Secular Pro-Life Group Responds to Criticism

After I posted Marco Rosaire Rossi‘s piece criticizing the pro-life atheist groups (from the latest issue of The Humanist) a few days ago, there were a lot of commenters agreeing that the groups in question really were anti-science, as the headline suggested.

Now, the group Secular Pro-Life is responding back to what they see as “baseless accusations”:

Next, we get to fetal pain, where Rossi begins by stating that there is “no clear consensus from doctors or medical researchers as to when a fetus feels pain.” He then goes on to cite two studies suggesting that the ability to feel pain comes at the later end of pregnancy (29-30 weeks and 35-37 weeks, respectively), while citing none of the research suggesting an earlier stage of development. Finally, he bashes Secular Pro-Life for failing to recognize the “medical consensus” on fetal pain.

Rossi concludes by celebrating the fact that 25% of Americans support his view that abortion should be legal in all circumstances. He would also like to claim the 51% who support abortion in “certain” circumstances, to create a pro-choice majority. That’s highly problematic, since “certain circumstances” would include people who only support abortion in cases where the mother’s life is in danger (such as myself). Rossi’s abortion-until-birth position– which, even accepting his favored studies, would allow for abortions on pain-capable unborn babies — is extreme. It will continue to fall out of favor as groups like Secular Pro-Life work to educate the public.

You can read the rest of the rebuttal here. You all can debate who’s right and wrong in the comments while I get some rest after a loooooong first week back at school.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=553145445 Gordon Duffy

    They should call themselves Anti-Choice. If they want to take that position they should at least own up to it. 

    • Amorgan Email

      They can frame themselves however they’d like, like any other organization. In the parlance of our times, they’re the “pro-life” position, like it or not.

      • Hj Hornbeck

        To take the label “pro-life” implies that your opponents have less respect for life than you do. That isn’t so; I’d argue the pro-choice side respects life at least as much, as they too fret over consciousness or fetal pain. The two camps merely differ over where to draw the line on “life.” Hence the name “pro-life” is misleading and amounts to little more than a cheap shot at their opponens. “Anti-choice” is also somewhat cheap, but at least it’s accurate.

        • MichaelD

          I’d expand that a little to say its not just where they draw the line on life but what obligations they think life has to other life.

        • Guest

          Whether pro-choice is accurate is arguable, as whether genuine choice exists is debatable.

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            “Pro-choice” and “anti-choice” are neutral names which sum up the views of each side about as well as a single word can. Where’s the problem?

            • Godless4freedom

              The problem is that they are not neutral names.  

              A common pro-life response to the accusation that they are anti-choice is that individuals had the choice to act in ways where contraception occurs.  This excludes cases of rape and failed birth control, which is rare when used correct.Pro-lifers have also argued that they are fighting to let the child live to experience a plethora of choices in life, which they believe makes them pro-choice advocates.Likewise, pro-choicers generally deny they are anti-life because they deny a fetus has/is a “life.”

              • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                I disagree. The terms are neutral. The people who call themselves pro-life genuinely are opposed to the right of women to choose abortion. This has nothing to do with any “choice” they had in becoming pregnant (and certainly, failed birth control is not rare). The “choice” that is implied in the term is the choice to have an abortion, that’s all. “Pro-choice” / “anti-choice” is accurate and neutral.

                • Godless4freedom

                  That I am calling it not neutral means that it is not neutral. LOL  That’s not a hubristic comment, but rather a logical one based on the concept of neutrality, which is that neutrality (roughly) means a unanimously agreeable concept.  If anyone disagrees with the neutrality, then it becomes not neutral.  

                • sunburned

                  I disagree with the neutrality if the word neutral. So doesn’t that make it a moot point?

                • Godless4freedom

                  If you would like to deconstruct each word and attribute meaning to each word for the sake of this discussion in order to be as clear as possible, I’ll work through it with you.  

                  If you’re trying to be snarky, I offer my help in improving your snark enough to grow past the level of a freshman high school student who joined the debate team to impress smart girls (or boys… or both).

                • sunburned

                   Actually I’m trying to be snarky.  Because the crux of your argument is that if *SOMEONE* in the world finds something *not neutral* then it is NOT neutral. 

                  The the best part is responding with a maturity jab when someone points your sophistry.

                  Someone, someplace in a world with billions of people will find *any* term not neutral.

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        But since there are no “anti-life” groups, the name is a joke. We don’t have to legitimize it by usage. We have no control over what they call themselves, but we can be honest and call them “anti-choice” in discussion and in headlines like the above.

        • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

           They’re anti-woman, really.

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            No, I don’t think that’s fair. It’s easy to see it that way, but they would not, and the term is clearly inflammatory. Anti-choice is a neutral description, and accurate.

            • phantomreader42

               If their argument is based on the alleged human rights of the fetus (which cannot breathe, think, speak, move under its own power, or do most other things that human beings do), but ignores the human rights (and in fact often the very existence) of the pregnant woman in whose body said fetus resides (in a parasitic fashion that has documented negative effects on her health), then their argument is that women are not really human.  That IS anti-woman.  How could it not be?

              • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                Because I distinguish between intent and result. Yes, seeking to eliminate a woman’s choice to abortion implies a result that is harmful to women. And I have no doubt that some anti-choice people are actually anti-women in their intent. But many are not. If you genuinely value the life of a fetus over the comfort or convenience or autonomy of the mother, that is not inherently anti-woman.

                If you treat everyone who is anti-choice as being anti-woman, you misrepresent many of them and essentially shut down any possibility of discussion before it even starts. “Anti-woman” is as insulting as “pro-life”. And as inaccurate.

                • Earl G.

                  I think this is the same argument people opposed to gay rights use to claim that they’re not anti-gay-people.  The result of fighting against marriage equality is that gays are harmed.  The intent is that the homophobes “genuinely” value their vision of sexual propriety over the “comfort, convenience, or autonomy” of the gay people.

                  By your logic, these folks aren’t actually “anti-gay.”I call b.s. on that.

          • JD

            Abortion kills more girls than boys.

            So you could say that abortion harms women.

            Hundreds of thousands of them who are robbed of their only shot at life.

            • http://twitter.com/kaileyverse kaileyverse

              Pregnancy kills only women.  Pregnancy harms women.

              Women who are pregnant are 2x as likely to be battered and first abuse often starts with first pregnancy.  Pregnancy harms women.

              800 women die world-wide every day, pregnancy harms women.

              The fact of the matter is, pregnancy harms women. Pregnancy kills women. Some women already living their life, are robbed of it because of pregnancy.

            • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              In the U.S., which is the country under discussion, abortion does not kill more females than it does males.

              An aborted fetus is no more robbed of a “shot at life” than are the nearly infinite number of possible humans who will never have a “shot at life” simply because statistics and opportunity never brought together the exact DNA combination that would have created them.

    • Rwlawoffice

      The only choice the pro choice folks want is the choice to kill another life so instead of being called pro choice they really should be called pro death. All the euphemisms used to hide what really is happening does change the end result of this “choice”. On the contrary, the end result of those who are pro life is to protect life, thus our name is not only appropriate but very accurate. However if you want to call me anti choice for wanting to prevent people fom having the choice o kill their unborn babies then it doesn’t bother me in the least.

      • Patterrssonn

        Unborn babies? Isn’t that an oxymoron, kind of like undead corpse?

        How about instead of pro life, pro enslavement of women to the bizarre fetishistic need that some men have to limit women’s control over what happens to their own bodies. I realize it’s a bit klunky but a lot more accurate, don’t you think?

        • RobMcCune

          Pro-chattle babymakers would be alot less clunky.

        • Anchor Menace

          Oh the irony of your post “oxymoron?” Long ago in the U.S. slaves were not considered humans but we evolved out of that and extended the rights not to restrict

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Shockingly, the only “right” recognizing slaves as people removed from other people was the “right” to own other people.

            Recognizing fetuses as people means declining to recognize their hosts as people. Since women would very much like to be accorded their due as people, it’s really quite impossible to argue that a fetus has any right at all.

            Besides, even if a fetus was a person, a woman still has every right in the world to remove it from her person without care for its wellbeing. Pregnancy is an organ donation (uterus) as well as blood and nutrient transfer. We don’t require anyone to donate organs against their will, even if people die from the lack. Fetuses, if treated like people, may also be denied access to another’s body even if they die without it. Additionally, consent is known to require ongoing, enthusiastic yeses. If a person removes consent (or never gave it in the first place), the act must be terminated immediately. Since a fetus cannot choose to respond, a woman has every right to expel it from her body at the time she refuses or withdraws consent to the pregnancy.

            On the other hand, were women forced to continue pregnancies, they would be literally enslaved to their fetuses. They would not be allowed to remove consent and they would not be allowed to control who used their bodies, how, and when. That would be a human rights violation of the first order.

          • Pattrsn

            Oh the irony of your post not making an sense at all. Guess that’s not irony though is it just business as usual.

      • Andrew Bernhardt

         ”The only choice the pro choice folks want is the choice to kill
        another life so instead of being called pro choice they really should be
        called pro death.”

        How did you reach this conclusion?

        • phantomreader42

           The same way Rwlawoffice reaches all its conclusions: by pulling shit out of its anus and lying about it. 

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            Classy

            • phantomreader42

              I notice that you can’t bring yourself to so much as whisper a word of criticism when your fellow death cultists are regularly caught lying.  Why should anyone take your opinion of what is “classy” seriously if you openly support bearing false witness, in flagrant violation of the alleged commandments of the imaginary god you pretend to follow?

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

          Okay Andrew, enlighten us. What choice are you fighting for again? Abortion terminates life. If you are advocating that someone should have the ability to choose abortion, then you are advocating that people have the right to choose to end life. The opposite of life is death. 

          I don’t understand why you don’t see that. The choice you are fighting for is to end life. Therefore you are fighting for the right to kill life. That’s murder by definition. Call it by another name if that helps you sleep at night. But termination of life =’s murder. 

          • phantomreader42

             Pregnancy is a life-threatening medical condition.  Abortion is not
            murder, it is self-defense.  Fetus-fetishists deny this because they
            cannot bring themselves to admit that women are human. They are also too stupid to comprehend the concept of self-defense, as momma J has demonstrated for us recently. 

      • allein

        I support the right of women to choose whether and when to have children. That includes their right to sex education and birth control, their right to choose to have an abortion should they deem it necessary, and their right to have a child they want when others would have them abort. (Yes, that happens, too. I knew a teenager whose parents made her have an abortion. I don’t know if she would have chosen otherwise, but she was really not given a choice.)

      • Edmond

        Oh, yes, we’re all just killer death vampires out to end society.  Bring us babies for sustenance!

        What we ACTUALLY want (it’s always better to get that information FROM someone, rather than just assume and assert that you know) is for everyone to recognize that there’s a NEED for this legitmate medical procedure, so women in a tough spot aren’t finding OTHER ways.  We want people to recognize the autonomy of a woman over her own body, and over WHATEVER grows as a part of it.

        Abortion is never the best option, and consideration should always be made for all OTHER options first, but nothing is solved by trying to make laws to control what you can’t.  Abortions don’t STOP if you criminalize the practice, they just get performed by criminals instead of trained doctors.  There’s something seriously wrong with trying to legislate how a person relates to what’s going on within their own skin, anyway.

        • Sonorus2012

          What has always bothered me on this issue is that by and large it’s the people who want abortion outlawed that also fight any attempt to provide information about how to avoid getting pregnant (and contracting STDs!).  If we really wanted to reduce the number of abortions, the most obvious way to do that would be to educate men and women about how to avoid unwanted pregnancies.  Telling people not to have sex hasn’t and isn’t going to work. 

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            That’s not true with this guy!

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

          If it’s never the best option, then why consider it?

          If I get in an argument, I have a lot of choices on how to terminate the disagreement. I can a) Chose to live and let live by just walking away b) Try to argue my point and “win” the debate c) I can break the person’s jaw with my fist or d) I can pull out a 9mm and kill them. 

          d) Is never the best option right? It’s not morally ethical at all and is in fact illegal. Why shouldn’t abortion be legal again? Even in the case of a rape victim, why can’t the mother counter one man’s disgusting, violating act of another, by having the child and teaching them what love is? That would be awesome! If my mom was raped and still kept me, I can’t imagine how incredibly loved I would feel.

          • LD

            And I can’t imagine that my mother may have spent my entire life thinking about something horrible that happened to her every single time she looked at me. 

            Sometimes unforeseen  happen and sometimes  we have to make a choice based on that situation.  Clearly you would choose to keep a child you conceived if you were raped.  I would not and it’s not up to you to make that decision for me.

          • Edmond

            Maybe I phrased that badly.  It’s never a GREAT option.  But it may actually be the “best” option, out of a list of all-terrible choices.

            It might be a very good thing for a woman to take a violating act and have the child, and teach the child that they’re loved.  Or, the woman may feel that abortion is her best option, to prevent a life of poverty for both herself and her child, or for whatever reasons she feels.

            The point is to provide her with the choice.  No one can decide on their best option, unless they HAVE options.  This is not at all similar to pulling out a 9mm and killing someone.  This is about a mass of tissue that is connected to, and dependent on, the mother’s body.  I can’t see that this issue should be ANYONE else’s decision except hers.

      • onamission5

        Hi, pro-choice here. Four kids, one miscarriage, no abortions. Care to revise your assumptions?

        Pro-Choice: to keep, to abort, to adopt, to use contraception, to not use contraception, to have twelve kids or none, to make one’s own medical decisions, to have bodily autonomy, to not have people who don’t know you (or even those who do) making reproductive decisions on your behalf, whether you need or want them to or not. To decide for oneself what the right thing to do is, given one’s individual and ever changing circumstances. 

        AntiCchoice: values a clump of human fetal tissue over any and all post birth humans, regardless of the effects it may have, because you aren’t the one who has to live with the decisions you make so non-chalantly for others.

        • Rwlawoffice

          No. In the parlay of this debate pro choice refers to abortion which is killing the unborn child. If all it meant was the other options it would not be a debate.

          • smg77

            A fetus isn’t a child.

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              And “unborn child” is an oxymoron.

              A child, by definition, has already been born. Therefore, what is not yet born is not a “child”.

              • Sonya

                Wrong.

                child  
                /CHīld/
                Noun
                A young human being below the age of full physical development or below the legal age of majority.A son or daughter of any age.

                Not seeing anything in there about needing to be born first.

            • Sonya

               DNA tests beg to differ. Gestating children share a biological parent-child relationship with their parents.

          • Earl G.

            Maybe you’re not familiar with all the ways that the church and/or the right wing have tried to limit non-abortion choices: like trying to remove access to contraception, their history of forcing adoptions on unwed mothers, their opposition to fertility treatments, and the appalling family size expectations placed on the shoulders of women in many sects.  It’s not just about abortion for you guys, it’s about controlling women.  

            • Sonya

               Well, once abortion is illegal, I’ll happily fight with you all to protect contraceptive choices, parental rights for unwed parents, and the legality of fertility treatments (but with restrictions. Creating more children than you intend to parent just to increase your odds is wrong), and the right to determine your own family size (I actually have 2 kids and a tubal ligation myself). It really is just about abortion for the vast majority of us, and only because abortion kills children. And, when that’s taken care of, you’ll be surprised how many allies you gain.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

          Wow. “A clump of human fetal tissue” I can tell you really love your kids. Rather my wife and I have tried for 7 years to get pregnant and finally just gave birth to our first. We loved bonding with our little guy the last 20 weeks of the pregnancy. He was no clump. He was a human being. Fully developed no. 

          But then again, some babies are born without being fully developed too. Are you telling me a child born without an arm can’t be as valued as one born with two arms? 

          You disgust me!

        • Kelly

           A developing fetus is hardly a ‘clump of human tissue’. Better check out your old biology textbook.

          That ‘clump of cells’ propaganda has been clearly dismissed. Go take a look at one of your old ultrasounds.

          • onamission5

            My first US was at 20 weeks, which is well past legal abortion time (barring life threatening emergency) frame in most states, and not at all representative of an early stage of pregnancy.

            Early in development, when most abortions and miscarriages take place, a blastocyst or even an embryo most certainly can be described as a clump of cells. Or did you think that from the second sperm meets egg, there’s a fully formed mini infant in there?

            • Sonya

              by that definition, we are simply collections or gatherings of cells, too. A new organism is an organized collection of cells that make up a body, even at our earliest stages of development. A human being doesn’ have to be in their neonate stage to deserve basic protections under the law. I wouldn’t declare an infant unworthy of legal protections because they’re not a teenager, either.

        • Anchor Menace

          So with confidence and pride you can tell your kids that on their early moments of life they had a 50/50 chance of losing their entire existence based on the idea that they could of been discarded and replaced?

          • onamission5

            Wut. Sense. Make moar of it.

      • Yessenia

        There’s this concept that you may have heard of, where a person is allowed to use whatever force reasonably necessary to stop an assault. It’s called self-defense.

        If a fetus is a person, it’s need to assault me to live does not obligate me to permit the assault. Your need for my kidney does not translate to a prerogative to forcibly remove it. As the kids say,”that sounds like a personal problem.”

        If it’s not a person, it has even less of a claim to my organs.

        At no point does Joe Thirdparty have standing to intervene.

        So in any case, person or not, “life” our not, it’s my body, so it’s my choice.

        • Godless4freedom

          According to your logic, abortion laws aren’t needed as long as “stand your ground” laws exist.  

        • Godless4freedom

          According to your logic, abortion laws aren’t needed as long as “stand your ground” laws exist.  

        • phantomreader42

           Pregnancy is a life-threatening medical condition.  Abortion is not murder, it is self-defense.  Fetus-fetishists deny this because they cannot bring themselves to admit that women are human. 

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            That’s a lie. If someone ends life, then it is murder. A zygote is a living cell. If you destroy it, that’s murder. This is rocket science.

            • Drakk

              So you are guilty of ~50 trillion counts of murder every day. One for each cell in your body. Right?

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                Yeah, what about the skin cells I kill every time I scratch my ass? Or the bacteria I expel with each BM? Oh, and what about all the sperm and eggs that never connect?

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                Considering those cells a) Have nothing to do with reproduction b) Die on their own (I do not kill them) Then no.

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

              Living or not, that zygote has NO RIGHT TO USE MY BODY WITHOUT MY CONSENT.

              • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                Then don’t have sex! It’s a pretty well known fact that most pregnancies occur as a result from sex. Not all I suppose, but most. If you don’t want a baby, then keep your pants on. 

                It’s called taking responsibility for your actions. Society needs to start doing such things. Abortion is the selfish, easy way out.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  Riiiight. Because sex automatically equals consent to give up my body for nine months.

                  Sorry, but I’m not giving up sex just to make anti-woman jackasses (such as yourself) happy.

                  MY BODY.

                  MY CHOICE.

                  NOT YOURS.

            • phantomreader42

              So, momma J is too stupid to comprehend the concept of self-defense.  Why am I not surprised?

    • Kelly

       Anti-choice is a fine label for the pro-life movement. When the ‘choice’ is death, I am a loud and proud anti-choicer!

  • http://twitter.com/_terri_jones terri jones

    While I respect personal choice, I do not respect the results of forcing that choice upon others whose lives are most impacted:

    Women who do not want children, who had no choice about birth control (rape), who cannot use many kinds of birth control (medical), who made a bad choice (“okay just this once”) or who are too young (medical, emotional, financial). Men who do not want children, men who are too young to take that kind of responsibility. Men who said ok come on once is okay!

    Here’s the deal: zero abortion hits women hard in all areas of their lives for at least nine months, at most an entire lifetime, and it hits men with reality of pregnant woman, baby!!! child!!! teenager!!!! at which point they often run if they are not ready. Leaving a woman alone. If the man doesn’t run, the woman has to deal with him too. Often he supports her in her decision, sometimes he fights her to use her body to make a baby she doesn’t want.

    Result: unwanted children. Every single person who claims to be “pro life” ought to have the sense to adopt the unwanted children already out in the world, in need of love and support. They ought to shut up about unborn unwanted children until every single child in need ALREADY OUT IN THE WORLD is taken care of.

    You want to protect people who can feel? PROTECT THE ONES YOU CAN HOLD AND FEED NOW.

    • Liberated Liberal

      I completely agree with you.  I have a huge problem with any person or group of people saying that women must carry every pregnancy to term, while they do nothing, NOTHING for the babies born or the mothers who gave birth.  They claim that all of the babies will happily be adopted into loving homes, but that is garbage; they themselves aren’t adopting any of them.  

      Until, as you say, I see every single child (not just cute the little 2 week old babies) of the world clothed, fed, and loved, I will not respect any “pro-lifer” argument.  If they aren’t willing to take it all the way, then they need to shut the hell up.

      • Nancy

        Dear Liberated Liberal:  If you really feel that way, why don’t you get your Liberal self busy convincing the law makers to make it easier to adopt an unwanted child instead of lip service like most Liberals.  We would love to adopt a child, the dirty little secret is that many welfair people keep their children because they get so much money from the state for each additional child they keep.  The Liberals have caused a very nasty situation. 

    • Nancy

      Do you have any idea how difficult adoption is in this day and age?  Why do you think that so many Americans adopt children from other countries?  I agree, adoption is a wonderful idea but has become very difficult and we are dealing with countless situations where the birth mother or father can sue for custody of the child at a later date.  Weather we like to admit it or not, young people need to have some moral instuctions and learn some responsibilities for their actions.  Abortion should not be used as a form of birth control wheather you are a believer or non believer.  Let’s become better parents to our children and teach them right from wrong.  Sounds old fashion and like a lot of hard work; but, it works.  It will bring happier days for everyone. 

    • Anchor Menace

      What is the percentage of rape cases?
      Why is it easier to abort than to use a condom? You can’t abort STDs so why not use common sense in the first place?

  • Anonymous Atheist

    Y’know, I really don’t care when the ‘ability to feel pain’ might develop. That is one of the most primitive basic senses. The adult violinist in the ‘violinist’ analogy would certainly feel pain when dying, but you still have a right to your bodily autonomy if you don’t want to continue to be used as his life support. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violinist_(thought_experiment) )

    • MichaelD

      Exactly. I can only assume this comes down to some basic difference in how prochoice vs prolife people view a person’s autonomy. Forget the violinist if it was a 25 year old with 16 nobel prizes, celebrated author and personally negotiated an end to human conflicts who just needs a blood transfusion.  I still don’t think anyone should be forced against their will to help them. So far as I’m concerned the fetal pain argument is moot point. 

      • Karen L

         But I wonder:  do pro-choice vs. pro-life people view a person’s autonomy differently in *any other circumstance* besides pregnancy?  Would they be OK with forced kidney donation (or blood donation for that matter)?  I’m guessing no. 

        So there is something different in how pro-life people view a *woman’s* bodily autonomy, specifically when it comes to pregnancy.  And I don’t understand it.

        • MichaelD

          Indeed I’d be very interested to hear how they reconsile those beliefs (assuming they aren’t in favor of forcing kidney, bone marrow liver et al transplants on people).

          • Sarah T.

             My experience with this line of argument is that the ‘pro-life’ response is to argue that, since a woman has to have sex to get pregnant, she needs to accept that pregnancy is an unavoidable outcome of sex, or something. They frame it as having sex == agreeing to giving a kidney, and having an abortion == wanting that kidney back.

            Of course I absolutely disagree.

            • MichaelD

              o.O well that’s one way to look at it.

            • Rwlawoffice

              A more expansive description of this argument is that the mother, even unwittingly helped create the life that is in this vulnerable position. As such there is a special relationship between mother and child which cannot be replicated through any analogy.

              • sunburned

                 Because having sex is a contract for labor?  I think I get it.

              • phantomreader42

                 And that argument is STILL idiotic, because there exists no “special relationship” that would justify forced organ donation, so no “special relationship” can justify forcing a woman to endure a life-threatening medical condition against her will. 

        • Yessenia

          Depends. Can forced organ donation be selectively applied to only punish the wicked sex havers?

        • Yessenia

          Depends. Can forced organ donation be selectively applied to only punish the wicked sex havers?

    • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

      And not just that, but what is “pain”? It’s a response to harmful stimulus (and primitive, as you say). Do worms feel pain? They appear to. Do higher animals? Certainly. But how many animals suffer? Pain isn’t the problem, suffering is. And to suffer requires a high degree of cortical function… something almost certainly not there in a fetus during the first couple of trimesters, and arguably not even there in a newborn baby.

      A few seconds of fetal stimulus/response pain during an abortion hardly seems a rational basis to deny a procedure that has massive positive benefits for an undeniably  sentient being, the mother (not to mention all the many long term benefits to society as a whole).

      • Godless4freedom

        Does your view on “massive positive benefits” include after birth infanticide?  If so, what age is infanticide the choice of the mother?  Does the father have an infanticide choice after birth?  Do the godparents have such a choice if left in care of the child after the death of the biological parents?  Likewise, do grandparents?

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          Well, I personally don’t believe infanticide is immoral, since I don’t think a newborn is a person yet. But that’s obviously a minority opinion, and I recognize the importance of shared societal values (meaning there are times when we must bend our behavior to societal values and not simply follow our own ethos). I think it is absolutely certain that there is some point between conception and post-birth where self-awareness develops, and we should reasonably start considering the developing human to be a “person”, with some sort of rights. Probably the earliest that any developmental biologist would place that point would be somewhere in the second trimester; the latest some months after birth. Thus, a reasonable approach is to limit elective abortions to earlier than somewhere mid-term (which is where nearly all occur, anyway). Obviously, infanticide would remain illegal (that is, it would be murder), and nobody would have any say in allowing it.

          • Godless4freedom

            Are you willing to share your views openly?  That is, be blunt rather than compromising your personal ethos?  I’m much more interested in YOUR ethos than you & I constructing a shared societal value.  

            If you are, then: In YOUR perfect world view, when does a newborn become a person, thereby turning an abortion procedure into infanticide?  

            Of course, abortion is a term that relates to aborting a pregnancy and that cannot be done after a pregnancy has ended with the delivery of a newborn baby (or, post-uterus fetus? I’m unsure of the term you wish to use for a newborn baby that is not yet a person).  But I’m putting that definition of abortion aside for brevity sake.  I am using abortion above as the termination of the “life of” or “potential for life” (whichever is acceptable for you) that a fetus and/or newborn possesses.

            • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

              I have shared my views openly. But you miss the point entirely by focusing on my personal ethos. My view on when personhood comes into being may be as extreme as those who place this at conception… but I don’t seek to codify my beliefs into law, or to force others to accept it. In spite of my own ethos, I argue for allowing science to inform us, and then placing a maximum gestational point for elective abortions at the minimum age most developmental biologists would allow for the possibility of sentient thought to exist.

              • Godless4freedom

                Your ethos is waiting on science to say when a newborn human has sentient thought so that you can set your ideological acceptance of infanticide prior to that date in some measure, correct?

                If I do understand your process correctly and the above is true, then can you continue by further defining sentient “thought?”  Do you mean intellectual ability or sentient “perception?”  And how do you expect this to be scientifically monitored?

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  I am not waiting on science. Science has already demonstrated, to my satisfaction, when personhood begins.

                  For me, personhood is defined by sentience, by self-awareness, and by memories of life experiences. These things require certain brain structures and processes to be in place, and I’m comfortable with the state of understanding of neuroscience to place a firm developmental age on when these things are certainly not present, and therefore the point where I cannot consider a fetus to be a person.

                • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

                  That doesn’t clear up a thing. It’s a known fact that a baby can come out of the womb knowing who mother and father already are. This is because they’ve been talked to by those two people. Meaning, the child has memory of what happens in the womb.

                   When does that take place? Heck if I know. But the fact that it happens is true. While you can use that definition if you’d like to, do we know when this takes place?

                • phantomreader42

                   And your evidence to support these claims is…? 

                  Oh, yeah, the sworn testimony of the voices in your head, nothing more.  Fetus-fetishists are all pathological liars.

                • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

                  IMO, you confuse behavior with self aware action. I can write a computer program that does the things you list, but I’m under no illusion that the program is self aware. Insects can exhibit similar behavior, but I’m under no illusion they are self aware.

                  Very complex behavior is possible without self awareness.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

            Some months after birth! Have you been around babies often? I guess I need the terms “self aware” defined for me.

            I would say my 10 day old child is quite self-aware. He cries when he’s hungry, cold, hot, doesn’t feel well or is messy. How much self-awareness does a person need? No, he can’t get up change his own diaper of fix a sandwich. But he knows when he has needs and trust me, and 3AM he lets us know it!

        • Paul_Robertson

          After a child is born, if the mother does not want it then she can surrender it for adoption. The existence of this option makes infanticide unjustifiable, even leaving aside questions of what it means to be human. Your comparison is therefore flawed.

          • Godless4freedom

            What comparison did I make that you are referring to as being flawed?

            • Paul_Robertson

              Comparing infanticide to abortion.

              • Godless4freedom

                If you’ll notice, I wasn’t the one that brought infanticide into the conversation. I was responding to it when it was brought up by C Peterson. 

                • Earl G.

                  I don’t see any mention of infanticide in C Peterson’s comment.

                • Earl G.

                  I meant the comment above, not the one below!

                • Godless4freedom

                  C Peterson didn’t initially mention it my name, they mention it through their reasoning and opened up the concept of infanticide without naming it as such. I consider that a valid form of “bringing it up” in a forum such as this.  Here is where C Peterson introduced the idea:”And not just that, but what is “pain”? It’s a response to harmful stimulus (and primitive, as you say). Do worms feel pain? They appear to. Do higher animals? Certainly. But how many animals suffer? Pain isn’t the problem, suffering is. And to suffer requires a high degree of cortical function… something almost certainly not there in a fetus during the first couple of trimesters, and arguably not even there in a newborn baby.”
                  And here is where they clarified their position at my request, which is where they name & accept the label for their previously hinted ideas:”I personally don’t believe infanticide is immoral, since I don’t think a newborn is a person yet.”

                  All I did was put a name on their logical conclusion to make it easier to discuss, a name which they accepted and continued the use of in relation to the original logic from the first paragraph quoted in this response.  

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

        Then why do newborn babies cry? If they don’t suffer, then why does their cry increase with intensity when their first cries are not met?

    • gwen

       I’m don’t know why ‘feel pain’ is a compelling argument. Birth is not pain free for the fetus. Sometimes a woman is in labor for several days with a decidedly uncomfortable fetus. No one advocates giving a fetus pain medication for the birthing process which in nearly all cases last MUCH longer than the abortion process.

    • Godless4freedom

      “used as life support.”  LOL The extremes we take to vilify our enemies.

      • MichaelD

        Not really an extreme that’s pretty much the role of the mother in pregnancy to be life support for the fetus while  it develops enough to be on its own.  So I don’t see how its extreme to say the prolife side wants to force people to act as life support against their desires.

        • Godless4freedom

          I understand your reasoning.  But the logic you’re using seems extreme because you’re stopping where you’re stopping.  To stop at saying a pregnant woman’s body is life support for a fetus without acknowledging that period as only the first 9 months (+/-) of a much longer period of life support that fetus needs makes the intention behind the original logic seem extreme.

          • MichaelD

            To me life support is just the use of a second set of organs either artificial or biological to survive.  While in the womb the fetus is dependent on the digestive, circulatory, respiratory, and excretory systems of the mother effectively putting it on life support. After 9ish months  I agree that the now baby still requires help but it doesn’t directly depend on the organs of another to sustain its life and there is no need for the mother to continue to care for it as any adult can take over at such a point. So to me based on my definitions of life support this definition is not extreme but simply a statement of fact. 

            To use the elderly as a further example. I don’t see someone in a nursing home who has to be wheeled down to meals which are soft, precut etc as being on life support even though this person needs help from others to continue living. Someone who’s on a feeding tube and ventilator however is. I think that this is consistent with how most people view medical life support.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_support  for an example of what they consider life support.

            • Godless4freedom

              Your reasoning seems to convolute the distinction between medical life support (as examined in the wiki page you posted) and the self-support that occurs with a pregnant body.  It’s the difference between artificial/unnatural support of life & authentic/natural support of life.  The former is an instance of a life needing intervention to survive, while the latter is an instance of a life needing an absence of intervention to survive.  It seems an attempt to romanticize abortion into some sort of freedom from death for the pregnant woman, when in actuality the juxtaposition you’ve proposed is an error of opposites.  In one instance, the life support is an inhuman, non-life-form.  In the other instance, the life support is deactivating from that which you consider to be the inhuman, non-life-form (a non-human fetus).  But, you’re saying it is a life that needs support.  What then is the life-form?  Is it human?

              • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                The fetus — regardless of whether or not it is alive or human — categorically DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO USE A WOMAN’S BODY AGAINST HER WILL.

                • Godless4freedom

                  wmdkitty, according to your logic, should an adult human be able to accuse the man and woman whose actions conceived it of conceiving it against its will?  Because in both instances, nature operated the same way that nature has operated since history has been recorded, yet you’re accusing a fetus that was created according to nature of assaulting a woman.

                  Also, does this logic carry on to a woman being able to accuse a man’s sperm (though, perhaps, not the man himself) of assaulting her egg during the fertilization process and forcing it to duplicate, replicate, and expand against the woman (the egg “owners”) will?

                • MichaelD

                  I can get behind tiny prison cells that you can lock those misbehaving spermatozoids into.

                • Godless4freedom

                  Perhaps you should allow a condom to suffice for your penitentiary needs.

                • MichaelD

                  I’m sorry I don’t believe in locking up innocent sperm that haven’t done anything. But if they do the crime they should do the time!

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  *headdesk*

                  You’re bloody ridiculous.

                • Godless4freedom

                  How so?  Is the commonality of the positions outlined not an occurrence of nature backed by billions of examples of reliable replication of results based on actions?  Have you not attributed this natural biological process as a form of assault, with the woman the victim and the fetus the assaulter? 

                • Earl G.

                  Why are you so obsessed with ‘biology’ and ‘natural’ness?Have you heard of the naturalistic fallacy?  Whether something is natural or not has no moral bearing whatsoever.  It’s irrelevant to the discussion.

                • phantomreader42

                   You have no understanding of wmdkitty’s logic, nor in fact of any form of logic or anything that vaguely looks like logic. You are just a pathological liar, desperately hunting for any excuse you can find to justify denying the humanity of women. 

              • MichaelD

                To me the only significant difference between the medical life support and the human life support is it has free will and rights and a mind of its own. 

                I don’t know where you get the idea that I think a fetus isn’t a human or a life. I fully concede that it probably fits those categories. But to my mind you can’t force someone to give of their body be it a kidney, blood transfusion or a 9months in a womb. It also doesn’t matter if they are a lump of cells, an 8 month old fetus, a mass murderer or the most gifted visionary of our time about to be struck dead long before their time. The person who’s body it is gets final say on how that body is used. This is not a romantic argument for me its my opinion of what rights take precedence in a complicated and emotional situation.

                • Godless4freedom

                  Since you consider a fetus a human, a life, and a human life, when does that human become eligible for human rights?

                • MichaelD

                  I think its a muddled issue but for the sake of arguement lets say I grant the fetus human rights from the moment of conception. As I’ve already stated I consider one person’s right to decide how they use their body to come before any other person’s rights to use their body to extend/prelong their life. So to me in this context its a moot point it doesn’t matter if the fetus has human rights because what you’re ultimately arguing for I don’t agree if a right.

                • phantomreader42

                  At what point in the pregnancy does a pregnant woman become INeligible for human rights?  None of you fetus-fetishists are willing to answer that question.  Your arguments require denying the humanity of women, but you’re too dishonest to admit that fact. 

  • http://www.SecularThinker.com/ The Secular Thinker

    While I can certainly give more credence to this group’s arguments than, for example, a Christian pro-life group, I still think they are missing the biggest factor, which is a woman’s right to her own body. 

    • Helanna

       Indeed. I didn’t really see anyone addressing that point. I can certainly see some of their points, and to be honest I didn’t really like Rossi’s original article, but almost everything they highlighted was incidental at best. They did admit that most of it was incidental, but they brought it back around to their strongest argument – a fetus is a human life – without mentioning the real point of contention – a woman’s right to her body. Nobody’s arguing that a fetus isn’t human, we’re arguing that its right to life doesn’t supersede a woman’s choice about her own body.

      • Patterrssonn

        Kind of invalidates their whole argument if they are incapable of actually addressing the pro choice position

        • Kristine Kruszelnicki

          I think this rebuttal piece was only intended to directly address some of the points made by Rossi, as opposed to making a case of their own.

          As a member of SPL I have submitted “The Secular Case Against Abkrtion” to The Humanist for consideration in there next edition. You’ll find it addresses that concern, as well as addressing the claim of “pseudoscience”.

          The secular pro-life view is not built upon the concerns of PASS, breast cancer or fetal pain.

      • http://wordsideasandthings.blogspot.com/ Garren

        “Nobody’s arguing that a fetus isn’t human, we’re arguing that its right
        to life doesn’t supersede a woman’s choice about her own body.”

        That may be true for you, but many pro-choicers do base their arguments on scientifically flawed claims about fetuses being only “potential life”  or philosophically debatable claims like “human rights begin at birth.”

        If it really were just a discussion about whether a fetus’ or its mother’s rights win out, then you’d be right that the rest would be distractions and straw men.

        • http://twitter.com/Noadi Sheryl

           I hold that position but it isn’t that the fetus is a potential human life, it’s a potential human being. There’s a difference: it’s clearly alive and human tissue, but it’s only a potential person. A potential person’s rights do not trump the rights of a fully formed person.

          • JD

            Says who?

          • Nancy

            Who says that a fully formed person has more rights than a un born child?  Does that mean that older people have more rights than younger people because they are more fully formed? 

          • LN

            The only reason to divorce the terms “human being” and “person” is to deny a group of human beings their human rights. See textbook example of blacks being “humans but not people”. 

        • Todd Armstrong

          I do argue that a fetus isn’t fully a human being. it is not a human being until it is conscious of being alive. And you are right about it being a woman’s right to do with her body what she will.

    • JD

      Except the fetus is not her body.

      • http://www.SecularThinker.com/ The Secular Thinker

        A fetus is not “her body” itself, but it is part of her body, very much as a tumor is not “her body” itself, but merely a component of her physical body. 

        • Thecommenter123

          So if she has a male fetus in her womb, it is part of her body – so the fetus’ penis is her penis? His head is part of her body – so she has two heads? The fetus’ heart is a component of her physical body, so she has two hearts?

          • Robert Engelson

            Non-sequitur.  Logic fail.

            • Thecommenter123

              No, it *does* follow. If a fetus is part of a woman’s body, then its heart is part of her body: she has two hearts – the one in her chest and the one in her womb. Your logical choices are, therefore: a) argue against the claim that a fetus is “part of a woman’s body”, so that you don’t have to make the absurd claim that a pregnant woman has two hearts or b) say “yes, she does indeed have two hearts” in which case you’re choosing unreason over science. Which is it to be?

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Travis-Dykes/19217851 Travis Dykes

            So what about women with teratomas  (tumors made up of tissue that is normal but of a different type from the surrounding, and may contain partial or fetal sized organs or teeth) or fetiform teratomas which may be caused by one fetus absorbing its twin.  If the organs grown by those types of tumors can be considered part of a woman’s body (especially if a part of an absorbed twin) then why not consider the fetus a part of the woman’s body?

            Really that line of debate is a side issue since whether or not a fetus is a part of the woman’s body is not as important as the fact that it can not survive without the woman’s body, and thus shouldn’t the woman have the right to decide whether or not she wants to use her body to support the fetus?  
            We have pushed the point at which it is possible (though not necessarily likely) for a fetus to survive outside of the womb back pretty far (roughly the 24 week point, with a very few up to the 22nd week)  so maybe that should be the dividing line between when abortion is allowable and when because it can survive without the woman it gains person-hood.   If your against abortion once its eached this hazy point of possibly survivng, or are compleatly against abortion, how about women being allowed to give up the infant to custody of the state (including all costs incurred to remove it from, and keep it alive outside of her body) as soon as it has a chance of surviving without her?

            • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

               I wish I could like this x1000, just for bringing up fetus in fetu/fetiform teratomas.

            • Thecommenter123

              Look: either a fetus is part of its mother’s body or it’s not. If you cloned a fetus, would you end up with a clone of its mother, or a genetically distinct human? If a fetus is part of its mother’s body, like a wart or a toenail or a tumour, its clone would be genetically identical to the mother. 

              • Thecommenter123

                As to your other point, who says that what determines personhood is whether a human can survive on its own or not? 
                It’s not clear that line of reasoning trumps others – I’d be interested as to why you think it does.

            • Thecommenter123

              Except we’re not talking about teratomas. We’re talking about pregnancy. Two different things. As Robert Engleson would say, you’ve dished up a non sequitir there.

    • Frank Bellamy

      SPL believes that a fetus is a morally significant person, with the same moral worth as you or I. If that is you grant that, then the pro-choice position isn’t a legitimate moral position anymore, it is advocacy of genocide. Only a mad man would seriously maintain that one person’s right to complete control of their body for nine months outweighs another persons right to live their entire life. So the only serious point of disagreement between sane pro-lifers and sane pro-choicers is whether the fetus is a morally significant person. And they do address that head on.

    • Nancy

      What about the unborn childs right to his or her own body?  Or don’t unborn children have any rights?  Peta states that even animals have rights. 

      • http://www.SecularThinker.com/ The Secular Thinker

        Can we really call something that is unborn a “child” yet?

        • Anchor Menace

          What do you think? It’s not a Dinosaur. Looks more like a silly question that goes similar to this; Is a cow considered a mammal?

      • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

         The fetus does not, however, have a right to the woman’s body.

        • Kelly

           Why not? In a majority of cases, the woman had a hand in the child being conceived using her body.

          Or, did the fetus just appear on its own, on its own volition?

           Tricky little buggers, aren’t they?

          • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

            Missing the point. If I were to, for example, eat a piece of meat infested with parasites, and I end up infected, I had a hand in those parasites entering and taking up residence in my body.

            That does NOT give them the right to use my body.

            Likewise, whether or not I “participated” in the conception of a fetus, that DOES NOT give the fetus the right to use my body.

            • Sonya

               Those parasites are also not your biological children as would be indicated through genetic testing of a fetus in a pregnant woman (unless she is a surrogate, but that’s a different can of worms altogether). That relationship, and what that would entail were the legal system functioning properly, would be that the pregnant woman is the  gestating child’s legal guardian and has the obligation to provide that child with nourishment/shelter to at least viability. THAT is what gives the gestating child the right to exist in the part of our bodies we temporarily share during pregnancy. Participation is moot.

  • Paige Jeffrey

    Here’s how I’ve always seen it: until the fetus can live independently of its mother, there are no individual rights. The rights of what is, essentially, a foreign parasite should not supersede the host. (For the record, this why I would have a difficult time morally supporting abortions past the second trimester without good reason to.)

    Pro-lifers and pro-choice might find more common ground finding alternative methods involving artificial wombs in a lab or for some method to allow the aborted fetus to continue without dependence on the mother. But until that happens, it should a woman’s right to control her own body.

    Being pregnant right now, I can say that I’ve gone through huge changes, physically, emotionally and chemically. Women who don’t want it won’t allow it – and if they can’t get it legally, they will go back to how it was done before – illegally in incredibly dangerous circumstances that often resulted in the deaths of mother and baby.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_RPPWVLMFKJ7QCHLEVQAR5GSL5M momma J

      Wow. An artificial womb. I can’t actually say I’ve heard of such a thing, but I love the idea of it! We should be working more on that!

      Do a web search for the earliest born child who lived. It’s quite incredible and my push your timeline back a little bit more. I don’t agree with your timeline of when the fetus gains rights, but I can understand that distinction as being a clear turning point in the process. But with advancing medical science, doesn’t that timeline change continuously? Congrats on being pregnant. My spouse and I have tried for 7 years and have finally just given birth to a new baby boy!

  • kaydenpat

    So do secular pro-life groups believe that impregnated women should have to give birth at all costs?  No exceptions?  We should not put the wellbeing of the fetus above the woman’s emotional/physical health.

  • Karen L

    The argument that the fetus might feel pain is a red herring.  If that were really the issue, then groups like ‘Secular Pro Life’ shouldn’t have a problem with 1st trimester abortions, at the very least.   One might squabble over whether the fetus feels pain at 30 weeks or 20 weeks, but the first trimester is well before the earliest dates suggested for possible fetal pain.

    I’m guessing Secular Pro Life doesn’t support first trimester abortions.  So they need to find another argument.

    • SJH

       It is not the reason but only one of many that we should be concerned about.
      If we are doing something to another human being that is inflicting pain then we should consider whether or not it is a good thing.

      • JohnnieCanuck

        Vaginal birth inflicts pain on the fetus. Compare the difference in shape of its skull to that of a caesarian delivered baby. All that distortion has got to hurt.

        If pain were really the issue, a local anesthetic would solve that concern.

    • Godless4freedom

      They haven’t used this criteria as the general basis of their varying opinions.  It’s just one portion of the perspective.  

  • Marco

    Once again, I don’t see the principal argument that to me justifies the legality of abortion: that it has happened and will happen regardless of what the law says. Making it illegal only accomplishes the goal of preventing those that most need it from getting it safely and early enough.

    • Godless4freedom

      Do you also believe all drugs currently deemed illicit should be legalized?

      • MichaelD

        While not Marco I’ll say that given the complete failure of modern drug policy I’m at least open to leaving that option on the table when discussing future drug policies.

        • Godless4freedom

          According to what logic?  That making something illegal doesn’t make it disappear and, since it is going to be a factor in society anyway, it should be legalized and, I imagine, taxed as a positive consequence of its existence?

          • MichaelD

            Well what we have right now is really awful people are getting their hands on drugs, the money being spent on law enforcement has had no appreciable effect on their availability and the proceeds fund organised crime  and other unsavory groups. Legalization at least provides an opportunity for quality control, taxes to be put to combating addiction and drug use and funding for police etc could be allocated to other areas where they may have a more appreciable effect. These are at least some possible benefits of such a policy.

            I’m not saying that this is the best solution to the problem or that it should be implemented but I think its at least a possible action that I’m not completely writing off. Its a radically different approach to the issue at hand that flies in the face of what we think is right but if it lead to better overall outcomes I would have to concede its the proper thing to do until a better solution can be suggested. 

            Say addiction rates, overdoses etc stayed the same but organised crime in mexico and the gang violence there was cut by a third. To me that would be sufficient to warrant such a change to our drug laws as the net overall situation was greatly improved.

            • Godless4freedom

              Expecting addiction rates to stay the same is naive.  Legal substances which are regulated as currently illegal drugs would be if legalized are blamed for horrible statics, as you stated in your comments concerning alcohol in an above post.  I fail to see the logic in expecting more potent substances to be less addictive and cause less “trouble” for society whenever those potent substances are legally opened to a public which largely doesn’t currently use said substances because of the complications the illegality of those substances could cause.  

              • MichaelD

                Umm I wasn’t expecting anything I was offering up a hypothetical situation where I think the evidence would be in favor of a different drug policy. I have no idea of the actual figures and statistics such a change in policy would yield. Maybe rates of say LSD use would increase if it was legalized or maybe it would remain a mostly niche thing. I have no idea to what degree legalization would affect drug cartels or how prison overpopulation would be affected. 

                I don’t claim to know any of these statistics but I’m in favor of seeing research trying to predict such outcomes or comparisons of how legalizing one drug might affect these statistics with regards to the legalization of other drugs. In short I’m in favor of evidence based policy that uses the best present available information to suggest what legislation and action a government should take.

                You seem to be presenting nothing more then gut feelings and dogmatic moralizing while I’m interested in seeing the best possible data available on recreational drug policies and trying to make the most informed decision possible based on the best and most current information possible. And if based on this data we legalized pot and everything went really downhill I’d be the first to say that we need to change that policy either back or to some 3rd possible state. At the end of the day all I care about is what policy works.

                • Godless4freedom

                  Where did I present “dogmatic moralizing”?  

                • MichaelD

                  Possibly not my best choice of words. As I said above I’m willing to change my position on each and every drug based on new data brought before me. I haven’t seen any such concession on your part and you see to have trouble grasping that this is something I might do.  

                • Godless4freedom

                  Also, I was drawing logical conclusions based statistics YOU brought up by comparing the potency of legal & illegal substance and gauging the potential addictiveness if illegal drugs were made legal based on the statistical “society trouble” which legal drugs of lower potency currently cause.  

                  And using “expecting” in the context in which I used it coincides with your use of “say” in your comment which precedes my comment in which I used “expecting.”  You said, “Say addiction rates, overdoses etc stayed the same…” that is an expectation outlined concerning a hypothetical situation.  An expectation I consider naive given the relationship previously mentioned between potency, addictiveness, and legality of common drug substances.

          • bill

            Making drugs illegal gives organized crime a commodity that is extremely lucrative that only allows crime organizations to grow and become absurdly powerful, and their only motivation is profit, and because of it’s illegality they’re not about to involve police/courts so criminals kill each other (and innocent bystanders from time to time) to settle things. If drugs are legal, we can regulate their sale and focus on helping people hurting themselves/others because of drugs rather than billions on a drug war against organizations that would be crippled without said commodity. Also, it’s absurd that marijuana is illegal. So many beneficial properties and literally almost harmless (besides driving high). In the US industrial hemp is even illegal AND YOU CAN’T EVEN USE IT TO GET HIGH! It makes clothes and paper and if you smoked it nothing would happen. Our drug policies are absurd and not based on evidence and cause much more harm than good. I could go on, but please do some research into marijuana particularly for its properties and it’s potential uses for good. Also, non-physically addictive  drugs such as LSD, ecstasy, and mushrooms are interesting to discuss. 

          • MichaelD

            Also to add to my previous comment. Look at alcohol. Very addictive, leads to drunk driving, spousal abuse, liver damage etc. Some comparative studies have it as one of the more destructive recreational drugs. There was also a collected effort to ban its sale in the United states from 1920-1933 which was also largely ineffective and fueled organised crime. 

            I’m personally open to considering the return of prohibition just as I’m open to legalizing other drugs as was done with alcohol. 

            • Godless4freedom

              So you prefer alcoholic beverages to be illegal and currently illegal drugs to be legal?  Which beverages would become illegal?  Beer, wine, tequila, vodka, whiskey, etc?  Which currently illegal drugs would become legal?  Marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroine, etc?

              • MichaelD

                Umm I’m starting to wonder if I’m not making myself clear or if you are having trouble reading what I’m saying. 

                I’m saying I’m willing to hear arguments and evidence on a drug by drug basis for what policies cause the least harm to members of society. 

                This does not mean that I am for criminalizing alcohol. We’re getting off topic but  despite not drinking myself I don’t think prohibition worked well for anyone and its probably better to keep alcohol legal. There are other drugs like marijuana that I lean towards decriminalizing and plenty of others I’m open to hearing discussions about but am leaning against or don’t have a strong opinion about.

                But my openness to discuss something doesn’t mean that suddenly I agree with the point being discussed or that I will necessarily reject such an outcome. Its a declaration that I want the policies that cause the least harm to society even if they are unconventional or go against the common wisdom.

                • Godless4freedom

                  I feel as though I’m reading your comments the best they can be read.  Because I understand you whenever you say, “I’m personally open to considering the return of prohibition just as I’m open to legalizing other drugs as was done with alcohol.”  To me, that says you’re open to making alcohol illegal again, but legalizing other drugs.  Then you “clarify” in a separate post by saying, “I don’t think prohibition worked well for anyone and its probably better to keep alcohol legal.”  Are you having trouble knowing your position?

                • MichaelD

                  Nope I know where I currently stand (that I think alcohol should remain legal) but I’m open to discussion and evidence to change that position in the future. Do you have a problem with the idea that my position today may change in the future through such a conversation?

                • Godless4freedom

                  I don’t have a problem at all.  It’s just confusing to talk with someone whose position “evolves” from one comment to another within moments of one another.

                • MichaelD

                  My position has never evolved or changed though perhaps I have not been clear. I’m open to legalizing or criminalizing drugs based on the merits of each case. I brought up alcohol prohibition as an example of a very destructive drug that western society has legalized after dabbling in criminalizingit.

                • Godless4freedom

                  And I took the same example of alcohol and deconstructed and attributed measures of addictiveness and potency as well as doing the same attribution to more potent drugs that are currently illegal.  But you somehow saw that are outlandish.

                • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

                  No. Not “but”.

                  “And Also”

                • Godless4freedom

                  Can you be more specific? 

                • Godless4freedom

                  Can you be more specific? 

              • MichaelD

                You’ll forgive me if i respond upstream but the columns are getting far too narrow. 

                What I find outlandish here is that you assert in the first question that I prefer alcohol be illegal some thing I wasn’t advocating. You mention beer wine  tequila vodka and whiskey as if there is any real difference the source of fermentation and remaining impurities have on its legality. I havn’t actually advocated any of them and I think there are lots of things to consider when legalizing any of them of which I’m not sure I have all the data so I am reluctant to make any firm pronouncements on any drug as I don’t feel I’m well read enough on the subject.

                I freely admit I have my own prejudices against some drugs http://www.theatlantic.com/daily-dish/archive/2010/11/the-most-harmful-drug/180468/

                This 2010 study for example found alcohol to be the most damaging legal or illegal recreational drug.

                Does this alone mean anything? Not necessarily as what is of actual interest is how these damages are affected by policy change another subject I’m not convinced I’m well versed on. Anyway this is far off the topic of abortion its 2am I’m not even sure what the point of this discussion is right now. But if you feel you have more to say I’ll responde in the morning.

                ps wmdkitty is saying that with this line of yours below “To me, that says you’re open to making alcohol illegal again, but legalizing other drugs.” That it should read “To me, that says you’re open to making alcohol illegal again, 
                And Also  legalizing other drugs.” Which I assume they feel is closer to the position I am putting forward then your wording. Feel free to add comment or correct me WMDkitty.

  • http://www.facebook.com/AnonymousBoy Larry Meredith

    The discussions in these comments are very informative of both sides and have helped me better form my perspective on the issue

    Thanks commenters!

  • Sailor

    Since atheists do not rely on religious texts for their morals, morality either comes from unreasoned emotion or thought out positions. If one starts with morality from thought out positions, one either see abortion as an issue or not depending on how one values the fetus compared with the mother.
    If one thinks the fetus is of high value then the obvious way to deal with it is to try and minimize abortions. Experience would tell us this is best done by education and easy access to birth control. It is illogical to ban abortions since all that does is drive those seeking them to underground to illegal abortionists. There is no evidence that making abortions illegal reduces their frequency, in fact countries where abortions are illegal often have a high abortion rate than those that do not.
    I can see that some atheists might be against abortion, but I can see no logical reason why they should be in favor of making it illegal, as this seems to be counterproductive.

  • John Connolly

    The whole
    prolife argument is based on the assumption that a fetus is already a human
    being that requires protection. Although a fetus has the potential of becoming
    a human being, it is no more a human being than was one of the early dumb life
    forms from which man evolved.

    What
    distinguishes humans, who are protected by law, from other living animals, such
    as pigs and chickens,  that are not
    protected and can be killed at will, is their ability to think abstractly and
    use language to communicate with their fellow beings.  If any other animal were to develop these
    attributes, members of that species would deserve  protection from being killed, as well.

    A human
    fetus doesn’t even begin to develop the complexity of mind capable of abstract thought
    until after 4 months of gestation. So before that time it does not yet meet the
    requirements and its survival is totally dependent on the will of the woman
    nurturing that fetus. It is her inalienable right to decide whether she wants
    to assume the long term responsibility of giving birth and dedicating herself
    to raising another person in this already overcrowded world.

    The sheer
    hypocrisy of lifers is that there are billions of children already born who are
    now starving to death for lack of attention and care. Once the fetus goes full
    term, lifers have no more to gain politically and reveal their true motives by showing
    no further concern. 

     (Be free to use this argument wherever you
    have the opportunity)

    • Earl G.

      You may want to read up on the gigantic scientific field of animal cognition before making blanket claims about the intellectual abilities of nonhuman animals.  Besides, if cognitive abilities were the basis for granting rights, mentally disabled humans would not be granted rights.  Cognitive abilities are obviously not the criteria our society uses for doling out rights.

  • Nancy

    Even animals have rights.  What about the rights of the unborn child?  They are totally innocent. 

  • Kelly

    A ‘fetus’ or ‘baby’ is a unique individual from the very begging, with own DNA and fingerprints..

    When a woman is pregnant, it is no longer ‘her body’ alone. She is sharing it with another living human being.  That human being has a right to life. 

    Before the ‘viability’ arguments start, if an adult human is taken out of his/her natural  environment and put on the surface of Mars or at the bottom of the sea, he/she is not naturally viable.  

    That doesn’t make is acceptable for said adult human to be killed in his/her natural environment, while sitting in the living room, for example.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

      *sigh*

      Once again, that “living human being” CATEGORICALLY DOES -NOT- HAVE THE RIGHT TO USE A WOMAN’S BODY WITHOUT HER EXPLICIT CONSENT.

  • http://www.facebook.com/victor.mandel.7 Victor Mandel

    My wife and I split up over two years ago, and I have tried many different spells from almost every place locally as well as online and none of them worked. I had almost given up hope until I found this man prophetharry@ymail.com on line.how he helped many people to get back their lover so I ordered a reunite love spell to help my ex wife forgive me for the mistakes that I made with an old girl friend. I also purchased a marriage spell so that we could get married again. I was floored that both spells worked within 3days.
    victor Mandel

  • Todd Armstrong

    A great many multi-celled organisms experience pain. Pain is one of the survival mechanisms of life. Even plants, evidently, respond to pain.The issue is whether they are conscious of that pain. And it seems new born humans are not conscious, in the human sense of that concept, for months after birth.


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