you’re getting it! The point YOU picked is just as arbitrary as the point I picked in the person’s life cycle! They both have nothing to do with one’s legitimacy as a human being, because that is inherently a characteristic of someone being alive and human. If it’s not, ANYONE can pick some point they think “really matters” and say everyone isn’t really a person unless they have “x” quality, and exterminate at will! You might be getting it, finally…

    Firstly, I don’t think that’s true, mentally handicapped people are self-aware, self motivated. Secondly, I’m not on any campaign to end the life of all embryos, I don’t understand why you people talk like pro-choice people are. It’s one thing to say an embryo is not a person with a right to life and another to say embryos should die.

    Oh no…I thought we were making progress. :(

    Saying that an embryo is not a person with the right to life IS the same, because it’s giving your express consent (not even encouragement, you’re just condoning the behavior) for other people to kill them. That is like saying, I have a 2 year old, and I know he’s not as developed as a teenager, but I’ve chosen to let him become one. But, if anyone else out there has a 2 year old, and they don’t think they want to have to deal with a teenager, I think they should be able to choose to terminate their 2 year old so they don’t have to. (lack of definitive moral judgment/action facilitates the killing by other people, even though you don’t partake. What if someone was not just pro-choice but pro-abortion to the point that they DID think all embryos should be killed, and they were talking women into aborting at a near 100% success rate? Would you take issue with that?)

    There’s a huge difference to an unconscious person, and a “person” who never existed. The “person” who never existed is in your imagination. A person is a person persistently before and after being in a comatose state. The important part is that a person existed before they were in a comatose state. You have to separate the imaginary from what is real.

    Please define “person” vs. “human”. What is more imaginary than the idea that one must posses some non-tangible ball of thoughts and feelings beyond any sort of measurable quantitative value to be what you consider “person”? And to have this quality at only the points in life you designate, in a certain order! (not having this attribute before a point of inactivity disqualifies one from consideration, but having had this quality before that point of inactivity makes their killing impermissible. Why?

  • http://baronvonkorf.blogspot.com Baron Korf

    You people are strange.

    First, to claim that you own your bodies, that’s a hoot. Its as if you went out and provided the impetus for your development, saw to it tha the materials necessary were provided, and then assembled yourself. Beyond that the only claim you have is that you are ‘you’ at this moment, regardless of where ‘you’ came from.

    Second, that the developing person inside a woman is uninvited. With the exception of rape, all intercourse quite effectively invites him (or her) in. In fact that is how the vast majority of the 6B+ people alive today were invited into the womb. Reproduction, while not the only benefit of intercourse, is the primary biological function of the reproductive system. Did you miss that part of sex ed?

    Third, to assert that the ‘self-awareness’ is the metric by which someone is a person. So only someone who is self-aware can be harmed or offended. By that logic, no one can be offended by being murdered. They are assaulted, sure, but by the time they die (i.e. murdered) they are no longer self aware, so no ‘person’ was harmed. Only if you recognize something beyond their present condition can you claim that a person was murdered.

  • Aj

    Lynda,

    NOW you’re getting it! The point YOU picked is just as arbitrary as the point I picked in the person’s life cycle! They both have nothing to do with one’s legitimacy as a human being, because that is inherently a characteristic of someone being alive and human. If it’s not, ANYONE can pick some point they think “really matters” and say everyone isn’t really a person unless they have “x” quality, and exterminate at will! You might be getting it, finally…

    Your argument is ridiculous. I can’t tell you to value personhood over fertility, anymore than I can tell a sociopath, but that doesn’t make it arbitrary. Also following your own argument, you’re arbitrarily picking human life as having the right to life. Why not pick plants? Also, are you saying if we found intelligent aliens that you’d exterminate them at will, or if we developed articificial intelligence to think and feel you would exterminate them at will? And what’s with all this exterminating at will, you think because something doesn’t have the right to life they should be killed? That just doesn’t follow. I know you people have a problem with logic but this is taking it to a new level.

    Saying that an embryo is not a person with the right to life IS the same, because it’s giving your express consent (not even encouragement, you’re just condoning the behavior) for other people to kill them.

    Consent (accept) is not the same as advocating (recommend). If you don’t realize this then your grasp of English is not sufficient to have this conversation.

    That is like saying, I have a 2 year old, and I know he’s not as developed as a teenager, but I’ve chosen to let him become one. But, if anyone else out there has a 2 year old, and they don’t think they want to have to deal with a teenager, I think they should be able to choose to terminate their 2 year old so they don’t have to.

    It is like that, apart from in your example you’re talking about a person, and a person isn’t aborted, a person is persistent i.e. the two year old is the teenager.

    What if someone was not just pro-choice but pro-abortion to the point that they DID think all embryos should be killed, and they were talking women into aborting at a near 100% success rate? Would you take issue with that?

    I would take “issue” with it.

    Please define “person” vs. “human”. What is more imaginary than the idea that one must posses some non-tangible ball of thoughts and feelings beyond any sort of measurable quantitative value to be what you consider “person”?

    A person is conscious, reasoning, self-motivated, self-aware, and has the ability to communicate. You can measure all those accept consciousness, which isn’t defined but experienced by all persons including you (although since you think its “imaginary” perhaps you’re some sort of non-conscious AI).

    And to have this quality at only the points in life you designate, in a certain order! (not having this attribute before a point of inactivity disqualifies one from consideration, but having had this quality before that point of inactivity makes their killing impermissible. Why?

    A person can plan for the future, and a person is persistent. A person is still the same person before and after being in a comatose state. A person didn’t cease to be while in a comatose state. A person can fear death, can wish to remain alive, a non-person cannot do this.

  • God is real

    oh man…this is a trip. I like how im a “troll” because I think that if you are mature enoough to have sex, then you should be mature enough to deal with the natural consequence of pregnancy without killing the unborn child.

    I also find it highly ironic, that you are only a “freethinker” if you think like every other athiest who denies God

    To those who say no human life is taken…what type of life is the growing and developing human fetus? Alien?

  • Joe

    How about this.
    A “person” is only our perception of a physical body with the attributes that you arbitrarily use to define personhood. Therefore if the personhood of a fetus is defined by your standards, then it is not in fact a person and you are right. If my perception of a fetus as a person is defined by other attributes I am right.
    Let’s stop talking about “logic” and realize that “personhood” is defined by a subjective legal definition, not a scientific one. The fact is that the “scientific” tests that you claim define personhood are in fact subjective as well. I say “scientific” because you are kidding yourself if you think that there is really an objective quantitative scale to measure consciousness, reasoning, self-motivation, self-awareness, and the ability to communicate. I do realize that psychogical tests may measure these things but I challenge you to find an unbiased professional that will claim to be able to define absolutely the point at which life (or death for that matter) occurs and also make the claim that the tests for the attributes you mentioned are absolutely subjective.
    The fact is we all have different subjective perceptions of what defines a person. I think that erring on the side of caution is the better choice than claiming that an underdeveloped human is not in fact a person.
    Now a question to anyone. What you would say, if tomorrow a scientific discovery claimed that personhood in fact begins at the point of conception and we couldn’t prove it until now because we just developed instruments that can in fact measure personhood.

  • God is real

    The fetus is human…i dont think anyone can deny that. So how is killing a fetus not taking destroying human life? Beyond made up definitions of “personhood”

  • Joe

    I agree. I have no argument about fetuses being humans.
    I was trying to make the point that arguing that abortion does not kill a person (which is apparently different than a human…) and is therefore not something that should be considered inappropriate at the very least, is a leap of faith. Faith that ANY definition of personhood is absolutely correct and can be used to justify the elimination of a fetus because it is not a person.

  • God is real

    gotcha Joe…my fault for misreading. I agree wholeheartedly

    also…interesting tidbit i came across

    “Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”

    “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo).”

    Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th? ed. PA: Saunders, 2003. pp. 16, 2.

    I just cant wrap my head around the notion human beings should be killed for the sake of convienence.

  • Joe

    I would also like to make the point that I use birth control, but it would be hubris to believe that any form of contraception can absolutely stop a process that has been ongoing for all of recorded history. In my mind it boils down to one thing – take responsibility for your actions.
    Also, I saw this statistic earlier – 1 in 3 women has an abortion in their life time… I would really like to know where that came from and how this was defined. Irresponsible or intentional misuse of statistics is a real pet peeve of mine, and this one stinks of it.

  • Nerdette

    @ Baron Korf

    First, to claim that you own your bodies, that’s a hoot. Its as if you went out and provided the impetus for your development, saw to it tha the materials necessary were provided, and then assembled yourself. Beyond that the only claim you have is that you are ‘you’ at this moment, regardless of where ‘you’ came from.

    If we are not masters of ourselves, than who is? Your god? Drat, and I was so loving that free will bit, too. Society? Perhaps – I must deal with the consequences of being born in a midwest state, and while that had environmental influences on who I am today, but it doesn’t change the fact that I have control over how those influences affect me. None of that changes the fact that had I not been born, I wouldn’t be around to care that I hadn’t been born!

    Second, that the developing person inside a woman is uninvited. With the exception of rape, all intercourse quite effectively invites him (or her) in. In fact that is how the vast majority of the 6B+ people alive today were invited into the womb. Reproduction, while not the only benefit of intercourse, is the primary biological function of the reproductive system. Did you miss that part of sex ed?

    Unprotected sex causes babies?! OMGNOWAI. Too bad there isn’t a sensible solution that remedies that. Hint: Celibacy isn’t one.

    Third, to assert that the ’self-awareness’ is the metric by which someone is a person. So only someone who is self-aware can be harmed or offended. By that logic, no one can be offended by being murdered. They are assaulted, sure, but by the time they die (i.e. murdered) they are no longer self aware, so no ‘person’ was harmed. Only if you recognize something beyond their present condition can you claim that a person was murdered.

    Actually, someone *was* (as in, the past tense) offended by the act of being murdered. They are (present tense) no longer offended because they are dead and gone. Their family and friends may be offended by action and the loss of the individual, but the murdered person is gone and painless once the brain has stopped functioning. You can’t offend a body that does not react (physically, mentally, or emotionally) to an offense, hence, a little bundle of cells that has no moral standing cannot be offended.

    On a side note, I am genuinely surprised this article has not been linked: http://www.amirrorclear.net/academic/papers/scourge.pdf

    “The Scourge: Moral Implications of Natural Embryo Loss”

    If you are in for penny, you are in for the pound!

  • Nerdette

    My turn to go at godisreal

    also…interesting tidbit i came across

    “Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete or sperm unites with a female gamete or oocyte (ovum) to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marked the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”

    “A zygote is the beginning of a new human being (i.e., an embryo).”

    Moore, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 7th? ed. PA: Saunders, 2003. pp. 16, 2.

    I just cant wrap my head around the notion human beings should be killed for the sake of convienence.

    Yes, human development starts at conception, and a zygote is the beginning of a human being. And that development starts with a human egg and an human sperm, so those are also equally as important for human development. They must have a way of meeting, so vaginal tracts and penises are sacred and must be protected. It’s turtles all the way down!

    Out of curiosity, do you also cut your hair before it has grown to a length you dislike? You must, since you consider that deplorable hair length the same as its roots and time it takes to get there.

  • Joe

    No one said anything about celibacy (except you) and no one is saying not to use contraception, only that there are consequences for every action that one takes and when you know what those consequences are you are then expected to take responsibility for them even if 99% of the time it is “safe”. It is simple cause and effect.

    Second. The point is that a zygote, once formed has EVERYTHING that is genetically needed to be considered a human. Sperm and eggs individually do not. Do you base your pro-choice argument on science or an opinion?

  • God is real

    @nerdette, im not even sure what you are asking me. What i gave you shows that a human beings life begins at conception. Destroying it at any stage after conception is destroying a human being. I work with a woman who is pregnant, and at 6 weeks her baby had a heartbeat.

    If i cut my hair before it grows to a length i dislike, that doesnt mean that the hair that falls from the blade “isnt really hair”

  • http://www.millicentandcarlafran.wordpress.com Millicent

    Hi Angie,

    Thanks for doing this. Word on the slippery slope argument getting out of hand.

    Two quick remarks to the louder commenters here: Folks, rape isn’t the point. Let’s stop arguing statistics. The point is that you, a person, have the right to decide whether or not to go through a life-altering procedure (whether that procedure is pregnancy or abortion is your call).

    To the responsibility advocates: you’re disproportionately interested in enforcing your stated principle in situations where women bear all the physical consequences. (As a local instance of this, count how many on this thread are asking why she didn’t get a tubal ligation; compare that to how many asked why her husband didn’t have a vasectomy—a cheaper and far less risky procedure).

    Sure, actions have consequences. And yet, if you’re a smoker and discover a tumor (a cluster of cells that will develop and grow unless interfered with), no one will cite your “irresponsible behavior” as a reason for refusing you the right to have that tumor removed.

    Angie, thanks for making this process public. Philosophical issues aside, it’s hard for women thinking about it to find out what a chemical abortion is actually like. *That*–to my mind–is what’s most important about this piece. Anyone thinking about this is drowning is misinformation and spin, so to have an account of what physically happens is crucially important. It is emphatically, absolutely not “TMI”.

    So, Angie, to add another voice to the intelligent and respectful majority on this thread, most of whom think human beings deserve to exert reasonable agency over their bodies, regardless of their gender: thanks.

  • Emily

    @ Cathy

    Again, you said my beliefs are ridiculous. That it condescending. There is a difference between, I don’t agree with you and being rude and intolerant. Mocking is like resorting to the lowest base. It is when you’ve run out of intelligent arguments. I didn’t MOCK your mocking, I said I was dismayed by your mocking.

    I personally do not believe in the gods of Hinduism, but I find it fascinating to study and would never say, hey well that’s stupid of you to believe in Krishna.

    I never once said anything negative about being atheist. In fact, the entire time my stance is that it is your choice, not mine. I do not agree with atheism, but you have your reasons and that’s your right!

    Every group has zealots and crazies. I didn’t specify that ONLY atheists do, there are plenty of crazy religious people, obviously!

    It is this I AM RIGHT, YOU ARE WRONG stance that gets neither group anywhere. You saying you love your grandmother despite her being Catholic is strange. What someone believes should not determine how you feel about them UNLESS it is detrimental to the safety and rights of others.

    My beliefs do not infringe on your life. The Klan is a horrible example (and thankfully not in my country). They are USING religious as an excuse to be horrible, racist, disgusting people. Usually when religion is invoked for a reason of hatred and war, it is not the religion, it is the abuse of a religion to engage in behaviour that is based in hatred, economic or territorial gains, and having power over other groups.

    So no, don’t try to lump me in with the ‘I was mocking you’ category because I certainly was not. I felt your lack of respect alarming as I’ve always respected people with different beliefs. You are basically saying “I only respect atheists”. Which is bizarre. The world is made up of many beliefs, attitudes, political alignments, and philosophies, we are not meant to be a homogenous, boring collective group.

  • God is real

    “human beings deserve to exert reasonable agency over their bodies”

    A finger is “your own body” A human being with developing systems of its own is not “your own body” Neither is it some uninvited guest that a person has no control over how it got there.

  • Nerdette

    @ Godisreal

    Ah, then we get into the semantics of life. If we are to say that all human cells are human life, then the human tongue is human life. Skin is human life. The cells sloughed off during urination is human life.

    Or you could use the definition of life as the interactions of a reacting individual with other reacting individuals, the actions they produce and the reactions instilled in others by their actions.

    The former are destroyed in an abortion – the latter is not.

    My point is you are equating the development of an end product with the end product itself. It doesn’t balance. The hair you cut is hair that exists – hair that doesn’t exist, only the potential for it, cannot be cut.

    @ Joe

    Many have people have spoken about celibacy. You have already argued your case of regarding cause and effect, and it doesn’t need to be reiterated. It is the responsibility that you speak of that is debatable – many instances the responsible course of action is to have an abortion.

    But like I said above, the dead skin on your heel has everything needed to be considered genetically human, but do you equate that with a human being? This, of course gets into the the human being/person argument already instigated above. Do you base your arguments on select facts?

  • God is real

    @ nerdette this has nothing at all to do with semantics of life, its a scientific fact that a zygote is alive. If it wasnt alive there would be no need to kill it.

  • Nerdette

    @ Godisreal

    Then why are you not out championing for the lives of all those poor skin cells killed off during a day at the beach?

  • God is real

    “If we are to say that all human cells are human life, then the human tongue is human life.”

    No, bad analogy… a human is still alive if you removed thier toungue. What human being gets a chance to live after the abortion? (and i am fully aware that some fetuses survive abortion, in which cases they are promptly killed)

  • God is real

    “Then why are you not out championing for the lives of all those poor skin cells killed off during a day at the beach?”

    As i just explained, skin cells falling off does not kill the human being

  • Nerdette

    Then you are not sticking to the same definition of life, are you?

  • God is real

    Im not sure where you see a different definition of life….a zygote is human life, skin cells are part of the organism. A skin cell on its own is not a devloping human, merely part of a whole

  • http://sluthaditcoming.tumblr.com Otakugirl

    @Godisreal:

    “its a scientific fact that a zygote is alive. If it wasnt alive there would be no need to kill it.”

    The first rule of tautology club is the first rule of tautology club.

  • Joe

    I won’t argue the responsibility issue, because this is not based on fact, but opinion. I will respect yours and simply say that there are very few instances that I believe abortion is the responsible choice.
    As far as the hair argument, you’re right. The potential is the point, but you take it too far when you ask if we are then going to punish the loss of individual sperm and eggs. The union of these two creates the potential for a human life and our society holds human life in the highest regard. So, why is the reasonable potential for human life undervalued?

    An embryo has everything needed to become a full human being. It is made up of stem cells that are self-differentiating and need no outside intervention to become a full human baby. So no, this is not the same thing as skin cells that have already differentiated and would never create a full human. And yes, this does go back to the personhood issue. I am not convinced that we have enough knowledge to say that a brain equals consciousness – a concept that we barely understand. I prefer to take the cautious approach.
    As a scientist and a person who believes in God I do believe that consciousness is a miracle and anything less is to severely undervalue it.

  • http://www.millicentandcarlafran.wordpress.com Millicent

    Angie: thanks again for what you’ve done here, and take care.

    To that amiable crankpot, God is real: cognitive dissonance is not your friend. See, you can’t name yourself after a faith-based assertion, then expect to be taken seriously when you give logic a shot. It’s okay (and I mean that). It’s not your weapon. Abandon the forays into science. Own your faith–it’s its own power and it’s what you’re bringing to the table. But realize that you’re starting from a different set of starting premises and give up the syllogistic work. (Or, if you’re absolutely set on the thing, at least have the decency to improve. Reread your Augustine.)

    Fallacies are fun, though, if you feel like playing. For example! A finger is not actually “your own body,” unless you speak in metonyms. It is a finger. Unless you are a finger puppet, in which case, God help you. (And I’m sure He does.)

    Over and out,
    M

  • God is real

    @ millicent

    I know this is not on topic, but since you felt the need to ignore what i said and talk about soomething else, I will as well. Since it is so illogical to beleive in God, give me a logical explination of how the fist law of thermodynamics was violated when the universe was created.

    You claim that im “starting from a different set of starting premises” (which barely makes sense, but i think i understand you)

    Tell me, since this is somehow a foul practice, you should be open to the existence of God, since you have no “starting premises” of your own.

  • God is real

    “A finger is not actually “your own body,” unless you speak in metonyms. It is a finger.”

    You really need to explain that one…how is a finger not your own body?

  • Joe

    @ Millicent

    Logic is always changing based on new scientific discovery and new philosophy. Facts are only our best understanding of an ever changing world based on limited observations. Philosophy is simply consciousness attempting to describe itself. So, really what does it boil down to? Current opinion.

    We are here debating and by telling someone that you won’t listen because of their point of view, you lose your position in the debate, not the other way around. That’s logic.

    Again I will ask, what if there was a scientific discovery tomorrow that proved that a zygote becomes conscious at the moment of conception? Would you accept it?

  • VelvetStaccato

    I commend her for her bravery when having to make such a difficult decision. I had to make the same decision recently (and I’m married) but the state of our marriage is in complete shambles (we can barely stand the sight of one another and our attempts at faux-friendly conversations for the sake of our son are still barely more than polite grunts)! The thought of bringing another child into a world devoid of mutual respect and love would be selfish and cruel but we found ourselves there and I KNOW I’ve made the right decision. Make no mistake: he’s a great father to our son; the best, but the “we” in the romantic, “should be married” stage of our relationship is over. It feels over every second of every day that I spend with him (and vice versa, I’m sure). And like the writer pointed out, even through my own guilt, I do know that having siblings don’t guarantee life-long happiness. I’m one of 8 children and as adults, I am only close to two of them. (I don’t even have a clue where my oldest brother is; sad, I know but not unrealistic nor even painful at this point.) Great article although a tad bit cringe-worthy at times but sometimes it takes being made uncomfortable to understand one’s perspective!!

  • Village

    I had an abortion in the 70′s right after it became legal. At that time, a woman was put to sleep for the procedure, which is more dangerous than the abortion. A woman had died in my city the week before from being too sedated, and I was afraid I wouldn’t wake up.

    I was sexually active before abortion was legal, and that was one scary feeling. Had I gotten pregnant, I couldn’t have finished college, or pursued my career. Unmarried pregnant women were ostracized.

    We’ve come a long way. ‘I don’t want to have a baby’ is enough reason. No more is needed. Don’t let a patriarchal society ever tell you any different.

  • Angie

    (Note: I am not the Angie who wrote this blog post. I’m a different Angie.)

    :: gawks at the computer screen ::

    Wow … 269 comments as of 9 p.m. on Wednesday. People from many sides of the abortion debate are clearly passionate about the subject. I’m eager to see how big this dialogue will grow.

  • http://fullofit.com Y. A. Fullofit

    For all your noble defense of a woman’s right to choose, you conveniently glaze over just as big an issue here: many abortions would not have to be “chosen” if more responsible sexual behavior was practiced by women and their male partners to begin with.

    Abortion is a woman’s right to choose. I personally believe that since immaculate conceptions are unlikely, it’s a choice women should make in full cooperation with the men who “helped” them concieve. And only if the man’s opinion on that choice is contrary to what the woman/mother-to-be wants, should she make the ultimate decision alone. The exceptions in my mind would be when the male “contributor” contributed via sexual assault or when the male contributor shows little or no interest in the possibilities: the eventual birth of a child, or abortion. Again, though, just my opinion.

    Regardless, to express pride and/or angst after the fact over carrying out your legal right to abort is to state the obvious (abortion is your right!) while negating your irresponsible behavior.

    No doubt it was a tough decision. But you dug that hole by not compelling your partner to use a condom.

  • Ian

    There is no doubt in my mind that abortions go against all things morally correct. No matter how small the baby may be, it is still a baby, and you are killing it. Okay, abortions are alright in circumstances such as rape where you have no choice over what happened to your body. But I expect that if you make the conscious willing decision to have sex, you are making the conscious willing decision to carry a baby and give birth to it. No matter how many risks accompany the decision to carry out the pregnancy are associated with it, it was after all your fault to have sex in the first place. If you do not want to have any more children and want to continually be sexually active, I would expect a surgery to remove the organs necessary for producing another human. Yeah, the pregnancy could end your life, but I guess you should have thought about that before you got stupid and had sex huh?

  • Nerdette

    @ Joe

    But the embryo cells may have all the materials, but it doesn’t have everything needed – it needs a womb. Now the arguments regarding a woman’s right to her body come into play, and those have already been repeated ad nauseum above. However, when you comment on valuing the potential for human life, once it again, it goes back to the turtles – where do we stop? The zygote cannot be without the fusion of eggs and sperm. The meeting of the gametes typically does not occur without a sex act. The zygotes survival depends on environmental factors that can be made favorable. The zygote can only form when the egg is ready, and its potential for forming is lost every month in a healthy woman. How can you value one part of that potential for human life over all the others before it? I highly recommend you read the article I posted a couple of posts up regarding ethics of human embryos. It is right up your alley.

    Classifying stem cells as special doesn’t make the case any different. Every cell has the materials – just because the genes are not activated in that cell does not mean they do not exist – to make a human being.

    As for your brain and consciousness bit, I think you would be hard pressed to prove otherwise. I’m aware the Romans believed their consciousness originated in the stomach, and I’ve heard peers state that they’ve practiced “jumping” the center of their mind to other part of the body, but what with all sorts of testing revealing the brains reactions to stimuli, etc, and no other organ reacting similarly… well, you have a big mound of evidence not in your favor.

  • Kitson Harvey

    You go, Angie! This is such a wonderful thing you’re doing, sharing your experience. There was a brief moment in the late 90s when women all over the country were encouraged to do what you’re doing. I told my own story to my girlfriends, but I never had the incredible public platform you’ve created for yourself. Thank you so much for speaking out.

  • Aj

    Joe,

    Let’s stop talking about “logic” and realize that “personhood” is defined by a subjective legal definition, not a scientific one. The fact is that the “scientific” tests that you claim define personhood are in fact subjective as well. I say “scientific” because you are kidding yourself if you think that there is really an objective quantitative scale to measure consciousness, reasoning, self-motivation, self-awareness, and the ability to communicate. I do realize that psychogical tests may measure these things but I challenge you to find an unbiased professional that will claim to be able to define absolutely the point at which life (or death for that matter) occurs and also make the claim that the tests for the attributes you mentioned are absolutely subjective.

    a) Of course it’s not quantitative, it’s qualitative data. It’s not subjective however, I don’t know where you get that idea. For instance, the mirror test for self-awareness is not subjective at all.

    b) i) There are many different definitions for life. As far as I’m concerned in biology life is an unbroken chain.

    ii) It makes absolutely no sense to categorize a fertilized egg as “life” but not the egg and sperm, also made of cells, also part of the chain.

    iii) Death, dealing with consciousness, has the same problems as personhood. Yet you don’t go around telling people not to be buried because of this or do you?

    I think that erring on the side of caution is the better choice than claiming that an underdeveloped human is not in fact a person.

    Argument from ignorance. Also, being “cautious” wouldn’t have anything to do with having beliefs about souls would it? Lets face it, believing that a blastocyst is a person is beyond cautious, it’s insane.

    Now a question to anyone. What you would say, if tomorrow a scientific discovery claimed that personhood in fact begins at the point of conception and we couldn’t prove it until now because we just developed instruments that can in fact measure personhood.

    If there was extraordinary evidence for this extraordinary claim, I’d accept it. A question hardly worth asking.

  • RachelB

    Angie, I saw your video on a feminist blog I frequent, and I just wanted to tell you thanks for braving YouTube and Twitter. May you recover quickly.

  • Pingback: I’ll just link this here. « Liminal Heresies

  • Joe

    @ Aj

    OK man, please stop blasting everyone and speak your beliefs and reasons for them if you’re got it all figured out. It’s easy to criticize without adding anything to the discussion.

    Yes, it is subjective, because the decision of what attributes define a person are chosen subjectively. Also, some animals can recognize themselves in a mirror, but they are not considered persons.

    My arguments are far from ignorant or insane. That is a major cop out that again let’s you criticize without adding anything relevant. As far as cautiousness goes – we’re working with information that is 70 years old at best. We have just scraped the surface as far as scientific knowledge about “life” goes, so in that light we are all ignorant. I say we consider the fact that previous ways of thinking worked well for the last several thousand years, so maybe with this extremely important issue we should slow down and think before going full bore into the brave new world.

    Also one of the key definitions of life: Life (cf. biota) is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have self-sustaining biological processes from those that do not. Explain to me again about comparing a fertilized egg to separate sperm and eggs.

    Finally, I’m not telling anyone to do anything. I’m just asking that they CONSIDER taking responsibility for their actions. In MY OPINION this does not include abortion except in extreme cases. When abortion is no longer treated as a serious, difficult decision, then there is no consideration taken.

    @ Nurdette

    We are having a reasonable debate, and I think that reasonable people with opposing views can find a meeting place that doesn’t go to extremes. Do you not agree that the fertilized egg is something much different and than separate sperm and eggs? Would you compare a zygote with skin cells in cell physiology discussion?
    Also the point about the Romans actually strengthens my first point. Consciousness is not measurable, so attributing it to one organ based on our current understanding may very well make us seem as so-called ignorant as the Romans in 50 years.

    “As for your brain and consciousness bit, I think you would be hard pressed to prove otherwise.”
    Please provide me with a link that provides scientific information dealing with the source of consciousness, it would make for good reading. If you have anything about mind-body research I would also be interested.

    Finally, to one of your earlier comments that a fetus needs a womb to survive – does this mean that we cease to be people outside of an earth-like atmosphere that we need to surbive? The Earth and the environment we live in could be considered an extended womb. I can see this going to “but the fetus imposes on the rights of the mother”. So do people who pollute the Earth impose on the rights of everyone else who shares the Earth? What implication does this have for how they are allowed to be dealt with? But now I’m going off the deep end.

    Also I read the article and it kind of misses the point and simplifies “The Claim”. This is like saying all people who argue that abortion should be a last resort all believe it for the same reason. The author also says that most people who read the Conclusion will dismiss it for being preposterous. Is this common in ethics papers? It seems to me that the author is weakening his argument before it is even made. Also, when you say something like that it is a self-fulfilling prophesy and a sly way of dismissing anyone who disagrees. I get the point that author is making, but surprise, I disagree. He misses the point that the issue is people are making the choice to abort after the time when 90% of the fetuses will survive.

    Good debate let’s keep it going.

  • Marlyss

    Wow. Angie, thanks for being so brave and vocal about your experience!

  • eurotiales

    Thank you for sharing this with us. We need more truth – more truth about abortion, about miscarriage, about pregnancy and birth. We need more information, in short. So thanks for braving all the judgement and threats to reach the rest of us.

  • Noel

    Abortion will never be demystified nor should it. Your choice is your own and as much as you want to proselytize it the rhetoric you use against theists is just as ridiculous as the rhetoric many use against you.

    Cells are splitting, forming, molding into chains of great information within her womb. Human life is there whether you want it or you don’t want it. Don’t take away from the sadness appropriate for the death of an unborn child because your case may or may not be unique.

    God doesn’t care about what we wish were true. Truth WILL be revealed and whatever you or I believe will take a back seat. Willful ignorace will prove to be a poor shelter for Theists and Atheists alike. But I’m just paraphrasing scripture. Good luck.

  • attack_laurel

    I want to tell you how much I love you for being willing to open up at what should be a completely private moment. If we could shield you from the haters at Twitter and YouTube, we would. You rock.

  • Aj

    Joe,

    Yes, it is subjective, because the decision of what attributes define a person are chosen subjectively.

    That’s not what you were writing about. I’m not talking about some legal status, all definitions are subjective, but once you define what something is, it isn’t relative, it’s no longer subjective.

    Also, some animals can recognize themselves in a mirror, but they are not considered persons.

    Perhaps some of them should, if they have other aspects of personhood. They’d be more worthy than things that have no aspects of personhood.

    We have just scraped the surface as far as scientific knowledge about “life” goes, so in that light we are all ignorant.

    That’s an argument from ignorance… I don’t see how a logical fallacy can be more clear, since you’re not being subtle with it at all.

    I say we consider the fact that previous ways of thinking worked well for the last several thousand years, so maybe with this extremely important issue we should slow down and think before going full bore into the brave new world.

    a) This is an appeal to authority.
    b) Previous ways of thinking included slavery, capital punishment, superstition, and a host of other bullshit.
    c) Abortion actually has a long history that can be traced back to ancient times.

    I think you need to check your facts.

    Also one of the key definitions of life: Life (cf. biota) is a characteristic that distinguishes objects that have self-sustaining biological processes from those that do not. Explain to me again about comparing a fertilized egg to separate sperm and eggs.

    They are not life in and of themselves, as they are not organisms, but they are a part of at least three organisms, cells that make it possible for two organisms to reproduce to make one or more. They are a part of a synthesis of life.

    Finally, I’m not telling anyone to do anything. I’m just asking that they CONSIDER taking responsibility for their actions. In MY OPINION this does not include abortion except in extreme cases. When abortion is no longer treated as a serious, difficult decision, then there is no consideration taken.

    Would you tell someone who foolishly had their hand chopped off to not reattach it, and to take responsibility? No, because it’s not about responsibility at all for you. Tell us your real reasons for why you think abortions are serious and difficult decisions.

  • Lynda

    Would you tell someone who foolishly had their hand chopped off to not reattach it, and to take responsibility? No, because it’s not about responsibility at all for you. Tell us your real reasons for why you think abortions are serious and difficult decisions.

    I’m sorry, what naturally occurring bodily function causes one’s hand to fall off again? I don’t think I’m familiar with it. Oh, and at what point does this process ALSO cause another human’s growth and development cycle to begin starting a new life which then is ended in the procedure to restore this hand? Oh, you mean this is a faulty analogy because you’re missing the entire objection of every pro-lifer because we actually DON’T care what other people do with THEIR bodies, we just want to stop the destruction of the OTHER body harmed in an abortion? Of course it is. When have you guys ever said anything relevant?

  • http://baronvonkorf.blogspot.com Baron Korf

    @Nerdette
    If you want to get technical, yes God owns everything since He made everything from nothing, but that wasn’t the point of the exercise. You cannot claim ownership of your body on any grounds except for the fact that you are you. In order for the claim to be sovereign and inviolate, there needs to be something important about an individual that follows them from the whole of their life.

    Second, as we have seen here that even protected sex leads to babies. The point there, that you didn’t address, is that they are not unwanted invaders or parasites, but someone brought there by the two consenting partners. Last I checked, pregnancy comes only from a very specific situation.

    And the third point you completely botched. You cannot be offended by a future event. So no person is ever murdered because, but the logic exhibited on this thread, people are only what they are and have been, not what they will be.

    Now if we view this assertion as incorrect, then that bundle of cells, unique in genetic signature to either parent, has as much right as any other human being. This is because, while it might not have an aware mind now, it will develop one without the interference of anyone else. You are no more in the future than a embryo is. You experience the present, remember the past, but you do not yet exist in the future since it has not yet happened. But we know from physical science that people do not just cease to exist at any given moment, that they continue on from point to point in time unless interrupted. Thereby that human, albeit at the earliest stage of active development, is progressing in time like the rest of us. If anything he, or she (already determined at that point), is more alive because the rate at which he, or she, is growing.

  • Aj

    Lynda,

    I’m sorry, what naturally occurring bodily function causes one’s hand to fall off again? I don’t think I’m familiar with it.

    I don’t see why it has to be a bodily function or how I suggested that it was. You only care about taking responsibility for bodily functions? Fine. So if you ate something and it causes you to vomit, you shouldn’t take some medication that would help? People with severe afterpains shouldn’t suppress lactation?

    Oh, and at what point does this process ALSO cause another human’s growth and development cycle to begin starting a new life which then is ended in the procedure to restore this hand? Oh, you mean this is a faulty analogy because you’re missing the entire objection of every pro-lifer because we actually DON’T care what other people do with THEIR bodies, we just want to stop the destruction of the OTHER body harmed in an abortion? Of course it is.

    Exactly, it’s not about responsibility at all. Thanks for openly admitting it. Look at how many people talk about responsibility and accepting the consequences of sex in the comments. I’m well aware that the real reason is that people feel embryos have the right to life, usually based on irrational reasons like souls, inherent value of “human life”, or potential.

  • Heather

    Thanks, Angie (and Hemant)! So glad this is being posted and shared.

  • http://paladinforchrist.blogspot.com/ Paladin

    Aj wrote, in reply to Lynda:

    [Linda]
    Please define “person” vs. “human”.

    [Aj]
    A person is conscious, reasoning, self-motivated, self-aware, and has the ability to communicate.

    Forgive me for intruding on the conversation, but: surely you realize that these are your raw opinions, and not objective facts? Take a look at the qualifiactions you listed:

    “conscious”: If that is necessary for personhood, then it would stand to reason that all unconscious humans are non-persons; correct? This includes anyone who’s currently asleep, or under anaesthesia, etc.; and I do wonder what you’d think of those whose consciousness isn’t communicated in normal ways, such as those with severe autism, etc.

    “reasoning”: if necessary for personhood, then infants, young toddlers, and any human who’s incapable of demonstrating (to a supposedly disinterested third-party observer, apparently) the ability to “reason” would be a non-person; true?

    “self-motivated” is too ambiguous a term for me to address; could you clarify what you mean?

    “self-aware”: again, this would imply consciousness, would it not? See above.

    “has the ability to communicate”: this would “depersonalize” anyone who’s not conscious, along with anyone who fails to meet your standards of “recognizable communication ability”, right? Some persons may not be able to do that (see: http://www.rense.com/general44/vege.htm ). And would this allow you to “depersonalize” babies who are blind and deaf?

  • Joe

    @ Aj

    “all definitions are subjective, but once you define what something is, it isn’t relative, it’s no longer subjective.”
    -You contradicted yourself. Just because it is defined by a group instead of an individual does not make it objective. Even so, you mean to say that a definition based on subjective information is objective? How?

    “Perhaps some of them should, if they have other aspects of personhood. They’d be more worthy than things that have no aspects of personhood.”
    -I’m not gonna touch that one.

    “Previous ways of thinking included slavery, capital punishment, superstition, and a host of other bullshit.”
    -Sounds like the evening news. Why is this argument never deemed valid and the focus is immediately shifted to all the horrible things that have happened throughout history. Realize that people will always focus on the negative, just like the news, because it is more interesting and memorable than what was going well for all of history. Do you really believe that we have things so much more right than in any other time in history? If so tell me why is it we can’t seem to figure out how to live in balance with the natural processes of the world? Or why we can’t completely control them without destroying something else – as an example not being able to stop pregnancy %100 without completely destroying our reproductive systems.

    I am not ignorant, so please give it a break. I do genomic, biochemical, and microbiological research for a living. I read through the scientific literature every day and there are 1000′s times as many questions as answers. For every answer, there are two more that are different. Sorry if you misinterpreted ignorant for complete and utter lack of knowledge before. This was not the context that it was used. By ignorant I meant lacking a comprehensive knowledge. So again, in that light we are all ignorant and it is not a logical fallacy.

    Please explain how “They are a part of a synthesis of life.” is the same thing as being alive.

    “Abortion actually has a long history that can be traced back to ancient times.”
    -As I said I’m cautious, so show me compelling evidence that it was accepted practice. Not speculation or hypothesis, but actual recorded history, if you give me “facts” I will concede this point.

    Lastly, I do believe in that “irrational” thing called a soul. And you believe in personhood, maybe even of animals. Please describe the difference ignoring the fact that the soul is eternal and focusing just on the part where people are alive.

  • Lynda

    …focusing just on the part where people are alive.

    You mean “where people are conscious”. Fetal humans exhibit signs of life pre-birth. Personally, I don’t see why just a.) being human and b.) being alive aren’t enough. Anything else seems to be opening the door for some bad situations.

  • Joe

    @ Lynda
    Yeah, you are right, I did mean conscious for the purposes of the debate. As I understand it the argument for aborting fetuses is that they are not a person until they are conscious and they are not conscious until the brain develops. I do not agree, but I’m attempting to debate based on that premise.

    You are right about being alive and human though. That should be enough. When you you start talking about consciousness, then it becomes really muddy because consciousness cannot be defined objectively. This is why we have gone through the debate about the zygote being alive, or having life, while the sperm and egg cells are not living. And also why we discussed the inability to measure consciousness.

  • Aj

    Paladin,

    “conscious”: If that is necessary for personhood, then it would stand to reason that all unconscious humans are non-persons; correct?

    Personhood is not intermittent (unlike consciousness), personhood is persistent until these qualities are lost permanently. It’s a necessary quality, but a person doesn’t have to be it all the time. Some birds stand on the ground, but that doesn’t necessarily make them flightless birds.

    “reasoning”: if necessary for personhood, then infants, young toddlers, and any human who’s incapable of demonstrating (to a supposedly disinterested third-party observer, apparently) the ability to “reason” would be a non-person; true?

    True.

    “self-motivated” is too ambiguous a term for me to address; could you clarify what you mean?

    Acting other than through instinct or direct external control. I guess planning would a combination of reasoning and self-motivation.

    “self-aware”: again, this would imply consciousness, would it not? See above.

    It would.

    “has the ability to communicate”: this would “depersonalize” anyone who’s not conscious, along with anyone who fails to meet your standards of “recognizable communication ability”, right? Some persons may not be able to do that (see: http://www.rense.com/general44/vege.htm ). And would this allow you to “depersonalize” babies who are blind and deaf?

    I take it from that link you’re some kind of right wing Christian? If so, apparently I’m just like you.

    Firstly, the title “She Recovered From A Persistent Vegetative State” is wrong, and predictably so is Bill O’Reilly, the woman was not a vegetative state, she was locked in which is something entirely different. The woman seems to have an agenda, because she appears to be claiming to know that someone who was almost certainly in a persistent vegetative state is aware, I don’t know how, perhaps telepathically.

    As for your question, I’m pretty sure deaf-blindness doesn’t stop people from communicating. As for people locked in like your example, it’s an extreme case that needs a more specific definition of the ability communication than the vast majority of people. Likely to have the ability if no paralyzed, and had the ability, to communicate, I think is a sufficient but if I had to write all the qualifiers I probably wouldn’t write anything at all.

  • Joe

    @ Aj

    Out of curiousity, what is the reasoning behind your position?
    Is it wrong to take a person’s life, but not to end human life with no personhood?
    When does personhood start?

  • http://paladinforchrist.blogspot.com/ Paladin

    Aj wrote, in reply to my comment:

    [Paladin]
    “conscious”: If that is necessary for personhood, then it would stand to reason that all unconscious humans are non-persons; correct?

    [Aj]
    Personhood is not intermittent (unlike consciousness), personhood is persistent until these qualities are lost permanently.

    Ah. Then you meant something like “the enduring capacity/potential for consciousness”, correct? I’ll comment on the content, in a bit; but I want to get your position quite clear, first.

    [Paladin]
    “reasoning”: if necessary for personhood, then infants, young toddlers, and any human who’s incapable of demonstrating (to a supposedly disinterested third-party observer, apparently) the ability to “reason” would be a non-person; true?

    [Aj]
    True.

    (??) Just to be clear: you consider infants, young toddlers, etc., to be non-persons? More specifically, you think it’s morally licit to kill them at will?

    [Paladin]
    “self-motivated” is too ambiguous a term for me to address; could you clarify what you mean?

    [Aj]
    Acting other than through instinct or direct external control. I guess planning would a combination of reasoning and self-motivation.

    All right… but this strikes me as rife with subjectivity; how would you ever demonstrate “self-motivation” (as opposed to “mere instinct”, etc.)?

    [Paladin]
    “has the ability to communicate”: this would “depersonalize” anyone who’s not conscious, along with anyone who fails to meet your standards of “recognizable communication ability”, right? Some persons may not be able to do that (see: http://www.rense.com/general44/vege.htm ). And would this allow you to “depersonalize” babies who are blind and deaf?

    [Aj]
    I take it from that link you’re some kind of right wing Christian?

    You take an inaccurate supposition, I’m afraid. I’m certainly a Christian (albeit a sinful and fallible one)… but “right-wing” is a political term (and not a religious one)… for which I have no use whatsoever. Some of my views would be seen by the politically-minded as “conservative” (e.g. opposition to abortion in all cases), and some of my views would be seen as “liberal” (e.g. opposition to the death penalty).

    If so, apparently I’m just like you.

    (??) Do tell?

    Firstly, the title “She Recovered From A Persistent Vegetative State” is wrong, and predictably so is Bill O’Reilly, the woman was not a vegetative state, she was locked in which is something entirely different.

    Well… surely you know that her “locked-in” state was the only requirement for my example, and that any fastidious hair-splitting about the definition of the subjective term “persistent vegetative state” is beside the point? (And I do not take Mr. O’Reilly’s word for anything; I linked to the woman’s own testimony–which I saw on video, and which I’m convinced wasn’t just an elaborate hoax.)

    The woman seems to have an agenda, because she appears to be claiming to know that someone who was almost certainly in a persistent vegetative state is aware, I don’t know how, perhaps telepathically.

    Um… did you miss the main point of the interview, which dealt with her own example (above and beyond her guesses about Terri Schiavo)? Surely you consider her “claims to know” what was happening in her own case to be accurate? The old philosophy axiom, “That which has happened, is therefore possible,” applies here, I think… which sufficiently demonstrates my point: that your “persons are those who can communicate” standard is far too subjective to be of any practical use.

    As for your question, I’m pretty sure deaf-blindness doesn’t stop people from communicating.

    No? Not even infants and toddlers, who haven’t had the “Helen Keller-esque” training to be able to do so?

    As for people locked in like your example, it’s an extreme case that needs a more specific definition of the ability communication than the vast majority of people.

    The fact that it’s extreme doesn’t help your definition, I’m afraid; if your definition allows “locked-in” persons to be killed at will–as a matter of course (and not simply the occasional mistake), then it’s morally inadequate.

    Likely to have the ability if no paralyzed, and had the ability, to communicate,

    So you'd simply "write off" those who aren't able to do these things, with a shrug of your shoulders and a "sorry, nothing personal–we just need to be practical and expedient in our death decisions"?

  • Aj

    Joe,

    -You contradicted yourself. Just because it is defined by a group instead of an individual does not make it objective. Even so, you mean to say that a definition based on subjective information is objective? How?

    No, you did not comprehend. Something defined by a group or an individual can be objective. Definitions are subjective. The definition isn’t based on subjective information, the definition itself is subjective. You are switching from one to the other, it’s called equivocation. All definitions are subjective, but you can define objective things.

    Do you really believe that we have things so much more right than in any other time in history?

    Yes, I think great progress has been made morally, in knowledge, and technology. Others who believe in imaginary friends, might think ignorance, brutality, theocracy, and superstition were better.

    By ignorant I meant lacking a comprehensive knowledge. So again, in that light we are all ignorant and it is not a logical fallacy.

    I know what you meant and it certainly is a logical fallacy. To use ignorance to argue for something is an argument from ignorance. You say we do not know, so we must then take some course of action as if it’s more favorable in ignorance is not caution, it’s a logical fallacy. On top of that it’s incoherent, you couldn’t possibly live your life granting things with consciousness unless proven otherwise. Why not a plant, or even a rock? Oh, that’s right, you believe in an imaginary friend who grants souls to fertilized eggs.

    Please explain how “They are a part of a synthesis of life.” is the same thing as being alive.

    It’s a part of something that is alive. I didn’t say they were alive. I said they were a part of “life”. They are not organisms on their own.

    -As I said I’m cautious, so show me compelling evidence that it was accepted practice. Not speculation or hypothesis, but actual recorded history, if you give me “facts” I will concede this point.

    I can only find accounts and instructions, which was what I was suggesting. I didn’t realize that was what you were referring to. I don’t think they had opinion polls in the medieval period. How do you know what was accepted practice?

    Lastly, I do believe in that “irrational” thing called a soul. And you believe in personhood, maybe even of animals. Please describe the difference ignoring the fact that the soul is eternal and focusing just on the part where people are alive.

    Souls are granted by imaginary friends, who is based on myths created by ignorant desert tribes. Beliefs about them don’t have evidence supporting them, they are believed through wish thinking and appeals to authority. Souls are supernatural, a part of dualism, which does not explain how the brain interacts with the soul, and that adds unnecessary complexity to theory of mind. Is personality and memory part of the soul? If the brain is damaged these are changed.

  • Aj

    Paladin,

    Ah. Then you meant something like “the enduring capacity/potential for consciousness”, correct? I’ll comment on the content, in a bit; but I want to get your position quite clear, first.

    I wouldn’t use the word potential, but enduring capacity is probably accurate.

    (??) Just to be clear: you consider infants, young toddlers, etc., to be non-persons? More specifically, you think it’s morally licit to kill them at will?

    Yes, they are non-persons for the most part. Although perhaps not all of the attributes are necessary, if someone has all of them then they definitely are a person, if something has none of them they definitely are not. No, it would not be morally licit to kill them “at will”.

    All right… but this strikes me as rife with subjectivity; how would you ever demonstrate “self-motivation” (as opposed to “mere instinct”, etc.)?

    I think the delay test would separate mere instinct from conscious action.

    Um… did you miss the main point of the interview, which dealt with her own example (above and beyond her guesses about Terri Schiavo)? Surely you consider her “claims to know” what was happening in her own case to be accurate? The old philosophy axiom, “That which has happened, is therefore possible,” applies here, I think… which sufficiently demonstrates my point: that your “persons are those who can communicate” standard is far too subjective to be of any practical use.

    It’s not subjective, it’s just not always possible to diagnose, and sometimes there are mistakes in the specific case of locked in syndrome. Death also has this problem, it’s not far too subjective to be of any practical use. I don’t know of any reliable statistics on locked in syndrome, do you? Hopefully we do our best with the information we have, and we know there are people looking into improving diagnosis with advancements in knowledge and technology.

    No? Not even infants and toddlers, who haven’t had the “Helen Keller-esque” training to be able to do so?

    If you deny an infant access to communication, regardless of their senses, they don’t spontaneously develop language. I think the ability to acquire communication is sufficient. I think my use of the word “ability” is regrettably confusing you, although I cannot think of a better word, you are not understanding my meaning.

    The fact that it’s extreme doesn’t help your definition, I’m afraid; if your definition allows “locked-in” persons to be killed at will–as a matter of course (and not simply the occasional mistake), then it’s morally inadequate.

    It’s not descriptively sufficient, although practically nothing written about such complex issues is, especially not in this kind of environment, written this quickly.

    So you’d simply “write off” those who aren’t able to do these things, with a shrug of your shoulders and a “sorry, nothing personal–we just need to be practical and expedient in our death decisions”?

    Those that aren’t able to communicate even if they weren’t paralyzed. As in they’re not mentally capable and will not be in the future? Like a person in a Persistent Vegetative State? I wouldn’t say “write off”, but they’re not persons with a right to life.

  • Anon

    How about this: you become a person upon birth – when you qualify for a birth certificate and all the rights that go with it. There can be no death – or murder – of a person before that. You can’t get a death certificate before you qualify for a birth certificate.

  • Nerdette

    @ Joe

    My apologizes for a tardy reply – my life does not revolve around this thread :)

    We are having a reasonable debate, and I think that reasonable people with opposing views can find a meeting place that doesn’t go to extremes. Do you not agree that the fertilized egg is something much different and than separate sperm and eggs? Would you compare a zygote with skin cells in cell physiology discussion?

    Much different? No, not at all. I consider it akin to two ingredients combining to form a batter. It is simply a sequential step towards a finished cake. And why wouldn’t you compare a zygote with skin cells in a cell biology class? It wouldn’t be far off from comparing liver cells to lung cells, or mucus membrane cells to bone marrow cells. Vastly different in their physiology, yes; vastly different in what makes them human, no.

    Also the point about the Romans actually strengthens my first point. Consciousness is not measurable, so attributing it to one organ based on our current understanding may very well make us seem as so-called ignorant as the Romans in 50 years.

    Well, people have their stomachs removed and retained their consciousness. People have new hearts and not received new forms of consciousness – same goes for every other organ in the body. Yet mild brain damage (say a concussion) makes someone not conscious. When we experience REM sleep (say, dreams), our brain activity skyrockets as we regain a step below normal consciousness in our sleep. The Romans didn’t have the tools we did today to investigate consciousness and relied only on their rudimentary experiences to suggest where it might originate. Do we have a big sign that points to the brain that says “Origin of thought here!” No. Do we have neurologists whose decades of research suggests that it does? Yes.

    Please provide me with a link that provides scientific information dealing with the source of consciousness, it would make for good reading. If you have anything about mind-body research I would also be interested.

    Alas, I am not a neurologist, nor do I have any education on the subject beyond the basics of my undergraduate biology degree and what I read in science texts, but I can give you a wonderful quote by Allan Ropper, a Boston neurologist, replying to a study claiming that patients in a vegetative state can signal yes or no via brain imaging: “Physicians and society are not ready for ‘I have brain activiation, therefore I am.’ That would seriously put Descartes before the horse.’ I can’t provide any evidence about the point where our brains develop consciousness nor would I have any idea as to where to start plowing through the research, but I have no doubt that it exists. And from what I learned from my studies in a developmental psychology course, it may not even exist until several years after we are born! This, of course, gets into the familiar debates of “killing a born baby since it’s not self conscious,” which I’m sure we can all agree with heinous. However, I would venture to suggest that it does remove the consciousness argument from the debate completely.

    Finally, to one of your earlier comments that a fetus needs a womb to survive – does this mean that we cease to be people outside of an earth-like atmosphere that we need to surbive? The Earth and the environment we live in could be considered an extended womb. I can see this going to “but the fetus imposes on the rights of the mother”. So do people who pollute the Earth impose on the rights of everyone else who shares the Earth? What implication does this have for how they are allowed to be dealt with? But now I’m going off the deep end.

    Actually, I do believe that people that pollute the Earth impose on the rights of everyone who shares the Earth. Just as people that kill whales imposes on my right to a healthy marine ecosystem, and as smokers impose on my right to not get cancer when I breathe. All of those have an impact on my well-being and the well-being of my future offspring – and that’s the point I’m trying to make with this example. We check pollution because of its impact on the entire ecosystem of the planet (and thus, our species.) To address your argument, well, if we leave the Earth’s atmosphere unprotected, we die and are no longer existing as an ‘person’, only a dead body and in people’s memories. If we had the technology for embryos to live outside the womb as we do people outside the Earth’s atmosphere, who knows where our ethics would take us once that is possible. It doesn’t exist (yet), so it is a void argument outside of the hypothetical.

    Also I read the article and it kind of misses the point and simplifies “The Claim”. This is like saying all people who argue that abortion should be a last resort all believe it for the same reason. The author also says that most people who read the Conclusion will dismiss it for being preposterous. Is this common in ethics papers? It seems to me that the author is weakening his argument before it is even made. Also, when you say something like that it is a self-fulfilling prophesy and a sly way of dismissing anyone who disagrees. I get the point that author is making, but surprise, I disagree. He misses the point that the issue is people are making the choice to abort after the time when 90% of the fetuses will survive.

    I believe he is making the argument from common sense that most people would dismiss the Conclusion as being preposterous – after all, would you care to tell all the people suffering from cancer that their pain is less important than a zygote?

  • http://paladinforchrist.blogspot.com/ Paladin

    Aj wrote, in reply to my comment:

    [Paladin]
    Ah. Then you meant something like “the enduring capacity/potential for consciousness”, correct?

    [Aj]
    I wouldn’t use the word potential, but enduring capacity is probably accurate.

    Hm. You don’t think it’s possible to lose the capacity for consciousness, and then regain it? (Ref: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/man_makes_miraculous_recovery_from_brain_death_after_accident/ or http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/feb/08021508.html ) If nothing else, “apparent” loss and recovery of “capacity for consciousness” should be enough for us to suspect that our standards are in need of improvement, yes?

    [Paladin]
    [...] you consider infants, young toddlers, etc., to be non-persons? More specifically, you think it’s morally licit to kill them at will?

    Yes, they are non-persons for the most part. Although perhaps not all of the attributes are necessary, if someone has all of them then they definitely are a person, if something has none of them they definitely are not. No, it would not be morally licit to kill them “at will”.

    Why wouldn’t you consider it licit to kill them “at will”?

    [Paladin]how would you ever demonstrate “self-motivation” (as opposed to “mere instinct”, etc.)?

    [Aj]
    I think the delay test would separate mere instinct from conscious action.

    You may have to define that term for m3, in this context; I’m familiar with the “delay test” of microprocessors, but not with humans…

    [Paladin]
    your “persons are those who can communicate” standard is far too subjective to be of any practical use.

    [Aj]It’s not subjective, it’s just not always possible to diagnose, and sometimes there are mistakes in the specific case of locked in syndrome.

    I have to disagree. Deciding whether an eyeblink, a toe wiggle, a vocalization, etc., is “an attempt to communicate” (vs. a simple reflex) is a judgment call, and it can’t help but be subjective; the person doing the diagnosis has to decide for himself: “was that a reasoned response to stimuli, or just an autonomic reaction?” Consider the link I referenced; the woman in question *was* responding (as she proved later, by testifying to her memory of the efforts she made to communicate), but even an “eyeblink on command” so exhausted her that she couldn’t repeat it speedily enough for “observers” who weren’t willing to wait an hour for her to rest.

    Death also has this problem, it’s not far too subjective to be of any practical use.

    Again, I disagree. See the two new links, above. Especially in a society where “fresh body parts” are in high demand for transplants, the pressure to diagnose someone as “brain-dead”, “clinically dead”, etc. (apart from the traditional definition of “systematic decomposition has begun”–at which point some organs are of limited use) can artificially increase “false positives” of “death” diagnoses. Translation: organs may be being “harvested” from people who are still alive… but not “alive enough” for the people who want to transplant.

    I don’t know of any reliable statistics on locked in syndrome, do you?

    “Reliable?” I haven’t any idea; though surely we can trace out the general principles by using pure reason?

    If you deny an infant access to communication, regardless of their senses, they don’t spontaneously develop language. I think the ability to acquire communication is sufficient.

    All right (for the sake of argument), but: how is that determination made? A baby and a toddler will probably not show any “satisfactory signs of acquiring communication skills” in the first few years of life; and as such, they’d be at risk of being killed if these “apparent non-persons” were judged to be too costly, inconvenient, etc., to maintain. Do you see my concern? Peter Singer (of Princeton), for example, finds it morally permissible to kill infants (ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Singer#Abortion.2C_euthanasia_and_infanticide); this isn’t some mere hypothetical.

    Those that aren’t able to communicate even if they weren’t paralyzed. As in they’re not mentally capable and will not be in the future?

    I think you realize that there’s no way to know that (i.e. know that they’ll “never be mentally capable in the future”), even if I pass by your extremely subjective idea of “not mentally capable” (do all Down’s Syndrome sufferers meet your standard of “capable”, for example?). As such, you’ll need to explain why death is a viable thing to inflict upon those people whose present/future capacities are doubtful… and–more importantly–you’ll have to explain why you use the “mentally capable” standard at all. How is that qualitatively different from me (hypothetically) killing anyone I don’t find “useful”? That seems like raw utilitarianism, to me… which reduces itself to logical nonsense.

  • Aj

    Paladin,

    You don’t think it’s possible to lose the capacity for consciousness, and then regain it?

    That’s not what I mean, consciousness can be intermittent but enduring, even while unconscious the wishes of the person have to be considered. Also, the three sites you’ve linked to aren’t objective, they’re heavily pushing an agenda that could poison their reporting.

    Why wouldn’t you consider it licit to kill them “at will”?

    Consider the harm, it’s not that hard. Not having the right to life doesn’t necessarily mean that morally persons are not interested in that life or the suffering of an organism.

    You may have to define that term for m3, in this context; I’m familiar with the “delay test” of microprocessors, but not with humans…

    By placing a delay between stimulus and action, so that the participant has to delay their response, you can rule out the stimulus as the instigator of the response. It also suggests that short term memory is being used, a requirement of consciousness.

    I have to disagree. Deciding whether an eyeblink, a toe wiggle, a vocalization, etc., is “an attempt to communicate” (vs. a simple reflex) is a judgment call, and it can’t help but be subjective; the person doing the diagnosis has to decide for himself: “was that a reasoned response to stimuli, or just an autonomic reaction?” Consider the link I referenced; the woman in question *was* responding (as she proved later, by testifying to her memory of the efforts she made to communicate), but even an “eyeblink on command” so exhausted her that she couldn’t repeat it speedily enough for “observers” who weren’t willing to wait an hour for her to rest.

    I concede practically it may be extremely difficult to determine whether something is genuine communication if a patient has very little control. That doesn’t make it a judgment call, it just means people are fallible. I’m not an expert but I can’t help thinking that information theory, probability, and pattern recognition could be used to distinguish between involuntary movements and attempted communication. In a recent case I heard about doctors were using fMRI and EEG data, it’s to early to say whether it will lead to something.

    Again, I disagree. See the two new links, above. Especially in a society where “fresh body parts” are in high demand for transplants, the pressure to diagnose someone as “brain-dead”, “clinically dead”, etc. (apart from the traditional definition of “systematic decomposition has begun”–at which point some organs are of limited use) can artificially increase “false positives” of “death” diagnoses. Translation: organs may be being “harvested” from people who are still alive… but not “alive enough” for the people who want to transplant.

    There were false positives before transplants and if anything diagnosing death has gotten a lot better over the years. Traditional diagnosis of death involved circulation and respiration.

    “Reliable?” I haven’t any idea; though surely we can trace out the general principles by using pure reason?

    Now when talking about practical use.

    Do you see my concern? Peter Singer (of Princeton), for example, finds it morally permissible to kill infants (ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Singer#Abortion.2C_euthanasia_and_infanticide); this isn’t some mere hypothetical.

    That is thoroughly untrue without great qualification. I am familiar with Peter Singer through many interviews on radio and podcasts, and through reading a number of his articles. Apart from in cases such as anencephaly, where he endorses euthanasia, he does not support infanticide. Saying that Peter Singer “finds it morally permissible to kill infants” without adding who were born without brains and on life support, is outrageous. I’m well aware that those who call themselves “pro-life” have repeatedly stooped this low in spreading this malicious lie, I just hope that you are not knowingly doing so. If so I will not continue this conversation.

    I think you realize that there’s no way to know that (i.e. know that they’ll “never be mentally capable in the future”), even if I pass by your extremely subjective idea of “not mentally capable” (do all Down’s Syndrome sufferers meet your standard of “capable”, for example?).

    No way of knowing that perhaps, but in such situations there are few absolutes, it doesn’t mean that we can’t judge the probability. Also it’s not subjective, it’s just not certain. I’m unaware of Down’s Syndrome sufferers unable to communicate.

    As such, you’ll need to explain why death is a viable thing to inflict upon those people whose present/future capacities are doubtful… and–more importantly–you’ll have to explain why you use the “mentally capable” standard at all.

    You mean unfortunate persons that despite highly doubtful odds would have recovered if life support hadn’t been turned off? I’d say that we assume their wishes are to give them all possible chance, unless stated otherwise, and to try our best to comply with their wishes.

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  • LOVE KIDS

    The bottom line is this all comes down to being responsible , if you do not want kids, then do something about it before you have to say oooops. That means double protection If you know you do not want anymore then go to the doctor and do something about it. I personally know some women have made up stories saying they did this they did that, but in reality if you would have a conversations with their doctor they never did it, just easier to say it was an oops and not feel stupid. And for that there are alot of abortions that should of never taken place only happened because of irresponsiblity.

  • Lynda

    That is thoroughly untrue without great qualification. I am familiar with Peter Singer through many interviews on radio and podcasts, and through reading a number of his articles. Apart from in cases such as anencephaly, where he endorses euthanasia, he does not support infanticide. Saying that Peter Singer “finds it morally permissible to kill infants” without adding who were born without brains and on life support, is outrageous. I’m well aware that those who call themselves “pro-life” have repeatedly stooped this low in spreading this malicious lie, I just hope that you are not knowingly doing so. If so I will not continue this conversation.

    Oh…so he has never said something like this?

    “The death of a teenager is a greater tragedy than the death of an 85-year-old, and this should be reflected in our priorities.” – Peter Singer NYT Article, “Why We Must Ration Health Care”

    ANY time you assign a varying degree of value to different humans, it is nothing more than an excuse for one group who considers THEIR lives “more important” to execute those they deem less valuable. The only way to safeguard our society against tyrants decreeing themselves the authority over who’s life is that of “a valuable person” and who’s is not so that those humans can be eliminated without contention.

  • Lynda

    A simple question I have seen asked to those who support the legality of abortion but never answered by them is relating to this scenario:

    A man comes up to you and says “I am going to initiate an action which, after its completion, will cause you to materialize in a room with no doors, no windows, and no way out. A section of the wall will fall away 9 months from now, at which point you will be compelled to leave. You will be sedated and the only method of sustenance for you will be 2 tubes through one wall connected to your body: 1 for feeding you, and the other to remove your waste. I will be solely responsible for feeding you and cleaning up after you. I have already decided, however, that I do not want such a responsibility, so at the time you are placed there, instead of filling your feeding tube with nutrition, I will give you poison, at which point you will die.”

    Would you agree to such a thing? Would you fight this person? Why? Even if it was your mother? Why or why not?

  • Joe

    “@ Aj

    “All definitions are subjective, but you can define objective things”
    -So you are saying personhood is an objective thing, but we use our subjective definition of it to justify our actions and laws. These subjective definitions are based on our subjective ideas of human personhood. Do you see the inherent danger with this way of thinking. A lot of people have already lost their lives to this type of dehumanizing thought and I’m not talking about the unborn.

    “Yes, I think great progress has been made morally, in knowledge, and technology. Others who believe in imaginary friends, might think ignorance, brutality, theocracy, and superstition were better.”
    -Once again focusing on the negative and also stereotyping an entire group of people based on a commonly held belief that had little to do with the motivation for their actions, but rather was used as an excuse for their actions. Also, atheism is not a new idea, so I would bet that there were plenty of people who didn’t believe in God/gods who were advocating these practices as well. Finally, the idea that others beliefs are more “primitive” has been the excuse for some great tragedies too.

    “I know what you meant and it certainly is a logical fallacy. To use ignorance to argue for something is an argument from ignorance.”
    -OK I’ll grant you that.

    “You say we do not know, so we must then take some course of action as if it’s more favorable in ignorance is not caution, it’s a logical fallacy. ”
    -I’m advocating inaction, as opposed to the reactive action of abortion.

    “Why not a plant, or even a rock? Oh, that’s right, you believe in an imaginary friend who grants souls to fertilized eggs.”
    -The things you mentioned are not human. I think it is self apparent that human life has a special value. However, the Native Americans believed that these things had souls and I try to treat them with respect. Of course these kinds of crazy entities with souls granted from The Great Imaginary Friend lead to terrible ideas like conservation and respect for more than just our species. Nuts huh?

    “Souls are granted by imaginary friends, who is based on myths created by ignorant desert tribes.”
    -Then there is no point in debating it is there? Also, your thinly veiled attacks as illustrated in the last two comments are getting old. You do not have to agree with me, but you must respect me in order to have a meaningful conversation and vice versa. My respect for you is close to being lost, so if you want me to completely ignore you go ahead and do it again.
    Also, why haven’t you answered my request for you to explicitly state you views for supporting the issue as I have? I guess calling the other idea stupid isn’t a good enough argument in and of itself.

    “It’s a part of something that is alive. I didn’t say they were alive. I said they were a part of “life”. They are not organisms on their own.”

    -Googled definition of life: the experience of being alive.
    -You say that sperm and eggs are not alive, so how can they experience life? A zygote is alive, therefore is has the quality of life. A sperm and egg will die without outside intervention. A zygote will not. So please tell me in a simple terms that I can understand, how being a part of life is the same thing as being alive.

  • Aj

    Lynda,

    ANY time you assign a varying degree of value to different humans, it is nothing more than an excuse for one group who considers THEIR lives “more important” to execute those they deem less valuable. The only way to safeguard our society against tyrants decreeing themselves the authority over who’s life is that of “a valuable person” and who’s is not so that those humans can be eliminated without contention.

    That’s an interesting interpretation of Peter Singer’s article. I hadn’t realized before that he was calling for the execution of 85 year olds, or that he was a teenager considering his life more important than others. I happen not to agree with him on what he was actually writing about. I didn’t feel the need to make shit up about him though, must be a pro-life thing.

  • Aj

    Joe,

    -So you are saying personhood is an objective thing, but we use our subjective definition of it to justify our actions and laws. These subjective definitions are based on our subjective ideas of human personhood. Do you see the inherent danger with this way of thinking. A lot of people have already lost their lives to this type of dehumanizing thought and I’m not talking about the unborn.

    a) No, we don’t use our subjective definition of it to justify our actions and laws. No, these subjective definitions are not based on our subjective ideas of human personhood.

    b) Yes, I can see the danger in thinking like that.

    -Once again focusing on the negative and also stereotyping an entire group of people based on a commonly held belief that had little to do with the motivation for their actions, but rather was used as an excuse for their actions.

    a) What were the positives compared to now?

    b) Whenever people act cruelly due to their religious beliefs another “root” cause must be to blame, they’re just “misusing” religion, they’re taking text “out of context”. It must take a lot of power to delude yourself this much.

    -I’m advocating inaction, as opposed to the reactive action of abortion.

    Fine, you’re arguing since we don’t know we must not take some action, it makes no difference.

    I think it is self apparent that human life has a special value.

    Because your imaginary friend made human life that way, with souls?

    However, the Native Americans believed that these things had souls and I try to treat them with respect. Of course these kinds of crazy entities with souls granted from The Great Imaginary Friend lead to terrible ideas like conservation and respect for more than just our species. Nuts huh?

    a) That’s stereotyping! They just used them as an excuse for their actions.

    b) Irrational beliefs can lead to beneficial values. Jains base their pacifism on something about souls. Being irrational, these beliefs can backfire. You wouldn’t want hippies stopping development because of plant souls, or not defending your country through violence because they’re extreme pacifists who won’t kill anything for any reason. Conservation and respect for life can still be part of a rational mind.

    -Googled definition of life: the experience of being alive.

    Appeal to authority, although I guess it is Google. I’ve already explained that I didn’t mean they were themselves alive. It isn’t the same as being themselves organisms, but they are certainly part of human life, part of an unbroken chain. A zygote is the first stage of an unique organism.

  • Lynda

    That’s an interesting interpretation of Peter Singer’s article. I hadn’t realized before that he was calling for the execution of 85 year olds, or that he was a teenager considering his life more important than others. I happen not to agree with him on what he was actually writing about. I didn’t feel the need to make shit up about him though, must be a pro-life thing.

    The quote was not in support of my point. I was just using it to illustrate how full of shit you are. I understand that you now have a severe case of chapped-ass about me though, I would too if I had gotten caught defending Peter Singer saying he’d never actually say such a thing, then have someone post one of his more atrocious statements. My condolences.

    The statement does have a certain amount of relevance though. There’s more to the “real persons” declaring the “nonpersons” than just age, you realize? In Peter Sanger’s case, it would be (in his opinion) intellectualism and able-bodiedness/intellect/mental and physical capacity. The fact that he sits around thinking up heinous shit like this all day, to him, means that he is more worthy of life (in this case preservation of life via medical assistance) than 80 year old grandma on her death bed, because he can do more things than her, and (statistically) he has more years in which to do those things. Nevermind, Mr. Singer, that people die all of the time in freak accidents no matter how young, and many many 80 year olds have learned so many useful things (lost arts, history, practical living skills) through life experiences…oh, and also, one day, Mr. Singer (if all goes well of course) will himself one day be an 80 year old, so why bother now? He also feels this way about newborns, and those with disabilities who are both limited in either their immediate or permanent capacities. He’s not encouraging their demise, nor is he actively attempting such, but he states that the taking of those lives is a moral neutral act, which is allowing it to happen, which is having a passive role in such killing.

    Such a philosophy is not only detrimental to those actually being harmed in such procedures (my main beef), but also to our entire system as a whole (which is how I first arrived to my pro-life view. The whole is only as great as the sum of its parts, and this part is broken).

    This sort of hierarchy of worth of humans destroys the very fabric of what keeps a society functioning. Rather than everyone considering the other human lives around them as they would their own, because they are told that SOME lives have worth and others do not, everyone 1.) thinks THEIR life is at the top of this hierarchy (after all, THEIR life was so important, that their mommy “CHOSE” them to live when she didn’t HAVE to, right?), 2.) will treat others as if their wants/needs/desires are secondary to anything THEY want/need/desire, 3.) they will be more inclined to obtain whatever it is they want/need/desire with little to no regard (or at least with LESS regard) for other people in society also attempting to obtain their desired outcome than if we reinforced the idea that ALL human lives are of inherent worth, and ALL human lives are valid regardless of capacity and deserve to be treated with as much respect and dignity that you yourself would expect. This lack of regard for others, facilitated by the law’s reinforcement that some lives are “lesser” than their own and eligible for disposal increases the likelihood of violent crimes against one another, stressing our prison systems, peace officers, and judicial systems to the breaking point.

    Which brings me back to what I said earlier, and everyone has yet to answer one single time, ANYWHERE it’s been said, by ANYONE who has said it:

    A man comes up to you and says “I am going to initiate an action which, after its completion, will cause you to materialize in a room with no doors, no windows, and no way out. A section of the wall will fall away 9 months from now, at which point you will be compelled to leave. You will be sedated and the only method of sustenance for you will be 2 tubes through one wall connected to your body: 1 for feeding you, and the other to remove your waste. I will be solely responsible for feeding you and cleaning up after you. I have already decided, however, that I do not want such a responsibility, so at the time you are placed there, instead of filling your feeding tube with nutrition, I will give you poison, at which point you will die.” Would you agree to such a thing? Would you fight this person? Why? Even if it was your mother? Why or why not?

  • Lynda

    Oh, and sorry to disrespect Singer like that. Let me put a larger statement from him so that we can get it in context, just for AJ:

    “Newborn human babies have no sense of their own existence over time. So killing a newborn baby is never equivalent to killing a person, that is, a being who wants to go on living. That doesn’t mean that it is not almost always a terrible thing to do. It is, but that is because most infants are loved and cherished by their parents, and to kill an infant is usually to do a great wrong to its parents.” Singer, Peter. Peter Singer FAQ, Princeton University

    So…it’s not bad inherently to kill an infant, it’s just bad to upset that infant’s parents by killing him/her. What about infants that are not loved and cherished by anyone? That’s a-ok. Riiiiight. And, he says, abortion is ok by this same reasoning.

  • Passerby

    “God is ‘real’” is an idiot. If you’re so concerned about people having sex and not being able to live with the “consequences”, perhaps castrating every sexually active man would be an appropriate response? Then there wouldn’t be any sperm to cause a pregnancy—problem solved.

    I’d take anti-choicers more seriously (not really) if they were also telling men to not have sex if they didn’t want kids. Strange that they aren’t doing that.

    I think all “pro-lifers” understand that if men could get pregnant, there’d be 24-hour abortion clinics on every block. They might even offer specials, like 2-for-1 deals.

  • http://paladinforchrist.blogspot.com Paladin

    Apologies for the length of this one…

    Aj wrote, in reply to my comment:

    consciousness can be intermittent but enduring, even while unconscious the wishes of the person have to be considered.

    Let me play “devil’s advocate” for a moment: how could an unconscious person be thought to have “wishes”? Doesn’t “wishing” imply consciousness? Unless you’re using “consciousness” in an new, idiomatic and esoteric way, it’s not possible for anyone to be “conscious” and “unconscious” at the same time. Perhaps you could speak of my wishes in the past (which might include how I’d like to be treated when unconscious in the future), but any talk of “unconscious consciousness” seems rather muddled.

    But more specifically: if someone is “no longer a person” (due to absence of consciousness), then why especially would we need to “consider their wishes”–past, or otherwise? What moral obligation have we to do so?

    Also, the three sites you’ve linked to aren’t objective, they’re heavily pushing an agenda that could poison their reporting.

    (*sigh*) Perhaps you could look up the “poisoning the well” fallacy, when you get a free moment? Unless you’re prepared to demonstrate that the raw data in the stories–such as the raw fact that so-and-so was judged by doctors to be without blood flow to the brain, etc.–is false, then your objection doesn’t have any traction, here.

    [Paladin]
    Why wouldn’t you consider it licit to kill them “at will”?

    [Aj]
    Consider the harm, it’s not that hard.

    (??) That phrase is so vague as to be almost meaningless, in this context; I could say the same about a pine tree being cut down (“consider the harm to the tree!”), but I hope you aren’t suggesting that I haven’t the right to cut down a pine tree on my own property because the “harm” done to the tree renders the act immoral! You’ll need to be far more specific.

    Not having the right to life doesn’t necessarily mean that morally persons are not interested in that life or the suffering of an organism.

    This suggests that, if such “persons” (whoever they may be) do not–for whatever reason, deep or shallow–have interest in the life or suffering of that organism, you’d have no objection to that organism being killed. True?

    By placing a delay between stimulus and action, so that the participant has to delay their response, you can rule out the stimulus as the instigator of the response. It also suggests that short term memory is being used, a requirement of consciousness.

    All right (and thank you for the clarification); but on a new note, I’m not sure how your “enduring consciousness” idea would gibe with this; when I’m asleep, I almost certainly wouldn’t exhibit any conscious “delay” in reaction to stimuli, would I (with the possible exception of some stimulus triggering a slow rise out of sleep)? And yet, you agree that I’m still “a person”, even when asleep, right?

    I concede practically it may be extremely difficult to determine whether something is genuine communication if a patient has very little control. That doesn’t make it a judgment call, it just means people are fallible.

    Your attempted distinction doesn’t make much sense, here; it’s quite possible for a judgment call to be fallible, isn’t it? More to the point: doesn’t the fact that people are fallible (not only about the identification of data, but in the interpretation of it) lend itself to the idea that they’d need to make “judgment calls” (as opposed to making a sure and objective diagnosis)?

    I’m not an expert but I can’t help thinking that information theory, probability, and pattern recognition could be used to distinguish between involuntary movements and attempted communication.

    It’s possible… if the observers were objective and open to all possibilities. In Terri Schiavo’s case, even her smiles at her family (check out the videos at http://www.terrisfight.org, if you can bring yourself to believe that the “bias” of the family didn’t corrupt the video data) were interpreted by numerous doctors as “mere reflexes”. Even if you agree with them: do you not see that this is an interpretation of data, and not data-gathering? If you were describing a scene where Terri Schiavo (or someone similar) was in such a dark room that observation was difficult, I could understand your comments about “objective but fallibile”; but the crux of our whole point is that (for example) Terri Schiavo was denied the diagnosis of “being conscious” (despite obviously being non-comatose) because of the personal views of the medical personnel in charge of her. More on that, below.

    There were false positives before transplants and if anything diagnosing death has gotten a lot better over the years.

    Yes, and no. Today, it’s possible (and not really uncommon) for a human with respiration and heartbeat (even if unaided by life-support equipment) to be diagnosed “brain-dead” (i.e. dead for all practical purposes)–which never would have happened in years past.

    Traditional diagnosis of death involved circulation and respiration.

    True (but not these alone, as I mentioned); see above.

    [Paladin]
    “Reliable?” I haven’t any idea; though surely we can trace out the general principles [regarding "locked-in" syndrome] by using pure reason?

    [Aj]
    Now [not?] when talking about practical use.

    Oh, come now! Practical use/application is dependent on an understanding of precedent principles, and they require them! To say otherwise would be akin to saying, “make the incision first, doctor; then we can decide whether the organ in question is safe to remove, and if it’s necessary!”

    [Paladin]
    Peter Singer (of Princeton), for example, finds it morally permissible to kill infants (ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Singer#Abortion.2C_euthanasia_and_infanticide); this isn’t some mere hypothetical.

    [Aj]
    That is thoroughly untrue without great qualification. I am familiar with Peter Singer through many interviews on radio and podcasts, and through reading a number of his articles. Apart from in cases such as anencephaly, where he endorses euthanasia, he does not support infanticide. Saying that Peter Singer “finds it morally permissible to kill infants” without adding who were born without brains and on life support, is outrageous.

    Forgive me, friend, but–at least on this particular point–you have no idea what you’re talking about. (Check out Lynda’s most recent quote of his; she was “faster at the draw” than I was, in writing back!) Peter Singer makes no bones about the fact that infants are not “persons”; he asserts that any possible reasons for the immorality of infanticide stem from the emotional harm done to the parents/guardians/concerned parties aside from the baby. If a baby is “unwanted”, then Peter Singer finds it morally licit to kill him/her, as there would be no violation of any “person’s right to life.” In this, he has made quite a name for himself in being far more consistent (in some respects) than many who are abortion-tolerant; he doesn’t find birth to be a “magic line of demarcation” after which personal rights are granted. Like it or not, these are his views.

    I’m well aware that those who call themselves “pro-life” have repeatedly stooped this low in spreading this malicious lie, I just hope that you are not knowingly doing so. If so I will not continue this conversation.

    Let’s not get hysterical, here. The fact that you wish it to be “a lie” does not make it so; nor does it help your case for you to fling incendiary ad hominems at those with whom you disagree. If you profess to embrace logic (rather than mere feelings, impulses or prejudices), then stick to it, please.

    [Paladin]
    I think you realize that there’s no way to know that (i.e. know that they’ll “never be mentally capable in the future”), even if I pass by your extremely subjective idea of “not mentally capable” (do all Down’s Syndrome sufferers meet your standard of “capable”, for example?).

    [Aj]
    No way of knowing that perhaps, but in such situations there are few absolutes, it doesn’t mean that we can’t judge the probability.

    Not only have you conceded one of my main points (i.e. that your definition of “personhood = mentally capable” is unreliable as a basis for ethical consideration of personhood and right to life) but you’ve bypassed another point: you’ve not defined what you mean by “capable”. It begs the question: “capable of what?” Is the ability to do simple arithmetic, for example, a minimum standard (without which one would not have the right to life)? Would a right to life require that the “alleged person” be able to find his way out of a maze, or clap along with a particular piece of music? The very term is too subjective (read: dependent on the subject for its meaning) to be of any use in determining an objective standard for “right to life”. The very idea can degenerate to the crass maxim: “you have a right to life if you meet my personal tastes regarding worthiness of life.”

    Also it’s not subjective, it’s just not certain.

    See above; it most certainly is subjective. A near-sighted doctor might be uncertain whether a patient smiled or not; but a doctor who interprets a grin as “mere reflex, meaning nothing” is being subjective. Do you see the difference? One deals with data; the other deals with the meaning/categorization of the data.

    I’m unaware of Down’s Syndrome sufferers unable to communicate.

    That seems to depend on your personal tastes and standards; a snapping turtle can “communicate” its negative reaction to my presence by snapping or hissing, but–and correct me if I’m mistaken–I don’t think you’d extend “personhood and right to life” to it for that reason. You seem (though you didn’t say so explicitly) to have some unspoken standard by which to measure “true human [or "person"] communication”; and we need to discuss that standard, if we’re to get to the bottom of this issue.

  • Aj

    Lynda,

    …I would too if I had gotten caught defending Peter Singer saying he’d never actually say such a thing, then have someone post one of his more atrocious statements.

    I may not agree with him, but how is that an atrocious statement? He says that when having to choose to either save the life of one person or another, doctors should take into account how many years that person is likely to live. Oh heavens, he’s saying that if a person is likely to live 40 years instead of 1 year beyond their treatment they should be chosen if time, resources, or organs can only be given to one person over another. However, you think that killing a single cell is a crime, which is fucking atrocious.

    The statement does have a certain amount of relevance though. There’s more to the “real persons” declaring the “nonpersons” than just age, you realize?

    If you had read the article, and it’s clear that you have not. You would realize that Peter Singer isn’t writing about personhood at all, so your accusation is a complete lie.

    He also feels this way about newborns, and those with disabilities who are both limited in either their immediate or permanent capacities. He’s not encouraging their demise, nor is he actively attempting such, but he states that the taking of those lives is a moral neutral act, which is allowing it to happen, which is having a passive role in such killing.

    It’s strange for you to subsequently post a quote that refutes this allegation. You wouldn’t expect someone who states that something is a “moral neutral act” [uncited] to write “That doesn’t mean that it is not almost always a terrible thing to do.” [cited]. Whoops…

    This sort of hierarchy of worth of humans destroys the very fabric of what keeps a society functioning.

    Sorry but I failed to detect this as abortion was legalized in many countries. Don’t let reality stop your insanity though.

    Which brings me back to what I said earlier, and everyone has yet to answer one single time, ANYWHERE it’s been said, by ANYONE who has said it:

    No. Yes. Because I’m a person. Especially if it was my mother. Has this really not been answered? I find that very hard to believe.

    So…it’s not bad inherently to kill an infant, it’s just bad to upset that infant’s parents by killing him/her. What about infants that are not loved and cherished by anyone? That’s a-ok. Riiiiight. And, he says, abortion is ok by this same reasoning.

    Yes, at least this time you have demonstrated you can present his opinion truthfully at the third attempt. I don’t understand your problem. Oh right, you irrationally believe it will cause persons to kill each other and society to crumble. Also, you believe that it’s not inherently alright to kill a single cell organism, on the basis it’s human and an organism. Yes, that’s right. You believe a single cell organism is the equivalent to an adult human. A single cell organism. You know, things that die without people even noticing they’re pregnant for thousands of years, with no mourning. It’s estimated that 75% of fertilized eggs don’t implant. By your reasoning I guess that’s the same as losing a loved person.

    So answer this question: You have the opportunity to save hundreds of fertilized eggs or an eight year old from a fire. Who do you save? They’re equivalent after all. Right? Riiiiiiight?

  • b.g.

    The pro-liar trolls are full of fail. And misogyny, and fallacies, and lies, and pretenses to “logic” (*cough* Johnny and Joe *cough*). The last is almost always the hallmark of sexist menz who will never, ever have to decide whether to have an abortion or give birth, nor will they have all of society trying to make that decision for them.

    I don’t bother arguing with pro-liars anymore. They don’t argue in good faith, and they’re hostile to my bodily autonomy. Why the fuck should I bother to do more than mock them? Fuck this “be fair to both sides” bullshit, which is precisely how we’ve gotten to a point at which it’s supposed to be “shameful” to have had an abortion.

    Also, Paladin and Gawrd is Real: Again, NOBODY owes you the “respect” of pretending your superstitious delusions are real. In fact, I’m surprised that Hemant has let you spew your religio-diarrhea endlessly all over this blog. I’d have banned your asses long ago.

  • Lynda

    Ok…so at least now you’re truthfully actively supporting Peter Singer and his view of infanticide. Why the lying before, AJ? Tsk, tsk, if you’re going to hold an opinion, at least have the balls to come out and say it instead of “HE NEVAR SED THAT!!!ZOMGZ!!!”

    Why do you seem to agree with him about how it is alright to kill unloved infants and abort those humans in the womb, but prioritizing/actively withholding care from the elderly is NOT ok? Are you only ok with killing demographics of which you are not a part or will never be a part?

    Which brings me to the answer to the scenario I posted. You see…part of the reason abortion is so prevalent is because the attitude I spoke of earlier is a self-perpetuating cycle. As more people are “chosen”, fewer are able to give consideration to the next generation, meaning they are more predisposed to ending those human lives through abortion, and so on. I find it usually makes people who consider themselves “pro-choice” quite uncomfortable to put themselves in an analogous situation to the one the developing human finds itself in when someone is considering abortion, because they’ve rarely ever been forced to do so, with regards to anyone, let alone a human being threatened by abortion. Your answer really said it all though. “No, I wouldn’t let anyone abort ME, because I am a “person(TM)”. Why? Because I say so. Granted, I’ve set the bar at ‘consciousness’, and because I would be sedated I would not have consciousness, but I don’t care! You can’t kill ME, I’m important, because I say so! Because I’m able to say so now! Never mind if anything ever happened to me which would render me temporarily incapable of communication (I say “temporarily” because simply the fact that you and I both were embryos prior to our being here debating would illustrate that an embryonic condition of being unable to communicate is merely transitory=they’ll grow out of it)…” Oh, forget it. There are so many ways one can call you out on your answer to that question I posed, I really don’t have the time.

    Also, now, I’m not sure if you realize this, because you seem to have a tenuous understanding of basic biology, at best, but we are talking about abortion. Now, correct me if I am wrong, but, in order for a woman to procure an abortion, she must first be pregnant and have knowledge that she is pregnant. I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but by the time a woman is pregnant, the resulting developing human is FAR from “a single cell”. Even if she somehow knew the exact moment that the blastocyst implanted (which is the moment the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists define the start of pregnancy), he/she is AT EXTREME MINIMUM 100 cells consisting of 2 differentiated types of stem cells. But that is RARELY the case now, isn’t it?

    Please enlighten me, when have I EVER said anything about protecting singular human cells? We’ve been talking about ABORTION. Abortion entails PREGNANCY. Pregnancy entails an embryo or fetus already on its developmental course to adulthood, which it will obtain, as long as no one else kills him/her first. YOU are the one saying that fertilized eggs are equivalent. I am not, nor have I ever.

    By your reasoning I guess that’s the same as losing a loved person.

    And now your criteria for the killing of another being to be unacceptable branches into them being “loved”. Wow. I’m sorry, but I think it is equally as tragic to lose a newborn at an orphanage as a well-liked father of 3. By your reasoning though, it would be more of a tragedy for Ricky Martin to die than either of these. Do you have some sort of “tragedymeter” to measure “lovedness” of humans? When someone tells you, “My dad died a few months ago.” do you first say “I’m sorry.” or “Oh. Was he loved? I need to know so I can properly lament his passing.”?

    It’s not abortion itself which would cause an increase in crime, but the lack of empathy for others. Abortion can be considered both a symptom of this problem and a part of the cause.

  • Lynda

    The pro-liar trolls are full of fail. And misogyny, and fallacies, and lies, and pretenses to “logic” (*cough* Johnny and Joe *cough*). The last is almost always the hallmark of sexist menz who will never, ever have to decide whether to have an abortion or give birth, nor will they have all of society trying to make that decision for them.

    *facepalm* oh god, not this shit again. Women, myself included, do not NEED abortion. I am a feminist. There IS such a thing as a pro-life feminist. You should be reminded that Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton were BOTH founding mothers of feminism AND against abortion. Thinking that women are EQUAL TO all humans rather than greater than any humans is not being against women. It is knowing that women are strong enough to succeed WITHOUT having to throw their children under the bus.

    • Guest1988

      How is having a much needed medical proceedure thinking that you as a woman are better than everybody else? Women don’t have abortions because they think they are better than anybody else. Feminism is supposed to be about choice and rights for women and as I’ve stated before a foetus is not a baby, a foetus is not a person, it shouldn’t have more rights then the woman involved, ending a pregnancy is not the same as killing a breathing, living baby that can survive outside the womb, is ready to be born or is already living in the world. A feminist?! Don’t make me laugh!

  • Aj

    Paladin,

    Let me play “devil’s advocate” for a moment: how could an unconscious person be thought to have “wishes”? Doesn’t “wishing” imply consciousness? Unless you’re using “consciousness” in an new, idiomatic and esoteric way, it’s not possible for anyone to be “conscious” and “unconscious” at the same time. Perhaps you could speak of my wishes in the past (which might include how I’d like to be treated when unconscious in the future), but any talk of “unconscious consciousness” seems rather muddled.

    a) I wasn’t talking about the mental act of wishing. When you wish something, it’s your wish, even when you die, unless you change your mind and contradict that wish.

    b) You seem to be confused because you are thinking about consciousness as a state, but not considering what I wrote earlier about the state not being important. When I talk about consciousness being intermittent but enduring, I mean in the end consciousness continues. So if consciousness will continue in the future, after a period of unconsciousness, then they are still a person.

    Perhaps you could look up the “poisoning the well” fallacy?

    Since it wasn’t an argument I don’t see how, that’s a wrong assumption on your part. If you are saying that we shouldn’t judge the reliability of sources, then I’d say the failure in logic is yours.

    That phrase is so vague as to be almost meaningless, in this context; I could say the same about a pine tree being cut down (“consider the harm to the tree!”), but I hope you aren’t suggesting that I haven’t the right to cut down a pine tree on my own property because the “harm” done to the tree renders the act immoral! You’ll need to be far more specific.

    Using the same metaphor if the tree is 5m away from a house, and the tree will likely fall in its direction, I don’t think you’d have a problem with the meaning of the phrase. It’s not vague at all.

    This suggests that, if such “persons” (whoever they may be) do not–for whatever reason, deep or shallow–have interest in the life or suffering of that organism, you’d have no objection to that organism being killed. True?

    No, it doesn’t suggest that. I thought I was clear, that it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are morally uninterested as you were suggesting. I didn’t write that there were or were not objections, these things have to be considered. People should be concerned with suffering, but that’s a separate issue to the right to life.

    More to the point: doesn’t the fact that people are fallible (not only about the identification of data, but in the interpretation of it) lend itself to the idea that they’d need to make “judgment calls” (as opposed to making a sure and objective diagnosis)?

    I mean that people are fallible when making objective diagnosis, and that a misdiagnosis does not indicate that people are making subjective decisions, just that they are wrong.

    It’s possible… if the observers were objective and open to all possibilities. In Terri Schiavo’s case, even her smiles at her family (check out the videos at http://www.terrisfight.org, if you can bring yourself to believe that the “bias” of the family didn’t corrupt the video data) were interpreted by numerous doctors as “mere reflexes”. Even if you agree with them: do you not see that this is an interpretation of data, and not data-gathering?

    I’m not an expert, although I have heard from experts who said that the data suggested she was in a persistent vegetated state, therefore it was correct to interpret them as mere reflexes based on the data alone.

    After reading an article about facial expression recognition I am aware that different muscles are used for involuntary and voluntary smiles, and that some people are adept at telling the different. So it may be possible to objectively judge whether it’s a reflex or not.

    Peter Singer makes no bones about the fact that infants are not “persons”; he asserts that any possible reasons for the immorality of infanticide stem from the emotional harm done to the parents/guardians/concerned parties aside from the baby. If a baby is “unwanted”, then Peter Singer finds it morally licit to kill him/her, as there would be no violation of any “person’s right to life.”

    What you are describing is far different from your unqualified comment above. I find it very disingenuous to suggest that your comment wasn’t misrepresenting Peter Singer. Your comment suggests he would have no problem with people killing any infant they see. You don’t agree? I’m sorry but:

    Peter Singer (of Princeton), for example, finds it morally permissible to kill infants

    does not present his position fairly when he would consider the deaths of almost all infants to be “terrible”. I don’t think it would be productive to continue a conversation that feels that they can tell such an awful lie about someone.

    As I have said, I know very well Peter Singer’s position, having read and heard him many times.

    Not only have you conceded one of my main points (i.e. that your definition of “personhood = mentally capable” is unreliable as a basis for ethical consideration of personhood and right to life) but you’ve bypassed another point: you’ve not defined what you mean by “capable”. It begs the question: “capable of what?”

    a) Well if you judge unreliable to be “possible to not be able to tell in certain cases” with current knowledge and technology. I still don’t know how common locked in syndrome is, or what the percentage of misdiagnosis is.

    b) Mentally capable of communication, that’s what we were discussing, mental capacity in paralyzed or locked in patients.

    You seem (though you didn’t say so explicitly) to have some unspoken standard by which to measure “true human [or "person"] communication”; and we need to discuss that standard, if we’re to get to the bottom of this issue.

    Perhaps another time. I do mean a type of communication, how humans use language, but that’s as big a subject if not bigger.

    These posts are getting too long, I suggest anyone wanting to continue to move to the forums.

  • Aj

    Lynda,

    I won’t respond to your bullshit, and your blatant misrepresentation of me and others, because I don’t see the point. I’d like to demonstrate in one instance, but I could for multiple, how full of shit you are.

    …but we are talking about abortion.

    And you keep on bringing up infants you fucking hypocrite.

    Please enlighten me, when have I EVER said anything about protecting singular human cells?

    You’ve written repeatedly that you consider “human life” to be equivalent, whether that’s an adult or a zygote.

    Well, that’s an incredibly ignorant comment to make. We are all made up of cells, the only difference between you and I or an infant, or an embryonic human is the amount of cells.

    One can be an atheist and accept that they are not the center of the universe/not condone ending human life prematurely in the womb.

    They both have nothing to do with one’s legitimacy as a human being, because that is inherently a characteristic of someone being alive and human.

    Personally, I don’t see why just a.) being human and b.) being alive aren’t enough.

    …than if we reinforced the idea that ALL human lives are of inherent worth, and ALL human lives are valid regardless of capacity and deserve to be treated with as much respect and dignity that you yourself would expect.

  • Lynda

    And you keep on bringing up infants you fucking hypocrite.

    Because YOU brought up Peter Singer. HE equates abortion and infanticide. You can’t bring him into this then get all butthurt when I continue along that vein.

    You’ve written repeatedly that you consider “human life” to be equivalent, whether that’s an adult or a zygote.

    No, I’m pretty sure you’re once again full of shit and seem to be confusing ME with other pro-lifers here on this board. If you will read WHAT I ACTUALLY WROTE IN ITS ENTIRETY rather than cherry picking for what YOU view as inconsistency while completely ignoring my initial statement which blatantly tells you where the bar is set, medically speaking:

    …Even if she somehow knew the exact moment that the blastocyst implanted (which is the moment the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists define the start of pregnancy)

    You’d find that nowhere have I EVER said JACK SQUAT about a “zygote” (the single cell formed after the unification of male and female gametes). You have to have a pregnancy to gestate a new living human. You have to have an implanted BLASTOCYST, not zygote, to be pregnant. A blastocyst is much more than a single cell. It is 100 cells, and it already contains 2 types of differentiated stem cells.

  • http://www.credible.blogspot.com Michael Price

    “For evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing” (attrib. Edmund Burke)
    Enormous respect to Angie for doing everything you can to combat ignorance, evil’s natural ally.

  • http://paladinforchrist.blogspot.com Paladin

    Aj,

    I’ll leave off my usual “point-by-point” comments, since you seem to be getting impatient with the conversaton and its length. I’ll certainly redirect to the forums, if you’d like… though most of my questions are directly germane to the “twitter abortion” topic.

    Let me cut to the chase, then:

    1) Many on this thread have commented on the alleged “bravery and heroism”, etc., of Ms. Jackson’s “public account of her abortion”; I would offer that this makes no sense, unless one establishes (beyond reasonable doubt) that the abortion is truly a morally licit act. To wit: anyone could make such a claim about any cause whatsoever, such as:

    “That fellow who poured petrol on newborn puppies and burned them alive was a hero, I say; it’s about time we free ourselves from the hidebound, antiquated, squeamish notion that our animals aren’t there to use or destroy as we please… and, though it may shock some people, and though it may enrage the unenlightened, the burning was a fair bit of heroism, I say, and it’s jolly well past time that someone did it!”

    Without a certain knowledge that abortion is a moral good (or at least morally neutral), such comments are mere defensive, self-congratulatory pap–the clamouring of the peanut gallery. If abortion is truly the taking of an innocent human life, then Ms. Jackson’s display is grotesque, macabre and scandalous, rather than “heroic”. Hence my questions.

    2) I’ve yet to see any solid justification for abortions on this thread (or anywhere else, for that matter) that didn’t eventually reduce themselves to moral relativism–i.e. sheer, self-contradictory nonsense, with a veneer of pseudo-intellectualism over a core of pure emotion and raw opinion. Also, hence my questions.

    3) I do apologize if I’ve overrun your patience… but I do (and not for the first time) find it wearying, that those who presume to comment on deep issues of life (including such life-and-death issues as abortion) don’t have nearly the patience to wade through the necessary first principles of such an issue, and firm up the foundation of their beliefs; they just fire off with their pet ideas, and “to blazes with logic” (save as a sort of defensive action against those with the temerity to challenge them). I was hoping (without much hope, if you’ll forgive the phrase) that this venue might show otherwise.

    And, if you’ll forgive at least one more comment from me (in my next post), I really do need to reply to some of your past statements (as briefly as I can); some of them were rather badly in error.

  • http://paladinforchrist.blogspot.com Paladin

    Aj wrote:

    b) You seem to be confused because you are thinking about consciousness as a state, but not considering what I wrote earlier about the state not being important.

    Well… one of my points was that your terminology is inadequate, and you’d do well to pick a word other than “consciousness”; another of my points is that your standard is based on your own raw (utilitarian-seeming) opinions and personal tastes; a third point is that your standard is functionally useless, since you could never find out the “personhood” of a “temporarily unconscious” person until it was too late.

    [Paladin]
    Perhaps you could look up the “poisoning the well” fallacy?

    [Aj]
    Since it wasn’t an argument I don’t see how, that’s a wrong assumption on your part.

    (??) Could you re-word that? The syntax was a bit garbled…

    The “poisoning the well” fallacy is typified by someone looking at a source, rejecting it out of hand (for whatever reason–usually for reasons of personal opinion/taste), and then dismissing any data presented by that source, on the specious grounds that “it’s a bad source.”

    Case in point: you dismissed all the data from the sites I mentioned, on the ground that “they had an agenda”. Well… so do you, friend; so do I! That doesn’t logically imply intellectual dishonesty, or mere empty rhetoric/sophistry, on the part of the agenda-holders… and it’s silly of you to assume so, simply because you don’t like the messenger. I could just as easily say [please pardon me, Mr. Mehta--this is only for illustration purposes!]: “Ah, but you link to ‘the Friendly Atheist’, which obviously has an atheistic agenda, so I can’t trust any articles, etc., from them! Rather, it seems that you’ve used a convenient excuse to dodge any reference to any data which doesn’t harmonize with your views! (Honestly: are you very surprised that a great many of the people who disagree with you happen to be theists? And you blithely write them off as cranks, knaves and/or fools, without so much as a moment’s consideration?)

    If you are saying that we shouldn’t judge the reliability of sources, then I’d say the failure in logic is yours.

    I am not saying that. I am saying that we should not judge the reliability of sources based on personal feelings, nor should we dismiss without thought any individual claims which come even from sources we distrust; if you, for example, claimed to have a wife and children, I (who have ample reason to be wary of abortion-tolerant sources) would have no special reason to doubt you.

    Re: the “consider the harm” idea (and the “falling tree” idea), I don’t think you understood my point, which was that your definition of “harm” was far from clear. I consider the killing of a 1-month-old fetus (Latin for “little boy”) to be harm, while you do not. Surely you see the definition of “harm” as important to the topic at hand?

    I’m not an expert, although I have heard from experts who said that the data suggested she was in a persistent vegetated state, therefore it was correct to interpret them as mere reflexes based on the data alone.

    This begs at least two questions:

    1) What categorized such people as “experts”, in your mind, and how did alleged expertise in PVS make them (or anyone else) an “expert” on whether the sufferer should be allowed to be dehydrated to death? The latter is an ethical/philosophical question, not a raw empirical one.

    2) Since “persistent vegetative state” is a subjective term (and very nearly meaningless), it doesn’t help anyone’s case if it’s used or not; I could claim that Terri Schiavo had “sufficiently active brain activity”, and you’d be equally justified in wondering what, exactly, I meant.

    After reading an article about facial expression recognition I am aware that different muscles are used for involuntary and voluntary smiles, and that some people are adept at telling the different. So it may be possible to objectively judge whether it’s a reflex or not.

    Well… to that, I can only reply that you haven’t seen the videos I referenced; Terri, following her mother’s face with her eyes, and then slowly breaking into a wide smile after some seconds of her mother’s greetings, certainly doesn’t seem like any “mere reflex” (such as a muscle spasm) to me. You might watch them, if you have a spare moment; it’d help you to comment on the topic more cogently.

    I must beg pardon for the following lengthy answer; however, since you directly challenged my honesty, I don’t think it’s asking too much for you to sit through the rebuttal!

    [Paladin]
    Peter Singer makes no bones about the fact that infants are not “persons”; he asserts that any possible reasons for the immorality of infanticide stem from the emotional harm done to the parents/guardians/concerned parties aside from the baby. If a baby is “unwanted”, then Peter Singer finds it morally licit to kill him/her, as there would be no violation of any “person’s right to life.”

    [Aj]
    What you are describing is far different from your unqualified comment above. I find it very disingenuous to suggest that your comment wasn’t misrepresenting Peter Singer. Your comment suggests he would have no problem with people killing any infant they see. You don’t agree? I’m sorry but: “Peter Singer (of Princeton), for example, finds it morally permissible to kill infants” does not present his position fairly when he would consider the deaths of almost all infants to be “terrible”.

    Forgive me again, friend, but there is simply no proportion between my comments (by which I stand, even now) and your reaction to them. Even in your high emotion, I must ask you to consider this reasonably!

    Consider your own comments, and Mr. Singer’s, with regards to finding the killing of “almost all infants” to be “terrible”. I, for example, find the amputation of someone’s limb to be terrible; but it does not logically follow that I necessarily find it to be immoral. Just so, with someone needing to undergo chemotherapy for cancer; I find it terrible–but that says nothing about the moral gradient of the act.

    Now, consider Mr. Singer’s position: he does not consider infants to be “persons”, and he does not consider them to have a “right to life”. He believes that, in the case where no “persons”–which he defines (roughly) as “those capable of desiring life”–are upset or otherwise inconvenienced by the killing, there is no moral problem with a deliberate choice to kill that infant.

    Now, consider my original statement (to which you react so strongly): “Peter Singer (of Princeton), for example, finds it morally permissible to kill infants.” This is provably true. I did not say that he approved of “any and all killings of infants in all circumstances”; nor would such an exaggerated claim at all necessary for my point. You, my friend, saw fit to run with your own interpretation of the statement (without so much as asking me for clarification), and subsequently call me a liar with whom it might not be fitting to speak further! (Even if your assumption had been true–and it was not–whyever didn’t you ask me politely, “Excuse me, but it sounds as if you think Professor singer would never object to any infant killings under any circumstance; is this really what you meant?” It would have been far more civil, and reasonable, than your actual display of vituperative indignation and accusation.)

    In Professor Singer’s case, it is not the killing of infants, per se, to which he objects at all (since he regards that as morally neutral, at worst), but rather the trauma that might be inflicted on “true persons” who might be involved. In this sense, he claims that the reasons for “upset at infant killings” are substantially the same as those for “tree cuttings”: if, for example, I would be terribly upset at your plans to cut down a beloved tree which is planed by my grandfather’s grave, then Professor Singer would (in the same mind by which he would object to an infant-killing) say that you ought not to do it–but he would not recognize a “general tree-cutting” (or baby-killing) prohibition, in general.

    I don’t think it would be productive to continue a conversation that feels that they can tell such an awful lie about someone.

    I wouldn’t, either. It’s quite fortunate for our conversation that I told no lies, is it not? (I might add that the productivity of conversation with someone who is willing to throw accusations of dishonestly at the merest provocation, with no warning, might also be questioned reasonably.)

    As I have said, I know very well Peter Singer’s position, having read and heard him many times.

    …and apparently you have a strong emotional attachment either to him, to his positions, or to some attendant circumstances involving him. Otherwise, I can’t fathom why you could be driven to such frenzy for such innocent cause.

    Beyond this, I’ll happily take this up with you in the forums, if the blog managers permit it.

  • cm

    I’m 100% prochoice, so my comment is probably irrelevant to the point of your post.

    But, the small section actually kind of got to me was about only children/siblings.

    The fact that your son likes solo adult attention is not really a good quality to have later on in life.

    Being in college now, I’ve come across a fair share of only children who are now 20+ years old, and I can honestly say I haven’t met one that isn’t a spoiled brat/has severe hoarding and territorial issues.

    No, they aren’t always your best friend (although mine is) but I still think they serve a beneficial role.

    Not too big of a deal, but you made it sound like one of your justifications for getting the abortion was that your son likes attention, which is just well odd…

    I don’t know what the answer is, but I really think only children have to have extra emphasis on how to share/think about others since they aren’t naturally in that environment 24/7 (which children with siblings are)

  • Appliantologist

    Just because you don’t want the kid, is not reason to kill it.

    • Celestej123

      Really?  It’s not?  So not wanting to be a parent is not a good reason to decide not to be one?

    • Kristenminer3

      people do it every time they wear a condom, or are on birth control. Each month eggs leave a girls body, and that sperm dies. all those possible lives are gone. 

  • ButchKitties

    Tubal ligations can be incredibly tough to get. I have medical reasons for wanting to avoid pregnancy (very high risk of gestational diabetes, deformities in my leg joints that wouldn’t be able to bear the weight of a pregnancy, unilateral renal agenesis) and I cannot find a doctor on my insurance who will tie my tubes. Basically a pregnancy would make me sick and crippled, but since it’s unlikely to actually kill me, I’m SOL. I had to go through half a dozen doctors just to find one who was willing to give me an IUD. Most were unwilling to do even that since I don’t have any children.

  • backdoorsolution

    I think all these people saying that “if you don’t want to get pregnant, don’t have sex” are missing an important option.

    OBVIOUSLY, if you don’t want to get pregnant, you should limit yourself to anal and oral sex! :D Problem solved. If you’re paranoid about drippage, pop a tampon in your vag, and you’re totally set. And if you’re missing vag penetration, get yourself some dildos!

    [/sarcasm]

    Except, not really. Look, I’m behind Angie 100% here, and I think the “keep yer legs closed, hor” folks are dumbtastic. However, from their terribly ill informed/judgy/ridiculous admonitions, it is possible to glean a kernel of a good idea. There are an infinite number of ways to express your love, affection, lust, etc for your partner, and a grand total of one (spillage aside) results in possible pregnancies.

    Angie (and all of us) shouldn’t have to forgo penis-in-vagina sex, and obviously, she should have the right to deal with the unintended aftermath however works for her. Thank goodness we all have that option.

    However, if you do want to drastically reduce your chances of pregnancy, over and above the effects of your chosen birth control, avoiding penis-in-vagina sex and enjoying the bazillion other options out there *is* a viable option, and one that’s worth considering. I’d be curious whether the ‘keep yer legs shut, hor’ contingent would approve of forgoing PIV sex in favor of sex toys, vibrators, oral, anal, et. al.

  • Lynda

    I’m fine with that. You can figure out my position pretty easily: if no other human life is ended (no matter how early in development after pregnancy has begun), I’m fine with whatever you do.

    Everyone should have complete freedom to live as they please. The operative words here being “EVERYONE” and “LIVE”. That includes prenatal humans.

    And, I really don’t understand how you guys seem to be completely content with being denied what really is a completely benign medical procedure that impacts only your life (tubal ligation) on a regular basis. If anyone even TALKS about denying you guys abortions, oooh buddy, just watch out. There’s pickets, and protests, and petitions, and demonstrations galore. But you all are constantly bitching about how nobody will ever give you guys tubal ligation surgeries, but you all seem to be so willing to just shrug and say “Oh well.” I don’t get it.

  • Liz

    Thanks for speaking out Angie. I can relate to a lot of what you’re saying.
    I think it’s important that women understand that abortion doesn’t have to be a shameful woeful thing. For some women it can be very difficult choice, but many decisions in life are tough.
    I don’t bother arguing with pro-lifers I find it pretty pointless and don’t really need their approval on what I do with my body.

  • Stuck in the Deep South

    What Angie is doing is important for all women everywhere. I haven’t read all of the comments, so someone may have brought this up already, but some women can carry a sense of shame/guilt for the rest of their lives *while* never once thinking they made the wrong decision.

    My mother had an abortion shortly after Roe v. Wade was passed. She had been using birth control, was trying to get out of an abusive relationship, and was told by her employer that she couldn’t keep her new, well paying job and also get prenatal care (no Planned Parenthood in her area at the time, so if her employer wouldn’t cover it, she was screwed).

    Many years later, after my sister and I were both born disabled, she discovered that she has a reproductive abnormality that results in an inability to carry a child to term… meaning if she’d quit her job and gone on welfare to get prenatal care covered, she would have been jobless, in an abusive relationship, *and* had a disabled infant to care for.

    She does not regret her decision. She is grateful that the best of a bunch of not-ideal choices was available to her. But I know she still feels guilty, and I suspect she wouldn’t feel that way if abortion was “out of the closet” as a perfectly reasonable choice for women, no matter what their reasons may be.

  • Lynda

    I don’t bother arguing with pro-lifers I find it pretty pointless and don’t really need their approval on what I do with my body.

    Well that’s fortunate, because we don’t care what YOU do with YOUR body. It’s when you bring about a premature end to someone else’s body that we start our qualms. Abortion does just that.

    • Guest1988

      Except it hasn’t actually developed into another body yet at that stage. Only when the foetus has fully formed into a female or male baby and can survive outside of the womb, it is classed as another’s body.

  • http://paladinforchrist.blogspot.com/ Paladin

    Liz wrote:

    I don’t bother arguing with pro-lifers I find it pretty pointless and don’t really need their approval on what I do with my body.

    …or what you do with your child’s body, apparently. But at least know that you’re mistaken in our intent! We don’t find abortion to be morally wrong because we happen to disapprove of it; we disapprove of it (if you can use such a mild word) because it’s morally wrong… and it would be so, even if every Christian on earth were struck with amnesia about the topic. It’s an issue of reality, not personal tastes.

    • Celestej123

      Paladin, on the flipside of your staunch declaration that abortio is morally wrong, do you think having a child you don’t want and being a horrible parent is morally wrong? 

    • Guest1988

      Except at that stage it’s not even a full body yet, just a mass of tissue and since when was a foetus (with no developed sexual organs yet to be classed as a boy or girl) classed as a child?

  • meg

    Fascinatingly enough, no one has made the point that, if made illegal, getting an abortion would be extremely dangerous due to underground techniques, such as pulling babies out with rusty coathangers or giving women herb concoctions that are essentially poison. While it is valid to argue that abortion is wrong, it would be even more murderous to make the practice illegal.
    And for those desperate teenage girls who get an abortion because they didn’t know the consequences of sex, shouldn’t the way to cut down on the number of abortions for non-life/emotionally threatening situations be to stop believing that abstinence only sex education is the way to keep teenagers from having sex? We are going to have sex because it does rock, but if all information about how to do that safely is censored, there will be no change in the number of abortions.
    Even without the ethical and spiritual concerns (which are all valid), abortion must stay a viable option.

  • Lynda

    No one has brought up those points because they’re not valid. For starters, one survey said recently that 72% of respondents simply wouldn’t seek an abortion if it were illegal. “Well…what about the other 28%?!” If you look at the actual facts pre-Roe, 90% of abortions were done by doctors in doctor’s offices after hours. Dr. Bernard Nathanson, one of the founding members of NARAL, has said:

    “We aroused enough sympathy to sell our program of permissive abortion by fabricating the number of illegal abortions done annually in the U.S. The actual figure was approaching 100,000 but the figure we gave to the media repeatedly was 1,000,000. Repeating the big lie often enough convinces the public. The number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200 – 250 annually. The figure constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law.”

    and the numbers had been steadily declining since the advent of antibiotics. Certainly there would still be an increased degree of risk involved in getting an abortion after the overturning of Roe, but isn’t that the point of a law? To make unacceptable behavior entail more risk so that people are less likely to engage in said behavior? Fair trade, considering another human life is being ended whenever an abortion is obtained.

  • http://paladinforchrist.blogspot.com/ Paladin

    Meg wrote:

    Fascinatingly enough, no one has made the point that, if made illegal, getting an abortion would be extremely dangerous due to underground techniques, such as pulling babies out with rusty coathangers or giving women herb concoctions that are essentially poison. While it is valid to argue that abortion is wrong, it would be even more murderous to make the practice illegal.

    I’m afraid you connected your premises incorrectly, since you didn’t mention at least one suppressed minor. Here’s the correct version:

    While it is valid to argue that abortion is wrong, it would be even more dangerous to violate an anti-abortion law by attempting an “amateur abortion”.

    Also: in what sense do you consider it “valid to argue that abortion is wrong”? Do you mean that the position is correct, and that abortion is, in fact, wrong? Then whyever would the morally wrong and reckless attempts to commit that moral evil be any argument for repealing the law? Or do you mean that “it’s valid for us to have our own position on the subject” (which doesn’t say anything germane to the point at all)?

  • Sarah

    @Polly,

    It depends a great deal on where in the US you are. There are places in the US where it’s hard to get birth control and harder to get sterilized as others have decided that women should not have those choices either.

    Even in the big cities it’s difficult. My sister-in-law who has 2 kids, didn’t want any more but wasn’t yet 30. Her doctors resisted it strongly “in case she wanted more kids”. She finally got it when another medical issue came up.

    Everyone else seems to think they have the right and responsibility to tell women what to do and not to do with their reproductive system, and it’s not just abortion.

  • http://secher-nbiw.blogspot.com/ Cobalt

    This was excellent. Thanks for posting it. It’s too bad that the comments on this entry devolved into discussion of whether the abortion itself is okay.

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  • simplyhere

    I am married with two kids and I had an abortion a month ago. I cannot forgive myself and I am wanting to leave a marriage because of it.
    Is my guilt due to killing a life or the fundies telling me I should feel this way? If it was just a mass of cells then why do women, such as myself, feel like hell for our decisions? We are told that this decision will turn us into bad wives, bad mothers to our existing children and bad mothers for our future children and I believe that is why many women, including myself, carry guilt around for a lifetime. We are TOLD that we will be horribile women after and that is the reason why we may feel this way. I do not know, but that is all I am understanding through reading every article I can about moving forward.

    So, it is a relief to see that a woman can move on without the guilt, shame and mental issues after. I just hope to be one of them.

    • Kerry54

      Believe me, it may take time but you will survive this.  Keep your head up.

  • EIAL

    Abortion should be getting rid-off unwanted pregnancy, which is dangerous to the woman if she wishes and not giving the rights to women to be killing innocent life. However, the right of unborn babies is being denied. It better to avoid being pregnant than to abort the life that comes out of it. Being pro life is not about being theist or atheist, but all about sanctity of life. If a woman can have the right to abort, why is it a crime if she chooses to kill her 6months baby? Why abort?

    • Guest1988

      Because there is a difference between killing a fully developed human being that has been born and is living in the world and terminating a pregnancy i.e. stopping the development of a foetus growing into a baby and developed human. We keep trying to explain to you people that there is a difference between killing a baby and terminating a foetus. Do you not understand the stages of pregnancy? At a 20 week scan you can see all the organs and skeleton fully formed, that’s when the gender is determined and hence it becomes she or he, a person. The nervous system and brain doesn’t even fully form till 20 weeks either, when he/she starts to feel pain. At a 12 week scan you can’t even see it’s full structure or all the organs that make up a baby. Most abortions take place under 12 weeks. The late term abortions are only performed in the most urgent of situations-risk of death, disability etc. Not because they aren’t wanted. That’s the “pro-life” argument that always winds me up the most. Pretending that a foetus is the same and is just as important as an actual baby and comparing abortion to actually killing someone on the street. Hardly comparable at all.  

  • Amber

    I am in the league of women who are so “vile” as to have had not one, but two abortions. I had a broken condom situation years ago before Plan B was on the market. I was young, unmarried, a poor college student, and nowhere ready to be a mother. That abortion was SUCH a relief! Then, not terribly long ago, I had a situation similar to the author: my IUD had come out, and although my husband and I weren’t totally opposed to having another baby, not only is the timing terrible for our finances, I am also on some fairly heavy-duty meds for a herniated disc. Finding out you are pregnant when you are ten weeks along and knowing that you took pain pills you never would have touched if you knew you were pregnant.. yeah, well, it was enough to send me to the clinic.

    And you know what? I don’t feel guilty about either of them! A little sad, sure, but I am not tortured by guilt at all. Why should I be? I am a mother to two lovely, sweet fun-loving and beautiful girls. Any mom knows that part of motherhood also means you have to look out for yourself (so that you can CONTINUE to be a great mom!) and I don’t fault the author one bit for considering the needs of her existing child. Of course I am going to weigh the needs of my girls!

    I had two abortions. I am not tortured by my choices, and hey, I might even plan another child in the next year or two. And do it RIGHT. Because that is my right.

  • Lucy G

    I’m not going to talk about the abortion issue here. Abortion is an issue with a lot of gray area, and I appreciate Angie’s willingness to have open, personal dialogue about the issue.

    However, the thing that concerns me about her post was the insinuation that she wouldn’t want to have a child with CF. As a young, 18-year-old woman with CF, I would like to say that I’m glad I wasn’t aborted. My heart goes out to the people on this forum who say they wish they’d never been born; that wasn’t my experience.

    Having CF or other disabilities doesn’t mark you for a life of pain and misery. My life has been pretty fun. I have a lot of friends, and a brother who’s also a best friend. Yes, some stuff was totally sh*tty, but, it seems, so are most people’s lives. No one gets through life without a little trauma, and on the whole, a disabled person is a person just as capable of having a fulfilling life as anyone else.

  • supervondi

    I’m also quite surprised that most pro-life use the “guilt” aspect and that pro-choice think,since not all women who had abortions feel guilty, then that just validates abortion.

    Most of the worst serial killers didn’t feel guilt.
    Guilt is overrated.
    Guilt can be numbed.
    Guilt is by no means a proper rule of measure.

    How subjective morals would be if feelings of guilt were valid measures.

  • supervondi

    Angie,

    I’m sorry to hear about what you went through.

    Especially for the death of your unborn child.

    On a lesser note, I’m sorry to hear (based on reading most of the comments here) that this is primarily an issue about people poking in their noses in someone’s private business when we speak for life. I’m sorry how political correctness and going out of our way not offend others are the most important things.

    Just like my disgust towards pedophilia has nothing to do with me merely “sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong”, my repulsion towards abortion is a repulsion towards death, fear and selfishness.

    We live in a world where goodness is seen as relative, especially when we find ourselves inconvenienced.

    I know I’ll be unpopular for saying this but this is not my opinion: Abortion is murder.
    We have absolutely no idea when a fetus is truly human. How arrogant for us to say that we do. How terribly risky to assume the unborn children have no souls & are not even human. Human life is precious. But more so a human soul.

    I know you don’t believe in souls. But how unfortunate that disbelieving in something won’t erase its existence.

    I pray you will be forgiven. I don’t hate you for what you’ve done, not at all. I’m not one of those. I am very sad for you and I sincerely hope you won’t find the truth in these words when it’s all too late.

    ~Much love from a concerned unknown friend~

    • maggie

      i’m sorry you’re imprisoned by dogma. i was once myself. i hope you find your way out of the haze.

  • Jacksmith

    You were culpably negligent in the conception of your child. What kind of excuse is ” we weren’t using condoms as regularly as I was pretending to myself we were”? Isn’t that the kind of irrationality concerning beliefs that you would otherwise condemn in the religious? And then you claim that you don’t need to justify having an abortion at all. You don’t let religious persons get away with that. Not only were you culpably negligent for the life you created and also culpable in destroying it, but you’ve revealed your hypocrisy as well.

    • BabyKiller1223

      @ Jack Then maybe you can adopt a Black crack baby, or better yet, have a Black or Hispanic fetus implanted in your wife. yeah, we won’t see you doing THAT though will we? What a woman does with her body is NONE of your business. When you know what it’s like to be pregnant, or have labor pains, or have to raise children on Welfare, then you can say something, otherwise shut up…nobody cares about you opinion.

  • Beckyrob

    All children should be wanted. No woman should be forced into bearing a child against her will. To make her, or give her no choice is barbaric and backward. Nobody should be made to bear a child that they don’t feel 100% devoted to. This is the real world. There are many people alive now who were not wanted and live in misery and deprivation (material/emotional) because of it. This is not an ideal world, and the truth is there is often no-one there to pick up the pieces for a woman stuck raising an unplanned child.

    Re: disability – some people at some points in their life feel able to cope & care for a disabled child. Some, after soul-searching, don’t feel able to cope. Some get no warning and muddle through, some struggle and suffer but try to keep going and do what’s  best. Some feel legitimately that they have done it once but couldn’t go through it again, as much for the sake of the child they already have as anything else. 

    Different situations happen to different women at different points in their life, and frankly it is no one else’s right but theirs to decide what is best. To take their decision away is brutal, misogynistic, backward, dangerous, childish, bullying and ridiculous.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/LFNPN732VPKWMZ5R2ISAWLTBCQ Jenny Bunny jj

    There are many reasons for a woman to choose abortion. No one has a right to judge. Abortion protesters who stand outside the clinics shouting need to get lives. I dont approve of irresponsible women who think abortion is their birthcontrol. The most ridiculous abortion story i ever heard was a woman pregnant with twins who thought she was have 2 girls and hired a decorater to fix the nursery. She then found out one was a boy and wants to abort it JUST because she is too lazy to change the nursery ( which isnt even necessary) now THAT pissed me off

  • Sandy

    You are so amazing for doing this. I hope that in the future the concept of abortion by personal choice can become more widely accepted. There is nothing wrong with taking control over your reproductive health and nobody should be ashamed of doing so.

  • Swimmergirl1795

    i was forced into an abortion by my parents they told me it was my only option. i have been haunted by this since it happened. 


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